Many of you may know that we at the Effekt Podcast are running a fortnightly Alien RPG Campaign on YouTube, called “Alien: The Colony.” We are several episodes into the story, but you can find them here if you’d like to catch up on our Colony Campaign and the adventures of our UPP and Lasalle Bionational:
In that campaign I’ve found that the Experience questions listed in the corebook don’t really work for a campaign, and certainly not a West Marches style campaign in the way we are running it, in that each scenario is no longer than 2 and a half hours long and the cast is different episode to episode. The upshot is that I feel the need to award XP at the end of each scenario / session. But, I don’t want to ‘over-award’ XP and have the players become OP way too quickly.
Matt, my co-host, and I talked about this in some detail on Episode 159 of the podcast “Are You Experienced? Take 2” and you can find that here:
But after all that, here is my final list of Alien RPG XP questions, specifically for Alien Campaign Play:
1: DID YOU CONTRIBUTE TO THE SESSION?
Did you actively participate, get involved and play your part in the story?
2: DID YOU SUCCEED AT THE GOALS YOU AND / OR YOUR GROUP WERE TRYING TO ACHIEVE, OR DID YOU HAVE A DAMN GOOD TRY, EVEN IF YOU FAILED?
3: DID YOU RISK OR SACRIFICE SOMETHING SIGNIFICANT FOR SOMEONE ELSE?
This isn’t specifically for your PC Buddy, but applies to any other character. If it was your Buddy, or for that matter your Rival, or leads you to change either or both of these as a result of the action the GM may award you a Story Point.
4: DID YOU RISK OR SACRIFICE SOMETHING TO SCREW THINGS UP, OR BE ACTIVELY HOSTILE TOWARDS, YOUR RIVAL?
5: DID YOU MAKE A PANIC ROLL?
6: DID YOU MAKE A SIGNIFICANT DISCOVERY OR REVELATION, ABOUT THE CAMPAIGN PLOT, OR ABOUT YOURSELF OR SOMEONE IMPORTANT TO YOU (EITHER POSITIVELY OR NEGATIVELY)?
If it is really significant the GM may award you a Story Point.
7: DID YOU DO SOMETHING TO ACTIVELY PURSUE YOUR PERSONAL AGENDA / BIG DREAM?
8: DID YOU DO SOMETHING TRULY EXTRAORDINARY?
A couple of footnotes worth mentioning.
Buddy / Rival: In a campaign the Buddy / Rival dynamic is of a different nature to that of a cinematic. Players tend to bide their time and Buddy / Rival relationships can easily slip into the background. This is particularly exacerbated in a West Marches style campaign, where a player’s Buddy or Rival might not even be at the table for that scenario. There’s no reason for this that I can see, other than a campaign is different to the short, sharp shock of a cinematic game, where there is no tomorrow for your character. Us GMs should really try to encourage this dynamic, and a bonus XP for thinking about them in a roleplaying sense might be just enough. I’d want my players to be trying to screw over or get one-up on their rivals even when the rival is nowhere to be seen!
Personal Agendas: Again, these are different beasts in a campaign game than those in a cinematic. For a campaign players should be allowed to create their own, and they should be more akin to Big Dreams – big strategic hopes and objectives, rather than the more focused and tactical Personal Agendas of the cinematic game.
So, I’ve gone for 8 questions. The first two should be easy bankers, 2 points of XP per game as a minimum. The next five are points you’d earn sometimes, but you’d be unlikely to earn all 5 in any one normal scenario. The eighth question is unlikely to common at all, as being heroic will quickly end up in you being dead. So I think these questions will routinely offer somewhere between 3 and 5, with 6 plus being quite rare.