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  • SWADE - No more experience points?

    What do you guys think about the removal of experience points form Savage Worlds?

    I'm not sold on this change. If nothing else, the new system still requires tracking of number of game sessions played... which is essentially a scaled down experience point counter, just less flexible. The new system also gets rid of one of the most powerful rewards a GM has at his disposal to give players. This new system removes the flexibility a GM had to reward good role-play, story advancement, or risk-taking by giving a little bump.

  • #2
    I think it will work just as well. In the past, I think you will find that many GMs did not track EXP... They went more by advances which were more or less a byproduct of EXP. So its pretty much just getting rid of the "middle man". Basically, your advances you give out function like Experience Points.For this reason, it might give MORE flexibility to some GMs.

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    • #3
      I’m okay with it. The GM can still reward players with bennies for all the things you mentioned, and nothing says the Advancements have to be exactly every two sessions. Still plenty of flexibility to reward players with an advancement when a major storyline milestone is reached, right in the middle of a session.

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      • #4
        It's worked well for my table. One advance every session. So each time a player is there, they get to pick something. No session tracking, no XP tracking, just play and advance.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by VoyerX3 View Post
          Basically, your advances you give out function like Experience Points.For this reason, it might give MORE flexibility to some GMs.
          No. Previously an XP was equal to 1/5 of an Advancement. Giving 4 XP instead of a default 3 was a 33% boost, which was nice. With SWADE any bonus to Advancement progression in a typical campaign would have to be at minimum a 100% boost because now the only measure of progress towards Advancements is number of games played. (ie. The boost would be equivalent to playing an entire additional session)

          Other than one-shot games I've never played SW with a group that didn't use XP.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by architech99 View Post
            It's worked well for my table. One advance every session. So each time a player is there, they get to pick something. No session tracking, no XP tracking, just play and advance.
            I could see this working well for short campaigns where you get an advance every session. But all the groups I've played with tend to aim for longer campaigns where a level-up is appropriate every 2-3 sessions.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Ozymandias View Post
              I could see this working well for short campaigns where you get an advance every session. But all the groups I've played with tend to aim for longer campaigns where a level-up is appropriate every 2-3 sessions.
              Then level them up every 2–3 sessions. I've been doing that in two different games—once every three sessions for a World War II game that's been going for a year and a half (starting in '43 and going all the way to V-day baby), and once every other session in a Star Wars game that's been going for a couple months now. It works great and the rate of progression is just fine.

              "Progress towards Advancement" is ultimately meaningless, as there is no tangible benefit until the character receives 100% of their Advancement anyways, just the illusion of benefit. A character with +1 XP over any other character means nothing. Bennies are a much better reward for in-game action as it actually allows more badass gameplay in the moment.
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              • #8
                And there's nothing stopping you from still using XP. The new system let's the GM decide how often characters advance. That can easily be, "I'll award between 1 and 5 xp per session, and at every 5 you advance." Call it a setting rule.

                Its just that's not the default any more.
                'But I don't want to go among mad people,' Alice remarked. 'Oh, you can't help that,' said the Cat: 'we're all mad here.'

                The Order of the Dice... OF DOOM!

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by DoctorBoson View Post
                  "Progress towards Advancement" is ultimately meaningless, as there is no tangible benefit until the character receives 100% of their Advancement anyways, just the illusion of benefit. A character with +1 XP over any other character means nothing.
                  In the previous system, that +1 XP will mean an additional Advancement 20% of the time. That is a clear and substantial benefit. And even if we're not comparing to other characters (since we're all on the same team), it means Advancements come 33% more frequently. Players like to level up. It's part of the fun.


                  Originally posted by SavageErica View Post
                  And there's nothing stopping you from still using XP. The new system let's the GM decide how often characters advance.
                  lol. Yeah, that's why I'm asking to see how people feel about it or if folks have tips. Our groups are trying to decide how to handle this change. Both groups I play in are long-term campaigns where a full Advancement per session wouldn't work. And, since we're all adults and can't always make every game session, we need to figure out how to best track individual progress towards the next Advancement.
                  Last edited by Ozymandias; 03-10-2019, 12:06 AM.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Ozymandias View Post
                    What do you guys think about the removal of experience points form Savage Worlds?
                    I'm ambivalent.
                    As a GM, I never bothered to track XP, just decide how many I should hand out for a session. Now, I'd decide if they've done enough since the last Advance for another Advance.
                    As a player, it works out about the same. You get an Advance when the GM gives you one.

                    Originally posted by Ozymandias View Post
                    If nothing else, the new system still requires tracking of number of game sessions played... which is essentially a scaled down experience point counter, just less flexible.
                    That's a ... dubious piece of logic. To quote someone I read recently, "I'm not sold on it."
                    I don't track XP for my players, that's their job. I lose track of what rank they are or how many Advances they have because that's incidental to my part in the game - giving them stuff to do and rewards for doing it. The biggest and best reward is an Advance, which permanently* improves the character. How many sessions have been played, how much XP was given out last session - or should have been given out but wasn't because it was late and we were all packing to leave and I forgot, or a character's current Traits are all things I may know incidentally but they aren't things I do track or need to track, as a GM. What I need to track, now, is what is going on in the story, who is trying to kill the characters, and how long ago did I give out an Advance. The rest are fun but meaningless details.

                    *Barring crippling injury or death.
                    Originally posted by Ozymandias View Post
                    The new system also gets rid of one of the most powerful rewards a GM has at his disposal to give players. This new system removes the flexibility a GM had to reward good role-play, story advancement, or risk-taking by giving a little bump.
                    Not really. XP mattered because it brought the character that little bit closer to another Advance. Now Savage Worlds cuts out the middle man and goes straight to the Advance. That's a heck of a reward. And if someone does something really cool at then end of a session I may have them remind me next time to give them a bonus benny for last session, or to just get an additional Advance.
                    One of the great things about Savage Worlds is that a Novice and a high Heroic character can have the same Traits in a specialty, and the system still works. You don't have the "level 1 with level 18" problem of other systems; a basic Novice can survive and thrive in a Legendary party. An advance here or there doesn't make much difference in play.

                    Originally posted by Ozymandias
                    Yeah, that's why I'm asking to see how people feel about it or if folks have tips. Our groups are trying to decide how to handle this change. Both groups I play in are long-term campaigns where a full Advancement per session wouldn't work. And, since we're all adults and can't always make every game session, we need to figure out how to best track individual progress towards the next Advancement.
                    Then you may want to stick with XP for those games. That may simply work better for those tables.
                    I hope you find the above post useful. And not insulting, because I was trying to be helpful, not insulting; being a pedantic jerk, that isn't always clear.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Ozymandias View Post
                      What do you guys think about the removal of experience points form Savage Worlds?
                      I like it a lot. In fact, the system they've introduced in SWADE is actually very similar to what myself and a bunch of other people were already doing. Experience points always felt a bit like a placebo to me and tracking them always gave me the impression of unnecessary bookkeeping, at least until you got enough of them to earn an advancement... Which would always happen consistently at a rate of once every 2 or 3 sessions anyway. So I honestly don't see any problem whatsoever in simply giving full advancements at that very same rate without the added chore of having to track experience points. I can also look for more meaningful "advancement spots" in the narrative. This change really doesn't affect my games negatively in any way. It barely affects them at all.

                      Originally posted by Ozymandias View Post
                      This new system removes the flexibility a GM had to reward good role-play, story advancement, or risk-taking by giving a little bump.
                      Well, that's what most GMs use Bennies for and I think Bennies work a lot better than experience points for that purpose, since the reward is immediate and palpable.

                      Originally posted by Ozymandias View Post
                      I could see this working well for short campaigns where you get an advance every session. But all the groups I've played with tend to aim for longer campaigns where a level-up is appropriate every 2-3 sessions.
                      Originally posted by Ozymandias View Post
                      Both groups I play in are long-term campaigns where a full Advancement per session wouldn't work.
                      I'm wondering if you actually read the new advancement rule as it's written in the book or if you're just going off of what you might have heard from other people. The book specifically states that the whole "one advancement per session" standard is meant for short campaigns only. Then it goes on to say that if you're running a long term campaign you might wanna space out advancements a bit more, maybe giving an advancement every other session or even every three sessions if you plan on keeping it going for years. You don't even have to maintain a fixed rate throughout the entire campaign. The GM can speed it up or slow it down depending on what the characters are doing and the moment the story is in. The book even suggests giving advancement for the completion of story objectives rather than basing it on the number of sessions played. Character advancement is actually completely under the GM's control in SWADE, it's just that now it has a lot more to do with actual narrative rhythm and character progression than just cold bookkeeping. You might still prefer the bookkeeping style, which is absolutely fine and you should be able to keep using it without encountering any issues, but I see a lot of value in the new method and I think you might be basing some aspects of your criticism of it on a very limited interpretation of how it's actually supposed to work.
                      Last edited by Augusto Antunes; 03-10-2019, 04:22 AM.
                      "Did I fire six shots, or only five? Three? Seven. Whatever." - Unkempt Harold

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Augusto Antunes View Post
                        I'm wondering if you actually read the new advancement rule as it's written in the book or if you're just going off of what you might have heard from other people.
                        No need to be a smartass jerk. Yes, I've actually read the new rulebook. Since you quoted me and skipped the context of what that was in response to, here it is in a nutshell: Giving Advancements every set number of sessions still requires "bookkeeping" (tracking # of sessions) unless you're giving an advancement every session... which I was saying wouldn't work for the groups I'm in. So leveling up every X sessions is just as much "bookkeeping" as leveling up every X experience points.


                        To the rest of you, I do find it interesting how many people have responded (here and on another forum I frequent) saying that they don't use XP at all. It seems foreign to me for a system like this where you get periodic upgrades like Edges in particular, but maybe we'll give it a shot. It'll just be counting to 3 I guess instead of to 5.

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                        • Augusto Antunes
                          Augusto Antunes commented
                          Editing a comment
                          I wasn't trying to be a smartass jerk about anything. I'm really sorry if I offended you and thank you for making your argument clearer for my sake.

                          I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree on the claim that the new method is just as much bookkeeping as the old version or that it isn't as flexible as it used to be. And yes, even before SWADE, a lot of people never actually bothered tracking XP. I'd even say the majority of Savage Worlds players and GMs didn't, and I guess that's the main reason for the change in SWADE. Experience points just never seemed to matter in Savage Worlds as much as it matters in other systems. The only thing that actually mattered was the actual advancements, so they've done away with the purely homeopathic experience points. I say good riddance.

                        • Brickulos
                          Brickulos commented
                          Editing a comment
                          I never really used XP. I just gave Advances every other session.

                      • #13
                        With the expanded use of bennies, they make far better spot-rewards for RP/brilliance/etc. When you award XP on an individual basis, there's usually two possible outcomes--either everything balances out in the end, in which case you haven't really achieved much, or one or two players end up with a significant difference over the others, and thus create a power differential. Bennies as rewards don't have that problem--they create a momentary surge in ability to be amazing.

                        As for how fast your advances come, that's entirely up to the GM, just like it's always been. That really needs to be emphasized here--the GM still decides how often to give advances, but instead of the artificial granularity, it's just a matter of, "Is this a good time for the Advance?" This can be based on sessions if you want, or it can be tied to specific plot points, or can even be awarded individually, based entirely on role-play and personal development, if you're doing a heavily character-driven sandbox game.

                        Hell, back in the day, I had the idea for a short-term campaign that would feature not just one Advance every session, but one Rank every session--the idea was that the PCs were grunts in a special unit with mech suits, and those suits would get periodic upgrades, with a package of Advances every time they got a power-up, over the course of a single 'mission gone wrong'.

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                        • #14
                          I have not used XP for months now. Even before I heard SWADE was doing away with it. And I also did not track sessions between advances. I just decided "You have done enough to get an advance." Sometimes it would be two sessions in a row, sometimes it would be three or four sessions. From what I was able to tell it became important for the players to pay attention to the game and actually get things done instead of talking about Smash Brothers all the time.

                          Regardless of how PEG has written the rules I will continue to do this.
                          I have way too much time but do not always edit myself properly. Please do not take offense.

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                          • #15
                            My two pennies... Take it for what you will...

                            I have been playing RPGs for 40+ years (and been the primary GM for whatever group I'm in at the time for almost as long). I have long worshipped at the foot of the mighty XP. It has only been recently that I have been experiencing (and slowly embracing) the concept of "milestone advancement". I find that it helps keep me *AND* my players focused on the narrative and advancing various plot lines and stories. Planning "checkpoints" for my players to hit in the story helps me tighten up *MY* storytelling. For players, it helps take the focus off of being "murder hobos" in pursuit of personal power by grinding numerous petty foes under their heels and places that focus into being invested in what is actually going on within the game's "big picture".

                            And nothing says you have to advance them every session, or even every two to three sessions. You're the GM. You're the one tasked with coming up with the skeleton and framework of whatever stories you and your group are telling collectively. Advance them as you like. XPs... Every tenth session... Whenever "Joe" does a really cool thing in game and pulls it off... It's all on you... Embrace it if you want, or not... If you and your group is having fun together, then that is all that matters.

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