Saturday, March 15, 2008

Using quest based rewards in alternate XP systems.

I want to apologize in advance that this post is a bit of "inside table tennis", i.e., something that may not appeal to a wide audience.  Also, considering it is examining potential house rules for a game system that hasn't been released yet, I am amazed that this blog post hasn't ripped a hole in the universe yet.

The comments on the my last post got me thinking about how quest base rewards could be used in a game that doesn't use XP.  Which the D&D game I am currently in does not.  So why would you run a D&D game without XP?

One of the problems my gaming group has is that since we are almost all 30+ years old, real life often gets in the way of gaming.  People have to work, visit the in-laws, watch the kids, etc. Some of our players are able to attend more frequently than others though, and over the course of several years it lead to a pretty large level disparity between the members of the group.  When you have a level twelve character in the same group with a level nineteen character, it becomes almost impossible for the DM to create appropriately leveled encounters.

Since we are a fairly casual group and are more interested in fun than competition, we started moving towards having the characters at the game at a certain base level.  When the DM feels it appropriate the base level of the game is raised and everyone levels up. 

The individual DM's tweak it a bit.  One of them gives out minor, but permanent rewards for accomplishing individual goals (e.g., you were there for the majority of the moat house adventures, so your character gets the Toughness feat for free).  Another one, has altered the death and dying rules so that rather than losing a level when you die, you simply acquire a negative level.  Whenever it becomes time for the group to level up again, you get to remove one negative level in addition to leveling up, allowing you to catch back up to the rest of the group.

Given this system, I think quest based rewards could really be a boon.  Since the key mechanic is you get a reward whenever you complete a quest, its just a matter of what you make the reward.

One tact might be to simply include the reward on the quest card.  For example, perhaps the card says when you complete the "kill the man who killed your father" quest, you get to re-roll any one die roll and pick the better result.

Alternatively, you could tie quest cards into an existing reward mechanic in the game.  For example, maybe when you finish a quest, you gain an action point.  Another example, from the game described above, might be that completing a quest allows you to remove a negative level that you have acquired.

Of course, there is no reason you cannot mix and match these.  Maybe minor quests give you a small reward or an action point, while major quests allow you to remove a negative level or gain a small permanent bonus.

Well, I think I have spent enough time alienating my readers.  I promise my next post will have (slightly) broader appeal.


Scafloc said...

I can't argue with you (though I am posting here to allow others to argue with me mainly). Your Idea kind of reminds me of the short lived "MIB" from WEG. I adopted their "use a quote in the game to gain a benefit" cards for starwars, and the system was quite fun there. In fact, that game was greatly enhanced by people saying "I have a bad feeling about this" repetedly. Well, it was more fun for me anyhow.

Medraut said...

No worries. As you may have noticed from the mass email I sent out last night, I consider arguing with you in the comments section one of the main features of the site.