Biblyon the Great

This zine is dedicated to articles about the fantasy role-playing game Gods & Monsters, and other random musings.

Gods & Monsters Fantasy Role-Playing

Beyond here lie dragons

New, improved experience rules for Gods & Monsters

Jerry Stratton, May 10, 2007

Since starting the overview of improvement rules in other games, we’ve been playtesting a new system for Gods & Monsters. This system is a simplified and more focused version of the optional “competitive experience system” from the Adventure Guide’s Handbook.

Because the rules have been made specific, if adopted it will be moved into the main rulebook.

There are four ways of gaining experience points: using mojo for archetypal rolls, engaging planned encounters, defeating opponents in conflict, and looting treasure after defeating opponents in conflict.

Using mojo for archetypal rolls

If a player uses mojo to affect an archetypal roll, the character gains 50 experience points per mojo used.

Experience for mojo use is awarded immediately. If the character gains enough of this experience to go up a level, the level change occurs immediately. The benefits of the level change occur immediately only if the player has pre-planned them. If the player needs to ask for advice or assistance, the benefits are gained only after the current scene completes.

Meeting strange creatures

Groups gain experience points for engaging planned encounters within the adventure. For every planned encounter that the characters meet, add up the levels of the creatures in the planned encounter and multiply by ten. The group gains that many experience points. Divide this experience evenly among the characters in the group.

Groups only gain this experience once for any planned encounter. Planned encounter experience is awarded at the end of the adventure.

What is a planned encounter?

A planned encounter is one that is planned to occur in response to character action. The encounter might be in response to the characters entering a dungeon room or it might be in response to the characters discovering an incriminating piece of evidence. Usually, planned encounters are the encounters that would be keyed to a location or an event if the adventure were written down.

Random encounters are not planned encounters, for the purpose of experience points.

If the characters are given a job by a great wizard, that wizard is a planned encounter. The group gains experience by engaging that planned encounter.

What does it mean to engage a planned encounter?

An engagement is any non-conflict interaction between the characters and the encounter. It could include, for example, acquiring information from the encounter through interrogation, accepting a job from the encounter creatures, and engaging them in discussion.

For example, the characters might meet an army. If they fight that army, they’ll gain experience points as normal for the conflict. If they negotiate with the army’s leader, however, they have only engaged the leader, and gain experience for that. The individuals in the army are not a planned encounter, and they haven’t engaged those individuals in any case.

If, on the other hand, the adventure guide has planned possible encounters with specific individuals within the army and the characters do engage one or more of those individuals, then the group does receive experience for engaging those specific individuals.

It is possible to gain experience for engaging a planned encounter as well as for a conflict with that encounter, if the characters do both.


Groups gain experience points for engaging in dangerous conflicts. This experience is calculated for each period between rests, usually each game day, and comes from opponents who were decisively defeated (not necessary killed).

The group gains experience according to the survival points of their opponents and the relative danger of their opponents. They also gain experience points for conflicts with opponents who are higher level than they are.

  1. The group gains one experience point for every survival point of their defeated opponents.
  2. The group gains experience if the total levels of their defeated opponents were greater than the total levels of characters:

    1. Add up all of the levels of the opponents who were defeated during that game day.
    2. Add up all of the levels of the characters present for that day’s adventuring. If a player character gained a level through mojo use during the day, use their lower level for the day.
    3. If the opponent total is greater than the character total, the group gains 50 points per excess level, to their total for that day.
  3. The group gains experience if any of their opponents were higher level than the highest level character.

    1. Add up all of the levels of the defeated opponents who were higher level than the highest level character.
    2. The group gains twenty points per opponent level, to their total for that day.
  4. Divide the experience point total by the number of characters present for that day’s adventuring.
  5. The result is the amount that each character receives for that day’s adventuring.

An opponent may only be decisively defeated once during any one adventure. Opponents who are not part of the adventure are not worth experience. Villagers or townsfolk who are not part of the story are not measured, nor are “opponents” who were not opponents. The defeat of an unaggressive traveller, for example, does not garner experience points for the characters. Random aggressive encounters are usually part of the adventure and count towards the opponent total.

While calculated per game day, experience for conflict is only awarded at the end of the adventure. This experience gain requires the most bookkeeping of the four means of gaining experience.

Looting things

Loot is usually its own reward. Loot can, however, be turned into experience gains. Things looted from trapped or dangerous places—things looted during the adventure—can be donated or lost with no expectation of tangible benefit. When such loot is donated or lost, it becomes experience points: one monetary unit is one experience point.

For example, donating to a village will give the group experience even though this increases the goodwill towards the characters in the village. “Good will” is not a tangible benefit. On the other hand, a “donation” that is really a bribe to get something from a church official is not experience-worthy. A loss in a gambling casino is not experience-worthy: there was an expectation of an immediate benefit.

However, if the player stipulates that their character will lose, and the Adventure Guide agrees, this then counts as a loss worthy of experience. For example, the players might decide to lose their previous adventure’s loot at the beginning of the next adventure, so as to encourage their characters to accept the moving hand of fate.

Donations and losses must be to outside of the group: the group must actually lose the loot. Loot must be donated or lost during the adventure it was looted, or as part of the beginning of the next adventure.

If players (or a player) choose to have their characters lose loot, this is an opportunity for the players to exercise more control over the narration than they otherwise do. Players might decide, for example, that their characters should be forced to jettison some of their loot in order to escape pursuers, or leave a dungeon, or cross a bridge. If the Adventure Guide agrees, the players should then role-play their characters’ loss.

This option will be most useful after a particularly large haul when you’re wondering why your characters will want to adventure now that they have all this money.

Experience from loot is shared equally among all player characters at the time of the donation. Even if one character donates it against the will of other characters, all members of the group share in the experience.

Experience from loot is awarded at the end of each adventure or at the very beginning of the adventure if previous loot is lost before an adventure begins.

Overall example

Five characters engage in an adventure that takes two sessions to complete. Toromeen is a 3rd level warrior. Gralen is a 4th level sorceror. Sam is a 3rd level thief. Charlotte is a 4th level monk. Will (a non-player character) is a 2nd level warrior. This is a character total of 16 levels. The highest level character is 4th level.

The adventure takes two game days and three sessions to complete.

Over two sessions covering the first game day, the characters fought twelve goblins (level 1 creatures, 51 survival), three orcs (level 3 creatures, 55 survival), and an ogre (level 5 creature, 41 survival). This is an opponent total of 26. These opponents had a survival point total of 147.

Over one session covering the second game day, the characters fought four orcs (level 3 creatures, 22 survival), one troll (level 9, 54 survival), one death’s head (level 2, 12 survival), and three crowns of eyes (level 2, 41 survival). This is an opponent total of 29. These opponents had a survival point total of 129.

They attempted to negotiate with the orcs before fighting the orcs (12 levels).

They lose 750 shillings worth of loot while crossing a rope bridge. The loot was carried downstream, fell over a waterfall, and deposited on the banks of a poor village itself downstream from Fork, where it helped a family pay their dead brother’s gambling debts.

During play

On the first day, Toromeen uses three mojo to successfully hit one of the ogres. He gains 150 experience points immediately for that. On the second day, Toromeen uses five mojo to successfully hit the troll. He gains 250 experience points for that and immediately rises to fourth level. Because he began the day at third level, however, he will count as third level towards the group’s level total for this day.

Sam used four mojo on the second day to successfully sneak past the ogres and disable their ballista. She gained 200 experience points for that. She used two mojo to evade the rupture of one of the crowns of eyes. This gave her 100 experience points, which brought her to fourth level. Because she began the day at third level, however, she will count as third level towards the group’s level total for the second day.

Gralen used two mojo on an Intelligence roll to read an Ancient script, on the second day. He gained 100 experience points immediately for that.

Charlotte used three mojo on a Perception roll to be aware of the crowns of eyes. She gained 150 experience points immediately for that.

End of session

For the first day, the total group award is 747 experience points. Dividing by 5 characters results in 149 points for each character.

For the second day, the total group award is 1,079 experience points. Dividing by 5 characters results in 216 points for each character.

For the lost loot, the total group award is 750 experience points. Dividing by 4 player characters results in 188 points for each player character. Will does not receive any of the loot award.

The experience points are awarded at the end of those two sessions, when the adventure is completed.

Day One
Basic Conflict147 experience for the group
Excessive Conflict500 experience for the group
High-level Conflict100 experience for the group
Total747 experience points149 each
Day Two
Engaging Planned Encounters120 experience for the group
Basic Conflict129 experience for the group
Excessive Conflict650 experience for the group
High-level Conflict180 experience for the group
Total1,079 experience points216 each
Overall Adventure
Lost loot750 experience for the group188 each
Total553 each

Total Experience

Combining both immediate (mojo) experience and adventure (conflict/loot) experience, the character experience totals for this adventure were:

Toromeen400 mojo experience553 group experience953 experience
Sam300 mojo experience553 group experience853 experience
Gralen100 mojo experience553 group experience653 experience
Charlotte150 mojo experience553 group experience703 experience
Will0 mojo experience365 group experience365 experience

The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.

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