Skip to main content

Open Forum: individual or group XP

So I'm running a large group, and off the bat we have the issue that out of the first three sessions, three players will only be making one of them, but seven players will be making two.  Since the six players who made it to the first session are already almost at level two, it is pretty obvious that at least initially those who for whatever reason miss a session or two will fall behind.

Since D&D is so driven by XP awards and level advancement, this could really become an issue.  I feel like I have two options.

One, I could just let people garner XP for each session they make it, and let the dice fall where they may.  It's entirely possible that lower-level PC's will catch up with their teammates because they are getting a disproportionately bigger piece of the XP pie, relatively speaking.  (Does that make sense?  If a level 1 PC survives a fight with a CR 3 opponent with his level 3 teammates, his share of the XP will advance him to level 2 more quickly than the level 3 teammates will advance towards level 4.)

If it doesn't work out that way, then you have what I will from now on call "Steve Jinks Syndrome."

Do you know how hard it was for me to even find a cast picture on the internet with Jinksy in it?  He never made it to the rest of the party's level.
Option two, I have a running "party xp" amount where the entire group rises at the same time like ships in the tide.  Each gaming session, whatever XP the group gets, divided by the number of players in that session, becomes the new total for the entire group.  That means that PC's whose players can't make sessions for whatever reason can still advance at the same level.  There's balance there, at the cost of a certain naturalist/realist element.

Option three (not mentioned in the first count), I just abandon XP awards entirely and advance the entire group whenever I feel like it, which is what 13th Age does.

What do you, faithful readers, think?  For those who game, how do you handle this?

Comments

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I was going to make a similar suggestion.

    In a number of games I've run, the party has a Group XP Bank, not unlike a 'Guild Bank' in MMOs. All the players agree on an amount, something like 1-5% of total XP obtained that adventure (the XP that goes to all the PCs whose players showed up) goes into the 'Bank'.

    That XP can be drawn on later to construct, or upgrade, a group item, or dwelling, such as a boat, a starship, a keep, a hideout, etc.

    On the request of players who were absent for a session, XP can be drawn from the bank, and given to the PCs who are behind to bring them closer to the rest of the party. The 'withdraw' requires the player/PC to have missed a session (PCs who were present for the adventure can never draw extra XP for themselves), the other players have to vote unanimously to award the XP, and decide on how much, and sometimes, the absent PC must perform some minor favor for the group (The Group! Not one individual. It must be tied to some effort the entire group is connected to).

    Your mileage may vary. I don't play D&D so I am not sure how viable my approach is with how you play your game. There are some systems I don't do this with, such as Traveller, Champions, and InSpectres (where I aware the team/Franchise separately from it's individual members).

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'm running 13th Age and the group levels up when it levels up. We had two new players join at different times and they both started at first (at their request) and had an abbreviated run so they had just a few sessions at each level until caught up. I've grown away from more complex solutions, more subtractive design than anything.

    That said 5e has much more rapid advancement the first five levels, and bounded accuracy means that lower level PCs are effective enough to be fun, just not as robust.

    What do you plan to do in case of permanent character death or a new player - if new characters are starting at party level then can you do less for active characters? If they are starting at 1st, sounds like you're already going to do individual XP.

    (It doesn't look like this posted the first time.)

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

A First Look at Prowlers and Paragons

For a long time I've been in the market for a new supers RPG.  Since running Marvel Heroic Roleplaying a few years ago, I've been looking at other games, including some that had been passed by the general public, e.g. DC Heroes Third Edition or Silver Age Sentinels.  This was based on the notion that supers RPG's are so niche and so under-performing as a general part of the RPG world that just because the game wasn't making a splash didn't mean it wasn't good.

Plus, I have my own tastes about what I like in a supers RPG, which I've touched on from time to time here, but to summarize I like a game that feels like a comic book, doesn't get bogged down in too much detail, but allows for PC growth and development in a tangible game-system way.  I also don't want to spend hours on character creation using a spreadsheet.  For that matter, it would be an added bonus if it could also accommodate a large number of players and didn't have glaring options…

Hexcrawling a City, an early look

One thing I've been slowly working on for the last year is another fantasy sandbox campaign.  My prior one was generally map-based, although a city featured prominently in it.  As time went by, it lost a lot of its "sandbox" quality and became more directed on my part.  In the process, I think it lost something.

So, after being away from fantasy for a solid year, it's time to get back to it.  I spent some of that last year thinking about cities.   Some fantasy RPG treat cities on a very detailed level, with maps of streets, etc.  But while that's fun "map porn" for GM's, how often would the players actually be seeing or using a map like that?  And how long would it take for them to just accrue that knowledge by exploring the city.  I've lived in my current city seven years, with a car, and I don't know how all the cities line up.  What I know are areas, neighborhoods, etc. some intimately, others not so much.  And if I was going to a new cit…

Large modular dungeon tiles

I made five 4" by 4" dungeon tiles, which is 80 square inches, almost twice my usual batch of tiles.  When added to what I've done already, this is how big a single room I can make:


14 by 14 squares, with four squares to spare.  That's a pretty big room (70 feet to a side).  If I wanted to mix it up, I could build something like this:


I'm probably going to take a little break from this project.  It has turned out well, but until I'm closer to doing a fantasy game I'm going to focus on the games I'm actually doing.
Speaking of which, it's game night tonight...