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    Canonfire :: View topic - Experience Blues
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    Experience Blues
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    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: May 25, 2012
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    From: Virginia

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    Tue Jul 17, 2012 9:26 pm  
    Experience Blues

    I sat down tonight to work out my player's experience from the last session. The party has 5 1st level members, 4 players and the NPC cleric I am running. They defeated 5 bandits and 6 bugbears, all with average equipment and hit points. They also completed a minor "story quest", tracking and rescuing a kidnapped boy. Finally, each player role-played well, 2 more than others, and the paladin player had a good idea to interrogate the bandits to learn where they were taking the boy.

    The experience I awarded ranged from 500XP for the least involved to 800 for the most involved. I split the XP from the fighting 5 ways, and then gave everyone a story award of 200XP (no more than 1/10 the avg XP needed for lvl 2) and a couple of individual awards for role-playing. Am I doing this right? I feel like I am just making up numbers. Does anyone have a really good system for balanced experience awards they can share with me? Thanks in advance!
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    GreySage

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    From: LG Dyvers

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    Tue Jul 17, 2012 9:57 pm  

    Actually, you're doing fine, however...

    1) Your PCs will advance in level extremely quickly if they are receiving 500-800 experience points after a single fight with 5 bandits and 6 bugbears...

    2) People have different personalities. I don't award different amounts of experience points to different players due to their individual role-playing contribution to the game for two reasons. First, it causes problems later when some are higher level than the others, and second, because it punishes some players who are not as extroverted as others. Everyone should be free to role-play to the extent they are comfortable with. Punishing a more introverted player by rewarding others who are more extroverted is not conducive to a positive gaming experience for all. Some people will be natural leaders. Others are more comfortable letting them lead. Find other ways to encourage introverts to come out of their shell a bit. Constantly awarding bonus experience points to the few that speak up all the time will eventually make the others jealous and angry.

    SirXaris
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Wed Jul 18, 2012 4:25 am  

    SirXaris wrote:
    Actually, you're doing fine, however...

    1) Your PCs will advance in level extremely quickly if they are receiving 500-800 experience points after a single fight with 5 bandits and 6 bugbears...


    Yeah - I see your point. The creature award was closer to 200XP, but add the story award and the role-playing award and I ended up at 500-800. Do you give story awards, and if so, do you divide them or give them individually. The award was for the group coming together and rescuing a tradesman son - the first real quest of the campaign - but it's not like they sprang him from Alcatraz. They tracked 2 dozen horses over soft ground to where he was laying in the dirt after having jumped off the bandit's horse himself. I made the award 1/10 of the average amount needed to get to the next level, but perhaps that was too high.
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    GreySage

    Joined: Sep 09, 2009
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    Wed Jul 18, 2012 7:27 am  

    Are you using the 1e or 2e version of the DMG for determining XP? Or a combination of both? Or some other edition?

    -Lanthorn
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    Wed Jul 18, 2012 7:37 am  

    Lanthorn wrote:
    Are you using the 1e or 2e version of the DMG for determining XP? Or a combination of both? Or some other edition?


    I'm trying to follow the 2E rules. They seem to suggest XP come from Story and Group awards and optionally Individual awards. I'm using Group and Story and then awarding bonuses for good ideas, bold actions or exceptional role-playing.
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    GreySage

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    Wed Jul 18, 2012 8:44 am  

    nerdcav wrote:
    Do you give story awards, and if so, do you divide them or give them individually.


    Honestly, I don't add up experience points exactly. (Shhh! Cool ) I give my players an amount of experience points that seems appropriate for the obstacles they've overcome, but that keeps their advancement appropriate to the encounters I have planned for them. Of course, this ability generally comes with experience as a DM, so it may not be the best course for you right now.

    That's why I'm advising you to slow it down a bit. After all, if your PCs need 2,000 experience points for 2nd level and you award 500-800 experience points for each encounter, they'll advance a level every three or four encounters they have. I'm just saying, cut back a bit. Level advancement should be about 1-3 levels for an entire module/adventure at low levels, 1-2 levels for an entire module-length adventure at medium levels, and <=1 level for high level module-length adventures. In my opinion, anyway. Wink

    SirXaris
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    Wed Jul 18, 2012 9:01 am  

    Great advice SirXaris. I'm running them through ToEE, which suggests it will take players from level 1 to 8. Since there are really only 4 players plus any NPCs they acquire, I wanted them to get to level 2 before approaching the Moat-house. I'll slow down the XP though so they don't outpace the content and also so their expectations are set early. Thanks for the feedback!
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    GreySage

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    Wed Jul 18, 2012 12:16 pm  

    I use a 1e/2e DMG hybrid for experience pts. I don't much care for the flat rate XP given for creatures of the 2e format and far more prefer the 1e DMG where you tabulate individual creatures (there's even a handy chart in the back, though I've located a few discrepancies; overall, though, it seems accurate). However, I use the charts for individual character class awards from the 2e (fighters garner extra pts based on their lvl and the HD of the bested foe, priests get pts for casting spells that support their faith (and not casting willy nilly for EvERYTHING), and the like). I give experience pts for role-playing the character well, bonus pts for great ideas or solutions, etc. Honestly, I haven't done much on storyline pts.
    The end result is this: my friend and I have been playing the same basic characters for YEARS, on and off, and the highest level we've achieved thus far is about 7th-8th! Maybe we are too sparing with the XP, but we haven't rocketed our PCs to these seemingly unGodly levels. I cannot wait for the day when I have a PC (not an NPC, mind you) who reaches double digits, granted that I live that long. Happy Heed Xaris' advice and slow the progression or you will find your characters in the Monty Haul zone of Forgotten Realms... Shocked

    -Lanthorn (6th/7th lvl fighter/mage <bladesinger>)

    P.S. Will admit that perhaps one of the reasons for our 'low levels' in spite of our long time playing is the fact that my main player and I have MANY PCs we've run...so many classes and concepts to play, so little time!
    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Wed Jul 18, 2012 7:54 pm  

    Nerdcav,

    I award players based on individual awards and role-play is awarded more then mere combat. With that said if the characters where involved in combat I award the experience as a split. If however one of the players came up with a good plan to defeat the enemies then I would award the bonus. Now you can make a rule of thumb that roleplay experience should be awarded based on the challege set before them that brought about the role playing opportunity.

    Let's say story award is 500 xp then the roleplay award should be no greater then 10-20 % of the story award. Same rule applies to the combat session of 200 xp 10- 20 % bonus if a role play decision helped defeat their opponent.

    I hope this helps.

    Argon
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    Thu Jul 19, 2012 8:31 am  

    Although I'm using D&D 3.5, I use the "story points" (essentially, mission accomplishment) which came out of AD&D2. Theoretically, you can get a load of XPs without actually killing anyone (don't count on it, but possible). The "role play" and "idea" points come out of those mission points. In some cases, it's specific. The party gets so many XPs for discovering the location of Quasqueton or the Naga's Lair, and bringing that knowledge back to civilization. Others I have to determine on the spot, like if one character advises the others to use blunt weapons against the skeletons instead of slashing weapons. In that case, they'd get a slightly larger chunk of the remaining XPs.

    For inflicting casualties, I generally just give it to the character who did the inflicting. If an enemy surrenders or runs away from the group (I use morale rules), it might be divided between the group. If two or more inflicted wounds, or perhaps did the brunt of the fighting while someone delivered the coup de grace from behind, then I usually just split it. In a few cases, the calculations might get fancy, but I've got the time, or I'll make the time. Wink

    nerdcav wrote:
    I sat down tonight to work out my player's experience from the last session. The party has 5 1st level members, 4 players and the NPC cleric I am running. They defeated 5 bandits and 6 bugbears, all with average equipment and hit points. They also completed a minor "story quest", tracking and rescuing a kidnapped boy. Finally, each player role-played well, 2 more than others, and the paladin player had a good idea to interrogate the bandits to learn where they were taking the boy.

    The experience I awarded ranged from 500XP for the least involved to 800 for the most involved. I split the XP from the fighting 5 ways, and then gave everyone a story award of 200XP (no more than 1/10 the avg XP needed for lvl 2) and a couple of individual awards for role-playing. Am I doing this right? I feel like I am just making up numbers. Does anyone have a really good system for balanced experience awards they can share with me? Thanks in advance!


    ...so, I'd give the XPs for killing/incapacitating/crippling/running off the bandits and bugbears to the characters responsible (roughly). The story points would be divided evenly, except the two "role players" and the paladin would get a slightly larger share than the others. FWIW.

    SirXaris wrote:
    ...After all, if your PCs need 2,000 experience points for 2nd level...


    -One of the things that which was odd aboiut AD&D1 was that you needed 2,000 XP to make it to 2nd level, which means you basically had to annihilate a company of orcs just to get to 2nd level. I found that... excessive. I always wondered where all those 4th level Fighters came from. You really would have to be a "Hero" to manage that. Confused

    nerdcav wrote:
    ...The party has 5 1st level members, 4 players and the NPC cleric I am running. They defeated 5 bandits and 6 bugbears, all with average equipment and hit points...


    ...the bandits (0 level? 1st level?) I can see, but five 1st level characters aced six bugbears? If the bugbears ran or surrendered (i.e. morale check), I can see, but a straight up fight? Question
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Oct 03, 2011
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    Wed Jul 25, 2012 2:35 pm  

    I think you're "doing it right" for the most part. As SirXaris mentioned, awarding different amounts can have unexpected or unwelcome outcomes in the game. However, I would humbly suggest that it's quite possible to have different rewards which do make sense. I do steadfastly agree though that RPing should be a flat reward for each player as giving more to extroverted players or the player that just happened to be more "into it" that night can be a bit of an artificial carrot to encourage role play.

    "Now, where do these individual rewards come in", you might ask? Well there's no exact science to it but think of those moments during a game where a fantastic idea that worked, or maybe the thief picked a lock, a fighter rolled a string of 7 hits (in 7 rounds) in a row during a major combat, maybe a magic-user cast a spell under pressure that saved the party, and so on. They can be class-related, decision-based, etc. Usually mine are class-based mixed with a "key moment". The rewards are small, like at level 1 maybe +10 points. And I usually cap it at around 30-40 points (assuming first level characters again). This gives a sense of individuality to the characters without too much deviation.

    You're on the right track though with your thought process!
    GreySage

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    Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:50 pm  

    I'll support Elliva's suggestion, but change it such that you make it a party bonus experience award. When someone in the party does something exceptional, celebrate with all the players by awarding the entire party extra experience. That way, everyone is encouraged to come up with fantastic, fun plans, take heroic chances, etc., but no one feels left out when others get the rewards. The person coming up with the idea, or rolling the lucky dice, etc. gains the accolades and congratulations of the entire group, so everyone is celebrating together and appreciative of that player's genius/luck.

    SirXaris

    Edited for spelling. SX


    Last edited by SirXaris on Thu Jul 26, 2012 7:51 am; edited 1 time in total
    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Wed Jul 25, 2012 9:02 pm  

    I was never one to award experience for a die roll. The amount of role play or interaction a character provided was their path to experience. Party awards IMO are for things the party does. If a player feels like his xp reward is less maybe he should take notes from the other role-players. I was never one to give a reward for coming in second. If you work hard and acheive greatness you earn the right to be rewarded. However, a growing trend has been put forth to reward everyone involved for the work of those that put in all the extra effort. I see this as sending the wrong message. Because whether you make the effort or not your rewarded the same.

    Why bother making an effort them? Thats my two coppers.

    Later

    Argon
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    Wed Jul 25, 2012 10:19 pm  

    I would tend to agree with Argon about NOT splitting awards among the group for the major contribution of a single player. That doesn't seem fair to that player, and if I were that player, I'd be pretty damned irritated. Kinda like working overtime and having to share your bonus pay with co-workers who just did the 'normal' time. Likely that would be the last time I'd outperform again.
    However, I have NO problem with group awards if it truly was a group winning effort.
    As a final note, the 2e DMG has a chart listing the various single awards (optional) on page 48.

    -Lanthorn
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    Thu Jul 26, 2012 1:39 am  

    2nd edition has an awkward learning curve and experience curve to go along with it.

    I wouldn't fret about it. It's your game, level them as you see fits your campaign.

    I personally, as a DM, level the characters very hastily to level 5-7 and allow them to enjoy character progress. Players get a feeling of attachment to their characters then which allows you to unfold the continuing camapign story with more interest and a sense of importance from them. This is where the table top really begins to shine and you'll either notice your success or your failure by the attendance of your players. DMing is not so much about the Dungeon, but more about the Master.

    You have to be careful though, never let your campaign turn into a "monty haul" where they are all of the sudden killing the main antagonist in a single round of combat from all the crazy loot they just got off a goblin chieftain.

    And, never, ever, be afraid to let a character die that either deserved it or fate of the dice decided so. 2nd Edition ends around levels 12-15. After that, even with poor equivelant equipment they will own everything.

    For a long campaign, death provides the players with a sense of mortality and they will be moe apt to play a group of their followers, perhaps sent by their main characters on an adventurous journey.

    Edit: So to summarize, to hell with the numbers.
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    GreySage

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    Thu Jul 26, 2012 8:00 am  

    Argon and Lanthorn:

    Your position makes sense in a competitive environment, but from my experience, that is not what a D&D gaming session is all about.

    People play D&D to have fun. Some people have fun being extroverts at role-playing. Others have fun being introverts. It's not a bad thing to encourage introverts to speak up more frequently and take chances that may become the subject of bardic legend, but I think it is wrong to expect such players to equal the extroverted players in that area. Your method of awarding experience solely to those players who perform the amazing feats marginalizes the introverts by rewarding only extrovert behavior. That may be a good thing in the job market, but it isn't what gaming around a table with a bunch of friends should be about, in my opinion. When I've resorted to that type of experience point rewards, all it did was cause every player to shout louder for my (the DM's) attention so that they could be the one constantly doing something for the spotlight.

    However, when I began to award the experience to the party as a whole, they were all able to relax and allow each other to have the spotlight equally because they didn't feel like they were losing out on possible bonus experience points for stepping back now and then.

    Just my experience. Smile

    SirXaris
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    Thu Jul 26, 2012 9:27 am  

    "DMing is not so much about the Dungeon, but more about the Master."

    Excellent and poignant quote! I like it.

    SirXaris, agreed about helping to build a sense of cooperation and community with your gaming group. You'll get no gripe from me about that. I think it's still possible to award the 'introvert' player without dividing the points from another player. An introverted player still may come up with good ideas from time to time, or play their character concept well, without being one of the assertive, dominant personalities at the table. It may be more subtle, requiring deliberate and careful attention on part of the DM.

    (and with that, I make my 500th! post) Happy

    You may now call me, "MASTER!" hahahahahahaahahaa!!!! Evil Grin

    -Master Lanthorn (see, I finally leveled!)
    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Thu Jul 26, 2012 7:46 pm  

    Yeah,

    Sir Xaris I hear you but once again I'll stick to my guns you can encourage players without throwing them freebies. Garnering certain aspects of ther game for each player helps with this. I have no problem giving someone their due but I don't believe in overtly placating anyone. I will give you an in whenever I can if your happy playing the way you are then fine but I have always kept a group of roleplayers around and have not had to deal with too many introverts. Where I grew up stood up or you stepped out. Besides if your all friends then no one should feel like an introvert.

    Later

    Argon
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    Sat Jul 28, 2012 8:38 am  

    Argon wrote:
    ...Sir Xaris I hear you but once again I'll stick to my guns you can encourage players without throwing them freebies...I have no problem giving someone their due but I don't believe in overtly placating anyone...


    -I agree. let the chips fall where they may, and whatever other cliched proverbs apply...

    Argon wrote:
    ... I will give you an in whenever I can if your happy playing the way you are then fine but I have always kept a group of roleplayers around and have not had to deal with too many introverts. Where I grew up stood up or you stepped out. Besides if your all friends then no one should feel like an introvert...


    -An introvert doesn't feel like an introvert or not. They just are.

    But to the point, if the PC isn't doing anything, then that's a problem of activity. It's actions which count for XP, not words. Of course, advice and problem solving are actions, too, and an introvert might have a disdavantage there. But most XPs probably aren't coming out of advice or problem solving, but form killing and crippling stuff. There's nothing about an introverted personality which prevents them from saying "I shoot at the evil cleric."
    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Sat Jul 28, 2012 11:27 pm  

    Jamedglick,

    You are correct one is an introvert and does not feel introverted. Poor choice of words on my part. Though being an introvert does not mean one cannot display great social skills. Just that prolonged social interaction with many individuals taxes them. However, I would add that if one is willing to gather with a group of people for an social interaction like role-playing. Then it is something they are seeking for one reason or the other. So whether or not they are an introvert it does not prevent them from role-playing.

    So I think myself included we are falsely connecting ones playing preference for ones preferred social interaction or state of being. So introvert or extrovert aside both people are capable of being power gamers or role players. On this I think we can agree.

    Later

    Argon
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