Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Ever play with a rule variant so long you just forget it was a variant

Set adrift from a regular game, I recently started poking around other's blogs.  I had one of those senior moments where I stopped and recalled "Oh wait, that is right, other people give out exp for money."

I'd just forgotten that this was even a part of the game.  

Now we all discard some things, most of the rule books, whatever the editions are variants.   The second edition took it to an extreme.   Then there is the stuff you streamline depending on the players.  Like those armor class adjustments, which are great till you realize it's based upon people who wear armor and only works when everyone is on the ball.

Some are habits, like writing down your moves on erasable boards, a practiced instituted because I had a friend who'd vacillate between shouting out what everyone should do and then lurking to see what everyone else would do, so he could do the perfect thing.  He even started sitting on my right, when we tried "Let's just go clockwise." So we just started writing down what are moves were and instituting a party wide penalty of +1 for shouting things out.

Yet the exp thing, I'd forgotten about that.

Last time I gave Exp for gold, Reagan was president and not senile, cancerous polyp Reagan, but young Reagan, before the invasion of Grenada aged him.

It just didn't make much sense.  You found gold or a magic item and you get exp?  Huh?  So a high magic game results in quick advancement, while a low magic game, arguably tougher, meant you got less exp?  Nobles on a quest, high exp, but beggars fighting for coppers, low exp. So we did away with it and most people seemed happy.  Replaced it by doubling monster exp and adding in rewards for spells and goals accomplished.  It came out the same. It's not as if players ever cared that much as long as they got a number.  About the same time we started a personal responsibility kick, to punish the cowards who never did anything, hid during fights, and didn't show up some weeks.  Now that caused trouble.

It was great.  It meant you could have absurd wealth flow their hands like water.   You didn't have to fear placing a dick artifact in the game, just because while the artifact might be dickish, it still meant a level up to the one person who got it.  It meant I could stick a fountain in the game where healing potions flowed like water (and spoiled like milk.) It meant alien green houses filled with weed that let you fly as you smoked it.   It meant the party co-operated rather than fighting over high ticket items.

Over the years I also experimented with bonuses,  you got an award and a round of applause for a particular heroic feat or for some cool bit of characterization. Some were awarded by the other players, some by me.  Made them try to get that bonus points.

Last adventure, I think I took the final step, we had a good bunch of players and I listened to a persuasive argument.  I went off the grid entirely.  Stopped counting points.  Stopped spending time calculating who got what.  Just went with hippy-dippy awards of "I think you earned X."

It was liberating.  Oh sure I calculated a ballpark biomass, but I just cut out the nitpicking.  Eliminated what had always been a chore and just went with what worked in the story line.

I'd just forgotten that Exp involved gold pieces till today.

A complete blank that this is how other people do this.  That they fret about the solid silver idols and sticking in a Smaug sized treasure.

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