Sunday, 2 April 2017

Frostgrave: Let’s Talk Spellcasting Experience Points

About a year ago, I wrote a blog post talking about experience points in Frostgrave and some thoughts I had for changing the system. I got a great response to that post, which has helped push my thinking forward. In fact, I have decided that I am going to include an ‘Alternate Experience Points System’ in a Frostgrave supplement that is coming out next year. I just haven’t completely decided what it is going to include!

My biggest mental stumbling block continues to be experience points for spellcasting. Right now, a wizard receives 10 experience points for every spell he successfully casts. The more I have thought about this, the more I am convinced that it is both a good and bad piece of game design.

It is good in that it encourages spellcasting, which is what the game is primarily about. Also, players are rewarded for ‘accomplishing’ which feels right.

It is bad because it encourages a player to cast his or her easiest spell repeatedly, which detracts from the magical diversity of the game and lessens tactical interest. Additionally, as a wizard gets better, that one spell will get easier to cast, making experience points more likely and potentially creating an experience imbalance between players who use just one spell and those who like to use a range of spells. I don’t think this last point is a major issue, but it is an area for improvement.

So, here are two potential solutions I came up with in my musings on the problem. Both of them address the bad points of the current system, but also have an issue of their own!

Experience Points Based on Casting Number

Under this system, whenever a wizard successfully casts a spell, he or she would receive a number of experience points equal to the Casting Number for the spell. So, if a starting Necromancer casts Bone Dart (as so many of them do), they would receive 8 experience points, as that would be their starting Casting Number. If the Necromancer later decreases his Casting Number to 7, he would receive 7 experience points every time he successfully casts the spell.

There is an elegance to this system that I find very appealing. Players still receive experience for accomplishing, but the reward actually matches the level of accomplishment. It eliminates the problem of wizards cranking out experience for casting easy spells. It also gives a little bit of encouragement for wizards to cast their harder spells.

The only real drawback I see to this system is that it requires more paperwork and more math. Not a huge amount, in truth, but... time and time again, I have seen people say that one of the main reasons they find Frostgrave appealing, is that it is simple. This change would only increase the complexity by a small amount, but how many of these small changes can you make before a ‘simple’ system becomes ‘complex’?

If Frostgrave were a role-playing game, I would most likely use this system. As a ‘simple’ warmgame, I remain unsure.

Experience Points for Failure

I recently heard someone suggest that when considering a problem, it is often useful to ask yourself ‘what if I did the exact opposite?’. So, what if wizards earned 10 experience points every time they failed to cast a spell...

Actually, this is really interesting from a game design point of view. Once again it encourages players to attempt to cast their harder spells; though I suspect, more than any other system, it encourages players to attempt the ‘best’ spell for a given situation, which should lead to the best ‘game’. Beyond that though, it brings an entirely new element of balance to the game. Players that are failing to cast spells are less likely to secure treasure. Thus, they will be falling behind in the wealth and experience point race. Under this system, the failing spellcaster would be compensated by receiving more experience from failed spells.

In pure game mechanics terms, this system has a huge amount to offer. The problem is – it feels wrong to reward failure, and I suspect most players wouldn’t like it. I don’t know of any wargame or rpg that works this way. So, either this is a rather new and original idea – or it is just a bad idea that others have thought about and rejected.

I would be very interested to hear what other Frostgrave players think. Please comment below with any thoughts, suggestions, or original ideas that I can steal...


  1. IRL You learn more from your mistakes than you do from your successes. I like the second one as if you have a bad game you will not fall behind as much. Whereas if you have a good game your getting the xp from either the treasure or killing the opponent.

  2. One of my thought was for failure giving half points. So if i failed to cast the spell I get 5 instead of 10. This adds bookkeeping but should be a tick in failed vs successful.

    As to your ideas I like the first one. It does add complexity but I think it's worth that bit of extra bookkeeping.

    Your second idea is neat but I think solely awarding points for failing is bad. It might encourage the wizard to always try their hardest spell and just keep taking the hit point damage for failure.

  3. I quite like the failure approach to be honest but how about the wizard only gains experience on the role of a dice? For example on a role of 12+ the wizard has learned something useful from his or her failed attempt...

    In the positive approach you could implement a more straightforward scale to casting experience which maintains the same approach as the current mechanic whilst introducing better balancing based on spell difficulty. For example you could earn 5 experience for successfully casting a spell with a casting value of under 10, 10 xp for under 15 and 15 xp for over 15 etc.

    Or perhaps a combination of the both so that there is always the possibility of gaining experience when attempting to cast.

  4. Very interesting post. My initial thoughts are the same as yours, that option 1 is the simplest option, and the book-keeping is quite minimal (though it means I can no longer just use a simple tally).

    That said, I find option 2 quite intriguing. It feels counter-intuitive, but I really do think that it is the most elegant option. It rewards players for making the right play, regardless of the success of the attempt. The fact that it helps game balance is a huge bonus.

    Ultimately though, I see it like this:
    1) Go with option 1 - it feels for natural, and will be least confusing
    for new and experienced players alike.
    2) Go with option 2, most likely the 'best' solution, regardless of how
    it initially feels.
    3) Put both options forward in your new expansion, and clearly state the
    pros and cons, as best as space allows.

  5. Perhaps something like this:
    Fail to cast: 5xp
    Cast a spell valued 5 or less: 5xp
    Cast a spell valued 6-10: 10xp
    Cast a spell valued 11-15: 15xp
    Cast a spell valued 16+: 20xp

    This way wizards are encouraged to cast larger spells and are rewarded for such. It also sets up a state of diminishing rewards for spam casting easy spells. Finally, a wizard will always get at least 5xp per spell they attempt which off sets the risk of failure somewhat.

    1. Yep, this is a very good compromise!

    2. Really like xp related to spell difficulty. Easy to to do and easy to count.
      I like the idea of xp for failure also, maybe the same xp as above, regardless of success or falure, i.e., you learn more trying to cast difficult spells.

    3. I like this suggestion the best. It seems fair but offers a reasonable limit on meta gaming it. To be brutally honest; Me, I would never lower my spells under 6 with this system. Maybe I would have one clutch save spell under 6 like Invis or Teleport or something that you just need to use to get out of Dodge sorta thing. But yeah this one seems best.

    4. A good solution and no need to add points, just tally tick per 5 points

  6. Another option could be a reward for casting a variety of spells. 10xp if your wizard and apprentice cast different spells in the same turn or a 100xp for not casting the same spell twice in a game. That could be interesting too.

  7. What if you could only be penalized for failing your own school spells and half rewarded for attempting out of school spells, but failing?

  8. What if you could only be penalized for failing your own school spells and half rewarded for attempting out of school spells, but failing?

  9. I like the idea of the bigger spells giving you more experience , also the penalty for failing a spell can pretty harsh at times which also makes the bigger spells less attractive unless necessary . As for getting points for failing is a bad idea in my opinion cause in a strategy game it's ok to choose not to cast a spell cause there is no viable targets or fear of failing and taking wounds . If you gave points for failing people would just cast a spell every turn just to cast it which takes away from the immersion of the game IMO .

  10. We've been playing where the first casting of a spell by your warband is worth 20xp and any repeat casting is worth 10xp.

    Killing soldiers is worth no experience and killing wandering monsters is 10 or 20xp depending on if it has <10hp or >10hp.

  11. Although I like both options, I feel you are right and option 1 would make a simple system start down the complex track - look at other well known miniature games and how they developed into 100page plus rulebooks....

    On the other hand, rewarding people for failing isn't right either - not everyone learns something every time they fail.

    How about keeping experience for successes, but only on spells whose casting level is 10 or greater; and couple that with getting points for failure but only when you fail AND have a natural 1 showing on the dice? Or, for games where the wizard levels are 10 or more different (or somesuch arbitrary value), when the less experienced wizard fails AND they take damage as a direct result?

    This way you introduce more spells, as wizards are less likely to pump points into learning multiple spells below 10, and you keep experience flowing for wizards who have an 'off' game (albeit at a reduced rate).

  12. Dungeon World give experience for failure.

  13. I like the first idea quite bit.

    On the second one, I think that when you miss a spell by enough, you lose some health. Add however many points of health you lost as experience points. It requires the smallest change to the basic rules of any of the ideas presented.

    1. I really like the simplicity of this suggestion. It'd also fit quite well alongside the first approach, without skewing too far towards the "failure = success" line.

      So, attempt to cast a risky (i.e. high difficulty) spell... perhaps you learn a lot from getting it off successfully, or learn a little from failing badly - 'minor' fails don't net you anything (which feels quite accurate to me!).

      It would also fit well with the Health-burning aspect of spell-casting - by pushing your physical limits to succeed, you learn more about spell-casting etc. Knowledge coming at a risk... It'd also give you a reason to think twice before burning Health to reduce damage from failing to cast a spell: "Ok, that's 2 damage... but it's also 2 XP...".

  14. Speaking as the player of a necromancer who has upgraded Bone Dart a few times and loves to use it (to kill enemies, rather than harvest XP, although that's a welcome side-effect), I very much do like the idea of getting the casting number in XP.

    Since I currently keep up with XP by jotting down a number each time any get earned in-game, and then adding them all up at the end, there's not really any increase in book-keeping if I write '8' instead of '10', and it's only the most basic of arithmetic at the end.

    The failure thing... I can see where you're coming from, and I think it could work, but you've identified the problems players will have with it. In a tabletop battle game, it turns XP into compensation, rather than reward. Also, I think your first suggestion works much better.

    The roleplaying game Unknown Armies rewards failure, to an extent, in that its percentile system grants +1 to a skill the first time you roll a double on the D100, whether that's above or below the target number needed.

    Getting more extreme, the new edition of Delta Green (which shares at least one author with Unknown Armies) breaks from its parent Call of Cthulhu system by only granting a skill check for failing a roll, rather than only for succeeding (as in mainstream CoC). That's a major thing in a system where the characters, rather than being 1920's librarians and dilettantes, are highly-trained federal agents, scientists or special forces operators.

  15. On my 4th game now. I am playing a Chronomancer and my opponent is playing a Sigilist. My Wizard has Elemental Bolt so is cranking out the kills and the Sigilist is struggling as he has no direct kill spells. This allows the killy wizard to gain a boatload of experience. So we house rule. 25 points for each successful spell cast and 10 points for a repeat. We also give experience for each enemy model killed at half rate no matter what member of the warband that killed it. No extra bonus if the wizard makes the kill. Seems to be working quite well. Rewards the use of multiple spells and doesn't give huge bonuses for a killer wizard versus a more studious one.

    1. The Sigilist also has 3 out of game spells including Absorb Knowledge that helps him keep up experience wise.

  16. I don't think failing should get you any experience. Maybe a +1 next time you try casting the same spell.

    I do like the idea of gaining more experience for harder spells, it seams fair and would push people into trying tougher spells.

    You could also use a Grimoir deck with the cost and successful casting experience gain, written on each spell card. Where players pick their spells and are limited to the amount of each spell they included in their hand. Successfully cast spells go to a discard pile. Spells that failed stay in their hand as they can attempt them again. After a game all they have to do is count the points they gained on successful spells from their discard pile.

  17. I don't think that you can view experience from casting spells in isolation from the other 2 standards ways that xp is gained.

    One of the biggest house-rules issues revolves around the experience granted for the wizard killing "stuff". In my mind this is not the purpose of the game and severely penalises the supposedly "weaker" schools of magic.

    So we have always adopted 35xp for first successful casting of a spell and only 5xp for subsequent spamming of the spell. In conjunction with a virtual negation of kill xp (we award xp according to HP of victim irrespective of who did the killing) this swings game play away from "murder-tests" and towards more varied tactical considerations.

    Finally, we have adapted the treasure xp to require possession in order to gain xp. This negates the slaughter opponent grab 6 treasures style of gameplay. If you haven't picked up the treasure when game ends then you get nothing. If you haven't taken off table before game ends you get xp but cannot open the box!

    These changes have made our games more about wizards searching for treasure rather than wizards who are slaughterers first and the treasure is incidental!

    1. Really interesting idea about Treasure. I might have to give that a try.

  18. I would like a combination of the two, where it works like the first one with the exception that there is a flat 10xp per failed spell. The idea could be refined but basically, it is so frustrating to fail spells, especially low to cast spells. I dont think it would be a detriment to reward that failure, as wizards are basically arcane scientists and mistakes usually leads to better understanding.

  19. Experience points per spell cast, but only once per game for each spell.

    Encourages you to cast a different spell every turn :)

  20. I think you need to be bold and try the second.

    I like the first idea. Its a god solid idea, but it doesn't make the best use of the already existing mechanics.

    The second idea really does. If you succeed in casting spells you are rewarded with the consequences of the spell (and most likely the treasure from winning). Those that cast well will be able to pay for better equipment and soldiers. Those that cast badly will be able to upgrade so hopefully they cast better next time. A good balancing mechenism.

  21. I really like the 1st option. We write down the exp we gain along the top of our sheets as we play, so as Richard says, it's just a bit of simple arithmetic. Mobile phones have calculators, and a large majority have their phones with them most of the time, so it's not much of an issue even if you can't add up on paper.

    The major issue, as George said, is the killing stuff bonuses. Luckily, we don't have many direct damage spells in our campaign, as we saw where that might lead and went with Illusionist and Summoner.

    Also, because my other half has a limited attention span for games, we set a 6 turn limit - at that point, a blizzard occurs and everyone has to run for cover. If you are holding treasure, it's a 50/50 if you drop it in your flight, otherwise you keep it. This dissuades killing, as there just isn't enough time, but does make telekinesis a key spell (leap can also feel OP). Works for my other half though, as the killing aspect isn't so fun for her, she prefers the race for the treasure, with the scenario effects adding fun and variety. Looking forward to playing the coop scenarios from the Folio with her!

  22. I'm quite happy with the existing exp system and worry if an alternative system would alienate some players. That said, option 1 is interesting (as is the compromse suggested by StanMkim. I don't like option 2. Sure you learn from your mistakes, but it doesn't feel right applying it to a game about casting spells.
    The trick is to give players a choice of different exp systems, yet allow players of these different systems to play togethet without one overbearing the other.
    My suggestion would be to offer players the chance to have a 'calling' or 'profession'. Each 'calling' has a different way of calculating exp.
    The default could be simply 'wizard' - a jack of all trades using the current exp mechanism. But you could also be a 'battle mage' and earn more exp by killing, but less (or none) from spellcasting.
    Another 'calling' could be the 'adept', where you earn more exp for casting spells of your school, and less from other schools. Another possibility could be the 'exprimentor', who earns greater exp if they cast different spells.
    Of course each 'calling' would need to be playtested and balanced, but it would offere lots of different ways of playing the game without alienating those who are happy with their way of play.

  23. Hey Joe.... I actually gave this topic some thought after last weekend. It seems the crux of this discussion is wanting people to not cast the same "easy to cast" spell while not specifically rewarding failure. I think with the first solution you bring up, your going to find yourself having to keep track of specific spell costs (and I know how much you love keeping track of things on your character sheets).

    I think I have a solution. Do multiples of 5. For every 5 spells you attempt to cast whether you succeed or fail to cast, you get 50 xp. It will accomplish option 2 while not specifically rewarding players for failing to cast. Also, you don't have to keep track of different numbers like in option 1. It becomes more of an attrition game, as in keeping your wizard alive long enough to get to 5 or 10 spell multiple in order to get the xp. If 5 is too much, drop it to 4 or 3 while keeping the xp factor in multiples of 10. I find this way to be the least intrusive fix to the core mechanics of spell xp and it fixes the core problem with option 2 without resorting to option 1's record keeping.

    1. After reading this again, I like it...

  24. I'm REALLY hot on the idea of tying XP to spell difficulty: the bigger the spell, the bigger the payoff.

    I also like the idea of rewarding for failure. Your concerns about that are valid, but look at it this way: a successful casting is going to have in-game effects that are a form of "reward" that failure won't provide.

  25. I love that this is being considered.

    Selling the book in our shop I tell buyers to ditch the printed xp system as it caters to shoot killer wizards. I tell them to use a blanket 20xp per spell cast.

    I like option 1 best, but to be honest, I see some "gamey" players still opting to spam the cheaper spell for "guaranteed" xp.
    Example, an 8 cost spell has a 60% success rate to cast than a 12 cost spell for 40% success rate. Is the difference in risk worth the potential increase in xp? Maybe...

  26. I like the 2nd one best of the two as it increases the reward to wizards that are not doing well in a game, thus closing the gap of runaway leveling. Just because something is counter intuitive doesn't mean it is wrong. I like it!

    Frankly though, I like the idea of rewarding experience for each DIFFERENT spell successful cast. This forces wizards to casr less common spells and limits levelling...

  27. If the idea is to get players to expand in to more spells instead of concentrating on just a handful, perhaps this idea:

    Each time you cast a spell you haven't already cast in the game, you earn 25 XP (or some other number that is balanced). If a player just uses one spell throughout the game, they will only earn 25 XP from spells. On the other hand, if the player expands their breadth of magical knowledge instead of going deep into ability, they will be able to earn more XP. A company that uses only three different spells throughout the course of the game will therefore earn 75 XP. The opponent, who has a company that knows 10 spells and actually casts each of them during the game, will earn 250 XP.

    1. This is my favorite suggestion.

      I think you could actually throw out all the other ways to gain XP and just go with 25 XP per unique spell cast, plus scenario-specific rewards. That would both encourage diverse spellcasting AND simplify the rules!

  28. I see the problem you are trying to adress, but I would prefer a solution that minimizes bookkeeping. (If I want to solve problems by extensive bookkeeping, I just go to work.) Therefore, I would suggest a very minimalistic solution:

    sucessfull spell: 5XP
    failed spell: 10XP

    So you can still concentrate on the game, not so much on on the tally sheet.

  29. I like both, and may try these two options, but eliminate exp for wizards/apprentices who take models out of action.

  30. Interesting discussion. I agree that gaining Experience equal to the casting difficulty of the spell is a bitt too fiddly.

    And gaining Experience for failing spells is a very interesting idea, but counter-intuitive. Still, it's worth considering further.

    My preferred option is you only gain Experience the FIRST time you cast a spell during a game. I.e., you can only gain Experience for each particular spell once per game, and if you want more Experience, you need to cast a different spell.

    This encourages players to cast a variety of spells, and not just cast Bone Dart/Elemental Bolt over and over.

    It requires a tiny bit of paper work or memory, but in practice I've found it very manageable. If you have your spells written on your wizard sheet, just put a check next to each one the first time you cast it, then count the Experience at the end of the game. Easy.

    1. I'm going to try this one out. See how it works for me.

  31. I think your first potential fix has the greatest potential and could be taken a step further. You could also add the caveat that you can only receive the experience for successfully casting a spell once per match. This will have a double bonus, first it will incentivise players to cast different spells in their repertoire, as well as encourage them to collect more spells as a campaign progresses.

  32. Among all the ideas above I prefer the ones that add diversity to the game or make it more memorable.

    Emphasise the casting aspect instead of the killing aspect. Killing an enemy already grants advantages for the rest of the game (and perhaps later games as well).

    Some ideas:

    Reward diversity
    Award xp for the first time a spell is cast by a mage or apprentice in each game (25xp sounds good to me). So you can cast bone dart as often as you like, but only once you get xp awarded for doing so.

    Make killing a win-win situation
    Even though I like the fail forward aspect mentioned above, I don't think doing something dramatic should be in vein. How about we give the "killing" xp to both parties? Sending a mage to the hospital will surely teach not only the attacker a lesson. This will slim down the advantage professional killers (Battle Wizards) have over their more peaceful competitors.

    Simplify the xp table:
    ** Cast a spell: 25xp (Only once per spell and game)
    ** Casualties: Soldier: 50px / Apprentice 100xp / Wizard: 150px (both sides)
    ** Treasure: 50x per treasure.

    This will help all parties involved in a campaign to advance forward in a steady pace. After a few games, the main difference between War bands will not be the level gap, but how they used the awarded experience.

    Last but not least:

    Grant benefits for achieving milestones
    They should be hard to do, but something you have a chance to achieve. Rather than giving XP for this, grant a small benefit in the future.

    Some ideas 8untested):
    * Survival specialist - All soldiers of your war band manage to leave the board more or less unscathed (no casualties). You gain a pool of 3 +1 tokens for your next game. Your soldiers can use them on any dice roll.
    * Favoured enemy - Bring down 3 different kind of creatures of a particular group of enemies (for example undead, animals, construct, etc) in a single game. You are now a renown enemy of this group. On your next game, you can add +1 to each attack roll against his particular type of enemy. If given the choice, creatures of this particular type will use you as a primary target.

  33. Is the XP table really the issue here? The 'problem' that a lot of people seem to have is that shooty wizards are too powerful - so why not just make the shooty spells less effective and avoid adding a more complicated XP tracking system?

    My feeling is that some of the spells give a player very reliable ways to make kills and are way too good to pass up. Why would you not take a spell that gives you a +8 shooting attack or that affects all enemy models within 12"???

    In my group we have kept the XP table as is, more or less, and made some changes to a handful of spells:

    Elemental Bolt: it's now +5, and if your Casting Number is 20+ it becomes a +8, makes for more of a risk/reward to pull it off and it's not such a sure thing any more

    Elemental Ball: +3 instead of +5, it's more in line with the Grenade spell but still a bit different

    Destructive Sphere: +3 instead of +5

    Scatter Shot: Area of effect reduced from 12" to 8"

    Bone Dart: +4 instead of +5

    This has worked well for us, we can still make aggressive wizards but the support type spells remain appealing and get cast often. It opens up the gameplay a little and helps solve the issue of "shooty" wizards for us, as my group didn't really like that style of play either.

  34. I am quite happy with the existing system, sure the shooty wizards will likely gain more xp with the spell xp, plus the kill xp. But let's remember, this is a game about wizards. At best there is 20 spell xp gained per turn by both the wizard/apprentice. We also use the soldier xp from kills in our campaign. All said & done, in a good game a player will likely see an increase of 4 levels, when it's all said & done. The challenge for the NON-shooty wizard is devising says to negate/nullify the shooty spells (fog, wall, etc)

  35. As mentioned in a previous comment, the RPG - Dungeon World (a powered by the Apocalypse game) uses the failure gives XP system. For many reasons.
    1) It encourages players to take risks in order to get XP
    2) As their level and skills improve, it becomes harder to fail, so XP is gained at a slower rate the higher your level.

  36. Perhaps tie it to the characters level. Wizards say under level 5 earn XP as currently described. Higher level wizards only get XP for Successfully casing spells with an casting number of 10 or more. In real life you don't generally get a lot of credit for doing things you have mastered... you advance by testing your limits.

  37. I have played a _lot_ of Frostgrave in the past 2 years. Still loving it ! My humble opinion is that Wizards should not gain xp for killing other wizards or their henchmen. 50 xp for treasure. 40xp for the first time casting each spell if 14+ to cast.....20 xp if fail the first casting of a 14+ spell ....20 xp for first cast of spell less than 14+ to cast.....10 xp for failing a first cast of a spell less than 14 +...0 xp in all other circumstances. Also xp for monsters.

    just my tuppence

    zellak ( 4 wizards level 50+ ....and current Summoner level 91 )

  38. We have you gain 25xp for casting a spell and 5xp for every consecutive spell. No xp for out of game spells. It works really well as it makes you want to use all the spells you have in your list to gain xp.

  39. I'd love it if you awarded failure, but then, my dice suck.

    Besides spellcasting, experience points should be award for killing wandering monsters, especially as some of them can be extremely challenging (giants, trolls, the worm, etc).

  40. As an engineer, I learned that for a system that includes feedback (i.e. XP) to be stable, the overall feedback must be negative (reward failure). With too much positive feedback (rewarding success) the system becomes unstable (one wizard becomes too powerful). So I like the idea of getting experience points for failed spells. One of my very wise friends told me "Experience is what you get when you don't get what you want!"

    But I also like the 1st idea, so here are my suggestions:

    Spell casting:
    Wizard: Target number, x1 for success, x3 for failure.
    Apprentice: Target number, x1 for failure.

    Kill Points: Higher of (Fight or Shoot) + Armor value + Hit Points. Only for kills made by the Wizard.

    Treasure: 35 points each.

    Plus mission specific XP rewards.

    I also like the idea from a previous comment about limiting the length of the game. Instead of a fixed 6 turns (as suggested), I would make it that at the end of each turn from turn 6 on, roll a d20, on an 11+, the game ends immediately and any treasures not off board by then are lost. (Snowstorm hits, or REALLY scary monster shows up, etc.) If this is used, I might bump up the treasure to 50XP.

    Thanks Joe for the great game!


    1. Really like wynr's ideas. This'd get my vote.

  41. Thematically I don't think its that odd. Does one learn more from failure or from success? If experience represents learning then I'd argue the former.

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  43. I will use the first one immedeatly. Easy and fair, hard spell more XP.

    The second point covers another issue as well, falling behind/cath up mechanism.
    I think it should be w reward in XP and/or gold for facing a higher lvl opponent. As your rule simple and fair. Get lvl differnce x3 XP & gold for facing higher level opponent (min +10 max + 100 maybye?)

  44. As mentioned in a previous comment, the RPG - Dungeon World (a powered by the Apocalypse game) uses the failure gives XP system. For many reasons.


  45. I've heard good things about Bad Karma's XP system, so I'll try that for now (de-emphasis on killing). However, after seeing the Ulterior Motives cards, you can certainly have the XP system that is not fixed for each game or player, to reward different play behavior. An obvious example would be that each magical college would have their own set of XP rewards, perhaps more than one set (factions within a college, you know!). Scenarios sometimes already change the XP system, encouraging various behaviors. Players may follow Gods, who reward XP for certain behaviors. The nature of magic itself may change, altering the XP system. IMO, The trap is thinking that *one* XP system is "fair" to everyone, or that the purpose of XP is to be "fair". At a high level, I think the purpose of XP -- and other game mechanics, like gold -- is to encourage a certain game behavior, but XP (and gold) is not the only way to do it. Indeed, speaking of gold, some game systems only use gold for advancement. Even the earliest days of D&D used a "one gold = 1 XP" rule, because it worked on the assumption that you had to overcome difficulties -- and hence would gain experience -- in order to get that gold.

    Another thought about mechanics is, particularly now that everyone on BGG's trying to fix Massive Darkness (: that you should look at the game design as a whole, not just try to "fix" one mechanic. Because if you do, you may alter a part of the game that now *no longer works*, resulting in needing in another fix. Better to redesign as a whole. I do note one "problem" about a campaign system with leveling up are unbalanced scenarios, and, besides scenario design (here come another pack of cards!), XP can be an indirect solution, where an XP system can reward a lower level warband greater for the same actions taken by a higher one. Games like D&D, where it takes more XP to go up a level as you reach higher levels, already does this. But, for now Frostgrave doesn't, since 100 XP raises a wizard by a level (although stats are capped).

    Still, everyone's having fun, so, in the end, I don't think there's *that* much to worry about XP. You should see the problems we're having with micro-XP in Massive Darkness... :D

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  48. This comment has been removed by the author.

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