Monday, December 28, 2009

Level Up!

An integral part of any role-playing game is the growth of its player characters. But with a game like OVA this can be a tad problematic. Since the game doesn't shoehorn Players into creating characters of a certain power level, you can often see the green-behind-the-ears apprentice fighting side-by-side with the old hat magician. While it's perfectly feasible for a neophyte to rack up experience quickly and gain power exponentially, the grizzled sage should, if we listen to anime, not progress much at all. With the old experience system, there is some slow-down when you talk about higher level Abilities. But even if you're progressing from Level 4 to the ultimate Level 5, you can theoretically gain the appropriate number of points in two or three adventures. Obviously not ideal.

The Revised game gives the Game Master more control by applying one of three Experience schemes on the Players: Fast, Moderate, and Slow Growth.

Fast Growth is effectively the old system. Spend an Experience Point for every level of the Ability you want to attain, making sure to buy all levels in between. Going from 3 to 4 would costs 4 points. Going from 3 to 5 would cost 9 points – buying both Level 4 and Level 5 at a one-for-one basis.

Moderate Growth makes you multiply the cost by 5. Going from 3 to 4 would now cost 20 points. Characters will still progress, especially if they're just buffing up some of their weaker points, but they will no longer shoot up with wild abandon.

Slow Growth is, obviously, the slowest method, appropriate for games with experienced characters who you don't really expect to change much even after many adventures. The cost is multiplied by 10. Going from level 3 to 4 would now cost 40 points.

The Game Master may apply these schemes to all the PCs as a whole, or individually as appropriate to their archetypes/power level. The actual book gives more guidelines on doing this. I'm still tweaking the actual numbers involved, and using 1, 2, and 5 as multipliers might be more appropriate. Feel free to weigh in with your thoughts!

As before, OVA will also allow players to dispose with traditional Experience spending entirely with guidelines on simply role-playing it out. Game Masters can also choose to give "free" Drama Dice in the stead of (or in addition to) normal Experience. While these can obviously be used during the game, these free Drama Dice may be spent between adventures to influence the course of upcoming events – and just maybe justify the chance to role-play the upping of a character's Abilities. "I want to meet a master like King Kai and train!" And so on.

Natsuki has spent all her Experience Points on one rather massive addition, her power glove. It's so bad! While its massive heft prevents her from using it every attack, it adds a serious punch to her martial arts repertoire, and gives coworkers all new things to fear at board meetings. Maybe with this new weapon in hand, she can recover her precious pet project...MIHO!


  1. Clay this is great. Whenever I have to deal with brash young pilot versus grizzled veteren I always try to do something like this for anime inspired games. This is pretty elegant. You may want to include a sidebar about choosing multipliers, as it may not be one-size fits all. Also, it might be that the GM wants to start the campaign with improvements being cheap but once they hit the climb to the last battle, he wants it to slow down, so he doubles the previous multiplier and gives out more drama dice to compensate.

  2. Seems like a solid idea... I also agree with Siroh, a sidebar reminding GMs that fiddling with the numbers is an okay thing to do is always a good idea.

    I was wondering... I haven't actually played OVA but I have read it over and I have to admit that I am intrigued. I want to play it but knowing a revised edition is on the horizon gives me pause. When can we expect this fella to get churned out? Even a rough yet educated guess that you might not be capable of living up to would be handy. Shoot, you could even say "2nd quarter of next year" and I'd be happy. =)

  3. There will be plenty of guidelines, don't worry. :)

    As for a release date, I'll hesitantly say "2nd Quarter" is not far off the mark. If you can't wait, you can do what other fans are doing and hack your 1st Edition game using notes gleaned from this blog. If you have any questions on doing so, email or posting on the Wise Turtle Forums is encouraged.

  4. After stumbling across a mention of this blog on, and proceeding to read it from start to finish, I'm purchasing a pdf of the earlier edition of OVA from so that I can start to get an idea of what OVA revised is building from.

    I'm posting this here for two reasons. One is to give you props for really getting me the most excited I've been about an RPG product in a year or more. The other is to give you an idea of which channel of communication just earned you another supporter. Looking forward to your work! ^_^

  5. That's great to hear, Robert! I hope you enjoy the game - and that it only serves to further fuel your excitement. ;) Thanks for writing; it is nice to know how fans discover the game.

  6. While I like the system you're describing here, I don't think your initial statement is factual, that you have to have a progression system in an RPG.