In-game Achievements

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I'm always looking to add more things to my games to make them more involving and more fun. And I was just looking through the DMG2 again, and I saw the sidebar about Achievements on page 46, and I really like the idea. So, much akin to video games, I'm going to add achievements to my game, and give an in-game incentive with something called the "Boon of the Scorekeeper". My game is Dark Sun, so the ScoreKeeper is going to be the spirit of a powerful Thri-Kreen huntmaster, who has decided to watch over the party.

The sidebar in the DMG2 says to, at the end of each session, reward each player character for having the most of any of the following


  • Highest Damage dealth with a single attack

  • Most damage taken in a single encounter

  • Killing blows scored

  • Critical Hit Tally (by character, per encounter, and ongoing)

  • Natural 1 tally (by character, per encounter, ongoing)

  • Most failed saving throws (consecutive or not)

  • Highest attack roll that missed

  • Creatures killed (by origin, type, or specific attribute)

  • Unusual or dramatic events, such as a prone character scoring a critical hit 


And then from D&D Encounters, we could also have


  • Moment of Greatness

  • Survive X+ sessions without Dying

  • Revive a dying ally

  • Hit for X+ Damage vs. 1 Enemy

  • Kill 3 minions in 1 attack

  • Take 50 Enemy damage in a session 


What do you think of the idea? Yay or nay?

It sounds gimmicky to me, but I'm not one of your players. Also, I've played with a couple of people who would love something like this. But assuming your group will like it, the obvious drawback is that it's a lot of bookkeeping. In my experience, the DM has too much of that and shouldn't be looking for more.
You might be better off having achievements be milestone based for the character. Like slaying a dragon of a certain age category, or retrieving a specific item. It'll be a lot less book-keeping. Then again, I could also see how the other ones you mentioned could be fun for some people. Almost like character merit badges. Maybe to reduce book-keeping you could put them on a sheet so people would be able to fill in spots next to the achievement when they accomplish it?

Its funny that you mention this today because in another thread I had mentioned that I could see something like the way WoW and other video games do accolades/trophies/achievements/badges being really good for the community as it would give (especially new) players tangible goals and achievements to aspire to. This would create a nice universal language for the game where if one new player said to another "Hey last night my party got the silver Flooba Badge because we managed to clear out the Flooba dungeon without anyone being reduced to 0 hit points! After a few more adventures, when more monsters have moved into the ruins, we're going to make sure to rout them again and next time we'll go for gold by summoning and eliminating the elder mummy that guards the final tomb"

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100 Crack Reply of the Yagamifire. You are already wrong.

Have you defined what you think your goal is for having this in place? What result will it produce at your table?

I have some ideas depending on what you're going for. 

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
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Have you defined what you think your goal is for having this in place? What result will it produce at your table?

I have some ideas depending on what you're going for. 



Seems like he'll think it produce fun at the table. And that's the only goal necessary, or so I've been told!

I'm on a journey of enlightenment, learning and self-improvement. A journey towards mastery. A journey that will never end. If you challenge me, prepare to be challenged. If you have something to offer as a fellow student, I will accept it. If you call yourself a master, prepare to be humbled. If you seek me, look to the path. I will be traveling it.

 

Proudly playing in many wrong ways. I'm not afraid of playing wrong according to the rules. Why are you?

 

100 Crack Reply of the Yagamifire. You are already wrong.

Seems like he'll think it produce fun at the table. And that's the only goal necessary, or so I've been told!



Not by me, certainly.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
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To me, playing D&D is its own reward.  I don't need to track achievements or anything like that.  In fact, I usually can't be bothered to track treasure unless it is a magic item.  More bookkeeping would be little more than an annoyance for me.
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kiljoy: Another thing to consider is if your group of players is achievement hungry. If they like Xbox achievements or Playstation trophies or anything like that this could definitely be right up there alley.

They might have a different way they want to go about it as well. Maybe certain achievements don't matter to them at all and others you'd never think of are actually very important to them.

I'm on a journey of enlightenment, learning and self-improvement. A journey towards mastery. A journey that will never end. If you challenge me, prepare to be challenged. If you have something to offer as a fellow student, I will accept it. If you call yourself a master, prepare to be humbled. If you seek me, look to the path. I will be traveling it.

 

Proudly playing in many wrong ways. I'm not afraid of playing wrong according to the rules. Why are you?

 

100 Crack Reply of the Yagamifire. You are already wrong.

Something to consider is what I do in my games.  I have a small bag of plastic gold coins (poker chips, pennies, slips of paper work just as well).  I call them "Coins of Notable Deeds" At the begining of each session each player gets one to start with and through good role playing, using a skill at the right time, doing something extraordinary in combat, etc (judgement of the DM), additional coins are handed out.  The coins serve two purposes:

1) bonus XP - at the end of the session the coins are pooled and each one is worth a certain amount of XP; I do 1 coin = 25XP * the level of the highest level character.  Then the XP is divided among all the present characters.  I used to do inidvidual XP for coins but I discovered that all groups are different not everyone participates equally and the result is skewed XP (I had a group where two players were a full level higher than the rest because of the coins).

2) influence dice - turning in a coin the player can either re-roll a die or add +1 to the original roll.  the reason I offer two options is if the roll is really bad and the player feels it needs to be good he can re-roll it, but if it is already good but needs to be just a little better, re-rolling can end in disaster.

This system recognizes "achievement" but does not have the paperwork requirement since each session starts the count over again.

 

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I have actually been thinking of doing something similar in my games - though not 100% sure what the "rewards" would be yet at this point.  I don't want to overpower the characters just because they are doing something, at the same time I want them to feel like pursuing them is pointless.

The goals for having them would be two fold.  First, it gives the players something to aim for and gives them a "good feeling" when they achieve it.  The second, each one would try to motivate the players to act and think differently - encouraging them to roleplay more and focus on the game.

Examples:
* Using a shield, slide at least 5 squares as part of a charge attack (e.g. surfing down stairs)
* Complete a combat encounter in 15 minutes (repeatable)

So the first one give them incentive to do something different - though they may not know what the result would be.

The second helps the game, because it encourages the group to try to move quickly during combat so that we can avoid the "long battles" - if the group is focused on it they won't sit there texting/facebook or what not.  
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I have actually been thinking of doing something similar in my games - though not 100% sure what the "rewards" would be yet at this point.  I don't want to overpower the characters just because they are doing something, at the same time I want them to feel like pursuing them is pointless.

The goals for having them would be two fold.  First, it gives the players something to aim for and gives them a "good feeling" when they achieve it.  The second, each one would try to motivate the players to act and think differently - encouraging them to roleplay more and focus on the game.

Examples:
* Using a shield, slide at least 5 squares as part of a charge attack (e.g. surfing down stairs)
* Complete a combat encounter in 15 minutes (repeatable)

So the first one give them incentive to do something different - though they may not know what the result would be.

The second helps the game, because it encourages the group to try to move quickly during combat so that we can avoid the "long battles" - if the group is focused on it they won't sit there texting/facebook or what not.  



Would you be so kind as to give us a longer list of things/achievements that you've thought up?
I'd love for the OP to talk about his own goals for this, but what I have in mind is this: "Let me tell you about my game..." Rare is the gamer who doesn't like to recount his awesome character, his story idea, or how a particular encounter or scene went. In excrutiating detail. Usually with horrible breath. Even when you could care less about it. Even if you ask them to please stop or you'll call the cops.

So really, an "achievement" system like the one proposed is actually just a tool we use to recap and talk about our game experience. "Remember when..." followed by whatever achievement can be checked off the list.

What I'd therefore recommend is to change those achievements into questions that directly tie into the theme of the game and touch on the key elements that make that game unique. If you're running a pulp action game, a question might be, "Who had the best pithy one-liner?" or "Who saved the girl?" In a noir game, it might be, "Who discovered the critical clue?" or "Who figured out first that it really was the butler that did it?"

You can make the reward whatever you want, of course. But to me, the reward is taking the time at the end of a session to actually talk about the play experience and its highlights. It's a good exercise to recap the game, cement the ideas and experiences in the minds of all the players, and a great way for the players to give each other feedback. It also reinforces the style of game you're going for in the minds of the players.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Dungeon Master 101  |  Find Your GM Style  |  Structure First, Story Last  |  No Myth Roleplaying  |  5e Monster Index & Encounter Calculator
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Content I Created: Adventure Scenarios  |  Actual Play Reports  |  Tools

I'm Recruiting Players for a D&D 5e Game: Interested?  |  Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

I thought achievements gimmicky and too videogamey until I DM'ed a few sessions of Lair Assault. My players really enjoyed them and saw them as a way of acknowledging unusual moments during play. We decided to try them out in our home campaign and they've become a big hit. This was a huge surprise for me because this group is RP heavy, non char-op style players. They liked it simply as a way of remember those funny/interesting/strange things that have happened during the course of a game.

Here's my advice to making it work:

- designate someone else (non the DM) to keep track of it. The DM has enough to do already.

- make it a fun competition, not a serious one. The best way to do this is by giving out of game rewards, not in game rewards. For example, we have a toy warhammer and the person who scored the most recent critical hit gets to wield the warhammer while we play. The person who's taken the most damage in a single hit and survived gets a silly badge. Trust me, these rewards are more highly sought after than in game rewards and do not interfere with the sense of believement in your campaign.

- get a cheap notebook or set up an excel file to track the acheivements

Examples of achievements used in my game:

- most damage taken in a single hit
- most damage given in a single hit
- most crits in an encounter
- most critical fumbles in an encounter
- most minions killed in one shot
- etc.

I can post more once I get home and check my list.
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