Friday, 18 May 2012

I've Never Been So Insulted: Performance Ratings

Continuing the introduction to First Edition and following on closely from the alignment post, let's look at performance ratings since the system expects the DM to be keeping them at least at the back of their mind from the start.

On page 86 of the DMG there is a system given for the rating of characters on two, and only two aspects of the characters' behaviour:
1) Acting in accordance with their professed alignment.
2) Acting in accordance with their professed class.

At the end of each adventure, when the PCs have made it to a "safe zone", the DM is supposed to rate each character from 1 (Excellent) to 4 (Poor) for their performance as judged by these two criteria. The DM is not rating the players in any way. A player who turns up late is not automatically a "4"!

Also, a character who avoids chances to act in line with their class or alignment is certainly giving the DM a reason to mark them down, but a character who does not receive any chances to act "correctly" is not. It is worth remembering, however, that all classes are "adventurers" and a lack of adventuring spirit is a potential flaw for any class.

Once a character is ready to increase in level, the average score since their last level increase* is translated into a number of weeks training. And here we hit a problem - the cost per week given on p86 (1500gp/lv/wk) is far too high for a DM to be able to give out anything below a 1 on a regular basis. Change it to 600gp/lv/wk. You should be able to give out mostly 2s and 3s without crippling the characters bank balances at low levels that way.

Rating players will end your game and lead to out-of-game bad feeling and insult. Do not do it.

If you can't make the system work, then continue to track alignment actions but have training take 1d4 weeks and charge 1500gp/lv regardless of the time needed.

We're nearly at the end of this set of posts, the DM should have a minimal setting, an adventure, some idea about character generation and what to tell players about alignment, and a notion of what the system expects in terms of tracking of alignment and class play.

I'll round out next time with that trickiest of all issues for the beginner and expert alike in AD&D - combat initiative.
Change of plan: encumbrance first.

*It's not actually stated that the characters begin each new level with a clean slate, so you may decide to simply track onwards each time. I personally think it better to start again.

1 comment:

  1. This is one of those design elements that was included for an imagined audience and was not actually used by the designers. Accordingly, and as you note, it has flaws from a lack of play testing. I have never really found the need to use this system, even though we use training.