Gamemaster’s Guidepost: Campaign Growth Best Practices

One thing that puzzles many GMs in a point-buy system is advancement and growth within a campaign. In a class system like DnD advancement is literally built in a leveled manner. You know what a given PC will be able to do depending on your level. In a point-buy system like GURPS this is much harder. What does 5 CP actually mean?

For my campaigns the first two numbers I come up with (often before anything else) are starting point totals of the characters and ending point totals for the characters. This gives me a way to measure how many CP or thereabouts the PC should be getting per session. Then, once I know that I figure how often the session will meet in a given month and how long a session is meant to last. Once I know that I can estimate how much CP per hour or game session that the players should be earning. If you’re like me you’re probably adding another way to keep track of your campaign: per “season” (a way to measure story arcs and the like). Finally, make sure you add in the fact that you might not run your campaign due to illness, work,  holidays, etc. A good ratio is about 10% to 15%. An example:

The GM decides he wants to run a space opera campaign and sets the starting point total at 250 – action-y enough for space operate, but not going overboard. He wants the PCs to grow into “big damn heroes” so he sets the final total at 500 points. He then decides after talking with the players that he’s going to run 4 4-hour sessions every month for his first “season.” Thus it’s safe to assume that he’ll run 47 sessions total. Since 500 – 250 is 250 again, players should be awarded about 5 CP per session or about 1 CP per hour of play.

It’s not perfect but it let’s a GM get within spitting distance of his goal. This way you know if you’re being too stingy or too generous with CP.

Picking Over the Bones

I’ve probably missed some metric or left out some circumstance that might apply to this post. What are some of your best practices for campaign growth? Any good benchmarks? Something you always make the PCs purchase? I want to know!

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