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When detailing characters either as NPCs or PCs in A Time of War, the new edition of the Mechwarrior RPG, what number of XP would fairly represent the difference between a Green character, an Experienced character, and a Veteran?

This question does not refer to the Gunnery/Piloting Ratings of the Battletech game. The starting points allow for players to generate excellent mechwarriors right out of the gate, or earn them within a reasonable amount of time. The system seems to be designed to create competent professionals near the start of their careers, not abject beginners per se. Instead, this question is trying to get at a sense of an appropriate scale of XP to differentiate characters with experience beyond that stage of life.

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Do you mean Green/Experienced/Veteran/Elite as in the levels of Mechwarrior/pilot experience in battletech? Or are you looking for experienced and veteran characters to be some other kind of division? –  qoonpooka Jun 6 '11 at 15:01
    
I mean the latter really. It doesn't totally translate, as it is possible to obtain scores which translate roughly to the Battletech classifications of Gunnery/Piloting with a beginning RPG character, yet those characters still seem very much like starting characters despite the Life Modules allowing them to not be "Green"- experience-wise. I mean: if 4500 pts is the base for a starting ability character, how many produces reasonable mid and high ability characters, on average? –  Runeslinger Jun 7 '11 at 2:06
    
If it's the latter, then it's very much a 'whatever you decide' kind of thing. The answer will depend entirely upon your definition of 'veteran' and 'experienced.' I'll plug in an answer with the two basic ways to figure it out, but giving you an exact "This amount of XP = veteran character is going to be impossible." –  qoonpooka Jun 7 '11 at 14:37

1 Answer 1

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Given the arbitrary nature of your Experienced/Veteran definition (per the discussion in comments), there are three methods for determining this that I see, both of which require you to make judgment calls:

1) After determining how much XP you are aiming to give out in an average session, determine how long you think a player should play a character (either in number of sessions - egs. 20 sessions for 'experienced' 40 for 'veteran', or in RL time - egs. Six months for 'experienced' a year for 'veteran') before attaining a given threshold. The math, at that point is fairly simple.

If you're looking to give out 10-15 xp per session/character, run game weekly, and think that an 'experienced character' should take about six months of regular play to build, then you're looking at 200-360xp for an 'experienced' character. (20-24 sessions @ 10-15 xp per session.)

2) Another method for determining this is to determine what the final stats would look like, to you. Build a handful of characters you consider 'experienced' and then figure out what their starting builds looked like. Then it's simple arithmetic to calculate how much XP is required to buy up their stats. You can use character age at the end of the life path system as a decent marker.

3) The final method I would recommend is to use the Battletech pilot experience level metrics, but assume that the characters attaining those skill levels aren't played by munchkins. Decide on a ratio of Btech-relevant skill xp versus Btech-irrelevant skill xp. As you note in the comments, you can come out of chargen with Veteran combat stats, but atrophied social/technical/adventuring skills. Mechjock Savants aren't very common in the btech setting, so by building a 'green' starting character and then spending xp on that template until you attain regular/veteran/elite stats, you can find out how much XP your version of green/regular/etc has.

e.g. Let's say that after starting build as green you require 200 xp to attain 'Regular' combat skills. Let's also say that you conclude that no more than half of a given character's xp should be spent on combat skills. This suggests that a 'Regular' (or 'Experienced') character is one that has at least 400 xp under their belts. If you decide that one third of the xp should be spent on combat skills (or, more accurately, that two-thirds of the xp should be spent on NON combat skills) then you're looking at 600xp for a 'Regular' character.

Many players wind up building ace mechjocks that can't talk their way through an average conversation at a bar without blowing half their edge pool, but if you insist on your NPCs being more well rounded, you can smooth out the wonkiness brought on by munching out the starting build.

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After the long wait for a reply, I find it was worth the wait. +1 for going the extra mile in addressing different routes to the same destination. –  Runeslinger Jun 7 '11 at 22:54

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