In-game rewards for out-of-game activity


First Post
I want to give out some in-game rewards to my players for developing coherent backstories, keeping character journals on our campaign wiki, etc. but I can't think of any good ideas.

I thought about using RPGA player reward cards but I'm not crazy about them to begin with and my players aren't exactly known for their ability to hold on to things from session to session.

My original idea was to give out magic items, but the group is pretty well-geared as it is and I've already shown some flexibility with regards to swapping out ill-chosen gear and I don't want to tip the game balance any further.

The same goes for gold, although one idea I had was to give active players extra gold that can only be spent on non-magical items (e.g., bribing clergy, building a fortress, equipping a small army, etc.). It makes sense that those who are into developing their character's "fluffy" side might like such a reward, but it doesn't necessarily incentivize my more "crunch-oriented" players to engage with the story.

Does anyone have any ideas/experience with this? I want to encourage away-from-table character development with in-game rewards but I'm worried about breaking game balance.

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* Contacts -- when they get to a new place, let them run into "the baker that you knew from childhood, he must have moved out here" Thus offering good source of info or plot hooks. However, this sort of thing is often hard to quantify.

* skill-related bonuses -- the person keeping the campaign journal gets a +2 to Streetwise once per session, the person with the best backstory gets a +2 to History once per session, and so on. -- or, just make up a list and randomly (dice roll) parcel out those bonuses at each session.

* simply involve their backstory / items in the plot more. maybe someone notices that the sword of PC-whose-player-keeps-the-journal bears the symbol of Hyperia on the hilt. Further investgiation / history makes it clear that it was an ancient civilization, and so on. Basically, their items (and backstory) get worked into living and active detail. It doesn't give them a boost, but furthers the roleplay investment of those players who are interested (i.e. as is evidenced by their detailed backstories).

* Give them some henchman tailored to them -- the cleric gets an acolyte, etc. the acolyte doesn't adventure with them, but basically is a good contact and can maybe hold down the base when the PCs are away, etc.


I simpy award XP. I can see why other groups may have a prob with this, but we have never worried about PCs being on equal Xp (or even levels).

I use poker chips for RP XP during a session, so those that have contributed to our wiki start with a few bonus.

I am always looking for ways to award players in game. I give increased threat ranges for a crit on birthdays for the players, so you could use that for a night. Another option is Action Points. They aren't permanent and won't mess with your balance.

(I have even just started hiding snippets in the new material I add to the Campaign Website, stating things like "Yes, this is new. thankyou for taking the time to read the website. Mention this new part at our next session and receive 100XP).

Players have really got involved and each has their own forum for their PCs - some players are adding all the time :)


First Post
I'm planning to use +1 consumable item bonus tokens that stack with pretty much anything else, but not themselves. They can be applied to any d20 roll.

I'm gonna use poker chips :p

If someone demonstrates behaviour I want to encourage, they get one of these.

The tokens don't stack with each other, but stack with pretty much everything else. You can trade three +1 tokens in for a single +2 token. And three +2 tokens for a single +3 token.


Edit: @Connorsrpg I like your ideas, consider some of them stolen.


First Post
To encourage backstory/RP we've had the players run their own mini modules(lasting about 1 session)(ok our sessions only usually contain 2 encounters). Then they can dish out some XP or some Items as a reward.

We had our warlock possessed by a god, our fighter was killed and reborn as a revanant ad the bard has dragon blood running through her viens.

The interesting parts is that the stories are all supposed to link together, basically forming one epic desitiny for the party. So far three of the seven players have run a module, another one has written a backstory and two more are in the process of doing it.

Also they are being allowed some homebrew "Powers" that go with their story, eg the warlock has to pray once a day to the god who saved him, and the bard if put under enough stress flips out and the beast takes over, turning her into a raging animal.

Its been working pretty well, and everyone is waiting for the end of KOTS for the next round of player made mini modules....

Floating bonuses, as Surfarcher said.

Or (my personal preference) a pool of extra action points. You can use one of these "extras" and a normal AP in the same encounter.


David Jose
I also use experience as my out of and meta game reward. In general, if you write a log and post it to the mailing list, you get a 10% bonus to the next week's XP, but I've also given out XP bumps to a player who coded a rough sketch of an initiative program for me in language I didn't know, any of my players who were willing to transcribe text from a book I didn't have an electronic copy of, and the first person who was able to find the current errata for the stealth rules, and explain them to the rest of the group.


I plan to use "bonus points" as Surfacher described. Spend one to give +1 to any die roll you've just made or -1 to any die roll an enemy has just made against you. If you save up multiples, you can use multiples on a single roll, but you're reset to zero at the end of each session.

I'm also fine if a player wants to use this to turn a 19 into a 20 to count as a crit, make a 19 on a death save into a miraculous recovery, etc. And I'm also fine if a players wants to use it on a damage roll, too - such as if an enemy's attack puts them exactly at 0 hp, they can use a bonus point to reduce it by 1.


Floating bonuses, as Surfarcher said.

Or (my personal preference) a pool of extra action points. You can use one of these "extras" and a normal AP in the same encounter.

We use Bonus Action Points in our games as a reward, as well.
  • Only the DM can grant BAPs.
  • You can only spend one BAP per round.
  • Bonus action points do not count toward or against the number of APs you can spend in a encounter.
  • When you take an extended rest, all BAPs in excess of 2 are lost.

Also, for player birthdays, I give a token good for one milestone (+2 encounters) figuting they have reached a new milestone in life. But this may go away now that item daily's are getting modified.

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