Thursday, September 16, 2010

Mentzer D&D: Experience Points

Every version of Dungeons and Dragons, along with most of the other competing fantasy role-playing games, provide their own take on the awarding of experience points. I've already covered the rules for awarding experience points in The Fantasy Trip, The Arduin Grimoire, Dragons At Dawn and 4E game systems.

The 1983, Mentzer version of D&D (a series of D&D rulebooks sometimes referred to BECMI) provided another take on the awarding of experience. It is interesting to see the evolution of experience awards. Although Mentzer D&D still focused on experience for treasure and monsters defeated, the explication was becoming ever more specific.

"Did you notice that you get a lot of experience for treasure, and not much for killing monsters? It's better to avoid killing, if you can, by tricking monsters or using magic to calm them down. You can sometimes avoid the risks of combat." (Players Manual, page 12)

As has been explained better elsewhere, the reward systems of early versions of D&D were all about searching for and looting ancient treasure hoards (that were often also guarded by fell beasts). If the looting of the treasure could be accomplished without having to face the "risks of combat", all that much the better.

And speaking of treasure, in Mentzer D&D there was a 1 in 6 chance that treasure would be in an otherwise empty room, a 2 in 6 chance of treasure in a trapped room, and a 3 in 6 chance of treasure in a room occupied by monsters.

8 comments:

Christian said...

I still need to figure out what PCs can do with all that loot. One thing I did like about 3.5 was the ability for wizards to produce and sell magic items at low levels. It helped to provide a way to siphon off PC wealth.

Greg said...

Paladin,

Just wanted to tell you that I have really been a fan of your comments on the Discourse & Dragons thread that has been exploding recently. I figured this was a nice place to say that without it getting sucked into the flame war.

Greg said...

Oh, forgot to add. Would love your thoughts on this post on my blog:

http://synapserpg.com/blog/?p=754

Narmer said...

I started with Holmes and the blue image of these two adventurers are what come to mind when I think D&D. I'm going to have to reread this soon.

A Paladin In Citadel said...

Christian said...
I still need to figure out what PCs can do with all that loot. One thing I did like about 3.5 was the ability for wizards to produce and sell magic items at low levels. It helped to provide a way to siphon off PC wealth.

Nail on the head. This is likely why Gygax created the training rules in AD&D, requiring you to expend at least 1,500 gp x your current level as training costs to increase to the next level (AD&D DMG p.86). That was an effort to "burn-off" all that excess treasure.

A Paladin In Citadel said...

Greg said...
Just wanted to tell you that I have really been a fan of your comments on the Discourse & Dragons thread that has been exploding recently. I figured this was a nice place to say that without it getting sucked into the flame war.

I hope you're talking about my remarks about the game system employing appropriate rewards, and not my less congenial comments.

A Paladin In Citadel said...

Narmer said...
I started with Holmes and the blue image of these two adventurers are what come to mind when I think D&D. I'm going to have to reread this soon.

I started with OD&D, then went to Holmes with the AD&D MM, and finally to AD&D. I missed out on Moldvay/Mentzer, although I recall at least one player had Moldvay, we all thought Basic D&D absurd, once we had graduated to AD&D.

Warduke said...

Thief characters we're king in the basic rules,if they we're good enough to pick multiple pockets.