#RPGaDay2020 Comes to a Close: Day 31 — Experience


Last Day. Year of the RPGaDay – 2020. Carousel begins.
This is the time of renewal.

So…it has arrived, that fateful day when another month-long RPGaDay Celebration comes to a close. It has been a challenging, but rewarding month. Many of the prompts were… difficult. All, however, were inspiring. As always, my respect and admiration to David Chapman and Anthony Boyd for shepherding us through another successful course of RPG positivity.

Today’s word prompt, the final of our short season, is apropos. Experience. XP has been a mainstay of RPGs from inception. From the 1st Edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Player’s Handbook:

Experience is the measure of a character’s ability in his or her chosen profession, the character’s class. Each player character begins the campaign at 1st level with no experience points accumulated. Thereafter, as he or she completes adventures and returns to an established base of operations, the Dungeon Master will award experience points to the character for treasure gained and opponents captured or slain and for solving or overcoming problems through professional means. Characters with high scores in their major characteristic ability area might be entitled to an experience points bonus. When a sufficient number of experience points have been gained, the character will gain an experience level . It is important to keep in mind that most humans and demi-humans are “0 level”. They do not have the ability to gain experience levels. Player characters are unusual and superior.

It has always been hotly debated how experience was gained within the Dungeons & Dragons game system (largely copied by most RPGs). The PHB even addressed the controversy, and this was in 1978. Gygax wrote, “Gaining experience points through the acquisition of gold pieces and by slaying monsters might be questioned by some individuals as nonrepresentative of how an actual character would become more able in his or her class...This is a game, however, a fantasy game, and suspension of disbelief is required. If one can accept the existence of 12′ tall giants, why not the rewarding of experience points for treasure gained?

In our dFEAT System™, we jettisoned experience awards for monster slaying and treasure collecting, as well as “leveling up” as a result of experience accumulated.

The dFEAT System™ focuses on rewarding players for completing game sessions. Instead of experience points, players gain feat points that they can spend to purchase new skills and abilities, reflecting actual growth. This also allows for more character customization, removing many of the limitations that the typical class system enforces.

And that concludes, for me, the RPGaDay 2020 experience. It has been another successful sojourn through this hobby we love. It’s been nice to have a healthy distraction from all the depressing news about the pandemic, the US election cycle, and the civil unrest.

There’s a small part of me that thinks that if we could all just learn to get along, to maybe toss some dice together at the table, maybe…just maybe… we could find some common ground.

Stay safe out there.

—Bob Freeman
Bordermen Games

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