I'm putting together a playtesting group to give Heroes of Destiny (which, given the last post, may require a new name now...) a thorough trial. The first session wasn't any actual play, but just involved a tour of the system and an agreement as to what we'd play. They chose western.
But more than that, they hated some of the things about this game. I mean hated. The biggest thing? No experience points. Oh, the gnashing of teeth over this. Every argument in the world was levied against GM fiat awards. That single idea was so overwhelmingly despised, it was the one thing no one wanted to even try. Can it. Replace it. Give us points we can spend and plan to spend. Already I could conjure hours of endless point distribution discussions.
I compromised. I wrote an experience system into the game and assigned point costs to everything. You can now plan out how you'll spend your points for years to come. However, I deviated from the standard practice of the GM awarding points at the end of every session or adventure. That's gone. The GM now has no role in handing out experience unless he chooses to make one for himself.
Instead, you gain experience points by taking actions that are important to your character .Whenever you make a roll that ties into one of your dreams, you get 2xp. If you make the roll, you get 3xp instead. Likewise, whenever you make a roll that ties into one of your ideals, you get 1xp. If you succeed, you get 2xp instead.
Under this method, you still obviously accumulate points and spend them on increasing your various character traits, but in order to get that experience you need to continually play up what's important to your character. I think, in the final analysis, this is a better system than what I had before. Much as I resisted it at first, my guys were right in a lot of the arguments they raised. Putting advancement to points relieves the GM of a lot of responsibility and makes it feel like a fair and even system. However, tying this into how the character is played, instead of putting it on the GM to assess individual player performance, or ignore it in the interest of equality, keeps the attention on the character as a character, at least at the table. We'll see how it works out.