A Campaign Concept

Henrik Lawaetz henrik.lawaetz at MEDTRONIC.COM
Tue May 19 10:56:24 CEST 1998

Just some elaborations.

Curt Koenig wrote:
I'm not saying that your players should not know what's going on...but they
have no need to understand the mechanics.  I'm 100% with you on this.  The
players should know their characters, but they should only have the
characters understanding of how things work.  On the realistic side of
things,  this is the only way to go.  On the practical side, however, it
would create way to much paperwork for the Ref (what with doing everything
from tracking hit points and informing them of general condition, and mana,

As I see it, the key is to decide what the players need to know. To be
specific, my players know:

Their stats and what they mean. I.e. for S (strength) they know the native,
multiplier, and maximum drill, and they have a general idea that their
physical abilities will improve gradually over time. However, I'll inform
them during play "PC 1, you now get 2 points to be assigned to S, St, D or
A" (etc).

The players know the game mechanics as regards combat and magic. Also
general rules for tasks and skills. The players, however, do not keep
experience or expertise points - I'll tell them whenever there is a dull
moment (when I have the time to tally up the points) - "OK, PC 2, you now
have MEL 3. This allows you to recharge 9 extra mana points".

I do, however, encourage players to practise skills, magic, and combat
stuff if they want to improve. E.g. players want to go on an extended sea
voyage. Not all of them know seamanship and the potential ship captain only
has a starting knowledge of Navigation. In this case, I encourage the
players to hire a ship and a trainer for a crash seamanship course for the
'landlubbers'. Meanwhile the captain studies navigational charts and
consults with colleagues in the port (given his low level, this amounts to
getting expertise for his Navigation skill), while a wizard with sea powers
may practise the Friendly Current spell. Again, the players are encouraged
to train but do not know the exact specifics (i.e. no "let's practise one
more day, I need thos two extra expertise to get EL7.."). The other side of
this is (of course!?), that if a PC has practised 3 weeks and now goes
sailing, and is, say, just 5 expertise points short of getting EL5, heck, I
give him EL5!

Keeping experience and expertise is too much bookkeeping for the poor
referee?! Nah, you just simplify things. No need to keep track of who
scored what hit against that troll - an unfair system anyway! Instead, when
you have the time, you tally up the points you feel reflect the players'
accomplishments, then divide as reflecting the amount of
effort/contribution for each PC, at your complete discretion.

E.g. if one PC (fighter-type) fought the troll head-to-head for a long
time, while the other (assassin-type) snuck around the rear and killed the
troll with a single deadly blow, the two mgiht well split the troll
experience 75/25 (fighter/assassin), while the assassin gets some expertise
for his assassin skill. You never hear complaints from players, cause you
never tell them!

The main advantage is, that the players do not perform adventure actions
based on what expertise they want, but what they need to accomplish.
Training and practise can be a key activity for the "in-between" periods -
not for adventure ("We're being attacked - Hmm, my Sword EL is at max...
I'll use my Axe this time instead!?"). This changes the game a lot - there
is a shift in focus from achieving PC prowess to different "role-playing
style" goals.

Yours, Henrik

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