I don't like them. 16 combat encounters per level is about half of the EP, and the rest from story awards. I simply do not like this. First, I want fewer but more deadly combats. Second, I want EP to be related to looting treasures and awesome role playing.
Revised Experience Profile
HMAEE has the following priorities for handing out experience:
- Recovering then Wasting Treasure [30%]
- Clever Role Playing [25%]
- Killing Monsters [20%]
- Exploration [15%]
- Completing Quests [10%]
Recovering then Wasting Treasure
Many will argue that recovering treasure in no way reflects experience gained. I call bunk on this. The character likely learned quite a bit while gathering that treasure - it is representative of having overcome the challenges that character faced.
The character gains the experience from the treasure, though, once they give it up. This can be done by carousing, donating the loot (outside of any mandatory tithing), spending it on research (when available), and carousing (I like carousing). Wasting Treasure for Experience will get a post of its own some day.
The specific values are not yet defined (1sp = 1EP?) because I need to work out what the "Eradu Economy" looks like. Loot will be scarce, and the desire to hoard it must be compelling against gaining experience from it.
Clever Role Playing
I set this at 25% of the total for a level, and why not! Engagement in the game, remembering rules when appropriate, doing dramatic things, and generally having a good time are important. Situations to role play may be made available, but the players need to take the initiative. Assuming 5 clever moments per level, each one is worth 5% of the EP needed to level. What if a player has more than 5? Then they will earn more. No clever role playing? Then less are earned.
Clever role playing is not just participation, but doing the unexpected and doing it well. Taking dramatic risks to try and take control of situations rather than simply react to them. Being clever is being an active participant. Clever RP might backfire on the characters, but it will never backfire on the players - even failure can earn a partial award.
At 20%, this comes out to about 5 combat encounters per level. Significantly less than suggested, but that works. Each encounter will be tougher but have more of an impact. Wandering monsters or unplanned encounters have more of an impact. Killing monsters is still fun, but too many combats make it a combat game - and I want this to be a game of role playing and exploration.
As characters discover the setting, they will gain experience for exploration. Finding new and special locations, paths and roads, dungeon levels, new glades in the forest, and the like. Exploring hexes is worth experience during a wilderness crawl (in addition to the possibility of locating dungeons) and the dungeons themselves have key locations that cash in on the exploration award. Mostly secret locations. Those are the best ones.
Story award stuff. The plot or story or quest can kickstart the adventure, but this isn't a story telling game. Role playing experience can make up for any perceived lack of story/quest experience.
What About Traps?
In the H53 rules as written defeating traps are worth EP. Nah ... surviving a trap is the reward. Avoiding it is just smart (like using a shield). If I'm giving out experience for disarming traps, I should also give out ep for casting spells and carrying the torch and such. Traps are part of dungeoneering, so adventurers will just have to live with it. Of course awsome traps usually hide awesome treasure (see #1 above).