So, I’m perhaps 1/3 into my second Alien RPG campaign (Frontier War expanded with side missions and some prequel sessions), and I find that I have a small issue with the rules as written: my players’ characters are advancing at a mad speed!
Now, PC power creep isn’t that much of a problem in horror games like Alien RPG, but I would still like to discuss some ways of addressing it. Let’s break it down.
On average, my players generate about 3-5 XP every session (2-4 for non-combat sessions), and as we are now 13 sessions into the campaign that means they’ve made about 9 advancements each at this point, 1/3 into the campaign. Let’s say the campaign lasts 36 sessions that equals to about 25 advancements (assuming an average of 3.5 XP per session), enough to max out several skills and buy into handfuls of talents. Again, maybe not the greatest of problems in a xeno game, but still…
So, here’s what I’m considering.
The Optional Rule – XP Donations
Whenever a PC gains more than 5 XP, before spending XP to advance themselves, they must donate all surplus XP points (i.e., anything above 5) to an NPC in their group who partook in the last session.
Of course, I fully recognize that some players and groups would absolutely HATE this, but for groups (like mine) interested in their NPC buddies, this is intended to give the players some agency in the NPCs development. It should work best for combat bands (CM sections) and ship crews, and less well for smaller investigator (colonial marshal) teams. Also, should a player’s character bite the dust and require a replacement, they could chose to pick up one of the more experienced NPCs in the band.
This system will ensure that the PCs advance only every other session. (At present, due to the PCs stacking up “reserve”/surplus XP between advancements, they tend to advance after ever 4 out of 5 sessions, or thereabouts). This would limit them to 18 advancements in a 36 session campaign, rather than the 25 calculated above. 18 advancements is still A LOT of skills and talents, though.
Thoughts? Perhaps I just need to stop padding my campaigns with side missions?