Behind the Screen: Giving of a slightly different flavor…

2007 December 26
by Dante

As the holidays came and went I found myself thinking periodically today about a slightly different type of giving within the realm of our roleplaying campaigns: that of roleplaying or experience rewards.

Avert your eyes, children, he could take other forms!

In our campaigns, these roleplaying rewards tend to be ad hoc denominations of experience for a variety of different reasons. I have rewarded my players for advancing the plot significantly more than I anticipated, innovative ideas to solve problems, extra in-character detail… essentially any “outside the box” approach to standard roleplaying fare. Sometimes the reward doesn’t even take the form of experience… in some cases I will reward the player with a certain item that they desire, or some plot point they have been longing after.

There are some who will argue that rewards of this type erode the system-designed means of rewarding experience, character class progressions, or any random combination of theoretical arguments that nerds make when pressed into a different way of thinking about a situation. I tend to believe that roleplaying and character development based rewards help further the amount of fun there is to be had both for that player and the group in general, while at the same time making my job as DM easier since I don’t have to write, engineer, and tweak a roleplaying scenario all on my own.

Its all a matter of taste

It really is at the discretion of the DM what approach to take regarding this topic, I tend to prefer liberal experience rewards and quicker character development because my players value both of these things as fun. If you have a different group that values the details or the journey of a long protracted campaign, and the delayed payoff of slower leveling, maybe this is not a good approach for your group.

I would love to hear some thoughts as to how you structure rewards for superior roleplaying or character development. What do you do in your campaigns?

2 Responses leave one →
  1. Thanuir permalink
    December 26, 2007

    Burning Wheel has rules for that stuff, so those get used when playing it.

    When playing random games without built-in roleplaying rewards, I usually default to giving a hero point/plot point/action point/luck point/willpower/etc. instantly after entertaining roleplaying, as judged by me. I may also have a number of points that players can give to each other as peer rewards.

  2. Anonymous permalink
    December 31, 2007

    The last time I gave experience points for killing things was the last time I played D&D. I believe Carter was still in office.

    I usually give rewards for showing up and playing in character. I am starting to think that I should give rewards for showing up and adding to the enjoyment of everyone at the table. Why the change? I am just a little tired of ‘in character’ being an excuse to be a jerk.

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