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D&D General XP Awards for -- what????

When do you award XP?


Shiroiken

Legend
We use group XP, so everyone score the same amount, including people who miss the session. It keeps the group even, and prevents any animosity or concerns about favoritism. I've done RP XP in the past, and it can definitely lead to this. If I did treasure again (like AD&D), I'd steal the idea I saw a long time ago, where you get XP for spending gold, incentivizing players to enjoy their loot, rather than hoarding it (which is common now).

I've always hated that xp has been mostly combat based since 3E, so I've broken it up into the 3 pillars: Monster (MXP), Social (SXP), and Exploration (EXP), plus I also occasionally have a bonus for completing adventures/quests (QXP) to keep the players motivated to succeed (I run sandbox, so giving up is always an option). This divides up the player's incentives, moving them away from just combat focused solutions.
 

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Hriston

Dungeon Master of Middle-earth (He/him)
I chose "Other XP award" because I award XP for successfully overcoming encounters with creatures when they pose an obstacle to the PCs' goals. (ETA: For instance, I didn't choose "Combat" on the poll because in my games you don't get XP for combats you lose.)

As for "when", I award XP when the party is done "adventuring" and returns to a settled area for downtime.
 
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Vaalingrade

Legend
That is the beauty of XP as a mechanic. By tailoring and fine tuning your the sources by which players can gain XP for their characters, you have an amazing tool to steer player choices and actions towards following the campaign concept and genre. Without having to make any decisions for them or having to tell them what they are supposed to do, or putting up any solid barriers to their freedom.
By having the right XP incentives for your campaign, you are creating a sloped channel for their choices instead of straight walls.
Feels too much like performing involuntary operant conditioning experiments on my friends to me.

And I only do that to coworkers.
 


cbwjm

Seb-wejem
I often add story rewards, minor rewards are 5% of the xp needed to level, major rewards are 10%. This could be for the successful completion of a main story arc or side quest.
 

p_johnston

Adventurer
That is the beauty of XP as a mechanic. By tailoring and fine tuning your the sources by which players can gain XP for their characters, you have an amazing tool to steer player choices and actions towards following the campaign concept and genre. Without having to make any decisions for them or having to tell them what they are supposed to do, or putting up any solid barriers to their freedom.
By having the right XP incentives for your campaign, you are creating a sloped channel for their choices instead of straight walls.
This is pretty much how I approach it. Most of the time I do away with XP and just use milestone leveling, but If I do use XP I'm using it to reinforce the type of campaign I want. If I award XP for killing things players are going to try and kill everything. If I reward XP for exploration players are more likely to explore things. If I reward XP for heroic acts players are more likely to be heroic. XP is only really useful as a tool to communicate and reinforce the type of campaign you want to run.
If your just planning on them leveling up every 3 sessions or whenever they get to a certain point it's going to be easier to just do milestone leveling rather then budget XP.
 

kenada

Legend
Supporter
It's not an experiment. It's a long established industry standard.
Even milestone XP/leveling is arguably a form of incentivizing a certain approach to play. If the game is about playing through curated content (e.g., an AP or prepped adventures), then advancing after completing content is an incentive to keep things on track. I used to be down on milestone advancement, but I’ve come around to the idea that there are styles of play where it makes sense.
 

XP is for Winners
If you overcome an obstacle, you get XP. It doesn't mater how you do this (violence, trickery, guile, whatever), as long as you do it.

If you sneak past an obstacle in a manner that means you could encounter that same obstacle later, you might only get ½XP.

XP is for Closers
If you achieve a goal, you get XP.
 

pemerton

Legend
In 4e D&D, the award of XP correlates, more-or-less, to "units" of serious play. Combat enounters earn XP based on foes defeated. Non-combat encounters (ie skill challenges) earn XP based on complexity, whether successful or unsuccessful. Very roughly, these correlate to one-tenth of a level of XP per hour or so of play. The DMG2 adds a further XP category, of the same amount of XP per hour of engaged-but-non-encounter-roleplay.

There are also XP awards for achieving quests, which will generally be about one fifth of the total earned. So it ends up being around 3 or 4 sessions of play per level - depending on session length, seriousness of play, etc.

If I was to run 4e in a sustained fashion again, I think I would not bother counting XP and just award a level per 3 or so sessions, in consultation with the players.
 

niklinna

satisfied?
I voted for other. I have players set two goals at the start of the session. The group also sets a group goal at the end of the session. Individual goals should support the group goal or advance the interests of your character. Good group goals should take several sessions to complete.

At the end, they get XP if they complete at least one of them. If you help people complete their goals, you also get XP. I tend to run sandbox-style campaigns. Every gets XP if the group completes its goal. Whether goals are completed are determined by the players or group consensus (for the group goal).

This is something that grew out of using end of session questions from Dungeon World in D&D with a bit of GTD mixed in (for giving players goals as reminders of things they want to do in a session). I tend to run sandbox games, so having something that gives players direction is useful.
In 4e D&D, the award of XP correlates, more-or-less, to "units" of serious play. Combat enounters earn XP based on foes defeated. Non-combat encounters (ie skill challenges) earn XP based on complexity, whether successful or unsuccessful. Very roughly, these correlate to one-tenth of a level of XP per hour or so of play. The DMG2 adds a further XP category, of the same amount of XP per hour of engaged-but-non-encounter-roleplay.

There are also XP awards for achieving quests, which will generally be about one fifth of the total earned. So it ends up being around 3 or 4 sessions of play per level - depending on session length, seriousness of play, etc.

If I was to run 4e in a sustained fashion again, I think I would not bother counting XP and just award a level per 3 or so sessions, in consultation with the players.
I'm a big fan of "level up when you're ready for more". It always irked me in MMOs that I'd gain experience way faster than I wanted to! They all sell level-ups and max-level boosts, but they never give you any way to turn off gaining XP. Maybe I'm a freak that way.

I think the same applies well to tabletop games. Play at a given level until it loses its shine, then advance. As @kenada said in a followup posts, though, there are times when it makes sense to just advance with the milestones, too.
 

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