I have to agree with this last. Perhaps encouraging the players to set upon a plan for each session before setting goals would help to eliminate some of the goals that end up wasted; sometimes, I feel like setting goals at the beginning of the session is a challenge because the cast is a bit foggy on the details of what is going on right at the beginning. Maybe tentative goals should be set the end of the session to be reviewed at the beginning of the next?
Also, the three-goal limit is a bit frustrating. And while big goals paying off big worked well in Swan Song, that was a different system and a different world, and I feel like the cast sometimes gives up on big, worthwhile goals after the story takes a detour. Perhaps only being able to receive experience for completing three goals in a session, but having the ability to “float” the bigger ones (just in case they end up resolving during that session). Alternately, it might be worth taking some time with players to detail how to comminute those epic goals such that they pay out more regularly.
I was also intrigued by the suggestion earlier by profnesbitt that the instinct (inspiration) system might be adapted to the goal system. i.e., taking a serious risk that challenges your character in pursuit of a goal might be grounds for an incremental XP reward. Ramus attempting to resurrect Xeridas despite the fact that everyone was retreating is not quite enough to qualify, because there were potential benefits to success that were worth the risk, but had he, say, interposed himself between Xeridas and the Hezrou, then had he survived doing so (given that he had no guarantee that would have been either effective or survivable), I’d say that was worth 10% of the XP of the goal as a total. On the other hand, doing so would have been completely out of character, which negates the validity of the example. I’m struggling to think of a better one.
The flip side to this, which is invisible to us, is that Adam is likely calibrating the XP to the difficulty both ahead of time and in the moment: had Ramus succeeded in saving Xeridas in that fashion, the XP reward may have been substantially greater than resurrecting Xeridas would in straits less dire.
As things stand, I feel like gaming the goal system is going to be necessary, which seems like it could cheapen it a mite in the long run. The big one that always sticks out to me is Mr. Sicarian’s goal of defeating Mr. Titan. If any experience was derived from that, it never played in the campaign.
…Although, come to think of it, I’ll bet that’s why he got the Thunder Gun and Power Armor, which was effectively a big-time level-up. Actually, I’ve changed my mind. I think we’re a bit too caught up in the numbers. I’ll bet Adam will continue to insert effective power-ups (Berg’s arm, Ramus’s fire resistance) into the game regardless of levels, which will in turn make level-ups more significant and memorable. The system is fine, never mind. Sorry for the stream of consciousness post.