I decided to post this when I read this good little piece. And how so few games emphasize the adventure that is exploring new lands without slaughtering things. Consider this a follow up to my post on how murder gets boring.
So often RPG's reward mechanism (Experience Points) favour certain play styles and the playing invariably end up leaning towards that play style. I talked about how murder versus capture could be made a choice and not a problem before, so now I'd like to talk about how the need for a fight in the first place can be removed with the same concept.
In piecemeal it is fully possible to be an epic adventurer who doesn't feel the need to use violence or have others use it for you, you can be an explorer. Mechanically this works by rewarding XP for travelling and rewarding XP for reaching destinations.
XP for travelling works by going through a checklist of how dangerous, uncharted and difficult to navigate the terrain is, to give you a per day value. A benefit of piecemeal being computerized is that this calculation can be done for you.
This could work out to as high as 650 per day (travelling into the complete unknown, through dragon infested mountain range comprised of steep chasms and current volcanic activity) down to nothing for travelling in safe and familiar terrain.
What is to stop a character from just walking in a circle until he reaches level 20? A few things. The first is that after he goes through a terrain a few times it will become better known and mapped, and eventually the dangers will either eat the character or be driven away (and thus the area becomes safer). The second is that Keypoints (think milestones) prevent a character from exceeding certain levels until they complete deeds of certain magnitudes.
This is where reaching a destination comes in. When you find a new destination you also gain experience points and may (or may not) qualify as breaching a Keypoint. Some examples listed in Piecemeal are:
Uncommon Locations 50xp (ie, a border fort deep in the woods)
Rarely Visited 400xp (ie, a far off mountain monastery)
Unseen for Years 1000xp (ie, a far off kingdom across the sea)
Unseen for Generations 2000xp (ie, the same kingdom if the sea is infested with sea monsters)
Of Questionable Veracity 5000xp (ie, uncovering Troy or Machu Picchu)
Fabled Locations 10,000xp (ie, finding El Dorado or Shangri-La)
Mythic Locations 50,000xp (ie, finding the Garden of Eden or Noah's Ark)
These are just rough guidelines if you have your own unique XP awards for various locations.
What does this do? It opens up another play avenue besides killing, exploration. If your players are even out of ideas for what to do in a player driven game they can simply say "I wonder whats off the map?" and go. That combines well with player classes having a built in need to adventure.
This is an easy portion of piecemeal to plug into your current RPG of choice if it does not already have a similar mechanism.
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