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(7/9/03 8:06 am)
Re: The black fruit (long)
Interesting idea about the "hero points", I hadnt thought about it. Its a brilliant option, thank you!

<entering general commentary mode>

As for individual awards - I actually use this quite regularly, since I dont award XP for traps, treasure and the like. So, for example, when our cleric used the party's last potion to increase Spugnoir's HP when they found him in the moathouse, because it was the right thing to do, and under pressure from some in the party not to do so, I awarded him a 100XP bonus for showing his faith. When our ranger took his first serious booty and donated 80% of it to the church of Mielikki while Jennithar was teaching him to be an accolyte (he took a cleric level), he got a 100XP individual award as well. My notion behind these is that its diffidcult to break habits, and most people culturally are used to board games, which are focused on "metagaming". Therefore, if they act in a way that is counter intuitive to their real-life personality because they are attempting to play in character, they get an award. It works quite well, since I am satisfying their need for a "game" reward while still encouraging the behavior I want. Did I mention that for most of my players it is their first campaign?

I also give "accomplishment" awards - for example, the party just got a 1200XP per character award for completing a major accomplishment, which is routing the cult in Hommlet. I have pre-set minor and major milestones in the module for these (they have had one of each in the module thus far). This gives them a clear sense of achievment, encouraging them to keep going at it, while at the same time providing them with a tangible benefit for their success.

Lastly, I am extremely careful with killing them, since I know they will NOT be interested in rolling new characters. They are very attached to their current ones, and I fib my ass off to protect them from harm (I role play "the world" well enough that they still get real scared). I have "intervened" to avoid 7 or 8 death thus far, and this last session was the first time any of them ever died - 3 of the party, in fact, by the amassed power of the cult in Hommlet (count two for Chatrillon). This was an appropriate time to do it, since they had a 10th level cleric nearby (Y'Dey) to raise them, they gained a lot of treasure so could relatively easily pay for it, and they were all very excited for having completed this major goal. It was a bittersweet victory, but it taught them that death is a real option without creating too much of a tear in their enjoyment of the game.

Look, I know this all probably seems bizarre to most of you, what with fibbing, awards for role playing and such. Ive been DMing (solely, I never get to play :( ) for 16-17 years now, and I have become convinced that the only thing that really matters for a good game is taking care of the players' emotions. In this group I am dealing with a bunch of 30-40 year olds, half of whom have never done anything of the sort in the past. They were willing to try it mostly because I told them how cool it was and they trusted me. So its my duty to deliver. It means I am putting a lot of effort into balancing their perception of the game. I believe that this issue of an award to counterbalance the ability increase is a real issue. However, I was worried about the number of XP because it would have blown the normal individual awards out of proportion. Therefore, I really appreciate Trithereon's suggestion, and I will use that.

<stop comments, everyone is asleep anyway>

(7/9/03 10:58 pm)
Re: The black fruit (long)
That's cool. I can understand giving XP rewards to help shape, or mold, your new players. The old carrot-and-stick method.

IMC, I play with a mix of old grizzled vetrans and some rather fresh newbies. When we switched to D&D, from AD&D, a few years ago I told them we'd run as close to the Core rules as possible and that means giving out XP for primarily defeating/avoiding encounters (monsters and traps) with occasional group rewards along the way.

The way I see it. I don't reward an evil character for roleplaying his "evilness" well, therefore I don't reward the good characters for their "goodness", nor the neutral player for his "neutralness". I've always viewed good roleplaying as its own reward. Plus, I don't want to throw the XP system out of whack by pumping in 1000's of extra roleplaying XP during the course of the game.

In D&D (3.0) you don't normally award XP for treasure found. IIRC, the XP listed is for treasure created! Which is okay by me, as again I feel that treasure is it's own reward.

Question: Do you scale RP rewards with level? The 100 XP roleplaying award seems pretty cool at 1st level but by 10th level its a mere drop in the bucket.

Roland the red
(7/10/03 4:40 am)
role-playing xp

I typically give 100xp/character level for good roleplaying. This is 10% of the needed to raise a level and not much xp by any stretch (like one encounters worth). Sometimes I'll give more if the session warrantes it (ie it was a role-play session, not a roll-play session). And, I'll dole out "Special" xp for incredible luck:

PC: I'll attempt to leap across the chasm and tackle the fleeing orc before he rings the gong.

DM: Ummm....but your wearing plate mail and your strength sucks from the shadows you fought earlier.

PC: Yeah, but a 20 succeeds right?

DM: Not necessarily, but in this case, given your penalties, ONLY a 20 will work. If you fail you plummet to your death...

PC: I've been designing this rogue (fumbles out another character sheet) anyway, so I guess I'll go for it...

Dice are rolled...20

PC: Cool! Now for the Bull Rush to tackle the fool...

I would award say 50xp/level for something like that. Yeah, its mostly luck, but by rewarding them it encourages PCs to do things they normally wouldn't do. Like take crazy risks to save the group. I would even go so far as to give this kind of xp for a double 20 crit (insta-death)...its rare enough and at least in the characters mind, pretty damn cool!

(7/10/03 6:31 am)
Re: role-playing xp
Thank you Trithereon.

I generally hand out individual awards that are usually 5-15% of a session's award. So at level 1 it could be something like 50, or even 20 for something minor. I dont have a hard and fast rule for the number itself, except that it will never be enough to unbalance the group.

The way I work it is that I make a note when a player does something I think merits an award. The note is basically a degree of merit - minor, moderate, major. Then, after the session, when I have calculated the session award, I go back and toss in the individual awards based on the merit level.

A normal session will usually see one or two players getting a single award each. Also, the more vocal players dont get more awards, because I consider their personality when I decide whether they deserve one; that is, the vocal players tend to get their enjoyment from the game itself, and so my "merit threshold" is lower for the quieter ones so to encourage them to get "out of their shell".

And yes, I use it to "mold" my players, as you say: when last time the rogue attempted to perform in the street, her player got a 25XP award, because I want to encourage my players to think that way. The rogue won't get it again for doing the same thing, of course, but the player will now look for other ways to gain similar awards. And I get them thinking more towards what I want to encourage.

(7/21/03 3:02 pm)
Re: The black fruit (long)
i DM for 4 players, and wanted to play a 5th character, a chaotic neutral cleric. (serving a chaotic good god), i ate it, got +1 str, as did everyone execpt the paladin. i tempted the one character by asking if he wanted to eat the fruit the paladin crushed, and he did.... made it a -1 to dex, since it wasn't a whole fruit. determined my cleric's god was displeased, less exp for him(not that he really cared a whole lot about his god's displeasement, being chaotic neutral), said paladin got to choose an ability to raise, and it seems everyone was happy... most got con and that raised their hp up. since me and my players were new, i knew we'd never actually get a torch of reveling, and just gave it to them. +1 never unbalanced a game, and we aren't to serious.

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