Interesting. Beliefs and instincts seem similar to what I am doing with impulses. Maybe I should give out a legend point (once per session) when someone’s impulse is used to fail forward.
My worry about the accumulating legend points over time instead of refreshing them is that my players aren’t big fishers of story points in other systems. My concern is they might not be using their legend points as liberally as they could be.
My idea with failing forward is that players may choose to fail forward once per scene. When they do that, they receive either a legend point or an XP (their choice).
XP seems like an obvious choise, but I’ll be tweaking the way progression works since I’m a fan of neither arc-based nor session-based XP awards. The system I use is based on some of my own ideas mixed with some things that have gelled well with my group.
Characters gain experience pieces (or XP) two ways: at the end of the session based on what happened in that session or when opting to mark XP after choosoing to fail forward (once per scene). Once characters have accumulated enough XP equal to the attribute maximum for their current level, they may spend XP to buy experience points (now known as EXP). EXP otherwise functions like it does in core Open Legend.
Characters receive XP at the session for each of the following:
- 1 XP for each end of session questions answered affirmatively as a group; and
- 1 XP for completing one or both of their goals set at the start of the session.
As an aside, I renamed XP to EXP simply so I can say “mark XP”, a phrase I enjoy saying from running Dungeon World. The idea of splitting up XP this way comes from the idea of Beats in Chronicles of Darkness. In other systems, I typically replace the standard XP progression instead of using a layered system like this. For Open Legend, I wanted to keep the standard (E)XP progression since it ties into when players receive additional attribute and feat points.
Goals are a reminder to players of what they would like to accomplish during the session. They reflect the short term priorities and motivations their characters have. However, goals are explicitly a player tool. A well-written goal should be phrased as an action the player wants to take during the session. The idea is to do a little thinking in advance to provide a bit of inspiration and direction during the session.
The GM is not the arbitrator of goals. At the end of the session, the players will decide collectively whether they completed their goals. When they complete one goal, characters receive 1 XP. When they complete both goals, they receive 1 legend point and 1 XP. It is never possible to receive more than 1 XP for completing goals.
Goals are inspired by my experience practicing GTD. It’s generally easier to engage and do something when one pre-plans. Even though I run a mostly improvisational game, I still have things in my notes to riff on. Goals are there to do the same for players.
End of Session Questions
These are blatently ripped from Dungeon World. At the start of the campaign, we decide on three questions that we answer after every session. These questions reflect themes or ideas that we want to explore in the game.
The thing I like about these questions is they act as a canary. If we’re not always answering our questions, then we need to step back and decide whether to change them because they campaign has gone in an unexpected direction or to course correct back the way we wanted to go. Like everything else, this is done via dialog with the players and by group consensus.
One of the important thing for all of these mechanics is that whether anyone gets XP is decided by player consensus. The GM doesn’t have a say in it. If players don’t agree, they discuss until they reach a conclusion. That helps avoid players feeling slighted when the GM doesn’t agree that the thing they did should count as XP. It also gives me insight into their thinking.
One thing I don’t have well-represented is longer term goals. However, that may be handled by how we recap. At the start of every session, we go down a recapping checklist. The players tell me their short and longterm goals, high points and complications from the previous session, and any unresolved questions they have.