I have talked about coins before. Now there was a good post over at Black Dougal, that once again got me thinking. I want to pot the spotlight on the design effects of using collecting gold as a measurement of player advancement. According to me the fact that gp = xp is a strike of genius with many interesting effects on the game. I will view both of D&D and T&T through the golden lens of a coin.
In Basic D&D a suit of plate will cost you 60 gp. In AD&D it will cost you 400 gp, and in T&T 7 th ed a suit of heavy plate costs 1300 gp and in 6 th ed it will cost 600 gp. In BD&D and AD&D you get xp for gold, and in T&T you don't. In AD&D you have to pay for training to level up, and in T&T you have to pay the Wizard's Guild to get new spells. All this will of course influence how the game plays.
In my old D&D3 campaign (which I have written about before) I managed to get into the situation where my players considered coins as useless treasure. They barely bothered with gold, unless they got enough of it to buy a magic item they wanted. In my T&T campaign I have now started to see some of that as well, and I was wondering about the effects of the gp as xp rule.
In T&T, what happen when you have gotten the best armor and weapon you can get? You still have to pay the Wizard's Guild if you're a spellcaster, but if you're a fighter you probably only want gold to buy magic items. The latter is not something I really appreciate. Getting magic items to order have a high chance of making the wonder of magic turn into the blandness of Wallmart.
In D&D you very easy get the best armor and weapons. Frankly, surprisingly easy! After that you will still be interested in gold, since then you need to start saving for a stronghold when you reach level 9. When you have to pay for training it makes even more sense. I think this is a very good way to make sure that at all levels of play you still have a reason to go adventuring.
Here we can now see how the simple design of gp as xp have many small effects on play. Since you get a lot more xp from gold than you'll ever get from killing monsters, it encourage you to get your money without combat. In T&T you get most of your points from Saving Rolls so it has a similar effect. I like how those games make murder of other intelligent beings something that might happen, but not the point of the game. All these points of how this rule influence play impress me. To achieve so much with one rule is impressive. It's good design in my book if you can get much mileage out of a rule like that.
The shift from AD&D 2 nd ed onward to giving most of the xp from combat, combined with the “wallmartification” of magic, is the biggest shift in how the game is played throughout its history. I'm not sure I like it. In my 3 rd ed campaign it clearly became ridiculous when gold wasn't “worth it's weight in gold” any longer.
For T&T I'm thinking about experience. The gp = xp is neat, and I wonder if I'd “fix” a problem that isn't there if I try to import it? I do think it is a bit troublesome when a fighter basically don't have any more reason to get gold when he has gotten his plate armor. Sure, he can chip in and help buying some spells which he'll benefit from, but it isn't the same thing. From some conversations on Trollhalla lately I'm wondering if the experience rules don't could use a tweak or two.