D&D 5E Using Milestone XP to reward players who bring Treasure back from dungeons/wilderness.

FallenRX

Explorer
So, I've been running a more open sandbox campaign, about a bunch of adventurers who explore dungeons in a big open world hexmap, and do quests and missions, and i made this cool thing i wanted to share.

Basically using the Milestone XP rules from the DMG(p261) where

" You can also award XP when characters complete significant milestones. When preparing your adventure, designate certain events or challenges as milestones, as with the following examples:

  • Accomplishing one in a series of goals necessary to complete the adventure.
  • Discovering a hidden location or piece of information relevant to the adventure.
  • Reaching an important destination. "
When awarding XP, treat a major milestone as a hard encounter and a minor milestone as an easy encounter. "

It uses this table from the DMG(p82)
Building Combat Encounters



The idea is, every time they return to town with a treasure hoard from the dungeon, find a signifigant discovery on the hexmap, or find/complete a major questline in the world, they get a Milestone XP as listed here on the table.

The idea is, it incentivizes exploration, and engagement on the players own terms rather than milestones set by a linear story, or gaining xp via combat, this makes players actually engage with the setting and material more, and encourages them to wanna get out there and make stuff happen.

Also tie it if they make big Social encounters that progress any questlines they find, or interesting storylines, or if they just cause a big reaction in the world that shifts the setting quite a bit, it makes the players feel like they are always rewarded for their efforts and actions in multitudes of ways, that aren't linear, or set and allows DM's to open up their campaigns for a more open-ended sandbox experience.

What are your thoughts?
 

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iserith

Magic Wordsmith
People tend to do what they're incentivized to do, so it's good to align the game's incentives with what the group wants to see happen at the table and in the fictional setting.
 

People tend to do what they're incentivized to do, so it's good to align the game's incentives with what the group wants to see happen at the table and in the fictional setting.
This discussion has reminded me to give visibility to the plot point xp targets, so my players are active towards them
 


Oofta

Legend
If it works for you and your group, that's great. I'm sure it would work for others as well. But it doesn't seem like it's really about the treasure horde, it can be whatever goals you want them to achieve.

I don't personally care for meta game incentives because in the long run they can be detrimental to enjoyment. It seems kind of contradictory but in some cases, doing something for the fun of doing is better motivation than being rewarded for doing something.

Doesn't mean it will happen of course, just something to keep in mind. In the meantime, enjoy and good luck!
 

delericho

Legend
What are your thoughts?
Yeah, that's close to what I do.

For each campaign I run, I define a "side dish" (to go with the Orc&Pie) - for one campaign it was about uncovering secrets, for another it was about finding unattended treasures, my next will be about making peaceful contact with other civilizations. And I make sure the players know what the current "side dish" is, of course. :)

I then award XP for four things:
  • When they complete an encounter they get an award (actually a fixed amount based on their level - the difficulty of the encounter doesn't affect that).
  • When they complete a quest, they get an award (the same as for an encounter).
  • When they completely exhaust any magic item (except a potion of healing, since they can buy those), they get a one-quarter award.
  • And when they complete the task associated with the "side dish", they get a one-quarter reward.
This has the effect of encouraging, but not forcing, the players to interact with the "side dish" of the campaign, which goes a long way towards differentiating my campaigns. And, since the "side dish" is always based in either the Exploration or Interaction pillars (or, sometimes, both), it helps the game avoid just being a never-ending combat.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
So, I've been running a more open sandbox campaign, about a bunch of adventurers who explore dungeons in a big open world hexmap, and do quests and missions, and i made this cool thing i wanted to share.

Basically using the Milestone XP rules from the DMG(p261) where

" You can also award XP when characters complete significant milestones. When preparing your adventure, designate certain events or challenges as milestones, as with the following examples:

  • Accomplishing one in a series of goals necessary to complete the adventure.
  • Discovering a hidden location or piece of information relevant to the adventure.
  • Reaching an important destination. "
When awarding XP, treat a major milestone as a hard encounter and a minor milestone as an easy encounter. "

It uses this table from the DMG(p82)
Building Combat Encounters



The idea is, every time they return to town with a treasure hoard from the dungeon, find a signifigant discovery on the hexmap, or find/complete a major questline in the world, they get a Milestone XP as listed here on the table.

The idea is, it incentivizes exploration, and engagement on the players own terms rather than milestones set by a linear story, or gaining xp via combat, this makes players actually engage with the setting and material more, and encourages them to wanna get out there and make stuff happen.

Also tie it if they make big Social encounters that progress any questlines they find, or interesting storylines, or if they just cause a big reaction in the world that shifts the setting quite a bit, it makes the players feel like they are always rewarded for their efforts and actions in multitudes of ways, that aren't linear, or set and allows DM's to open up their campaigns for a more open-ended sandbox experience.

What are your thoughts?
For a while now, I use neither XP nor milestones.

I count encounters.

Each level requires roughly 9 encounters to reach the next level. But the exact number ranges from say 6 (at level 1) to 15 (at levels 5 to 10), then 9 per level onward. (The numbers tweek according to taste, depending on whether we want to savor a level or are impatient to advance.)

I wouldnt normally award advancement for treasure. On the other hand, I can imagine transporting treasure to be a kind of encounter, a kind of puzzle, and could count that as one of the encounters toward advancing to the next level, if that seems like something the players want to do.
 

FallenRX

Explorer
For a while now, I use neither XP nor milestones.

I count encounters.

Each level requires roughly 9 encounters to reach the next level. But the exact number ranges from say 6 (at level 1) to 15 (at levels 5 to 10), then 9 per level onward. (The numbers tweek according to taste, depending on whether we want to savor a level or are impatient to advance.)

I wouldnt normally award advancement for treasure. On the other hand, I can imagine transporting treasure to be a kind of encounter, a kind of puzzle, and could count that as one of the encounters toward advancing to the next level, if that seems like something the players want to do.
I think this is a cool method, but it leans toward the idea where the only way to go forward is combat or dealing with hostile situations, when i wish to encourage more types of play
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
I think this is a cool method, but it leans toward the idea where the only way to go forward is combat or dealing with hostile situations, when i wish to encourage more types of play
Quite the opposite!

An "encounter" can be anything that seems to take effort. It can be a social challenge to persuade someone, a nonlethal combat, an attempt to by sneak past heavy security, a puzzle, an effort to create a magic item, ... anything.

Indeed, by eschewing XP lethal combat, and railroad side quest milestone, the players a free to do whatever they want. If what they want to accomplish seems challenging, it is probably an "encounter" of some kind.

And the beauty of it is, the difficulty of a challenge is determined AFTER it is over. If something was supposed to be difficult, but turned out to be trivial, then it is an "easy" encounter (worth only half an encounter). And if something was supposed to be a cakewalk or obvious, but turned out to be a near TPK or take alot of effort to overcome, then it is a "difficult" encounter (worth one-and-half, or two, encounters).

Again, the encounter can be anything: combat, social, exploration, or anything.
 

fikuvino

Villager
When it comes to D&D and its offshoots, I level up characters when they have done enough stuff to have realistically gained enough experiences to become more skilled at the things they have chosen to do, or have accomplished goals they have set for themselves. Since I run sandbox games, I don't have a predetermined idea of what they will do, where they will go, who (or what) they will interact with, etc. Fighting, exploring, solving mysteries, interacting with PCs, etc. all go towards leveling up. I use slow leveling in general, and it gets slower as they go along. In the campaign I'm running right now, for example, the characters have moved up a level roughly every two months of real time (playing 6 hours a week), if you average it all out.
 

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