Practical Experience

Earning Practical Experience

For killing monsters, for fulfilling their chosen task and for keeping the Vigil, Hunters earn Practical Experience.

Practical Experience is not doled out exclusively at the end of a chapter or a story, the way normal experience points are. Instead, in any scene in which hunters face a supernatural creature, they have a chance to receive Practical Experience. The scene doesn’t have to be explicitly combat oriented. A scene of tense discussion and exchanged threats can also net a cell some Practical Experience, as would a scene of direct investigation, such as following a creature back to its lair. The scene does have to be a confrontation, or at least contain the very real possibility of one. It’s possible, if unlikely, that a cell of hunters develops a rapport with, for example, a vampire looking to cure his condition, or a werewolf who has taken a vow never to harm a human. In such an instance, scenes with these characters — scenes with no risk — do not give the cell a chance for Practical Experience.

At the end of the scene, the Storyteller compiles a pool of Practical Experience points. The base number in the pool is equal to the number of hunters involved in the scene (including any Storyteller-controlled hunters). From there, the Storyteller makes the following adjustments:

  • +1 for every exceptional success roll when acting directly against a monster (opposed Social rolls, Stealth rolls and attack rolls count; reflexive resistance rolls do not)
  • +1 for every dramatic failure rolled during the scene, regardless of what kind of roll it was. Dramatic failures resulting from failed risk rolls (see p. 66) count toward this total. Hunters can learn just as much from dangerous failure as from success — maybe even more. The trick, of course, is surviving these failures.
  • +1 if the monster(s) displayed powers or abilities that were a) supernatural in nature and b) new to at least half of the group (rounding up). The Storyteller is the fi nal arbiter of whether this bonus applies, and the players are encouraged to keep notes on what their characters witness to make this judgment easier.
  • +1 if the cell used a Tactic successfully.
  • +1 if the Tactic had never been used “in the fi eld” (that is, against a real monster) before.
  • +1 if the cell saved the life of at least one person during the scene, not counting other hunters.
  • +1 if the hunters drove the creature off.
  • +2 if the hunters immobilized or captured the creature.
  • +2 if the hunters used a creative new approach or strategy with success.
  • +3 if the hunters killed/destroyed the monster, or permanently rendered the creature harmless (for example, giving a slasher a lobotomy that “rewires” his urge to kill, or truly redeeming a monster by forcing/helping it to become human).
  • -1 if any bystanders (that is, neither monster nor hunters) came to harm.
  • -1 for any instance of the group working against itself — friendly fi re, one-upmanship, etc. (Storyteller’s discretion).
  • -1 if any member of the cell fell victim to a mind or emotion influencing powers.
  • -1 if any member of the cell put anyone else (hunter or otherwise) in direct danger.
  • -1 if the cell attempted but failed to perform a Tactic.
  • -2 if any bystanders were killed (not cumulative with the “coming to harm” penalty, above).
  • -2 if the hunters were forced to fl ee (if a retreat was part of the plan from the beginning, this doesn’t apply).
  • -2 for every derangement gained or provoked (meaning the player failed the character’s roll to resist a derangement during that scene).
  • -3 for each hunter killed.

Add It Up

Once the Storyteller has added up all the modifi ers, he asks the players what their characters have learned about monsters during this encounter. This information needs to be ALL ABOUT TIMING You may feel that ending a tense tactical scene with an out-of-game discussion about Practical Experience interrupts the fl ow of the narrative. If that’s the case, go ahead and either discuss it at the end of the session instead of the middle of it, perhaps even relegating it to a discussion over email later that week. If you go this route, though, both Storyteller and players should still endeavor to take some quick notes immediately following the tense scenario to help jog the memory at the end of the chapter or before the next one. +2 if the hunters used a creative new approach or strategy with success. -1 if any bystanders (that is, neither monster nor hunters) came to harm. based on their direct observation (inferences can be acceptable, though, of course, hunters need to be wary of relying on them) during that confrontation. The information also needs to be new. Once the cell has learned that vampires are weaker if they haven’t fed for a long period of time, it can’t get Practical Experience for that piece of information again. As such, it’s important for someone, either the Storyteller or a player, to keep a log of brief statements enumerating what the cell has learned. Doing so has several benefi ts, beyond the immediate one of keeping straight what the cell has gained Practical Experience for learning. The players can use this list to fi gure out where the gaps in the cell’s knowledge lie, and the Storyteller can use the list to avoid repetition.

The Storyteller can accept a maximum of one suggestion per player for this portion of the Practical Experience pool. When all of the suggestions are in, the Storyteller totals the points and reveals the total to the players.

Banking It

The players can divide the points in any way they see fit. Practical Experience can be placed in a “bank” for later use in buying Tactics, or can be given to individual characters. If it is banked, however, it cannot be used for increasing character’s traits or regaining Willpower, unless all the players agree to “withdraw” the points. Practical Experience belongs to the troupe, not to any one player. This applies to new characters who might come to join the cell: upon joining, they have access to the group’s Practical Experience, but only if all parties agree to make it available. Otherwise, it stays “banked” for the cell’s group use.

Spending Practical Experience

  • A player can spend a point to regain Willpower. (See p. 66 for more details.)
  • A player can spend Practical Experience to increase Skills and Merits (including Endowments), but not Attributes.
  • A troupe can spend Practical Experience to purchase Tactics for a cell, or to train a new member to use existing Tactics.

Practical Experience

Bellevue World of Darkness DevlinBentley