Possible fluff-justification for XP: feedback please?

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I had an idea that, in-game, "life force" is a legitimate scientific fact, wizards study "Vitodynamics" (not as a seperate school of spells, just that it's my understanding of the archetype that they are the arcane scientific community of the game), and have found that if a person is killed, a part of their life force is absorbed by whoever killed them (just power, not memories/personality*). This could've originally grown from studies of how undead like wights and vampires work in the hope of learning new ways to destroy them, and this resulted instead.

It's kind of like how some ancient warriors would cannibalize defeated enemies in real life to gain their strength (and in barren environments where there was little-to-no nutrition availible beyond other people, they would've in a sick way been surprisingly correct).

This could also be used to explain why resurrection spells bring people back slightly weaker, and why most people are weak enough that it wouldn't work in the first place: their souls don't have as much energy as they did before somebody else took some. Villains could even use this as a "justification" (read: rationalization) for murder: since most people aren't willing to kill enough to be resurrected, they don't need their life-force as much as somebody else does who is looking to be resurrected at some point.

This wouldn't preclude DM's from giving players XP for defeating opponents indirectly, because (1) they wouldn't have to use this system for their games, and (2) perhaps wizards have found that two people do not have to be in physical contact for one to take the other's life force, rather the person who set up the other person's death just needs to be reasonably close, and unless you are excessively far from your enemy then the universe operates such that it's your mind and will-power, not your hands/weapons, that determine whether you killed somebody.

This wouldn't even preclude DM's from granting role-play XP by requiring mortal combat in general as the only way for players to level up, because (1) they wouldn't have to use this system for their games and (2) it could just mean that the players are assumed to have gotten the XP from somewhere else if the DM gives it for non-combat. OR maybe their gods are seeing them acting justly, intelligently, and/or creatively and want to reward them by granting them more power (if not necessarily in the form of divine spell-casting) to continue acting justly/creatively in bigger matters.

This could also explain why players wouldn't get XP from killing monsters summoned by spell-casters: presently, the explanation is that the monsters are essentially just spells, and the players shouldn't get extra experience from killing the spell-caster after she cast monsters any more than if she had cast lightning. This could take it one step further and have spell-casters summon monsters without their enemies knowledge so that their opponent thinks that they will get more power (again, possibly intellectual or athletic, not just divine/arcane) from killing the monsters, not knowing that they have no power to take because they were created by a spell-caster the adventurers didn't know about and that they would have to kill her instead.

What do you guys think? Does anybody else have ideas for how something like this could work? Maybe something completely different instead? I'm not saying that anybody needs to something like this, it just seems like it could be a cool way to add depth and detail to a world.

Founder - but not owner - of Just Say Yes!

Member of LGBT Gamers

Odds are, if 4-6 people can't figure out an answer you thought was obvious, you screwed up, not them. - JeffGroves
Which is why a DM should present problems to solve, not solutions to find. -FlatFoot
Why there should be the option to use alignment systems:
If some people are heavily benefiting from the inclusion of alignment, then it would behoove those that AREN'T to listen up and pay attention to how those benefits are being created and enjoyed, no? -YagamiFire
But equally important would be for those who do enjoy those benefits to entertain the possibility that other people do not value those benefits equally or, possibly, do not see them as benefits in the first place. -wrecan (RIP)
That makes sense. However, it is not fair to continually attack those that benefit for being, somehow, deviant for deriving enjoyment from something that you cannot. Instead, alignment is continually attacked...it is demonized...and those that use it are lumped in with it.


I think there is more merit in a situation where someone says "This doesn't work! It's broken!" and the reply is "Actually it works fine for me. Have you considered your approach might be causing it?"


than a situation where someone says "I use this system and the way I use it works really well!" and the back and forth is "No! It is a broken bad system!" -YagamiFire

Why do you need to justify XP fluff-wise?  DMs can give or not give XP for anything.  Some don't use it at all, and just level up when the plot/story calls for it.  I find it's most useful for encounter building, whether it's used to track advancement or not.  At that point it's just "build points" to create appropriately challenging encounters.

Cry Havoc!  And let slip the hogs of war!

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