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Optional Experience Rules:
Roleplaying Improvement

by: Belladonna A Legacy Article from Sanguinus Curae

Back to Storytelling Index

The intention of the system outlined below is to do away with the difficult and burdensome system of using 'experience points' to improve a character's abilities. The experience point system creates too many inconsistencies in character advancement, and causes great headaches for the storyteller as he attempts to find some method of logic to apply to the player's desire to improve her character.
The system detailed below begins with a comparison between Ability Ratings (such as Science or Medicine) and real-world equivalents, as shown in the following table.

Trait Score Real-world Equivalent
1 Novice
2 Amateur
3 Bachelor's
4 Master's
5 Doctorate
6 Doctorate - Professor
7 Doctorate - Expert
8 Doctorate - Leading Authority
9 Doctorate - All-knowing
10 Doctorate - God

A Doctorate in Medicine requires a minimum of four years' dedicated study in Medical School. If you consider that the average Medical student devotes 40 hours per week for 40 weeks for 4 years, you can see that the Doctorate costs them 6,400 hours of time.
Conversely, according to the 'experience points' system, this would cost 23 XP. (3 to buy level one, 2 to buy level 2, 4 to buy level 3, 6 to buy level 4, and 8 to buy level 5=23, as shown in the experience chart below from WW)

WW XP Cost System
New Path 7 pts
New Discipline 10 pts
Attribute improvement current x 4 pts
Ability improvement current x 2 pts
Clan Discipline improvement current x 5 pts
Non-clan Discipline improvement current x 7 pts
Path improvement current x 4 pts
Virtues improvement current x 2 pts
Humanity improvement current x 2 pts
Willpower improvement current x 1 pts

If you then equate those 23 XP with the same 6,400 hours, you can begin to see how a real-time correlation can be gained.
>From there you can apply an axiom that is often forgotten in role-playing - self-improvement requires practice and training. You have to spend time to improve yourself, and while that time may not necessarily need to be RPed, it should always be taken into consideration.
Rather than chasing around intangible experience points and trying to decide what the character can improve and when - you and the player decide what the character is actually learning/being taught. The points they need to get to the next level in an attribute or ability then determine how long the training or practice needs to be (in hours, just like university or flight training) - and then the player decides how much time per night or per week the character is devoting to this training/practice.
This is also a good way of envisioning a 'life' for the character within the 'downtime' of the Chronicle - since you can't possible RP every hour of every night of every week.
Maybe the character spends a few hours this night in a dusty old library reading up on the occult, where-as tomorrow she has a training session with her martial arts coach before she makes it to the Elysium.
This system requires a bit more thought than the 'grab XP's and slap 'em in any old place' system, but it has the benefit of creating a much deeper and more realistic character.

Because personal tutoring/training/practice is more beneficial than classroom learning among hundreds of students, this system of realistic improvement is based on the following precept.

1 pt of improvement cost is equal to:
280 hours of schooling, or
35 hours of personal tutoring/training.

Following that precept the rest simply becomes a matter of tallying hours based on the XP costs chart above.

Below I have provided charts with a variety of useful information for determining how long it will take for a character to improve a given Trait, including totals and averages. Delving into these charts will begin to reveal why it is that only the oldest and most experienced vampires have the really high Traits, and why it is that any Trait at a 5 is considered so good that the primary source-books don't even list the Trait ratings higher than that. A 5 in any Trait represents a considerable amount of devotion and toil, nothing to be taken lightly.

if you wish, you may also use the following modifiers based on certain Merits.

Concentration time / 1.1
Eidetic memory time / 1.5
Precocious* time / 2
*The modifier for Precocious is the actual WW modifier and SHOULD always be used when the Merit is present.

Basic Traits
Tutoring 1 2 3 4 5
Attribute n/a 140 280 420 560
totals n/a 140 420 840 1400
total days @ 8hrs/day n/a 18 53 105 175
total days @ 6hrs/day n/a 24 70 140 234
total days @ 4hrs/day n/a 35 105 210 350
total days @ 2hrs/day n/a 70 210 420 700
total days @ 1hrs/day n/a 140 420 840 1400
average time in years n/a 0.28 0.84 1.68 2.8
Ability 105 70 140 210 280
totals 105 175 315 525 805
total days @ 8hrs/day 14 22 40 66 101
total days @ 6hrs/day 18 30 53 88 135
total days @ 4hrs/day 27 44 79 132 202
total days @ 2hrs/day 53 88 158 263 403
total days @ 1hrs/day 105 175 315 525 805
average time in years 0.21 0.35 0.63 1.05 1.61
Path 245 140 280 420 560
totals 245 385 665 1085 1645
total days @ 8hrs/day 31 49 84 136 206
total days @ 6hrs/day 41 65 111 181 275
total days @ 4hrs/day 62 97 167 272 412
total days @ 2hrs/day 123 193 333 543 823
total days @ 1hrs/day 245 385 665 1085 1645
average time in years 0.49 0.77 1.33 2.17 3.29
Discipline: Clan n/a 175 350 525 700
totals n/a 175 525 1050 1750
total days @ 8hrs/day n/a 22 66 132 219
total days @ 6hrs/day n/a 30 88 175 292
total days @ 4hrs/day n/a 44 132 263 438
total days @ 2hrs/day n/a 88 263 525 875
total days @ 1hrs/day n/a 175 525 1050 1750
average time in years n/a 0.35 1.05 2.1 3.5
Discipline: New 350 245 490 735 980
totals 350 595 1085 1820 2800
total days @ 8hrs/day 44 75 136 228 350
total days @ 6hrs/day 59 100 181 304 467
total days @ 4hrs/day 88 149 272 455 700
total days @ 2hrs/day 175 298 543 910 1400
total days @ 1hrs/day 350 595 1085 1820 2800
average time in years 0.7 1.19 2.17 3.64 5.6
Virtue n/a 70 140 210 280
totals n/a 70 210 420 700
total days @ 8hrs/day n/a 9 27 53 88
total days @ 6hrs/day n/a 12 35 70 117
total days @ 4hrs/day n/a 18 53 105 175
total days @ 2hrs/day n/a 35 105 210 350
total days @ 1hrs/day n/a 70 210 420 700
average time in years n/a 0.14 0.42 0.84 1.4
Humanity n/a 70 140 210 280
totals n/a 70 210 420 700
total days @ 8hrs/day n/a 9 27 53 88
total days @ 6hrs/day n/a 12 35 70 117
total days @ 4hrs/day n/a 18 53 105 175
total days @ 2hrs/day n/a 35 105 210 350
total days @ 1hrs/day n/a 70 210 420 700
average time in years n/a 0.14 0.42 0.84 1.4
Willpower n/a 35 70 105 140
totals n/a 35 105 210 350
total days @ 8hrs/day n/a 5 14 27 44
total days @ 6hrs/day n/a 6 18 35 59
total days @ 4hrs/day n/a 9 27 53 88
total days @ 2hrs/day n/a 18 53 105 175
total days @ 1hrs/day n/a 35 105 210 350
average time in years n/a 0.07 0.21 0.42 0.7
 
Classroom 1 2 3 4 5
Attribute n/a 1120 2240 3360 4480
totals n/a 1120 3360 6720 11200
total days @ 8hrs/day n/a 140 420 840 1400
total days @ 6hrs/day n/a 187 560 1120 1867
total days @ 4hrs/day n/a 280 840 1680 2800
total days @ 2hrs/day n/a 560 1680 3360 5600
total days @ 1hrs/day n/a 1120 3360 6720 11200
average time in years n/a 1.12 3.36 6.72 11.2
Ability 840 560 1120 1680 2240
totals 840 1400 2520 4200 6440
total days @ 8hrs/day 105 175 315 525 805
total days @ 6hrs/day 140 234 420 700 1074
total days @ 4hrs/day 210 350 630 1050 1610
total days @ 2hrs/day 420 700 1260 2100 3220
total days @ 1hrs/day 840 1400 2520 4200 6440
average time in years 0.84 1.4 2.52 4.2 6.44
Path 1960 1120 2240 3360 4480
totals 1960 3080 5320 8680 13160
total days @ 8hrs/day 245 385 665 1085 1645
total days @ 6hrs/day 327 514 887 1447 2194
total days @ 4hrs/day 490 770 1330 2170 3290
total days @ 2hrs/day 980 1540 2660 4340 6580
total days @ 1hrs/day 1960 3080 5320 8680 13160
average time in years 1.96 3.08 5.32 8.68 13.16
Discipline: Clan n/a 1400 2800 4200 5600
totals n/a 1400 4200 8400 14000
total days @ 8hrs/day n/a 175 525 1050 1750
total days @ 6hrs/day n/a 234 700 1400 2334
total days @ 4hrs/day n/a 350 1050 2100 3500
total days @ 2hrs/day n/a 700 2100 4200 7000
total days @ 1hrs/day n/a 1400 4200 8400 14000
average time in years n/a 1.4 4.2 8.4 14
Discipline: New 2800 1960 3920 5880 7840
totals 2800 4760 8680 14560 22400
total days @ 8hrs/day 350 595 1085 1820 2800
total days @ 6hrs/day 467 794 1447 2427 3734
total days @ 4hrs/day 700 1190 2170 3640 5600
total days @ 2hrs/day 1400 2380 4340 7280 11200
total days @ 1hrs/day 2800 4760 8680 14560 22400
average time in years 2.8 4.76 8.68 14.56 22.4
Virtue n/a 560 1120 1680 2240
totals n/a 560 1680 3360 5600
total days @ 8hrs/day n/a 70 210 420 700
total days @ 6hrs/day n/a 94 280 560 934
total days @ 4hrs/day n/a 140 420 840 1400
total days @ 2hrs/day n/a 280 840 1680 2800
total days @ 1hrs/day n/a 560 1680 3360 5600
average time in years n/a 0.56 1.68 3.36 5.6
Humanity n/a 560 1120 1680 2240
totals n/a 560 1680 3360 5600
total days @ 8hrs/day n/a 70 210 420 700
total days @ 6hrs/day n/a 94 280 560 934
total days @ 4hrs/day n/a 140 420 840 1400
total days @ 2hrs/day n/a 280 840 1680 2800
total days @ 1hrs/day n/a 560 1680 3360 5600
average time in years n/a 0.56 1.68 3.36 5.6
Willpower n/a 280 560 840 1120
totals n/a 280 840 1680 2800
total days @ 8hrs/day n/a 35 105 210 350
total days @ 6hrs/day n/a 47 140 280 467
total days @ 4hrs/day n/a 70 210 420 700
total days @ 2hrs/day n/a 140 420 840 1400
total days @ 1hrs/day n/a 280 840 1680 2800
average time in years n/a 0.28 0.84 1.68 2.8
Advanced Traits
Tutoring 6 7 8 9 10
Attribute 700 840 980 1120 1260
totals 2100 2940 3920 5040 6300
total days @ 8hrs/day 263 368 490 630 788
total days @ 6hrs/day 350 490 654 840 1050
total days @ 4hrs/day 525 735 980 1260 1575
total days @ 2hrs/day 1050 1470 1960 2520 3150
total days @ 1hrs/day 2100 2940 3920 5040 6300
average time in years 4.2 5.88 7.84 10.08 12.6
Ability 350 420 490 560 630
totals 1155 1575 2065 2625 3255
total days @ 8hrs/day 145 197 259 329 407
total days @ 6hrs/day 193 263 345 438 543
total days @ 4hrs/day 289 394 517 657 814
total days @ 2hrs/day 578 788 1033 1313 1628
total days @ 1hrs/day 1155 1575 2065 2625 3255
average time in years 2.31 3.15 4.13 5.25 6.51
Path 700 840 980 1120 1260
totals 2345 3185 4165 5285 6545
total days @ 8hrs/day 294 399 521 661 819
total days @ 6hrs/day 391 531 695 881 1091
total days @ 4hrs/day 587 797 1042 1322 1637
total days @ 2hrs/day 1173 1593 2083 2643 3273
total days @ 1hrs/day 2345 3185 4165 5285 6545
average time in years 4.69 6.37 8.33 10.57 13.09
Discipline: Clan 875 1050 1225 1400 1575
totals 2625 3675 4900 6300 7875
total days @ 8hrs/day 329 460 613 788 985
total days @ 6hrs/day 438 613 817 1050 1313
total days @ 4hrs/day 657 919 1225 1575 1969
total days @ 2hrs/day 1313 1838 2450 3150 3938
total days @ 1hrs/day 2625 3675 4900 6300 7875
average time in years 5.25 7.35 9.8 12.6 15.75
Discipline: New 1225 1470 1715 1960 2205
totals 4025 5495 7210 9170 11375
total days @ 8hrs/day 504 687 902 1147 1422
total days @ 6hrs/day 671 916 1202 1529 1896
total days @ 4hrs/day 1007 1374 1803 2293 2844
total days @ 2hrs/day 2013 2748 3605 4585 5688
total days @ 1hrs/day 4025 5495 7210 9170 11375
average time in years 8.05 10.99 14.42 18.34 22.75
Virtue 350 420 490 560 630
totals 1050 1470 1960 2520 3150
total days @ 8hrs/day 132 184 245 315 394
total days @ 6hrs/day 175 245 327 420 525
total days @ 4hrs/day 263 368 490 630 788
total days @ 2hrs/day 525 735 980 1260 1575
total days @ 1hrs/day 1050 1470 1960 2520 3150
average time in years 2.1 2.94 3.92 5.04 6.3
Humanity 350 420 490 560 630
totals 1050 1470 1960 2520 3150
total days @ 8hrs/day 132 184 245 315 394
total days @ 6hrs/day 175 245 327 420 525
total days @ 4hrs/day 263 368 490 630 788
total days @ 2hrs/day 525 735 980 1260 1575
total days @ 1hrs/day 1050 1470 1960 2520 3150
average time in years 2.1 2.94 3.92 5.04 6.3
Willpower 175 210 245 280 315
totals 525 735 980 1260 1575
total days @ 8hrs/day 66 92 123 158 197
total days @ 6hrs/day 88 123 164 210 263
total days @ 4hrs/day 132 184 245 315 394
total days @ 2hrs/day 263 368 490 630 788
total days @ 1hrs/day 525 735 980 1260 1575
average time in years 1.05 1.47 1.96 2.52 3.15
 
Classroom 6 7 8 9 10
Attribute 5600 6720 7840 8960 10080
totals 16800 23520 31360 40320 50400
total days @ 8hrs/day 2100 2940 3920 5040 6300
total days @ 6hrs/day 2800 3920 5227 6720 8400
total days @ 4hrs/day 4200 5880 7840 10080 12600
total days @ 2hrs/day 8400 11760 15680 20160 25200
total days @ 1hrs/day 16800 23520 31360 40320 50400
average time in years 16.8 23.52 31.36 40.32 50.4
Ability 2800 3360 3920 4480 5040
totals 9240 12600 16520 21000 26040
total days @ 8hrs/day 1155 1575 2065 2625 3255
total days @ 6hrs/day 1540 2100 2754 3500 4340
total days @ 4hrs/day 2310 3150 4130 5250 6510
total days @ 2hrs/day 4620 6300 8260 10500 13020
total days @ 1hrs/day 9240 12600 16520 21000 26040
average time in years 9.24 12.6 16.52 21 26.04
Path 5600 6720 7840 8960 10080
totals 18760 25480 33320 42280 52360
total days @ 8hrs/day 2345 3185 4165 5285 6545
total days @ 6hrs/day 3127 4247 5554 7047 8727
total days @ 4hrs/day 4690 6370 8330 10570 13090
total days @ 2hrs/day 9380 12740 16660 21140 26180
total days @ 1hrs/day 18760 25480 33320 42280 52360
average time in years 18.76 25.48 33.32 42.28 52.36
Discipline: Clan 7000 8400 9800 11200 12600
totals 21000 29400 39200 50400 63000
total days @ 8hrs/day 2625 3675 4900 6300 7875
total days @ 6hrs/day 3500 4900 6534 8400 10500
total days @ 4hrs/day 5250 7350 9800 12600 15750
total days @ 2hrs/day 10500 14700 19600 25200 31500
total days @ 1hrs/day 21000 29400 39200 50400 63000
average time in years 21 29.4 39.2 50.4 63
Discipline: New 9800 11760 13720 15680 17640
totals 32200 43960 57680 73360 91000
total days @ 8hrs/day 4025 5495 7210 9170 11375
total days @ 6hrs/day 5367 7327 9614 12227 15167
total days @ 4hrs/day 8050 10990 14420 18340 22750
total days @ 2hrs/day 16100 21980 28840 36680 45500
total days @ 1hrs/day 32200 43960 57680 73360 91000
average time in years 32.2 43.96 57.68 73.36 91
Virtue 2800 3360 3920 4480 5040
totals 8400 11760 15680 20160 25200
total days @ 8hrs/day 1050 1470 1960 2520 3150
total days @ 6hrs/day 1400 1960 2614 3360 4200
total days @ 4hrs/day 2100 2940 3920 5040 6300
total days @ 2hrs/day 4200 5880 7840 10080 12600
total days @ 1hrs/day 8400 11760 15680 20160 25200
average time in years 8.4 11.76 15.68 20.16 25.2
Humanity 2800 3360 3920 4480 5040
totals 8400 11760 15680 20160 25200
total days @ 8hrs/day 1050 1470 1960 2520 3150
total days @ 6hrs/day 1400 1960 2614 3360 4200
total days @ 4hrs/day 2100 2940 3920 5040 6300
total days @ 2hrs/day 4200 5880 7840 10080 12600
total days @ 1hrs/day 8400 11760 15680 20160 25200
average time in years 8.4 11.76 15.68 20.16 25.2
Willpower 1400 1680 1960 2240 2520
totals 4200 5880 7840 10080 12600
total days @ 8hrs/day 525 735 980 1260 1575
total days @ 6hrs/day 700 980 1307 1680 2100
total days @ 4hrs/day 1050 1470 1960 2520 3150
total days @ 2hrs/day 2100 2940 3920 5040 6300
total days @ 1hrs/day 4200 5880 7840 10080 12600
average time in years 4.2 5.88 7.84 10.08 12.6

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