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 Post subject: Re: Scrap the XP table. One table to rule them all
PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2011 4:42 am 
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As I've said before, I usually throw out XP altogether in my home games and level everyone up together. It's just my style. So a large part of me does not care much whether you have a single table or one for each class, since after playtest it's highly likely that I'll ignore XP no matter which method is decided upon. However, let's ponder the "different XP for each class" plan for a moment ...

... people say that the classes are unbalanced. That's fine. How unbalanced? Which ones are stronger? How much stronger? How does this translate into XP?

Seems to me that class strength is difficult to assess. A good player can make the most out of a "weaker" class character and a poor player can botch a "strong" class character.

I can try to put it to a mathematical formula (I've done this somewhat for OD&D and it's hard to do well) but there are a lot of parameters. How do you measure the effectiveness of a spell when it's also based on the cleverness of the caster?

Classes have some measure of balance because fighters get more HP while wizards get more spells, and fighters get to keep swinging a sword while wizards have a limited number of spells. Like it or not, that's an attempt at balance.

Again, how does that translate into XP? If one class needs 2000 XP to advance to a level what does the other class need? 2010? 4000? It's mostly a gut call and not very scientific at all. It's another attempt to balance a game, saying that I think one class is better so it should advance slower.

Bottom line is that XP is a measure of accomplishment and XP charts are just a wild-guess way to make classes "fair." Whether you come up with a single XP progression or one for each class, overall you don't change the game one bit.

Just my two coppers.

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 Post subject: Re: Scrap the XP table. One table to rule them all
PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2011 10:11 am 
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I agree with Finarvyn on most points but I still want variable xp tables. I don't carefully monitor xp gains in-game so at the end it's a bit of an approximation with bonuses as I see fit. If I've awarded 1,400 xp and I see that the thief needs another 600 to level I might award the full 2,000 xp and if anyone else levels then great. In this way the wizards, elves etc. fall a bit back which makes sense to me (after all these are more training-intense classes imo). Not only that but if 3 of the characters are level 4 but the final player had to start over at level 0, well this is a way to catch up faster. I may houserule that he can only let him level up once per session but since the other characters may take 2 or more sessions per level he will slowly catch up.

I just think it creates interesting dynamics to have players at differing levels that constantly shift.


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 Post subject: Re: Scrap the XP table. One table to rule them all
PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2011 10:34 am 
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finarvyn wrote:
... people say that the classes are unbalanced. That's fine. How unbalanced? Which ones are stronger? How much stronger? How does this translate into XP?


From my attempts at gauging how a 3rd level DCC stacked up against a vanilla 3e caster a while back, I can say that this is really hard to gauge. All the randomization of DCC kind of "protects balance". I mean, there's no underlying math to really judge against like in 4e. You'd need a statistician to definitively guesstimate how balanced or imbalanced a class is.

And even then, classes like the Thief are more effective relative to their situation. So in some situations a Thief is a much better class than the others. But in other situations the Fighter steals the show.

This is as it should be, IMO. I like it the way it is. And I don't mind varying XP tables. IMO, it gives players an incentive to play what are perceived as "weaker" classes. And makes it easier to ignore minor imbalances among the classes.

But I think perceived "imbalance" is going to be lessened in DCC even more than older versions of D&D. Simply because the randomization of it all will make it hard to gauge if there's a balance issue or if someone is just rolling well (or poorly).


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 Post subject: Re: Scrap the XP table. One table to rule them all
PostPosted: Sun Jun 19, 2011 9:20 pm 
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My problem with uneven advancement is that it only matters when a group sticks together from level 0 on.
Any other time, it's the level, not the XP that matters:
character die? make new one of party level*
new player to the group? make him a character of party level*
playing at a convention? bring a character, level Y.
Playing a one-shot? make characters level Z.

(or party level -X)

My point is: characters, parties, and adventures are rated by level. An adventure for 3rd level characters..., etc.
The are not rated by XP: An adventure for characters with 4,000 XP.
In all but one rare instance (a successful long-term campaign), level--not XP--is the driver.

Therefore, IMHO, having different XP tables is a needless complication that will be largely overlooked.


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 Post subject: Re: Scrap the XP table. One table to rule them all
PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 9:24 am 
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While the upcoming published modules seem to align with what you're saying (i.e., "An Adventure for 3rd Level Characters"), I have certainly seen convention games (in other systems where it mattered) ask for characters of a certain XP, and in the group I'm in (for the last 19 years), we've had campaigns where replacement characters or new players' characters came in under all sorts of ideas, including derived XP totals.

I can't say if DCC should drop or keep the XP tables, because I haven't seen them in play. The play-testers that have been running this game regularly for the past year or so are the ones in best position to advise on that...

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 Post subject: Re: Scrap the XP table. One table to rule them all
PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2011 4:17 am 
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Leopold wrote:
I get the fact that this is a throwback to the 1E days. Fine. I get that. I played that. I know it.


One thing 3.x/D20 has done right is unify the Experience table so that all classes advance the same. One less table to memorize and less questions the players have to keep referencing "Do I get to Level 3 or 4 with 3,100 being an Elf? Is 900 enough to get to first level as a wizard?" Dump that idea. All the classes are meant to be on par with each other roughly so why not simplify things and have one advancement table for all classes regardless of what they are and go with it? I don't see the point in making it more difficult as a priest/wizard to level up vs a fighter considering their power level is roughly the same except to say "This is how we did it in 1E!".

Some things I'm willing to go with, this complex chart just for the sake of complexity and nostalgia doesn't make a bit of set.


I have to disagree. One of the very few things I dislike about the current version of HackMaster was the shift to a single table. Sure it's EASIER but but it just doesn't feel right.


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 Post subject: Re: Scrap the XP table. One table to rule them all
PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2011 5:35 am 
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CEBrown wrote:
One of the very few things I dislike about the current version of HackMaster was the shift to a single table. Sure it's EASIER but but it just doesn't feel right.
But to an entire generation of gamers, the single unified XP table is the way it's done. Keep in mind that this was done in 3E in 2000, not just in the recent HackMaster edition.

Frankly, I'm surprised that this is such a hot topic. If I had to make a list of "important" versus "not important" topics for DCC, I would have dropped this into the "not important" pile without a thought. :?

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"The worthy GM never purposely kills players' PCs, He presents opportunities for the rash and unthinking players to do that all on their own."
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"Don't ask me what you need to hit. Just roll the die and I will let you know!"
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 Post subject: Re: Scrap the XP table. One table to rule them all
PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2011 11:16 am 
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Actually, separate tables makes the most sense for DCCRPG because the classes are not balanced against one another. But admitting that means realizing there's no time at all to actually create "balanced" separate tables by the July/August cutoff date for publication in November. Of course, I also accept that Gary probably spent zero time running playtest to create the original charts. So just eyeballing it is also a valid way to create separate charts. But a unified chart does not make sense unless you are attempting to balance all classes level by level.


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 Post subject: Re: Scrap the XP table. One table to rule them all
PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2011 11:20 am 
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Count me among those that are fine with separate XP tables. Whether or not that adds to the unbalancing (which I also like) of classes I don't know. But having different rates of progression and parties of different levels makes for interesting times, IMO. I play 4e Encounters at the local gamestore (good store, good people, not my game of choice but it's still better than watching TV!) and sometimes I have a hard time telling which character is what class... we're all the same level, we all have powers and spell-like abilities and we're all tough as nails. I miss diversity.

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 Post subject: Re: Scrap the XP table. One table to rule them all
PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2011 11:25 am 
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Reaper Steve wrote:
My point is: characters, parties, and adventures are rated by level. An adventure for 3rd level characters..., etc.
The are not rated by XP: An adventure for characters with 4,000 XP.
In all but one rare instance (a successful long-term campaign), level--not XP--is the driver.

Therefore, IMHO, having different XP tables is a needless complication that will be largely overlooked.


Yup.

jmucchiello wrote:
Actually, separate tables makes the most sense for DCCRPG because the classes are not balanced against one another. But admitting that means realizing there's no time at all to actually create "balanced" separate tables by the July/August cutoff date for publication in November. Of course, I also accept that Gary probably spent zero time running playtest to create the original charts. So just eyeballing it is also a valid way to create separate charts. But a unified chart does not make sense unless you are attempting to balance all classes level by level.


I do wonder why not attempt to balance them if level is used to tag adventure modules. If one can tell that classes need separate tables because of differing power levels, then one is already quantifying by just how much the classes differ in power.


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 Post subject: Re: Scrap the XP table. One table to rule them all
PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2011 11:33 am 
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Quote:
My point is: characters, parties, and adventures are rated by level. An adventure for 3rd level characters..., etc.
The are not rated by XP: An adventure for characters with 4,000 XP.
In all but one rare instance (a successful long-term campaign), level--not XP--is the driver.

Therefore, IMHO, having different XP tables is a needless complication that will be largely overlooked.

I never play modules so I don't care. But YES, I agree, 1e/2e modules should be rated "For character around 100,000 experience points" instead of "for characters of 7th-9th level". In 1e/2e it was even stupider to use level because of multiclass characters. Frankly I never understood why xp wasn't used.

Actually, I would have expected both. Put the levels on the cover. In the inside write, "This adventure is designed for a party of 6-8 characters around 7th-9th level (or starting the adventure around 100,000 xp each)."


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 Post subject: Re: Scrap the XP table. One table to rule them all
PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2011 11:45 am 
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jmucchiello wrote:
I never play modules so I don't care. But YES, I agree, 1e/2e modules should be rated "For character around 100,000 experience points" instead of "for characters of 7th-9th level". In 1e/2e it was even stupider to use level because of multiclass characters. Frankly I never understood why xp wasn't used.

And yet the level recommendation worked for those of us who played modules. I guess because there was so much overlap and it was assumed you had different kinds of characters. Some advanced more slowly and some faster - the level ranges had enough wiggle room that they were reasonable guides.

For AD&D 1e, at your example 100,000 experience points a Fighter is level 7. A Cleric is level 7. A Paladin is level 7. A Monk is Level 7. A Magic User is level 8. A Thief is level 8. An Assassin is level 8. A Druid is level 9.

Average party level 8. Playing an adventure rated level 1-3... probably too easy. Playing an adventure rated 15-20... probably too hard. Pick almost any experience point value (and, of course, actual XP values also differ between characters over time) and the levels are still pretty close (close enough that the ranges printed on adventures work).

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 Post subject: Re: Scrap the XP table. One table to rule them all
PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2011 3:24 pm 
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muherd wrote:
I'm not a fan of different xp tables as I want to reward my players, who will all have gone through the same trials and adventures, at the same time. One player should not get the benefit of advancing sooner than others just because he plays a different class.


Why reward the players at the same time? Most modern guides on how to GM suggest making sure that every character has their own special scene or moment where they are important. Alternatively, you can think of equivalent face-time for the players.

It seems to me that characters advancing out of sync with each other gives you are spread of special level-up moments rather than a bland mediocre "fair" equivalence.

Well, that's my conceptual answer. Pragmatically, it also depends on how you dole out experience. I don't know what the current norm is but for us with AD&D and now when we have a go at 3.5, we get all the XP at the end of the adventure rather than in dribs-and-drabs throughout it. So, in practice multiple characters will surge up over their thresholds at once.

PS Back in the day we didn't receive the same XP anyway, only characters who damaged a monster got XP for it - and some DMs gave the XP pro-rata for damage done. My only possible quibble with the varied XP table would be if it were to engender such behaviour again.

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 Post subject: Re: Scrap the XP table. One table to rule them all
PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2011 6:30 pm 
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Anselyn wrote:
Why reward the players at the same time?
I think it comes down to whether your group is more cooperative or competitive.

My main group is highly cooperative. They try hard to share the spotlight. The person coming up with the clever idea isn't always the one running the character who gets to do it. One example from literature that my group likes is the scene in The Two Towers where Aragorn wants to see orcs in the distance, and suggests that Legolas look since he can see farther. That's the way my group plays.

If a group gets competitive then sometimes they fight over who gets to do things. One game I played in gave XP to the guy holding the magic item, which started the party taking a "me" attitude as everyone wanted extra items just to hourde for the XP.

I find that rewarding the entire party at the same time works great for me. I tell the group that either the party succeeds or the party fails, no matter which characters survive and which ones fall. If anyone completes the mission, the entire group wins.

Well, you asked. 8)

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"The worthy GM never purposely kills players' PCs, He presents opportunities for the rash and unthinking players to do that all on their own."
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"Don't ask me what you need to hit. Just roll the die and I will let you know!"
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 Post subject: Re: Scrap the XP table. One table to rule them all
PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2011 8:24 pm 
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finarvyn wrote:
CEBrown wrote:
One of the very few things I dislike about the current version of HackMaster was the shift to a single table. Sure it's EASIER but but it just doesn't feel right.
But to an entire generation of gamers, the single unified XP table is the way it's done. Keep in mind that this was done in 3E in 2000, not just in the recent HackMaster edition.

Frankly, I'm surprised that this is such a hot topic. If I had to make a list of "important" versus "not important" topics for DCC, I would have dropped this into the "not important" pile without a thought. :?

I have to agree on the "not important" part - almost solely for the reason you state before it, actually; I prefer to have different tables because each class IS different; different power levels, different roles in and out of combat, etc. AND it is "traditional/Old-School." I won't be disappointed if nobody ever uses it again - or if everyone does.


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 Post subject: Re: Scrap the XP table. One table to rule them all
PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 6:44 am 
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finarvyn wrote:
Anselyn wrote:
Why reward the players at the same time?

I think it comes down to whether your group is more cooperative or competitive.
[...]
I find that rewarding the entire party at the same time works great for me.
Well, you asked. 8)


Thanks for the explanation. I agree that equivalent simultaneous reward of XP for the collaborative story told is the optimal solution. However, to summarise my earlier post, optimal game experience doesn't necessarily arise from that XP award giving simultaneous leveling-up.

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 Post subject: Re: Scrap the XP table. One table to rule them all
PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 2:29 pm 
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I like to reward XP, point by point, character to character. It rewards characters for participating, and players for playing. I'll reward XP arbitrarily sometimes, background, role-playing, story & quests, but usually I go by the book. So XP tables are important to me. What each monster, trap or encounter is worth doesn't matter, as long as it is consistent. So if the intent is that certain classes progress faster than others, then that is is how I will play it. Especially for beta. I tried arbitrarily rewarding "levels", but I never liked it. Players (and therefore their characters) who misses games would have characters of the same experience of consistent regular players--it's not fair, I don't like it, the regular players don't like it. I tried a few other things like "miss a session, it take 2 consecutive sessions to catch up," it gets confusing. XP is clear, simple, works and scales well.

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 Post subject: Re: Scrap the XP table. One table to rule them all
PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 7:57 pm 
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reverenddak wrote:
Players (and therefore their characters) who misses games would have characters of the same experience of consistent regular players--it's not fair, I don't like it, the regular players don't like it.

Strange, my players hate having to carry the characters played by the folks you occasionally miss a game because they are lower level than everyone else. Sometimes people just can't make it to game. I can't see punishing them at the table because they couldn't be here last week. But admittedly, there's no right answer here. And as long as the group agrees to a method there's no issue.


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 Post subject: Re: Scrap the XP table. One table to rule them all
PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2011 4:49 am 
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reverenddak wrote:
I tried arbitrarily rewarding "levels", but I never liked it. Players (and therefore their characters) who misses games would have characters of the same experience of consistent regular players--it's not fair, I don't like it, the regular players don't like it.


Surely missing the game due to something in 'real life' is punishment enough without having your character fall behind everyone elses as well?

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 Post subject: Re: Scrap the XP table. One table to rule them all
PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2011 12:25 pm 
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Skullking wrote:
Surely missing the game due to something in 'real life' is punishment enough without having your character fall behind everyone elses as well?


Everyone is on the same boat. One PC's punishment is another PC's reward. There ain't a perfect solution. But it works for the most part with my group and it obviously won't work for everyone. That should go without saying. What else can I say? Commitment is rewarded.

But that's not my point. My point is that the XP table is important, and therefore rewarding XP.

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 Post subject: Re: Scrap the XP table. One table to rule them all
PostPosted: Fri Jun 24, 2011 1:22 pm 
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I would vote to keep the advancement rates different for each class. I don't belive it makes the game harder to run or more complicated. In the old days, I knew how much xp my fighter needed to reach the next level, belive me. Not once during a session did some one go "what? my mage needs a different amount of xp to level then the cleric? Oh my gosh im so confused, what do I do now!?!?!?!" I find that to be a silly argument unless you belive that each player dosn't need to own a rule book and so, to avoid passing one rule book around to evey one at the table so every one can look up how much xp they need, the GM can just rattle one number off to every one.

I remember the old days when players took responsibility for their character, and as such, owned a rule book, and knew every rule for their own character, and so having different level advancements for xp was never an issue in the sense of being confusing or slowing play.

As for the eventuality of having a party of mixed classes and balanching them with the recomended modual level or building balanced encounters, this was never a problem either (unless it was trying to run a level one character with a level 6 party, but then thats because someone died or got level drained, or some other thing not related to the xp charts.) Having a party of a level 2, two level 3's, and a level 4 do a level 2,3, or 4 level modual never messed up the modual. While the GM would have to make some judgment calls about adjusting certain parts of the adventure, I never had the experince, as GM or player, of a a party totally sucking or totally kicking butt because the party level did not exactly match modual level. Same thing applies for creating your own adventures and encoutners. In fact, even in my 3.x games, we almost allways had a mixed party due to players dying and players missing sessions, and it never messed anything up.

Finally, I like that everything is not even in the game. I like that one fighter might have a 13 str and another might have a 17th str. I like that its not a "all things being equal" game and the different advancement rates reflect that further.


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 Post subject: Re: Scrap the XP table. One table to rule them all
PostPosted: Sun Jul 31, 2011 2:59 pm 
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Just my 2 copper's.
PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE do not give the same XP table for all classes.
"to much trouble to look up". C'mon... Really?
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 Post subject: Re: Scrap the XP table. One table to rule them all
PostPosted: Sun Jul 31, 2011 8:30 pm 
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Gotta weigh in on the "Keep it as is" side I am afraid.

Wizards are powerful (but fragile) let them stay that way longer than others I say after a few actual experiences of play testing now.

What I await to see is if the luck machine that is the DCC thief runs away with the game after they get a level or two! THAT might warrant their Xp table being revised IMOHO!

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