Posted: Fri Nov 04, 2011 3:28 am Post subject: Staggered experience point advancement for demi-humans
Why aren't there a bagillion (precise mathematical number there) incredibly high level elves and dwarfs out tooling around? Everyone gets the same xp progression and since these "elder races" live so long, why aren't they masters of the WoG? I was always curious if there was some way to give these two races a different, but fair, experience point adjustment. This would represent a cultural view towards experience. A human fighter may advance quickly, but an elf or dwarf fighter would focus more time on technique or style to master and then advance. Unfortunately, I have a public education, so I am unqualified to use numbers correctly to make a fair and equitable pace for the demi-humans. Anyone else played with this idea within the Pathfinder system?
Joined: Jul 26, 2010 Posts: 2426 Location: LG Dyvers
Posted: Fri Nov 04, 2011 6:49 am Post subject:
There are several issues to address here.
First, I have always wondered the same thing. Wondering led me to search for an official answer to the question, but I have never come across one. I wonder if one was ever provided.
Second, that leaves us to our own devices in justifying whatever answer we settle upon. The major problem we face in settling upon a solution are realism vs. game balance.
Realistically, as you describe, there should be hundreds of 30th + level elves running around in Greyhawk and, though fewer in number than the longest-lived elves, the numbers of super high level dwarves, gnomes, and even halflings should far exceed that of humans despite humans far outnumbering all of these demi-humans combined.
We could say that demi-humans earn experience more slowly than humans using whatever justification you prefer (eg. humans are more adaptable - living just about anywhere - and, therefore learn faster). Though that may satisfy realism, it unbalances the game. Try playing an elven character that is earning one fifth to one tenth the experience the rest of the party is earning. That would be neither fun, nor effective. The elven character would soon fall far behind the rest of his/her party in power. If you say that having the character live longer is a trade-off, I'd have to point out that adventuring characters have about the same short life-expectancy no matter what their race. Additionally, who plays an elven character through a campaign lasting 1,000 years or more?
A better solution, in my mind, is to say that there are psychological differences between humans and their demi-human allies. Perhaps it has to do with their longer life spans, but more likely it is a direct result of the attitudes of the divine beings that created each race and imbued within them a spark of their own existance. That different attitude manifests itself in an eventual loss of motivation for the adventuring life replaced with a tug upon the character's soul to pursue more community-minded activities such as raising a family, leading a community, sheperding a local congregation, perfecting a craft or trade, etc.
It is very likely that such a pull away from the adventuring life-style is an intentional effect imbued within their mortal creation by the gods themselves as a safeguard against their creations obtaining the power to overthrow the creators themselves. The human gods addressed that particular issue by shortening the life-span of their creation compared to the creations of the demi-human pantheons. Humanoid pantheons took it one step further and, in addition to drastically reducing the life-spans of their mortal creations, seriously limited their mental capabilities as well. But, that's understandable from pantheons consisting of paranoid thugs and bullies. Of course, they wouldn't want to create threats to their own power, but only nearly mindless soldiers to use as canon fodder.
The gods are not perfect, however, and did not forsee all possibilities. Some demi-humans succeed at resisting that draw on their souls much longer than most others and manage to acquire power far beyond that of their ken. Some humans acquire the means by which to extent their lives far beyond that normal for their species and thus, acquire power far beyond that which their creators invisioned. Zagyg and Vecna are prime examples of the latter, but so are Murlynd, Mayaheine, and any of the other demigods and quasi-deities.
I've never DMed any players through a campaign that lasted long enough, in campaign years, for any of the human characters to die off, which would be about the same time as my theory above would call for demi-human characters to feel the call to retire. So, it is just a working theory for me, not one I've had to enforce.
I was always curious, b/c in Pathfinder things get real ugly real quick. I have not played a campaign long enough to get high level, so I don't know if staggered experience would cause problems in a WoG Pathfinder game. I would be curious if an extra .25 multiplier for dwarfs and .30 multiplier for elves would cause problems. Something to think about for my next Pathfinder game. That and xvarts....
One thing I really like about Pathfinder is that there is not a single experience table, but three. One each for a fast, moderate, and slow advancement. One thing I am thinking about tryiing is to merge the three into one. Use the fast table for levels 1-5, the moderate for 6-10, and the slow for 11-20. But so far, I have just played with the moderate table and not used the others.
Now, in 1st Edition, it wasn't nearly the problem, because almost every demi-human race had level limits in what they could acheive. If you still have a copy of your AD&D player's handbook, you might want to go back and take a look at those again. Tell your players beforehand that you are using the level limits, and that they can still advance afterwards, but only by multi-classing. Or something.
I really wouldn't mix it by race, because you are going to have players (not characters, but players) getting real upset. In game, it isn't a problem, since the PCs are larger than life heroes. (And anti-heroes, but the same applies). It is just that the REST of their race tends to advance more slowly. The PC could even be ostracized by their home community because that 'rapid' PC-style advancement could be seen as a lust for power, and everyone knows that is eeeeevv--il.
Last edited by masterarminas on Fri Nov 04, 2011 6:19 pm; edited 1 time in total
Joined: Jul 26, 2010 Posts: 2426 Location: LG Dyvers
Posted: Sat Nov 05, 2011 9:01 am Post subject:
Applying AD&D level limits to 3.5 or Pathfinder demi-human races is an option I hadn't thought of. It might work, but it was something I never appreciated. I also never liked the class limitations. However, if you and your players think it is a good solution, I think it acceptable.
As far as other solutions go, just remember the problem I addressed previously: your demi-human players will be (understandably) upset if you arbitrarily require them to earn more experience points per level than their human counterparts.
Last edited by SirXaris on Tue Nov 08, 2011 6:47 am; edited 1 time in total
Joined: Feb 06, 2011 Posts: 201 Location: South Africa, Cape Town
Posted: Mon Nov 07, 2011 10:09 pm Post subject:
I never liked the level limits on demi-humans to be honest, although they made sense in the bigger picture.
All races progress to 20th level there after they loose the wanderlust and settle down. Some may run guilds, others go into research, run kingdoms or in the case of most demi-humans return to there homelands and settle down to pickup where they left off before the adventurers bug bit.
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