Bard's First Impressions

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Bard's First Impressions

Postby Bard on Mon Mar 16, 2009 10:32 pm

Thanks for showing us!

My first impression is, "Wow, that takes me back." It's got a very retro feel to it -- it reminds me of reading DragonQuest more than any other game I can think of just now. Except that it's streamlined: DragonQuest had lots of big numbers (based on d100, and with D&D-ish 1000's of experience points to get to second level if I remember properly), and Elthos uses a much tidier scale of 1-6 for everything.

And other classic games. It seems to have a structural resemblance to Mazes and Minotaurs (http://mazesandminotaurs.free.fr/), which IIRC was also based on a scale of 1-6 in many places. Elthos is purer about its 1-6-ishness, though.

I'm a bit confused about advancement though (for one thing at random). On page 11: if a character uses an elective skill, he gets SLP x DL experience points. DL's will often be about 3-4, and SLP ranges from 1 (Reading and Writing, Swimming) to 3 (Stealth, Horse Riding). So, riding a horse successfully will give you, oh, let's say it's dead simple with DL=1, so 3 exp. Also from page 11: thieves are 4th level when they have 20-39 exp. So, um, can I get my thief to 4th level by seven successful horseback rides (7x3 = 21 exp)? Or, more interestingly, two successful attempts to sneak around in middle-difficulty circumstances (DL=4, so 12 exp each)?

I'm rather pissy at the moment for reasons that have nothing to do with Elthos, or even gaming. I have to save at -3 against ripping into it ... *clatter* Made it, but just barely. But if you want a harsh but well-meaning critique, I'd be glad to give one.

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Re: Bard's First Impressions

Postby vbwyrde on Mon Mar 16, 2009 10:46 pm

Hi Bard,

Thanks for the feedback. Retro works for me! :)

I'm a bit confused about advancement though (for one thing at random). On page 11: if a character uses an elective skill, he gets SLP x DL experience points. DL's will often be about 3-4, and SLP ranges from 1 (Reading and Writing, Swimming) to 3 (Stealth, Horse Riding). So, riding a horse successfully will give you, oh, let's say it's dead simple with DL=1, so 3 exp. Also from page 11: thieves are 4th level when they have 20-39 exp. So, um, can I get my thief to 4th level by seven successful horseback rides (7x3 = 21 exp)? Or, more interestingly, two successful attempts to sneak around in middle-difficulty circumstances (DL=4, so 12 exp each)?


Yeah the numbers are a little tight on this. I'm not sure if I included it in this version (as you can see I'm on v1.26 - which is the 26th version) ... but if not I should go poke around and fit that text back in. Basically, the idea is that the system should reward very little bits of experience for using skills that are not Primary Skills for a given Class, and the normal amount for Primary Skills. So Fighting is a Figher Skill, and therefore gets the lion's share of experience, but basket weaving should gain you little. Enough so that if your character is a basket weaver, after 40 years or so he should accumulate enough basket weaving experience to become 4th or 5th level, and in his elder years a true master at basket weaving (so you would note that none of the four Guild Classes teaches Basket weaving as a primary skill, which means it delivers miniscule experience compared with a Fighter doing Fighting and winning combats). In essense it is saying that non-Guild characters will eventually become masters in their arts - but not quickly because the experience gained from mundain skills is very small comparatively.

That's the idea. However, it may be that the numbers don't quite work well enough for it yet. I'll have to get back to thinking on that. I know I want a difficulty multiplier, but maybe the solution is to drop the Skill Learning Points as part of it. Perhaps it would serve my purpose to simply have the DL be the amount of experience, if the character succeeds at the task?

What do you think?

:)
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Elthos RPG Website: http://www.elthos.com

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Experience from minor skills.

Postby Bard on Tue Mar 17, 2009 6:16 am

Well. If it takes 20 exp total to get to third level (which is true for thieves), and if you give *one* exp for doing a minor skill (which is the least you can get away with without fractions or fancy rules), then a thief can get to third level by twenty rolls on minor skills. Viz. without doing any thievery or anything interesting. I don't know exactly how it would work, but, arguably, I make twenty minor skill rolls a day ... or two hundred ... or two ... or none.

There are a bunch of ways to deal with that.

The high-bookkeeping approach would be to make the exp gain probabilistic. Make a roll to get that exp. If you're sticking with one d6, the roll won't help enough, and it's a real bother.

Or you could use D&D scale experience: 2,000 exp to get to third level. Then the little trickle of 12 exp here and 20 there will count, but not instantly slam you up levels. Fighting exp would have to be bigger numbers, hundreds or thousands of exp. It would be a shame to do this, IMAO.

Another approach is sort of metagamey. You don't get exp for just *any* skill roll; you only get exp for rolls that matter for the game. So riding your horse home doesn't count, but riding your horse to escape the watch does. I'd give exp as described in the core rules for this, since it won't come up that often and is just as exciting and interesting as a fight. But it does have some odd consequences: people will try to use skills a lot in exciting scenes, to get more exp. (This is a World Tree rule too --- and characters do know it in-game. So it is routine for adventurers to use lots of skills and thus learn them quickly.)

My latest game is blissfully exp-free. Characters go up a level at four plot-critical points, and That Is That. No exp to fuss with. I am sufficiently happy about how it's working that I may do it again.

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Re: Bard's First Impressions

Postby vbwyrde on Tue Mar 17, 2009 6:59 am

Hmm... well, that's a good thought. And you're right about that 20 rolls thing. I like the idea of there being a metagamish aspect, or at least where that's going.

How about this? No Character can earn more than 1, 2 or 3 Exp using non Prime skills per game, and those need to be used in a significant way for the GM to award them?
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Re: Bard's First Impressions

Postby Bard on Tue Mar 17, 2009 7:25 am

I dunno about the 1-2-3 rule. If, somehow, a thief defeats a mighty ogre using a combination of basket weaving and horseback riding, I'd give *more* exp than if she'd just fought it out in a straight-up melee. In my opinion, clever uses of skills (or anything else) are very cool and deserve to be rewarded.

So I'd phrase it as "1-3 points for routine uses of non-prime skills per game, with 1 being the default; 2 or 3 if the skills are used heavily. Interesting uses of those skills get more experience."

(Gamers will adjust their behavior to the rules. I have played in a game where you got experience for every melee round you fought. After a while, I started doing tricks to make melees last as long as possible. My silver dragon character would turn into a raven and peck orks to death, which took *forever* but was worth piles of exp.)
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Re: Bard's First Impressions

Postby vbwyrde on Tue Mar 17, 2009 8:26 am

Ok that's great. I think it works perfectly. I'm thinking I'll add a section in the forum for House Rules, so people can add there own and discuss.
* Aspire to Inspire *

Literary Role Playing Game Society of Westchester: http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/LRPGSW

Elthos RPG Website: http://www.elthos.com

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