Monday, March 05, 2007

Favored Class and the XP chart

I like keeping a running total of all XPs I've earned for a character. It's been part of the game since the beginning. And more importantly I enjoy the simple pleasures of scoring points and keeping score. But for this exercise I'm asking that we set aside that mentality and instead look at XPs as something we earn and then spend. Specifically, we spend n number of experience points to buy a new character level. From this perspective the standard XP progression would like this:

0
1000
2000
3000
4000
5000
6000
7000
8000
9000
10000
11000
12000
13000
14000
15000
16000
17000
18000
19000


Under this method when a first level character earns 1,000 or more XP he subtracts a thousand points from his total and spends those XPs to buy 2nd level. This creates a second step, that of subtracting the purchase price of the level, but it allows us the great advantage of introducing other XP progressions.

For instance, say I want to run a campaign with both standard D&D characters and Arcana Evolved classes. AE actually uses a different XP chart, where it takes 1,100 XP to reach second level. What happens when a 5th level rogue gets to 6th level and wants to become an Akashic or a Magister? Under this proposal the player would simply look at a new column on the XP chart like this:

0
1100
2200
3300
4400
5500
6600
7700
8800
9900
11000
12100
13200
14300
15400
16500
17600
18700
19800
20900


Find the entry for 6th level and pay that many XP to buy 1st level in an AE class. Easy as cake.

Now let's go back to all the himming and hawing myself and others have done about the Favored Class. Part of my beef with the present Favored Class system is that it only works with multi-classing. If I'm playing an Elf Wizard and don't multi-class to something else, then the so-called Favored status does me no good whatsoever. That strikes me as counter-intuitive and weird. I would much prefer for a race's Favored Class to be a profession at which they excel, not just a hack around 3.x's crappy multiclassing rules. To this end I suggest a third, cheaper-than-standard, XP progression:

0
900
1800
2700
3600
4500
5400
6300
7200
8100
9000
9900
10800
11700
12600
13500
14400
15300
16200
17100


When I originally envisioned this progression it was intended as a gimme to people who really wanted to try running one of the NPC classes. We all know an Expert or Aristocrat can't hold up to a standard PC class, but the classes are sound enough that maybe someone would be interested in running them. A different, faster XP chart seemed like a workable solution.

But what if Dwarf Fighters and Half-Orc Barbarians and Elf Wizards could use this XP chart? They would progress through their chosen professions with greater speed, and thus would get a benefit of being in a Favored Class even without multi-classing.

With the AE chart on hand you could even introduce Disfavored Classes. Want to go back to the days of few Dwarf Wizards, make Wizard their Disfavored Class. Anybody who still really wants a Dwarf Wizard can play one, they just have to pay an XP penalty.

Another use for the chart could be at the level of campaign framing. "Okay, gang. This campaign is all about attending a Hogworts-esque wizard school. Arcane casters use the fast chart. Other spellmonkeys use the medium chart. Anyone who insists on playing a non-spellcaster is stuck with the slow chart."