Zenbitz:Experience and reward system thoughts

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Reward systems

I do not like typical experience systems. I don't like XP for slaying things. I don't like spending XP earned on whatever you want. I really don't like levels, and most particualarly, generic increase in combat staying power (hit points) that come with levels. I suppose it would be simplest to just do away with character improvement as a reward for "progressing" though the game altogether... but my feeling is that we must have some reward system. Of course, there is always P4t loot. That must count for something - in most RPGs - money (or bartered goods) can buy you everything from better weapons and armor to hit points, stat and even skill improvements.

Would it be possible to make loot the primary reward system?

Let's assume no. Previous discussions have mentioned the "rule of 3" that every quest have 3 ways to solve it. What if you decided at the beginnings, when you created your character which way you were going to focus on. You pretty much do anyway when you pick your skills and stats. Just take it a step further and add "goals" or "motivations" to the character. These motivations would give you an experience bonus (or penalty) for different "types" of experience. The analogy is with a table top RPG where you get experience for "roleplaying".

"Slayer" Your motivation is to am become death - bonus for killing XP - penalty for aquisition.
"Plutocrat"Your motivation is to accumulate goods, particularly luxury items. - bonus XP for stealing/aquisition, penalty for helping
"Savior"Your motivation is to safe the world - bonus XP for helping people, penalty for destruction, killing
"Destructor"Your motivation is the destruction of the remnants of civilization - bonus XP for destroying stuff, penalty for helping
"Survivor"You play both ends against the middle - no bonuses to XP

I would be much happier with a few more - 8 or 12. Maybe technology skills? Rebuilding?

A related idea would not be to hardwire this in - but to "change the rules" as Character does stuff. Alternately - drop the XP issues, but use the above (not survivor) as Disavantages to gain character points. They would have to have REAL disadvantages though.

Use based and "mixed" improvement

See: Use- and study-based learning - It superceeds this section.

I like use based improvement. It has worked for 20 years in RPGs (caveat: with GM adjudication) and I see no reason it can't work in a computer game. The parameters just have to be set such that the difficulty or "significance" and the time that passes between uses of a skill are taken into account. That's for "learn by doing". I also think there could be "learn by study" (how else, other than a lucky default roll) could you get better at stuff you didn't start with.... well, I guess actually if you try "easy" tasks with terrible skill, spend some game time at it - you should become mediocre pretty quick. For learn by study to work - you need to either spend experience points (this would be a mixed system then) OR have time be a critical game resource the player has to choose (wisely) to spend on training skills or stats. If we do go with an "XP" system, then I would be in favor of "marking" skills used "under reasonable stress" (i.e., "quest" or "fight") conditions to be eligible to spend points on. Unless you find a teacher (even a book for smarties!)

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