Quick post for my own reference, on the costs of raising or buying Abilities and Arts in Ars Magica. My brain pauses each time I have to calculate a skill cost which I haven’t memorised, and I’m struggling to get more memorised (lets just call that aging gracefully). Continue reading
E is for Experience.
In my (somewhat not very) humble opinion experience rewards should be:
- related to successful story objectives, rather than kills, dice-rolls, or dumb luck.
- rewarded extra for clever ideas.
- rewarded extra for great roleplaying (a.k.a. acting).
- rewarded for allowing others to enjoy the game too.
- I’m not a fan of XP penalties, it seems counter intuitive to offer a disincentive to a hobby activity.
The rewarding for “good” roleplaying is a tough one. Giving one player a bonus for being a solid player is good, this might affect other players, where they see they cannot compete and therefore not try. That is a tough situation, and done best by (a) making the extra reward difference between players very small, and (b) perhaps not doing it initially to allow the players to warm-up.
Another thought I have, although I’ve not tried it yet is keeping the characters on exactly the same XP always. This removes the incentive for rewards, but also removes the penalties if a player cannot play for a reason. The team advance together. I really wish to try this in a game that is sympathetic to group advancement.
Part of the Blogging A to Z initiative, is to create an A-Z list of some sort, and I’m posting what ever random thoughts pop into my head for each letter of the alphabet.
As a response to the confusion* I had when my players were creating characters, here is a summary how XP is calculated for characters in Ars Magica; using a slightly different method from the default in the style of explanation. The outcome is the same, and I find the points breakdown far easier to spend during creation, especially when done by hand.
As there are two broad character types in Ars Magica, the character generation is also designed in two ways: there are rules for Magi, and rules for everyone else. The Companion and Grog (mundanes) rules are very simple, and the Magi rules are far more complicated.
XP in 5th edition has been heavily base-lined, so that the points spent in Abilities (skills) are the same as the points spent on Arts and Spells (magical powers). The characters spend them in different ways, but essentially as the points are the same, I sum up the totals, and set checkpoints for the minimum spend in the different areas.
The examples below for Magi demonstrate how powerful having post-apprenticeship years are before play begins, so it is worth noting that it is not typical to do this for young Magi, or that it might create an imbalance between characters. Be wary allowing too many years post-apprenticeship, and always enforce the Warp point penalties (2 per year post-apprenticeship).
XP Formula: Early Childhood + Later Life (+ Apprenticeship + Post-Apprenticeship)