When to reward XP for non-combat encounters.

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Let's say that after slaying the leader of the kobold tribe; the PCs loot the mask (off the leader) to bring to the baron for a reward.  While leaving the dungeon (Kobold Hall), the adventurers run into a kobold patrol of that tribe or maybe a weaker kobold tribe coming to take over the hall.  Then the leader, thinking quickly; he pulls out the mask and shows it to these kobolds scaring them into not looking for a fight.


I'm not asking about just this situation, but any situation where a PC finds a creative way to avoid an unnecessary fight.  How do you reward XP?  If any.


Would you give them XP as if they fought the encounter group or give them half or what?     
The encounter represents a challenge to be overcome. Regardless of how the PCs do it, if they overcome that challenge, they've earned the XP.

It might be different if their specific objective was to eliminate that kobold patrol, but it doesn't sound as though that was the case.
I'm not asking about just this situation, but any situation where a PC finds a creative way to avoid an unnecessary fight.  How do you reward XP?  If any.

Would you give them XP as if they fought the encounter group or give them half or what?

In the situation you described, I would award no experience. If the PCs found a way to short-circuit the encounter, great, but that's not worth as much in-game reward. I don't think of XP as a reward for cleverness in that way.

If there were some rolls involved, even if the PCs couldn't fail, I'd award XP on par with a similarly challenging skill challenge.

The general reward for avoiding an encounter is not using up time or resources in that encounter. There could also be story-based rewards or consequences for the way in which the encounter was handled.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

I'm amazed people still use EXP in home games.  Why bother?  When they have gone 3 sessions without devolving into a string of monty python quotes they get a level.  Or, even, once they get to a certain story element they get a level.
I'm not asking about just this situation, but any situation where a PC finds a creative way to avoid an unnecessary fight.  How do you reward XP?  If any.

Would you give them XP as if they fought the encounter group or give them half or what?

In the situation you described, I would award no experience. If the PCs found a way to short-circuit the encounter, great, but that's not worth as much in-game reward. I don't think of XP as a reward for cleverness in that way.

If there were some rolls involved, even if the PCs couldn't fail, I'd award XP on par with a similarly challenging skill challenge.

The general reward for avoiding an encounter is not using up time or resources in that encounter. There could also be story-based rewards or consequences for the way in which the encounter was handled.



Why? I'd rather have my players feel like clever play is rewarded; if they get more xp for just smashing the encounters up, that's exactly what they'll do. It's been said around these boards quite a few times that often combat is its own "reward", so if it also rewards more xp on top of that...

And saving resoruces... Yeah, but he probably planned his adventure so that the PCs could do this fight and still get through the others in the first place...

Why? I'd rather have my players feel like clever play is rewarded; if they get mroe xp for just smashing the encounters up, that's exactly what they'll do.

That has not been my experience. Players do clever things not for the XP but because they like to be clever.

As I said, "The general reward for avoiding an encounter is not using up time or resources in that encounter. There could also be story-based rewards or consequences for the way in which the encounter was handled."

In an early version of D&D have experience for each gold piece. I didn't understand why this was done, but now I do: it was a way to deliver experience even if the players cleverly avoided conflict. 4th Edition doesn't use this mechanic, but it does use quest XP. If you want to make the quest more important than the way they get there, and you think XP is the only way to do that (hint: it's not) put more XP into the quest.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

That has not been my experience. Players do clever things not for the XP but because they like to be clever.



+1. I've seen players willingly incur costs or possible complications down the road just for the awesomeness of being clever in the moment.

Just being cool is often a good enough reward for many players.

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I don't have to stretch, though, to imagine someone coming up with a clever idea for its own sake, seeing the effect it has and then asking for a reward (proportionate or not) for coming up with it.

Some games (even some games of D&D) don't use XP rewards at all and people still come up with interesting ideas. Those games usually have alternate story-rewards, such as money, or sanity, or the fate of the world to encourage those efforts.

Maybe the question should be: why is XP associated with killing monsters in the first place?

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

*wanders in*

*mutters about XP being a waste of time better spent*

*wanders out*
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