Friday, 1 November 2013

Vikings & Valkyries: XP and Advancement

The following house rule suggestion was made with Vikings & Valkyries in mind (which means it also works as written with Mazes & Minotaurs), though I believe it would work with other iterations of The Classic Fantasy Game.

The default rules for advancement in Vikings & Valkyries (a little bit simplified) are as follows: Warriors, Magicians, and Specialists earn Glory, Wisdom, and Experience, respectively, through different actions (Glory by fighting monsters and doing heroic deeds, Wisdom by fighting magical beasts and experiencing the supernatural, Experience by using skills). This means the incentives are different for each character (and also quite similar to what Roger describes as "XP for means"), which I would like to avoid as much as possible. Furthermore, I would like my reward system to be more directly related to deeds of legend, even if that means less generic and more campaign specific rules.

Since the answer to the question "What is XP awarded for?" determines what a game is about to a large extent, I put much thought into the question. I wanted to avoid achievement-based advancement for I do not want more things to keep track of; however, directly linking XP to various distinct deeds (easy to reference if printed on a separate sheet of paper) seemed like a good idea. The system's nuances are under testing, but the general picture is not likely to change, so I present to you the reward system I am currently using in my Vikings & Valkyries campaign.

XP required by level:
  1. 0
  2. 10
  3. 30
  4. 60
  5. 100
  6. 150
XP is awarded for two things:
  1. Accomplishments and great deeds, sometimes within the boundaries of civilisation (duels, drinking contests), sometimes far away from it (climbing a high mountain, being the first to reach a faraway location).
  2. Completing heroic quests (killing legendary monsters, retrieving artefacts); they may be given by either a god, a king, or some other prominent person.
Also, there is a distinction between XP earned as an individual or as part of a group; the former depends on an individual's actions and could be earned by an individual (thus, if the nature of the accomplishment makes it possible, multiple characters may earn it by fulfilling the requirements individually), while the latter is awarded to a group, each of its members earning the same amount of XP (there is one exception I am pondering over, though: if a single character accomplishes a group-objective, I may award him double XP). As of now, the following have been codified:
  • Beating a Jarl (1 XP) or King (2 XP) in a game of drinking or arm wrestling (individual); losing such a contest is penalised by -1 to Reputation (revocable by winning against the same person).
  • Winning a duel to the death against a Major NPC (individual); the reward depends on the difference in level, as follows:
    • player is at least two levels higher (0 XP)
    • player is one level higher (1 XP)
    • contestants are equal in level (2 XP)
    • player is one or two levels lower (3 XP)
    • player is three or more levels lower (4 XP)
  • Winning a friendly duel against a Major NPC (individual); the reward is half as much as for a duel to the death (rounded down).
  • Marrying a Jarl's or King's daughter or son (3 or 5 XP, individual); it usually requires accomplishing some other great deed, good reputation, and wealth.
I am still working on the exact formula of how to determine the XP reward associated with magical items and monsters (I am aiming at results around 5 to 10). For my campaign does not involve hordes of monsters, I can be pretty generous; here are a couple of monsters from the V&V book (each is a group reward):
  • Fenrir Wolf - 5 XP
  • Fire Giant - 10 XP
  • Hag - 6 XP
  • Cave Troll - 6 XP
  • Wyrm - 7 XP

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