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Alternative Experience System


Wolverine

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It's been a long time since I sat down and wrote a post on BRP Central, and now I have the opportunity to hammer out an idea with the good people here.

Having run a BRP campaign for over two years I have noticed one thing. My players seem to be advancing at different rates. This is because my scenarios are more role-play based, rather than concentrating on fast-paced action all the time. At the end of a gaming session the number of experience rolls made vary from player to player, and some sessions one or two of the players have not needed to pick up the dice at all and therefore didn't receive any experience rolls!

I know that players can train and advance their characters in-between adventures through Skill Training. However, I feel that the experience system is geared little unfairly towards adventures that concentrate on combat, action, and a lot of dice rolling, rather than those purely based on role-play, which doesn't reflect the overall experience of the group as a whole.

I know that other compatible D100 systems use alternative experience methods, such as RuneQuest II with Improvement Rolls and OpenQuest with Improvement Points. This has lead me to the idea of an Experience Point system for BRP. I believe that this is a fair way of rewarding characters and gives balance to the overall advancement of the group. It also means that as a GM you can award Experience Points based on objectives and goals achieved by the players in game.

The most simplest method I can see is when advancing a character one Experience Point is equal to one Percentile Point in a skill, which is pretty similar to allocating Skill Points during character generation. I thought the best rule of thumb would be a player could allocate between one and five Experience Points in any one skill, and no more.

For skills that require training you can simply rule that the player can only place Experience Points in that skill if find a teacher with the relevant knowledge.

For skills over 100%, a player would have to spend two Experience Points to advance a skill by one Percentile Point, to represent the fact it's harder to improve that skill.

For improving Characteristics, a player would need to spend Experience Points equal to number you were advancing to multiplied by five. For example, Vharic the Brave wanted to increase his Strength from 14 to 15, he would have to expend 75 Experience Points in order to do so.

For those of you out there using BRP to play RuneQuest, increasing the magnitude of Battle/Spirit Magic would require you to spend Experience Points equal to number you were advancing to multiplied by five. If you were increasing Bladesharp from two to three magnitude it would cost you fifteen Experience Points. This would be staggered, so if you wanted to increase the spell from one to three magnitude it would cost you twenty-five Experience points.

My next thought is how to award Experience Points. As I said above I mentioned about players achieving objectives or goals. Whenever a player’s character achieves an objective, whether it is personal or quest related, the GM should award the relevant number of Experience Points. This could range from five to ten Experience Points, and a lot more when the players reach the conclusion of a campaign. I was thinking that the number of Experience points awarded shouldn’t be too high, otherwise characters would advance far too quickly, and not low enough so that the characters never seem to improve. It has to be fair and balanced, and allow room for GMs to reward players for role-play as well as action sequences.

I would like to hear what people thought of my idea. It would be good for some feedback, some ideas, and some constructive criticism. Maybe you have done something similar already or suggested it before. Even if you hate the idea, your arguments against it would be appreciated. I'm open to anything.

Edited by Wolverine

Nathan Baron

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What your post reveals is, IMO, not a problem of the experience gain system, but a [well-known] lack of "social" traits in the current incarnation of BRP. Basically, if you are adventuring in a dungeon or in the wilderness, your PC rolls a lot of his skills. If you are interacting with other individuals on a roleplaying basis, you only use Insight and sometimes Influence. I think your problem could be solved also by introducing Pendragon-like traits, or stressing usage of the Status skill. You might also want to introduce Relations as skills, like in HeroQuest, in order to give players who like to roleplay a lot an appropriate reward for what they did.

You can find some examples of this in Rome: Life and Death of the Republic, where Pete stressed usage of two "social" skills that are extremely important for characters and do not advance as a consequence of experience, but for roleplaying, and in Crusaders of the Amber Coast, where I tried to tie the advancement of the campaign to the advancement of PCs in Status, introducing different Status scores for the different factions they may interact with during their adventures.

I think BRP would really benefit from such rules mechanics. At the moment, you only have such opportunities in HeroQuest, but the BRP skill mechanics could support it, too.

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Basically a good idea. I wouldn't tie yourself to awarding XP for in-game Goals though - they give their own rewards. Give them for the players' ultimate goal - which is to have Fun! So award XP when anyone does something notably heroic, characterful or intelligent (or fumbles amusingly!).

I second Rosen's Traits idea. Players can just pick a few, then get XP bonuses when they act accordingly - simple. You need no more of a Traits mechanic than that.

Britain has been infiltrated by soviet agents to the highest levels. They control the BBC, the main political party leaderships, NHS & local council executives, much of the police, most newspapers and the utility companies. Of course the EU is theirs, through-and-through. And they are among us - a pervasive evil, like Stasi.

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IMHO Role Play trumps Roll Play, and I wouldn't penalise players for missing out on dice rolls if they have role played the encounter. Obviously, this is much easier for social interaction than combat, but if they can do something that would otherwise required a roll, I would allow them a check anyway. After all, they have successfully 'used' a skill.

The skills I have in mind are; Fast talk, Persuade, Psycology, Diplomancy, Intimidate, perhaps even Status or Command.

They may even deserve an increase to CHA/APP for exceptional Role play and might inspire others to try and role play too.

Be creative and look think what skills could have been used.

Cheers

Damon

Likes to sneak around

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Hi chaps,

There is certainly some food for thought there.

What I think it boils down to is the fact there is a lack of role-play driven mechanics in BRP, which other systems like HeroQuest seem to thrive upon. Like Rosen and Damon have both suggested, you could award an experience check next to a relevant skill if the players role-played their way through a situation. Quite often I find this to be the case, as a line of questioning can provide answers from an NPC rather than picking up the dice to try and persuade them. Of course, when I deem the situation calls for a dice roll, I will ask for one. Therefore what you suggest sounds quite sensible, easy to implement in game, and wouldn't upset the balance of the system. It rewards role-play rather than roll-play.

The idea of Pendragon Traits has never really appealed to me, but I have seen the optional rules in the BRP rulebook. The one thing I don't like is alignments as they confine a character to a strict set of guidelines, and to me I feel traits are a similar thing. I find if you do away with boundaries such as alignments, players have flexibility to make their characters more human. One player in one of my recent games did something a little questionable and out of character, yet the fact of the matter is the character would have done it in because the situation warranted it. It was not bad role-playing or out of character, but desperate times do call for desperate measures. In an alignment based system that character would have been penalised for stepping outside the boundaries of their "alignment", even though in a role-play sense it was the right course of action to take. I cannot comment upon a trait based system, but I'm sure those Pendragon players amongst us will be able to shed more light on it for me.

As for relationships like those you find in HeroQuest, that doesn't sound like a bad idea at all. Like Status skill, which wouldn't increase through experience checks, a "Relationship" skills could be rolled against when the character needed to test the boundaries of their friendship, and where no other skill would be suitable to roll against. Then again would you need to roll against your relationship? I do believe Loz has added something similar to RQII, with Hate, Love, and Relationship skills, very similar to those found in HQ. With the exception of Relationships, the only problem I see about having these trait like skills is that it may impact upon role-play in a negative way, pretty much in the same way as alignments can, restricting the characters who should be the ones making those sort of decisions. I feel that players should decide who their characters love and hate.

Nathan Baron

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I feel that players should decide who their characters love and hate.

Absolutely. I don't recommend the Pendragon system - that controls the characters too much. But what I do suggest is letting players choose a few traits (like those in BRP or Pendragon, which btw includes 'Passions', i.e. Loves/Hates/Loyalties) - and then giving them some reward if they RP their character that way. So, for example your player would still be free to choose to act out-of-character, but would know he'd lose out somehow.

Britain has been infiltrated by soviet agents to the highest levels. They control the BBC, the main political party leaderships, NHS & local council executives, much of the police, most newspapers and the utility companies. Of course the EU is theirs, through-and-through. And they are among us - a pervasive evil, like Stasi.

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Note that having traits does not force you to do something. The GM may require a roll for particularly "out of character" situation, but it is an extreme case. The basis is that you make a check every time you behave in a given way, so that your character traits reflect how you play him or her, not the opposite.

I am not very convinced that you should award experience checks in, say, Etiquette or Persuade for good roleplay. If you are trying to persuade someone, then you should actually roll your Persuade, with a big plus for finding a good excuse of course, up to twice your score. But you should roll in order to get an experience check.

Let us make a parallel with a combat situation. If you have a good plan, your character will gain a tactical advantage and receive decisive bonuses to his combat skill rolls. But ultimately, he must roll his combat skill to overcome the opposition. What would you say of a game in which, if you make a good plan, you do not roll for attacks and the GM lets you win automatically?

As for passions and traits, all the mechanics are there with Complementary skills. If you have "Hate Lunars" and you are fighting them, you might add your special success range in Hate to your attack score. This will. of course, make you less cautious and you might suffer the same penalty to your defense. No special rule to introduce.

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Absolutely. I don't recommend the Pendragon system - that controls the characters too much. But what I do suggest is letting players choose a few traits (like those in BRP or Pendragon, which btw includes 'Passions', i.e. Loves/Hates/Loyalties) - and then giving them some reward if they RP their character that way. So, for example your player would still be free to choose to act out-of-character, but would know he'd lose out somehow.

Note that having traits does not force you to do something. The GM may require a roll for particularly "out of character" situation, but it is an extreme case. The basis is that you make a check every time you behave in a given way, so that your character traits reflect how you play him or her, not the opposite.

I still don't like the idea of traits, no matter how flexible they are. People in their life will do questionable and out of character things because they are motivated by a higher purpose. Plus I like the flexibility of not having guidelines for players to follow. The character in question who committed the aforementioned act did so for the greater good, even though the act itself was questionable. Technically, even though it was out of character, it was done because the character thought it was the right thing to do.

I am not very convinced that you should award experience checks in, say, Etiquette or Persuade for good roleplay. If you are trying to persuade someone, then you should actually roll your Persuade, with a big plus for finding a good excuse of course, up to twice your score. But you should roll in order to get an experience check.

That sounds awfully like roll-play, as Damon would put it. The biggest problem with BRP is GMs relying on a successful skill rolls to determine the out come of a scene or a scenario itself. I've seen many CoC scenarios grind to halt because players have failed dice rolls and therefore missed a vital clue. And simply doubling the skill and making them roll for the sake of it makes you as the GM look as if you're trying to fudge the outcome.

Let us make a parallel with a combat situation. If you have a good plan, your character will gain a tactical advantage and receive decisive bonuses to his combat skill rolls. But ultimately, he must roll his combat skill to overcome the opposition. What would you say of a game in which, if you make a good plan, you do not roll for attacks and the GM lets you win automatically?

I have done that before, like in instances in which player characters have crept up on a sleeping enemy, an NPC of no consequence, to slit their throats or to put a downed enemy to the sword. If the fight is a foregone conclusion and the players are going to win anyway, what is the point of making them roll for it? I always determine the outcome of fights between two NPCs without making dice rolls. It bores players to death when you try and play out a fight between two NPCs by rolling dice. It's easier to say the soldier is cut down by an arrow, or Lancelot slays the attacking marauder with a single thrust of the sword.

As for passions and traits, all the mechanics are there with Complementary skills. If you have "Hate Lunars" and you are fighting them, you might add your special success range in Hate to your attack score. This will. of course, make you less cautious and you might suffer the same penalty to your defense. No special rule to introduce.

Skill augmentation is one thing I already use, whether it be a group of players assisting the leader character or a single PC using a relevant skill to augment another. And I use the Special success range. Come to think of it, it does make sense to introduce such passions as Hate Enemy and allow the players to augment skills with them.

Nathan Baron

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Excuse me Wolverine, but I'd rather you didn't bundle my comments together with someone else's. Particularly, my recommendation of Traits was incorrectly appended with 'the GM may require a roll' - and the implication the GM could over-rule the player over character actions - which is exactly the way I was saying Traits should not be used.

A character could have 50% Honesty (or Hate Lunars, or whatever) then choose to tell a white lie (or mercifully let a mewling Lunar recruit live) - and may go down to 45%. I think that sort of mechanism would be entirely compatible with what you're saying.

This way characters actually have their, er, character documented. But not in any way constrained.

Britain has been infiltrated by soviet agents to the highest levels. They control the BBC, the main political party leaderships, NHS & local council executives, much of the police, most newspapers and the utility companies. Of course the EU is theirs, through-and-through. And they are among us - a pervasive evil, like Stasi.

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...I am not very convinced that you should award experience checks in, say, Etiquette or Persuade for good roleplay. If you are trying to persuade someone, then you should actually roll your Persuade, with a big plus for finding a good excuse of course, up to twice your score. But you should roll in order to get an experience check...
This is pretty much how I decided to moderate the interaction between roleplaying and skills: The characters get to roleplay, with the effectiveness of their roleplaying providing a bonus to the ultimate skill role.

I decided to NEVER penalize my players for roleplaying -- If they try to roleplay and say something stupid, the worst that can happen is they get no benefit for their skill role. I made this decision because my players need ongoing encouragement to roleplay.

I did implement a point system though -- which is a base 1-2 points per session for showing up, and up to 3 more points for fun & roleplaying. Players can use these for experience rolls, absorbing damage during combat (usually to avoid death), or heroic abilities (from MRQII) -- so they are a catch-all for several bonus systems, and give me a way to reward player actions that drive the story and characters forward.

Steve

Bathalians, the newest UberVillians!

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The biggest problem with BRP is GMs relying on a successful skill rolls to determine the out come of a scene or a scenario itself.

Hmmm ... I am one of those referees who insist on successful skill rolls to de-

termine the outcome of a scene or scenario. In fact, I do this because I want

to encourage roleplaying, which I understand as playing the role of the charac-

ter, not as replacing the abilities of the generated character with a player's abi-

lity to tell fancy stories.

My game is about the character's skills, not those of the player. No matter how

good a player's communication skills are, and how nice the stories he tells me

may be, in the end the character's ability to deal with the situation at hand de-

cides whether it is a success or a failure, and the way to judge a character's

ability to solve a problem is a skill roll.

I also like and use personality traits, although never as a straightjacket. They

are a good way to support the creation of a character concept during charac-

ter generation, and they also help the player to better understand the customs

and norms of the setting's cultures during play and to play the character accor-

dingly. They also help to determine a society's reactions whenever a character

acts against their customs and norms.

"Mind like parachute, function only when open."

(Charlie Chan)

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Excuse me Wolverine, but I'd rather you didn't bundle my comments together with someone else's. Particularly, my recommendation of Traits was incorrectly appended with 'the GM may require a roll' - and the implication the GM could over-rule the player over character actions - which is exactly the way I was saying Traits should not be used.

Sorry that was non-intentional. Reading back on your comments, you never made it clear in your post that you were suggesting traits shouldn't be used. However, you did suggest that players pick their own traits and that GMs should reward them for good role-play if they are brought into play, which isn't a bad idea. Do the players take actions that go against their chosen character's traits? Then the players set their own boundaries and know exactly when they are stepping across them.

A character could have 50% Honesty (or Hate Lunars, or whatever) then choose to tell a white lie (or mercifully let a mewling Lunar recruit live) - and may go down to 45%. I think that sort of mechanism would be entirely compatible with what you're saying.

This way characters actually have their, er, character documented. But not in any way constrained.

Now correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe this is something being implemented into MRQII, in the new edition of Elric? I have come across this before, but never used it myself. Rather than having traits, passions seem to be an interesting way of motivating the characters. I take it they are not strict boundaries as such but more of flexible story hooks that can get the ball rolling as it were? If you have a character with Hate Luna passion, it is more likely they will want to save the village from the rampaging Lunar army patrol. This would help springboard the adventure along, rather than having the players say "Why should our characters bother about a bunch of villagers of no consequence?"

I did implement a point system though -- which is a base 1-2 points per session for showing up, and up to 3 more points for fun & roleplaying. Players can use these for experience rolls, absorbing damage during combat (usually to avoid death), or heroic abilities (from MRQII) -- so they are a catch-all for several bonus systems, and give me a way to reward player actions that drive the story and characters forward.

Steve, that's exactly the kind of suggestion that I was looking for. So what you are suggesting is a mixture of Hero Points and Improvement Rolls taken from MRQ? I already use Hero Points, borrowed of course from MRQ, which does make a big difference to the gritty realism of combat. When it comes to Experience Rolls, do you allow the players to simply add D6 percentiles or do you make them roll a traditional Experience Roll to see if they get the bonus?

Hmmm ... I am one of those referees who insist on successful skill rolls to determine the outcome of a scene or scenario. In fact, I do this because I want to encourage roleplaying, which I understand as playing the role of the character, not as replacing the abilities of the generated character with a player's ability to tell fancy stories.

My game is about the character's skills, not those of the player. No matter how good a player's communication skills are, and how nice the stories he tells me may be, in the end the character's ability to deal with the situation at hand decides whether it is a success or a failure, and the way to judge a character's ability to solve a problem is a skill roll.

For me it is all about the story telling. I find too many skill rolls simply get in the way of the story. My playing group prefer being involved in the in-game story development of their characters, rather than the numbers on their character sheets. They rather reach the resolution of a scenario without having to result to too many dice rolls. On the other hand, if your players are more comfortable or find it more exciting to resolve everything on the throw dice, then that's exactly what you do. From experience I prefer players not to become to reliant on dice rolls, as it makes them lazy because they are waiting for you as the GM to say "make that roll" to resolve the situation.

I also like and use personality traits, although never as a straightjacket. They are a good way to support the creation of a character concept during character generation, and they also help the player to better understand the customs

and norms of the setting's cultures during play and to play the character accordingly. They also help to determine a society's reactions whenever a character acts against their customs and norms.

That is a good method to use for character generation, especially for new players to the setting, and one that can have a knock on effect in-game. If they do not conform to society, which technically they should as characters, it can have dire consequences for them.

Nathan Baron

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That sounds awfully like roll-play, as Damon would put it. The biggest problem with BRP is GMs relying on a successful skill rolls to determine the out come of a scene or a scenario itself. I've seen many CoC scenarios grind to halt because players have failed dice rolls and therefore missed a vital clue. And simply doubling the skill and making them roll for the sake of it makes you as the GM look as if you're trying to fudge the outcome.

This is something that has been stated many times by people used to game systems where there are no rules for sociali interactions: rolling the dice prevents roleplaying and "breaks the flow of the story". But the truth is different.

I will make a concrete example of a game I played several years ago. It was Fantasy Trip, not BRP. My character was a charismatic leader (ST 9, IQ 15, Charisma talent) and had an argument with another PC (ST 14, IQ 8, despised for his habit of harassing women) about who had committed a crime for which we were both accused. We both made a convincing speech as players (the other player is a lawyer in real life...), then the other player, asked by the GM if that was in character with his IQ 8 PC, replied "Hey, he is smart, not intelligent: this is the typical trick he performs to get out of the trouble he usually finds himself in."

Apart from the dispute being among PCs, what would have you done in that case? Adjudicate the victory to the character with non-existent social skills because the player had roleplayed it well?

You see, the point is that the choice of not putting points into IQ was a roleplaying choice made by that player - similar to playing an INT 10 fighter with poor Persuade skills in BRP - which is made irrelevant if you replace appropriate skill rolls with actions (speeches) made by characters. It is like asking "Show me how you down your foe with your sword" instead of making a "to hit" roll. You make the player act, not the character.

I have done that before, like in instances in which player characters have crept up on a sleeping enemy, an NPC of no consequence, to slit their throats or to put a downed enemy to the sword. If the fight is a foregone conclusion and the players are going to win anyway, what is the point of making them roll for it? I always determine the outcome of fights between two NPCs without making dice rolls. It bores players to death when you try and play out a fight between two NPCs by rolling dice. It's easier to say the soldier is cut down by an arrow, or Lancelot slays the attacking marauder with a single thrust of the sword.

Please do not mistake what I am saying with the practice of over-rolling that some GMs apply. I was talking about significant combats adjudicated without rolling, not irrelevant fights that do not deserve more than a quick description. Would you adjudicate a fight witha major villain without a roll? certainly not. Why, then, are you willing to accept that a social conflict, a significant one, is decided by player interpretation and not by the fact that the character is good at social interaction?

Apart from this, I suspect your playing style would fit HeroQuest better than BRP. But please note that in HeroQuest rolling your social skills (passions, etc.) after roleplaying is mandated by the rules :)

Edited by RosenMcStern

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From experience I prefer players not to become to reliant on dice rolls, as it makes them lazy because they are waiting for you as the GM to say "make that roll" to resolve the situation.

The way we roleplay, a lazy player who just waited for me to announce a skill

roll would almost certainly end up with a dead character.

The skill roll is only the end, and in a way the evaluation, of a long process that

leads up to this skill roll. In this process the character has to gather informations

about the problem he intends to deal with, outfit himself with the best available

equipment, plan his approach so that he gets as many tactical and other advan-

tages as possible, and so on.

The skill roll mirrors the combination of the character's relevant skill and the qua-

litiy of his preparations, and in most situations the skill alone, without any prepa-

ration, would not enable the character to solve the problem, and would even ca-

ry the risk to get the character killed.

The way we play it, there is no conflict between roleplaying and skill rolls, the ro-

leplaying just happens before the skill roll, not instead of it. The skill roll introdu-

ces the element of luck the real life also always has, and it ensures that the ac-

tion in question is carried out by the character with the character's abilities, not

by the player with his skill at storytelling.

"Mind like parachute, function only when open."

(Charlie Chan)

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About Roll-play and Role-play.

Personnally, I treat Social skills just like other skills.

That is :

1) The player describes what he tries to achieve.

2) The player rolls

3) I tell the player what is the outcome of its

The only difference is that steps 1) and 3) take the form of a dialog between me and the player.

In my view, this is definitely Role-playing, as we do not simply roll the dice and say "I try to convince the Guard to let me in. I roll a crit. Ok, he lets you enter". Skills and characteristics are an important part of the definition of a player's role. If I let a player convince me that his arguments are good, I think it is not role-playing, but rather player and GM talking.

In my games, good arguments and circumstances may give boni and mali to the PC's skill, not the player's performance.

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I'm very familiar with HeroQuest, but that doesn't go to say you cannot do the same with the BRP and run narrative adventures.

It is my opinion that the mechanics are there to fall back on when needed, are shouldn't be the crutch or driving force of the game. A skill roll should be used when no other way is possible or the players undertake a course of action that warrants it. Is that what you're suggesting, Rust? If a player says they are searching the desk for clues then let them find the letter that will lead them onto to the next part of the scenario. If they are examining the desk for hidden traps then make them roll their Spot skill. I find that some players will actually suggest a skill to use and give the reason why. "I'm going to search the desks for booby-traps, so am I allowed to make a Spot roll?" In which case the players are driving the plot forward themselves and I prefer character driven games.

In my view, this is definitely Role-playing, as we do not simply roll the dice and say "I try to convince the Guard to let me in. I roll a crit. Ok, he lets you enter". Skills and characteristics are an important part of the definition of a player's role. If I let a player convince me that his arguments are good, I think it is not role-playing, but rather player and GM talking.

Mugen, the three steps you describe above are what I believe to be the core of any good role-playing session. Like Rust, I think you sum it up quite nicely. A good GM will follow a similar process to that and a good player will role-play that situation accordingly. What else you describe is pretty much what I've seen from quite a few poor players over the years. "I'm going to attack the guard. Roll the dice. Did I kill him?" And believe me I have had my fair share of those in my games! They are usually the ones that sit back, wait for you as a GM to call for a dice roll, and seem to lack passion for role-play. I guess these guys could be called "Roll-Players".

Edited by Wolverine

Nathan Baron

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I'm very familiar with HeroQuest, but that doesn't go to say you cannot do the same with the BRP and run narrative adventures.

Absolutely. The only difference is that HQ has a definite and established set of rules to handle that. In BRP, you have to improvise some parts. But you can have very intense sessions where you do not swing a weapon or roll a die.

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For many years now the way I run experience in BRP is as follows:

1) Special levels of success automatically earn an experience check

2) Fumbles automatically earn an experience check

3) At the "end" of an adventure (i.e. when I let players roll their experience checks) I will also hand out a number of "free" experience checks to each character that the player can assign to ANY skill the can justify to me, even if it's NOT one the character specifically used e.g. A character body guarded a fellow PC whilst he was negotiating with the some traders so can he could have a tick against the language the negotiations were in (assuming they already had some skill in it).

4) Extended periods of down time: in addition to letting characters train I grant a number of hours equivalent of training then can spend on training in specific skills e.g. If they spend three months recovering with the Casali tribe in the Carash Gosan, I'd probably given them a "free" sixty hours then can spend on the local language and a couple of other skills related to day to day living with the wild halfling tribes of the swamplands.

Cheers,

Nick

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A skill roll should be used when no other way is possible or the players undertake a course of action that warrants it. Is that what you're suggesting, Rust?

I usually ask for skill rolls when the result of a character's action is important for

the plotline and there is a plausible risk of a failure. In a way, you could say that

I require skill rolls at the "crossroads" of a plotline, where the results of the rolls

make a real difference for how the story will continue. I rarely request skill rolls

for simple unimportant routine actions, provided the character knows that it is

such an easy task, and I tend to avoid those extremely dangerous skill rolls whe-

re a bit of bad luck can kill a character or the entire party outright - in my cam-

paigns "Russian Roulette Rolls" only happen when a character made a truly dumb

decision and maneuvered himself into such a situation.

Another case where I prefer skill rolls are situations where it is impossible for the

player (and me) to fully understand and describe an action of the character. My

settings are mostly science fiction, and the characters often use science skills

where we know what they attempt to achieve, but have no idea how they could

do it. So, if the geneticist character wants to modify a creature with genetic en-

gineering, the player tells me what is intended, I come up with a difficulty based

upon the general technology of the setting, and a skill roll (or a series of rolls) de-

cides about the outcome.

"Mind like parachute, function only when open."

(Charlie Chan)

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Sorry that was non-intentional. Reading back on your comments, you never made it clear in your post that you were suggesting traits shouldn't be used. However, you did suggest that players pick their own traits and that GMs should reward them for good role-play if they are brought into play, which isn't a bad idea. Do the players take actions that go against their chosen character's traits? Then the players set their own boundaries and know exactly when they are stepping across them.

Now correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe this is something being implemented into MRQII, in the new edition of Elric?

Thanks, no problem. I just wanted the idea of *non-coercive* Traits to get a fair hearing!

On the contrary, I do suggest using Traits. But not in the same way as Pendragon (which can result in players losing control of their characters to the GM or random rolls). I suggest characters have 2 or 3 traits, rated with a skill-like percentage. If they RP something notably in accordance with the trait, they get a tick for it and can gain a bonus to an associated skill roll. (You might like to give bonuses equal to the Special% of the trait; Me, I'm not so keen on fiddly modifiers).

They are, however, totally free to act against their traits - but the GM can award them a tick for the opposite trait, which will essentially give them a "decrease roll" for the positive trait.

A similar mechanism might be in MRQII or not - I wouldn't know.

Britain has been infiltrated by soviet agents to the highest levels. They control the BBC, the main political party leaderships, NHS & local council executives, much of the police, most newspapers and the utility companies. Of course the EU is theirs, through-and-through. And they are among us - a pervasive evil, like Stasi.

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Which traits should be included? Anyone have a list they use?

I think we should stick with the 13 Pendragon pairs (plus ad-hoc passions) as the "Industry Standard". Plenty there for varied RP.

Britain has been infiltrated by soviet agents to the highest levels. They control the BBC, the main political party leaderships, NHS & local council executives, much of the police, most newspapers and the utility companies. Of course the EU is theirs, through-and-through. And they are among us - a pervasive evil, like Stasi.

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