Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Rule of Fibs

Through my many years of gaming, I've always had a problem with 'experience' systems. I never realized this problem; it normally just materialized into a frustration with the game. I have since discovered the beauty of Fibonacci. So what is Fibonacci? I like to call it the rule of life, the system is related to the golden ratio and a basis for how living things grow. I am not a Mathematician so my answer may not be 100% accurate (but that's it in a nutshell).
So what does this have to do with experience in a role-laying game? Well, in my opinion, the problem with most experience systems is that they allow characters to quickly ascend to levels that puts them above the mean of the game. This lends to a unsatisfying scenarios as many of the challenges are beneath the player. Fibonacci allows a game master to put a limit on progression without actually placing a limit. There becomes a point when acquiring the next level is just not as feasible. Lets compare a Fibonacci experience system to D&D 3.5, as I still haven't had the urge to buy the 4th edition books.
Level 1 0
Level 2 1,000
Level 3 2,000
Level 4 3,000
Level 5 5,000
Level 6 8,000
Level 7 13,000
Level 8 21,000
Level 9 34,000
Level 10 55,000
Level 11 89,000
Level 12 144,000
Level 13 233,000
Level 14 377,000
Level 15 610,000
Level 16 987,000
Level 17 1,597,000
Level 18 2,584,000
Level 19 4,181,000
Level 20 6,765,000
As you can see, by the time you hit 20th Level it will cost 6.7 mil+ as oppose to 190,000 it costs in D&D. I know what some are saying: "That cost's too much." and for D&D, I agree with you. But for a RPG that you pump experience directly into skills/powers, this rule is great. It prevents people from overloading one skill/power. Players who want to get the most for their experience will spread it around causing something that is difficult to find, a well rounded character.
This is the system I decided to use for experience in OverBurn. I also present this video which helps illustrate Fibonacci.

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