My Diatribes on Roleplaying and the Earning of Experience


Experience is awarded for three things: accomplishing deeds, playing in character, and, of course, unique experiences. Accomplishing deeds primarily means overcoming obstacles and opponents. An obstacle is anything that provides the character with a challenge, whether it is physical, political, mental, social, or of some other type. Note that how one does this is the most important factor. The more creative or daring the solution, the more experience will be awarded. In many cases, a failed creative attempt will be worth more than a successful but clichéd technique. Also, when dealing with living opponents, especially intelligent ones, any form of defeat is as good as death. In fact, in many cases, killing your opponent, in addition to being a bad move legally, will be worth less experience even than merely circumventing her. There are exceptions, of course, but generally killing an enemy is the least creative solution, thus the fewest XPs.

Playing in character is probably the most important thing to consider. Playing out of character is the only way that you can actually lose XPs (compared to those you would have gotten from the other two methods). In addition to a copy of your characterıs alignment and background, I will keep handy a quick summary of your Priorities, your attitudes with regard to the six Morals marked with an asterisk, and one or two beliefs that I predict will have the most relevance in general play. On this I will make notes as we go as to particularly out-of-character actions and particularly in-character actions. I am particularly mindful of those where you must resist the temptation to slip out of character for your own betterment.

Unique experiences are anything that you do or are subjected to that would more than likely be ³character-building.² This can further augment gains from either of the other two sources, or reflect the experience gained by something that isnıt strictly covered in any other way, but would clearly give a real-world person experience.

Racial Adjustments: Most races besides humanity have an adjustment to earned experience, in the form of a percentage. Whenever experience is awarded, it should be adjusted correspondingly by the player before being recorded. If the character also has a bonus for high prime requisites, the two percentages are added and then applied. Multi-class characters divide their experience equally, then apply the racial and prime requisite modifiers.

There is a two-fold reason for the adoption of experience point adjustments instead of racial level limits. On the game level, it helps game balance by slowing the advancement of races with more inherent abilities, and/or longer lives, preventing them from dominating the game. On the game-world level, it is explained by the fact that these same races have a body of knowledge far greater than a human and many more skills to maintain their ability in, so they must work a little bit harder to improve their class-based skills.


Ideally, there shouldnıt be any need for a player to talk to another player, or ask the DM a question. Instead, I would hope that characters would talk to characters, or ask NPCs questions. After all, if the characters canıt communicate the necessary information, then it generally means it is information that only their players possess. Now, realistically, I realize that a certain amount of game-level (as opposed to game-world-level) interaction is necessary. But even in the realm of, say, combat, I encourage you to do as much as possible from the perspective of your character. Obviously I need to know your to-hit and damage rolls, but even they can be conveyed as much as possible within the context of the game. For my part, Iıll provide you with the detailed environment necessary. For your part, I expect everyone to at least know how to implement the rules they want to use, including combat options (which will be detailed later in this packet).

A personal pet peeve: when players tell the DM how in-character an action is, or how it is the only appropriate response because of some personality trait of theirs, in the process obviously stepping out of character. (From the charactersı perspective, there is no such thing as a DM.) There is absolutely no need for this. Repeated assurances that "as a (insert race/class/social class/etc.), I wouldŠ" grow quickly annoying. It is not something you would ever hear in the real world. ("As a Protestant, I will ignore the Catholic priestıs warning and proceed anyway.") Instead, just do whatever it is you want to do. In character or not, I will know, because I have a copy of your alignment, and if you play at all consistently, the other characters will quickly learn how you react to certain situations, and perhaps even why, without you shoving it in their faces.

In addition to your alignment, I have several tools for helping you to further characterize yourself. These are intended variously for people to analyze themselves, or for aiding method actors, or for other role-playing games, but they are all wonderfully helpful in getting inside the head of your character. I strongly urge you to borrow one or more of these between games.

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