Monday, July 10, 2017

You shoulda been there when I kicked Satan in the Jimmies: A new way to level up

I'd eyed a lot of goal-based and accomplishment-based systems of late to include in Quest for It, but none of them were sitting quite right with me, so I came up with a system whereby you get drunk and recall the exploits of recent sessions.

The players get together to petition the Judge every once in a while, in the form of boasting PCs talking over drinks. “Remember the time you got turned into an egg and the dragon laid you?” For each of these stories the barflies (Judge) are impressed with, the players have gained one chance as a group. When the players are out of stories, the judge rolls a d10. The players’ chance of leveling up is x in 10, where x is the number of stories. Players that are below the party average level will have 1 higher chance in 10, but only the one die is rolled. If the die rolls x or lower, players level up.

Today was the first time we'd actually tried the bragging part out. The players talked about 8 things by my count. I was surprised by how fun it was to hear the players play this out as I goaded them on as a bunch of non-descript NPCs and the occasional hireling.

Things the party has done or seen:

  1. Zombies that were their former compatriots from the funnel
  2. Mankies--monkeys without heads and upside down faces on their chests, that they got paid to head-hunt
  3. The battle of giant ants and climbing/sleeping foibles
  4. Sexy oil stories (basically, the barbarian +Paul C  saw a bunch of oily dudes and got curious)
  5. Met a god that was an eye (thanks, +Rafael Chandler)
  6. Rival factions (this was a bit of a gimme, and maybe I shouldnna counted it, but there was a story about how the party stumbled into danger because they didn't realize how packed that manse was)
  7. Fought a ghost king
  8. Lost valiant hireling Igor to yellow mold (made the crowd weep until the cleric started dealing mold like a drug)

8 out of 10 chance there. I rolled a d10 and got a 7, so the party leveled up. If I'd had rolled a 9, just the newish wizard would have leveled, as they were only level 2 compared to the level 4 party average.

So, some drawbacks I noticed to other systems that make mine the obvious one true path:

  • XP for Gold: My players never found gold. Like never, ever. Always missed secrets and never checked under the right beds. And they still just murdered anything they could. But usually got murdered first.
  • XP for murder: Just reinforces the bad habit of stabbing all the things. Players do that anyways.
  • XP for danger ala DCC: It's pretty close to XP for murder, and hard to assess how much danger was averted when PCs are smart enough to actually avoid a fight because it is the severity of the fight that gets you XP in the first place. Also, didn't work well for our weekly 2 hour games; took forever.
  • XP for goals: Sometimes, everyone has different goals. But it's not too bad, really. Can take a really long time for some goals if the players are hexcrawling and whatnot.
  • XP for ignobles ala Rogue Swords/Conrad's Fantasy: Takes a long time at 2 hours a week. But it inspired the current system a lot.
  • XP for failure ala DW: Actually, I like this, 8 out of 10, would roll to hit again. Players are encouraged to try stuff.

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