Experience System

Posted in Process
Tagged: experience, ideas, paper-mario, monster-of-the-week

Thursday, March 22, 2018

The GUTS+ system is built on the idea that stats should help the story rather than hinder it. I’ve gotten hung up plenty of times trying to figure out what numbers apply to which thing in other RPG systems, and I just wanted something that would be easy to remember and easy to use.

I’ve been trying to think of a good way to do the experience system for the GUTS+ system that doesn’t involve an ever-growing experience points pool to chase, but that still provides a sense of accomplishment for reaching a “level up” point. I was thinking of leveling up each stat separately as you use them like in the video game Final Fantasy 2, but that adds a level of complexity that I didn’t want to have players deal with. Then I was thinking that the system in the video game Paper Mario, where every 100 “star points” gets you a level up, would be nice, because then you’d always know how close you were to levelling up.

A lot of RPG systems have an experience system that forces the amount of experience points you get to increase as enemies get harder to defeat, but I think this just complicates things for everyone. Small numbers, while less impressive, are unquestionably easier to work with and therefore, for my purposes, are better. I’d like to have the “level up” point to be whenever you reach 10 experience points, but I’d have to make getting experience a little bit harder so it’s not just a powerfest. Using 50 experience points might be a little bit more balanced, but my problem with using 50 is that it’s slightly harder to remember than 10 or 100. So instead, I’m going to shoot for 100 experience points and then just give experience points liberally. If that doesn’t work well enough, then I’ll slide back down to 50.

As for gaining experience points, I’m a big fan of the system from the Monster of the Week system by Evil Hat Productions. In their system, whenever you fail a roll, you get an experience point. If you need 100 points to level up, though, I’m going to need to expand on that a lot so it’s not as difficult for players to level up when they need to. So I’m thinking that in addition to always gaining an experience point when you fail a roll, you also get experience for successfully completing things. The GM should be pretty liberal in this: if it was a big task, then 10 experience points is definitely not off the table. (Again, I’m taking cues from Paper Mario with this idea.)

This is a fairly non-mathematical approach, I know, but I think that it will contribute to the enjoyment of actually playing by not causing long pauses for calculating the points out.

What do you think?

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