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Rules Option Idea: Alternate XP System

Posted: Mon Aug 05, 2019 1:38 pm
Optional Rule: Alternative XP

Experience Points (or XP) was always an optional rule in BASH! Ultimate Edition in part because superheroes tend to be more static in terms of powers and abilities, and XP is usually used to make characters more powerful. This really makes sense for a campaign of young, inexperienced Heroes who come into their own over the course of the campaign, but for World Class Heroes, it seems unnecessary. But players often enjoy the reward incentive that XP provides. What we would like to try out here is a way to have your XP and maintain game balance, too.
Rebuilding Characters
Instead of spending XP to buy up powers, Advantages, etc., players can simply rebuild heroes as they like with Narrator permission. So if there is a good in-game reason why a Hero’s powers grew or changed, the Narrator would likely allow these changes (usually between Story-Arcs, unless the change is part of the Story-Arc). Just remember that as a character goes up in Character Points, they have fewer Hero Points (or even gain Setbacks) at the start of each Issue.
Learning From Mistakes
What we have in mind here is an XP system alternative by which Heroes learn from their mistakes. This seems especially appropriate in the supers genre as Heroes frequently need to overcome obstacles that thwarted them before. This method also gives additional help to Heroes that are underdogs vs. more powerful compatriots.
When the Narrator asks a player to roll for using a Stat, skill, power, Defense, or Mental Defense, and they fail (or have no effect), they gain 1 XP for that skill or power. This would mean the player should make a note (maybe hash-marks or checkmarks) next to the ability in question. A player may keep as many as 10 XP for any given ability, even between Issues. 1 XP can be spent as if it were 1 Hero Point for rolls involving that specific ability, including for Power Tricks or combining them into Hero Dice.
When implementing this system, it is important that it only applies when the Narrator tell the player to roll and they fail. A player declaring they want to attempt an unnecessary or unlikely task and then rolling without Narrator instruction should not receive any XP. This is not meant to be an “exploit” for players to gain a continuous supply of XP by constantly making unnecessary rolls. If the Narrator is concerned this might be exploited, perhaps a limit of “failing by 10 or less” could be applied.
Example 1: Shannon declares that Jade Katana wants to hit Concrete with her namesake weapon. Even though she manages to score a hit, she rolls 48 damage against his soak of 50, having no actual effect. She adds 1 XP for her Sacred Katana attack.
Example 2: Jenny declares that Wunderkind wants to use Telekinesis to smash through a Force Field with 100 Hits and 10 Soak. She rolls and does 50 damage, reducing the Force Field to 60 Hits. Even though the Force Field is still intact, her action did have some effect on it, so she does not gain an XP in this instance.
At the Narrator’s option, a Hero can get no more than 1 XP per Page. In this case, the players might use a two-sided token, like a coin or playing card to keep track each Page.
Example 3: Concrete tries to smash Jade Katana with his trademark hammer. He ends up rolling quite well (a 22) while she ends up rolling poorly (a 16). She is hit for 40 damage, and she soaks 20, making her take 20! She could take an XP for this, however, the Narrator is only allowing players to take 1 XP per Page and she already took one earlier.
Rewarding Success
At the end of each Issue, the Narrator might also decide to reward Heroes with XP. A maximum of 5 XP is awarded to each player, based on performance and role-playing, with 3XP being a typical award. The Players may then assign this XP to any abilities they wish, up to a maximum of 10 in any given ability.
Alternatively, the Narrator might choose to assign XP to specific Heroes for particular abilities based on key events that took place in the Issue. The Narrator might even ask the players for suggestions on what moments in the game really ought to be rewarded for each player (either ask the player in question or better, ask the other players for their input, as this helps players “relive” their favorite moments of the game).
Example: The Narrator asks the group “What was Jade Katana’s shining moment of this Issue?” Russ says “When she put herself between Concrete and those civilians. She bought us the time we needed to save them.” The Narrator agrees and tells Jade Katana to take an extra XP to her Defense.