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SWADE - No more experience points?

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  • #16
    At first I was shocked to see that experience points were removed. Then I started to think about it and realized a few seconds later that it was a waste of effort to track: most of the time when I GMed or played we would either get a raise after one session or after two sessions. Why add a number to be tracked to the character that really does not do anything? Even when I played AD&D back in the 80s and 90s we often just said "you get a half level" or similar. When it comes down to it experience points are just a number that someone pulled out of their butt.

    Tracking XP is for noobs.

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    • #17
      In the olden days I used extra XP as a reward. When you're dishing out hundreds or even thousands of XP each session, a little extra here and there doesn't hurt. But with SW, I've simply given everyone the same amount for the session. As mentioned, even +1 XP is 20% to the next Advance. That quickly causes players to level at a staggered rate.

      One of the things I've noticed is that if a player levels before the others, they tend to quietly scribble on their sheet and maybe tell the GM what changed. But when everyone levels together, they talk to each other. They collaborate. They grow as a team as well as individuals. "Hey, what are you taking? Oh, you're doing that? Well then I'll do this." Dishing out extra XP as a reward potentially disrupts this exchange.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by Ozymandias View Post
        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.
        That's your experience, but that doesn't mean you're correct in your assumptions. Dolling out experience, and now advances, helps to set the pace of the campaign. Before, there were more rigid assumptions baked into the rules. Game masters were free to ignore or tweak them as they saw fit, but that doesn't change the fact they were expressly stated. When I ran Murder on the Hellstromme Express for my group a few years back, I tracked experience between episodes. When I ran NE: Breakout, I didn't and they "leveled up" with every session. And I've played in groups which did both.

        If you're banking on your players reaching a certain rank before a particular plot point, then you can control when they reach it. Not unlike the Milestone Leveling introduced in D&D 5. If they're smart and skip content you have planned, figuring out what needs to be done way faster than you intended, then you can move them along to keep pace. If they're slow and drag it out, thinking more sessions lead to more advances, then they'll be over-leveled" for the content ahead. Doing away with experience points affords the DM/GM/Marshal/Storyguide more flexibility than they otherwise might have.

        It can be nice to look down on a character sheet and see how close you are to your next level. But knowing someone else at the group is ahead of you, for whatever reason, can bring about resentment. Some people don't consider that a big deal, but you do. That's tension best avoided.

        You seem to have a chip on your shoulder about this. Why?

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        • Ozymandias
          Ozymandias commented
          Editing a comment
          A chip? Nah, I'm just a bit baffled when people deny simply math. An XP was, unequivocally, 1/5 of what was needed to gain an Advancement previously. Counting a session as two sessions towards gaining an Advancement is, unequivocally, a 100% boost over it counting as one session. If you have to track how many sessions you've played in order to know when you get an Advancement, you have to track the number of sessions. Those aren't assumptions, those are facts. What part of those things are you having a hard time with? lol

        • Jounichi
          Jounichi commented
          Editing a comment
          I'm not having a hard time understanding anything. You're having a hard time reading my words.

      • #19
        Tracking XP is another legacy holdout from the earlier days of RPGs. For Savage Worlds specifically, even in the most recent prior edition, the guideline was 1 - 3 XP per session, based on the assumption that a session was 4 - 6 hours. Most groups I played with a decade ago averaged it out 1 advance every other session. However, for the last 4 years I've been gaming strictly online (via Fantasy Grounds) where the average session is scheduled for 3 hours, but in reality is usually closer to 2.5 (due to a variety of reasons), so I had already adopted the milestone based advancement. The advancement is therefore tied to tangible accomplishments of the characters within the game world rather than arbitrary amount of real world time the players spent playing in the campaign. There is no tracking. If a mission/adventure takes 1 session, they get an advance. If it takes 4 due to late starts, players spending more time joking around than playing, etc. then they wait 4 sessions for the advancement. There is no tracking involved since number of sessions/real world time is not the system of measurement.

        Another benefit of this approach is that if the players finish a mission/adventure partway through a session, they get the advancement right away rather than having to wait until the end of the session (because, reasons). Many players will pre-plan their next advancement (or three), so it doesn't impede the flow of the session to have it occur in the middle, and even if it takes a half hour for them to figure it out, it doesn't matter. Once they advance, the next mission/adventure in the campaign starts and off we go.

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        • #20
          Our group had already moved away from tracking XP and instead awarded Advances every X sessions. The value of X would shift over time with Novice characters getting Advances frequently and then the rate slowing down as they progressed through the Ranks. We found that a player often needs to make sacrifices when creating a character because they just don't have the points to get everything they want. But by sometime in Seasoned they pretty much have all their core competencies in place. So the rapid Advances early allows everybody to get to their "vision" of the character quickly, and then slowing down the rate of advancement allows the campaign to run a long time before people get to Legendary.

          Though some of the comments here have me considering switching to a milestone system for Advancement, at least for some campaigns.

          Comment


          • Freemage
            Freemage commented
            Editing a comment
            You can still vary the pacing to fit your needs--start with 'short' milestones, then make them increasingly more complex to reach, spreading out the advances as time goes on. Personally, once I'm running SWADE, I'll probably go relatively rapidly within the Ranks, but there will be 'keystone' milestones at the Rank transitions that will probably take multiple sessions to complete--making the process of gaining a new Rank something a bit more to boast about.

        • #21
          Please try to keep it civil, folks.
          '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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          • #22
            I'm not sold on no XP either. I know it's a semantic issue, but there's a difference between "this is the experience you've earned, you may spend it in these fashions at these intervals," and "we have reached a point in this series of stories that I have decided you can gain additional abilities."

            Milestone advances just don't feel earned to me. They feel given. I don't want that. If advances are going to be a part of the game, I want them to be something I acquire. Otherwise, I'd rather the game just be set at a certain level that we just stay at and remove advances entirely.

            So Ozymandias, know you're not alone. Not everyone is comfortable with losing XP or feels compelled to tell you you're wrong-headed about it.

            Comment


            • #23
              Originally posted by Hannigan Rex View Post
              I'm not sold on no XP either. I know it's a semantic issue, but there's a difference between "this is the experience you've earned, you may spend it in these fashions at these intervals," and "we have reached a point in this series of stories that I have decided you can gain additional abilities."
              But you don't "spend" XP in Savage Worlds. It's just a tracker for when you get your next Advance. It's not like certain other systems that require you to expend XP on powerful spells or abilities; experience points in SW have no real value. They're just place-holders.

              Milestone advances just don't feel earned to me. They feel given. I don't want that. If advances are going to be a part of the game, I want them to be something I acquire.
              This is just a matter of perception. The GM is still in full control of when players Advance whether they use XP or not. What you are talking about is the "illusion" of earning an Advance. GMs generally already plan for the players to be at a certain advancement/Rank when they build the adventure. Its how they balance the threat level.

              Unless you're talking about the GM handing out extra XP for good roleplaying, lucky dice rolls, etc. Many GMs (myself included) don't like this method simply because it doesn't so much reward good players, but punishes bad/inexperienced players. The player that doesn't immerse themselves in their character because they are new to the hobby (or had a crappy day and just weren't feeling it, or whatever) shouldn't have to take a hit because of it.

              XP should be rewarded to the team for making a team effort. If the mission was a great success, everyone wins, even if just one guy carried the victory. And if the mission went bust... well, to quote Baseketball, "It was a team effort, and it took all of us working together to lose this one."

              Comment


              • Hannigan Rex
                Hannigan Rex commented
                Editing a comment
                Fine, you don't "spend" it. I prefer my tracker to be called Experience rather than a Milestone. It's the trapping of it. It's entirely about the perception of it. I said as much.

                I always preferred Pinnacle/Great White games because as a GM, I didn't have to plan for players to be certain levels. There wasn't a threat level to balance. I was not referring to experience as a reward for good rp for individuals. Milestones seem to require much more planning and don't seem to allow for side missions to have relevance. IE - I would likely set milestones to happen at the end of each plot point. Savage tales filling between those plot points can be pretty and fun, and maybe have a narrative effect on the central plot, but are ultimately a distraction to driving toward advancing the plot and character advancement.

                I agree, XP should be rewarded to a team. It doesn't make it any less experience the group has earned.

                This whole thing is basically about a trapping, something Savage Worlds is intimately familiar with. Dropping that trapping doesn't feel fun to me. It drops a part of the illusion of the world we build. Experience feels like something I get just going out and doing stuff. Milestones feel like something I only get when I cross specific thresholds.

                I mostly wanted Ozymandias to know he is not alone in his feeling. Sometimes a handful of voices dominate these forums and they are not the friendliest when the topic challenges the RAW or someone disagrees with them.

            • #24
              Originally posted by Deskepticon View Post
              XP should be rewarded to the team for making a team effort.[/i]
              That's what I've been saying this whole time. lol

              And yes, whether something is earned vs given is arbitrary, perception, illusion, whatever you want to call it. But so is just about everything in tabletop RPGs. It's all about what's fun for the players and rewarding for the GM.

              Comment


              • #25
                Originally posted by Ozymandias View Post
                That's what I've been saying this whole time. lol
                Some context is needed here.

                That quote was in reference to every player receiving the same amount of experience, as opposed to handing out extra XP for certain tasks.

                But in a system where the XP do not have any use other than tracking progression, they can easily be discarded. Doubly true if every player would otherwise have gained the same exact XP each session. I.E., everyone levels at the same time, so tracking XP just becomes unnecessary.

                On the other hand, the GM can have a "master track" that every player follows. Once the master track hits 5 XP, all the players Advance. One way or another it all comes down to GM arbitration.

                I'm not saying one way is better than another. Dif'rent folks, dif'rent strokes, and all that. But I think the growing trend of milestone leveling is a result of gamers reflecting on the years (sometimes decades) of using the more conventional XP-tracking method and concluding that a more structured approach is preferrable. This can also be seen in the way game systems no longer dock levels/advances for character deaths. Keeping the team at the same power level is generally just more fun for everyone.

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                • #26
                  Ok, how about this... please keep it civil.

                  The topic has been discussed and debated. Opposing views and reasons for them have been put forth. At this point, little else remains to be said if it can't be said without getting ugly.

                  '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!

                  Comment


                  • #27
                    For savage worlds, I don't think it is a big loss/pain point anyhow.

                    The old default of 5 xp per advance didn't really give you much flexibility when it came to rewarding xp, so it really boiled down to a minor advancement pace control. There wasn't really enough room in the 5 points to really alter a whole lot. As such, moving from that to DM fiat really isn't that dramatic a shift.

                    That simplicity also means that xp is ultra-easy to add back into the game.

                    Comment


                    • #28
                      Our group has always just done an advance every other session with some variations (maybe once every session early in the campaign, and occasionally every 3 sessions depending on what happened during those sessions). Just have to "unlearned what I have learned" and think in increments of 4s for a rank instead of 20xp.

                      I'll like the changes once the increments become natural (and it will help to more naturally calculate Raises since its the same scale).

                      Jeffrey...
                      Left is Death!

                      Comment


                      • SeeleyOne
                        SeeleyOne commented
                        Editing a comment
                        I have used the 5 advances per rank for years. It works fine and I prefer it. The only downside is that the character sheets that have the advancesa on them are wrong.

                    • #29
                      I wish they made it 5 Advances per rank. That would have worked perfectly

                      Comment


                      • SteelDraco
                        SteelDraco commented
                        Editing a comment
                        I've played around with that when I wanted a longer campaign. Extending the number of advances in each Rank works just fine; you end up with broader characters because they can't take some of the raw power advances like Attributes and New Power Points quite as often.

                      • mac40k
                        mac40k commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Not to mention Rank pre-requisites for Edge.

                    • #30
                      Originally posted by Ozymandias View Post
                      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.
                      I'm still learning to GM, but as a long time player preparing to run a game some day I'll insert my opinion here. Most of us are adults with lives and you can't always make it to a session. I've never understood why you would penalize a player by not giving them advancement like other players just because they couldn't make it to the table that day. Be that experience or what have you. I'm personally going to advance everyone together even if people can't make it that day. My assumption is, if there character is someplace else doing something they would still b doing something interesting. It's just not on camera.

                      Comment


                      • Ozymandias
                        Ozymandias commented
                        Editing a comment
                        hah. Maybe I'm the odd man out here, but getting what you earn isn't a penalty. I just flat out don't like the idea that everyone everywhere should get the same rewards whether they put in a ton of effort or if they give 0%. If you can't make a game here or there, that's fine, you'll eventually be an advance or two behind players who participate every week.

                        Note that when I talk about putting in effort, I'm talking about player effort, not PC output. For a new player, effort might be simply showing up and trying to understand the rules, while experienced players contribute to the fun by roleplaying.

                      • InfinitePudding
                        InfinitePudding commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Vasant, I can see that point of view. I'm also newer to Savage Worlds having come from GURPS where character points mean a lot. I love both systems but Savage Worlds is pulling ahead honestly. It feels like it would be so much easier to play and set up than GURPS, especially if you are playing with people unfamiliar to the system.

                      • Vasant
                        Vasant commented
                        Editing a comment
                        InfinitePudding Great to hear! I have introduced Savage Worlds to quite a bunch of RPG first-timers and it worked really great. I hope it goes well for you, too.
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