Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Revisiting Gold for XP

In my games, I don't like the idea of characters leveling up on the spot. They need to take some time somewhere and do something productive towards their idiom. I call such actions Carousing Checks for simplicity, but they are actually quite disparate actions. They cost money to do properly. Thus, in my campaigns, experience points comes only from gold spent on Carousing Checks.
Basically, there are a few different Carousing Checks I have come up with:
  • Carousing as in epic partying (Conan, Fafhrd, etc. idiom)
  • Researching arcane, esoteric, or alchemical mysteries (wizard, librarian, etc. idiom)
  • Martial Training (ninja, fighter, ranger, specialist etc. idiom)
  • Sacrificing gold towards a god, ancestor, spirit, or demi-human clan hoard (cleric, demi-human, anybody idiom)
  • Establishing a keep (anyone)
  • Vision quests (psions, shamans)
Luck plays a role in all these checks, as we play the DCCRPG. Thus, when you roll a carousing check, you are going to add in your Luck modifier, be it good or bad. If the carousing check comes up as a 15 or better, you get to roll on a good bonus effects table. If you get a 1, you have to roll on a bad side effects table. Each kind of carousing check has it's own table.
If you are carousing with a specific goal in mind, you can skip the table when rolling a 15 or higher and opt for that goal instead (the DM may set a DC of 20 for very hard things, or refuse things beyond your level and background). I'll give some sample goals for each kind of carousing:
  • Carousing via parties: gain the eye of a fair lady, get some crucial gossip, case a joint, get rumors for a quest of your design
  • Research: figuring out the magical properties of an object, researching how to kill a legendary monster, creating a potion, doing a ritual, creating a spell, communicating with demons, get rumors for a quest of your design
  • Martial Training: learning the quivering palm technique, gaining knowledge of poisons, building resistance to something, get rumors for a quest of your design, get some martial followers
  • Sacrifice: Appeasing a ghost, establishing a congregation, cleansing a tainted site, ascertaining the will of the gods (get a quest), find a magic steed
  • Establishing: Building a new wing, gaining a library, ensorcelling/creating/hiring guardians
  • Visions: Learning a mystery, communing with spirits, unlocking a riddle, get rumors for a quest of your design 
How does one distinguish a carousing goal from a regular goal? By resources (gold) and time spent to do so. Each of the carousing actions takes hours if not days to accomplish, and time is another factor the GM can use to curb abuse of the system. Of course, the more frequently one carouses, the more frequently they may roll a 1, so a player who carouses every day is living on the edge...

Fighters get 10% again on training actions, and Thieves and halflings get 15% again on carousing. If you invite your leveled team-mates to a carousing action, they get 10% the experience you do, but they have to roll a Luck check to see if they fumble (no good results are possible if you are a hanger-on).

Another 10% to any PCs who've completed a quest or slain a boss-monster since they last caroused. So this is another reason to save up between parties.

Gold needed to be spent to level:
1st lvl @ 100 gill
2nd lvl @ 900 gill
3rd lvl @ 4,000 gill
4th lvl @ 6000 gill
5th lvl @ 10,000 gill
6th lvl @ 15,000 gill
7th lvl @ 21,000 gill
8th lvl @ 28,000 gill
9th lvl @ 36,000 gill
10th lvl @ 45,000 gill plus a quest to placate or overthrow the ever-jealous gods