View Full Version : Variable Experience Options

11-28-2011, 06:40 PM
I'm interested in finding information (a table, chart, input) on means for players to gain experience doing other things than just killing monsters.

In D&D3.5, it's pretty much straight up 'you kill something, you get xp'. But what about solving the puzzle, talking to the intelligent lawful good creature, discovering the secret route, finishing some story goal?

Are there charts out there that list event and xp awards for success?
Or has someone come up with something really good that they'd like to share?

11-29-2011, 08:43 AM
I don't remember seeing any charts, but when I ran my 3.5 campaign, I awarded the same amount of xps to my players when they had a role-playing encounter the same as if they had defeated a creature of the same level as the encounter. Did something similar for puzzles too!

There's no reason why you couldn't award xps based off of a particular encounter level according to how the players handled something you placed in front of them. If they were successful, you give them full xps, if they were partially successful, you give them partial xp, etc.

I'd just make sure that they knew they didn't have to kill/defeat everything they came across to gain xps.

11-30-2011, 09:45 PM
As far as I know, there are no charts. There is some information in the DMG, but as I recall it really boils down to "do what you judge to be reasonable".

One option I've used is the "you level up when I think you've done enough to deserve it" thing -- just decide about how many successfully handled events equal a level (13-14, I believe, is the number the standard XP system is based around) and have them level up then or even do it by feel.

I've also been toying with the idea of using "quest XP" (not so fond of the name). Basically, in a sandbox-y world, there is no XP for killing stuff, only for getting stuff done, however you handle it. I'd just pre-set what I wanted each possible storyline to be worth, and go from there -- getting the goblins to stop raiding the town is worth this much XP, regardless of how you get them to stop, finding the miller's missing daughter is that much XP, with a bonus if you get her back to her father instead of leaving her where she is, etc. I'd base the exact amount on how much of a level up I want it to be (the goblins might be a full level up, while the miller's daughter might be only 1/4 of the way to level up) -- obviously this would depend on what level the PCs were, too.

12-01-2011, 06:51 AM
For my current Pathfinder campaign, I decided to level the players after every 3 sessions, so I'm not even tracking xps. I first asked them if they'd be OK with playing this way and they were. So far, it's working pretty well and I can keep them moving forward as far as what they're doing well enough that they'd be earning close to enough xp to level after that many sessions anyway.

Plus, since we're only playing every other week, it will take them a little over 2 and 1/4 years of playing to reach level 20.

12-05-2011, 02:22 AM
I'm close to that. I aware a percentage of an average level. What gets killed or not killed is not relevant. The only reason I stay with numbers is I use a XP rider instead of a whole level hole for extra goodies.

12-05-2011, 02:42 AM
all of the traps have ELs as do a number of puzzles, so i just extended it to social situations and any sort of thing. just assign an encounter level equivalent for how difficult it is to accomplish. when i do it that way, i can preassign difficulty ratings and xp awards based on what sorts of skill checks they can make, as well as what sort of ac they can hit. you get something like this:

hard to find nook? EL 11 for exploration bonus xp. not so tough puzzle? EL 4. convincing the stubborn old farmer to part with his prize bull so that you can feed it to a dragon as part of a misdirection scheme? EL 15 and good luck with that. convincing the guard to let you see the embassy secretary? EL 7, and bonus points (EL 8) if you hook him up with that girl he's been making eyes at. and more bonus points if you can get her an invite to the ball, too (EL 10). making it so much easier to calc xp for anything and everything? priceless.

12-06-2011, 11:27 AM
I'm TOTALLY on board with nijineko on this - if you actually READ the DMG, it says that all traps, tricks and encounters have Encounter Levels that the DM has to assign.

My personal route is a flat, "The party will get 1000 xp if they survive this campaign arc" - and then add roleplaying and "art" XP. It's good for getting people out of their shell. I remember the party getting ticked at a thief/rogue that spent 15 minutes schmoozing a local merchant in the middle of a ball-room scenario. After the attempted assassination plot was foiled, they were shocked out of their upsettedness (it's a word - look it up!) when I gave the thief an RP bonus of 500 xp with no explanation. They were all made aware the next session when they needed some business advice, and the thief thought of his new friend... who greased some wheels and the party benefited from the prior schmoozing.

Who knew that off-line role playing could be of benefit!

Now THAT is priceless!

12-07-2011, 02:43 AM
we were playing b1-keep on the borderlands. there are a number of jailed / enslaved individuals or groups. to make the story short, we freed them. one was a merchant, one was a stonemason, one was a bard, and there was a passel of dwarves. (what does one call a group of dwarves anyway? a mug? a tankard? a beard? [apologies if needed to any dwarf or dwarves reading; no slight or racism is intended]) the merchant and the stonemason we fed, clothed, cured, and provided some money for travel and (in the stonemason's case) testing to be recognized as a master stonemason. we now get small discounts and a broader range of available items (in exchange for time lag in order to acquire them) from our merchant friend, and we know who is going to build our living places, once we get around to that. we kept the bard, and she has proven useful in support and combat. we likewise aided the dwarves and set them on their way - we are now proclaimed dwarf-friends and are invited to visit their demesne sometime. we are planning on trying to open a dialogue for possible trade between the dwarves and our merchant and stonemason friends as appropriate in the future.

{incidentally, we are now on b3 and said campaign is (very slowly) taking place here on these forums in the pbp section.}

needless to say, i've always found it beneficial to befriend npcs here and there.

12-07-2011, 03:55 PM
A grumble of Dwarves.

Yes, I'm big on social consequences in game, both good and bad. I hand out good social rewards frequently.

Example the party was investigating a property to buy in the city. It had a ghost. Said ghost killed the real estate agent. While they couldn't do anythying about that they did help his assistant (and lover) by supporting her business while she got her feet under her. They get very good deals on land in the city.

A previous campaign the party freed several goblin tribes from bondage. They gained loyal tribes that helped them tame the area. Treating the hill giant and his giant beetle pet kindly got them the best heavy construction team in the country. Dealing fairly with the dragon and they have anaccountant that is feared throughout the land. Unusual party. The Naga told them to not wake the sleeping soldiers, don't touch the hourglass, do not read the book, and they could carry away as much treasure as each could hold in their hands. So, the didn't walk the soldier, didn't touch the hourglass, and didn't read the book. They did cherry pick the best of the treasure and one more thing. They asked the Naga why things were as they were. The Naga wishing an end to his guardianship told them exactly how to end the whole thing and get all the treasure. They got the necessary items of the true King and in the end freed the Naga, and the Soldiers as well as getting an Aladdin’s cave full of treasure.

12-08-2011, 03:29 AM
Unusual party. The Naga told them to not wake the sleeping soldiers, don't touch the hourglass, do not read the book, and they could carry away as much treasure as each could hold in their hands. So, the didn't walk the soldier, didn't touch the hourglass, and didn't read the book

Players! The best [and worst] DM tool available :eek::biggrin:

12-09-2011, 12:14 AM
The stupid crap that nijineko and tesral have described are EXACTLY what I am talking about. Sure, ANYONE can go out and rescue the princess from the dragon by killing the darned thing - but the party that rescues the princess and BEFRIENDS that dragon is the party that _I_ want to game with.

This aligns with another thread that moulders somewhere on this board about repercussions from evil acts.

Just like that stupid no-named NPC merchant that the stupid thief befriends - the merchant will remember - AND TALK to his compatriots in the Merchants' Guild. And when there are two merchants to be rescued and the party callously lets one get killed in the rescue attempt when they might have tried to prevent it - the surviving merchant will talk as well. I've had parties nearly revolt when they went back to town and prices had tripled for them and spell components were suddenly "out of stock" - even when they could be seen behind the counter.

It's called ROLE PLAYING for a reason.

The next campaign I start will have a starting adventure set up by a local apothecary - to gather one gallon of ogre urine from a living ogre (and stored in these nice glass vials!). The party is guaranteed to die if they attack - so they'll have to role play to schmooze the ogre into dropping trou for them. After that, the ogre will be waiting for human parties... can you imagine a different party's reaction when an ogre bursts out of the trees while pulling aside his loincloth and a big smile on his face?? Anarchy, I tells ya, total anarchy!! :lol::biggrin::laugh:

12-09-2011, 12:26 PM
I love that. Sanity loss will ensue, even if it is the wrong system,.

On the down side I had the guy that tossed a bag of gold into the twon market sparking a riot. If got 16 people killed including a party member. The guard caught him he was tried and executed. There are immediate consequences for being stupid.

The one guy, the player was an ass. A tower full of Orcs with the entrance at the thirty foot mark. In front of the door you had a five foot platform, no rail. He banged on the door and demanded the Orcs surrender. They opened the door and about six spears poked at him. Cocky fellow he grabed a spear and tried to take it from the Orc. The Orc let him have it. One failed dex check later he was splayed on the jagged rocks at the foot of the tower with the spear sticking out of him. The label says "Orc" not "Idiot".

Two: PCs chasing down the cultists of Anthraxis. Room, a pusstulated body in one corner. The two with the lowest wisdom score (players not characters) went in. They didn't come out. The rest ofthe party opened the door, same body, two skeletons collapsed in a pool of goo. The "body" was a powerful priest of Anthraxis playing dead. They both got the flesh melted from their bones. The wiser part of the party killed the "body". The other two were unrecoverable.

12-10-2011, 10:02 PM
malruhn, if we ever game in the same group, i'm now going to have to find an... appropriate... in-game way to get you back for that unfortunate mental image. =P

12-11-2011, 12:31 AM
Appropriate, hell! That mental image is worth Chinese water tortures and soggy Doritos... and REALLY warm Mountain Dew...

Okay, maybe I went over the line with the Mountain Dew thing...

12-11-2011, 04:11 AM
A bag of gold to spark a riot? That's nothing, I had to deal with a party whose cleric thought the appropriate way to negotiate with striking dockers was to point at the leader and cast Command: Masterbate.
Ccertainly brought the negotaiations to a jerky halt... :rolleyes:

12-11-2011, 10:15 AM
argh... what is it with you people and these mental images. =P i don't want to know what ideology the cleric professed to follow.

truthfully, i never thought of that one, even as a kid. i think command: poop was about as close as we ever got. and that could even be passed off as a "cleansing" of the inner self, sort of, thus technically within the moral and ethical range of the more standard ideologies.

the bag of gold comment reminded me of a character in a supers setting. the game mechanics outlined the rules of how powers worked, but left the exact definition of the look and feel of the power up to the player. i defined one character, a new-rich arabian-style princess type, having all of her powers involve servitors and djinn and the like delivering the effects in various ways. her time-delay area effect explosive energy blast power? a servant would hand over a bag of gold, or scatter the gold pieces to the crowd, depending on circumstances....

12-12-2011, 06:00 AM
Ah it was 2ed days and a cleric of Loki (or somesuch 'trickster' diety). Command being very limited in scope, he needed to stop the spokesman rabble rouser before things escalated, he needed to cut him off at the needs and turn him from a figurehead for violence and rioting. In terms of changing the mood of a mob from ugly and violent to pliable and jocular it was almost an act of genius! It certainly wasn't done for the childish humour...that came later naturally though.:rolleyes:

A bag of gold would only have exasperated the situation :mad:

12-13-2011, 01:35 AM
ah, that explanation makes the events more understandable... still, i wonder if there wasn't another way.

command is very limited.

12-13-2011, 02:24 AM
ah, that explanation makes the events more understandable... still, i wonder if there wasn't another way.

command is very limited.

There is always another way, but will that way be either as effective of as humiliatingly funny?

12-13-2011, 05:51 AM
Indeed Command is very limited - one word only. How would you kick the knees from under the rabble rouser with one word? Bearing in mind that anything that looked like an act of violence or could be taken as an attack would have ignited the situation like a match in a powderkeg. :confused:

Besides it's become memorable, a focul point of the party events and very much part of the PCs writing their own story - that's what I want from my players, it's why I DM basically. :cool:

There are others, such as the face down with the 'other party' in the bar (lots of posturing and power play but all done without disturbing the locals - very intense), the flying night time chase over the moors, the fighting of trolls from inside a Leomund's Hut, the despairing dive (by the same cleric) to tackle the BBEG before he could smack the held fighter down, the paladin's wedding to the local nobility [and later the price it cost], how Nat became the nine-fingered, the negotiations with the Green Dragon exchanging cattle for land (quite epic at 2nd level), etc, etc. All good stuff for tall tales around a fire and that's what adventures should be IMO. :biggrin:

This was all in our Night Below 2ed campaign that is now sadly over - a virtual TPK against Grell, but we don't talk about that. Half the players still bear a grudge against all grell :eek::mad::lol:

12-13-2011, 11:59 AM
hmmm, the words 'jest', 'prank', 'mime', 'defecate', 'urinate', and other related come to mind. however, i'm certain it was quite humorous in context. however, i doubt that 6 seconds is enough... wait, you said second ed? ah, that would be a minute then, wouldn't it. plenty of time to embarrass and humiliate.

yeah, we've collected quite a few stories and memorable moments too. there is the time the party took on an 120 unit enemy strike force and fought them to a standstill, and finally had to negotiate their way out of it with the surviving members (they had taken out all of the command units, but some of the archery and artillery enemies survived). or the time a 9th level character managed to defeat a fully adult blue dragon in (almost) single-handed combat. (he had protection support from a mage and a cleric, but they couldn't do anything to the dragon.) he got the whole town involved in the preparations. see here (http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/showthread.php/5005-D-amp-D-3.X-Combat-Stories?p=19029#post19029), and then here (http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/showthread.php/5005-D-amp-D-3.X-Combat-Stories?p=19297#post19297). or the time our party monk (played by a balding, chubby, middle-aged guy) when asked by the dm if his monk qualified as a masterwork weapon (for purposes of a magical effect), loudly proclaimed that his entire body was a masterwork weapon (complete with possibly unconscious gesture at his own body).... that took a while to recover from indeed.

12-13-2011, 12:33 PM
Indeed Command is very limited - one word only. How would you kick the knees from under the rabble rouser with one word? Bearing in mind that anything that looked like an act of violence or could be taken as an attack would have ignited the situation like a match in a powderkeg. :confused:

Command was not the only option. Repartee for example, heckle the guy on his talking points and get him twisted around and contradicting himself. The worst thing you can do to a public speaker is get people to laugh at him. With a whole party you have a ready made clique to get the laughter started. Move separately into the rabble start your repartee and the rest of your group cat calls and laughs.

Magic? Create water. The sight of the speaker suddenly soaking wet, especially if followed by some biting repartee could break the whole mood of the gathering. A runaway horse could steal his thunder, anything that pulled the attention of the rabble away from him. At the cusp of a mob anything attention grabing and eithe humorous or titilating would break is momentum. A couple of fishwives having it out in a clothing tearing fight that might bare something could derail him. They just need to be loud and have the possiblity someone will get to see bare tit. Real fishwives not required.

True Story: Back in the 70s at the height of the Star Trek conventions the Klingon Irregulars a group that did security for Trek cons in Klingon costums had a ugly situation building in an over crowded convention center. Peoiple had started chanting "kill the Klingons." even. One of the fellows whipped off his shoe and displayed is purple toe socks (yes, fashion in the '70s) and yelled "Howe can you distrust a Klingon in purple toe socks?" It got a laugh, and that was enough to diffuse the crowd from becomeong a mob. (Yes, I know the principles, not a second or third hand story)

12-13-2011, 02:10 PM
awesome story.

and since we are wandering afield, so to speak... in most ideologies, abrogating the agency of an individual is usually considered an evil act. thus any form of forcible charm, such as command, is technically an evil act. of course, this is not supported by the rules, and thus would be either houserules or roleplay. but still, something to think about.