Author Topic: On low/high-level segregation, roleplay XP and some incoming changes  (Read 1816 times)

Soren / Zarathustra217

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Dear fellow roleplayers and prisoners of the mist,

It is no secret that one of the more unpopular elements of how we design PotM is the continuing effort to encourage the high level characters from leaving the low level zones. The skepticism is understandable - roleplay is about unfolding creativity and the aim of segregating by level can easily seem as a constraint. And it may feel like an abstract principle that's dissociated from what is in character, thereby disrupting the immersiveness and dynamics of the on-going roleplay.

We acknowledge –  and to a large extent - share these concerns. For the same reason, we try to avoid imposing elements that rigidly and artificially enforce segregation. However, that we still chose to encourage it and that we still have it as a guiding principle in the way we do world design, to a large extent comes down to having experienced the alternative. Outback desolate Barovia isn't Barovia when it's dominated by high level player characters that even rival Strahd in strength. The dangers and challenges of the realm  –  of Old Night  –  become fundamentally insignificant. And, as importantly, arriving through the mists to the domains of dread is just not the same experience of forsakenness and mystery when you have long established characters to hold your hand and guide the way. So while the decision to want to separate things is indeed based on a compromise  – and not a trivial one  –  when weighing everything up, the scales still tip in its favor.

Yet when it comes to means of encouragement, perhaps the least popular element is high levels not gaining roleplay XP in the low level zone. Again, this may seem like an arbitrary mechanic, so let us first try to explain why we feel it is warranted and even makes sense.

It's often enough been said that roleplay XP should not be seen as a reward for roleplaying, and instead, roleplay should be considered "its own reward". This may seem like hollow idealism, but the point is really just to put it in contrast with the practice of rewarding roleplay XP as a sort of "thank you" for bothering to roleplay. To be clear, we do appreciate your roleplay and participation in building the shared narrative, but we simply do not believe it is something that should be done in trade for XP. And when you consider it, that would ultimately be betraying the ideals of keeping things in character and the world-driven dynamics intact.

Roleplay XP, then, should be considered as the progression and growth that your character goes through when experiencing encounters, events, intrigue, horror, etc  –  all the things that aren't covered by the XP you get from just killing monsters. It may be a somewhat primitive system insofar that it does not distinguish between what kind of roleplay you do, but practically, on average and overall, it manages to correspond to this kind of character growth relatively meaningfully.

Now, in fictional narratives as well as in real life, it is a commonly accepted term that to continue to grow, you have to throw yourself out there, brave new challenges, experience new things. You have to leave your comfort zone and venture out. And it is for that exact reason that we feel that it makes perfect sense from an in-character perspective that at some point, your character will have outgrown outback Barovia and will have to move on to continue to progress. It may not be in your character's heart to do so, which is of course his or her prerogative and does at times make the most sense, but it will just mean that they settle in their level of power.

HOWEVER, having explained our motivations and rationale behind the setup, we are still not blind to the fact that many people do experience the complete lack of even minor XP progression through roleplay as if their roleplay is somehow insignificant, or even shunned upon. And it may also be argued that even when you stay in the same place that you've always been, new things may come to you. And equally important, in some cases, as long as they avoid direct confrontation and combat, seasoned and well established characters can be important and conducive elements in driving certain world dynamics, even in the low level zone (like with factions).

Therefore, we want to experiment with a slightly revised approach, in the hope that you will all do your part to make sure that it does not lead to things degenerating to what they were before.

First of all, we will reintroduce roleplay XP for all levels in Western Barovia, though for levels 12 and up, it will be at the reduced rate that currently applies for level 12 and 13 (the "minor" progression).

However, to balance this change, we will make it a bit less convenient to travel between Western Barovia and the high level zones. What we really want to avoid is high levels that use Western Barovia as their casual hangout while going on intense dungeon runs far away, so by making back-and-forth travel harder, we hope to limit that whilst not impacting high-levelled characters that reside in Western Barovia for other purposes than to brandish their strength.

Firstly, the Vistani at the Tser Pool will now only sell their elixirs during the daytime and you will be required to consume the elixir on the spot. Secondly, the effect of the elixir will only last until dusk. While this deviates a bit from the official canon description, we find that the approach will generally lend itself well to the setting themes and lore.

If, after evaluating and reviewing these changes, we find that they are insufficient, we may introduce other changes as needed  –  but we of course hope that you will all help in making further changes redundant.

And finally, as a closing remark, let us reiterate that we completely acknowledge that this will not be an ideal situation for everyone. But it is the best compromise we have been able to come up with so far. In the end, in a roleplaying world that you share with this many, things will always be more confined than when you are just four players and a DM around a table. But we find that if you put your attention to the many, many opportunities that still exist, then the creativity and passion for roleplay will still make it come alive. And we know that you can do it, because you already do.

On behalf of the development team,

Sψren
« Last Edit: September 20, 2022, 04:05:59 AM by Soren / Zarathustra217 »

Soren / Zarathustra217

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Re: On low/high-level segregation, roleplay XP and some incoming changes
« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2022, 02:23:41 AM »
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