I’ve been working on the experience and advancement system for Claustrophobia! The original game didn’t have rules for XP because I figured gnomes would die before they had a chance to level, or that sessions would be once off affairs. After play-testing and thinking about it more, I figured it was necessary and an important way to award players for creating an entertaining story.
In designing the system there were some specific considerations. The system needs to reward players for the following:
- Entertaining role-play.
- Interesting, dramatic or creative character death scenes.
- Creative use of a gnome’s name in play.
- Creative use of a gnome’s gear.
- Completing missions, overcoming challenges and defeating monsters (the bread and butter stuff).
I didn’t want a clunky system with loads of tables and calculations, like the rest of the game it had to be rules light and easy to run. Also, since gnomes should always be expendable, I wanted to award the player, rather than the character. Some games that stood out to me for their experience systems are the Mouse Guard Roleplaying Game and the Marvel Heroic Roleplaying Basic Game, which I recently picked up, so I drew inspiration from them in part too.
Trophies of Triumph
For the Beta I decided on a simple awards system, with award recipients decided by group voting. Players have four awards to give out and, like in Mouse Guard, need to give them to different players. If there are fewer players than awards then awards are dropped from the list until there is one award per player.
The Golden Gnome: given to the best role-player or the person who delivered the most interesting scene using their character and the circumstances before them.
Drama Queen: given to the player with the most entertaining death scene.
I Name Thee…: given to the player with the most creative use of a name during the session.
I Never Leave Home Without It: given to the player with the most interesting use of gear during the session.
Players who win an award get 2 experience points. Each player also gets one further point for each scene in which they faced danger. Once six points are accumulated, the player can increase one sphere by one point or gain two health. Sphere scores cannot be increased above 5 or a total of 14 between the three spheres of Social, Mental and Physical.
Lastly, when a gnome dies, the player can take half of its total XP, rounded down, to create a new character. This represents crew members of the HMS Keeton rising up through the ranks to take their place in the spot light.
What do you think about this simple system? Any ideas or comments, please let us know!