Monday, January 16, 2012

DF: XP Awards house rules II: Unexplored Ideas or Ideas for the Unexplored

Over on the SJG forums someone asked about PC advancement in Dungeon Fantasy and megadungeons. I linked to my DF XP awards house rules article, but then later I came up with another idea, which I'm repeating here so I don't lose it.

I proposed the idea of a bonus for risking a descent to a lower dungeon level. The idea is that if you find a set of stairs/pit/chute/elevator/gate/whatever and hazard going down it long enough to encounter something, you get +1 xp. This would be for everyone who makes the trip, but only the first time.

I see some upsides to this idea:

- it gives even more encouragement to risky exploration. Go down the stairs now, because maybe next time you'll miss the session and won't get any XP for the trip the next time.

- it only rewards risk, because you need to go encounter something significant.

- it mitigates some of the risk - who in their right mind will hop into a gate or push the "basement" button the Magic Elevator? No one . . . but if I offer xp, well, you think maybe it's worth that brief trip.

There are also some downsides:

- it encourages searching for level exits over exploration of level specials.

- it means I need to actually confirm if a new level was a new level. Go down stairs on level one and then up stairs you find on level 2 . . . if you get +1 XP, that means you found a sub-level or secret area. If you don't, that means it's just level 1.

- It requires firm tracking of who went where.

Any upsides or downsides I'm missing here?


  1. I would give n XP for solving a puzzle that opens up an area for exploration: unlocking the grate over the sewer, opening the secret passage to the sublevel area, crossing the lake of death to get to the crystal city, scaling the cliffs of insanity, opening flood control dam #5, etc.

    The design trick to make players *want* to explore is expose puzzles they cannot solve without going into the new areas they uncover. You don't have to provide hints; just do it a couple of times and the players will catch on. When they find the key in the sublevel, they will rush back to the grate on their own... and go down a level in hopes of finding something to get past whatever other puzzles they are stuck on.

  2. I like that idea. Let me mull that one around and see what I can come up with. I want it to be obvious it's worth risking stairs, gates, etc. but not give XP for stuff they'd already do anyway. Hmmm...


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