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Thread: Xp Rewards

  1. #1
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    I was interested in any ideas people had about giving xp for things other than adventuring. In particular Domain level actions and other long term xp gains.
    The Former Osric Ilien
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    Site Moderator geeman's Avatar
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    At 05:12 PM 11/6/2003 +0100, OsricIlien wrote:



    > I was interested in any ideas people had about giving xp for things

    > other than adventuring. In particular Domain level actions and other

    > long term xp gains.



    To me the domain level is an extension of the adventure level. A domain

    action represents about four weeks of activities, not all of which are

    worth XP awards (things like travel, the bureaucratic aspects of rulership,

    etc.) but interspersed with the kinds of encounters, activities and events

    that warrant XP awards. A couple of weeks ago I wrote up a little, first

    draft "article" on breaking down of domain actions. Since we`re in a nice,

    neat, new thread here, I`ll recreate it. The most relevant part to this

    discussion is the last one "Assigning XP Awards to Domain Actions" but one

    kind of has to go through the previous sections in order to get to that....



    <bold>What is a Domain Action?</bold>



    IMO the domain level of play is an extrapolation on the standard adventure

    level of play. It`s a form of "game mechanical shorthand" if you will in

    which the actions and assets of the adventure level are compiled into a

    system of game mechanics and statistics. Interaction between the two levels

    of play needn`t exist, but combining them in the long run makes for a

    better overall system. Using the domain rules one can fill out and inspire

    adventure level activities and the effects of adventure level activities

    can be portrayed in the overall domain system.



    When it comes to XP awards for domain actions I`m a big proponent of

    role-playing out the domain actions, but it is nice to have the domain

    level rules around for those cases when the DM doesn`t have a particular

    thing in mind for an adventure level of activity, or when one is resolving

    actions quickly for neighboring realms or other NPCs. It also allows us to

    reflect many of the advantages and results of adventures into a broader,

    more inclusive system of action and effect, allowing for what is a natural

    extension of one of the basic implications behind many adventures--how will

    the results of this adventure actually effect the world at large? In the

    domain level of play we often have our answer to that question: a new

    holding is established or one becomes contested, GB go missing from the

    treasury, the population level of a province increases, the bandits that

    threatened a region are dealt with, etc. Furthermore, if we can extrapolate

    the domain actions into adventures and vice versa then we can develop a set

    of guidelines for adventure design and development that will cross over

    between the two levels of play.



    Within such a context, I`d suggest that for the purposes of XP awards for

    domain actions what we need is a system of converting domain actions into

    adventure level play and then such a system can be "backward engineered"

    into a system of XP awards for domain actions. We have a few good examples

    of exactly how one might do that sort of thing with the LotHK text (IMO the

    best of the BR supplements) but that is for random events as well as being

    something that was developed without much of an eye towards the

    relationship between the adventure level of play and the domain level. It

    was not, of course, developed with the system of EL and CR that exists now

    in 3e either, which is one of the aspects of the system that can have a lot

    of use for our purposes.



    So what does a domain action represent? First of all, it represents a

    month`s worth of activities and effort on the part of the regent, the

    population that he administrates, his staff and other associated

    characters. For the purpose of simplicity and parity with the way the

    domain level breaks time up into domain turns, action round and war moves,

    I`d suggest that for our purposes we can convert the four weeks of time of

    a domain action down into weeks (war moves) for the purpose of determining

    how to convert to encounters and adventures.



    <bold>Converting Domain Actions to Adventures</bold>



    A domain action represents a month of activities, but it is not the only

    activity that goes on during that period of time. The regent must still

    administrate his domain on a day-to-day basis, dealing with those constant

    issues that anyone in a position of authority must address. The domain

    action itself merely represents an area of concentration during that

    period, not the whole of the regent`s time. One of the things that RPGs

    often do is assume that certain activities happen automatically. We do not

    role-play PCs washing their clothes, cooking their food, polishing their

    armor and weapons or engaging in most of the mundane activities of life

    except on those occasions where it segues into an encounter or where the

    player has some particular concept in mind. Just to shake things up DM

    might say, "While polishing your armor you are approached by a group of

    unsavory looking men" in order to arrange an encounter with the PCs in

    which their equipment or other stats are not as high as normal. Similarly,

    a player might have a character who was an excellent chef and mention that

    fact when cooking out of doors. In general, however, such things are

    exceptions rather than the rule. Most mundane activities are assumed.



    When it comes to domain level activities, I`d suggest that the same is

    true. Most of the administrative and mundane activities of controlling a

    domain are assumed, and unless the DM or players want to engage in them for

    some reason they can be ignored. How much of a regent`s time do they take?

    That`s quite debatable, but for the sake of simplicity, I`d suggest they

    take half the time of the regent. The domain action itself would then

    represent the activities of three or four days a week.



    In D&D "an adventure" really has no time limit. One assumes it is a

    relatively brief amount of time in which a particular goal is accomplished,

    and that several of those goals combine to form "a campaign" but adventures

    are not themselves set to a stopwatch. In 3e, however, it is suggested that

    the "average" adventure is comprised of four encounters of CR equal to the

    party level. I`d suggest that this can work well into the above break down

    of the amount of activities involved in a domain action. Since an "average"

    action is equivalent to roughly the same amount of encounters that occur in

    a week of activities performed as part of a domain action we can associate

    the two easily, making a domain action equivalent to what the DMG suggests

    is four adventures at the adventure level of play comprised of four

    different main encounters.



    While there is no time limitation on the sequence of those encounters, it

    would appear to be generally assumed that they are going to occur

    sequentially, so that PCs may not rest up or otherwise rejuvenate between

    encounters. At the adventure level of play there is a time restriction, but

    at the domain level encounters are spread out over a greater period. Four

    encounters per week means the PCs have a day between encounters in order to

    heal, research, etc. In order to deal with this issue, I`d suggest that any

    encounter that isn`t ultimately resolved in a "single sitting" be

    considered a failure for the purpose of the overall success of the domain

    action. (See Below)



    This only gets us half way to our goal, however, because we also need to

    address the issue of CR in order to find the actual amount of XP that would

    be awarded for such an adventure. D&D normally assumes that encounters are

    going to be scaled to the party level of the PCs. The DMG describes these

    as "tailored" encounters (pp 100-101) and provides guidelines for

    developing them. I`d suggest that for our purposes, however, we should not

    assume that to be the case. At the adventure level of play one has a broad

    range of character levels. It would make sense to preserve the interaction

    of low level PCs with higher level ones and vice versa, since that`s a

    basic aspect of the BR domain level. We can either tailor encounters or

    employ a "status quo" set of encounters, but in several ways the system of

    encounters used to reflect the particulars of a domain action need not

    abide by the strictness of the EL system as presented in the DMG. For one

    things many of the encounters need not be of the hack `n slash variety that

    standard D&D seems to assume. A diplomatic encounter can represent widely

    different CR values than a stand up fight. The results of the encounter

    might not be all that different since the total modifiers of a high ranking

    character versus a low ranking character could make the opposed checks

    pretty much a foregone conclusion, but where the DMG assumes that 25% of a

    party`s resources are going to be used up in such an encounter than isn`t

    the case for our purposes. Similarly, the encounter can be role-played out

    rather than the result of rolls, so in general things may not be as unequal

    as they would normally be in a typical EL-minded encounter.

    When determining the encounters that comprise the adventure level portrayal

    of a domain action it`s important to consider the difficulty of the domain

    action itself. More difficult domain actions will represent higher CR

    values in the encounters involved, or might be used to justify more than

    the "average" either the four encounters per adventure or the four

    adventures per domain turn estimate. If a typical domain action is DC 15

    then we can extrapolate from that "average" encounters. Now, if we`re

    creating tailored encounters that means a grand total of sixteen encounters

    of CR equal to the party level.



    The standard range of encounters for D&D is encounters with EL within four

    levels of the PCs. We can use that number to shift the CR values of the

    encounters when creating an adventure to represent the activities of a

    domain action. Every 2 points of difference in the success number results

    in a 1 level increase or decrease in the EL of the encounters it inspires.

    That is, a domain action with a success number of 20 would have encounters

    that were equal to the party level +2, while a domain action with a success

    number of 5 (pretty easy) would have an EL of party level -5.



    After determining the EL of the encounters the DM can assign characters to

    the sixteen encounters of the adventure.



    <bold>Determining Success of Domain Actions from Adventure Results</bold>



    Success at the adventure level can be converted to the result of a die roll

    to determine success on a domain action by counting each successful

    encounter as 1 point. Since there are an average of 16 encounters in a

    domain action that means a "die roll" of 16 is possible on a typical

    adventured out domain action.



    As with typical domain actions a player should announce the number of RP

    spent on the action. Those domain actions that have success numbers higher

    than 16 will require spending RP to assure their success.



    <bold>Assigning XP Awards to Domain Actions</bold>



    Not all those encounters need necessarily be of the type that will grant

    normal XP awards nor should we assume that even if the domain action is

    successful that every encounter was a success, so the regent shouldn`t

    necessarily get XP for all those encounters (more on that later.) After

    determining what the average number of encounters and the average CR of

    those encounters might be we are ready to assign XP. There are, however, a

    couple of factors we need to consider for how many XP should actually be

    granted. The first is success. Since the average domain action represents

    sixteen encounter we cannot assume that every encounter is a success. The

    second factor is how many of those encounters are of the type that will

    grant XP. Now, I`m of the opinion that XP should be granted in one form or

    another whether an encounter is combat oriented or story oriented, but some

    encounters may wind up being neither. So for each of these conditions, I`d

    suggest that we should simply half the number of encounters, so that each

    domain action results in four encounters that grant XP. That might seem a

    bit low, but we should also take into consideration that we`re using the

    domain level as a short hand for what would normally be adventures in

    tradition D&D. If one wanted to grant more experience, however, it would be

    easy to assign a different number to the "encounters that grant an XP

    award" number.



    In a tailored system of adventure design for a group of PCs with a party

    level of 8, the average domain action would, therefore, result in four CR 8

    XP awards or 9,600 XP to be split amongst the party. If the XP award is

    going to go to a single regent one should bear in mind that the CR system

    assumes four PCs. If using tailored encounters the CRs would be scaled down

    by -2 for a single PC. That would result in 4,800 XP being awarded to the

    regent.



    Now, I should note that IMC I grant XP at a rate of about 1/3 that of the

    DMG`s Table 7-1. The XP awards are actually 1/4 those on that table, but I

    also grant story awards based on the overall activities of the players, so

    it winds up being more like 1/3 of the standard awards for D&D. For the

    above awards I would give out 3,200 XP to the group and 1,600 to an

    individual level 8 regent.

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