- XP in many TTRPGs gears the players toward certain types of actions.
- Eg: XP for killing drives you to kill more instead of exploring other options
- Eg: XP for gold recovered back to town in OSR games encourages reward-seeking behaviour
- The way some systems, like many OSR games, approach this seems to help “aim” players; however, the “gold as XP” also pushes players towards a certain style of play over time. They build habits and crutches they stick to.
- Infection/corruption from the environment in Bug & Claw has to have consequences and rewards.
- Is there a way to approach advancement in Bug & Claw that can encourage players toward more organic play?
- Can gearing players more toward the overarching adventure and solving that as an outcome help? Or is it only part of the solution?
- Can infection/corruption be included in advancement in a meaningful way?
- If some of the way XP is awarded is randomized between adventures and milestones, players will be free to act more like they want instead of in a singular, pushed direction.
- Eg: You might always earn XP in a couple ways, but you may also earn it in a new and different way per outing.
- If the lasting effects of infection/corruption show up during advancement, it provides a good, measured amount of chaos rather than constant stress.
- If players can choose when they advance and moult, they can decide when to take on vulnerability, risk, and change.
- XP is awarded in half or full-point increments (represented by empty stars on the character sheet players can fill in).
- The referee determines when XP will be awarded. Generally, this happens after completing a harrowing event, breaking from a dungeon to return to town, or after a long amount of play.
- XP is awarded by answering a series of yes/no questions. If a player can say yes to those questions, they'll earn ½ or 1 XP.
- The questions asked may change between adventures.
- The questions asked may be in whole or in part randomized.
- Players can sacrifice 1 XP per play session to give advantage +1 to a roll they choose.
- Once the player's XP bar is full, they can choose to moult, shedding their old exoskeleton and revealing the new.
- At the time of moulting, disabling injuries like scars or missing limbs have a chance of regenerating.
- If a character's infection is above a certain point when they moult, they must roll on a special table to determine the effects.
- Moulting temporarily disables characters, causing them to be vulnerable. Generally, it is safe to do in town but much riskier out in the wilderness, wastes, or dungeons. This is one of the many reasons it's recommended to bring a friend (another player or hireling) on adventures, as well as stock up on helpful items.
- On emerging from a moult, players gain extra HP, may increase in size, may gain ability score increases, new abilities, and changes in appearance.
Example questions for XP
Gain 1 XP
- Did you contribute a unique and interesting idea to the storyline?
- Did your character achieve meaningful personal growth?
- Did you make a new friend?
- Did you take any big risks to aid the party's progress?
- Did you attempt to influence or persuade NPCs in the story?
Gain ½ an XP
- Did you help another player with their idea or an obstacle meaningfully?
- Did you make an effort to help solve puzzles or strategic combat challenges?
- Did you find a secret passage, treasure, character, or something else?
- Did you help an NPC or hireling in the story meaningfully?
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