An Alternative Experience Guideline For Rolemaster, RMSS, and Spacemaster.

By Joel Lovell

Copyright 1995

Summary

The rules governing the awarding of experience points require a focus on killing and accumulating "gold" to calculate experience. This penalizes the less combative characters and inspires new levels of greed in players as they strive to acquire wealth and slaughter foes to make their characters more powerful and experienced. GM's run into the problem about limiting the acquisition of wealth to keep the characters from becoming too powerful too fast due to it's relation to experience advancement. GM's also will find it difficult to encourage interest in things other than combat if it slows down advancement for the characters.

This alternate experience system solves these concerns by awarding instead the successful accomplishment of short and long term goals, the significance of those goals to the grand scheme of things, individual accomplishments of note (whatever they might be - one shot kill, outstanding lock pick, observation, spell or psion cast, leap across a chasm, etc.), difficulties of foes encountered (whether intrigue or combat), and lastly, roleplaying and participation.

This alternative approach takes the character's development point total and with the guidelines below, allows the GM to simply allocate it piecemeal as an experience "Award". This "Award" is expressed as a percentage of the character's DP total for that level. The DP’s are spent immediately on appropriate skills, allowing for a more natural progression of abilities. This percentage amount is noted and when enough "Awards" are added together so that their sum total is 100% - the character is then considered to have attained their next level.

Example: Kynoc the Warrior is given an experience award of 10% of his normal CDPT of 63 which equals 6 Development Points* that he can either use now, or wait until he gets enough (or all if he likes) of his remaining CDPT for that level. His next few adventures earn him awards of 11%, 19%, 22%, 18%, and 20% of his CDPT. Since this has added up to 100% of his CDPT, he is now considered to have gone up a level. Please note that at any time, Kynoc could have spent his DP's on skills or spent them as he was given the award (but would have kept track of the running total to determine when he has gone up a level).

* Simply round the DP result from the award to the nearest whole number, unless the individual wishes to track the DP fragments.

Caveats:

Experience Award Guidelines

The following is laid out as a checklist for the GM to note applicable factors when calculating the Experience Award. Please note that each individual GM may want to adjust these numbers until the Experience Awards allocation feels right for their campaign. Don’t be afraid of being too generous with award calculations, this system tends too easily to slow characters down in level advancement compared to the old experience point system.

Base Goals: Each "goal" established and attempted is worth points. Each Goal is calculated on it's own merit when, during an adventure, it was acted upon. The end results combined together for that particular adventure determine the amount of the Award. The more a goal is worked toward the more the Award is worth. The importance of the goal is a major factor as well. Other Goal’s may intercede, other plots interrupt, but if the goal is not abandoned, it is simply put on hold (as far as an experience award is concerned) until it can be figured into the calculation again.

Group Goal 3/4 or more of session

03%

Group Goal about 1/2 of session

02%

Group Goal 1/4 or less of session

01%

Individual’s Goal related to Profession

02%

Individual’s Goal

01%

Ignored / Failed

x 0

Partial Success / Extra-ordinary Failure

x 0.5

Success

x 1

Executed Flawlessly

x 1.5

Individual Outstanding Achievements: Those times that an individual character does something outstanding, innovative, clever, or extremely memorable (or incredibly stupid but gets lucky) then the Individual Experience Award is given. This is where those risky maneuvers attempted were pulled off.

Individual Award

+01% to +3%

Incredible Risk to life or health:

+03%

Incredibly Embarrassing if Failed

+01%

Incredibly Cool / Awe Inspiring

+02%

Enemies & Encounters: Encounter's are a fact of life in a RPG. They may be mundane, they may be insane, but they will all be a critical part of a character's gaining life or death experience. This portion of the award is for all encounters or foes that resulted in conflict, whether intrigue, subterfuge, wit, or combat. (Note, if most of the foes were easy to defeat, but one was a challenge, then take the difference between the two or whatever the GM feels is right.)

Foes were easy to defeat or avoid:

+01%

Foes were moderately challenging:

+02%

Foes were a challenge to defeat:

+03%

Foes were difficulty to defeat:

+10%

Foes were very difficult to defeat:

+15%

Foes were extremely difficult to defeat:

+20%

Scope & Significance: The scope of a single event or an entire session or it's significance in the scheme of things.

Immediate consequence / Personal Significance Only:

+01%

Group consequence:

+02%

Large group or small organization consequence:

+03%

Large organization or small town consequence:

+05%

Town or Small City consequence:

+08%

Large City or Small Kingdom:

+10%

Kingdom or Empire or Continent:

+15%

World Wide Consequence or more:

+25%

OVERALL MULTIPLE for Role-playing & Characterization: These misc. awards are for those whose characters are role-played and given more than 2-deminsional treatment, and also for overall involvement. This Final multiplier effects the overall total of all the above factors. Sum up the following multipliers and apply this to the total of ALL awards given during the adventure. Some of these are accumulative, so if a Player Character was memorable and remained in character would be a total of +x.75 to the x0.5 base.

BASE MULTIPLE:

x0.5

Player did not participate (not there mind or body):

-x0.5

Player participated but did little else:

-x0.25

Player character was memorable:

+x0.5

Player character notably remained in character:

+x0.25

Player character misc.:

-x0.25 to +x0.25

An Example of An Experience Award

The adventure party had gone through the Dark Forest to go foraging. The forest was the home of many trolls and undead, and thus was rather dangerous to visit. They managed to avoid being drugged by dangerous flowers, found a vine covered trading wagon with the skeletal (animated) inhabitant still inside, found the treasure, found some herbs, and late at night on their last night ran into a huge stone troll that wanted to tromp them into the dirt. The thief made an outstanding roll to spot the hidden compartment in the wagon, and the fighter made a superb double open ended attack which nailed the Troll when things were looking grim for the group. The referee, at the end of the adventure, looks at the tables above and chooses the following:

Goals: Their overall goal was to successfully find herbs, which they did, and return alive from the dark forest. This was of major focus for this adventure session and accounted for more than of the game (+03%) and this was a Success so x1. (They missed some things so the referee didn’t give them an Executed Flawlessly). So a total of 3% for the Goals section.

Enemies and Encounters: The group survived succumbing to a deadly toxic flower field’s perfume, which the GM rules was a moderately challenging to defeat (3%). The animated skeleton was easy to defeat (1%). The troll was beating the group until the Ranger decided to hold him off so the others could escape. This was a very difficult to defeat encounter, but they were successful in "defeating it". (They could have lured him away, bribed him, or escaped and gotten the same or similar award if they had been successful) So (15%). Total of 19%.

Scope & Significance: The significance of removing the Troll has had a benefit of the area, now the local small town can rest a little easier and the farmers in the area are safer. This would normally be a (5%) scope award, but the referee felt that it was more leaning toward the Group Consequence, and compromised by awarding 4%.

Total Base Award: 26%

Individual Outstanding Achievements: The thief’s outstanding roll to spot the hidden compartment was worth an extra 1% for him, and the fighter saving the day against the Troll was at great risk to himself (the party was getting beaten and he went up against him alone to allow the others to escape) and it was awesome that this first level Ranger could succeed against this 10th level Troll. The GM awards him an 8% individual award, the maximum for this category.

Role-playing and Characterization Multiplier: The GM totals up each individuals grand total award, and then picks an individual overall multiple based on the Role-playing and Characterization of the player. In this instance, everyone was memorably in character and has a total multiple of x1.25 to their individual award. So the Ranger, who had a total base award (counting his individual % award) of 34%, multiplies this times 1.25 for a total of 42.5% of his DP total to spend. (Round mathematically). The Thief had his total 27% times 1.25 for 33.75% of his DP total, and the others have the base 26% times 1.25 for a total of 32.5% of their DP total to spend. If this seems to generous to you, realize that this example was for a group that role-played well, and accomplished quite a bit over a several hour gaming session.

Base Goals

Group Goal 3/4 or more of session

03%

 
Group Goal about 1/2 of session

02%

 
Group Goal 1/4 or less of session

01%

 
Individual’s Goal related to Profession

02%

 
Individual’s Goal

01%

 
Ignored / Failed

x 0

 
Partial Success / Extra-ordinary Failure

x 0.5

 
Success

x 1

 
Executed Flawlessly

x 1.5

 

Base Goals Subtotal:

 

Individual Outstanding Achievements

Individual Award

+01% to +3%

 
Incredible Risk to life or health:

+03%

 
Incredibly Embarrassing if Failed

+01%

 
Incredibly Cool / Awe Inspiring

+02%

 

Individual Subtotal:

 

Enemies & Encounters

Foes were easy to defeat or avoid:

+01%

 
Foes were moderately challenging:

+02%

 
Foes were a challenge to defeat:

+03%

 
Foes were difficulty to defeat:

+10%

 
Foes were very difficult to defeat:

+15%

 
Foes were extremely difficult to defeat:

+20%

 

Enemies Subtotal:

 

Scope & Significance

Immediate consequence / Personal Significance Only:

+01%

 
Group consequence:

+02%

 
Large group or small organization consequence:

+03%

 
Large organization or small town consequence:

+05%

 
Town or Small City consequence:

+08%

 
Large City or Small Kingdom:

+10%

 
Kingdom or Empire or Continent:

+15%

 
World Wide Consequence or more:

+25%

 

Scope / Significance Subtotal:

 

OVERALL MULTIPLE for Role-playing & Characterization

Base Goals Subtotal:

 

Individual Award Subtotal:

 

Enemies and Encounters Subtotal:

 

Significance/Scope Subtotal:

 

Total Before Roleplaying Multiple:

 
BASE MULTIPLE:

x0.5

 
Player did not participate (not there mind or body):

-x0.5

 
Player participated but did little else:

-x0.25

 
Player character was memorable:

+x0.5

 
Player character notably remained in character:

+x0.25

 
Player character misc.: -x0.25 to +x0.25  

Grand Total Award: