The Energion Role-Playing Game System
Training and Experience
Awarding Training Points
Training points are a gamemaster tool for directing the development of player characters in logical directions. Actions which a character takes should have appropriate results. Award training points which are commensurate with the expected gain of practical knowledge by the character.
Training points are accumulated in three ways: 1) through occupations which provide experience, 2) through training in schools, by masters, or by self and 3) by active encounters. Active encounters are separated from occupation to reflect the active adventuring nature of the game, and the fact that a few minutes of actual experience under pressure can be more valuable than months of practice. Each type of training provides different amounts of improvement in skill. Formal training is the fastest overall, because it implies a program designed to increase skill at a rapid pace. Encounters provide the largest individual dose of experience. The character is put to the test in a risky situation, and if he or she lives, learns a great deal. Of course, encounters cannot he maintained at a high pace at all times, so in the long run, schools are faster. The slowest, but most constant method is the occupation. This provides training points only if it relates in some way to the characters profession(s).
Each of these may be assigned points on a weighted scale. The one I use follows, but should not be viewed as concrete. Modifications might be made for individual campaigns. The main aim of training points is to direct characters toward realistic character play, and they should thus be as objective as possible.
The formula I use for calculating occupation training points is:
DTP represents Daily Training Points earned throughout this section.
I calculate all training points for schools and occupations in daily amounts which can then be multiplied by the number of days applicable. The ".1" is a constant, indicating in general how many points a day of normal activity should be worth.
UseSkilis is a value between zero and three indicating how much the character uses the various skills he or she has. A zero simply indicates that the occupation is valueless, and you obviously need not finish the formuia. A one would indicate that the character has an occupation where few tasks are related to any appropriate skills. An occupation may use only secondary skills, but should be rated according to the use of those, as the points will he divided according to the time used on each. A three indicates that the character constantly uses a skill for which training points are awarded.
Responsibility is the subjective call of the gamemaster. Good figures to use are from one to three, one indicating that the character is a subordinate for the most part, two that he or she has average responsibility, and three that the character is in charge of the occupation in a significant way.
Demand is again subjective to some extent but indicates the level of expectation. A one would indicate that the result of failure at the occupation would he relatively minor, no more than a slap on the wrist. A two is for an occupation where serious repercussions would result from failure but would generally be confined to career problems and setbacks. A three might indicate the possibility of serious injury related to the occupation, or of criminal charges for negligence brought by superiors. A four should be reserved for those most demanding jobs which are either risky due to the nature of the job, or where superiors might threaten as much as death for any sign of incompetence.
For example, a job as a military officer commanding a border outpost in an empire where those who fail generally lose their jobs in disgrace with little opportunity to establish a new career, and where there are constant border skirmishes would be rated as follows:
DTP=.1*(3/2)*3*3 or DTP=1.35
For purposes of formulas throughout this section, DTP=Daily Training Points.
Because there are constant border skirmishes, the character will use skills regularly (3). He or she is in charge of a remote outpost, so responsibility is high (3). In case of failure, go home in disgrace and lose your source of livelihood--demand is high, but not quite deadly (3). This results in a good occupation for the accumulation of warrior type training points.
What about character risk in this situation? i try to make sure that characters making points at demanding occupations have to play situations from time to time to demonstrate that they are on top of things. Make the character lay out a plan of action for the outpost, then rate the plan, and force the character to play incidents if you think they would occur.
The formula I use for school training points is:
Time is the figure in sixths of a day indicating the proportion of a working day is used in training. The most intense training program is rated a six. Don't consider these to be portions of an eight hour day. If the training program is rated a six, then no other activity may he performed except for whatever sleep and eating time the taskmaster is willing to allow. Up to 3/6 may be used by a person with a full-time occupation. Consider Will and other character factors when determining whether to allow the character to use the full possible time. I use no single formula for this, because variations in subjective elements, such as motivation, may occur.
Ratings for instruction quality are from one to ten. General meanings follow:
1 = self instruction/normal will/low research capability
2 = Self instruction/200 will/low research capability
5 = the average school in an area where literacy is high
8 = a tough program at a top-flight school
10 = maximum quality, intensity and motivation
Beware of rating too many schools as lOs!
The more realistic training is, the better it prepares the student for practical life. Rate realism from one to five.
1 = Classroom only
2 = Well illustrated classroom
3 = Laboratory
4 = Exercises
5 = Use of magic/psionics or physical tricks to simulate a real environment and pressure
Level is simply the skill level for which the course is designed. If the course is designed to bring people to 20th level, use that number, etc.
For example, a University course with laboratory experience, taking up 1/6 of each day, taught by an average instructor and designed for beginning students would rate:
Note that this course would occupy two and one half to three hours of instruction daily. I limit the number of days an intensive course can last without break to 9 out of 10. Even if breaks are not designed into the school program, I count 90% of the time as a maximum number of effective days.
The formula for Encounter Training Points is:
Rate the use of skills from one to ten, where one indicates the combat was very simple with no creativity needed, five would be average, and ten would indicate that inventiveness was required of the character for every move.
Foe Multiple may be figured by taking the average of the main skill areas of the characters (count multiple covert skills as one) and then dividing the total of the same type of levels for the opponents by that figure. This gives a very approximate comparison of the power of the two groups. Also consider any subjective facters, but don't reduce the value of the opponent because of intelligent actions on the part of the characters such as catching targets by surprise.
Performance rating is a gamemaster judgment of how the characters used the resources available during the fight. This is an award available to encourage desireabie (intelligent) behavior in characters.
Thus if a fifth level spellcaster witn no other major skills meets a group of High Kal witn a total of 13 combat levels, and he defeats them using all his magic and requiring in many cases creative use of the magic, then his training points for the encounter would be:
ETP=1*10*3*4 or ETP=120
The four indicates he could have done better, but only with a lot more work (and possibly luck).
It is helpful to maintain a list of places where characters may get various amounts of training along with some indication of the quality. Since schools may get reputations out of proportion with their actual effectiveness, you may want to keep exact figures out of piayers hands. You may wish to divide points based on the amount of time spent on each, or you may allow your players to do so.
Training Points from Background - Miri and Ranil
Our example characters
Using the formulas provided above we can provide detailed training point figures for Miri and Ranil based on their background as supplied.
First Ranil. He grew up in a noble household, where he would learn a great deal of etiquette, some heraldry, and a small amount of combat. He would have tutors for general knowledge. Unless there are unusual circumstances, the game may be simplified by ignoring general education. Prior to the age of 15, when he began attending the military academy, his training in combat would be fairly sparse, and conducted by slightly less than average quality instructors. This training would start at about age 12. In Energion, years are 385.5 days long, and he will have good weekend time away from training. He trains 7O% of those days. Three years is 1155 days, and .7*1155=808. Using tne formula provided above, daily training for this time period is:
In addition, we will assume that, being an active boy, he gets some acquaintance with the rural environment at this time, but since that environment is native, we will establish a level which he should have attained, rather than attempting to figure training points from the time he learned to crawl.
We will also ignore elements of his military academy training which have little bearing on future play. Approximately half the time spent at the academy will involve training in useful skills. He spends two years there, with 80% of the time spent in school. Instruction is average, but the classes and drill are academic, with little realistic simulation.
He engages in this training activity for a total of 616 days, which gives him a total of 616 points. This is divided between Combat (60%=370), Urban Environment (30%=185) and his Knowledge Subject of Tactics (10%=61). The Urban Environment skill is mostly gained by running around in the town on his own. It is here that he is discovered by Maryam who puts him in commando training and inducts him into the Red Panther Battalion.
Commando training occupies his next two years, again 80% of the time, but with most of each day occupied with useful studies. Since this training is designed to polish him up, a player might be allowed to divide the points to suit. Look at the character sheet to see how I did this to provide the desired levels for the position.
This gives him a total of 2956 points (4.8*616). At that point he went to the field for practice while he waited for a commission from the duke. He has had about 360 days of chasing bandits and occassional interlopers around the capital area. The formula for occupation points provides the following value for these 360 days. Note that he takes 20 days as a vacation during this time, leaving a total of 340 days.
You can easily see that simply pursuing a quiet occupation does not cause a great deal of progress in one's chosen profession. However, at the end of this period, Ranil is given his commission and sent off to a small border village with four young commandos and Miri. His total training points are 3950.
Since the job is undemanding, however, he finds a tutor and spends most of his spare time on his crossbow. What he doesn't spend there, he spends with books about military history and tactics in order to improve that skill. He finds a good instructor, and establishes the best practice conditions possible. He is also training for a higher level now that he has some experience.
This provides him with:
4.8*360=1728 Training points
Ranil is a psionic, due to an accidental fail in a fire as a baby, and he has multiple areas of energy control. The training points provided for this are relatively arbitrary and are designed to provide a level desired, since his training is not formal, and his skills are naturally developed.
Miri grew up on the street, and by age 11, when she was taken into the temple, she had become quite adept at surviving in the bad conditions. It had done her health little good, however. For her street survival, we use the following figures:
This occupation is that important to her, because at the time, in Pareston, there is nobody who will care in the slightest if she dies, unless her body stinks something up too much. There are many nasty things which could happen to a small child under those circumstances. She plays for her life. She gains no skill at combat, because her entire occupation is learning to live in the city. She doesn't learn covert skills because she survives using her attractiveness and appearance (cute little girl) to interact with people. What she does learn is the ways of the street and the city, and much about people. The latter is valuable training for her future status as a priestess.
She is orphaned at age 8, and thus has three years on the streets, all day every day. As a result she gets 2079 training points, which may be divided between Urban Environment, any language spoken on the streets of Pareston (she is very intelligent) and some natural human psychology or peopie skills.
When she is taken into the temple school, she divides her time between some theology, magic, combat and additional language training. Since Ta Ketep is the most common trading partner of Fareston, she learned some of that language on the street, and she will continue that here. The priests will help her perfect the people skills she learned on the street, and round them out with some leadership. Miri is used to begging effectively and working on people's sympathy. She needs to learn to show some authority, and how to show sympathy for others. As a priestess and mage she will be in the giving position from here on.She spends a total of 728 days at the school. She trains about eight hours per day, about 80% of the days. She has good instructors and works hard. They make a strong effort to provide her with realistic training. She becomes used to being popular at school (note Attractiveness) and uses this to become a student leader (note Leadership).
The result is:
582*2.8=1629 Training Points
I start her abilities at 36 base for Attractiveness as a natural talent, 37 base Appearance, a randomly rolled appearance, and base her Leadership ability on 20th Level with the default 100 Average Stat. Once she learns how to use her Attractiveness properly to lead people, I substitute the Attractiveness as the prime stat which immediately increases the level, then I add some training points from her practice at the school.