Awarding Goal Accomplisment ExP

Major goals
These goals are crucial to the actual completion of adventures. There may be multiple major goals conditional on the complexity of the narrative. Major Goals may also be contingent on several Minor Goals. Major Goals should be considered closure for a specific, major part of the narrative. This includes the completion of the current mission, or could be saving the princess from the dragon (and fighting the dragon in the process), or just stopping a secret peace treaty from reaching enemy hands (perhaps no combat required at all). It all depends on the nature of the adventure, and what the GM considers to be “THE” major goal of the current adventure.

There is normally only one Major Party Goal at any given time, unless the GM likes to run multiple major story lines at the same time

Examples: Break the siege, rout the bandits, purge the marshes of goblins, escort the caravan safely to the fort, etc.

Minor Goal
Ordinarily, but not exclusively, these are the goals required to accomplish a Major Goal. Minor Goals can also be individual character goals, defining a major, life-altering fulfilment. They can also be the focus of side-plots and minor adventures within the grander narrative. Minor Party Goal is an important point that needs to be resolved in order to complete the adventure and the Major Party Goal. It is conceivable that a major party goal may not have any minor party goals to accomplish it.

The party needs to find the monster’s lair, yet the only person who knows where it is refuses to even discuss it. As the sole survivor of a previous expedition, he is now too terrified to even think about it. The Minor Party Goal is to get him to show the heroes how to find the lair (so that they can accomplish the major goal of defeating the monster). This is a situation where combat won’t work… but it must be done to accomplish the major party goal.

Random encounters should always be considered to be a Minor Party Goal.

Examples: Successfully infiltrate the bandits in order to find a way to break their organization, expose the traitor, locating a particular herb, visit a specific location, gain a specific title/assignment, etc.

Major Personal Goal
These are the personal goals of the individual characters. A major personal goal is defined as one which can/will have a life changing effect on the character.

Example: A major personal goal could be described as the character’s aim to join a specific guild or other group. If Baran wants to join the Forsaken Brotherhood, that is a major personal goal for him.

Minor Personal Goal
These are the various important steps required to complete the major personal goal. As with party goals, some major personal goals may not require minor personal goals. It all depends on the goal
itself.

Example: In order to join the Forsaken Brotherhood, Baran must first meet and convince an existing member of the Knights to sponsor his application for membership.

Note: Players can easily exploit Personal Goals so it is recommended that the GM only allow each character to have one major goal at a time. The GM will then determine what minor personal goals may be needed to accomplish the major personal goal. As always the GM has the final say on what constitutes a goal (of any type).

Bonus Experience Points
The GM is free to award bonus experience points to the characters for good role-playing, good ideas, or any other thing that the GM wishes to award experience points for. No more than 100-200 bonus experience point awards should be awarded at any given time. Keep in mind that not every action the character wants to complete can be treated as a goal. The goal should have a real impact on the life of the character if it is a personal goal and party goals are the hurdles and the climax of the main adventure that the party is currently following. Doing normal everyday tasks do not make a goal for a character.

Goal Difficulty
The GM determines the difficulty of goals at his discretion. Use the following table as a guideline.

Difficulty Major Party Goal Minor Party Goal Major Char. Goal Minor Char. Goal
Routine 0 0 0 0
Easy 750 375 375 185
Light 1250 625 625 315
Medium 2500 1250 1250 325
Hard 5000 2500 2500 1250
Very Hard 7500 3750 3750 1875
Extremely Hard 10000 5000 5000 2500
Sheer Folly 15000 7500 7500 3750
Absurd 25000 12500 12500 6250

Example Difficulties:
Easy:
– Locate the Inn in a foreign town where they have an appointment.
Light:
– Pass through dangerous territory on the road to the destination.
Medium:
– Successful combat against lesser strength/force.
– Free the farmer’s son from a group of orcs.
– Successfully sneak into the tower where the party member is held captive
Hard:
– Successful combat against equal strength/force.
Very Hard:
– Successful combat against greater strength/force.
– Free prisoners from the slavery.
– Significant involvement in fending off the attack of a small army against a town.
Extremely Hard:
– Successful combat against a superior strength/force.
– Recover magical items from the tomb which is guarded by several undead.
Sheer Folly:
– Successful combat against overwhelming strength/force.
Absurd:
– Successful combat against mind-bogglingly superior strength/force.
– Retrieve an artifact from the hands of a powerful sorcerer/dragon.
– Neutralize a world-breaking artifact.

Determining Difficulty
Determining the difficulty of a goal is likely to be one of the more difficult tasks for a GM. It will take a little bit of practice to be able to properly gauge what the difficulty of a goal will be. Even when you get proficient with it, the players will always do something to prove your guess wrong. Be it a lucky roll, or some convoluted plan that comes at the goal from an unexpected angle. It is because of this that it is recommended that the GM not determine the final goal difficulty until after the goal has been dealt with.

The following list is a set of guidelines that the GM may use for aid in determining the difficulty of a goal, and for adjusting that difficulty when it comes time for
awarding experience points.

Combat-related Encounters/Goals: When setting the initial difficulty rating for foes, you should take and compare the average Offensive Bonuses and Defensive Bonuses of the characters against the average of the foes that the party will be fighting. If they are close to being equal, then you should start off with a Difficulty Rating of Hard for the encounter. If the party is outnumbered, then raise the difficulty rating one or more levels, depending on how many more foes there are. If there are twice as many foes as there are members of the party then the Difficulty Rating for the encounter should be increased by at least two levels. If the foes are weaker, or less in number than the party, then reduce the Difficulty Rating of the encounter a couple of levels. If the foe is less in number, but of significantly higher skill, then you may want to increase the Difficulty Rating accordingly.

Remember, a randomly generated encounter with a monster should always be treated as a Minor Party Goal, with the object of the goal being to stay alive.

Non-Combat Encounters/Goals:
These will make up the rest of the opportunities for the players to acquire experience points. Again, as the GM, you should try to gauge the general Difficulty Rating. To do so, you will want to determine what things need to be done in order to accomplish the goal. All goals should start off with the base Difficulty Rating of Medium. Then you adjust the Difficulty Rating according to how hard you want it to be for the players to accomplish the goal. Since these types of goals are role-playing oriented, their Difficulty Rating is going to be more subjective. One way of determining the Difficulty Level would be to use the Difficulty Rating of any maneuvers used in accomplishing the goal as a guideline.

Player Plans and Actions:
The plans and actions of the characters in their attempts to accomplish their goals can also help determine the Difficulty Rating of the goal as well. The more complex a plan that the characters come up with, the more things that can possibly go wrong with the plan. If the characters are using a complex, or detailed plan in accomplishing their goal, then you should raise the Difficulty Rating accordingly.

Example 1: The characters have contracted to rescue Princess Fiona from the mighty dragon, Puff, who is holding her for ransom. The characters know where she is being held and set off to rescue her. Being the stalwart types, they find the dragon’s cave and rush in to do battle with the dragon, hoping to slay it and save the princess. In this example, our intrepid heroes are using a straightforward plan of “smack the dragon”. Since this is a Major Party Goal, and since our band of heroes is very experienced (all of at least 10th level), the GM determines that rescuing the princess is at least a Sheer Folly goal. He also determines that fighting the dragon would be considered a Sheer Folly Minor Party Goal. If the party succeeds in both, they will each receive 7,500 experience points.

Example 2: The characters have contracted to rescue Princess Fiona from the mighty dragon, Puff, who is holding her for ransom. The characters know where she is being held and set off to rescue her. Being more cautious than our first band of hearty adventurers, our heroes want to trick the dragon out of his cave and distract him while other members of their band sneak in and rescue the princess. To accomplish this, they first do a little scouting work. They look and eventually find a small back entrance to the dragon’s cave. They also look for and find another cave close by that those who are distracting the dragon can hide in for protection after they get him out of his cave. This cave also has a back door and is not too far from the dragon’s cave. Once all this is done, two of the party begins sneaking into the dragon’s cave through the back door and they get into position. The rest of the party starts the distraction. They use various means, including taunts, and hit-andrun tactics to get the dragon to chase them. Once the dragon begins chasing them, they head for their safety tunnel, going in and slipping towards its back door. They wait a while, careful to keep taunting and sniping at the dragon, and then sneak out the back door of their cave, heading for their meeting with the others. Meanwhile, the others, upon hearing the dragon leave, go in and free the princess. Once free, they hustle her back out of the cave through the same way that they entered. They then sneak away to the pre-planned meeting spot that was arranged before hand. Again, the overall goal of rescuing the princess is a Sheer Folly goal. The party also had to overcome the Extremely Hard goals of finding the back door to the dragon’s cave, and finding another cave for use. They also had the Very Hard goal of sneaking in the back door to the dragon’s cave and the Very Hard goal of taunting the dragon enough to chase the rest of the group. This gives our band of heroes 1 Sheer Folly Major Party goal, and 2 Very Hard Minor Party Goals, and 2 Extremely Hard Minor Party goals. This gives a grand total of 32,500 experience points shared to the group. As GM, you need to remain flexible and be able to assign Difficulty Ratings to goals on the fly. You also need to make sure that you do not limit yourself to thinking that there are only one or two ways of accomplishing something. Players will always come up with something that you have never considered. In Example 2, our GM turned the party’s plan into a series of Minor Party goals. This allowed him to reward them better for their cleverness and effort.

Sources: HARP Lite, Rolemaster Express

Awarding Goal Accomplisment ExP

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