Rewarding RP in ways other then bonus XP?

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When i play d&d we all track our exp as 1 number, we all lvl at the same time. I noticed however that our DM still rewards bonus exp to players tho. This got me thinking, I plan on starting a game soon and i was wondering how DMs can reward thier specific players without giving them exp?

At first I was going to go with GP, but i cant really think of a way to explain that ingame...

Since most loot is split up evenly, they cant just find it. It cant be profits from a business cause they might sidetrack and get distracted by trying to focus on boosting business. Yeah thats good RP, but it detracts from the main campaign, and can get rather broken.

Im thinking maybe action points or free rerolls might work, but im looking for more options i can use to keep things interesting.

How have you guys rewarded your players in the past? Points for creativity!

Aside from exp, I also give them contacts if they made the NPC they talked to like them. They will be pretty useful in gathering information or if they want little stuff like having a free bedroom and the best wine because you are friends with the innkeeper. Attractive NPCs they like might turn into lovers or love interests.

As for in-party roleplaying, I only award them with exp. Can't think of anything to give to them except that.
In combat, consider giving them small bonuses or alternate methods of attacking enemies (I throw my sunrod at the wraith!)

In a skill challenge, again, give them bonuses or alternate methods of achieving their goals (chasing someone through a busy street? I knock people out of my way with a Strength check!)

In other situations, story-based rewards work reasonably well. They can earn favours, gain respect, open up new areas for them to explore, etc.
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I eliminated XP from my game, so I did have to find some ways to give out bonuses for good ideas and roleplaying.

I do it in the form of bonuses to rolls. If you're doing a skill challenge and the PC describes his action well and it fits the scene, I may give that character an automatic success. At the very least, I'll give him a +2 bonus to the roll for good effort. In a roleplaying scene, good roleplaying from the character results in good response from NPCs without additional Diplomacy, etc. rolls. In combat, if they are going out of their way to describe actions and add to the drama of the scene, they get bonuses to their attack rolls, sometimes their damage rolls, depending on how well I receive the description.

In short, entertain me and be rewarded.

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While the above are good suggestions, you could go another route and literally reward the player with a cookie.  Nothing motivates a man like the thought of free food and thus you guarantee continued good roleplaying.  Do not however turn around and give the ladies healthy food like carrots or they may feel you are tyring to imply something.  Laughing
I'd just end up giving them I.O.U.s for cookies...

I should clarify a tad. the main RP im wanting to focus on is keeping in character.

Im wanting to start a game where the players are 1940s heroes who suddenly find themselves dumped into your stereotypical d&d setting. I plan on having them draw character flaws, things varying from racist, male chovanist, overly patriotic, or my fave and possably the hardest, soviet spy. I do plan on adding more to the list, but thats what i got so far. lol

If they RP thier character well, including the flaw, then i want to give them a reward thats fitting.

If the male chovanist pats a womans butt in a tavern, reward, if the spy starts keeping a spellbook even tho hes not a caster, reward, the patriot goes out of his way to bring democracy to a tribe of kobolds... dude gets a fricken machinegun...
Verbal praise is honestly what works best.  My group and I RP because we enjoy it which is a pretty difficult reward to top, but being told your RP was awesome gives you a nice warm fuzzy feeling and encourages you to keep doing it in the future.
Its not the answer that matters, its the questions. This is the sarcasm point ---> {.) the period can be substituted for whatever punctuation mark is appropriate. Use it so show sarcasm in written text.
Action points.

Though you should remove the milestone AP if you do that. I did, because it's a major hassle to track (since not all encounters are combats)

At first I was going to go with GP, but i cant really think of a way to explain that ingame...


The gods have awarded you with wealth, thy gold coins have multiplied.

You see something shiny on the floor, you pick it up and gain XGP

You pass Go! Cash in XGP

Your mom sends you money

You gain much gold from your roleplaying, therefore you can buy us Pizza tonight.
While the above are good suggestions, you could go another route and literally reward the player with a cookie.  Nothing motivates a man like the thought of free food and thus you guarantee continued good roleplaying.  Do not however turn around and give the ladies healthy food like carrots or they may fell you are tyring to imply something.  Laughing

Hmmmm......I might try that....but it will get costly.



Most of the replies here are good and reasonable.

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Consider awarding RP with the option of more RP. Give them magic items that are useless in combat but highly thematic, titles and/or land (I got one of my players to roleplay by promising her to rise in the ranks of the mercenaries they fought for, if she tried in character), favors from NPCs, or even just short roleplaying moments. 

Roleplaying for most people is its own reward; rewarding it with more roleplaying options will often keep them happy.
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I do it in the form of bonuses to rolls. If you're doing a skill challenge and the PC describes his action well and it fits the scene, I may give that character an automatic success. At the very least, I'll give him a +2 bonus to the roll for good effort. In a roleplaying scene, good roleplaying from the character results in good response from NPCs without additional Diplomacy, etc. rolls. In combat, if they are going out of their way to describe actions and add to the drama of the scene, they get bonuses to their attack rolls, sometimes their damage rolls, depending on how well I receive the description.



The big floating "+2" tends to be a common reward. Do something cool, get a "bonus token" to be cashed-in for a +2 on a d20 roll.  

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I always have my players have the same xp total also. Whenever they roleplay well, I'll reward them by giving them helpful information, badassery bonuses to attack rolls and skill checks when they decide to do something creative and awesome, or occassionally let them reroll a bad roll when performing their awesome RP actions by saying "woops...that hit a book. Roll that again....woops that one landed on that piece of paper; roll again." Sometimes I'll also let my players use their action points to pull off some sort of awesome action stunt.

For example, the PCs once were adventuring through a swamp and encountered some monstrous crocodiles. Our monk decided he wanted to wrestle one of them. Everyone was like "woah...that sounds awesome....do it!" He rolls badly, but since it would fit the awesome action time better, I let him use his action point to let it automatically succeed.
I have no xp in my 3.5 game, and just level them up together.  My reward for roleplaying is to give out those silly +2/+2 to a skill feats that nobody ever takes.  They can't be retrained.  I haven't given one in 2 months, because no one has roleplayed better than me as dm....
Yes, role-playing should be its own reward, but you should reward all people for something they do good in the game.  Combat tricks would be another.

Another good way to go is achievements.  Most hits in the role, best role-playing, most crits, best use of a skill.

They don't have any meaning mechanically in game, but it's fun to have that little icon to show you achieved something

I don't really see a need to reward XP. Those who enjoy RP will RP, and enjoy it. Those who enjoy combat, and little else will participate in combat and little else and enjoy it.


All adding a reward for RP does, is reward the players who prefer to RP more, and force the combat machines to do something they don't particularly enjoy.


To me the important part is balancing the encounters for your group fairly between RP and combat. (Or having a combination of the two in each encounter).


If you find the right mix for your group, everyone is happy and rewarded. Giving an extra benefit for those who happen to prefer the same part of the game as you seems unfair.


(Keep in mind RP should be grant rewards like XP, treasure, and dispatched enemies just like combat)

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I've heard of people having great success giving out 1-off items and powers. You could structure them after a regular item with a daily power, but simply make it have a finite number of uses instead that cannot be recharged.

Also giving out free skillpoints, language proficiencies, or non-combat feats all work. There's a bunch of feats in the book that tend not to be taken by combat-oriented characters that work well for this.
ever see people min-max their rp? you'd be amazed but it's surprizing how many people go out of their way to create tragic orphaned characters with no living relative (close or distant that the dm can abuse bring into the story) who grows up on the mean streets of Townsville and matures into a daring crusading fighter/wizard/rogue/cleric of justice.

in all seriousness though i've been part of games where the gm gave bonuses for background elements to the more munchkin-aligned players crammed as much information as possible in their backgrounds... usually to the horror of poor schmoe who happens across this travesty of litterature.

i've also been part of games that slowly escalated into an excercise into ridiculousness as each player tried to outdo each other. it started like D&D but ended in a session of overacting shakespearian dropouts and one (internally) laughing oxybe.

RP should be it's own reward in and of itself, and truthfully the players who interact with the game world elements will usually come out with some "bonuses" in some way. those who interact more with NPCs will usually get the information first, maybe get a discount on purchases after schmoozing the merchants, get easier access to restricted areas (maybe they crafted a good cover story, maybe they heard of a secret passage), some extra treasure/items, ect...

all without subjecting the GM and other players to "Bad Fanfic Theater, starring: Frobro, Gomli, Legilass & Gramdolf the Beige"
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The gods have awarded you with wealth, thy gold coins have multiplied.

You see something shiny on the floor, you pick it up and gain XGP

You pass Go! Cash in XGP

Your mom sends you money

You gain much gold from your roleplaying, therefore you can buy us Pizza tonight.




"Your mom sends you money" This one is funny. Especally cause in the game im thinking of, they are lost and trying to get back to 1940's America.

I may accually use this, if only to have an excuse to call the toughest characer "pookie"

And the RP doesnt need to be specifically dialogue. If the cleric switches to nonlethal when fighting someone controlled, thats RP. When the pally refuses to let a demon escape, thats RP.

For me, i prefer seeing actions that fit the character more then clever dialogue. Unless the clever dialogue fits the character of course. lol


all without subjecting the GM and other players to "Bad Fanfic Theater, starring: Frobro, Gomli, Legilass & Gramdolf the Beige"



I think you've just given me an idea for the next random encounter.  I might even design a sidequest that brings the PC's close to a volcano just to add to the effect.
Its not the answer that matters, its the questions. This is the sarcasm point ---> {.) the period can be substituted for whatever punctuation mark is appropriate. Use it so show sarcasm in written text.
Something I've been trying to figure out how to implement are what I basically call 'cool chips'.  If you do something cool, another player (or the DM) can award you a cool chip (usually designated by a poker chip).  You can turn it in for a +2 on a d20 roll later.  My big hitch is figuring out how long to let them sit around ... extended rest or game session, or possibly level ...
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A partial list of the following rewards I have handed out for good roleplaying.

1) Friends with benefits.  ( The innkeeper who always has the best room available, the alchemist with the knowledge on what the PC needs to make that antidote, the clever street urchin who knows a lot about the people who visit the shady parts of town...etc etc)
2) Items.  (A rare bottle of Wine, an oddly carved stone that looks suspiciously like a key or lever, a helpful map...)
3) A bonus to a related Skill Check.  (The exact + depending on the type of interaction, the NPC and the method used by the player in the course of the good roleplaying.  For instance if a paladin PC with the history and religion skill is chatting up a local sage regarding various draconic marks and local monsters stumbles upon an old kobold burial site that has seen recent disturbance, I will allow a + bonus on his skill check for history or religion regarding uncovering clues about said discovery.)

The majority of my players have all really gotten into the storytelling aspects of the game.  The reward they seem to prefer the most is simply the fun they had playing through the scenario.
ever see people min-max their rp? you'd be amazed but it's surprizing how many people go out of their way to create tragic orphaned characters with no living relative (close or distant that the dm can abuse bring into the story) who grows up on the mean streets of Townsville and matures into a daring crusading fighter/wizard/rogue/cleric of justice.




They made the powerpuff girls?  That would be one game I want to be involved with
ever see people min-max their rp? you'd be amazed but it's surprizing how many people go out of their way to create tragic orphaned characters with no living relative (close or distant that the dm can abuse bring into the story) who grows up on the mean streets of Townsville and matures into a daring crusading fighter/wizard/rogue/cleric of justice.




They made the powerpuff girls?  That would be one game I want to be involved with



well, i usually use Townsville, Citiesburg, Thorpeton or any other highly generic name for a city. but a PPG game wouldn't be too hard to emulate. all 3 are probably different varieties of sorcerors, with Blossom & Bubbles being one of the Dex builds while Buttercup being a Str build.

i'm still waiting for the game to come up where i can play my Airman Warforged bulid
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"All right, I've been thinking. When life gives you lemons, don't make lemonade. Make life take the lemons back. GET MAD! I DON'T WANT YOUR **** LEMONS! WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO WITH THESE?! DEMAND TO SEE LIFE'S MANAGER! Make life RUE the day it thought it could give CAVE JOHNSON LEMONS! DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?! I'M THE MAN WHO'S GONNA BURN YOUR HOUSE DOWN! WITH THE LEMONS! I'm gonna get my engineers to invent a combustible lemon that's gonna BURN YOUR HOUSE DOWN!" -Cave Johnson, Portal 2
I give them plot points, which are kind of like action points that they can use to influence plot. If they're trying to break into a castle, the rogue could spend a plot point to declare that there's a section of wall covered in easily climbed ivy. Or the Cleric could spend one to say that there's a chapel of his deity inside so that he can pretend to be a pilgrim. Or the Fighter could say he knows someone on the inside who might be persuaded to switch sides.

The guidelines I use are:

-You can't use a plot point to get a magic item, gold, or any significant material possessions. At least not permanently--I might be persuaded to have someone loan you an item or whatever.
-You can't use a plot point to change the personality or attitude of any character I've already written up, but you can use one to introduce a new character with the desired personality.
-Any character you introduce has to be relatively minor: You can't introduce a nobleman's wife, but you can introduce his butler. You can't introduce the captain of the guard, but you can introduce the sergeant that the entire guard knows and respects.
-You can change minor aspects of the scenery. You can't remove a locked door or place the key in a convenient spot, but you can make the pillar near the door weak enough to topple over and destroy the door. You can't change the floorplan, but you can introduce or remove objects, change materials, etc.
-You can't use a plot point to undo something that's already happened, cause dei ex machinae, or alter the rules of the universe.
XP is not a bad idea. However, as an option you can award the XP to the whole party.  Either award the XP on the spot, or at the end of the session, but making sure that you are distinguishing the player for good role-playing that in turn, benefits everyone.

It helps avoid:

1. One player getting ahead of the others if they role-play consistently well.
2. Jealousy or appearance of favoritism.

I like the idea of awarding in-game, non-mechanical awards for role-playing. Contacts, "flavor" magic items, titles, etc. Again, to be used with caution so the story doesn't center more and more around one player or a couple of players. Even players who are not avid role-players want to have the spotlight at SOME point.

Keiferz' plot points are good too. Players who understand the need for good role-playing will likely also be the type who make good choices about the plot points.
XP is not a bad idea. However, as an option you can award the XP to the whole party.  Either award the XP on the spot, or at the end of the session, but making sure that you are distinguishing the player for good role-playing that in turn, benefits everyone.

It helps avoid:

1. One player getting ahead of the others if they role-play consistently well.
2. Jealousy or appearance of favoritism.

I like the idea of awarding in-game, non-mechanical awards for role-playing. Contacts, "flavor" magic items, titles, etc. Again, to be used with caution so the story doesn't center more and more around one player or a couple of players. Even players who are not avid role-players want to have the spotlight at SOME point.

Keiferz' plot points are good too. Players who understand the need for good role-playing will likely also be the type who make good choices about the plot points.



This is exactly how I do it - the more everyone RPs, the higher the XP reward for everyone in the party.  Besides RP, I also award XP for "smooth sessions" (a thank you for helping me track combat, etc.).

I like Keiferz' idea too.

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I've seen it handled with some sort of reward point mechanic.  "Hero points" they've often been called.  Action points are a little too much.  Me, I handle hero points like 3.5 action points - a bonus to some roll when you really need it, or a few traded in to break the rules.  One of my DMs instead handled them as:
5 points for +1d6 damage
10 points to regain a spent encounter power
15 points to regain a spent daily power
20 points to convert a roll into a natural 20

People really wanted to earn that 20 for an important moment.
Assets come in many forms.

XP
Gold
Reputation
NPC contacts that can matter.
Favour of the DM (you can laugh, but I've seen more than a bit of gaming where the player that tries hard to make the game fun gets a lot of 'concessions' from the wise DM).

Not all treasure is instant loot. It might have no dollar value and still be worth a lot.
Finding the King's daughter's lost [insert item name here] can make Dad suddenly the hero of the moment to her and thus you suddenly become valuable to the King.
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If you want to give a bonus to players who RP well, make it something related to the NPC they are interacting with. If it's a merchant, discount at their shop. If it's an arcane that can make magic items, discount on magic items, or other services, like rituals. Same goes if it's a divine, free removal of curses and such.

Maybe they give them something useful, like a horse. Maybe a lord of some sort gives them a small plot of land, which is the start of them getting thier own strong hold.

I recently ran something like this, a string of encounters/adventures in a city, some connected some not, where the players A) got to know the city better, B) made friends/enemies in the city C) some rewards were discounts at various shops.
For those that have played Encoutners there is the reward card system. 

Found here www.wizards.com/dnd/Event.aspx?x=dnd/4ne... you can download and print those off to give to players or come up with some of your own. 

I do like the system Omnirahk_half-Rahkshi posted and may have to try that out... my players can't roll a save to ... well.. save their lives but that's beside the point.
For those that have played Encoutners there is the reward card system. 

Found here www.wizards.com/dnd/Event.aspx?x=dnd/4ne... you can download and print those off to give to players or come up with some of your own. 

I do like the system Omnirahk_half-Rahkshi posted and may have to try that out... my players can't roll a save to ... well.. save their lives but that's beside the point.



Why thank you.  Let me know how it goes.
For those that have played Encoutners there is the reward card system. 

Found here www.wizards.com/dnd/Event.aspx?x=dnd/4ne... you can download and print those off to give to players or come up with some of your own. 

I do like the system Omnirahk_half-Rahkshi posted and may have to try that out... my players can't roll a save to ... well.. save their lives but that's beside the point.



Why thank you.  Let me know how it goes.

What about rewarding them with single-use powers?  If they're RP'ing well, pick one of the skill-based utility powers associated with what they're doing and give them a card/token that lets them use the power once.

Similarly, if they do something jaw-droppingly cool in combat (great ideas, not great rolls), award them a single-use level-appropriate At-Will/Encounter power (either a class power they don't have or an appropriate power from another class)

Reward Points is an alternative reward I'm looking at including in our games too.  Some good ideas and posts from folks in this thread I started a month or so ago.

Also got rid of XP tracking, so it really makes alternative rewards for outstanding RP or Moments of Greatness or excellent gaming etiquette all the more sensible and important.

Thing is I want a much simpler version of the ideas there and here - like 3 Reward Tokens per player per session max, and they can be used to give any roll result a +1 for example. 

The hard part is fairly itemizing and consistently ruling exactly what does and doesn't earn a reward point so it stays fun and continues to encourage positive contributions to the game without moving towards abuse or becoming any sort of burden. 

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I award action points for roleplaying instead of based on time.  Ever play 7th Sea?  It's like that.  I think that might be just the thing you're looking for.
Consider awarding RP with the option of more RP. Give them magic items that are useless in combat but highly thematic, titles and/or land (I got one of my players to roleplay by promising her to rise in the ranks of the mercenaries they fought for, if she tried in character), favors from NPCs, or even just short roleplaying moments. 

Roleplaying for most people is its own reward; rewarding it with more roleplaying options will often keep them happy.



This is what I do.  I reward titles, land, reputation with certain factions.  

I'm debating giving them bonus action points honestly.

Course, in my house, action points have been house ruled a tad bit to make them a bit...better. Or broken. Idk.

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