GP=XP

mAcular

A FreshHell to Contend With
Ah, yeah, you also see that happen when accepting new party members or putting together the party -- a stranger walks up to you at a tavern and says a few words and suddenly you're all fighting back to back with your lives in each other's hands.
 

The1True

My my my, we just loooove to hear ourselves don't we?
Remember this thread?!

So I finally got around to fully implementing Gold for XP with my 3.5 group while we wrap up 'Irradiated Paradox of the etc.' and it's been a mixed bag. There was grumbling from the players which died down when I gave them a look behind the curtain at the mechanics of it (looting over slaughter). They enjoyed being in more direct control of their advancement (choosing whether to spend money on it or equipment). Apart from directly awarding XP after every battle, which I find too much of a slow-down during our brief gaming time, this is probably as good as it gets for giving the players some agency in their character's advancement.

My question is: Magic Items. The old DMG didn't even list prices for magic items; just XP. If you cashed them in, that's what you got (correct?). The 3.5 DMG lists the Price of items as well as the cost in gold and XP to craft the item. (We all agree that charging one character in the party (probably the long-suffering support-caster) XP to build items is utter bullshit. Tell me I'm wrong.) Anyway, I devised a conversion that did not go over well, where they could sell the items for cash but only 20% of the cash could go to advancement. The argument from the players being that even if they go along with this idiocy, what's to stop them collecting the cash, throwing it into the pool of gold and waiting til next downtime to cash it in at full value with all the other gold? I'm obviously doing something wrong or missing something, working off a hazy memory of 1st ed. Any suggestions?
 

squeen

8, 8, I forget what is for
The 1e DMG has both: XP (lower, if you keep it) and the gp sale value (~5x). Crafting prices in AD&D are not cover but the implication is that it is extremely costly and requires many unique components---it's left to the DM to make it a unique (and memorable) experience.

In AD&D, you will go up levels faster if you sell all of your magic...but it's way better to keep most of them, because you aren't likely to be able to make them. Besides, going up levels if not a huge power boost past the first couple.

Since level advancement is every few games and requires a return to a safe haven for training. I don't even calculate XP at the table, just afterwards, on my own, and then I tell the players if they have enough to level up next session.
 

Beoric

8, 8, I forget what is for
I give 0 XP for major magic items (the ones that are expected to "drop" according to the 4e system). I also give minor items that are in lieu of other cash (calculated at resale value), and give XP for that if it is sold relatively quickly without using it first. Note for the minor items they would usually receive half as much cash as it would take to buy it, so there is real incentive to keep or use potentially useful items.

The "0 XP" thing is largely because the value, and progression of value, of the main magic items in 4e is such that it would greatly complicate any XP=GP system if you tried to incorporate it. I suspect you would have a similar problem in 3.5, so I would suggest you give no XPs for magic unless you are directly swapping it for cash-value treasure.
 

The1True

My my my, we just loooove to hear ourselves don't we?
I don't see any reason not to give them full XP for magic items they sell. Giving up a magic item is a significant trade-off.
I mostly agree with this but the problem is magic items end up being worth an insane amount at higher levels. A surplus high-level item could easily spur (undesirable) rapid advancement. This is going to start a separate argument, but I tend to hand out the occasional OP item to see how it fucks shit up in the campaign world. (What's the point of artifact if you're only going to use it for a couple of sessions at the tail-end of the campaign?) Sometimes players just refuse your lovely christmas gifts though. It doesn't fit with their builds or their image of themselves and they'd rather sell the thing and get something they actually want. I thought I'd head this off at the pass by imposing a 20% cap. (which sounds in line with the 1e DMG).
 

The1True

My my my, we just loooove to hear ourselves don't we?
The 1e DMG has both:
Ah. My mistake was I reached for the shelf and the 1e DMG was all taped up in a mylar bag and the 2e was ready to go, so I grabbed it instead. 😓😳

An aside, I lost all my 1e DnD in a flood 12 years ago and had to replace it mostly through NobleKnight (which cost an epic fortune; hurray for renters insurance!!!) I replaced my old 1.1e, blue Easley-cover core books with the older versions. I've got to say, it never made me happy. Nostalgia I guess? I was lead to believe there were some differences in print runs, but other than the covers, I've yet to find anything that stood out. Anybody know if there was a difference (particularly in the DMG)?
 

squeen

8, 8, I forget what is for
I've only ever owned or use the 1e DMG, so I can't speak to difference.

In AD&D, without magic-item XP, the level progression stalls because the amount of gold gets to be very high. It's now been at least a dozen sessions since anyone went up a level via GP=XP + monster XP as the PCs teeter just below name-level.

Magical tombs that give level bonuses, and magic-items (like Sauron's Ring!) that make you effectively a level or two higher while your wear them have become the new currency.

What's the point of artifact if you're only going to use it for a couple of sessions at the tail-end of the campaign?
Actually, I think that is perfect. Magic items should come and go during a long campaign (rapidly if possible), otherwise there a sort of hoarders problem (to much stuff to move around with) and also zero resource management --- i.e. permanent magical super powers = you are Thor.

When I was a player, my OD&D DM placed multiple magical vehicles (Apparati of K'walish?) in a very deadly dungeon area. We managed to commandeer a few and use it against our foes (the GEC --- Goblin Electronics Corporation). They were of various makes and models which we then proceeded to smash up and destroyed while using them in combat. Just like buying a new car, that first scratch (permanent breakage of some subsystem) usually happened on the first test drive. Made you want to cry --- but there was no time for that when you were so busy trying to save your own skin!

The GEC also had something we called Kill-O-Zap guns, after the Hitchhiker's Guide fame. They were a slow weapon (fire once every 3-4 rounds I think) that shot a spinning canister. If it hit you, disintegration. That tended to mess up your "stuff" too. If you happened to be in one of the K-walsh when it got zapped --- bye bye high-level PC!

Risks and rewards. Checks and balances.

Good times. :)
 

robertsconley

Should be playing D&D instead
Since this topic has come up again. I will say that I disagree with this assertion by @bryce0lynch

That’s what’s every game version is that doesn’t have Gold=XP. Without it you get DM plot and the need to kill or succeed at the meta-plot to go up. “XP is a pacing issue” bullshit. With it, everything becomes a caper.

High level D&D sucks. Everyone knows that. No one has figured it out. Except Gygax. It’s less about dungeons and more about roleplaying & logistics. IE: the domain game.
My alternative for gold for XP, is a form of milestone awards. The difference I have from traditional milestone award systems is that the goals are set by what the players do and focus on. There is no metagaming involve, instead, it requires me to be observant of the table chat and what the players talk among themselves about what they want to accomplish individually and as a group. I make notes about what was said after each session. And if the players (or group) achieve one of these, then they get a nice milestone award.

In addition to their own goals, what the players do or don't do has an impact on the larger setting. I give milestones awards when these occur even though they often arise out of spontaneous events.

I have been using this system for decades and apply variants of it to systems like Fantasy Hero, and GURPS even though their method of advancement is different than AD&D 1e. I find that this gives my campaigns a more natural flow as the player don't feel like they are at the mercy of an xp system full of arbitary conditions. The disadvantage is that there is a learning curve as one learns to listen to their players and figuring out a neutral of calculating the significance of players. And it amounts to a displinced way of arriving at what is an arbitary judgement call.

For example for my Scourge of the Demon Wolf adventure if the situation is resolved whether it by allying with the Demon Wolf (unlikely but possible), or killing the Demon Wolf. I would give a large milestone award. At various points if it take multiple sessions to resolve, then I would give smaller milestones as players uncover what going one. But the milestone are not awarded for doing something specific. But for doing something significant.

For example, there is a band of bandits in the adventures. I would award the same milestone whether the player managed to kill the bandits, arrest the bandits, recruit the bandits, or force the bandit to leave the area. All four events have roughly the same significance given the circumstances. All four events can only occur if the players are proactive as their characters.

(Circa 1984)

add_xp.jpg
 

Beoric

8, 8, I forget what is for
My alternative for gold for XP, is a form of milestone awards. The difference I have from traditional milestone award systems is that the goals are set by what the players do and focus on.
This is what I am talking about when I refer to goal-based XP awards. For me, XP=GP is just a reference to a presumptive goal (treasure seeking), which can be varied by circumstances, and which can often stand as a proxy for other goals.

Like, say I have 5 hobgoblins guarding treasure, or 5 hobgoblins guarding a bridge. By default in 4e, in each instance those hobgoblins would be worth 750 XP if you defeat them in combat. What I might do instead is make the hobgoblins worth 75 gp for defeating in combat, and award either 675 gp and worth of treasure (on average) along with a like amount of XP, or award 675 XP for crossing the bridge.

These defaults can be varied by the players setting their own goals, but of course that would be difficult to write into a published module.

I tend to hand out the occasional OP item to see how it fucks shit up in the campaign world. (What's the point of artifact if you're only going to use it for a couple of sessions at the tail-end of the campaign?)
That's what artifact side effects are for. But yeah, if you give XP for those you can really mess up your experience progression.

I was lead to believe there were some differences in print runs, but other than the covers, I've yet to find anything that stood out. Anybody know if there was a difference (particularly in the DMG)?
I don't think there is anything material.
 

Beoric

8, 8, I forget what is for
Thanks @Hemlock for reminding me of this post:

We stopped using GP=XP decades ago, when we were still playing 1e, because as teenagers we were all about the simulation. We also played Rolemaster from time to time, so what the hell did we know.
I have actually come back to GP=XP even though it is harder to implement in 4e for a number of reasons.

  • My players are very XP motivated. I started to find that combat=XP was actively discouraging non-combat solutions to problems.

  • GP=XP Combat=XP is only simulationist when you don’t have a skill system. When you are also improving skills, it makes no sense to better at, for example, History because you are engaging in lots of combat.

  • I have never seen a good system for awarding XPs for skill use, or for any other out-of-combat activities. 4e’s skill challenges, for example, are an abject failure at this.

  • Because of this, I started looking for a way to award XPs for the whole suite of activities that adventurers can engage in, without trying to calculate XPs for each action. This led me to look at awarding XPs for goal achievement, so that they got the same amount of XPs for achieving a goal regardless of what combination of combat, strategy, skills, other resources and ingenuity they brought to the table. The assumption is that if they achieve a goal they have learned something.

  • A lot of DMs would equate this to milestones=XP. The difference, at least for me, is milestones are often DM set, which doesn’t fit with my playstyle. Most of the time I would rather reward the players for achieving goals they set for themselves. Also, I really don’t like milestone levelling. As a player and a DM, I prefer to receive XPs incrementally, for the smaller steps I take along the way. I like the anticipation of inching closer to the next level. I am never satisfied when a DM just announces I have gained a level.

  • For my players, most of the time the acquisition of treasure is a significant goal even if it isn’t the only goal in a given encounter. So most of the time, GP=XP is a decent proxy for achieving goals.

  • I am flexible enough to vary the method of awarding XP when there is an obvious measure of progress that is not treasure related – like crossing a bridge or gateway that is guarded, for instance. But most of the time, treasure is as good a proxy as any.
 

Hemlock

Should be playing D&D instead
I tinker a lot with XP systems, especially in Dungeon Fantasy RPG because character advancement in DF just feels so optional--gravy on top of the pile of loot that comes from a successful dungeon crawl.

I've mentioned before one option I've played around with before (letting players pick an archetype that determines how the PC gains XP, e.g. if you pick Treasure Hunter then you gain XP for gold although it's more complex than 1:1 conversion). I have a better idea now though.

I may or may not have mentioned my distaste for granting CP/XP merely for showing up. I see advantages but I dislike the incentives to waste time doing nothing interesting.

The idea I'm planning on pitching to my group going forward is designed to reward players for doing things they find interesting, while bringing enjoyment to other players, and acknowledging the reality that character advancement is/should be primarily a metagame reward and not inherently a property of the gameworld (killing thousand demons in a single year is NOT a sure route to becoming better at spellcasting, let alone at skills like History and Persuasion; sometimes it just makes you sick and tired of demons).

In short: after a game session, you can write an entry for the campaign journal. It can be anything related to last session: retelling the story of a battle from one of the characters' perspective (possibly exaggerated for effect); telling the prequel or sequel of an NPC from the session; drawing a picture of a character or event; writing a journal entry for one of the characters complaining about something mundane that happened "offscreen" between scenes. Anything you write automatically gets added to the campaign journal (I'm planning on a physical folder but a Google doc could potentially work). Before the next session starts, every player including the author and the GM candidly rates the submission's entertainment value on a scale of one to five stars. For each rating of three stars or more, you gain one character point, which may also be spent** before the session starts. (In DF, four character points is enough to boost your best weapon skill another level, one point is enough to learn a new skill or spell at its lowest level, ten points lets you boost your ST, etc. Gaining five points per session is a lot.) If that turns out to be too much, we can adjust the reward threshold to four stars and up.

**Furthermore, any player can spend character points on any character (subject to veto if necessary from whoever controls the character). It's a reward to the player, not the character. If you want the hulking barbarian bad guy who barely escaped your ambush last session to get even thicker, tougher skin, you can buy him more Tough Skin up to the usual limits for barbarians! Or you can hoard your character points to boost a character you haven't even created yet. (Especially if you're the GM.)

My hope is that we'll generate a great campaign journal full of creative material from those who enjoy adopting "director stance" occasionally, while getting good feedback from each other on our creative output.

And if people are too busy to get around to writing anything this week, that's okay too. Advancement in DF is optional, and you can still accumulate magic swords, piles of hand grenades, and small armies of hirelings even if you never spend a single character point after character creation.

Comments?
 

Hemlock

Should be playing D&D instead
This is going to start a separate argument, but I tend to hand out the occasional OP item to see how it [affects] the campaign world. (What's the point of artifact if you're only going to use it for a couple of sessions at the tail-end of the campaign?)
Ah yes, I love doing this. The best time to give out a Staff of Power or Hand of Vecna or (Fred Saberhagen's Sword) Farslayer is as early as possible, while it's still a gamechanger. By the time the party wizards can all cast Disintegrate with spell slots, disintegrating a monster with a wave of Vecna's hand is no longer exciting or worth the risk of corruption.

Sometimes the best thing about such artifacts isn't even their powers, it's the odd little side effects (inciting subconscious greed, etc.) and the way players latch into them to shape their PCs' personalities. This is far more likely to happen when the players find the items early.
 

The1True

My my my, we just loooove to hear ourselves don't we?
Ah yes, I love doing this. The best time to give out a Staff of Power or Hand of Vecna or (Fred Saberhagen's Sword) Farslayer is as early as possible, while it's still a gamechanger. By the time the party wizards can all cast Disintegrate with spell slots, disintegrating a monster with a wave of Vecna's hand is no longer exciting or worth the risk of corruption.

Sometimes the best thing about such artifacts isn't even their powers, it's the odd little side effects (inciting subconscious greed, etc.) and the way players latch into them to shape their PCs' personalities. This is far more likely to happen when the players find the items early.
Right? In our Ptolus game a while ago, my 6th lvl wizard/artificer guy got his hand on this ridiculous lens of disintegration. I could use it as much I liked (woooo!) but each time, I had to make a (fairly average) Fort save (tough for an arcane class) or disintegrate myself! That did not get dug out of the backpack lightly.
Also, I'm thinking of all the heroes who were defined by their legendary items. 3.5e took a shot at it, but the suggested items were pretty nerfy with their level progression. Stormbringer with its terrible power at a terrible price is where it should be at.
 

The1True

My my my, we just loooove to hear ourselves don't we?
My alternative for gold for XP, is a form of milestone awards.
I think most of us in the community are using milestones. You've come up with a good way of getting around the DM fiat by making it about the players' goals though!

In general, I'm doing 3.5 which is mathematically, very balanced, so adding up the monster XP usually adds up to where the players need to be. I usually add this and the campaign awards up, divide it by the number of players and compare the number against where they need to be for the next chapter of the adventure. Everyone advances equally because we were having problems with thieves hording treasure and tanks hogging the kills leaving little incentive for people to play support classes. Also, bonus XP handed out for achieving personal goals or excellent rrrroleplaying seemed terribly arbitrary or unfair to the other players. Finally, with everyone advancing at the same rate, I as the DM always know where players should be in case they forget to update their Roll20 character sheets between sessions. Anyway, I usually arrive at a number informed by the actual math, the needs of the narrative and the good or bad vibes I've been getting from the party. Pretty wishy-washy.

This time out though, we're giving the gp for xp model a try. I'd like to see how they feel about the greater agency and I'd like to see if it modifies their in-game behaviour.
 

Two orcs

Officially better than you, according to PoN
My question is: Magic Items.
I run ACKS which gives you 100% for item sales (and ACKS has a comprehensive system for determining item value which is often very high) but only if you haven't used the item to your benefit. This is balanced by the fact that the economic simulation of ACKS means it's really difficult to sell the good stuff, few people want to buy magic gear for 25,000gp a pop when they have mercenaries and luxuries to pay for (chance of successful sale of item over 10,000gp is 10% per month in a Metropolis, my players have been trying to pawn off a dwarven crown for over an in-game year).
 

The1True

My my my, we just loooove to hear ourselves don't we?
(chance of successful sale of item over 10,000gp is 10% per month in a Metropolis, my players have been trying to pawn off a dwarven crown for over an in-game year).
very cool. Sounds a bit like you have to play frequent Advanced Accountants & Actuaries sessions though?
 
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