Design Goal: Implement an experience system that rewards more than just killing monsters and earning money.
Handing out experience is another one of those components of RPGs that many DMs take a crack at modifying to meet their needs. My need in this area is the ability to reward all kinds of emergent behavior in a sandbox setting, not just monster slaying and loot hauling. Essentially, I want a system to reward everything that a player does that 'advances' his character. This could include any goal players could set for themselves from furthering their particular religious denomination, to acquiring political power, or helping to win freedom and concessions for serfs and peasants. You know, whatever goofy shit players want to do, especially if it doesn't directly require killing and looting.
I also want a system that can incorporate these qualitative goals with actual quantifiable rewards, all without using fiat. Let's face it, any experience award that requires a judgment call is going to run into bias at some point or another. That's the big appeal with standard experience systems, rewards are directly linked to concrete monster hit dice numbers and gold pieces earned.
So the system I want rewards everything and does it equally. A night of hacking monsters should be as valuable as proselytizing heathens.
This is highly antithetical to pretty much every D&D standard for awarding experience. But I think it will really open up and encourage sandbox thinking and play. There's no problem if the party decides that their goal for the evening/month/campaign will not bring them into mortal conflict or into riches.
I am going to use a roll to advance experience system (inspired by Lord Kilgore). Essentially, everyone gets 1 experience point per adventure. At the end of the night, everyone rolls a D20 and tries to hit a target number based on their class, current level, and race and adds any accrued experience. You hit the number, you level. Otherwise, you accrue more experience points to apply towards the next roll. Experience points are only lost if actually needed to level up.
Since this post is dragging on, I will go deeper into the mechanics in the next post.