Experience and Advancement

BC house rules for experience points and advancement in The Fantasy Trip, Metagaming Inc's fantasy role-playing game.

Experience Modification

TFT standard rules give a variety of circumstances in which a character is awarded experience. One of those created a few problems when the GM wanted to keep an unfamiliar creature’s armor rating a secret.

Accordingly, when a character strikes an opponent, we give experience equal to the amount of damage done, before armor is subtracted. This also makes fighting a creature with a high armor rating worth more than fighting one that has a low armor rating. We use this rule for anything that puts hits on an opponent in a fight, whether it is sword, ax, missile weapon, spell, or some other combat tactic.

The remaining rules we use as written.

Advancement

TFT standard rules give a step function for the number of experience points needed to add one point to an attribute. Also, the table from In the Labyrinth is inconsistent with the example (in the discussion below, we follow the example rather than the table, as it seems to make a little more sense). We dislike step functions, and came up with more continuous functions.

The number of experience points spent to add one point to an attribute depends on the current sum of attributes (ST + DX + IQ) for the character; a starting human, elf, or dwarf has 32, while a starting halfling has 30. The rules from In the Labyrinth approximate an exponential function, which could be hard for players to calculate using pencil and paper. We propose a formula that doesn't rise as quickly, but uses only simple arithmetic and is easier to calculate:

ΔSQR = 2 × (ST + DX + IQ - 25) × (ST + DX + IQ - 25)

Alternatively (for those with scientific calculators), we propose a smooth exponential function of this form:

ΔEXP = 125 × 2 ((ST + DX + IQ - 32) / 5)

This table gives the values for advancement values for characters up to 69 attribute points. The row marked TFT uses the values from In the Labyrinth, the row marked DBL uses a simple "double every five" rule that seems a little more consistent than the standard TFT rules, the row marked SQR uses the arithmetic formula given above, and the row marked EXP uses the exponential formula given above.

ST + DX + IQ 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39
EP for next (TFT) 125 125 125 125 125 125 250 250 250 250
EP for next (DBL) 125 125 125 125 125 250 250 250 250 250
EP for next (SQR) 50 72 98 128 162 200 242 288 338 392
EP for next (EXP) 95 109 125 144 165 189 218 250 287 330
 
ST + DX + IQ 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49
EP for next (TFT) 1000 1000 1000 1000 1000 3000 3000 3000 3000 3000
EP for next (DBL) 500 500 500 500 500 1000 1000 1000 1000 1000
EP for next (SQR) 450 512 578 648 722 800 882 968 1058 1152
EP for next (EXP) 379 435 500 574 660 758 871 1000 1149 1320
 
ST + DX + IQ 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59
EP for next (TFT) 5000 5000 5000 5000 5000 10000 10000 10000 10000 10000
EP for next (DBL) 2000 2000 2000 2000 2000 4000 4000 4000 4000 4000
EP for next (SQR) 1250 1352 1458 1568 1682 1800 1922 2048 2178 2312
EP for next (EXP) 1516 1741 2000 2297 2639 3031 3482 4000 4595 5278
 
ST + DX + IQ 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69
EP for next (TFT) 20000 20000 20000 20000 20000 40000 40000 40000 40000 40000
EP for next (DBL) 8000 8000 8000 8000 8000 16000 16000 16000 16000 16000
EP for next (SQR) 2450 2592 2738 2888 3042 3200 3362 3528 3698 3872
EP for next (EXP) 6063 6964 8000 9190 10556 12126 13929 16000 18379 21112

Example: Using the SQR formula or table, a beginning human needs 98 experience points to get his first attribute advancement. That attribute advancement will increase his ST+DX+IQ to 33, and he will need 128 experience points to get the next attribute advancement. Using the EXP formula or table, the same human would need 125 experience points for his first attribute advancement, and would need 144 experience points for the next.

Comparison

Our preference is for the EXP formula; it gives advancement at the right speed, and doesn't have the steps we find aesthetically displeasing. If you don't mind the steps (and many people don't), we'd recommend using the DBL values, as they are slightly more consistent than TFT. If you want a campaign with higher-powered characters, the SQR formula will work well for you. Of course, if you don't like to change the rules, by all means keep the TFT formula; it works well enough.

Formula Advantages Disadvantages
TFT Canonical Ragged step function.
Must keep track of previous values when calculating.
DBL Easy to understand.
More smooth than TFT.
Step function.
Must keep track of previous values when calculating.
SQR Easy to calculate.
Smooth progression.
High-level advancement significantly faster than TFT.
EXP Smooth progression. Hard to calculate.