XP / level penalties for bad players.


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ralantar wrote:
Removing XP entirely seems to be a different animal to me then the argument taking place in this thread.

What's the difference between removing XP, such that everyone levels up at the same time (when the DM says they do), and giving everyone the same XP regardless of attendence, such that everyone levels up at the same time (when the DM says they do)?


Kain Darkwind wrote:
I'm still of the opinion that giving XP to those not there is a bonus, and not doing so isn't a penalty.

I think you're splitting hairs, but that's cool. I won't say it's a penalty, rather I'll say we don't see the need to let a character fall behind.


loaba wrote:
Kain Darkwind wrote:
I'm still of the opinion that giving XP to those not there is a bonus, and not doing so isn't a penalty.
I think you're splitting hairs, but that's cool. I won't say it's a penalty, rather I'll say we don't see the need to let a character fall behind.

Yep - especially since the OP started this off with talk of penalizing players for poor attendance or performance, etc.


Patryn of Elvenshae wrote:
ralantar wrote:
Removing XP entirely seems to be a different animal to me then the argument taking place in this thread.
What's the difference between removing XP, such that everyone levels up at the same time (when the DM says they do), and giving everyone the same XP regardless of attendence, such that everyone levels up at the same time (when the DM says they do)?

I think the difference is that we let the numbers tell us when, rather than the DM just says "okay, the AP says you definitely need to be 4th by this point...)

Who knows, maybe we can hit that level a little early, yeah? I guess XP makes the risks we take have a tangible reward? I dunno... I do know I just can't do away with XP yet.

Maybe next year...

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
ralantar wrote:
okay you have to admit that sounds like some extreme session attendance issues. I don't see how the DM could hold together a solid story with that sort of erraticness. If my groups did that we would have to reassess the scheduling or even the group viability. If you're going to miss that much that you're 2nd level while others are 6th.. Do you even remember what happened last time you played?

It was an introductory game for new players run at the local college. Whoever showed up got to play, so the DM didn't have an overarching story. Just allowed the party to explore. Since everyone else was in high school/college, and I'm military, my Friday nights were usually wide open. (I may have missed one or two games due to weekend duty, but I was there regularly enough over the months the game lasted to reach 6th.)


mdt wrote:


(ooh, look at me, I can make a weird spelling of a word, aren't I cool!)

So you know you're completely wrong, eh? The personal attacks are a sure sign of admitting defeat. Read the board rules again. One says "Don't be a jerk".

Scarab Sages

ralantar wrote:
Really? your individual pcs matter that little in your games?

Where did that come from?

Are you inferring that, for a player to trust another player with their PC, that PC must be of little worth to them?
"If you really loved me, you'd never let another man touch me. Or even look at me!"

Maybe I just happen to play with friends? Mature adults, who would not deliberately kamikaze a fellow player's PC?

ralantar wrote:
I mean in my groups the players work as a team and when one is missing they are lacking the skill set that pc had.

Quite right. When a PC is missing, they would feel it.

But why would the PC be missing?

ralantar wrote:
Like I said if you aren't at the table your PC isn't with the party.

Why? Where did they go?

ralantar wrote:
Call it whatever you like.. an extended break in the celestial bathroom. So yes not showing up can hurt the party. Or increase the workload of the DM to compensate for your absence. You really don't see this?

No.

Because I see zero need to make extra work for myself, to re-stat a whole night's encounters, to cover an event (a disappearing PC) that would not logically happen.

You really don't see this?

You must really like making extra work for yourself.

ralantar wrote:
Just because he was busy playing farmville for the last three sessions doesn't mean he can't get XP too!

Anyone who considers Farmville, or Harvest Moon, or Animal Crossing, to be high-octane white-knuckle excitement, probably couldn't handle RPGs; it'd be like a scene from Scanners. So you're doing them a favour by cutting them loose.


Patryn of Elvenshae wrote:
ralantar wrote:
Removing XP entirely seems to be a different animal to me then the argument taking place in this thread.
What's the difference between removing XP, such that everyone levels up at the same time (when the DM says they do), and giving everyone the same XP regardless of attendence, such that everyone levels up at the same time (when the DM says they do)?

I think this has many answers depends on whose perspective you are looking at it from. By that I mean GM/player.

Removing XP entirely has always struck me as a bit control freakish/railroady. As in GM- they'll level when "I" want. PCs- who knows when the story will let us level.

Giving XP irregardless of attendance. GM- I'm being fair to all. PCs- a 100 points of view (from oh cool I won't fall behind to meh, i'll skip this week they are just traveling to the castle and still get any xp)


Patryn of Elvenshae wrote:
ralantar wrote:
Removing XP entirely seems to be a different animal to me then the argument taking place in this thread.
What's the difference between removing XP, such that everyone levels up at the same time (when the DM says they do), and giving everyone the same XP regardless of attendence, such that everyone levels up at the same time (when the DM says they do)?

I give everyone the same amount of XP in my groups mainly because it's easier and my groups are so small (2-3 players in each group) that we usually don't play if everyone can't make it.

Compared to not using XP, it's also easier to track their progress should they decide to take any sidetracks or whatnot.

I believe not using XP can be easier in a fairly linear path with set plot points, but becomes more difficult in a sandbox area. (I'm sure the latter works too, I've just never tried myself).

In 3.5 we used different XP levels, but that was mostly due to the way that system worked with crafting costs and the way permanent negative levels worked, not due to attendance.

Anecdotal note on sharing and rewards:
In one of my groups (3 players) one of the players has two characters. They then decided, somewhat to my surprise, to split the loot four ways. After all, it's the in-game characters that gets the in-game rewards.


Snort

We are talking past each other. In the scenario you describe where the character is present but the player is not. I don't see any reason why the character would not earn a full share.
You obviously play your games this way. My players have chosen to go the route of not having their characters present if they aren't.
They take the view that if they are going to die from a series of bad events they want to be the one that made the choices/rolled the dice.

It has nothing to do with another player deliberately trying to kill them off. I would not allow that sort of behavior at my table.


ralantar wrote:


If you are missing enough sessions that you are actually starting to fall behind in levels I think it's time you re-evaluated your commitments and perhaps realize that you can't give the group the time commitment required.

That's quite a narrow-minded view, completely disregarding dozens of scenarios where someone cannot play all the time that don't amount to a lack of commitment. It often just means that people have a lot happening in their live, stuff they cannot just turn off because they want to. Work, for one thing.

There's the case where there's no possible game day where everyone can play all the time, and the best solution is playing at a day where one person can only be there half the time, because of work or other commitments. And in most cases where the players are all friends, I'd say they'd rather have their friend at the table half the time than not at all.

Or it can be a hobby. One of my players is in a sports team. Their games are often on Saturdays, the day we play. He doesn't want to leave the sport (and we're not a*%#~!%s who would make him quit his hobby to play with us), and other days aren't a possibility, since we like to play into the night, something you can't do in the middle of the week or on Sundays. But we'd rather he plays when he can than to tell him "sorry, you have too much of a life, either you nerd up or we'll throw you out".

And those are only two scenarios, ones that give you a fairly predictable time table. I've also saw players with big families, which regularly interfered with his ability to play. We had players with health or mental problems that would not always be able to play, and who couldn't give us a five-year-plan of their unscheduled absences.

The issue at hand is player absence in general. Only looking at the cases where the absence is because of indifference or lack of commitment is short-sighted and in some cases insulting to those who don't have the luxury to be able to play as often as they want to or the group plays.


loaba wrote:


*I played your way, oh I don't know, probably back in high school or college. As I've gotten older and played with more responsible people, it's amazing how the game, and attitudes, have changed.

It's not out of nowhere that I only play with friends (or at least with mostly friends and otherwise acquaintances I won't mind being around, but who are friends with other party members).

It's not only less likely to cause grieve, but once you have mutual respect and friendship on board, you can ignore all "penalties" and "rewards" for all kinds of stuff you'll find is quite trivial.

Scarab Sages

ralantar wrote:
OKay I get that, but isn't everyone going to miss a session eventually?
Patryn of Elvenshae wrote:

No, and there's no reason why the XP per missed session would be equal.

Joe missed twice; at each session 300 XP was "earned."

Bob missed once; at that session 1,000 XP was "earned."

We're playing at Steve's house; if he can't make it, we don't game, so Steve never misses a session.

Bob's now 1,000 XP behind "the group," and Joe - despite missing twice as many sessions as Bob - is 600 XP behind the group and 400 XP ahead of Bob.

And Steve's got a perfect attendance record, despite inexplicably, and with no notice, calling off the game, and disappearing off the radar until next day.

In the scenario above, who has most xp?
Who has most loot?
And who is the one jerking the group about?


Kain Darkwind wrote:


When a player draws the Comet, Fool, Jester or Sun card from a Deck of Many things, what happens?

And how do they do that? Where did they get the Deck from?


ralantar wrote:
Patryn of Elvenshae wrote:
ralantar wrote:
Removing XP entirely seems to be a different animal to me then the argument taking place in this thread.
What's the difference between removing XP, such that everyone levels up at the same time (when the DM says they do), and giving everyone the same XP regardless of attendence, such that everyone levels up at the same time (when the DM says they do)?

I think this has many answers depends on whose perspective you are looking at it from. By that I mean GM/player.

Removing XP entirely has always struck me as a bit control freakish/railroady. As in GM- they'll level when "I" want. PCs- who knows when the story will let us level.

Giving XP irregardless of attendance. GM- I'm being fair to all. PCs- a 100 points of view (from oh cool I won't fall behind to meh, i'll skip this week they are just traveling to the castle and still get any xp)

I play mostly in games where we achieve XP equally. I've never heard someone skip "because I'll get XP anyways and I'm not interested in what's going on this week". That isn't a problem with the XP system, that is a problem with the game/GM/Player. Why play sessions that involve things that are of no interest to those participating?

I have never seen a withholding of XP turn a bad roleplayer into a good one. I have seen extra XP given out to encourage roleplaying, but typically those who got it were going to be active and roleplaying well regardless.

I posted this concept in another thread. Think back to your most recent session where you had a lot of fun. Try to recollect the thoughts you had after the session, now tell me which statement more accurately depicts your thoughts:

A) Mathematical calculations about how much XP you earned, the rate you were earning it at, the comparative rate you earned XP versus the person who sat to your left/right

B) The cool things that your character did and the possibilities of the cool things you character would do in the next session.

If you answer A, than XP is a potent and valid reward. If you answer B, than the actual act of playing the game and have a good time was the reward.

Leveling up is fun and experience points are a part of that, but I think they serve better as an abstraction used to measure progress through a story and the advancement of your character as measured against the rest of the world.


KaeYoss wrote:
ralantar wrote:


If you are missing enough sessions that you are actually starting to fall behind in levels I think it's time you re-evaluated your commitments and perhaps realize that you can't give the group the time commitment required.

That's quite a narrow-minded view, completely disregarding dozens of scenarios where someone cannot play all the time that don't amount to a lack of commitment. It often just means that people have a lot happening in their live, stuff they cannot just turn off because they want to. Work, for one thing.

There's the case where there's no possible game day where everyone can play all the time, and the best solution is playing at a day where one person can only be there half the time, because of work or other commitments. And in most cases where the players are all friends, I'd say they'd rather have their friend at the table half the time than not at all.

Okay, but in that situation I would prefer to setup a less intense schedule then try to compensate for constant non attendance like that.

This isn't just my view as GM. Players get cranky too if others have poor attendance.
KaeYoss wrote:


Or it can be a hobby. One of my players is in a sports team. Their games are often on Saturdays, the day we play. He doesn't want to leave the sport (and we're not a&~!#@+s who would make him quit his hobby to play with us), and other days aren't a possibility, since we like to play into the night, something you can't do in the middle of the week or on Sundays. But we'd rather he plays when he can than to tell him "sorry, you have too much of a life, either you nerd up or we'll throw you out".

I have a small problem with this as a GM. This player is basically saying I have better things to do then hang out with you all. He is setting his priorities and you lost. I don't know that I would be so happy to accommodate him. But for a real friend that had some unexpected time commitment come up. I would be more interested in crafting a support character for them that could be run as an NPC when they couldn't make it.

KaeYoss wrote:


And those are only two scenarios, ones that give you a fairly predictable time table. I've also saw players with big families, which regularly interfered with his ability to play. We had players with health or mental problems that would not always be able to play, and who couldn't give us a five-year-plan of their unscheduled absences.

The issue at hand is player absence in general. Only looking at the cases where the absence is because of indifference or lack of commitment is short-sighted and in some cases insulting to those who don't have the luxury to be able to play as often as they want to or the group...

dang out of time to keep responding :)


Hm.. the more I think about the abolition of XP, the more I like it. I don't use it as either carrot or stick, anyway, and since I run APs, I have perfectly good guidelines as to when it's optimal to let them level up.


KaeYoss wrote:
Hm.. the more I think about the abolition of XP, the more I like it. I don't use it as either carrot or stick, anyway, and since I run APs, I have perfectly good guidelines as to when it's optimal to let them level up.

I'd rather have the chance, however slim, to level before the optimal time. XP is what makes adventuring and taking risks worthwhile.

Sovereign Court

No, succeeding in taking those risks is what makes it worthwile. EXP is an abstraction used to explain differing levels of power in the game. I personaly don't like using Experience...plus i'm running APs now, so it's much easier just to not use it.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
loaba wrote:


I'd rather have the chance, however slim, to level before the optimal time. XP is what makes adventuring and taking risks worthwhile.

I speak from experience when I say that excellent roleplaying in a session will convince me to level the party earlier than I intended.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
loaba wrote:
KaeYoss wrote:
Hm.. the more I think about the abolition of XP, the more I like it. I don't use it as either carrot or stick, anyway, and since I run APs, I have perfectly good guidelines as to when it's optimal to let them level up.
I'd rather have the chance, however slim, to level before the optimal time. XP is what makes adventuring and taking risks worthwhile.

I think it comes down to this...

Some people would prefer to keep track of the XP and GP, to have the XP be rewards.

Other people would prefer everyone be on equal footing at all times, no matter what.

I've never been in a game that went in the second category that didn't self destruct. Doesn't mean it can't happen. If that's the way you want to play, go for it.

But don't call people silly or ridiculous for not agreeing with you that it's all sunny happy lovefest time when you do it that way.


ralantar wrote:


I have a small problem with this as a GM. This player is basically saying I have better things to do then hang out with you all. He is setting his priorities and you lost. I don't know that I would be so happy to accommodate him. But for a real friend that had some unexpected time commitment come up. I would be more interested in crafting a...

Every group or game is different. My Saturday group consists of friends I've known since high school. Almost everyone at the table has been a groomsman for another person at the table, the wives (whom none of them game) are all friends with each other as well, so we're a close knit group. We let people come and go as they please, because our friendships are far more important than the game. Does that mean the game suffers sometimes? Yes it does, but we know that's a sacrifice we make.

My Tuesday group I've only known one person for any real length of time, heck I'm more likely to remember their character's name than their real name. There, if you can't show regularly, you're probably not going to be allowed to participate. We're there to play a good game and honestly, the game itself is better than my Saturday group, but I enjoy both quite a lot.


Hama wrote:
No, succeeding in taking those risks is what makes it worthwile.

When the party takes a risk (meaning they do something other than run from an encounter), if they defeat the encounter, then they have succeeded and are given XP. Thus, a successful encounter equals character advancement via XP.

As a player, when XP is being used, I have some idea of where I am on the advancement scale. I like having that knowledge.

If the DM isn't using XP, then, as a player, I have no idea whatsoever as to whether or not I'm close to leveling. I have no way of weighing the risk/reward ratio. While that's meta-gaming, that's not to say it's "bad."

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
mdt wrote:
But don't call people silly or ridiculous for not agreeing with you that it's all sunny happy lovefest time when you do it that way.

I respectfully return your statement to you.


mdt wrote:
Some people would prefer to keep track of the XP and GP, to have the XP be rewards.

Did it that way, back in high school...

mdt wrote:
Other people would prefer everyone be on equal footing at all times, no matter what.

This way makes things so much easier for everyone and allows for a more smoothly running game. I highly recommend it these days.

mdt wrote:
I've never been in a game that went in the second category that didn't self destruct.

I've been playing this way for years, no problems yet. I did play the other way (individual XP, everybody looking for any advantage over other party members) and we never made it through a campaign.

mdt wrote:
But don't call people silly or ridiculous for not agreeing with you that it's all sunny happy lovefest time when you do it that way.

I've never called your method of play "cutthroat", yet you call mine a "lovefest." Interesting, that is.


mdt wrote:


Other people would prefer everyone be on equal footing at all times, no matter what.

That isn't necessarily what some of us are advocating. In fact, in my championing of abolishing XP, that isn't really what I'm trying to achieve at all. I'm suggesting that XP is a very abstract concept that has very definable consequences. Those consequences aren't necessarily what are intended either, and that by attempting to use XP as a reward/punishment, you might not be achieving your goals.

I think things like gold, magic items and the opportunity to do really cool things are better rewards for good roleplaying because they are more easily linked to the roleplaying itself.

If your character journey's to the lair of a silver dragon and you roleplay out trying to convince the dragon to join your cause, are you more likely to remember the fact that your DM gave you 5,000 XP for that scene, or the fact that you got a dragon mount? Have you ever told a roleplaying story to someone and ended it with "and then we got a lot of XP"?


When I was a player (and could no longer play) I told my group to their face that I was not going to be able to continue any longer. I cannot stand people just vanishing or not notifying you that they can no longer commit. You should respect your fellow players enough to tell them when something changes.

At least tell me you don't want to play anymore.

As far as missing a session goes? As long as you tell me before hand and explain whats going on (personal matter, health) I am pretty lenient. If it keeps happening I will have to discuss the player leaving until they get things sorted out though.

This is one of the reasons I am moving to PBP for my gaming, both playing and GMing. It allows for a more sedate pace in alot of ways, which can help the game.

Also everyone attacking each other: What are you in freakin high school? Its a game! Just enjoy it and play your own way and try not to force your own views on each other. No one is "right" or "wrong" in how THEY handle a situation (unless they use murder as a penalty for bad players, but thats a different story 0_0)


Snorter wrote:
Mike Schneider wrote:
I was very surprised that Pathfinder did not incorporate the "retraining" rules from 3.5...
wraithstrike wrote:
I like it as an optional rule, but now as an ordinary rule. "Forgetting" how to do something ruins immersion for me if it happens all the times.
0gre wrote:
I usually allow it when there is extended downtime, usually between books in an AP I'll give people the option to bring a new character in or retrain but I give them a bit of a reward for sticking with their existing character at the same time.
Given that many groups, over the last few years have been actively playtesting, will that have caused them to relax their normal stance on rewriting PCs?

If a player is playtesting a class whether it is a pathfinder beta version, or something I came up with I give them more leeway since they don't know what they are getting into until we start playing. I feel like since they are giving me the chance to view something in play it is an equal payoff. If they don't playtest I have to put it in the game as an NPC, and sometimes that means I have to create a situation that allows that NPC to come into the game.


I think it's kind of interesting how many COMPLETLELY different arguments are going on here. Some I agree with, some I don't but really there are at least three threads wrapped up in one here...

Thread 1) Should players not there get xp. In my mind no. We don't like playing other peoples characters... so they are 'in the tavern' or 'took a wrong turn' or in other situations, they become a non entity. Monsters don't attack them... they don't attack back... we're not wasting time coming up for a reason they aren't there... especially since there may not even be combat until next week...

Therefore, if our party killed a dragon, and the missing guy was sitting in the tavern then no. he shouldn't get the xp for the encounter

Thread 2) Should characters get loot? Absolutely!! If you are a member of the Champions of the Red dawn or the heroes of sandpoint or whatever else is on the adventuring charter, then absolutly.

In our games it's standard practice that whatever good stuff we find... goes to whoever can use it the best! If the fighter was missing that day... and our 2 sorcerers and druid found some Plate mail +5... and sold it off because the fighter wasnt' there... Not ONLY would that be jerk thing to do out of character... it would be a jerk thing to do IN character...

If I was in a tavern and found out that you guys got a great set of armor that i could use to the betterment of the party but ditched it... I'd find a new adventuring party. As for cash... we're a big fan of 'Group funds' that all get poured into the haversack or bag of holding... it makes the math easier and nobody gets left out...

though the mages and crafters have been known to drain that a bit dry.

But no, missing a game doesn't mean you don't get the money for the party. You're a member of the party, and stuff like that should be determined from the outset.

(Of course if there's a rogue involved... a few gems may get pocketed.. but that's the nature of the beast ;) )

Thread 3) What do you do with people who miss frequently? This is a bit trickier... like i said, We don't want to kill bob's character when he's not here... we put a lot of time into them.

There have been a few characters we just ignore or if they are magic users, leave somewhere and he can pop in when he shows up... but How often are they missing? What is the excuse?

Work is always a legitimate excuse. Sick sometimes is... Just brushing us off gets VERY annoying. We have 2 games going on. One every tuesday night... one every other Saturday. If you've got something coming up, let us know. there shouldn't be any major surprises... and there certainly shouldn't be enough to get you multiple levels behind...

The fact that some people just have too busy a life to game frequently means they aren't a regular gamer. Sorry... Wish you COULD play every week...

If your only able to play once a month or something like that, then you become a 'Guest star'. Your character is not PART of the established party... but someone they may meet for the night and then not see again for a while.

Because honestly, if your missing that often, then all you are doing is giving the group either... A) false expectations about what the group looks like (2 fighters or just one? Won't know till tonight..) OR your giving them an extra npc that they have to roll...

honestly, If forced to do so, I WILL roll for other people... but I do NOT look forward to it. I've got my own weapons/feats/spells/tactics to worry about, without having to flip through your spell book and try to remember what you have too...


Just to chime in, the system my group uses is that if a player is missing for a session, his PC only earns 50% of the XP for the session. So if a player is missing multiple sessions he will be behind. But otherwise, not too much so.


Irontruth wrote:
Have you ever told a roleplaying story to someone and ended it with "and then we got a lot of XP"?

If the person has played the game before, is it really necessary to mention the XP award? If the persona hasn't played the game, do you really want to bore them with a lengthy explanation of what XP is?

Scarab Sages

ralantar wrote:

Snort

We are talking past each other. In the scenario you describe where the character is present but the player is not. I don't see any reason why the character would not earn a full share.
You obviously play your games this way. My players have chosen to go the route of not having their characters present if they aren't.
They take the view that if they are going to die from a series of bad events they want to be the one that made the choices/rolled the dice.

That's fine; I'm playing Devil's Advocate here.

You initial post came out, all guns blazing, against those who can't attend every game. It used hyperbolic language that implied such players were stealing xp from the more comitted players.

If I've got you to consider that some people desperately want, and try, to be at their games, but are sometimes genuinely prevented from doing so, then my work is done.

ralantar wrote:
It has nothing to do with another player deliberately trying to kill them off. I would not allow that sort of behavior at my table.

Good to hear it.

I've had the misfortune to be in groups like that, in my teens. You couldn't go to the bathroom, without someone using your PC as a trap-detector, human shield, live bait, or sacrificial rearguard.

Since then, I've sworn not to play with jerks.


As the OP I guess I should chime in here and say what we currently do...

In the game I play in:

>> New characters start at the same level as the rest of the party.

>> Missing player's characters are usually played by someone else and no XP penalty is given.

>> We level when the DM says we do, no need to track XP.

In the game I run:

>> I tell the players when they have levelled.

>> New characters start at the same level but I reduce the starting cash a level or two [to make this option less attractive]

>> Missing characters are played by someone at the table.

It would appear that we're quite "easy going" compared to most here but I guess whatever works for your group is best for your group.


In order to fall two full levels behind, you need to miss over half of the total sessions.

In order to fall three full levels behind, you need to miss over two thirds of the sessions.

If the point of the game is just to have fun, then I don't see why a player who can only make it that often isn't going to have fun with his slightly lower level character.

KaeYoss, the group gets the Deck of Many Things from whatever plot that introduced it. The comment is in response to a comment to the effect of "The game assumes you are all exactly the same level, always, with the same XP total." If you are not supporting that point, then ignore the comment, it has no bearing on anything else.


Just using your post to bounce some ideas, loaba:

"When the party takes a risk (meaning they do something other than run from an encounter), if they defeat the encounter, then they have succeeded and have progressed in achieving their goals. Thus, a successful encounter equals story progress."

That, from my point of view, is worth more than an experience point increase.

Quote:
If the DM isn't using XP, then, as a player, I have no idea whatsoever as to whether or not I'm close to leveling. I have no way of weighing the risk/reward ratio. While that's meta-gaming, that's not to say it's "bad."

This is definitely a drawback to the "No XP at All" system, so it would behoove the DM running in such a fashion to keep his players in the loop on when they will and how close they are to leveling up.

Look, Kain, the Deck of Many Things is rightfully referred to as a campaign killer. Basing your argument that wide level-spreads* are just fine in the base game rules because a capricious, old-skool sacred cow which is known for causing everything to just break down is not a strong position to take.

* I consider a difference of two levels to be pretty wide, especially at the low end - a single 3rd-level character is way more competent compared to a 1st-level than a 15th vs. a 13th, but you're still talking about an entire spell level.

Quote:

In order to fall two full levels behind, you need to miss over half of the total sessions.

In order to fall three full levels behind, you need to miss over two thirds of the sessions.

That's not true at all; you're making some unwarranted assumptions about uniformity of experience awards which are not borne out in actual play.

Moreover:

Kain wrote:


If the point of the game is just to have fun, then I don't see why a player who can only make it that often isn't going to have fun with his slightly lower level character.

If the point fo the game is just to have fun, then I don't see why a player who can only make it that often should be required to have fun with his slightly lower-level character.

Him being better doesn't make you worse.


stuart haffenden wrote:
So do you guys, and in what manner, penalise players for any reason?

I don't play with them.


loaba wrote:
Irontruth wrote:
Have you ever told a roleplaying story to someone and ended it with "and then we got a lot of XP"?
If the person has played the game before, is it really necessary to mention the XP award? If the persona hasn't played the game, do you really want to bore them with a lengthy explanation of what XP is?

If one assumes XP is a driving factor for player actions, then why wouldn't special or notable XP rewards be noted when talking about past experiences?

To me, it makes sense that the things that are most important are the things I think about, remember and talk to others about. I talk about roleplaying experiences with other people and never once have I ever recollected a value of experience as something noteworthy in and of itself.

There are times where I am very excited to hear XP totals, but usually that is related to being close to leveling up, being excited about new abilities or options for my character or just knowing the next "chapter" of the campaign is starting soon. If you remove XP from this equation, my excitement doesn't go away, it just moves to different metrics within the game.

Awarding XP for good roleplaying doesn't fix bad, bored or disinterested players.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

As ToZ and a couple of others have pointed out, I've let myself get dragged down into a hissy contest. So, I'll try to get back on an even keel and just post normally. :) Thanks ToZ, et al.

Irontruth wrote:


Awarding XP for good roleplaying doesn't fix bad, bored or disinterested players.

Nor does awarding XP for good role playing in any way penalize a bad, bored or disinterested player. However, based on the player, it can make them feel good. If a player feels a sense of accomplishment for earning (x) amount of experience via a combination of RP, etc, then what is wrong with that? If awarding the exact same reward to the person who didn't put in that same effort lessens his feelings of accomplishment and enjoyment in the game, why is his feelings worth less than the other guys?

A lot of the posts have said, if you are friends, then this isn't a problem. If he's a continuing problem, but he's a friend of everyone in the group, then this makes it hard to do without things exploding.
I can assure you that a friend can be just as big a jerk off as some stranger. The group I had in Saint Louis had a guy who cheated all the time on his dice rolls.

I finally had to ban the guy for cheating on his dice rolls for a year, but I only did that after every single player had gotten fed up with his attitude and complained to me. The reason I had to wait was, if I had slammed him with a ban hammer at first, then there would have been tension, since some people had been his friends for years, some for much less time. I had to wait for all of them to be fed up to avoid issues.

I still fail to see how awarding experience to people is considered bad.


Irontruth wrote:
If one assumes XP is a driving factor for player actions, then why wouldn't special or notable XP rewards be noted when talking about past experiences?

Because there's no such thing as notable or special XP awards, or did I miss that table? There are unique game experiences that players like to talk about. These experiences may or may not have directly resulted in XP.

    We successfully rescued Tig from the Lizardfolk encampment. Turin and Valhalrik, or Team Danger, swam the river to get the boy. Team Stick-in-The-Mud, Landon and Nico, waited as back-up

That's a unique story that talks about an event that did grant the patty XP, but that was only one part of the larger picture.

Irontruth wrote:
To me, it makes sense that the things that are most important are the things I think about, remember and talk to others about. I talk about roleplaying experiences with other people and never once have I ever recollected a value of experience as something noteworthy in and of itself.

Because XP is a background mechanic, albeit an important one.

Irontruth wrote:
Awarding XP for good roleplaying doesn't fix bad, bored or disinterested players.

Nope, it doesn't. I never said it did. :)


mdt wrote:
I still fail to see how awarding experience to people is considered bad.

I think you meant to say "I still fail to see how awarding [individual] experience to people is considered bad." And it's not bad, per se. If your group enjoys it, then it's clearly just fine. For you and your group. It wouldn't be fine for me, but then I don't play in your group. :)


Patryn of Elvenshae wrote:
Look, Kain, the Deck of Many Things is rightfully referred to as a campaign killer. Basing your argument that wide level-spreads* are just fine in the base game rules because a capricious, old-skool sacred cow which is known for causing everything to just break down is not a strong position to take.

I'm sorry, the Deck of Many Things exists in the Core Rulebook, while the statement that "you are all supposed to be the same level" doesn't, along with "The Deck is a Campaign Killer." I'd dare say my position is the stronger of the two.

Quote:
* I consider a difference of two levels to be pretty wide, especially at the low end - a single 3rd-level character is way more competent compared to a 1st-level than a 15th vs. a 13th, but you're still talking about an entire spell level.

So...for someone to be 1st level when the rest of the group is 3rd, they need to be a minimum of 3001 XP behind. That means the group just reached 3rd level, and the behind guy is 1999, 1 XP away from 2nd. If we want to talk about a more tangible two level gap, one that would last several sessions, let's put our behind guy at 1000 XP to the group's 5000.

One fifth. That's showing up less than once a month to the main group's once a week.

To put it another way, it is the difference of 120 goblins killed as a member of a four person team. 40 troglodytes. 20 giant scorpions. 10 cyclops. 5 hill giants. A barbed devil mounted on a stegosaurus.

Patryn wrote:
Kain wrote:

In order to fall two full levels behind, you need to miss over half of the total sessions.

In order to fall three full levels behind, you need to miss over two thirds of the sessions.

That's not true at all; you're making some unwarranted assumptions about uniformity of experience awards which are not borne out in actual play.

Fine then, you need to miss over two thirds of the XP, over one half of the XP. Regular absence is the only way to ensure this becomes an issue however.

Patryn wrote:
Kain wrote:


If the point of the game is just to have fun, then I don't see why a player who can only make it that often isn't going to have fun with his slightly lower level character.
If the point fo the game is just to have fun, then I don't see why a player who can only make it that often should be required to have fun with his slightly lower-level character.

That's fine. But it doesn't matter, because I've already expressed that your method (of giving XP to anyone, regardless of attendance) is valid. I'm defending mine as such. So switching the argument around doesn't actually do anything...it isn't something I disagree with, while my statement is something you do disagree with and need to defend if you expect to show my method of play is flawed.


mdt wrote:

I still fail to see how awarding experience to people is considered bad.

I've never said it's "bad". I've said it's superfluous and doesn't necessarily have the commonly accepted effects that most GM's are trying to achieve. I feel that critical analysis of what really drives a player will often lead to better results.


loaba wrote:

Because there's no such thing as notable or special XP awards, or did I miss that table? There are unique game experiences that players like to talk about. These experiences may or may not have directly resulted in XP.

    We successfully rescued Tig from the Lizardfolk encampment. Turin and Valhalrik, or Team Danger, swam the river to get the boy. Team Stick-in-The-Mud, Landon and Nico, waited as back-up

That's a unique story that talks about an event that did grant the patty XP, but that was only one part of the larger picture.

First D&D game I played, I actually joined a group that was much higher level than I was. It was 2E so the mechanics were a bit different...

one of the first adventures my new rogue went on involved a dragon that the rest of the party had to kill... why my guy searched out the traps to GET them to the dragon... but he skipped 3-4 levels the right away...

That's about the only time I can think of that might dispute the 'Xp are not memorable' arguement :)


I have done the no XP, some XP, and all XP. I still change it up depending on the group and why someone did not show up.

Normally if the person is willing to show, but is called into work they get 50%. If they are a no call, no show they get nothing. Making me rework encounters at the last minute to make sure the party survives is not a good way to get any favors. If you allow someone to play your character you get full XP.

The 50% is because you may have died had you shown up. At most you might get one level behind, and by the end of the campaign you will be behind in XP, but so far players have still been the same level so at the end it becomes a non-issue. If someone falls two levels behind I will have to cross that bridge when I get too it or just cap the it at a max of 2.


Kain Darkwind wrote:
That's fine. But it doesn't matter, because I've already expressed that your method (of giving XP to anyone, regardless of attendance) is valid. I'm defending mine as such. So switching the argument around doesn't actually do anything...it isn't something I disagree with, while my statement is something you do disagree with and need to defend if you expect to show my method of play is flawed.

I never said your style of play was invalid.

I said it was 1) unnecessary, 2) had no particular merits over just giving everyone the same XP, and 3) could actually result in issues if the players get too far apart.

If you like it, keep doing it.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Patryn of Elvenshae wrote:
Kain Darkwind wrote:
That's fine. But it doesn't matter, because I've already expressed that your method (of giving XP to anyone, regardless of attendance) is valid. I'm defending mine as such. So switching the argument around doesn't actually do anything...it isn't something I disagree with, while my statement is something you do disagree with and need to defend if you expect to show my method of play is flawed.

I never said your style of play was invalid.

I said it was 1) unnecessary, 2) had no particular merits over just giving everyone the same XP, and 3) could actually result in issues if the players get too far apart.

If you like it, keep doing it.

Now can you see why people are getting upset at you on this thread?

Whether you intended to or not, you came across like this :

"I didn't say you were wrong, just unnecessary, unmerited, and possibly a cause of problems."

So yeah, you did say is way (and mine) is wrong. Because you said it was unnecessary, unmerited, and possibly problem causing.


Patryn of Elvenshae wrote:
I never said your style of play was invalid.

Flawed. And for the reasons you state below.

Patryn wrote:
I said it was 1) unnecessary, 2) had no particular merits over just giving everyone the same XP, and 3) could actually result in issues if the players get too far apart.

1. The game itself is unnecessary. This is a non-point, no matter how you look at it. Once you define necessity as it relates to the game, we could go somewhere with this, but as it stands, your way is as unnecessary as mine.

2. The merits it has over giving the same XP have been discussed to death. You can say you don't find them meritorious, but don't suggest they don't exist. If you need a brief recap, encourages and rewards participation, encourages and rewards keeping communication open with the DM and models via a mechanical system in game actions and increased skill.

3. As demonstrated, it takes significant and extended absences to get a serious number of levels behind. Also as demonstrated, games with differing levels aren't as difficult to handle as some would suggest. We have one DM actually doing it with characters 13 levels apart on one extreme. My comfort zone is a deviation of 2 or less from the average.

Quote:
If you like it, keep doing it.

Obviously, I will, but no one is arguing the ability of anyone here to continue their play style, but rather the merits and disadvantages of such.


Kain Darkwind wrote:


1. The game itself is unnecessary.

Of course it is.

So, maybe you'll answer the question that MDT keeps dodging.

What actual benefits do you get out of differentiated experience and treasure gain, that you would not otherwise get from just playing with friends?

Why is there a need for your carrot (or, alternatively, why is there a need for my stick)?


mdt wrote:
Now can you see why people are getting upset at you on this thread?

I'm not upset, I haven't gotten that vibe from anyone yet... Well, until now. You strike me as being very upset.

Why do you care? Could it be you've thought about past campaigns and said to yourself "well, there was that time the prick Thief/Magic-User put everyone to sleep, stole their stuff and made off with everything..."?

I mean, that's what I think of when I think about games with Individual XP awards and (not so)friendly player rivalries. You can go a long way towards cutting that crap out by making XP a universal award for everyone. You can keep it from even being an issue. Or is it that you like that kind of stuff?


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Patryn of Elvenshae wrote:
Kain Darkwind wrote:


1. The game itself is unnecessary.

Of course it is.

So, maybe you'll answer the question that MDT keeps dodging.

What actual benefits do you get out of differentiated experience and treasure gain, that you would not otherwise get from just playing with friends?

Why is there a need for your carrot (or, alternatively, why is there a need for my stick)?

Sheesh, if you'll shut up about me dodging questions I'll answer this one, although it should be fairly obvious :

A) The system is built around the idea of EXP/Treasure/etc.
B) Keeping track of EXP can help the GM identify areas where players may need some help or something in the game needs to be looked at. If a player is consistently not getting Roleplay Exp, the GM should be looking into why. Is it because he really doesn't like the character he made? Maybe the GM needs to work with him, or allow a replacement. Maybe a change needs to be made to the campaign to allow his character to shine. Someone is falling a level behind, why? If it's not RP, maybe it's because they are missing too many games. Why are they missing games? Are they not happy with it? Or are they having personal problems in real life? A GM is very busy on game days, he may not notice things every time, and an EXP guage is a good way of keeping track of things he might be missing.
C) A good way of keeping track of his campaign. If there's no EXP being given out, then maybe the GM is not giving the characters their levels fast enough? Or maybe he's giving out the levels too fast, or highly inconsistently. Maybe he went 2 games between levels, then 10, then 3, then 7.
D) It gives the players positive feedback on whether the GM thinks they are playing their characters appropriately for their concept (RP EXP). This can be very important with certain classes, and can tune the player into what the GM expects from tricky classes such as Paladin or Monk or Barbarian (all of which have alignment restrictions).

I'm sure I could come up with some more, I'm also equally sure you'll dismiss everything I've just posted with an insult. *shrug*

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