Re: Epic NPCs and their stats

From: Doyle Tavener <JavaApp_at_dvXbJBxj0DKyxzs-Vgj6mZHKmQnpizNjyyZT15l8Ari9cufOHXqozrA22ekTvDQI3WMj>
Date: Thu, 16 Aug 2007 09:42:07 -0500

In the current discussion on benchmarks, stats, and epic NPCs several people have noted that advancement varies wildly between groups, and a couple of the tribe have asserted (If I understand them correctly) that advancement can vary wildly even between players in the same group, as Hero Points can be spent on bumps, etc.

I am not altogether surprised by this discrepancy. In Robin Laws' original draft for Hero Wars, players only got hero points when they rolled a crit, or exactly their skill number (I forget exactly what it was, but it was basically a 1 in 20 chance every time you rolled). While points could be used for advancement (as XP, that is) most of your points would be burnt off for bumps and such. That is, PCs were never really expected to ever get all that much better, as most characters in conventional narratives (RPG inspired fiction being a exception, obviously) don't get all that much better by the end of the story.

Under this conception, if you got more powerful at all, it would be * expressly* because of story needs, and not because you got a lot of experience points.

How would you get better in a RPG without XP? Heroquesting, acquiring magical artifacts, social networking to increase social stats, profound experiences to generate emotional stats (You keeled my fader! Prepare to die!) and similar story-based events, rather than XP.

So I am not surprised at all that there are such wildly varying experiences among GMs and players when it comes to dealing with Hero Points. The system, as originally intended, was never supposed to use XP in the conventional RPG way. It's little wonder that some among us wonder what the point of XP is if the opposition is always 10 higher than the PCs. The point of XP is that it was bolted on to the system to satisfy us in the tribe who couldn't live without it.

I realize that this may sound overtly radical and artsy-farty for some of you (Role players of the world unite! Throw off your addictive need for instant gratification through XP! You have nothing to lose but your chains, etc...) but I would call your attention to edges and handicaps. Most of us (me included) thought we needed this bit of chrome. Turns out we could get along fine without it.

As the risk of sounding like a broken record, it continues to be apparent that maybe we should just play the game according to the way Robin Laws originally intended.

Doyle Wayne Ramos-Tavener is not reasonable to assume that Aristotle knew the Number of the
- Albertus Magnus

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