Sunday, April 24, 2011

XP for Outwitting

In my post about XP for HD last night, my buddy Josh makes a good point in the comments.

My goal of increasing XP per HD at the low end of the scale was not to increase the value of fighting (so you only need to kill 20 orcs to level up instead of 400), but to increase the speed of leveling.

My preferred style of play is to encourage creative ways to get the treasure without resorting to combat more than it's necessary.  So why not stick to the original XP values for combat, but institute XP awards for outwitting/outmaneuvering/trapping monsters than killing them?

Of course, in this case, I'd not want to give XP for the combat prowess of the monster, which is what XP per HD (bonuses for special abilities) does.

Taking a look at AD&D's descriptive levels of monster intelligence, it wouldn't be hard to institute something like this:

Nonintelligent--0 xp
Animal Intelligence--25 xp
Semi-Intelligent--50 xp
Low Intelligence--100 xp
Average Intelligence--200 xp
Very Intelligent--500 xp
Highly Intelligent--1000 xp
Exceptionally Intelligent--2000 xp
Genius--3000 xp
Supra-Genius--4000 xp
Godlike Intelligence--5000 xp

Of course, these would be awarded per group, not per individual outwitted.

Other useful side effects would include more XP for using a Sleep spell but not slitting throats immediately after, making me as a DM pay much more attention to the Int. level of all monsters when I roleplay them, allowing more ways for the Thief to shine, and giving more reasons for M-Us to memorize non-combat spells.

The downside?  Big HD but low intelligence creatures.  If you're out for XP, why try to outwit the 20HD T-Rex (other than to avoid its terrible bite and almost guaranteed chance to hit each round) if outsmarting it is only worth 25 xp? 

I'll need to think about this a bit more before implementing it, obviously, but it may be a step in the right direction.


  1. similar to what i was thinking. what i was thinking was a straight xp to money value. then, have money be greater than monster for xp. finish with a bonus of xp for thinking outside the box.

    say goblins is worth 3xp and 1 gold is one xp if you carry if out of the dungeon. however, if you manage to get that 100 gold that the goblin is guarding out without killing the goblin or without the goblin knowing you were there, modify the gold value xp by 2, 3, 4 etc times its worth depending on the difficulty and interesting aspects of the plan. say sleep spell is 2 times. bribing bugbears to enlist said goblin in a raid and then robbing while away is 4 times. this due simply by the fact that you are using charisma and bluff and bully skills to create the situation that the characters desire. it draws in more than dex, str, and con to the mix. that bad intelligence score now sucks because the person has to try to develop a plan that a mental invalid would suggest but that would also apply to the situation.

    you reward clever in game rather than minmaxing outside of the game. also allows you to combine characters in that the character with the high strength is enlisted by the character with the high intelligence to dump a rock into the stream and flooding the village. which enbables.... etc. it builds more than a diablo style of reaction to the fictional world.

    my two cents....

  2. josh again... need to make an id sometime.

  3. I'd just give XP for 'defeating' a monster, which would include outwitting it.

  4. As anarchist says, don't overthink it. Just give a flat xp rate for defeating the creature, by whatever means. If you base the reward on a monster's combat prowess, then it makes as much sense to give the reward for avoiding that prowess as it does for overcoming it.

  5. i think that it could add more complex behavior in game that could result a more interesting game.

    xp for monsters only creates a very one-dimensional game. expanding the ways in which xp can be gained would change the character of the game. possibly with some very interesting results.

  6. I already award a monster's base XP for outwitting, driving off, robbing it of its loot, befriending (or at least forming a truce/temporary alliance), etc. But although I was up front about that with the players, they still tended to play Diablo style.

    Giving more XP for doing other things might be the way to encourage people to do more than just fight or run away.

    Reminding them that they get more XP for gold than killing monsters, or that they get the same award for tricking a monster as they do for killing it didn't really help much.

  7. And now that I think about it, the 'outwit' XP above could be an award tacked onto the monster's base XP. That way, it will always be better to outwit the monster, although with easily outwitted ones, only a small amount more...

    Another idea would be to have a sliding scale, where the outwit bonus increases with certain HD range brackets.