Thursday, March 24, 2011


There's a surprising number of games out there without an advancement mechanic. Your character changes, but he doesn't add to his abilities. Some of them look downright nifty, but in the end I decided that this game needs a more traditional growth mechanism, because characters are supposed to rise to epic heights, and since they're starting there, they need the opportunity to advance.

I hate experience points though. Really, I've come to loath them. They're not evil, but in my games they have a way of taking the emphasis away from the character's, well, character and placing it on a menu of advancement options. The character becomes a collection of powers and abilities, and I cannot stomach another 4 hour discussion about point distribution. I ran a Shadowrun game once that ended with one of those. Literally 4 hours at the end of every single session dedicated to discussing the various ways points could be spent, either now or later at some date calculated by expected reward patterns.

This game is supposed to be about the person transformation of a character from happy, or at least dream-besotted, to a hollow hero of thousands who give everything he cared about for people he doesn't know, or at leas the tightrope fixed between these two poles. What traditional xp systems have done to my games in the past is about as antithetical to those goals as I can imagine.

As a solution, I'm stripping out xp from the game. There's advancement. You can increase your talents and trainings, gain new ones, up your attributes (now called gifts), and pick up more potencies. You can do all of that.

You do it when the GM says you can. Simple as that. As the game progresses and things happen to your character, you pick up abilities, and the GM will tell you when that is. So quit worrying about pointmongering and play the game. I'm not sure how that'll be received, but again, playtesting will tell.

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