Thursday, May 18, 2017

Touring Numbers, Notes

A brief addendum to my last post.

To encourage a greater distance travelled between cultural sites, making distance a condition of the experience gained by a player, we could include this table:

This counts as 20 miles per hex.

Thus, a party of characters reaching for the easiest fruit, moving from close town to close town, could still benefit from week to week investigation, but if they chose to move great distances before touring again, they would gain more per week.  This, of course, would not increase the total amount of experience available from a cultural center, but it would increase the speed with which cultural gains were made.  That would incorporate a cultural shock into the learning experience.

As a second feature, we could use this list of places from Wikipedia (making your own up, of course, if it is your originally created world) as a guideline for pilgrimage sites.  The adjustment here would be to double or perhaps triple the amount of experience-gaining potential for true believers of the given faith.  Therefore, though Rome in my game is not the largest of cities in Europe (it has 313,786 people in my world), by giving it three times the potential experience gain, rather than having a maximum experience base gain of 3,137 x.p., it would have 9,413; and if persons were to travel 100 hexes to reach it, or 2,000 miles, that would be increased further to 16,944.  Though it would take a total of 94 weeks and a day to gain it all.

That would include time looking at art, visiting churches, attending ceremonies and festivals, reading in libraries or conversations with religious leaders and scholars, etcetera.

Would players really want to do it, though?  Would they be willing to sacrifice a year of life in order to gain a "safe" boost of experience?  Or would they rather just adventure.  On the whole, I see these rules being something that low-levels, up to 5th say, may jump at, but in which those higher than 6th would probably lose interest.


Tim said...

Speaking of the value of a pilgrimage makes me consider the unspoken other uses of artistic tours that can of course benefit higher-level characters, particularly through status: patronizing an artist, investing in new work or expressing religious humility or piety by undertaking a pilgrimage. A visit to Rome or Medina sounds to me like a more interesting goal for a grizzled paladin than the clich├ęd holy sword or whatnot. How cool would it be to finangle an audience with the Pope?

It's interesting how the tour element has really shaped the bard to have a much more itinerant nature (in keeping with troubadour tradition, perhaps) that fits very nicely with the character's role.

Finally, coming back to the first point, this will nicely provide some interesting background for NPCs. A Catholic prince who travelled far away to Rome or Paris or elsewhere may return home with an interest in arts or letters that might denote him as a proper ruler or noble figure, while also giving him some experience without endangering him. It all makes me want to muck around in a Paradox grand strategy game, deciding where to send rulers or heirs to get some culture or experience.

Charles Taylor (Charles Angus) said...

I find this exploration fascinating, and love the impetus this creates for travel and pilgrimage.

I'm curious how you reconcile this approach to experience with your past takes on it (and apologies if you've covered this and I just missed it). You wrote before (May 6, 2015):

"""...experience increases combat ability and little else. If the character doesn't use the sword, doesn't gain experience by the sword, then it is safe to say that no improvement is the order of the day."""

Alexis Smolensk said...

Yes, Charles, I've been thinking about that too.

I don't want to hedge: this is a departure from that position, but I'm not quite going back on myself. The 2015 post was in discussion of gaining experience by circumventing combat and by achieving small goals that rewarded the avoidance of combat.

Earlier this year, in discussing experience I wrote about how the process of artistic expression encourages us to look at ourselves differently, to grow as people. I would like to think that the experience here is gained through self-reflection, followed by a heightened respect for one's powers, fighting prowess and sense of ambition. In other words, WHILE fighting, the character is driven to pay closer attention to what CAN be learned, rather than just going through the motions.

We've all felt that; we may have opportunities for learning but we don't take them, because we're run down, disinterested, anxious merely to get it over with and so on. I'm proposing that art lifts characters out of that malaise - and it is this that pushes them to reach a higher level in a shorter time ~ either by gaining experience and adventuring after watching some bard's performance, or in this case, by investigating the creations of the past and seeing one's own life as something to be lived with new vigor.

This isn't a cheap sidestepping of adventure, but an actual improvement of the individual ~ tempered by making it still necessary to earn those last three quarters of the level in the same old hard fought way.

This works for me, anyway; though I can certainly see that it does seem to be a bit of hypocrisy. To that I would simply add this; we grow as people.

Just because no one made an argument in 2015 that dissuaded my thinking then, doesn't mean I didn't keep arguing with myself about it until I came up with a rebuttal I could accept. Most of the time I'm a better critic of my own opinions than anyone.

Ozymandias said...

This leads me to think we could create an x.p. reward system for "training," assuming two limits: first, the reward has to be marginally less than the standard award for adventuring; and second,there has to be a limit to how much you can earn through training.

Alexis Smolensk said...

Possibly. But remember this all came out of the creation of the class of Bard in a profoundly novel manner. I could use the training sage ability of the fighter to create a training x.p. delivery system, but it would have to be as difficult as the bardic framework that I've just created. It is just that bards have been around for a long time and that their works are preserved. Fighter training depends on finding the present individual and ensuring that he or she will actually train you.

Perhaps it is something that should be limited to commitment to a national army or a specific general, thus the player has access to it primarily in building up a command.

Ozymandias said...

Given that military technology is a thing, that also helps to limit the number of nations that are capable of providing training.