Inspired by this, I will attempt to modify it for ICRPG. I hope you guys will like it! And if you use it, do come tell me how it played at your table!
TL;DR: a mechanic that makes players drop dice in a bowl, when they roll the bowl they gain experience in order to level up!
The source of experience
Hearts. Hearts are the bulwark that often stand in the way of your players’ victory! And with this mechanic, I hope to add a bit more versatility to them!
This mechanic starts off simple: when your players deal ten (10) Effort damage to an obstacle or enemy’s Heart, add 1D6 to the EXP Bowl.
To allow your players to add bigger dice to the EXP bowl, a desireable thing, you the GM might want to give harder Hearts to beat to your players. Seek inspiration for making your own conditions using the table below:
|D4||Weak obstacles that can be dealt with through numerous methods (such as doors), opposition with a single Heart, or when the Target Number is below 13.|
|D8||The obstacle has a particular resistance (or two) or disrupts the most obvious plan of action to deal with it.|
|D10||The Heart somehow negates at least five (5) points of Effort dealt to it or hides a fearsome surprise for the players.|
|D12||Opposition is desperate, the Target Number is darn high, and peeling each Heart off is like going through a bunker.|
Rolling the bowl
The bowl is rolled at the end of the session. The procedure for leveling up varies from GM to GM, but the reward for leveling up is a Milestone reward (or should we give it another name?).
Every dice is counted as Effort toward the next level except 1s because they are tallied as a modifier bonus for the next time the EXP bowl is rolled.
Of course, players roll the bowl against an increasing amount of Hearts which starts at a single one and multiplies by two (2) after every level up! At high levels you might need this practical tool.
Alternative rules and ideas
Just some ideas to push the EXP bowl further, perhaps momentarily to show how dire or unique a situation is!
- Individual experience: Particularly cool ideas might allow a player to gain personal EXP dice!
- Flushing Inspiration: Any unspent Hero coin, inspiration, or luck die can be thrown into the EXP bowl at the end of the session.
- Memory thieves: hags, Illithids, and other creatures that ransack through character brains are dangerous indeed: they may steal some experience dice directly from the pool!
- If you’re so wise, why aren’t you high level?: players can pick dice from the bowl to bolster their rolls!
- Adventure Hearts: instead of rolling the EXP bowl against an ever increasing treshold, perhaps assign Hearts to each Adventure you design and let the players roll the EXP bowl when they have completed the adventure?
- Good stats make for good friends: add the Intelligence modifer of every character in the party to the result of the EXP bowl.
- Special Some Ones: tally the 1s of the EXP bowl toward something else rather than the next level: a sort of power, ability, or whatever.
- Loot for the bowl: periodically change D12 in the bowl into 2D6, make D4 the default experience die, make each die in the bowl affect the Target Number! I don’t know! Go nuts!
Roll fun! o7