Friday, May 27, 2011

MSPE adventure points

In my review of MSPE I mentioned that the part I liked least about the game was that you have to keep track of adventure points for each skill separately. That may not bother most gamers, but it's the one thing about the game that I'd change. So if I were to run a MSPE game I'd introduce this house rule.

Adventure Points are gained in the usual fashion for good role-playing, achieving scenario objectives, making saving throws, etc. However, players no longer need to track APs for skills. Instead, when a character goes up a level they receive the new level number in points which may be divided between attributes and skills, with the restriction that a) no more than two points may be allotted to attributes and b) no skill may be raised by more than one point at a time.

For example, a character going from first to second level would get two points. He or she could put both points toward increasing attributes, put both points toward raising two different skills by one point, or use one point to raise an attribute and one to raise a skill. Another example would be a character going from fourth to fifth level. The player could allot at most two points to attributes with three points left over to distribute amongst three different skills.

The reason for restricting attitude increase to two points is to remain consistent with the original rules. However, if I were playing a Doc Savage style pulp game, or a high voltage Hong Kong action movie game, I could easily imagine relaxing that rule and using something more like the original T&T experience rules. The reason for limiting skill increase to one point per skill per level increase is to prevent players from becoming experts in some field overnight. I would also consider limiting the increase to skills that were used during the course of the game.

This system isn't as realistic as the original rule, but it is simpler. I haven't play tested it yet, but I don't see any obvious flaws in it. This is especially true given the unwritten rule that in T&T/MSPE even eighth level characters are rare and powerful. For example, in MSPE Sherlock Holmes is only a 7th level character. So since I don't run a Monty Haul game with 12th level titans running around I think this rule would work fine.


Ka-Blog! said...

Hm. Thanks, I didn't know that the per-skill AP approach started this early in RPG history. My first exposure was Interlock, I think.

In Artesia they have a ridiculously complicated version of this type of thing, but Call of Cthulhu / BRP has a different simplification as well -- the 'mark down the skills that garner skill point improvements and get a chance to increase their ratings after the game' version.

Jerry Cornelius said...

I think SPI's Dragon Quest took a similar approach to skills and experience and it came out a few years earlier. At least in Interlock experience is in small numbers rather than thousands of points. But the BRP approach is the best. I've been thinking of doing something similar for Interlock derived systems.