Monday, January 7, 2013

XPs for GPs: Deeply Flawed?

Let us consider:
GPs are their own reward:  Players don't need another reason to collect them.  Giving them character advancement on top of material wealth is double-dipping. 

Logical Disconnect:  Why would gathering and hauling large sacks of coins make you better at casting dancing lights or improve your standing with Thor?  Why would having a huge stash of priceless tapestries and gawdy jewelry increase your combat endurance?  By this standard, porters and antique dealers should be pretty badass.

GPs are not inherently commensurate with the difficulty of acquiring them:  A million GPs guarded by a hoard of syphilitic stirges, 16 flatulent purple worms, a commune of aggro-liches, and a venerable arch-demodragon are worth just as many XPs as a million GPs guarded by a single leprechaun sleeping off a 3-day bender.  You can make up some sort of bylaws to assure that the value of treasure retrieved is correlated to the difficulty of acquiring said treasure, but any work-around you come up with is as good as a sworn admission that XPs for GPs is deeply flawed

How much for the sack?
The opposite is even more true:  Difficult and even heroic actions are not necessarily rewarded with equivalent tubs of treasure.  Indeed, true heroism is often its own reward.   Let's say two thieves break into the Duke of Kroten's castle.  Thief 1 rescues a wrongly-accused fisherman from the dungeons; the other raids the duke's treasury making off with an armload of bearer bonds.  Both of them succeed without engaging in combat.  Thief 1, gets the satisfaction of averting a miscarriage of justice but no cash and zero XPs.  Thief 2, for the same effort, gets fifty large plus an equivalent haul in XPs.  So why should the character who takes home a paycheck for his efforts advance further than the one who works pro bono?






49 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is a novel criticism I have never encountered in any forum.

Timrod said...

Ouch. And right back atcha'

Random Wizard said...

Nothing wrong with restating something again. It is good to discuss things to see if new ideas arise.

I am in agreement that GP = XP is not optimal (for the games I run).

It is interesting to hear the other sides view though. They like how GP is an easy metric for the players to grasp. Some also like that it can reduce the GM from changing the reward after the fact, if, for example, the players are clever enough to make off with a gold plated statue without alerting the dragon.

I am not convinced by such arguments, but they are interesting none the less.

Ynas Midgard said...

It is obvious that GP=XP rule isn't fit for every kind of fantasy. Nevertheless, its merits are inevitable: the objective of the game becomes obvious (i.e. find treasure) and the players are rewarded for solely pursuing this goal.

If one finds another way of keeping these merits AND managing to make the system fit the flavour of the campaign, well, that's just neat.

Patrick Halter said...

What might you recommend in its place? And what sort of game wold that rule create?

Peter D said...

I agree to a degree. Yes, it's flawed, but you're trying to reward the actions you want the players to take.

If you want them to loot the dungeon and emphasize profit, reward looting in some fashion (I do it off a profitable mission - anything past that nets no more XP but more wealth.)

If you want them to slay monsters, reward killing things.

If you want them to explore, reward finding new things.

Etc.

Talysman said...

It's a reputation system. It helps if you interpret "level" as confidence and reputation, rather than learning, but even if you don't, it's obvious that the system is rewarding (a) bragging about the monsters you kill, and (b) bringing back heaps of gold and spending it around town.

Difficulty of task is irrelevant. If you trick a super-powerful monster into a trap, killing it, you get heaps of XP without much risk. If you get treasure without fighting the monster, you get XP without risk, too. You're supposed to think of ways to get the most XP with the least risk.

1d30 said...

1: There are in fact rules for reducing XP for difficulty. The LBBs give reduced XP for adventures in a weaker dungeon level or against weaker monsters, including treasure gained thereby. 1E has it right in the XP award rules, saying that a 10th level Wizard fighting a handful of Orcs should probably get less XP. It's in 3E related to Challenge Ratings for monsters vs. level of PCs.

2: Tougher monsters typically have better treasure. That's not always the case, but when looking at which monsters have which treasure also check out how many are found at a time to guard that treasure. Yeah Orcs can have good loot but there's hundreds of them.

3: Peter D said it right. XP awards are for goals you want to encourage in your game. That's why carousing is worth XP: because you like Conan-style squandering of big money and the next game you're broke again. If you prefer monk-like philosophical pursuits you'd give XP for spending time talking about what can change the nature of a man.

3A: The passage in the 1E DMG about XP awards describes exactly what you complain about: thieves should gain XP by casing buildings and practicing lockpicking, wizards should gain XP by studying quietly in musty libraries, priests by meditating and reading holy texts. But all those things are boring, and convoluted attempts to make them interesting is as good as a sworn admission that XP for off-duty roleplaying is deeply flawed.

4: If you argue that GPs are their own reward (which does stand up at first since money is pretty useful) then shouldn't great deeds that inspire respect from others be their own reward? (The respect I mean). I don't see many potential sources of XP that don't also reward the PC in other ways. Looked at another way, in order to stop the double-dip, you would have to award XP only for things for which there is no other reward: those things that there is no reason to do. Does that make any more sense than XP for treasure or XP for monsters?

5: GP gained through business, not deadly adventure, isn't worth any XP. Porters and antique dealers aren't going to hit level 2 by working in town. Heck, porters don't even own the things they carry, so they wouldn't gain XP even if they were employed to carry things out of the dungeon.

Timrod said...

I'm impressed fellas. I pretty much thought anonymous's sarcasm would be the extent of the debate here.

There's a host of stuff I'd love to discuss here... but it's late and I'm tired. Later.

-C said...

It's a game and gold pieces are your score.

How in the seven heavens can their be a better metric for your level then your score?!

John said...

You're begging the question. XP exist to incentivise certain behaviour to help the game roll along. That's it. If you feel it would serve better not as an incentive but as some kind of pseudo-realistic metric of a character's skill at arms, you should first establish that and why before you start criticising the existing system for not meeting the requirements you yourself have invented.

John said...

For example, here's why I like the existing system: it gives the players a straightforward and obvious goal - collecting treasure - that feels natural, fits smoothly with the game's main conceit of exploring dungeons, and can be easily adapted to lots of different situations. Because monsters give minimal XP, it incentivises "smart" play: minimise risk, maximise profit.

If I were running a big game hunter monster-slaying campaign, I'd change the incentive, maybe awarding a lump sum for each legendary monster killed, and nothing for lesser monsters or treasure. Again, I'm using the XP system to incentivise the game behaviour my players and I want.

Neither example has anything to do with what "realistically" should improve a character's skill. If I tried to use XP for that, I would be using it contrary to the way it was designed, which can create odd problems - like incentivising the "wrong" behaviour, e.g. the PCs go looking for fights.

Timrod said...

@John: That's the thing, GPs give players a straightforward and obvious goal without also providing a metric for character advancement.

Timrod said...

@d30:
1> The XP reduction for high level characters vs. puny monsters seems superfluous since the XP value of a few orcs is pretty much negligible compared to the 375,000 XPs a wizard needs to advance a level. My impression is that those specific rules were either ignored for being too subjective, or were deemed irrelevant--why bother recording a few xps for a few crummy orcs?

2> And typical gamers are going to have fun slaughtering every one of those orcs and will get a satisfactory amount of XPs for their effort. Do we need to offer them a bunch of bonus XPs for pocketing treasure after the fact?

3> I'll get to this one in a later post

3A> Agreed. I have no interest in awarding XPs for off-duty roleplaying. Love that term by the way.

4> I've never used respect points in D&D.

5> the porter/antique dealer was mostly tongue-in-cheek. Presumably, some challenge is overcome before the GPs have any XP value, but it seems such an indirect approach to experience. Especially when considering what XP are used for. With XP for slaughter--which, for the record, I am not actually advocating--XPs are used to improve your ability to kill monsters; you gain XPs by killing more and more (and tougher) monsters. Ball don't lie.

Timrod said...

@-C: I cannot agree less.

Timrod said...

@ Talysman: I'm not versed enough in gaming philosophy to name the school that my gaming style belongs to--Materialist? Realist? I prefer Structuralist, if that even is such a thing--but I know that whatever it is it seems diametrically opposed to yours. That said, I always appreciate your capacity for making alternative views accessible to a dude with a head filled with compacted aggregate.

Timrod said...

@Patrick H.: That is the crux of the issue. A post is forthcoming though I suspect you'll be disappointed. I hate codifying my rules, which in my head are rather amorphous. When I try to explaining them they always seem terrifically Byzantine.

John said...

@Timrod: I'm not sure I understand what you mean by that. Character advancement as it stands is abstract; I gather you want something more concrete and tied to activities that would logically increase one's combat skills. If so, okay, but you have to look at the consequences that will have on the game.

Take the complaints in your original post. You don't like "double-dipping", so we won't award XP for GP. To avoid the "logical disconnect" we only award XP for things that would actually improve your fighting skill, i.e. combat (or training). The riskier or more difficult the task, the more XP we'll award. And we'll also award XP for heroic actions like rescuing innocent fishermen.

Now look at the actual effects on the game. The experience system is an incentive system. In this case, the players are incentivised to pick fights. The more difficult or more dangerous the fight, the more XP they get, so they're actually punished for fighting smart, avoiding conflict or stacking the odds in their favour. And they're rewarded for "altruistic" acts, adding a moral imperative to the game.

I know those probably aren't the specific changes you had in mind, but my point is that you'll always run into problems if you take a system intended to do one thing - provide incentive - and try to twist it into doing another - provide a realistic metric for character advancement. The effect of XP in-game will always be to act as an incentive to players, so whatever changes you make to the system in the name of realism are inevitably going to screw around with the playstyle of your game. If it's important to you that character advancement "makes sense", why not scrap the XP system entirely and come up with a new system not based on incentive?

John said...

By the way, would anyone explain why double-dipping for XP is a bad thing? I've seen it mentioned before but I don't understand why it's considered a problem.

Timrod said...

Where we seem to disagree, John, is that you believe that XPs function as an incentive to gaming behavior. In decades of gaming I've never seen anyone make an in-game decision based on potential for XP gain. Obviously my experience is not universal, I'd be curious to know if you do find that players make decision based on XP bonuses.

As for your second question, it's not so much that I'm anti-double dipping as that it has come as a surprise to me that so many people did not shun XPs for GPs as our group did way back in 1981.

XPs for GPs instantly took our first AD&D campaign to a realm of munchkinry that, even as novices, we knew was unhealthy. We ditched the GP bonus very quickly--along with speed factors, psionics and all the other AD&Disms we still love to complain about--and generally felt that the game was improved. We advanced level at a reasonable pace no matter how much treasure we hoarded--though our DMs also learned to reign in the cash as well--and engaged in combat only when such was warranted, not because we needed to do so to advance. And, most importantly, we assumed everyone else did the same thing.

When I heard about this OSR a couple years back, I was shocked to find out that anyone ever awarded XPs for GPs after their first campaign or two--much less advocated its use in the future.

So, yeah, it's largely personal.

Ynas Midgard said...

Consider the following situation. The PCs notice that a dozen skeletal warriors guard the main entrance to a room, which holds the treasures of a dead saint. Their decisions, albeit not entirely, depend on what the DM awards XP for.

If I award XP for gold, they may or may not fight the skeletons (it depends on their expected chances, if they are in the mood, or if they find any alternate route leading into the treasure room).

If I award XP for fighting, they may or may not leave the treasure behind (alignment, encumbrance); however, they will definitely engage in combat with the skeletons.

I can only speak from my personal experience, as well, but never have I seen a party who left an enemy (eventually) undefeated if I awarded XP for it.

These are the kind of incentives I (and, supposedly, the others, as well) talked about.

Patrick Halter said...

@ Timrod: I doubt I'll be disappointed; I'm fairly open-minded about these things and curious more than predisposed to a solution, and I like what I've read so far on your blog.

One potential solution would be to throw the XP engine out the window entirely, either with some other simpler system (e.g., everyone gets 1 xp when they explore 'enough' of the dungeon, and then you hit level 2 with 2 xp, 3 with 4 xp, 4 with 8 xp, whatever) or just by feel ("Okay, you've all mucked around enough in the Caves of Chaos; you're now level 2, because it seems about right and I want you to be able to experience my cool dungeon sooner.")

The second proposed solution has the (admittedly dubious, but still extant) virtue of being a commonly-arrived-at solution in practice; most if not all of my DMs have awarded experience in this way rather than with fiddly numbers.

However, with versions of D&D earlier than 3.*, this introduces another problem: classes are meant to advance at different rates. With the first system you could, I suppose, define certain classes as needing smaller XP thresholds than others still.

Sorry for dumping my brain on you.

Timrod said...

"Okay, you've all mucked around enough in the Caves of Chaos; you're now level 2, because it seems about right and I want you to be able to experience my cool dungeon sooner."

Yep, that pretty much sums it up.

-C said...

That is exactly the point. Gold is your score, and your score determines your level.

It's telling that your refutation of this is "nuh-uh". It's really the only recourse. This isn't conjecture, it's a literal fact. Look at rythlondar, characters were ranked by their experience, number one, number two, etc. to show who was best, who was in the lead. Rankings and leader boards like this were quite common in the past.

So just because someone else comes along later, ignorant of the original meanings and uses of the word (identified in other places in the comments) and decides that it means something else or that it doesn't make sense (as if "making sense" had anything to do with enduring gameplay. Design from reality makes for bad games) doesn't change the literal truth of what experience points are.

A way of keeping score.

Timrod said...

@Ynas: How do the PCs know the treasure is in there? Do they know what the treasure consists of? If they're encumbered at the moment, does it make sense for them to leave the skeletons be until such time as they have the capacity to retrieve the treasure?

Why are the PCs in the dungeon? Do they just like to kill shit? Have they been geased to restore the sanctity of the Saint's crypt? Are they there to wipe out the army of undead that has been vomiting forth into the lands above? Or do they just want to find the Ranger's cell phone that she dropped down a storm drain?

If the PCs are truly disinterested in the saint's treasure, does the room itself have strategic value? Do they need to pass through it get to the 3rd level? Secure it as an escape root? Check to see if the ranger's cell phone is in there?

If they don't kill those skeletons now, will they come back to haunt them later? Is the dungeon a hack 'n slash megadungeon with room after room of encounters linked only by proximity? Is there another, better saint's treasure stashed down the hall? Are the PCs under a time constraint to get out before Yog Sothoth rises? Can't the ranger just take the saint's treasure and buy a new fucking iphone already?

That is to say, Saint's treasures guarded by a dozen skeletal warriors don't exist in a void. There are going to be countless inputs to that equation that are going to, in my experience, far outweigh the (in-)significance of XP gain.

Timrod said...

@-c: I'll take your word for it. Thanks.

John said...

@Timrod: XP do function as incentive to game behaviour. That's their intended function. XP are the implicit underlying "goal" of the game - as -C says, essentially your "score". By accumulating XP, the players gain levels, which grants them a better chance of survival, access to new spells, and the ability to tackle greater dangers. This in turn allows them to enjoy the game in new and different ways. The XP/level advancement system is the underlying engine on which D&D runs - imagine how different a D&D game in which players never advanced in level would be to see the truth of that.

Yes, I've had players explicitly make decisions based on XP gain. When XP awards line up naturally with the party's other motivations (like greed), there's nothing jarring about that. I've also had players who pretty much ignore XP and wealth to do their own thing, which is fine too (players don't need incentive for personal goals). I feel the game runs best when the implicit goals set by the rules match the playstyle agreed on before the game. By default, that's treasure hunting. Under such a playstyle, I'd say that most of the players' major decisions were based on gaining XP/wealth (second only to what we thought would be most fun). You say you haven't used the system as intended since 1981, so it's not surprising you haven't experienced this.

That's not the only way to play, of course. In my early games we would run a bunch of mini-campaigns under rotating DMs, and at the end of each one we'd all level up. Those games weren't about treasure-hunting, we usually had (or made) some specific goal. We didn't try to use the XP system, because it doesn't really make sense to use it for other than what it's designed for.

You don't believe that XP function as an incentive. Do your players want to level up? Generally, yes, for the reasons given above. Anything the players want is an incentive. Everyone can choose to ignore that incentive, but at that point the XP system is basically superfluous and you might as well replace it with something that better fits your game.

If you want to hack XP into a "realistic" means of progression, that's of course up to you, although I seriously question whether you've chosen the right tool for the job. But your criticisms of the system are based on a lack of understanding of what it was designed for, and what other people use it for.

Joshua L. Lyle said...

I think the main problem I have is that your first point undercuts all of the others: money buys (and represents) power. One way to reflect that is with levels/HD. One way this might come out is that personally powerful rulers are hard to stab to death (Caesar, Rasputin). ACKS operates on this principle. To some extent, so does Pendragon (although the sources of Glory in Pendragon are multitudinous, wealth is a significant one).

This takes care of the logical disconnect in the core settings. The sacks of coins are helpful in properly honoring Thor (most worship lead by rich goði chieftain-priests) or Zeus (whose temple was used as the Roman treasury). Porters are shlubs because the money they move isn't their money, but if they steal it and get away with it they are evidently great thieves (and thus should probably have levels). "Antique dealers" sounds like a code-word for "magic user" in the tune that Vancian casters are disparaged as "stamp collectors"; so I wouldn't find it odd for successful antiquarians to be draped in power.

GPs may not be commensurate with the difficulty of their acquisition, but neither is their worth as money as such; "pecunia non olet". In Anglo-Saxon England a man could become a thegn by acquiring sufficient land and household or by leading merchant ventures overseas at their expense. By that thegn-right they would be expected to provide themselves with arms and be able to use them when called, and so should in the normal course of things be expected to be fighters of more-than-common ability directly because of their wealth, regardless of how they came by it.

Intangible rewards of heroism can be brought into the scoring mechanism by giving them tangible trappings. If thief 1 is feted by the fisherman's family and village, I would regard the value of the fete as worth XP, although giving XP for "quest rewards" is controversial. For that matter, I would likely award XP equal to the fisherman's weregild or the price of a slave of similar skill - the fisherman himself is the treasure in a sense. Difficult actions that have no consequence (such as just climbing a big mountain because it's there) are probably either not worth scoring or are worthy of being assigned special value in their own right (ala Pendragon Glory awards).

None of these arguments are universal or insurmountable, but I think the idea of GP for XP makes more sense that you give it credit for.

Timrod said...

@ John:

I count myself fortunate, then, for never having played the game with folks who would rather kick over mushrooms in search of XPs than engage in the game world. If I owe this to my failure to understand the origins of XPs, then I'll gladly wrap myself in my cloak of ignorance and keep on enjoying the game.

I pity the mercenary-gamers out there who are unable to immerse themselves in the world of imagination where the game is lived, not just played. You're really missing out on something special.

-C said...

You know when you say that, the only thing it does is illustrate how little you understand of the gameplay that occurs in gold for xp games.

Fortunately that is eaisly rectified. There are many games on g+ that run with gold for xp. In fact, I will be starting mine in a month or so.

If you'd like to experience what we are talking about, there is a seat at my table that I will make for you anytime. So you can find out that what the actual effect of hold for xp does is cause engaged highly creative play. You are welcome to sit at my table and actually experience what we are talking about and how it works in play, instead of disparaging something that you are unfamiliar with. If you aren't interested in my game, there are hundreds of others, every day and time of the week. If you have time to blog, you have time to play.

Timrod said...

@ Joshua L: You raise a lot of really good points. I especially like your take on antiquarians. Way more imaginative than I could have come up with.

I should come clean about a few things here. This post was not meant to be a "Top 4 reasons GPs for XPs are worthless" though I can see why it was interpreted as such. I intended the tone to be less of an assault. But I wrote this post several weeks ago, then it sat on the back-burner over the holidays. When I finally got back to it, I just threw it to the winds without a preamble to defang it. Apparently, I'm finding, this is a good way to get a debate started.

also, I'm curious how you made that funky character in "godi" or whatever that word is.

Joshua L. Lyle said...

Honestly? Copied it off of Wikipedia.

That's an "eth", and it makes the "th" sound, but it's only used in the middle or at the end of the word (you use þ at the beginning).

copypastecharacter.com is also great for that kind of thing.

Timrod said...

@-C:

"the only thing it does is illustrate how little you understand of the gameplay that occurs in gold for xp games"

Cloak of Ignorance, buddy. Best cloak I've ever owned.

Seriously though, I fear we're now talking about separate issues; I have never intended to disparage the gameplay of GPs vs XPs. Indeed the thesis of my comments here have been that I'm a strong believer that XPs should not affect gameplay regardless of how they are acquired. Nowhere have I said that GPs for XPs leads to inferior gameplay, nor do I believe such is the case.

Thanks for your offer to join your game. It's very generous of you; especially considering our heretofore relationship of mutual disparagement. But if you're game is a competition to gain the most XPs--and I'm not saying it is, but your other comments might be construed to imply that such is the kind of game you prefer--then, no offense intended, but I really don't think I'd have much to contribute.

Again, thanks very much for the offer; it's noble of you to invite an infidel to enjoy the bounty of your gaming table.

Timrod said...

@Joshua L. Awesome! Thanks for the hookup.

Ynas Midgard said...

@ Timrod:
I strongly believe that (regardless of what mechanics is responsible for it) character advancement affects gameplay very much. Without it, the game wouldn't be the same; also, it is something by which the DM can reward the players (for acting somehow which he believes to be worth the reward).

@ Joshua L. Lyle:
I'd also add that it generally stands for the voiced TH-sound (as in "thou").

Timrod said...

@Yinas: I absolutely agree; character advancement is a major motivator. But it's a macro-level motivator; it gets PCs to seek out adventure instead of staying at the tavern chatting up barmaids or honing their backgammon skills all day.

But once in the dungeon, they're engaging advancement at the micro-level. No single (survivable) encounter is ever going to level-up a character in one shot, so players, in my experience as both player and DM, find it rather easy to put XP acquisition out of mind at the encounter level.

John said...

@Timrod: Your response seems hostile and belittling. I'm sorry if I've said something to offend you.

Timrod said...

John: I had assumed by the tone of your previous comment that we had descended to the unpleasant--if sometimes entertaining--"hostile and belittling" phase of the debate. As my interpretation seems to be in error, I'm the one owing the apology. Sorry for the belittling hostility, it was in poor taste.

-C said...

It's not about what you can contribute. It's about experiencing the actual results (and why they are so gloriously fun and entertaining) of what you are disparaging.

You would have as much to contribute as any player.

John said...

@Timrod: I didn't mean to give that impression, I've been enjoying the discussion so far. I don't begrudge you playing the game any way you want, I just think a lot of your criticism is based on a misunderstanding about how and why people are using XP.

My opinion boils down to this: I've played D&D without XP, and it was fun. I've played D&D with XP for GP, and it definitely adds something; some people might not prefer it but it's a different experience and the system does what it's designed to do well, it's not fundamentally flawed. I've played D&D with XP for battles and challenges, and it was fun, but I found it slightly frustrating. Like any roleplayer I can ignore what's tactically best in favour of what will be most amusing, but I like to have the option. XP-for-difficulty robs me of that by making what's optimal for my character different from what's optimal for me as a player of a game. I have to choose between the game as an intellectual exercise, and the game as make-believe. Moreover, since the metagame no longer rewards being clever or thinking creatively, it's not even an exercise I particularly enjoy. So I ignore it and focus on in-character goals, at which point I no longer have any control over my level progression, and from my perspective it might as well be arbitrary.

When the metagame and the make-believe line up, i.e. my interests and my character's interests are identical, I get to have my bread buttered on both sides.

Timrod said...

-C: Your continued use of "disparaging" leads me to believe that there's still a disconnect here.

What I was questioning in the post way up above was the logic of using treasure acquisition as a metric for gauging character advancement, not its impact on gameplay. I did overreact to John a bit there, but I'm seriously not sitting here thinking you guys are all a bunch of douchebags for playing the game differently than I do.

Just so's we're clear.

Timrod said...

John:

"I've played D&D without XP, and it was fun. I've played D&D with XP for GP, and it definitely adds something"

Thank you! This is the first thing I've heard in this debate that has made me even mildly interested in giving GPs for XPs a 2nd chance.

Ynas Midgard said...

"<>

Thank you! This is the first thing I've heard in this debate that has made me even mildly interested in giving GPs for XPs a 2nd chance."

Really? You do realise that there were a couple of posts actually defining that something, don't you?

Timrod said...

At Ynas:

Which argument is more likely to sway you:

A> "This way is awesome because the book says so"

B> "This way is awesome because it adds something to the experience"

I'm a type B guy.

Brendan said...

Timrod wrote: No single (survivable) encounter is ever going to level-up a character in one shot, so players, in my experience as both player and DM, find it rather easy to put XP acquisition out of mind at the encounter level.

One of my players did actually gain a level with the help of a natural 20 and a Raggi table, but I suppose that is neither here nor there.

Brendan said...

Okay, more on topic.

Here is the most recent play report from one of my players, drafted with no connection to this particular post.

http://dungeonofsigns.blogspot.com/2013/01/pahvelorn-these-ziggurats-contain-no.html

I think (in this case, at least) the incentive is pretty important to the game play.

But the game itself is also quite rich with other character motivations and goals. For example, the goals of the clerics to cleanse shrines and seek out the demonic to combat, the goals of the magic-user to improve his craft, etc. All of those goals and motivations sit within the matrix of treasure seeking though. And it feels very natural.

Also, I find the XP from GP spent (rather than just acquired) decreases the sense of double dipping, if that is a hangup.

Like you, I didn't play with XP = GP originally (when I started in the 90s with 2E, where treasure XP was deemphasized). I have only started playing this way after I learned the incentive and "smart play" theories behind it, and I am quite happy with the result.

Timrod said...

et tu Brendan?

Ynas Midgard said...

@ Timrod

Everyone is Type B because nobody likes dealing with things that are ultimately irrelevant.

That being said, "XP for GP" does not add something per se but modifies something (i.e. general gameplay and advancement); the same thing that every alternative XP system modifies but in a way none of the others can.

By my post I meant that a couple of us had actually given you a detailed description of how this rule changes things, yet you got interested in it only when somebody explicitly mentioned its adding something to it.

Timrod said...

Yes, I like explicit content. What of it?

Seriously though, what John did that was different from your comments was compare incentivized gameplay to non-incentivized gameplay.