XP as Training for Your Old School Game

Some retro-clones don’t have an option for multi-classing. While others have rules that just don’t quite sit right with me. Later editions have OK multi-classing rules but let’s face it many folks just dip into class for a couple levels to grab that cool class ability for optimum min/maxing. Feats were intended to be a means of customizing but they too ended up primarily as synergistic means to min/max. Then this little idea popped into my head the other day. Characters could spend XP to gain new abilities.
Here’s how it works. The player decides what new trick the character is going to learn. The XP costs is calculated as below. When the character earns XP, the player allocates a portion to learning the new ability. Those XP do not count towards the character leveling in their class. A character can train in only one area at a time and only once per level. If the player changes their mind then any XP originally allocated are lost.
Ability Scores: A character may increase an ability score by 1. Cost: New Ability Score x 100 XP.
Armor Training: The character may wear a type of armor. Cost: Armor Bonus x 200 XP. IF you are using descending AC then obviously take any bonus and make it positive number. Additionally, characters must learn armors from lightest to heaviest. This will mostly depend on your rules of choice but generally a character would need to learn leather, chain mail, and plate one at a time and in order.
Saving Throws: The character gains +1 to specific type of Saving Throw. Cost: 500 XP.
Skills: Once again much of this will depend on your rules of choice. But for this system, I’m using the Skills from Lamentations of the Flame Princess (x in d6). Cost: New Skill Rating x 300 XP. Like armor, this is learned in order. Characters don’t start off by learning a skill at 4 in 6. They have to work their way up each level.
Spells: A character may learn magic-user or clerical spells. When a character trains for a spell, the specific spell must selected at the beginning of training. The character must also be of a level that if the character were the spell casting class, they would be able to cast that spell. When a character does learn a spell, the character’s “caster level” is fixed at the level that the spell was learned. If the spell does not have any level dependent effects then use the character’s level for determining the cost to learn the spell. Cost: Spell Level x Caster Level X Number of Times Usable per Day x 200 XP.
Tough: The character gains additional HP the next time they level up. This is a one time bonus to HP and not retroactive. Cost: Maximum Die Roll Number x 100 XP. So an extra d4 HP would cost 400 XP; d6, 600 XP; d8, 800 XP, and so on. If the character’s HP are modified by a low or high Constitution score, then do not apply that modifier to the additional HP.
Weapon Training: The character learns to use a specific weapon. Cost: Maximum Base Damage of the Weapon x 100 XP. Similar to HP, if a weapon does d8 damage then it costs 800 XP to learn.
So there you go. These are the basic types of things that most characters might want to add to their character’s bag of tricks. There could be more so GM discretion is advised. Of course, some one else might have thought of this first but my Googlefu might have been weak and I’m sure that if they did some will tell me.
Keep those dice a rolling!

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