5E How Do You Reward Attendance and Participation?

Retreater

Adventurer
My fiancée and I had nearly a three hour conversation about what I should do to improve my next campaign, whenever it comes around.

I have been using milestone XP for several years now, which (I feel) has at least partially contributed to apathy from several players. (Why bother making an effort to come if you get all the character rewards anyway?) Also, it's made players want to rush through content, avoid side quests and exploration, roleplaying encounters, and wandering monsters.

How do you make the game more than just a "greatest hits" of an adventure when using milestone? Or should I go with XP awards and not give XP to those who miss?

The concern is that I'm getting ready to run an AP, and I don't want characters to have to level grind to get to the appropriate level for the game.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
If you're running an adventure path, you'll want to do story-based advancement (DMG p. 261) or, maybe, milestone XP in my view if you're able to tie experience points directly and explicitly to goals, discoveries, events, or challenges. The tricky part with that is what to do when a player is present for some but not all of the lead up to achieving those things. If they miss the session when the milestone is reached, do they get the XP? You'll have to figure that part out, not to mention that they might be under-leveled for the challenges presented in the AP if you care about that sort of thing.

But neither of those are going to incentivize attendance in my view. You want session-based advancement (also DMG p. 261) for that or regular XP.
 

Tallifer

Adventurer
I use milestone XP, but I use a slow XP track and individual XP. Bounded accuracy means no one really falls far behind even if their level falls behind.

I also award bonus XP for journals, backgrounds, maps, sketches and party item lists. The slow milestone XP means that the bonus XP for participation means a lot. Unfortunately the occasional player will only whine about the slow milestone XP and even give that as a reason never to submit a journal. Everyone else is cool however.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
I don't worry about it. I just use milestone leveling (basically) but hopefully people show up because they enjoy the game. That should be incentive enough.

If an individual isn't showing up on a regular basis, that may be something to discuss with them. But people are busy and we're just playing to have fun. Unless they never show up, I don't see why it's an issue.
 

uzirath

Adventurer
With mature adults, I don’t bother with these sorts of incentives. I try to make each session exciting and memorable enough that everyone wants to be there. If someone regularly can’t make it, I’ll check in with them individually to see what’s up. Similarly, if someone is a drag at the table (on their phone, not paying attention, etc.), I’d have a chat and remind them (gently) that we have a lot of people who’d love to join the game.
 

Nebulous

Hero
I've just used pure milestone since somewhere early 3e. The players show up to have fun, and use their imagination and prowess to not die. That's reward enough for them. Arbitrary XP numbers don't really matter.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
By virtue of how it is structured, session-based advancement (or regular XP) is an incentive to show up and play.

Whether or not a given player or group of players buys into that is a different question.
 

Jd Smith1

Explorer
I don't use milestone. It encourages slackness.

If you don't show, you don't get Honor (xp).

If you do show, you get a base number of Honor, with bonuses for contribution. In addition, I award Fate Coins (actual coins) for good roleplay or ideas. Honor is given out in secret, on slips of paper, at the start of each session (for the last session played).

The core of my group has had me as a GM since 2002. Most are in their late 30s early 40s.

Of course, all of us have a sports background, so playing without a score is unthinkable.
 

cmad1977

Adventurer
For CoS I just level people up roughly every 3-5 sessions. By that time they seem to have had significant interaction with the NPCs and environment, explored some of the landscape, solved a puzzle or two(or been victimized by a couple traps!) and fought terrible monsters.

Re: the concern that players are ‘rushing through’ stuff.

Let them. My players are missing while chunks of CoS and yet they haven’t ‘missed’ anything. Their choices and stories didn’t take them to the windmill or the mad mage, for example.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
My fiancée and I had nearly a three hour conversation about what I should do to improve my next campaign, whenever it comes around.

I have been using milestone XP for several years now, which (I feel) has at least partially contributed to apathy from several players. (Why bother making an effort to come if you get all the character rewards anyway?) Also, it's made players want to rush through content, avoid side quests and exploration, roleplaying encounters, and wandering monsters.

How do you make the game more than just a "greatest hits" of an adventure when using milestone? Or should I go with XP awards and not give XP to those who miss?

The concern is that I'm getting ready to run an AP, and I don't want characters to have to level grind to get to the appropriate level for the game.
I assume that by “milestone XP” you mean story-based and/or session-based advancement? I would definitely recommend switching to giving XP if so. Decide what behaviors you want to encourage your players to engage in and award XP for those. Personally, I’m a fan of giving XP for overcoming encounters (whether violently or by other means), completing objectives, and discovering secrets. Just award an amount of XP appropriate for an easy/medium/hard encounter for the party’s average level when they accomplish one of these goals.

As for whether or not to award XP to absent players, I normally do when it’s a regular group, but if you are having attendance issues, you might want to consider only awarding XP to players who are present when it is earned. Either way, you should discuss the matter with your players.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
I think some of this is a question of what is the purpose of a PC level? A sense of accomplishment/achievement? A reward? Just a way of moving the story along, so that as the story unfolds the PCs are facing more and more difficult challenges.

For me it's moving the story along. I'm not really achieving anything by showing up to play a game, hopefully the enjoyment at the table is it's own reward.

On a related note I don't want to "encourage" specific behavior. I'm the DM, not the school marm. I should adjust to my player's styles just as much as they adjust to mine. If there's someone doing something problematic I'll have a discussion offline like an adult.
 

pogre

Adventurer
I use XP. Absent players lose out.

However, I have a system that worked well
normal XP for the highest level PCs
normal XP +10% for PCs one level below the highest
normal XP +20% for PCs two levels below the highest
etc.

Nobody falls too far behind.

I'm blessed with a group that does not need incentives to show up. There are times when real life just gets in the way. The players like this system - maybe it will work for you.
 
I have been using milestone XP for several years now, which (I feel) has at least partially contributed to apathy from several players. (Why bother making an effort to come if you get all the character rewards anyway?) Also, it's made players want to rush through content, avoid side quests and exploration, roleplaying encounters, and wandering monsters.

How do you make the game more than just a "greatest hits" of an adventure when using milestone? Or should I go with XP awards and not give XP to those who miss?

The concern is that I'm getting ready to run an AP, and I don't want characters to have to level grind to get to the appropriate level for the game.
I'd be far more concerned if that bolded section is actually the way your players (or some portion thereof) are thinking. I mean, we game with friends because we enjoy each others company, because the game itself is a pleasure to participate in, because it's unique from any other form of entertainment, because it's a form of cooperative storytelling... If you have players putting Getting Levels ahead of all those other things, well, I'll be blunt: Why would choose to play with players like that?

And even if there's a reason that you feel compels you to play with those players, do you really think switching from milestone leveling to XP or any other leveling system is going to address the underlying problem?
 

Jd Smith1

Explorer
I'd be far more concerned if that bolded section is actually the way your players (or some portion thereof) are thinking. I mean, we game with friends because we enjoy each others company, because the game itself is a pleasure to participate in, because it's unique from any other form of entertainment, because it's a form of cooperative storytelling... If you have players putting Getting Levels ahead of all those other things, well, I'll be blunt: Why would choose to play with players like that?
Because those are the best sort of players. I wouldn't tolerant any other kind at my table.

There are many ways to enjoy this hobby.
 
Because those are the best sort of players. I wouldn't tolerant any other kind at my table.

There are many ways to enjoy this hobby.
If one or more of the OP's players are being lax about attending the game because they've communicated something to the extent of: "It doesn't matter if we show, since we're getting levels/XP anyhow, so why worry about showing up? I might miss a dozen sessions and come back in and join at, say, 12th level when I get the powers I want." ...I would not want that player anywhere near my table, personally speaking.
 

cbwjm

I can add a custom title.
I reward attendance and participation with a game.

All player's are kept at the same XP total so that I don't end up with disparate levels. This means that if 4 out of 5 players make a game and they all level, so does the 5th player. If we have a 6th player join then they start out at the same level as everyone else.
 

Advertisement

Top