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2.11 Awarding Experience Points

Players gain a certain amount of experience simply by using Argo and being active on the MUCK (i.e., being not-idle, in populated IC areas). In addition, players may vote experience points for each other. Monitors have the ability to award additional experience points on the basis of good roleplaying, and to take away experience points for poor roleplaying, through the +award command.

Internally, Argo works with incremental experience points: when the value stored in a character's @a/avail/xp prop reaches 100, the number of points available for character development (Available Points on the character sheet, prop @a/avail/main) increases by 1. The +award command (syntax: +award <player> <positive or negative number>) works with `whole points': changes are made directly to the number of Available Points.

Active players should receive a reasonable amount of experience through automatic allocation and player voting. Points awarded with +award are in essence a bonus. The Monitor staff will need to establish a consistent policy for what merits awarded points.

Some guidelines:

  • Sterling performance in a one-episode TP, 1 point
  • Continued participation in a multi-episode TP, 1 point
  • Sterling performance in a multi-episode TP, or continued participation in a central role of a multi-episode TP, 2 points
  • Sterling performance in a central role of a multi-episode TP, 3 points

Needless to say, Monitors should use +award fairly and impartially. For a multi-episode TP overseen by several Monitors, the Monitors involved should confer at the conclusion of the TP and reach a consensus about points to be awarded.

In order to make good judgments about awarding points (and simply to monitor a TP, for that matter), Monitors will need to familiarize themselves with players' advantages, disadvantages, and backgrounds. The +sheet command (syntax: +sheet <player>) shows a player's character sheet; the regular +background command shows Monitors both pubic and private backgrounds. Monitor oversight is the best way to ensure that people abide by their disadvantages.

+Award could also be used to give a player enough points to purchase a skill or advantage earned through IC developments. For example, a character might be knighted for service to the king. The new knight would logically have certain advantages: law enforcement powers, perhaps an increase in status. Additional skills (a minimum level of Court Influence, say) and disadvantages (Social Disadvantage: Duty to the King) might also be fitting. The monitor staff could determine what additional advantages etc. the character would need, award the player enough points to make the changes, and unapprove the character so that s/he can again buy advantages.

Monitors are authorized to `award' negative points. Justified reasons for penalizing a character in this way would include:

  • Ignoring one's disadvantages
  • Acting in a way that doesn't fit the character conception without good reason
  • Derailing a plotline for non-IC reasons
  • Failing to follow indicated results of rolls, proves, etc.

When possible, IC behavior should be dealt with IC, rather than with +award. For example, on an Arthurian MUCK, a warrior who kills another in a fair fight should not be punished, IC or through negative points. But a brigand who kills a defenseless civilian for gain or personal pleasure should not be docked points or placed on suspension. Rather, he should be tracked down and brought to justice (i.e. executed) by the Knights of the Round Table. (The fact that a player is set `combatant' does not mean `It's ok to kill him'.)

Occasional RP faux pax such as OOC comments during a TP episode don't merit negative points, but consistent carelessness about such things reduces the quality of the performance and would be a reason to reduce the number of positive points awarded.

A pair of staff commands, +note and +notes, allow staff to keep records of Argo related matters for a particular character (or for anything with a dbref, for that matter). The +note command (syntax: +note <player, etc>) puts you in the list editor for a list stored on the indicated object; the +notes command (syntax: +notes <player, etc>) shows the list. (Outdated information should be .deleted to conserve dbase space.) Monitors might want to use +note to record when they awarded points and why, and for other things which would be helpful for fellow monitors to know.

Some examples:

+award able=1
+note able
Able and a few others were involved in the Grimoire TP on Friday when some newbies wandered into the Inn. Able involved the new folks in a really good way, that made them feel welcomed and started a new thread to the TP. I felt like this deserved being treated as a really good performance in a one-off and awarded 1 point. — Mistral

+note cain
I was on duty when Cain killed Sh'nod (the bog witch) at the ford. The only witness was Graymalkin (Sh'nod's familiar). Not sure how the players are going to react to this IC, but I thought what Cain did was in accordance with his character conception and (maybe) morally justified. — Mistral

+note andrew
Monday afternoon; Court scene in the Grimoire TP... Ewww! Maybe Andrew was just having an off day, but the whole time he was either making OOC comments or just not paying attention. The other player's were putting a lot into it, and it really spoiled the tone. I say we not award Andrew more than 1 point (if any) at the end of this thing. — Mistral

Keeping up with a multi-part TP in which things might be happening at several places simultaneously can be quite a challenge. Using +note consistently will help, as will a bulletin board in the OOC area that lets players and monitors record developments. Monitors might also want to use puppets to monitor several locations at once.

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