Changing the Experience System

Last week we went over a bit of how we’re redoing encumbrance and item inventory for characters, going with more of a modern computer game-style approach. This week, I want to go over another major revamp as far as levels go.

The Old Way

The “old way” with Mazes & Perils essentially followed the traditional approach with OSR games. Characters gain experience with each encounter, slowly accumulating more and more until they achieve a new level. And then, at each level, they gain additional capabilities.

For instance, a Fighting Man started at level 1 and worked until he gained 2,001 experience points to become level 2, gained 4,002 experience points for level 3, etc. As levels increased, you consulted tables to see if it became easier to hit targets. This To Hit score dropped for every 3 levels or so. For levels 1-3, the Fighting Man had a To Hit score that started at 10. At 4th level, that dropped to 8. At 7th level, it dropped to 6, and so on.

This was a variation on the old “To Hit Armor Class Zero” approach.

The New Way

Well in Basic, we’ve tossed out all those old XP tables in favor of a “milestone” approach. Milestones will be defined by the referee running the game, but could be spaced out to occur when certain story arcs are completed or at the end of every session, depending on the speed of advancement the referee wants to encourage.

But when a character hits a milestone, they can “level up” — and that gives them a few benefits.

  1. Just like before, as characters gain higher levels, they gain additional abilities. For instance, Magic-Users and Clerics can cast more spells, Warriors gain more attacks, Thieves gain additional abilities, and so on.
  2. Just like before, characters gain additional Hit Points (as per their Hit Die), making them a bit tougher on the battlefield.
  3. And now they have the potential to increase their Prime Requisite Ability Score.

Ability Score Increases

Every time the character levels up, they get a chance to raise their Prime Requisite Ability score. Dexterity for a Thief, Wisdom for a Cleric, Intelligence for a Magic-User, and Strength AND Dexterity for a Warrior.

How’s it work? Roll a d20. If you roll over the current value for that ability score, it goes up by one. (In the Warrior case, you roll once for each ability score and choose one if you make them both.)

So if my Warrior “Mongo” has a Strength of 15 and levels up, I would roll a d20 and check the result. If I got a 16 or higher for Strength, the character’s Strength would go up to a 16 and I would get the additional Modifier (it goes from 1 at 13-15 to 2 at 16-18.  The next level up, I would have to roll over a 16 for it to increase.

This makes leveling up a bit more involved, but grants some cool advantages as each character rises through the ranks.

What do you think of this new mechanic? Leave us some feedback in the comments!

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