Mystara: The Journey...
Definition of Experience Points
It is the quantifiable value of the experience gained by the character through training, going on adventures and overcoming challenges.
Methods of Earning Experience Points
Besides the obvious methods for earning EXP as provided in the DMG (such as overcoming combat and non-combat
challenges or reaching significant milestones), various other avenues for earning EXP have been provided:
- Some created to inspire/encourage player interest in their character/s, setting and this site;
- Some in an attempt to emulate reality, associating age and years in a field/craft to the EXP chart;
- Some to provide a further use for gold as well as to pay homage to earlier versions of the game; and
- Some in an endeavour to align one’s character progression to the specific Mystaran experience as viewed by the DM.
Passive Experience Points
All classes, Adventurers or otherwise (Guildsmen, Merchants, Millitary…etc) earn passive EXP at a rate of 50 EXP/day. Therefore in the above table, the column named Expected Training/Adventuring Years is an extrapolation based on the projected earning of passive EXP at a rate of 50 EXP/day calculated on the Known World calendar (12 months consisting of 28 days each). The EXP is also earned on provision that the day is spent applying ones trade or skill i.e. adventuring, bargaining, crafting…etc
Characters usually start earning passive EXP at the ages of 15-17, some even younger for many of the crafting skills. Therefore, using the table, if one starts adventuring at the age of 17, the passive EXP earned from each adventuring day will ensure that before the age of 33 the character will have achieved 8TH level.
The age to level chart provided, is to be viewed and accepted as a guide rather than as a fixed rule.
After 9TH level the expected period of training/adventuring is no longer reflected as a comparative, as the passing of time yields less EXP in the one’s personal growth and so it becomes less relevant. Characters instead, seek out experience predominantly through enlightenment and divine guidance.
These roleplaying targets as well as the prescribed EXP, now become the primary requirements for character progression.
Whereas a character sheet reveals only surface knowledge of one’s character, a write-up post may provide further insight into a character’s thoughts, feelings, relationships and/or background.
The EXP gain is 250 x current character level. i.e. A 9TH character will earn 250 × 9 = 2,250 EXP from a write-up post uploaded by the player.
A character is limited to earning EXP from a write-up once per each level, regardless of the number of posts that are uploaded.
It is well to mention, that a post requires tacit approval by the DM, to ensure the write-up is consistent with previous posts by all players, as an inter-relationship might exist. Furthermore the DM will ensure the write-up does not conflict with the setting or main storyline. Once such approval is given, the EXP are earned.
The idea of “cashing-in” gold for EXP is not a new one by any means. The primary motive for its incorporation is: To provide an additional use for gold, ensuring that it remains relevant long into a character’s lifespan, and so offering players further choices in the character’s growth and design.
The roleplaying theory of ‘gold for EXP’ is that money may be expended to further ones education or knowledge. As an example, a character may spend gold for EXP to:
- Learn through gossip and/or research, during downtime, as to the whereabouts of a rare archaic volume of forgotten knowledge (determined cost);
- Acquire through purchase this rare find (determined cost);
- Have the prize specially couriered or perhaps the character him/herself travel to the exotic destination (determined cost); and finally
- Consult with scholars, sages, linguists…etc to have the contents of the volume deciphered, studied and explained (determined cost).
However, the opportunities to discover unique, new, lost or greater knowledge relevant to a character’s personal growth becomes less and less likely as one increases in level. Furthermore the cost involved in uncovering/obtaining this Lore escalates dramatically as the opportunities increase in rarity. The above EXP gain to cost limitations are represented numerically in the table that follows:
Please note, there is no requirement from the player to describe how the gold is spent or how the EXP is earned. The matter of exchanging gold for EXP along with the specific amount converted is merely conveyed to the DM.
In the Character Advancement Table, the Lore requirement represents 1,000 EXP gained from Gold Conversion.
In the pursuit for knowledge and power characters are driven to extreme measures in order to attain that which is desired. These extreme measures called Sacrifices, have been re-imagined into a transference or exchange of ability points for EXP. The 5e system, with its numerous boosts in ability points at various levels, lends itself well to facilitate the idea.
The mechanics are simple: The character Sacrifices an ability point permanent ability point, from any ability, and multiplies the ability score lost by the listed EXP gain in the table below.
i.e. A 9TH-level character with a Dexterity of 15 Sacrifices a Dexterity point, permanently dropping their score to 15 and in turn gains 20,800 EXP (16 × 1,300).
From a thematic or roleplaying view point, as an obvious example, the character might have been practicing some ancient form of spell-casting newly discovered. During such trial, something goes horribly wrong unleashing uncontrollable arcane energies which reverberate back onto the caster (character) who suffers a permanent ability loss (a Sacrifice), and due to the potency of the magic unleashed, all forms of healing are unable to restore the ability point. The knowledge acquired from the error is thus translated into EXP.
A Sacrifice must not be mistaken as some casual lapse in judgement, but rather an event which occurred which had a profound effect on the character, significant enough to warrant the EXP gain.
Generally higher-level characters pursue greater power or knowledge than those of lower-level characters and as such, the EXP return of a Sacrifice is greater for the former group. Essentially the idea behind the variance in EXP gain between levels is really about matching appropriate Risks to appropriate Rewards.
To place a limit on the gamist tendency of continuously “burning” ability points for EXP, the law of diminishing returns is adopted. The EXP gain on any additional Sacrifice over the first, between levels, is halved, and halved further (25% return of the original) for a third Sacrifice …etc
As per the Gold Conversion system above, no explanation is required from the player when executing a Sacrifice for EXP.
In the Character Advancement Table, 12TH and 13TH level are only attainable though through a Sacrifice.