Tuesday, June 24, 2014

XP for the NPCs in Felltower

How do I give XP to the NPCs who adventure with the PCs? Basically, Raggi and Gort?

To date, I've been using a very ad hoc system. It basically works like this:

- no XP for NPCs.
- periodically, give them 5-10 points worth of upgrades when they seem to be lagging behind the PCs in their specific niche.
- if the players give an NPC the MVP award (despite it being the Most Valuable PC award), spend it on something cool ASAP.

Otherwise, that's that. No real system.

But I could probably do with one, and here is what I'm thinking.

- NPCs get 1 point per trip no matter what, 2 points if it's a profitable trip.
- NPCs gain any special points that the PCs do. Awesome Bonus, extra points for special discoveries, etc. all are given at full value to the NPCs.

This is for NPCs who voluntarily come with the PCs for a share or partial share of the loot. To date this would be "Red" Raggi Ragnarsson, Gort of the Shining Force, Orcish Bob, and Melchior the Malevolent. This would not apply to hirelings (bargain, or full-cost 125 point ones) or Allies (who promote normally, and 1/2 the speed of their boss PC) or volunteers who aren't special in some way (like Gort).

I think that puts the promotion and importance squarely on the PCs, but means the NPCs do actually get better. Only ones who are acting like PCs get improvement, and it's slow and steady. The for-hire dudes get nothing. The allies advance lockstep at their paid-for levels.

So this way, Raggi would earn 1-2 points a trip. Usually 2, lately (1 last time). I'd just mark them down and he'd get to spend them periodically. He'll keep falling behind but he's lower points than everyone except the two new guys out of the current regulars already. He's just so one-dimensional (berserk warrior!) that he does that well and usefully. So it's not a concern he'll fall behind. However it would mean I'd have a system for improvements instead of just periodically giving what seems like a reasonable amount. It also means that taking on a hire as a paid-for-with-points ally means they go from "locked at 125 points" to "advance in ability."

Any suggestions or comments on this? I haven't tried it - I'm just thinking about how it should go.


  1. I think it makes a lot of sense for those NPCs that are more involved to improve in a systematic fashion. I am a little confused that Gort is both included and not included though.

    1. How is he included and not included?

      He's basically a volunteer, but he fits into a weird ground between "full on party member" and "freebie volunteer." He comes for beer money, and doesn't demand a share, but he's gone beyond the level of just being some desperate volunteer hoping to snag some loot and impress the group. So he'd progress, because he's closer to the "full adventurer" end of the spectrum.

  2. Im surprised how endearing the NPCs are. I would be for giving them the same xp as the PCs, im not in the game though so to me everyone reads like an NPC.

    1. I figure, the NPCs pretty much just act as comic comment mouthpieces for me - they don't make the hard decisions, they don't choose the risks, and they don't make the bold moves. So they don't get the full improvement. The game is about the PCs, after all. The NPC are there to fill out the firepower and give me a chance to say ridiculous crap in game. ;)

      Raggi is the most colorful, of course, but he's the one that votes for "let's just kill all the orcs" and "I say we go in the dragon cave, it'll be a shorter trip and the survivors will be rich" and so on. He's not actually making any real considered comments or providing leadership, no matter how often the party refers to themselves as "Raggi's Roughnecks" and such.

      I also don't expect as much roleplaying out of the NPCs. They have their personalities, but mostly they're not driving the adventure in the way that the PC's personality traits (Bern's curiousity, Galoob's lecherousness, Dryst's overconfident power-hunger, etc.) drive the adventure. If Raggi doesn't act Greedy because I'm too busy looking at the map to see what might have heard them coming, no problem, but Bern would get dinged if he wasn't trying to invent his way out of the problems his curiosity caused, say.

  3. I have a character in my game who has a team sized ally group, all of whom advance at the half rate. Others, who are not allies move at a slower rate.

  4. The PCs can choose to train persistent NPCs if they want to in my games. They spend the time and/or money and the NPCs improve. If they don't, the NPCs don't. Simple, and seems to work OK. Of course, this doesn't apply to Allies etc.

    1. I originally went with "no progression" but that was before it was clear Raggi was a non-player official group member. After a few delves, he became so useful and respected he is always brought along if he's around. It started to become an issue that he never got better. Having him need external training to improve would have seemed odd, but so would having him progress at full speed when he's not really a player.


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