Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Gamemaster's Guidepost: Character Points, Embodied

XP. Eeps. Exp. Experience points. Character points.Whatever you call them they are the currency that drives the player economy. In GURPS these are simply called "Unspent Character Points" (no abbreviation, however adoptive exists - CP is a GURPS Martial Arts: Technical Grappling term). In games that use GURPS Power-Ups 5: Impulse Buys or Influencing Success Rolls (p. B347) it's highly useful to have your unspent character points in a easily accessible, physical form so you can spend them quickly and easily. I've seen poker chips, die counters, and even "edible tokens" like M&Ms or other small candies. I personally like to use flat-backed decorative glass beads. You can get them for about $5 for a hundred or so at just about any department or crafts store. in my case (see below) I didn't like the color so I used some gold spray paint and a enamel protective coat. You'll need at least two sizes, one to represent a single unspent character point and the other to represent whatever multiple of unspent character points you like (I like using 1 for small tokens and 5 for larger ones). If you're like me, you'll probably want to get multiple token sizes so you can have multiple ratings.

So what I did was buy four sets of token (the fifth was given to me by L.A., she had found them in a thrift store and know that I would like them - guess which one?) and spray paint three of them. I'd've done all of them, but I ran out of gold paint. Anyways, I counted out about a hundred of the small and big red tokens, fifty of the small gold, fifty of the gold stars, and twenty of the large gold tokens. Then I decided on values:
  • Small Red: 1 unspent character point.
  • Large Red: 5 unspent character points.
  • Small Gold: 10 unspent character points.
  • Gold Star: 25 unspent character points. ('Cause, you know, Extra Life and all)
  • Large Gold: 50 unspent character points.
Once you have your tokens you're going to need a container for each player to keep them in (otherwise they're all over the place) and a container for you to keep unrewarded tokens. I like using old medicine bottles with the player's names. Very handy and portable. Once you have the tokens and their containers all you need to do is dish out the tokens to your players and then at the each game give the players their due. Players can then spend them as they like during the games and give them back to the GM when they purchase new traits for their characters. Some pictures...