Thursday, July 25, 2013
Carousing, Cavorting and Carrying-On: Turning Loot into XP in Ur-Hadad
I realized a few minutes ago that I currently use at least three different sets of carousing rules depending on the game that I'm running. While I might call it "carousing," it's actually "blowing your hard-won treasure on crap that you could probably do without, pursuing one interest or another, usually drinking and ladies." I know that some DMs like to look at carousing as yet another way to separate PCs from that selfsame treasure, but personally, I have no problem with PCs accumulating vast amounts of treasure, but I feel like choices to spend that money on things that have no value in the long run or simply stockpiling treasure to build the biggest damn stronghold they can at 9th level need to be meaningful. Carousing for xp provides a meaningful choice, and the degree to which it provides xp depends on the game I'm running (some games call for a higher "gp to xp" ratio, some require a lower one). Here's a brief rundown of how I handle carousing in some of the different games that I run, both live and over G+. But first, a quick clarification: I use the terms "gold," "gold piece" and "gp" as a generic term for the base unit of currency, so don't get confused. I'm talking about bits (in Ur-Hadad), Marks (Black Giant) and all the other "base unit" currencies active in my games. Further, I talk a lot about "carousing activities;" by these, I don't necessarily mean drinking, feasting, whoring and so on, but rather any sort of activity a PC might be interested in that likely happens off-camera (although it could happen in-game) that has no lasting mechanical effect on the game. The kernel of inspiration for my take on these rules comes from Dave Arneson's First Fantasy Campaign, where he had a sophisticated matrix of what different sorts of people are interested in and how much xp it should net them; I didn't want that complicated of a system, but I loved Uncle Dave's interpretation of "carousing" being "blowing your loot on shit you're interested in."