This is a long post written for the sole benefit of Skoormit, who is busting my ass with questions on the previous post. Good on him.
I am trying to address your questions, Skoormit, but it feels like I am getting nowhere.
Where you say “there’s only so much damage that can be done,” I don’t see how that’s relevant. In any system, there is only so much experience that can be gained, no matter what the encounter.
Your assumption remains that you believe mages will go up slower than fighters; but I have already stated that the mage who runs in my campaign, and my own mage running in another campaign where the system is also used, are both going up levels in tandem with everyone else. This is the straw-man assumption I say you are making, because you haven’t any actual experience that enables you to say it. I have experience with this system, and I say it doesn’t happen. What does happen is that when the mage hits 50,000 xp., the other characters tend to be within 5,000 of it, and that the difference usually occurs because of the division of treasure, for which I give experience, and NOT in the X.P. combat experience. I’ve been making comment after comment about treasure, and hearing nothing.
Regarding ‘neutralizing’ a combat without doing damage: I have never understood why anyone thinks experience should be awarded for this. Experience contributes directly to combat prowess. The game is very obviously built this way. There are some very stubborn souls (not including you here!) who just won’t let go of this idea that they should be able to talk their way past the randomness of the game.
It reminds me of Monopoly players who win the game by preying on the weakest soul and ripping them off in trade after trade. Many players in Monopoly can’t calculate their chances of winning, and get hopelessly duped. The same can be said for DMs, whose good intentions lay at the mercy of people who enjoy getting around having to roll dice to win. I have said once on this blog that I consider this a kind of cheating.
I think there should be a REWARD for neutralizing a combat, and that reward should be not getting dead or damaged. I don’t see it as a justification for increased experience/combat ability.
Yes, as I’ve said, I’m inventing cards – which are really just handy representations of a complicated rule set that can actually be played entirely without any cards at all ... if you can remember what you’ve done and what you haven’t. The cards are a ‘placeholder.’ They are not the system itself.
In the situation that you propose, Skoormit, being the paladin that bravely advances on the Hill Giant not to fight but to talk, there wouldn’t be any cards ‘rewarded’ for doing so. But the system would indicate whether the Hill Giant became afterwards helpful, whether he became violent, whether the hill giant became a friend or even possibly an admirer of the paladin. Thereafter, the paladin and the Hill giant might have adventures together, or the giant might simply become frightened and go away.
There would be no tangible reward because there was no tangible interaction. My interactive system is designed to handle exactly that: to resolve conflicts between individuals. There is a feature of the system where the player can fail and start a combat with a wrong word; and there is a feature that lets the player 'grab' the conversation again after this, and try again. But there is NO feature that magically bestows power, experience or anything other than an emotional response for a good player. And there shouldn't be.
Look, you can enter business and talk the whole long day, blabbering away about this idea or that, talking your way through meeting after meeting, neutralizing person after person ... but if you never actually SELL anything, or actually raise money, or actually improve the hard business itself ... your bullshit will only get you so far. Those jerks who reinvented the system during the boom were befuddling assholes, yes, but they made tons and tons of money for their companies. They made the rain happen.
How, exactly, does talking a hill giant into not killing you 'make the rain happen?' Good. You talked him into not killing you. You're not killed. You succeeded. How in blazes is any other reward logical? If you talk the giant into helping you kill someone else, something bigger than both of you, THAT is a plan. But bafflegabbing your way into a neutral situation? Well, bully for you, the sum gain for both of you is now zip. Feel free to go buy a beer.
Please understand Skoormit, this isn't leveled at you. This is a huge problem in the whole game system, where people who don't want to play the game as written still want the rewards for the game they think they have the right to play. I don't really care if they do that on someone else's turf, but my problem is that they come to ME and my blog and start demanding to know where and how and in what manner I bend myself and the game to suit their peculiar fucked up needs. And I just want this made very, very clear:
I don't. I don't because I don't care about their needs. I don't because I play D&D. I don't know what the fuck game they're playing. I would like it if they would play their game somewhere else.
The experience system I've developed is designed to award experience for combat. I give expereince for treasure because it is a means for the players to bestow their own recognition to each other, and because it works to help everyone feel pleasure and happiness in playing. The interactive system is only being created for issues that arise in the game - such as making friends out of enemies - that the original creators never solved.
Feel free to ask more questions, Skoormit. I'll do my best to be straight with you. Obviously, if every other gentle reader out there wants to have a go, please do. You'll note that I will take a lot of abuse, that I will get prickly but that I will spend a great deal of my personal time in trying to resolve the conflict between us.
Shame life doesn't have cards for it.