To me it's clear that the belief that an extra $600.00/week for four months is going to cause large numbers of people to quite their jobs, is coming from men who have never had to struggle to find and hold a job.
2) I'm also 52 years old, and I love spreadsheets and tables. I create and print a notes document that is about two pages long. There only dialogue/soliloquy stuff in it is when I have come up with something especially cool for a villain or NPC to say.
Then I make a speed chart, showing all possible combatants and their dex's. I use the chart for every combat, and it lets me always know where we are and who's up next. It is easy to skip over characters who are on the chart but not in that specific battle.
Last is combat reference chart, where all possible combatants are listed with their stats that are used in combat (OCV, DVC, PD, RPD, ED, etc.). This really simplifies the game creation process - easy to add one-dimensional villains/NPCs as needed, without having to draw up a character sheet for each one.
So each game is run on about five pieces of paper, plus the laptop.
Maps, villain and NPC pictures, etc. are all done in PowerPoint. Figurines* are played/moved on a blank table, with me just announcing how far away everything is when players need to know.
I think that comment was inspired by your own, truthfully:
you're not saying something against failure, but I can see where that might be misread you seem like you have.
You remind me of the one Justifiers "campaign" (something like four sessions) I sat in on. At that point, "Brownie Points" were a known thing in the community (I have always assumed they came from a magazine article or something, as widely spread as they were), and people were using them to guess what? Fudge dice rolls. So this was-- '88, I think? And people were already concocting ways to ignore the dice. Don't get me wrong: there _are_ ways to ignore the dice: put the game down, open the computer, and write a damned book. Not "game" enough? Write a book about your character. There. Problem solved: he never fails; he never gets hurt; he never has to improvise; he never has to make a comeback or deal with one of his Robins getting killed, because you can stop it from happening on a whim.
In a huff against roleplaying games completely? Turn on the Playstation-- carefully; it _is_ possible to lose a lot of those games. Stick with the LEGO ones; you shouldn't have to ever take any sort of chance. Skip a rope. Practice sports ball. Teach a nineteen-year-old-kid was "Jacks" are.
Anyway, at this point, as I am sure most of you are aware, Brownie Points were being dumped to "repair" dice rolls, ensuring that no one had to face a challenge, no matter the sort of challenges he was conceived as facing. So you had Skills, bonuses, favors, modifiers, situational considerations, and now brownie points.
At any rate, we weren't very far into the first game when two of the players began asking about Brownie Points-- how they could earn them; how their last GM handled them; how wonderful they were; but mostly how could they earn them, and quickly.
The GM wasn't having it. After a bit more pestering, he offered a suggestion:
Tell you what: I will let you burn experience to change dice rolls.
he went on about how much experience to make how much a change, and the two people pitching Brownie Points- -and the one player becoming more and more interested in them-- were quite aghast at the idea.
I thought it was a hilarious counter at the time-- something to stop the pestering. But honestly, the more I think about it, the more I realize I am not entirely opposed to that (don't get me wrong: I'm still opposed to it personally, but I find the idea a bit more palatable than any other sort of "brownie points" being wedged into a system that was never designed around it)-- burning experience to alter the dice-- as I am to other methods of changing the dice without playing the situation.
Why? Well if you succeed, it suggests that you have the knowledge and skill needed for that situation: that's what your positive modifiers are for anyway, right? To demonstrate your skill? When you throw out something that alters the die roll for no real good reason-- it's not based on your skill. It's not based on decisions to made / played to actually alter the situation and improve your odds. It's not based on mistakes or errors your opposition made. It's not based on cooperation or teamwork. It's something just disconnected to alter the roll. Well, to me that suggests it was just something that was super-easy for your character. You can't even claim it's luck, because this system _already has_ a way to handle luck, and since 5e it has incorporated more and more mechanics and house rules into actual game rules on handling luck for those who can't stand the idea that it's in the hands of the GM.
You want a way to reduce the challenge down to 0.45%. That is, you can only fail on an 18. Fine. For you, this particular skill check is no challenge at all.
No challenge = no practice. No practice = no improvement.
No EPs, in game terms, is very much no improvement. I am _almost_ good with that: burn your unspent EP to affect the roll, or determine how much future EP you want to sacrifice to make this situation super-easy for yourself.
If you as the GM always always have a plan for what will happen if the heroes lose, and if that plan always always includes a way for them to win again, then the narrative down-then-up will always be preserved. Like GnomeBody I find that karma, inspiration points, fate tokens and whatnot tend to get spent when players are trying to avoid a fail. I used a system like that for a previous campaign, and the players were blowing them out to make ordinary Dodge actions in ordinary combat because a blast *might* Stun them for a phase. I eventually added a rule that you could only ever cash in a heroic token for one maneuver one time, and that worked somewhat better. The first time a character spent one on an EGO roll to push STR was the highlight clip for those tokens, but other than that they were clunky and disappointing.