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Subject: The Drifter and shared experience rss

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Eric Harman
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For those of you who play with shared experience, how do you deal with the drifter requiring extra xp to level up?

Seems like it could be problematic.
 
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Dr. Lieberoth
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Haven't had the drifter in our party, but it seems pretty unproblematic to me.

We gain shared XP in the mines, but only for game sessions where we're actually present. And we take individual XP on travels + in towns. So even if we share XP, we don't level simultaneously.

The extra xp need is in order to balance the drifter. That would seem to work just fine under our game conditions
 
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Max Jansson
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Our group puts all xp in a pool, we use poker chips, no matter the source. When someone needs to lvl up he/she gathers the required xp from the pool. This method would work great for the drifter.
 
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Eric Harman
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Evil_X wrote:
Our group puts all xp in a pool, we use poker chips, no matter the source. When someone needs to lvl up he/she gathers the required xp from the pool. This method would work great for the drifter.


Drifter aside, what do you do when there's only enough xp for one person to level?

This seems like it's going to consistently result in one person being one level ahead, even without the complication of the drifter
 
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Eric Harman
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Specifically, my concern is: without shared experience the drifter needs more xp to level, but he's also going to get more, due to generally being a badass and having high init (usually).
So it seems like he's not generally going to be more than 1 level behind.
But, with shared experience, he's going to fall waaay behind the other party members.
 
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Neil Edmonds
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You could allow other players to level ahead, and once that's accomplished; all experience goes to the players left behind.

Example - A Racher, Lawman, and Nun party up. The Nun is lagging behind because she focused on abilities that heal the party; while the Rancher (especially) and the Lawman smack down monsters.

The Rancher and Lawman hit level 4 while the Nun has barely made it to Level 3. So the Rancher and Lawman stop taking XP and all of it goes to the Nun until she hits level 4.

This would at lease speed up the game and prevent situations where characters are getting outmatched because the party level is 2-3 levels higher than their own level.
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Bryce K. Nielsen
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In our campaign, the Drifter is gaining the most XP. He has that gun that lets him have a shot for each agility, and his first XP was for +1 Agility, so he's got 4 shots. Since all monsters are Elite, that boosts their base XP. Having more shots is more important than doing more damage now. He's wracking up XP like crazy. The Orphan and Nun are lagging in XP, partly because the monsters are dying fast (they have low initiative so not getting the last round XP) and partly because they have powerful but 1 shot weapons (shotgun). So they're doing damage, but in one shot (and sometimes outright missing). Fortunately, the Nun can heal, so that helps...

-shnar
 
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Jee Fu
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I have come to the conclusion that the posse being be at widely differing levels of XP has no noticeable detrimental effect on gameplay, unless you're playing with people whose enjoyment is inexorably tied to whether or not their number is going up. In fact, it tends to have a beneficial effect because combining high levels with low levels makes the difficulty higher overall, which offers more interesting challenges. That's just my experience tho.

It definitely IS a problem if people aren't getting to play because combat is over too fast, and shared XP can sort of ... distract from this disappointment (if again, you're the type of player who is OK with lack of engagement as long as their dude is still advancing). I find that the new monsters (with uber high initiatives and 3x the health of the core ones) have basically solved this problem for me.

In regard to the Drifter and shared XP: there isn't really a mathematically equitable way to make it work out overtime that's easy. You basically just have to be OK with the fact that he will (likely) be worth more XP than he's getting (his design intent is that he gets more XP than others, and shared XP defeats that by definition). You could, like, divide the XP by (posse_members + 1) and give him 2 shares; that would simulate him generating XP x2 faster (as he is expected to do) and keep him up with the rest of the posse.

- Jee

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David Griffin
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Even when I played the drifter in a one shot without some of his limitations, he didn't get more experience than the other 3 characters in play. He came in approximately in the middle. I think the Prospector had the most.

Which is why the double experience thing is kind of perplexing. I'm guessing that mini is going to get played by gunslingers a lot more than it will be people actually wanting to play the drifter (except as a novelty).

I think we need someone with some graphics arts skills to do some alternate versions of the Drifter class with thematic capabilities, but without so many negative aspects and without the double experience thing.

Maybe instead of danger magnet, if you want him to draw more trouble than usual, you could add 1 monster to 1 monster card of the player's choice during a battle. He might not have the number of shots of the Outlaw or the accuracy and quick draw of the gunslinger but he might have much stronger defense similar to the special survival talent.

It's interesting to compare Eastwood's Drifter character to Josie Wales. Let's face it, Clint really only ever plays one character in westerns, but the Wales version is a little more empathetic and more of a team player. Really the High Plains Drifter would NEVER be a part of a posse. Trying to make a drifter character that is more dangerous to his own group than he's worth is funny and thematic but perhaps not helpful in practice.

The Wales version is tough and smart and a good shot but probably not a quick draw type. After seeing the Drifter movies, seeing Wales end up as the alpha male of a group of settlers was pretty arresting but fun.

If they WANT to make a High Plains Drifter character for SoB (which they apparently do) they should make it a character designed to play totally by itself, with no perks to help others, but with enough power at the start to hold its own in a solitaire game. The Survival "talent" is a first step. The danger magnet is probably not helpful but maybe appropriate. Giving him even better shooting and defense stats maybe. But the Drifter in the movies wouldn't care a fig about what happens to anyone in any town EVER. Even if it inconvenienced him, he'd find the destruction of the towns by monsters amusing and would probably enjoy the carnage. Maybe the monsters in SoB occasionally SIDE with the drifter as more of a natural ally than the other monsters? Spend a grit to take over the actions on a single monster in each fight? Maybe corruption can be converted to grit for him? Or maybe when he mutates, he chooses the mutation?
 
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Eric Harman
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Inspector Jee wrote:

In regard to the Drifter and shared XP: there isn't really a mathematically equitable way to make it work out overtime that's easy. You basically just have to be OK with the fact that he will (likely) be worth more XP than he's getting (his design intent is that he gets more XP than others, and shared XP defeats that by definition). You could, like, divide the XP by (posse_members + 1) and give him 2 shares; that would simulate him generating XP x2 faster (as he is expected to do) and keep him up with the rest of the posse.

- Jee



In which case, wouldn't it just be easier to not have him require double xp?

It does the same thing, right?
 
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Jee Fu
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Cooperton wrote:
Inspector Jee wrote:

In regard to the Drifter and shared XP: there isn't really a mathematically equitable way to make it work out overtime that's easy. You basically just have to be OK with the fact that he will (likely) be worth more XP than he's getting (his design intent is that he gets more XP than others, and shared XP defeats that by definition). You could, like, divide the XP by (posse_members + 1) and give him 2 shares; that would simulate him generating XP x2 faster (as he is expected to do) and keep him up with the rest of the posse.

- Jee



In which case, wouldn't it just be easier to not have him require double xp?

Its the same thing, right?

He might quickly out-power the other Heroes tho, since every upgrade in his Tree is like twice as good as a non-Drifter's. That's part of the reason he requires more XP to level.

But, sure - I mean we left the RAW behind when we started talking about shared XP anyway, right?

- Jee
 
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Eric Harman
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I mean, yeah, shared xp is a departure from raw. But it's not even remotely game-breaking. Except maybe as it relates to the drifter. Which is, of course, the purpose of my questioning other people's experiences with it.

Ultimately I feel splitting xp is a good houserule because it, amongst other things, encourages team work. However, the effects of the house rule on, specifically, the drifter, is not something I considered until now.
 
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Jee Fu
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Seems like you're running up against a conflict of design. Sharing XP makes sure no one Hero gets more XP than any other, and the Drifter is designed to gain more XP than any other Hero.

And he does, by any respectable metric. A sample size of a single mission may not be enough to notice this delta but he has two personal items, 3+ Ranged-To-Hit, 3+ Willpower, and 4+ everything else. He has the 2nd highest starting initiative and effectively doesn't have to worry about injuries/mutations/resurrections. All his upgrades are better than average. He's a beast. He's literally worth more than any other hero, objectively. He should therefore get more XP that any other Hero. This is offset by the fact that he takes longer to level and he brings more XP in total because of the extra elite abilities added to the monsters.

This is just the design. The other heroes are all theoretically balanced against each other, so if your XP system doesn't reward individual merit then an even division works fine. But if you introduce a dude who is over-powered mechanically (not just cause he got lucky or the person playing him is really good) and requires more XP to level as a result, you have to give him more than an equal share or eventually either

a) your Drifter will be underpowered relative to the Posse

or

b) your posse will be underpowered relative to the Drifter.

He may not be worth as high as 2x (it's very hard to concretely quantify his advantage, but it's totally there), but some coefficient needs to be multiplied to Drifter XP gain to avoid the above eventualities. Maybe 1.5? For that, you would divide your total XP by ((num_players x2) + 1) ways and then give each Hero 2 shares, and the Drifter gets 3.

Alternatively, you could simply say that Drifter doesn't get shared XP. He is on his own (thematic!) and the rest of the posse splits as normal amongst themselves. This requires less confusing, but more frequent calculations (Large Monaster XP calculation is very fast if the whole posse is splitting XP, but if even one Hero isn't getting in on it then it goes back to the standard way of per-Attack calculation).

- Jee
 
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Bryce K. Nielsen
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And just to add to the Drifter's overpowered abilities, if he dies, he comes back (unless from a mutation).

-shnar
 
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Chris Pulis
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We had 2 drifters in the party, and we did the Xp Sharing. How it worked for us was We add up the total for all Damage on Enemies. A character still gets separate xp for healing, and anything else they do themselves, and then gets the xp for each hit on the larger monsters separately. IT helped to give you the advantage. My Drifter actually was still leveling fairly quickly.
 
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Derek VDG
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The Drifter should be 'falling behind' as far as levels go, because his abilities and level up choices are more powerful than the other heroes. Someone playing a Drifter should be understanding that before they play a Drifter in the first place.

That said, if the Drifter in your party is 'falling behind' in xp and the group feels like he needs to catch up, then there are several things that can be done:

1) Allow the Drifter first chance to Scavenge every tile. Those +10 xp can add up.
2) Pool the posse's money to have the Drifter train at the Frontier Outpost every time the posse goes to town.
3) get the Drifter a horse or other transport that provides extra XP.

Also, as another option, simply "add" +1 to the number of Heroes in the posse for purposes of splitting xp and give that extra portion to the Drifter (or whomever is lagging behind). For example, you've got a Posse of 4 Heroes. One Hero is a level behind the others. When splitting the XP from monsters, divide by 5 (not 4), and the Hero with the least XP will get 2/5 of the shared xp (rather than 1/4).
 
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Jee Fu
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dvang wrote:
The Drifter should be 'falling behind' as far as levels go, because his abilities and level up choices are more powerful than the other heroes. Someone playing a Drifter should be understanding that before they play a Drifter in the first place.

He shouldn't be falling behind in power level tho, even if his level doesn't keep up. If you divide the XP straight-up, he will settle into half the party level. This ratio is fine I guess, but I think the game expects him to be higher than that, relative to the rest of the Posse. I base this on the +1 Elite Ability he adds, which is like +1 Posse Level in terms of difficulty. Therefore, I believe that the Drifter is supposed to get more XP than the rest of the posse, to the point where he settles in to about "half the Posse Level + 1". This accounts for half-speed on level gaining, +1 for the Elite Abilities he brings (which is about what the enemies gain each time the posse level goes up by 1). Put another way, the game thinks the Drifter is worth an extra level beyond his half-leveling rate.

dvang wrote:
Also, as another option, simply "add" +1 to the number of Heroes in the posse for purposes of splitting xp and give that extra portion to the Drifter (or whomever is lagging behind). For example, you've got a Posse of 4 Heroes. One Hero is a level behind the others. When splitting the XP from monsters, divide by 5 (not 4), and the Hero with the least XP will get 2/5 of the shared xp (rather than 1/4).

Yes, this could work. I suggested this a few posts up and Cooperton pointed out the problem with it: 2x (two shares) is too much - if you do this, his level will keep up with the posse 1:1 since he needs 2x what every one else is getting to level, and that is exactly what he will be getting. At this point you might as well just cut his XP-to-Level in half (back to normal) and avoid the extra math. This will cause him to out-power the heroes pretty fast.

If you reeeeally care enough about the subtleties of the intended balance here, such that you need a solution to this that doesn't involve everyone just being OK dividing it equally regardless, then I would suggest one of four things:

1) a 1.25x share multiplier (which is complicated math wise to make work ... gotta multiply num-heroes by 5, add 1, divide total XP but that total, then give Drifter 5 shares and everyone else 4)

2) Giving the Drifter +5 XP per Small Monster / Large Monster Hit, then divide the rest equally (have to keep track of that tho, but it gives him all the extra XP his mere presence brings to the Adventure)

3) Putting him on his own. Let the Drifter keep track of the XP he gets personally. Every else can share. This is more thematic (since the Drifter is a bit of a loner), but ... again, calculations.

4) Don't share XP
(the most calculations)

- Jee
 
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David Griffin
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What is your evidence for saying the drifter is "as effective" (my paraphrase) as a posse with twice his level (or else at least close to as effective)? Is it playing experience? If it is, up to what level? Or is it just based on analysis? If so tell me.

I want to believe that this character is worth playing.
 
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Eric Harman
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carbon_dragon wrote:
What is your evidence for saying the drifter is "as effective" (my paraphrase) as a posse with twice his level (or else at least close to as effective)? Is it playing experience? If it is, up to what level? Or is it just based on analysis? If so tell me.

I want to believe that this character is worth playing.


I easily kept up with a level 2 posse this weekend. As a brand new drifter.

But also: if you look at his level up chart, you'll note that his skill trees are roughly twice as powerful as any other character's. He has a skill that lets him ignore sanity hits from monsters, and I think it gives him grit too.
It's tier 2 (compare to the less powerful, but similar tier 3 ability of the doc)

Plus, you know, he can't die permanently and never loses permanent grit for death.
 
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