[generic] Sacrificing xp for dice boosts

#1
I just posted a thread saying my players don't use the All-Out Defence option in combat. For that, they just kind of ignore it. It's like they could put sugar in their tea, but just don't bother.

Games which have a mechanic for spending your xp for a one-off, in-session dice bonus or re-roll, however... those don't get ignored. Those have scorn and vitriol poured on them. Sometimes with accompanying spreadsheets and powerpoint displays on the probabilities of improving your character for one roll, versus saving the xp and improving the character forever. :D I'm not keen on it myself, if for no other reason than sod's law would mean that the one time I needed to used it would be the one session where I'd already spent all my xp!

Ghost Ops is the most recent game I've read which has this mechanic in it. (It also has story points AND pools of replenishable points to add to dice roll, so I'm not sure it even needs it).

So (again) this is a game mechanic which the groups I play with refuse to use. Anyone else had other experiences (no pun intended)?
 

MartinP

Rune Priest
#2
Games which have a mechanic for spending your xp for a one-off, in-session dice bonus or re-roll, however... those don't get ignored.
...
So (again) this is a game mechanic which the groups I play with refuse to use. Anyone else had other experiences (no pun intended)?
Playing Shadowrun (1st ed I think), the problem we had was that we (well, me specifically) couldn't afford not to spend our karma on rolls, meaning we (err, I) then had trouble keeping up with the development of one or two luckier characters. Which of course led to needing to use karma more often because the challenges were harder, and so on. Not a lot of fun.
 

MartinP

Rune Priest
#5
It’s a fundamental of reward systems to NEVER take off “praise points” once they’ve been given. Find some other system to penalise.
To be fair to the authors, they did figure that out quite quickly. I think 2nd ed Shadowrun had replaced the single karma pool with "good karma" (re-rolls etc) and, err, some other type of karma (experience). IIRC there was some sort of ratio between them, or something? 1 good karma for every 3 karma in your experience pool, or something like that? Anyone still remember 25 years on?
 

Guvnor

The Guvnor
Staff member
#6
It's a bad part (one of very few) of WEG D6: the idea you might spend character points (xp) in game on dice rolls.. I'd rather have my character die
 
#8
Both Cypher System (Numenera, The Strange, etc.) and Symbaroum include this option and there's definitely a school of thinking where players would ask, why? I think, like any game with an economy, it needs to be instilled from the outset that this exists and the players might need to be de-programmed from their old thinking.

I mean Fate (or, for that matter as I'm reading it at the moment, Talisman) has a similar approach of handing out stuff to see it spent at the soonest opportunity. 2d20 is the same. Not linking that economy into character development, it isn't as big a deal, but if it was, how would that change things.

I found with Symbaroum that I needed to think a wider pool of options to spend XP on to incite players to consider it – reasonable options that were not breaking the system, but bending it sufficiently to make the expenditure a temptation.

Indeed, the ratio needs some sales thinking done on it, like those offers where you have cheap, expensive and the option in-between that, when you read what it doesn't offer and go back to re-read expensive again makes it feel like you'd be missing out or a fool not to spend big. Character development needs to be the cheap option; the one that offers the run of the mill advance that will takes ages to reach. Make the expensive (spend it now, this session, immediately) option more enticing, but offer some middle ground that sounds OK but isn't quite as super-great-good as expensive.
 
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