Institutes and XP

Blue? Green? Red? Refuse? It's time to talk about rules for a new community edition of the VBAM rules!

What should be the primary source of peacetime XP?

Institutes
1
11%
Census
0
No votes
Hybrid (XP from both Institutes and Census)
8
89%
 
Total votes: 9

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Tyrel Lohr
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Institutes and XP

Postby Tyrel Lohr » Tue Oct 04, 2016 5:02 pm

In reviewing some of the XP rules and seeing what I already have completed for Those Who Serve, I found a note from one reviewer asking about Institutes. In my current draft, I have eliminated the Military and Administrative Institutes entirely and instead replaced it with players gaining XP equal to their total Census at the end of each year that they can then spend on leaders and crews.

My question to you: have you found it more interesting to have to build Institutes and maintain them to get the XP, or would receiving free XP at the end of each year work better in your eyes? Institutes introduce a cost/reward system where you only get XP if you're willing and able to shoulder the cost of the facilities for the year. The free XP makes it easier for all empires to have a constant drip of XP available, but it also gives them much more XP than would normally be available.
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Re: Institutes and XP

Postby aelius » Tue Oct 04, 2016 5:10 pm

I would give each empire one tenth of its census each year, but allow the building of institutes to bolster that trickle of points if the player wants to.
Best of both worlds. You don't get much if you don't invest, but you will get something infrequently. If you do invest its better, but it costs.
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Re: Institutes and XP

Postby Tyrel Lohr » Tue Oct 04, 2016 5:39 pm

I had another person make a similar note:

I liked some aspects of them though in my games I did find players that did
not build any of them were at a disadvantage.

I think what I liked most was that it allowed empires to develop a
different feel to their "leadership culture" (for lack of a better term).
I also appreciated that if a player was willing to invest more into such
facilities, they were able to create a much more effective and larger
officer corps.

That being said I do like there being a basic level of XP generated for
each empire, perhaps creating a watered down version of the old Military
and Admin Institutes that can increase the default XP and empire generates
might be an idea?


I updated the poll to include the three options. Your response, aelius, seems to be in agreement with the above and would let small empires still get a small amount of XP, but you could still build institutes/academies to boost your XP if you're willing to spend the EP.
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Re: Institutes and XP

Postby aelius » Tue Oct 04, 2016 5:58 pm

Yep. I like it because even without expensive academies to train people you still get leaders.
You just get more if you make the effort. :)
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Re: Institutes and XP

Postby Tyrel Lohr » Tue Oct 04, 2016 7:40 pm

My own experiences are skewed towards lower population totals, but about how much Census is normal for a player empire in your campaigns? In one of Charlie's old campaign diaries that I reposted last week, he had 83 Census after about 10 years of play. Most of my campaigns seemed to top out around 20-30 Census, just because I started with anywhere from 10-16 Census.

What I'm debating is if the 10% x Census is too low or if 25% x Census is too high for the free XP under the hybrid option? If you're already charging around 1 EP per turn for the Academy, then I could the lower value being much more likely as otherwise I wouldn't have must of an incentive to build an Academy.

Those poor one system empires would barely earn any XP, but I guess the slow trickle is better than nothing. 1 XP a year would not get them far, but they could eventually hope to field a new leader.

One change is that you won't be able to hold on to XP. You have to spend it or apply it to something when it's earned. That way you don't have another resource to track in a big bucket. I'd be tempted with the Academies to do the same thing: it has to be spent on leaders or crews in that system. That way you're using it to generate new leaders instead of buffing old ones, unless you sent that leader home to improve their skills. But that might be a bit heavy handed of an approach.
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Re: Institutes and XP

Postby Tyrel Lohr » Wed Oct 05, 2016 3:42 am

Here's another thought to throw out there for people to chew on:

The updated outstanding leader rules break leaders down into six classes: Commander (Ship), Pilot (Flight), Soldier (Troop), Operative (Spy/Diplomat), Scientist (Tech/Admin), and Rogue (er... a Rogue). Now, I originally gave each of these classes 20 different advantages that they could choose from, with some overlap between the classes. Now though I'm thinking that I need weight those abilities towards a certain subset of core abilities and then have some special abilities that could also come up.

To put it into better context, imagine that each class has 5 "core" advantages/abilities. That way when you level up or create a leader you'd roll d6 and then see what they ended up getting (or just pick something, if you think they deserve something in particular based on the outcome of the battle). For a Commander, that might look like this:

1: Defense
2: Anti-Ship
3: Anti-Fighter
4: Basing
5: Command
6: Wildcard*

The Wildcard slot is where you'd get to introduce the special advantages, or give them advantages that might normally be outside of their class. For example, Commander Stefan Ivanov just purchased a new advantage. I roll a 4, which gives him Basing Specialist (+1 CV). The next time he levels up he rolls a 1, giving him Defense Specialist (+1 DV). If he rolled a 6 for his next roll, he might choose to gain Counterintel (+1 Defensive Intel) to make it harder for missions to be run against his location. We now have a leader that is a good carrier commander, plus he has shown some signs of being in the intelligence service.

The problem is distilling some of these classes down to five core advantages for the random tables. For some it isn't clear what would be the most "common" options. I'm fine leaving most of the special advantages gated behind the Wildcard slot, as that helps make them less common and more, well, SPECIAL.

Here's what I'm thinking about now for the other classes, but I'm not sure.

Pilot
1: Defense
2: Anti-Ship
3: Anti-Fighter
4: Basing
5: Command

Same as the Commander, but I'm not sure if Pilots should be able to increase the CV values of their carriers.

Soldier
1: Attrition
2: Defense
3: Attack
4: D Factor
5: ?

Operative
1: Diplomat (bonus to diplomatic shifts or actions)
2: Infiltrator (Espionage bonus)
3: Saboteur (Sabotage bonus)
4: Charismatic (Propaganda bonus)
5: ?

I would like Operative to have a non-Intel related ability in the other core slot, but I'm not sure what works best given the diplomacy/intel bent for the class

Scientist
1: Adventurer (exploration bonus)
2: Quartermaster (Supply bonus)
3: Sensors (Scout bonus)
4: Taskmaster (Construction bonus)
5: Navigator (+1 jump lane movement)

I want the most common abilities that players might use here. I have Xenoarchaeologist as another advantage, but I think that might be better combined with Adventurer or else left as a special advantage.

Rogue
1: Stealth (Stealth bonus)
2: Assassin (Assassination bonus)
3: Bounty Hunter (Capture/Rescue Leader bonus)
4: Smuggler (not sure what fits best for Galaxies here)
5: ?

Rogues are there for your underhanded dealings. I've opened these up to all empires right now, not just underworld empires or raiders. I think they are going to be very situational, and a bit more aggressive than others.

We could always have a second set wildcard table for each class, too, but I kind of like having that 1 in 6 chance of picking whatever I want. That would lead to more variety between the different leaders, while still ensuring that most are going to hew towards a similar set of class "moves".

Alternatively, I could get rid of the idea of rolling randomly for advantages and instead just provide a list of available advantages for each class to limit them that way. Then we'd have a hard limit on which advantages each class could have.
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Re: Institutes and XP

Postby murtalianconfederacy » Wed Oct 05, 2016 8:58 am

I'd argue a hybrid system--the standard 'trickle' method of gaining XP which would model the situation where, occasionally, you have an outstanding naval officer or ground-pounder suddenly emerge, with the Institute being the way to 'upgrade' those officers.

As for the value for XP, I'd argue that maybe there should be a slight chance element. I know it involves a die roll, but it might model how some powers seem to throng with heroic figures in one era (the Spanish Armada springs to mind) but in other eras seem to be wholly uninspiring (late 19th-century RN).

Roll 1d10 at the end of each year:

1) 5% of Total Empire Census
2-3) 10% of TEC
4-7) 15% of TEC
8-9) 20% of TEC
10) 25% of TEC

(spit-balling here, maybe drop each figure by 5% so empires might get no XP from Census, or introduce another level or two. There's a grouping towards the centre to make it more evened out)

Empires in a state of hostilities/war could get a +1 to the modifier, and governments with a military focus could get a +1 modifier too.
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Re: Institutes and XP

Postby aelius » Wed Oct 05, 2016 9:52 pm

murtalianconfederacy wrote:I'd argue a hybrid system--the standard 'trickle' method of gaining XP which would model the situation where, occasionally, you have an outstanding naval officer or ground-pounder suddenly emerge, with the Institute being the way to 'upgrade' those officers.

As for the value for XP, I'd argue that maybe there should be a slight chance element. I know it involves a die roll, but it might model how some powers seem to throng with heroic figures in one era (the Spanish Armada springs to mind) but in other eras seem to be wholly uninspiring (late 19th-century RN).

Roll 1d10 at the end of each year:

1) 5% of Total Empire Census
2-3) 10% of TEC
4-7) 15% of TEC
8-9) 20% of TEC
10) 25% of TEC

(spit-balling here, maybe drop each figure by 5% so empires might get no XP from Census, or introduce another level or two. There's a grouping towards the centre to make it more evened out)

Empires in a state of hostilities/war could get a +1 to the modifier, and governments with a military focus could get a +1 modifier too.


I like this idea, although I would drop the table by 5%. Nothing to 20% would be a good range.
Yeah, it adds another roll. But it is only one for the whole empire and there aren't lots of modifiers so it doesn't add much complexity.
Then with the institutes (or Academies as I prefer to call them) providing a stream of trained officers the luck roll would provide a little uncertainty.
It also helps with the Census question. 20% of even a low census empire isn't something to be sneered at, but it wouldn't happen every turn which help keep it from getting out of hand.
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Re: Institutes and XP

Postby Emiricol » Tue Nov 29, 2016 5:06 am

I'd prefer a hybrid over CEN-only, but I would rather have CEN-only than Institute-only. In the fiction (and often, in reality) many of the best commanders don't come from the densest cities or planets, but from the rim worlds. Mostly though I just like allowing smaller empires a fair shake without the massive burden of an institute.

If academies could be built like SY to boost CEN-based XP, and XP was pooled and not spent in-system only, so I could make them come from rim worlds if I want (yay fluff!) then that's the sweet spot for me.

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Re: Institutes and XP

Postby Tyrel Lohr » Wed Nov 30, 2016 5:31 pm

I agree that small empires should still be able to collect some XP without an Academy, and that Academies would just supply a boost to a system's Census for the purposes of earning XP.

I'm still toying with whether or not XP should be earned all at once at the end of the year, or instead doled out a little bit each turn. Basically it's either CEN = XP every year, or CEN x 10% every turn. A slow, progressive XP gain each turn is good for keeping options open, but requires more bookkeeping.

Since leader career checks are done annually anyway, I'm leaning heavily towards just doing it all on the last turn of each year, and then letting the player store the XP for later use if they so desire. That way if I have an empire that has 12 Census + a 6 Census Academy, then they would get 18 XP per year. And if they purchase a new leader with the XP during that Experience Phase then they start with 0 Career. I'd also say a max of one new graduate per Academy, to prevent abuse.
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Re: Institutes and XP

Postby Emiricol » Wed Nov 30, 2016 11:20 pm

That's a solid plan, Tyrel. I agree with a year-end XP gain, too. Making it part of the year-end process keeps it much simpler without making it anemic, which overall is about my favorite part of Galaxies. It fits, in other words.

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Re: Institutes and XP

Postby BroAdso » Sat Dec 03, 2016 8:27 pm

As always, I'll be an advocate of the KISS approach. It's easy to remember that you gain Empire XP once per year, and it's equal to Empire CEN plus any Academy related bonuses.

It doesn't remove dynamism from the system - you can still get XP in battle and negotiations and intelligence missions during the other turns - but it limits the intrusion of calculating and allocating XP gain into the "normal" turn sequence most years.

I wonder if it's better to let officers gain abilities only once per year, too? Or should they be able to use XP as they gain it during the year?

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Re: Institutes and XP

Postby Tyrel Lohr » Sat Dec 03, 2016 9:14 pm

BroAdso wrote:I wonder if it's better to let officers gain abilities only once per year, too? Or should they be able to use XP as they gain it during the year?

I've been playing it that the XP has to be spent when earned if possible, but I'm still not sure if players should be compelled to use extra XP out of the pool to cover short falls for leader upgrades. For example, if an Operative is on an Intel mission and earns 4 XP, should the player have to pull 6 XP out of the XP pool to cover the cost of upgrading the Operative? I'd say no, they could if they want but they don't have to.

Combat XP, however, I think definitely should be spent immediately if at all possible so that it gets used towards an application that is appropriate based on how it was earned. This leads to more personnel grade improvements and leaders, but that's fine with me.
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Re: Institutes and XP

Postby Emiricol » Sat Dec 03, 2016 11:40 pm

I've just been having everything but combat XP get spent during the year-end adjustment phase anyway. I don't think it's a critical issue, but that's my preference. And I agree on spending battle XP as it's earned ("the Hero of Omicron VII," hooray!), in the units that earned it.


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