JB did a fascinating summary of how various editions of D&D have described (and therefore utilized) traps. The observation that sparked my imagination has to do with what JB calls D20. He notes:
Unlike earlier editions, PCs gain XP from surviving traps, so it is in the adventurers best interest to find and set-off as many as possible.This, in turn, drives the way the game is played. Thus, players are encouraged to optimize their characters for the purpose of surviving traps and killing monsters (the only other way to earn XP). This drive for optimization (and, in turn, the discouragement and downright punishment of not optimizing) is one of the reasons I find D20 incredibly frustrating. It doesn't leave a lot of room for organic development — players are not free to allow their characters to interact with the campaign world in any other way than to optimize them for more efficient killing and trap solving. To do otherwise would be to invite a nasty death.
So I ask the question:What would happen to the D20 system if XP were rewarded as it was with older editions of the game — primarily with the accumulation of treasure? Would this reduce the pressure to optimize for combat and allow more player freedom to experiment with skills and feats according to what makes sense for the character rather than combat and traps?
Jeff posted a "to-do" list for B/X magic-users based on textual evidence in the rules. He pointed out how the first three levels are apprenticeship levels.
My question:What happens when those apprenticeships don't go as planned? What if, for whatever reason, a magic-user is denied access to the goods that allow for the ability to cast 3rd + level spells?
Given how often Jeff intuits the phrases "Joins a band of Brigands/Buccaneers/Pirates" and "Lead up to 30 bandits" there is an implication that this sort of thing happens more often than not (how desirable is it to a bunch of cutthroats to have someone who can cast a couple of Sleep spells?)
Do they stop gaining XP? If they don't, what are the benefits for gaining levels when you cannot cast 3rd+ level spells? Would they start acquiring thief- or fighter-type abilities?
Let me know if anything comes flying back...