Question on Character Advancement

While spending time on my Flight Simulator, I’ve also been working on my RPG ruleset.   I even attain full geekery by working on the ruleset WHILE flying a long flight.  Geek Multitasking for the win!   The bulk of the basic rules are done and I’m scheduling a playtest in the next week or two to get some initial feedback.  The hope is it will be a fun, story based system that will convert well to Solo RPG play.  Earlier this week, I just finished up an initial run with it in a fantasy RPG setting and I feel it was successful which only energizes me to move forward.

Though nearly finished an important question has come up regarding character advancement.  I’m currently between two decisions and, since this will eventually be free for folks here, I thought I would put the question forward to see if anyone might be willing to offer feedback.

I am torn between two systems of character advancement.  Both have a focus on the fact that levels of Skill become increasingly difficult to attain and full mastery is very difficult and takes times.

DarwinShrugI’ll briefly describe both of them and then you can let me know your thoughts.  Which would be more fun to play?

Version A — A player gets a certain amount of XP awarded to him by the GM, typically between 2 to 4 points.  The player then can spend those XP points on making a roll vs. a difficulty number in a chance to raise the skill.  Low level skills have a low difficulty number, Higher levels are, of course, much more difficult.  This would most likely result in a player missing rolls and possibly burning all of their XP for “nothing but a chance.”  I don’t mind this idea too much but as a player I think it could get rather frustrating.

Version B — My system has “exploding dice” so anytime a 10 is rolled, the player may roll again and add that number to his new total.  If he rolls another 10, he rolls again and adds THAT.  The idea here is that anytime a player rolls an exploding die for any skill use he gets a “tally mark” next to the skill.  When that skill has built up enough tallies to reach the proper level that skill advances automatically, even if it is the middle of a session.  Also, at the GM’s discretion, he may allow a tally mark to be given if a player really bungles a skill roll.  We learn by failure, right?  The downside is that if a character is very focused on a particular skill there may be a bit of a “grinding” feel to it.

Also, it should be noted, players would not be allowed to do a repetitive task in order to try and gain more tallies with an exploded roll.  For instance, throwing a knife at a target over and over to try and get his skill tallies up.  (I understand, in reality, this would be the way you do it but it doesn’t make much of a story, right?)    I suppose I could include a rule that a character could announce between games they were doing such a bit of practicing to earn a single tally mark?

Those are the two versions right now.  What do you think?  Which would be more fun?

Thoughts?  Ideas?


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