D&D 4th Edition Morrus on ... XP - Page 4


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Poll: How does your group handle XP? (Check all that apply)

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  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thotas View Post
    I used to think giving our xp for good roleplaying was a good idea, but one day it just hit me that the DM has no business telling me if I've played my character well, because it's akin to him telling me how to play my character correctly. And if the DM has to make the decision as to who out of four or more players has played their character most "correctly", on top of everything else the DM has to do, most likely it will be the person who got the most attention from the DM without being annoying. So individual xp favors spotlight seekers. I doubt this is a good thing.
    Too true. Don't play an introverted character - it's hard to demonstate you're role playing such a character. And make sure your character'spersonality is one the DM likes to see in play. I've seen at least one DM who felt that the "best" role playing was taking actions that impeded the rest of the group, so make a character whose goals conflict with the party to max out xp.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dykstrav View Post
    I can sum up my x.p. style in saying that players earn x.p. You have to do something to get it, it's not yours by merit of just showing up at the table. I reward participation and effort.

    I give out individual x.p. awards, generally based on what the characters actually do over the course of a session (not necessarily "achieve," I'm looking for basic interaction and effort). The big reason is to give players an incentive to participate in the session. I'm just tired of seeing players that show up and bury their noses in a smartphone/laptop/comic book/whatever and roll dice when prompted.
    I'm torn. It is poor role playing for an introverted character to become a social butterfly because tonight's session involves chatting people up at the bar. But I expect the player to be engaged. If his nose is in the whatever, he's really an absent player. On the other hand (I think that's three hands so far), why is this player in the game if it doesn't interest them? Maybe they should stay home and putz on the laptop instead of dragging the game down. And, if that player's enjoyment comes from rolling dice when prompted, and the goal is to reward what players find fun, why is this player's fun wrongbad? Isn't this better than badgering the other players, who are enjoying NPC interaction, to "hurry up and get to the dungeon and the fighting"? Phone Guy isn't impeding anyone else's fun.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dykstrav View Post
    I've tried having discussions about this, but the only method I've ever seen that consistently makes people pay attention to what's going on in the game is to only grant the characters x.p. for encounters/challenges they participate in. Have your rogue hang back instead of checking for traps? Fine, but the fighter at the front of the party that blunders into the trap gets the x.p. for finding and surviving it.
    So now the rogue wants to be at the front, checking every 10 feet for traps. The game drags to a miserable crawl. Meanwhile, the fighter wants to rush ahead (so he gets xp for all those traps) and the cleric's OK with that since he gets xp for healing up the fighter, so the rogue remains 1st level forever.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dykstrav View Post
    Absent characters generally get no x.p. Since I'm adjusting the encounters to compensate for the absence of the character, it's perfectly fair to adjust the amount of x.p. that goes out as well. There's also a world of difference between a player that gets stuck at work or with family issues than someone who misses the game because it's just not a priority for them... Someone that misses a game or is late because of unavoidable situations or "real life" sometimes gets x.p. Since everyone has one of these moments every now and then, it's common for a player to miss about one session out of every six or seven in my experience, and it evens out over time.
    "Sometimes gets xp" seems to have a lot of room for favortism. Is missing a game for the kid's soccer game, or so the wife can visit her sister, or because of work demands more or less meritorious than car failure or illness?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dykstrav View Post
    I don't give awards for roleplaying. It's a roleplaying game, so I assume that's going to happen. If by "roleplaying" you mean social interaction... I consider social challenges a type of encounter and award experience accordingly. Describing your character's heraldry? Not really x.p. worthy, that's something you should do as part and parcel of designing your character. Convincing the duke to send troops to defend an important mountain pass? That's an encounter really, it just doesn't involve initiative and attack rolls--definitely worth some x.p.
    By the same token, isn't it also a combat, trapfinding, spellcasting and interaction game? Those things are also going to happen, right? As has been noted above, a lot, every xp system shows a bias to a certain playstyle.

    Some would hold that "roleplaying" is a detailed description of your actions. Just rolling the dice to hit and damage isn't enough - describe your character's combat style. And rolling diplomacy isn't enough - you have to 'role play' the discussion with the duke. RESULT: Verbose players get more xp.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dykstrav View Post
    I also don't give x.p. awards for backgrounds. I expect a certain amount of this to happen by merit of the game's nature. I also don't feel that the character's past should be as cool as what they are doing right now, and I don't want to read novellas for first-level characters. I'm happy with half a page (or less) that includes a basic explanation of the character's family situation, how they got their class skills, why they decided to become an adventurer, and at least two "loose ends" that I can exploit for future adventures. The reward that you get for writing a background is in seeing that background incorporated into the ongoing game.
    Certainly valid. Then again, should the player with no background get extra xp for making it so easy for the GM to insert a bit of backstory and bring his character into the action? For me, I like a character whose background isn't so much about history as about personality. What makes this guy tick?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dykstrav View Post
    For things like people bringing sodas to share, hosting the game and so forth, I give out one re-roll during the session. That encourages people to do it on a regular basis without skewing the experience progression.
    While I could ask why this would skew progression but your other differentiations don't, I perceive a differentiation here of "out of character gets rerolls; in character gets xp", which is certainly a logical division. Except it's not the character who spends the session posting on Enworld either.

    I
    Quote Originally Posted by Dykstrav View Post
    award x.p. during the week, between sessions, and send them out through email. Players handle leveling up on their own time, away from the table. Sometimes I use training rules, but most of the time I just require a player to explain why they got new abilities that aren't directly related to the game's narrative. A fighter wants to take a level of cleric? Why? Did you have a religious experience? Barbarian? Why? Does your character have anger issues or something? Wizard? Why? What order of wizards accepted and trained you?
    Gosh, that seems a lot like requiring a background between levels, rather than as a 1st level character. That said, I like my characters to have some reasoning behind them, rather than "this dip gives me that power which has nice synergy with this feat". But then, that's my game style preference coming into play.

    Why should I have to provide a more detailed explanation of the class taken at 5th level than the class taken at 1st level? What caused my cleric to be trained as such, and what order accepted and trained by L1 wizard?


    Quote Originally Posted by Hautamaki View Post
    So I decided to scrap that system. Now, players get experience for recovering loot and bringing it back to a safe place, and for accomplishing quests/missions. They get exactly 0 experience for killing a monster or disabling a trap. Monsters and traps are obstacles they have to figure out how to overcome, not the goal of the quest. This frees me up to do all sorts of things like put in monsters that are too strong for the party, and the party must either sneak or talk their way around them. The fact that the party also has this option and they know that this will not reduce the amount of XP they get on a given adventure also frees them up to find more clever or role-playing based ways to get around a given set of obstacles.
    So your concern was that player behaviour was affected by xp for kills (they focused on killing). Isn't it now focused on treasure-gathering? Would most parties decide it's more important to get this bulky loot to safety than to press onwards and rescue the princess? If they leave that heavy loot behind to carry back an honoured fallen comrade, they lose xp. Greedy characters advance faster, and noble characters advance slower, so we've just changed the focus from bloodthirst to greed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dykstrav View Post
    Experience is always awarded to whichever living characters make it back to a safe place when they get there. Whatever treasure the party recovered from the dungeon (treasure they brought in there doesn't count)
    Can I take treasure in and buy treasure from the dungeon occupants? I get xp for anything new I bring out, right? I'll be back next week to trade again!

    Quote Originally Posted by Dykstrav View Post
    For example, if a poor farmer asks the PCs to kill a local dire bear that has been eating his cows, neither the farmer nor the dire bear is going to have any treasure for the PCs but if the PCs are good-aligned they should realistically consider taking the quest and be rewarded with XP at least when they complete it.
    Just like bringing the princess back alive should have been more appropriate than chasing down that random owl bear, right?

    For greater certainty, I'm largely playing devil's advocate above. I don't see a "right" or "wrong" system. I think most systems can be gamed in some manner or another, while "you level up when I say you do" can be seen as arbitrary. It depends on the group's playstyle. A narrativist group likely prefers "get levels when story demands" where a competitive gamist group wants fixed rules and individual xp. The best system is the system that most enhances your group's enjoyment of the game.

 

  • #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by RangerWickett View Post
    I kinda wanna try running a campaign with old school XP, to encourage the PCs to get out and find adventures they're interested in, instead of stuff I'm come up with.
    It has been my experience that experience points has nothing to do with that. Many players will tackle whatever you throw at them because this is how D&D was always played for them. Other players do like to be creative and seek out their own narrative. I find this second group much smaller. I had proposed a campaign for my players set in the post-apocalyptic Forgotten Realms where the could go anywhere they wanted to roam. That I would offer many different adventure hooks for them and it would be up to them to decide which to pursue. I thought it was a good idea.

    Two of my players really liked the idea and two of them disliked it and the rest were indifferent. So the majority didn't really care. The two that disliked it are the type of player that does kill every monster if possible and they seemed to dislike the idea of turning down or by-passing adventure hooks (and potential experience and treasure).

    I don't understand why the two disliked the "freedom" choice since all characters earn experience and treasure if you play.

  • #33
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    Perhaps we should do away with XP altogether. Have level go up as needed for the campaign.

    One thing that would be missing is being rewarded for effort and accomplishment. Perhaps we could have, instead, Session Bonuses.

    At the end of a session everyone gets a Basic Bonus for use in the whole of the next session. Then there are higher levels of bonus for exceptional play in that session.

    Basic Session Bonus:

    You get just for turning up.


    Adventure Specific Session Bonus:

    Bonuses that are hard written into the adventure. If you find an oil store next to the enemy's food supply and you use it to set fire to all their goods you get a Set Adventure Specific Session Bonus.


    Person Of The Session:

    Only one person per session gets this bonus. It shouldn't always be the same person each week just because they are your best friend. In fact it should be a rule that you can't get this 2 sessions in a row no matter how good you were. If you have a quiet player who barely says anything but in that session he chips in just the once with a decent idea or roleplaying he should get it to give him a carrot for futher better play.




    The whole idea of XP was as a continuous reward. Something like this might be better for rewarding players than a hand full of XP that doesn't really matter much when you are going to be the right level for an encounter anyway.

  • #34
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    Our group has evolved. It started with individual XP in 2e and 3e, then with 4e we started using group xp and now (still 4e) the DM just says when to level up. And we level up between adventures, basically whenever it's a good time to do story wise or if the DM is planning something big. This is much simpler for everyone. The DM can make encounters appropriate for the group and no one gets "left behind" power level wise because we all level up together.
    Last edited by darkwing; Saturday, 3rd March, 2012 at 10:12 PM.

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    I use group XP because it's faster and less subjective. I also feel like it encourages more cooperation and disincentivizes upstaging other characters or players.

    I also allow absent players to get full XP because I like to have everyone at the exact same level so there are no obviously weaker players. I also play with an all-adult group and it's understandable that sometimes people can't make it. I don't think they should be penalized for that.

    I also calculate XP prior to the session for all of the encounters that take place during the session. We use part of our play time to level up during the session when it occurs.

  • #36
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    Howdy N'raac. I just want to share with you a few of my thoughts.

    First off... My post didn't include everything you've attributed to me. I'm going to assume that your post got a bit mixed up and only address the points from my post. Second, we can endlessly argue back and forth about specific applications of general policy--I don't think that I (or anyone else, for that matter) needs to come up with an exhaustive list of possible situations in order to make some broad decisions. We can play devil's advocate ad nauseam with odd corner cases or exceptions to general policies, so can we agree to hit the high points? Third... I'm currently playing with Pathfinder rules, so I'm going to cite specific examples from that. But play style/skill isn't tied to a specific system, so I feel that the points remain valid.

    "Participation" is a spectrum, not an absolute. People's interest and attention naturally wax and wane over the course of a session, adventure, and campaign. If one player gets really bored with wilderness treks and the other players love them to death, I'm not going to expect them to get gung-ho about several trips through the wilderness. I also agree with you that some players should just get a new hobby, I don't understand why some players show up to the game and start catching up on their email. That sends me the signal that they don't really want to be there, but if the other players don't seem to mind and the player in question is fine with his level of participation... So be it.

    Still, a player that participates half-heartedly can drag the group down. If the player isn't paying attention during a combat round and has to have the entire last round explained to him every time their turn comes up, that's something to talk to them about. If they don't want to keep up with a situation and rely on other players to coach them through a session, then it's basically putting the onus of playing that character on other players. They might as well take Leadership and let the disengaged person free up a chair at the table.

    "Drag to a miserable crawl" regarding traps is an issue with play style. There are many, many ways for a GM to use traps, make the rogue feel useful for having the trapfinder class feature, and not roll a Perception check for each 5-foot square in a dungeon. Walking down an unremarkable corridor in an abandoned temple? The rogue probably doesn't need to check for traps as long as they are prodding ahead with a staff or something. Walking down a corridor to the abbot's hidden treasure vault? That rogue had damned well better check for traps, and bluntly, I feel that they get what they deserve if they choose to not check. There's also the trap spotter rogue talent, which allows the GM to take responsibility for checking for traps entirely, if desired. If it's slowing your game down, it shouldn't be. There are plenty of ways to keep the game moving even when party members are doing their thing.

    I don't give the x.p. strictly for performing class functions as advocated by older versions of the game. I'm rewarding participation and engagement, not specific actions.

    As far as "sometimes gets x.p.," there's a world of difference between someone having other obligations or life situations and someone that's just not bothering to show up. A few years ago, I had a player call out the day before a game because they had a heart attack and were in the hospital. Of course that player got x.p. In that same group, we had a player that stayed out late drinking the night before the game every weekend. He'd no-show on us and we'd play without him, and I'd get text messages an hour or two after we started asking if we were playing that day. Clearly not a priority for him. He didn't get x.p. for missed sessions. I suppose it could be viewed as a form of favoritism, but it's something that I can live with. I just don't see why someone that plays one session out of every four or so should get the same amount of x.p. as the players that are there every session.

    If you can't commit to a regular schedule, there are other options. You can join in organized play or online campaigns that fit your circumstances. Whenever my schedule interferes with the game, I bow out because I respect other people's time too much to be a constant x-factor in the week-to-week schedule.

    As far as "verbosity" goes, I don't hold that detailed descriptions are necessarily any better than a simple description. I don't agree with that definition of roleplaying.

    I think that out-of-character things shouldn't skew the experience progression because they reflect general coolness on the part of the player, not because they are necessarily playing the game well. A big reason for this is because most groups have a few people who are just more committed than the others, and I want this to be rewarded separately from smart play. In a sense, I view a character's x.p. total as their "score," I feel that it should reflect play rather than commitment or "heart." Besides which, a free reroll seems to be a great motivator. Many players love a reroll when they fail saves and all that.

    As for gaining levels in a new class, it's the same amount of explanation, not more. It's got to make contextual sense. A player might want to pick up a level of cleric for their fighter character. The explanation should be grounded in the narrative, not just, "'cuz I wanna self-heal and the Strength domain is sweet."

    That's about it. The rest of the things that you've quoted for me didn't appear in my original post. Hope that clears it up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by N'raac View Post
    So your concern was that player behaviour was affected by xp for kills (they focused on killing). Isn't it now focused on treasure-gathering? Would most parties decide it's more important to get this bulky loot to safety than to press onwards and rescue the princess? If they leave that heavy loot behind to carry back an honoured fallen comrade, they lose xp. Greedy characters advance faster, and noble characters advance slower, so we've just changed the focus from bloodthirst to greed.
    Not entirely, because rescuing the princess would most likely entail a sizable cash reward from the grateful king, plus prestige and fame that could certainly be translated into much greater rewards over the long run. As for abandoning the wounded comrade, certainly players always have this option but then they have to endure the complaining of the offended player, so that's a con they have to weigh carefully!

    My concern is based on the Sid Meier's quote: "A good game is a series of interesting choices". Giving players experience specifically for killing monsters or surviving traps in and of themselves removes the more interesting choice of simply avoiding those monsters in order to pursue a greater long term goal. Giving players experience for virtually everything they do removes the interest in the player's decision making; they will get rewarded no matter what, so long as they live I guess, so what are the stakes of their decision? Just awarding levels to the players when the DM feels it's appropriate, based on the difficulty of the adventure, removes a lot of the satisfaction players get from the decisions they make because it removes a lot of the illusion of control that players have over their character's destiny. Players want to feel that there are consequences, good or bad, to their decisions, otherwise their decisions are meaningless and thus uninteresting. Players, I think, want to feel that there are better and worse ways to get the treasure out of the dungeon or rescue the princess or whatever the goal may be; that's where the 'game' part of 'role playing game' comes in.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dykstrav View Post
    Howdy N'raac. I just want to share with you a few of my thoughts.
    Good stuff - a discussion like this is the best reason to participate in threads like this, so thanks for elaborating.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dykstrav View Post
    First off... My post didn't include everything you've attributed to me. I'm going to assume that your post got a bit mixed up and only address the points from my post.
    I copy & paste the quote section quite a bit - sorry to you and anyone who actually posted the comments I responded to.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dykstrav View Post
    Second, we can endlessly argue back and forth about specific applications of general policy--I don't think that I (or anyone else, for that matter) needs to come up with an exhaustive list of possible situations in order to make some broad decisions. We can play devil's advocate ad nauseam with odd corner cases or exceptions to general policies, so can we agree to hit the high points?
    Kind of defeats the purpose of the internet, doesn't it? But you'll never find a blanket policy that will work with every set of gamers, or in every situation - some judgement is always required.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dykstrav View Post
    Third... I'm currently playing with Pathfinder rules, so I'm going to cite specific examples from that. But play style/skill isn't tied to a specific system, so I feel that the points remain valid.
    Agreed. The xp system is basically a reward system. Most people like to feel rewarded, so the xp system can encourage certain gaming behaviours, or it can encourage certain players to stay and others to leave because their preferred play style is rewarded/punished.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dykstrav View Post
    "Participation" is a spectrum, not an absolute. People's interest and attention naturally wax and wane over the course of a session, adventure, and campaign. If one player gets really bored with wilderness treks and the other players love them to death, I'm not going to expect them to get gung-ho about several trips through the wilderness. I also agree with you that some players should just get a new hobby, I don't understand why some players show up to the game and start catching up on their email. That sends me the signal that they don't really want to be there, but if the other players don't seem to mind and the player in question is fine with his level of participation... So be it.

    Still, a player that participates half-heartedly can drag the group down. If the player isn't paying attention during a combat round and has to have the entire last round explained to him every time their turn comes up, that's something to talk to them about. If they don't want to keep up with a situation and rely on other players to coach them through a session, then it's basically putting the onus of playing that character on other players. They might as well take Leadership and let the disengaged person free up a chair at the table.
    Absolutely. But to me, the answer isn't to penalize xp (or, more to the point, only to penalize xp). That actually gives the player justification to say "leave me alone - I'm sucking up my reduced xp penalty, so no one has any further right to criticize my play style". If the rest of the group is OK with Mr. Email, no real problem - so why let him drag behind and become a character that needs protection by the rest of the group?

    If his disengagement is hurting the game, then the other players also need to say something. "Hey, your slow play is dragging the game down - how about keeping up or getting out - check your email some other time".

    Quote Originally Posted by Dykstrav View Post
    "Drag to a miserable crawl" regarding traps is an issue with play style.
    Sure - as is combat perceived as dragged down because Email Guy needs the flow of combat re-explained every round, or because a new player needs to be reminded of which die to roll.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dykstrav View Post
    There are many, many ways for a GM to use traps, make the rogue feel useful for having the trapfinder class feature, and not roll a Perception check for each 5-foot square in a dungeon. Walking down an unremarkable corridor in an abandoned temple? The rogue probably doesn't need to check for traps as long as they are prodding ahead with a staff or something.
    Isn't that a form of checking for traps? Why not let the rogue press on ahead and check for traps every five feet? Now, my simple answer is that he's not getting any extra xp for it, and my group will happily accept that the rogue is checking for traps, and that slows the progress down for the party (maybe a character WILL have an issue with that, but that's a separate matter), but I'll roll, or call for a roll, when it becomes relevant, so the same amount of game time is spent on that 150' corridor whether the team runs top speed down it, or carefully checks for traps and secret doors every step of the way.

    But if I reward the rogue's skill use only when he rolls, I'd expect the rogue to want to roll.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dykstrav View Post
    Walking down a corridor to the abbot's hidden treasure vault? That rogue had damned well better check for traps, and bluntly, I feel that they get what they deserve if they choose to not check. There's also the trap spotter rogue talent, which allows the GM to take responsibility for checking for traps entirely, if desired. If it's slowing your game down, it shouldn't be. There are plenty of ways to keep the game moving even when party members are doing their thing.
    Let me toss out another possibility - the rogue wants to check for traps, but the devil-may-care impatient low WIS swashbuckler wants to run up the corridor and get the treasure. He doesn't want to stand around waiting for the rogue to check for traps. Should that player be punished with a dead character for role playing his character, rather than always agreeing to the most solid tactical choice? Some groups would say no, we should allow for a broad spectrum of character personalities. Others would say let the dice fall where they may - you chose to take a character with no likelihood of survival. Some might even say the player should never have been allowed to bring such a stupid character in - why didn't the DM rule against a suicidal character?

    It's all about play style. Last night, we had several characters take actions they knew would cause attacks of opportunity. Some were good tactical choices. Others were foolish viewed objectively, but most definitely in character. I'd rather have players that will make foolish, but in character, tactical decisions than a group of characters played like game tokens rather than living beings with flaws and foibles. That's my play style. Others prefer a style where making sub-optimal choices is punished by in-game failure.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dykstrav View Post
    I don't give the x.p. strictly for performing class functions as advocated by older versions of the game. I'm rewarding participation and engagement, not specific actions.
    One problem with these threads, which I could have mentioned at the start, is that a group's full play style can't come across in a single paragraph. Telling your players "The GM rewards participation, engagement and use of character abilities" probably works a lot better than writing that in the xp section of the book. Guaranteed, the players will all have their own interpretation of how to interpret "participation, engagement and use of character abilities" just like any other subjective statement gets argued for interpretation.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dykstrav View Post
    As far as "sometimes gets x.p.," there's a world of difference between someone having other obligations or life situations and someone that's just not bothering to show up. A few years ago, I had a player call out the day before a game because they had a heart attack and were in the hospital. Of course that player got x.p. In that same group, we had a player that stayed out late drinking the night before the game every weekend. He'd no-show on us and we'd play without him, and I'd get text messages an hour or two after we started asking if we were playing that day. Clearly not a priority for him. He didn't get x.p. for missed sessions. I suppose it could be viewed as a form of favoritism, but it's something that I can live with. I just don't see why someone that plays one session out of every four or so should get the same amount of x.p. as the players that are there every session.
    I'd say it is a form of favourtism - no question. But I would not say that's a bad thing - it is intended to encourage a certain behaviour (showing up for the game or at least providing advance notice if you have to miss the game). Calling from the hospital is above and beyond any reasonable expectation in that regard, but just not showing up is simply disrespectful of the rest of the group. However, I'd have to ask why Mr. No Show is invited back if he repeatedly bails without warning, rather than just being penalized xp. Why should the other 7th level characters have to defend his Level 3 butt, instead of decruiting that character and hiring someone whose competency is consistent with the rest of the group and the challenges they face?

    As you say, they should have the courtesy to bow out. If they don't, maybe they need to have some courtesy enforced on them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dykstrav View Post
    I think that out-of-character things shouldn't skew the experience progression because they reflect general coolness on the part of the player, not because they are necessarily playing the game well. A big reason for this is because most groups have a few people who are just more committed than the others, and I want this to be rewarded separately from smart play. In a sense, I view a character's x.p. total as their "score," I feel that it should reflect play rather than commitment or "heart." Besides which, a free reroll seems to be a great motivator. Many players love a reroll when they fail saves and all that.
    But isn't the guy whose lack of commitment is such that he misses the sessions being penalized in character for actions out of character? Or, viewed another way, those who do show up are rewarded for this OOC behaviour with more xp.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dykstrav View Post
    As for gaining levels in a new class, it's the same amount of explanation, not more. It's got to make contextual sense. A player might want to pick up a level of cleric for their fighter character. The explanation should be grounded in the narrative, not just, "'cuz I wanna self-heal and the Strength domain is sweet."
    I'm a fan of having things make sense in the game. But then, how is it that a L2 Fighter who now grabs a level of Cleric doesn't need the years of training the Cleric needed to become L1? That Fighter may well be younger than the cleric's starting age, and he's learned two classes. The tradeoff between playability and verisimilitude is a subjective one, and different groups will view it differently.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hautamaki View Post
    Not entirely, because rescuing the princess would most likely entail a sizable cash reward from the grateful king, plus prestige and fame that could certainly be translated into much greater rewards over the long run. As for abandoning the wounded comrade, certainly players always have this option but then they have to endure the complaining of the offended player, so that's a con they have to weigh carefully!
    So do we rescue the princess first, or negotiate the cash price with the King beforehand rather than rely on his gratitude afterwards? My point is simply that xp based on loot can motivate behaviour that is just as unreasonable as xp based on combat.

    We just finished a scenario last night. Part of that scenario involved visiting an old pirate cave, which connected with a much older ruin of an ancient civilization, because we needed a McGuiffin. Our explorations of the pirate cave didn't locate the pirate treasure, as we found the ancient ruin entrance first. Our characters didn't waste time searching the rest of the caverns for this rumoured pirate treasure, but returned with the McGuffin ASAP.

    Now, I as a player know that the Baddies who had "just completed" their plan as we reached the climactic encounter would have "just completed" their plan if we had taken another week in the pirate caves. But the characters don't know that their lives are dictated by the module script, and not their own timeliness, so searching the old pirate caves wouldn't really be in character. But, under your model, it imposes a serious xp cost (and we noticed yesterday that our wealth is a bit off from missing that loot, too - treasure buys gear that enhances power, so making it also drive level gains makes it doubly important!).

    Quote Originally Posted by Hautamaki View Post
    My concern is based on the Sid Meier's quote: "A good game is a series of interesting choices". Giving players experience specifically for killing monsters or surviving traps in and of themselves removes the more interesting choice of simply avoiding those monsters in order to pursue a greater long term goal.
    Above, I noted varying interpretations of the same rule. I've typically interpreted xp as a reward for "defeating" the opponent. An Owlbear is just as defeated if we kill it, drive it off, befriend it, bribe it or slip past it, so why would the xp differ? In all cases, we have defeated the monster - achieved our objectives to the detriment of its own. Now, not following its tracks means we don't encounter it, so we don't defeat it. But why are the tracks there in the first place? If the author of the tale includes the discovery of those tracks, wouldn't the story have some purpose for those tracks? Shouldn't the bold heroes wish to ensure this magical beast is no longer a threat to innocent travellers? If an encounter with the Owlbear serves no purpose to the story, why throw its tracks in the adventurers' path?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hautamaki View Post
    Giving players experience for virtually everything they do removes the interest in the player's decision making; they will get rewarded no matter what, so long as they live I guess, so what are the stakes of their decision? Just awarding levels to the players when the DM feels it's appropriate, based on the difficulty of the adventure, removes a lot of the satisfaction players get from the decisions they make because it removes a lot of the illusion of control that players have over their character's destiny. Players want to feel that there are consequences, good or bad, to their decisions, otherwise their decisions are meaningless and thus uninteresting. Players, I think, want to feel that there are better and worse ways to get the treasure out of the dungeon or rescue the princess or whatever the goal may be; that's where the 'game' part of 'role playing game' comes in.
    The balance between the "game" part and the "role playing" part is a very subjective preference, and causes a lot of disagreements over "the best" way to play, including the most appropriate means of handing out xp. Gamists want the ability to get more xp than their teammates (the other oplayers are a form of competition), but narrativists may be quite happy to have everyone advance at the same pace.

    Let's take an example. You placed enough treasure in this scenario to allow the characters to level up twice. However, due to their choices, bad luck or what have you, they missed most of the treasure, or left it behind, and as a result they did not level up at all. What's your next step:

    (a) tell the players they missed all that loot and let them go back and haul it out (with no further encounters - they dealt with all of those)? same thing as sending them back if they missed a bunch of kills - all the same options exist if you didn't get enough combat-based xp, with a bit of fine tuning to provide for extra combat rather than cash.

    (b) carry on with the next planned adventure, which would have been appropriately challenging for characters two levels higher - they made their choices and now they have to live with them!

    (c) insert one or more buffer adventures (whether new encounters at the old scenario location as they retrieve that loot, or some other approach) to get them up to the appropriate level to challenge them appropriately in the planned adventure?

    (d) override the xp count and arbitrarily level them up? Perhaps the beneficiaries of the PC's actions are retroactively much more grateful and/or wealthy than previously planned and reward them up to that next level or two. A Story Award, perhaps?

    I suggest (b) probably means the party gets wiped out, but (a), (c) and (d) all mean their choices ultimately didn't matter much. Is there an approach I am not considering that satisfies both the goal of making their decisions matter and that of keeping the challenge level appropriate and the game enjoyable?

    I do see one major advantage to "treasure as xp", thinking on it. It makes it much easier to ensure the "wealth per level" guidelines will be maintained, since you only level up by retrieving a level of wealth which, after expenses and consumable items, should leave the appropriate wealth by level.
    Last edited by N'raac; Sunday, 4th March, 2012 at 07:17 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by El Mahdi View Post
    I don't really use XP, I level them up together at appropriate intervals (every 1-3 adventures, depending on the length and involvement of the adventure). I still have them mark down the XP amount for the level they gained, but mostly just to keep the characters relatively compatible with other games - in case the player gets a chance to use the character somewhere else (in another game).

    For individual awards (roleplaying, skill success, taking risks, etc.) I instead give out in-game bennies, like extra Action Points and such.
    This is pretty much what I do as well. I might assign an XP amount after the game session, but in reality it's simply between 1/3rd or 1/5th of the amount required to level up, so it's not calculated, it's more arbitrary based upon sessions and what level they need to be when certain encounters occur.

    I used to do the individual XP and 1/2 XP for not showing up, but I stopped because even though the player might not have been there, the PC did participate and sometimes (though rarely) in a big way. Also, why penalize a player that had to work or got called into a emergency of some kind? Flaky players only last for a couple of bad excuses anyway, so I don't worry too much about it.

    Only once since 4e began did we level-up mid session, and that was because:

    a) we were running a marathon session
    b) they deserved it XP-wise
    c) really might have been crushed by the BBEG if they weren't leveled up.
    Game on, gang!
    Ptolus #15 (with customized, personalized sig from Monte.), Rappan Athuk Reloaded #37 (The Necromancer way.)

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    Current Campaign: Currently running Deadlands for Savage Worlds. Also have a Slumbering Tsar 4e campaign that is taking a break, but we'll be starting that up again in the summer.

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