Monday, January 3, 2011

Rate of Progress

The other major consideration regarding awarding experience is the speed of progress. One school of thought is that the heroes shouldn’t progress at all; they should be of sufficient heroic stature throughout the game. Over the course of his 70-year comics career, Superman hasn’t really gotten more powerful over time; in fact, several times he’s been revamped to be less powerful! You could argue that Superboy is Superman at lower level, but you never really see that progression/discovery process of new and different abilities play out that much in comics, and if you do it’s REALLY slow. Spiderman today vs. Spiderman of 1963 is better because he’s more experienced and mature, not because he is innately more powerful. In game terms, his Resolve and Fighting have gone up, but that’s about it. He’s still basically the same guy. I don’t like this for extended campaign play; if you start at level 5 (whatever that is), how do you ever get to be level 10? I understand that Spidey will never be the physical equal of Thor, but as a player I’d like my game version of Spidey to get noticeably better as I play.

Conversely, the fantasy RPG paradigm has been gradual progress as you go, slowing the more powerful you get, and this has been reinforced by video games. You probably can knock out the first few levels in a handful of adventures, but the higher levels are going to linger. Resolute doesn’t really support this approach, since the distribution of CPs into abilities and the points-based approach to character building don’t align with this. I do think that this is already built into the ability system anyway; you only need 2 CPs to move an ability from +3 to +4, but you need 5 CPs to move it from +9 to +10. Things go slower at the higher end on an ability-by-ability basis, not necessarily in overall character power.

One of the things I toyed with while writing Mythweaver: Reckoning was the idea of giving multiple levels of complexity for various game functions, giving the whole thing more of a toolkit feel. I can see this particular element of Resolute working that way… for instance, my instinct right now is to give you two options for progress: a standard option, and the ‘lite’ option. (This may be a good way to designate this in the rules; a small sidebar appears near a more complicated rule to give the ‘lite’ option. This way, you can layer in elements of the game as you play or as you introduce things to new players).

Here’s the crunchy option:

An experience point is 1% of a character point. When you earn 100 experience points, you redeem these for 1 character point, or you continue to accrue these until you have sufficient experience to redeem for the desired CPs; you want to move your stamina from +4 to +5, and you need 3 CPs to do this. You bank your experience until you get to 300 experience points, and you then redeem these for 3 CPs.

The referee awards experience points at the end of every scene. Completing a scene is worth a base of 10 experience points +/- the difference between the level of the team of heroes and the level of their adversary. If four heroes (two of level 5 and two of level 4) face a necromancer of level 8 and his zombie minion of level 6, the heroes earn 9 experience points each (the total level of the foe was 1 level below theirs, so 10-1=9). In the following scene, they overcome eight rabid wolves (each of level 3), earning 8 experience points each (the total level of the foes was 2 levels below theirs, so 10-2=8). In the third scene, they face a wyvern of level 15. For this, they earn 13 experience points each, since this foe was 3 levels higher than their total level; 10+3=13.

The heroes have a total level of 12 (5+2.5+2+2= 11.5, rounded up to 12)
The necromancer/pet combo has a total level of 11 (8+3)
The eight wolves have a total level of 14 (3+1.5+1.5+1.5+1.5+1.5+1.5+1.5= 13.5, rounded up to 14)
The wyvern has a total level of 15, as a level 15 foe.

Light Option: Award 10 experience points at the end of every scene in which the heroes successfully overcome a challenge.