Experience Points & Leveling


I'm just wondeirng how everyone handles Leveling player characters with Conan...

One of the things I've always been concerned about is the fact that Conan stories from the beginning were told widely out of order. Has anyone developed a way of telling your stories so that you can "go back in time" and tell a story from the PC's past?

and since Conan isn't as much about "collecting" treasures or hordes, I'm feeling the same way with giving Experience Points...
So I've been keeping track of when it's "appropriate" (based on session events) for Player Characters to go to the next level and just awarding the level to them, rather than having them keep a tally of their xp.

I'm still thinking about how to give xp and how to go back for past stories...

last thing - how do you feel (if you DO tell past stories) about the fact that continuity COULD be screwed up if a PC is killed, looses a leg, etc...... Meaning their "future stories" that they've already played in game sessions shouldn't have been the same.

I just ran my first "past" story and one of the Players was having a very hard time of "letting go" of linear continuity. Not firewalling info - simply getting past the fact that, his character "couldn't" die.
I told them prior that I wasn't holding ANY punches and if they die... they die... we'll figure out WHERE to go with the reason the character "showed up" in future stories if needed....

anyway - the session went fine, with actually several very COOL events foreshadowing "future" events and while the PCs nearly were decimated they pulled it through.

I'm also a big fan of non-sequential storylines. "Left for Dead" (page 65) is a great way to burn a Fate Point and allow characters who seemingly die in one scenario to reappear in a future adventure. This may help your player get over the continuity problem.

Regarding experience, the non-sequential campaign can be a challenge. To me the best option is to simply ignore experience points. Make several versions of a character--at the various levels you want to set the adventures. One week you could have the players using 15th level characters and the next week 3rd level versions of the same characters.

There was a gentlemen who posted here that wanted to get very detailed on experience and I took the oppossing view. I'm not saying 'I'm Right' and everyone who doesn't think like me is wrong', but I do feel very strongly....

While I don't run non-linear adventures...I do very much believe in a haze when it comes to exp for Conan

Conan isn't about points or gold or magic...it's about survival. For this reason, my PC's have no magic, rarely have more gold at the start of an adventure than what they need to survive a few days on and have no experience points.

While gaming, I make the decision when best to upgrade their PC's. I base this decision primarily upon what they've done and what they'll face in the near future and how long we want the campaign to run. We play once a week, are all 35+ with families and only have 3 hours per session. If we focused on exp, we'd never get anywhere.

As it is, it's taken us months to move from 1st level to 10th level. To the Players, however, it's about every other session or once for a completed 'scenario'. Do a search on my name for some summaries of these scenarios.

This gives the GM all the control in the world to establish the baseline for his collective story that is being written. Are you ready for them to move from 7th to 8th level? If yes...do it. If no, they aren't done with the 7th level content yet...then don't. It really is that simple. You are happy, no bookkeeping, and the players are happy...they get levels.

I've already socialized that we'll be "semi-retiring" our current characters to start new ones. This gives everyone the chance to start with new people / classes / races knowing what they know. And who knows, their GM might have a grand idea of what to do with both groups when they are both at the same level....

War anyone??
This definitely makes sense to me, and I think my group is going to do the same. The only problem I can see is that perhaps the players might not feel as motivated. I'm usually GM, so I don't have a lot of experience as a player, but I would assume that a lot of players do enjoy watching their characters get stronger due to their efforts. Has anyone mentioned this?
Each group is going to be different, of course, but if we followed the rules for handing out experience, it would be a long time before anyone went up after 4th level or so. What we found is that our attentions waned when levels started coming slower and we never got beyond 5-6th level "legitimately". I started giving "more experience" per encounter and even giving roleplaying & event based experienced. But, inevitablly, the paperwork was not worth the effort.

When Conan came around, we embraced the idea (as stated in the rule book) that levels should be awarded when appropriate. Now, we have a group of 10th level characters that everyone has enjoyed playing with little if any attention loss. It's been one of the most successful campaigns for our group because of the chance to succeed...grow...try the 'higher level content' for the first time.

Given our limited time, it has made the most sense and now that we've done it with success, I'll never GM another session using experience with them. It's just not worth it. (that includes ALL the RPG games we play)

Best of Luck
Now that I think of it, I think that may have been a hindrance to my group, as well. My group has had a tendency in the past to be very gung-ho for a month or two, and then everyone starts drifting away from the game. That may actually be the reason (I've been trying to figure that out for the longest)

As for goals, I may start telling my guys that instead of xp, they will simply get a level when they complete "the next 3 storylines" or something like that. That would help to keep them on a schedule, at least.

That's exactly what I siad to my group. We go up a level each MAJOR storyline, and after a few minor ones. It's worked beautifully. The group focuses on survival and fun, then gets new stuff if they succeed. I controll when that happens and it keeps things even and balanced.
I've been running my CONAN campaign for about 8 months now and the characters are only on the verge of 5th level at this point. My adventures are in sequence and only a year of game-time has elapsed.

I'm not stingy about giving out experience points, but the group does not expect to level every adventure. SURVIVAL and the completion of a task/quest is the true satisfaction in my campaign. It's good to get XP and level our characters, but the time spent as friends is more important :wink:

This game system is very rich in style, content and atmosphere- we love playing in the realm of Hyboria together. The XP is something that comes along, but again, it's the good times we have that are the true treasure in the game :lol:

Again - if you and your group are happy...GREAT! But my group is on the older side (all 34+) and we want to experience growth and higher levels...THEN we want to be able to mix it up and do it again!
Check this thread out:

When I ran Conan I gave 500-1500 XP/session with PCs level 1-3, and that worked ok, I'd have moved up to 1-2000 later. I don't think Conan's genre is well suited to a group of PCs over 10th level, so after about 5th level I wouldn't want to level PCs as fast as core D&D does.
It's you and me against the world, S'mon. :wink: Although, Auggie seems to be on a similar page as well.

I believe that I am the "gentleman" mentioned by AC in his first post.

Details of the XP system I use in my game can be found at the start of these two threads:


One thing I did IMC was give out extra skill ranks to reflect knowledge gained in life experience between adventures - eg a year at sea gets a rank in Profession (Sailor), a year as a noble's guard gets a rank in Knowledge (Nobility).

Most of the Conan monsters as statted are a good match for PCs in the 4th-8th range, I think that most Conan campaigns should take place largely in that range, which IMO is the best suited to the genre, with protagonists competent but not superhuman. Around traditional 'name level' (9th-10th) is when I'd expect PCs to be becoming generals, warlords, thieves'-guildmasters and kings. I'd put most of the "greatest heroes of the age" at ca 10th-12th; with King Conan at 20th just so he can kick the butt of uppity PCs. :)
S'mon said:
One thing I did IMC was give out extra skill ranks to reflect knowledge gained in life experience between adventures - eg a year at sea gets a rank in Profession (Sailor), a year as a noble's guard gets a rank in Knowledge (Nobility).

I did this as well, and I was very directive about choices available for multi-classing.