Keeping the PCs coming back for more

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Disclaimer: You can probably get away with mostly skimming. I do go on, it's been said.

So, my game hasn't even started yet and I'm already running into problems. I anticipated problems, but some of them I am already facing were outside what I expected.

First off, I am new to DMing, please keep this in mind. Secondly, relatively speaking, I feel I have only a small amount of experience with pnp gaming in general as I am 28 and have only been playing pnp for the last two years. Third, I feel completely up to the challenge or I would not have attempted to start up a game to begin with and I love a challenge. Lastly, I love fantasy, I love gaming, I have thoroughly enjoyed all of my pnp experiences to date. I fancy myself a writer and have found that coming up with scenerios to put people in is a great diversion when I have writer's block on my current project and helps me to get back in the groove. Basically, I'm more than happy to devote some of my personal time to make a game happen as I tend to enjoy almost every aspect of this game.

That said, I loathe feeling like I have failed at anything and I am looking for advice on how to avoid feeling this way toward hosting a game. All of my PCs got their characters set up and we were set to launch last weekend, no one showed. Granted, each and every person had a very plausible reason from death in the family to a sick child. Now, don't get me wrong, I completely understand that a game will only take priority over such matters when a person has their priorities more than a little screwed up. I don't hold that against anyone. We are set to go tomorrow evening and have had one cancellation. The party is five strong so anyone missing puts them at a noticeable disadvantage, two missing puts them out of commission for most of the planned encounters.

Now, I do understand that things will happen and I don't expect everyone to make it every week. My major concern is that this group is already showing signs of being hit or miss for everyone being there and I don't want anyone to fall very far behind in levels. I plan to run a fairly sandboxed game for the most part in the way that the players decide where they want to go and what they want to do, but I have a tendancy to prep things more than necessary. If they happen across a quest involving it and then choose to go to dungeon x,  well, they may or may not be a high enough level to take it on, but they have plenty of other options. They can write it off completely or come back to it later. 

The thing is, when we are missing one or more people, the size of the group, and not just their level, will come into the equation. I like to prep, it gives me something to do that is still writing related and I find fun. I do not want to prep every eventuality and realize this is not really feasible even if I did. 

Core question: What can I do to keep things entertaining and ensure the PCs don't lose interest when we are down one or more people, but will not punish people for missing a session or two?

I don't really want to come up with many quests that a group of two or three can tackle and thus put themselves ahead of the curve. I am certain this will happen out of necessity, but I do not want to make it the norm. I want to keep everyone within a level or two of each other. If someone ends up showing one in four sessions, well, there isn't much I can do to avoid this. Overall, though, I would greatly appreciate suggestions as to what kind of encounters I can run that will be both entertaining and low exp when we are a couple people short.

Now, as stated, I love to prep and the world will be fairly developed. The game has not actually started yet though, so any general suggestions would be easy to work in. If anyone would like more detail on what the PCs will be working with during the heroic teir I will be happy to provide more if you think that will help.
Well, simply don't punish players for missing. That's easily done. It helps if you don't use experience points.

Try to stick to running one-offs for a while, little missions that don't require continuity of the group from week to week. Maybe you have an over arching story that connects the missions, or maybe you don't.

In general, to keep people's interest involve them. Don't just download information to them and hope it interests them, but collaborate with them and get their input. They'll make more of an effort to attend a session of the mission will involve putting one of their own ideas into action.

Good luck.

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

The simple solution I've used is that the character is still there, doing things in character, even if out of character the player isn't there controlling them. The character is following the group, but not doing anything particularly noteworthy. In battle they exist, but they are off fighting in their own corner (off the screen). They get the EXP, and the magic item intended for them still exists, but someone else picks it up. The party is usually savvy enough to realise the magic longbow is for the ranger in the party, even if the ranger isn't there to claim it.



If someone lets you know they'll probably miss a few sessions (studying for university, going on holiday etc) I tend to make a half-baked excuse for why the character won't be there (or ask the player for one if they are still contactable). It's ranged from sudden religious fervour from sorcerers to stomach aches from badly prepared jerky.



Mechanically, I remove a monster or two if we are down a player if I built the battle to be hard (party level +4 exp), or keep it all the same if it was meant to be a normal/easy encounter. If over half the party don't show, I make up some diversion or skip the session. Diversion stuff might be a dream sequence, stuff from their past or just whatever the players are in the mood for. As it's all diversion it tends to not be too plot relevant.



As the issue is too much real life stuff going on for them, rather than lack of interest, I wouldn't penalise them by not giving them loot etc.


First and foremost, thank you for your suggestions. I value any and all constructive input. 

I feel as though I was not clear on what I was requesting, however. I don't plan to literally punish anyone for missing. Things come up, I get that and am 100% in favor of people putting their lives before a game. What I mean by punish is that if something comes up and a PC is not able to make it for a few sessions in a row or misses every other week, thus leading to a large cumulative amount of time missed, they will then fall behind in exp because of it. Not because I choose to punish them, but because others were still moving forward gaining exp while they were not.

I like the idea of using experience points. It makes sense to me and I am familiar with it. I feel that if you kill something you deserve a reward relevant to the challenge the combat presented. If you use your out-of-combat skills to find an alternative route, you went above and beyond and deserve a reward. If you performed an act that tests your skill, ie picked a lock, climbed a cliff, so on and so forth, same deal. Maybe this is not the best method, but it is what makes sense to me and what I am comfortable with right now.

Removing combatants is a great idea and one I will use. The same can be said of running small one-offs. What I am concerned with is finding encounters I can run that will be low exp, but still interesting. Small challenge, but still high entertainment. At the end of the day, if they are not physically present, but still get combat exp, they still miss out on other chances to get it. I am a stickler for making up a reason why my character was not present if I am not able to be there to play him, because he is MY character and I am the one that knows how to play him. I don't want anyone making choices for me/him. I can, and will most likely, use the idea of they are still there, but involved in combat "on the side lines" idea, but that is only the half of it because there are so many other ways to earn exp. 

Tonight was supposed to be opening night and we had one official cancellation and then girlfriend went to bed early because she had her wisdom teeth out yesterday and wasn't feeling up to it. Then another dropped because of sick stomach and sleepy kid on top of it. Understandable, but it left me with two people that were chomping at the bit to play and they had no back up. 

I truly do value any constructive input, but what I need is suggestions for "encounters" that any number of players can take part in, but will not put them very much ahead of the curve by being the only ones that do take part. I don't want people to lose interest in the long term because their character becomes "obsolete", but I do want to continue to reward actions taken. 

My expectations may be unrealistic, I am new to this. It seems to me that there should be a balance somewhere and that is what I am trying to find. I want to reward creative thinking and active participation, but not "punish" people when something comes up that prevents them from being here. 

The first game I was ever a part of we had a guy that showed every single session and by the time it was said and done, he was five levels up on the closest person to him, because he was present for every chance at exp. Toward the end, we all just followed his lead, because he was far enough ahead that he could just do what he wanted and if we didn't agree, it was rare he needed us to bail him out. I want to do is minimize this effect. 
Participation in the game is its own reward. People don't show up just to advance their characters, they show up to have fun. Reward them with a fun game, just for showing up. That should be the behavior you want to encourage.

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

I completely agree with you, Centauri, and that is what I am trying to puzzle out how to do. I want to reward players with a fun experience, but I also want to reward characters for their actions.

Like I said, I am new to this and my expectations may simply be unrealistic. I mean, the game itself is what gets players to the table. However, I don't know what kinds of hooks to offer the characters to get them to the encounter if I am trying limit their rewards. 

Would it be better to just toss them into a situation instead of leaving it up to them as to whether their character would think the reward is worth the effort? 
Would it be better to just toss them into a situation instead of leaving it up to them as to whether their character would think the reward is worth the effort? 

No. Ask the players why their characters are engaged in the quest. Make it clear that "to become more powerful" is something that will happen regardless, and so they might like to come up with reasons having to do with character development. Those at the table get to see their characters advance in more meaningful ways that those that are advanced just so that they're balanced at the table. It's one thing to be given equipment, it's another thing to have won that equipment and have an in-game story behind it.

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

Participation in the game is its own reward. People don't show up just to advance their characters, they show up to have fun. Reward them with a fun game, just for showing up. That should be the behavior you want to encourage.



This is key with any game. Centauri has provided some good advice. I would add that people not showing up to the first game session does and will happen. Don't let it get you down. If people continue to not show up, there's a reason and it may have nothing to do with your DMing. A group of 3 to 6 players, might need adjustment but it works fine. 

I would not hold back any cool stuff you have planned, start with a big event, a bang. Chris Perkins has written a very good article, you might like to check out.

www.wizards.com/dnd/Article.aspx?x=dnd/4...
I use a simplified experience system, but don't give xp to characters whose players aren't present during that session.  To avoid a significant gap in levels opening up I give an xp bonus to characters that are below the max level of the party.  That way, players that show up to every session might get a level ahead for a session every once in a while, but that's about it.

Everyone gets the same xp for a given session if they attend.  If someone needs to be singled out for a reward for doing something awesome, then a reroll token is a better option than XP IMO.  Usually, doing something awesome is its own reward.

As for missing players, I always 'write them out' of the session.  Always, always keep the story moving, regardless of how many players show up.  Have a few NPC companions on standby to make up the numbers as needed.  Keep your campaign's momentum up and you'll draw players in.
I always used the principle that everyone gets the same amount of exp no matter if they are present or not present and that it is the groups actions and accomplishments there define the amount of exp they get.
Basically, it is easier for people to accept that the rest of the group plays on those days they are unable to attend if they are not punished in exp.

The simple solution is to have one of the other players control the absent player's character sheet in order for that character to be present
Thank you all very much for the advice and insight.

I hadn't given much thought to companion characters, but I think that may work well to solve the problem. Is there any good rule of thumb way of introducing these characters if we end up hitting a stopping point mid-dungeon and then next session we are down some players and need a companion or two to fill the gap? 

I like the idea of this method much more than letting others take over a character, but it does seem to present a unique issue in that way. If they are just following anyway, why wouldn't they help all the time? If they are not, then how did they get there? I don't really have any previous experience with companion characters.

Scrolls that summon a bound spirit for only a certain length of time? Is it generally better for a companion character to be set up as a PC or a customized monster?

Any advice? 
Thank you all very much for the advice and insight.

I hadn't given much thought to companion characters, but I think that may work well to solve the problem. Is there any good rule of thumb way of introducing these characters if we end up hitting a stopping point mid-dungeon and then next session we are down some players and need a companion or two to fill the gap? 

I like the idea of this method much more than letting others take over a character, but it does seem to present a unique issue in that way. If they are just following anyway, why wouldn't they help all the time? If they are not, then how did they get there? I don't really have any previous experience with companion characters.

Scrolls that summon a bound spirit for only a certain length of time? Is it generally better for a companion character to be set up as a PC or a customized monster?

Any advice? 



Characters that don't have players at the table can often be explained away by the player or with an event that seperates them from the rest of the party. I often use the reason the player gives for their absence at the table and apply it to the adventure in someway. Sometimes the party gets split up and the absent players go on a pretend side adventure, while the rest of the players continue with the main adventure.

The Dungeon Master's Guide 2 has information on companions. The campanion should be the same level as the party members. 

 

Well, simply don't punish players for missing. That's easily done. It helps if you don't use experience points.

Try to stick to running one-offs for a while, little missions that don't require continuity of the group from week to week. Maybe you have an over arching story that connects the missions, or maybe you don't.



I dont agree with this, mainly because then theres the problem of "John has missed two sessions now, and all we've been doing is one shots." Don't get me wrong, having one shot games are nice for a break, but using it as a Band-Aid for missing players can make some hatred towards other players. The reason why I say this is that we've had the same thing happen in our group. And it's gotten to the point where we almost kicked the guy out because people were getting sick of it. Dont punish them, but dont punish the active PCs either.

Now, about the Players in the game, I always found that asking them to write a personal backstory in the universe before the plot really gets going and involving that backstory in a major way. Maybe one of the PC's brothers/sisters/bestfriend/family turned to the dark side and now they are supporting Big Bad. Maybe their home town is a major plot point. Maybe the item they got from their dad was actually the secret of the universe. Players should be a part of the story and not just spectators that have the ability to change the plot.
How I can relate to this one, phew! I've run across the same problesm and have employed many of the same tactics offered in this thread. I would also like to add that it might be better fi you swapped the day in which your gang meets. Even if on paper it might seem like a good night, a whole number of factors might be present. As for your first session, I wouldn't stress it. Don't do one shots but rather a prologue to your real scenario. Perhaps the two players that are present knew eachother before the band, well, banded together, and perhaps they had a few good adventures while they were at it. This will in turn create a better unity with the players and make them more comfortable with the game. As far as experience goes, don't level them too much. Level them to the ponit where they are strogner than their fellow PCs but are still able to be beaten by them.

That's all I got, good luck with these busy adventurers.
Well, simply don't punish players for missing. That's easily done. It helps if you don't use experience points.

Try to stick to running one-offs for a while, little missions that don't require continuity of the group from week to week. Maybe you have an over arching story that connects the missions, or maybe you don't.

I dont agree with this, mainly because then theres the problem of "John has missed two sessions now, and all we've been doing is one shots." Don't get me wrong, having one shot games are nice for a break, but using it as a Band-Aid for missing players can make some hatred towards other players. The reason why I say this is that we've had the same thing happen in our group.

It's not "just one shots" if you link them together into something that makes sense. The point of one shots is just so that if someone leaves or someone shows up, that there's less of an issue with explaining the absence.

Another way to do it, is to have an adventure that can easily incorporate changes in the party composition. I used to game at a store and I never knew who would show up. Granted, if someone did want to drop in, I made them use a pre-generated character whose entry into the game I'd already thought about. But as long as you haven't established that the characters are in the middle of nowhere, it's not hard to bring someone in or drop them out. It can be a lot of fun, actually.

And it's gotten to the point where we almost kicked the guy out because people were getting sick of it.

Yes, do that. I've done that and it had nothing to do with experience points, because I barely bother tracking them. It had to do with our time being respected.

Dont punish them, but dont punish the active PCs either.

It's not a punishment for a character who hasn't been around to start at the same power level. If a new player joined your group, I don't imagine you'd make that player start at whatever level the other players started at.

Don't focus on experience points as a reward. Experience points are really just a pacing mechanism: you've adventured for this long doing this kind of stuff, let's spice things up with some new stuff.

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

Something else to consider is to expand your group.

In a campaign I am playing in we have seven players but rarely do all seven show up at any one session - there is almost always at least one player not able to attend (for all the reasons your players cannot attend).

Furthermore, with that many players you should have characters with overlapping roles.  So, if any player is missing it is not a "shock" to the party; the players may need to adjust tactics, but the campaign can continue.

As for differing levels.  In the same campaign described above, over the course of time there has been as much as a two level difference between the highest and lowest level character in the party and it is not that big a deal.  I am sure the DM, has to tweak the encounters a little, but the players of higher level characters have never felt unchallenged and the players of the lower level characters have never felt overwhelmed.  Calculating the XP each character gets is a little more complex, but not overly so.  And because lower level characters get more XP than higher level characters, they eventually catch up.

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RedSiegfried wrote:
The cool thing is, you don't even NEED a reason to say yes.  Just stop looking for a reason to say no.
I can't say I've ever thought of experience points as a pacing mechanism. I'm not really sure how much I agree. I can see it on some points, everyone will get exp through participating in encounters that come naturally to them. In that sense I can see what you mean, but then there are optional ways to get exp that, while minor in a per event sense, will add up in the long term. Sneaky types picking locks and disarming traps, for example. Not everyone will have that as a viable option, but locks and traps will be a fairly common sight. 

I'm not arguing against this point of view, I just don't really understand how it would work in the respect of the optional ways of getting exp that not everyone will be able to take advantage of. How would that work out exactly?
Sneaky types get XP for picking locks and disarming traps?

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I can't say I've ever thought of experience points as a pacing mechanism. I'm not really sure how much I agree. I can see it on some points, everyone will get exp through participating in encounters that come naturally to them. In that sense I can see what you mean, but then there are optional ways to get exp that, while minor in a per event sense, will add up in the long term. Sneaky types picking locks and disarming traps, for example. Not everyone will have that as a viable option, but locks and traps will be a fairly common sight. 

I'm not arguing against this point of view, I just don't really understand how it would work in the respect of the optional ways of getting exp that not everyone will be able to take advantage of. How would that work out exactly?

I couldn't say, because I don't use optional ways of getting individual XP for precisely this reason.

People used to think it made sense and worked for characters of different levels to be in the same group. When that was the case (if it ever really was) it was considered rewarding to get a little extra XP and get a little ahead of the others in the group, getting cool new capabilities (or just a better attack, more HP and better saving throws) before the others. That doesn't really work, though, so I recommend not giving out individual doses of XP. It's not worth the complication. Find some different way to reward players, if they must be rewarded for participating.

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

I deal with the attendance issue rather simply.  I don't make the game contingent on any one player showing up, so if someone misses the game goes on without them.  As far as xp goes, I keep that to myself, the players never know how much xp or hp they have.  Only how they feel and look.  I've never had anyone upset that another player who missed sessions was the same level they were so I don't really bother with the xp, at least not more than a few sessions.  On the other hand, I have seen habitual absenteeism as a problem, in which case I've simply chosen to exclude the player from my table.
...and in the ancient voice of a million squirrels the begotten chittered "You have set upon yourselves a great and noble task, dare you step further, what say you! What say you!"
This is my fault, I was not very detailed in explaining how I plan to met out exp. In my personal opinion, players should be rewarded seperate from other rewards for playing their character in an accurate way that advances the story and/or opens up otherwise inaccessible options in the story.

Said sneaky types would not get exp for picking every lock they come across, but if they break into the previously inaccessible third floor of the temple and find a way to get to the loot that is reserved for rewards if the players decide to quest for the church and otherwise earn these items... in my opinion, they deserve a reward in the form of exp because their experience in these skills is what made it happen and exp will further their skill.
This is my fault, I was not very detailed in explaining how I plan to met out exp. In my personal opinion, players should be rewarded seperate from other rewards for playing their character in an accurate way that advances the story and/or opens up otherwise inaccessible options in the story.

Said sneaky types would not get exp for picking every lock they come across, but if they break into the previously inaccessible third floor of the temple and find a way to get to the loot that is reserved for rewards if the players decide to quest for the church and otherwise earn these items... in my opinion, they deserve a reward in the form of exp because their experience in these skills is what made it happen and exp will further their skill.

Alright. You're making the game more complicated for yourself though. I hope the benefit is worth it.

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

This is my fault, I was not very detailed in explaining how I plan to met out exp. In my personal opinion, players should be rewarded seperate from other rewards for playing their character in an accurate way that advances the story and/or opens up otherwise inaccessible options in the story.

Said sneaky types would not get exp for picking every lock they come across, but if they break into the previously inaccessible third floor of the temple and find a way to get to the loot that is reserved for rewards if the players decide to quest for the church and otherwise earn these items... in my opinion, they deserve a reward in the form of exp because their experience in these skills is what made it happen and exp will further their skill.

Alright. You're making the game more complicated for yourself though. I hope the benefit is worth it.




God, what a back-handed way to tell someone they're wrong.

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.

This is my fault, I was not very detailed in explaining how I plan to met out exp. In my personal opinion, players should be rewarded seperate from other rewards for playing their character in an accurate way that advances the story and/or opens up otherwise inaccessible options in the story.

Said sneaky types would not get exp for picking every lock they come across, but if they break into the previously inaccessible third floor of the temple and find a way to get to the loot that is reserved for rewards if the players decide to quest for the church and otherwise earn these items... in my opinion, they deserve a reward in the form of exp because their experience in these skills is what made it happen and exp will further their skill.



Nothing wrong with any of that. Make sure, however, that you give plenty of ways for everyone to be able to exercise skills/etc and get XP rewards. If you need any help thinking up stuff for that lemme know and I can tell you some of the stuff I do for various characters.

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.

This is my fault, I was not very detailed in explaining how I plan to met out exp. In my personal opinion, players should be rewarded seperate from other rewards for playing their character in an accurate way that advances the story and/or opens up otherwise inaccessible options in the story.

Said sneaky types would not get exp for picking every lock they come across, but if they break into the previously inaccessible third floor of the temple and find a way to get to the loot that is reserved for rewards if the players decide to quest for the church and otherwise earn these items... in my opinion, they deserve a reward in the form of exp because their experience in these skills is what made it happen and exp will further their skill.

Alright. You're making the game more complicated for yourself though. I hope the benefit is worth it.




Well, what would you suggest? I know it is harder to pick up on tone in text than in voice, so let me be clear, I do not ask in a surly fashion. I've yet to read anything that I disagree with to any great degree in any of your posts that I have read on this or any other topics. 

I think that rewarding these types of actions is a good concept, but if the way in which I go about it is not one that would work well, what other implentation would you recommend?
I think that rewarding these types of actions is a good concept, but if the way in which I go about it is not one that would work well, what other implentation would you recommend?

Make the actions meaningful in and of themselves, instead of because of some (largely meaningless, and clearly troublesome in this case) reward. If a player wants to do something sneaky, make dang sure something interesting results from that, some new in-game knowledge or twist, but not necessarily something to be held over the heads of the other players. I like to entice my players by bringing them into the narrative, giving them some control. If a rogue picks a lock and wants to know what's on the other side of the door, I ask them to tell me, and then I accept and add on to their answer. It brings them into the game, and rewards the player for their ability as a creative person, rather than the character's ability, and the reward is direct and immediate.

Other than that, how about minor benefits to be used in game. A rogue who learns a secret about an upcoming encounter could be given an extra action point to be used in that encounter. A fighter who takes personal risks to acquire a trophy could get a benefit on interaction checks made with local hunters and nobles. A wizard who spends time researching could get an initiative bonus in their next encounter with enemy spellcasters. Etc.

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

Take a look at the system used in Spirit of the Century: www.faterpg.com/dl/sotc-srd.html

In a nutshell, characters have Aspects that define them. A thief would have a high Burglary skill, but what defines him as a thief are aspects like "Insatiable Curiosity," "Sticky Fingers," and "Loner." Those Aspects can come in handy at times, for the price of a Fate point, of which the player has a limited supply. If any of a character's Aspects ever get the character into trouble, or cause a problem, the player gets a Fate point. Whether or not an Aspect causes a problem is generally at the player's discretion, but as it's the only way to regain Fate points, players will typically want to get into trouble.

I mention this because it's a nicely self-contained system for rewarding roleplaying, and in fact Spirit of the Century is intented as a light pickup game (despite its massive ruleset) because there's no need to carry anything over from session to session. Look for ways you can rewards players within the session, with things that are used or lost within the session. They are rewarded, but they don't wind up vastly overpowered compared to others. Have everyone start out the session on even footing.

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

I like the idea of what you are describing, but I'm not familiar with it in practice. I suppose I'll have to go with some trial and error to feel it out some. I'm still very new to both sides of the table, I have a little bit of a hard time thinking of ways to bend more cut and dry rules. The example you gave about action points just would have never occurred to me where as an exp bonus for players acting consistent with their characters came naturally to my mind.

Thank you for the more detailed explanation. 
This is my fault, I was not very detailed in explaining how I plan to met out exp. In my personal opinion, players should be rewarded seperate from other rewards for playing their character in an accurate way that advances the story and/or opens up otherwise inaccessible options in the story.

Said sneaky types would not get exp for picking every lock they come across, but if they break into the previously inaccessible third floor of the temple and find a way to get to the loot that is reserved for rewards if the players decide to quest for the church and otherwise earn these items... in my opinion, they deserve a reward in the form of exp because their experience in these skills is what made it happen and exp will further their skill.

I used to do the same thing with my "coins of notable deeds" - individuals would get bonus XP for deeds their characters did above and beyond encounters.  This works really well when all the players are reasonably equal in experience as the individual bonuses balance out over time.  But in the game I am currently running that was not the case and two players were quickly outpacing the rest.  As a group we discussed the situation and it was the more veteran players (the ones who were getting the biggest benefit) who suggested that while individuals get the coins, the group gets the bonus XP - all coins are pooled at the end of the session, bonus XP is calculated, and then divided equally among all players.

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/19.jpg)

RedSiegfried wrote:
The cool thing is, you don't even NEED a reason to say yes.  Just stop looking for a reason to say no.
This is my fault, I was not very detailed in explaining how I plan to met out exp. In my personal opinion, players should be rewarded seperate from other rewards for playing their character in an accurate way that advances the story and/or opens up otherwise inaccessible options in the story.

Said sneaky types would not get exp for picking every lock they come across, but if they break into the previously inaccessible third floor of the temple and find a way to get to the loot that is reserved for rewards if the players decide to quest for the church and otherwise earn these items... in my opinion, they deserve a reward in the form of exp because their experience in these skills is what made it happen and exp will further their skill.

Alright. You're making the game more complicated for yourself though. I hope the benefit is worth it.




God, what a back-handed way to tell someone they're wrong.




Except that he's not "wrong", and I don't think that was Centauri's point (correct me if I'm wrong).  At least, not completely. He wants to play his game that way and there are some benefits to t, despite the cost.
"The real purpose of socialism is precisely to overcome and advance beyond the predatory phase of human development." -Albert Einstein Resident Left Hand of Stalin and Banana Stand Grandstander Half of the Ambiguously Gay Duo House of Trolls, looking for a partner Wondering what happened to the Star Wars forums?
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Star Wars Minis has a home here http://www.bloomilk.com/ and Star Wars Saga Edition RPG has a home here http://thesagacontinues.createaforum.com/index.php
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141722973 wrote:
And it wasn't ****. It was subjectively concensual sex.
57036828 wrote:
Marketing and design are two different things. For instance the snuggy was designed for people in wheel chairs and marketed to people that are too incompetent to operate a blanket.
75239035 wrote:
I personally don't want him decapitated.
141722973 wrote:
And do not call me a Yank. I am a Québecois, basically your better.
And the greatest post moderation of all time...
58115148 wrote:
I gave that (Content Removed) a to-scale Lego replica. (Content Removed) love to-scale Lego replicas. (ORC_Cerberus: Edited - Vulgarity is against the Code of Conduct)
I used to do the same thing with my "coins of notable deeds" - individuals would get bonus XP for deeds their characters did above and beyond encounters.  This works really well when all the players are reasonably equal in experience as the individual bonuses balance out over time.  But in the game I am currently running that was not the case and two players were quickly outpacing the rest.  As a group we discussed the situation and it was the more veteran players (the ones who were getting the biggest benefit) who suggested that while individuals get the coins, the group gets the bonus XP - all coins are pooled at the end of the session, bonus XP is calculated, and then divided equally among all players.



I am really liking this idea!
I used to do the same thing with my "coins of notable deeds" - individuals would get bonus XP for deeds their characters did above and beyond encounters.  This works really well when all the players are reasonably equal in experience as the individual bonuses balance out over time.  But in the game I am currently running that was not the case and two players were quickly outpacing the rest.  As a group we discussed the situation and it was the more veteran players (the ones who were getting the biggest benefit) who suggested that while individuals get the coins, the group gets the bonus XP - all coins are pooled at the end of the session, bonus XP is calculated, and then divided equally among all players.



I am really liking this idea!



my usual XP bonus is (25*highest level in the party*number of coins)/the number of players

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/19.jpg)

RedSiegfried wrote:
The cool thing is, you don't even NEED a reason to say yes.  Just stop looking for a reason to say no.
I used to do the same thing with my "coins of notable deeds" - individuals would get bonus XP for deeds their characters did above and beyond encounters.  This works really well when all the players are reasonably equal in experience as the individual bonuses balance out over time.  But in the game I am currently running that was not the case and two players were quickly outpacing the rest.  As a group we discussed the situation and it was the more veteran players (the ones who were getting the biggest benefit) who suggested that while individuals get the coins, the group gets the bonus XP - all coins are pooled at the end of the session, bonus XP is calculated, and then divided equally among all players.



I am really liking this idea!



my usual XP bonus is (25*highest level in the party*number of coins)/the number of players


Thanks, was actually trying to think of an easy formula to implement, this sound perfect!
Remember that depending on your players, narrative might not be much of a reward. If you have power-gamers in your group then they might likely feel slighted by not being solely rewarded for their might deeds. Just talk to your players. They might know jack and assume that EXP follows the classic you kill it you get it rules, but if you talk it over with them you will find a good balance with which you can play effectively. Personaly my group enjoys the personal exp rules which is a burden on me, but is worth it for their amusement.
Thank you again for all of the great advice, everyone! Finally had enough people show up to actually run a game this weekend and several bits of advice I received were implemented with wonderful success. In particular, the bonus exp forumula came in quite handy and had an opportunity to test out some more player driven content when they decided to lead the baddies into an ambush. I had the players draw out a basic map for the encounter since they were choosing their ground and then added some to it. So, special thanks to DaBeerds and Centauri.

We talked things over after the game and those that were present all agreed it was a great time. Very little worked out the way I had planned, but with a little improvisation we made it through and were all very entertained!
I'm glad to hear it went well.

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

Participation in the game is its own reward. People don't show up just to advance their characters, they show up to have fun. Reward them with a fun game, just for showing up. That should be the behavior you want to encourage.



You've never met my players. That's literally their only goal. Become more powerful and gain levels. If I tried to tell them participating in the game is it's own reward, they'd probably stop playing.

I mean damn. I'm about to start running a level 20 game with these guys and instead of talking about a cool background or unique roleplaying elements, they literally only care about the fact that one character should be unhittable (well over 40 AC) and the other (a druid) can deal out about 1000 damage or more (combined among all enemies) inside a 100 square feet radius. 
My username should actually read: Lunar Savage (damn you WotC!) *Tips top hat, adjusts monocle, and walks away with cane* and yes, that IS Mr. Peanut laying unconscious on the curb. http://asylumjournals.tumblr.com/
..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" />I mean damn. I'm about to start running a level 20 game with these guys and instead of talking about a cool background or unique roleplaying elements, they literally only care about the fact that one character should be unhittable (well over 40 AC) and the other (a druid) can deal out about 1000 damage or more (combined among all enemies) inside a 100 square feet radius. 



I feel your pain. That's "America's Wackiest D&D Players" material. Best to laugh about it, rather than become bhitter.

Edited for clairfication.
"The real purpose of socialism is precisely to overcome and advance beyond the predatory phase of human development." -Albert Einstein Resident Left Hand of Stalin and Banana Stand Grandstander Half of the Ambiguously Gay Duo House of Trolls, looking for a partner Wondering what happened to the Star Wars forums?
Show
Star Wars Minis has a home here http://www.bloomilk.com/ and Star Wars Saga Edition RPG has a home here http://thesagacontinues.createaforum.com/index.php
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141722973 wrote:
And it wasn't ****. It was subjectively concensual sex.
57036828 wrote:
Marketing and design are two different things. For instance the snuggy was designed for people in wheel chairs and marketed to people that are too incompetent to operate a blanket.
75239035 wrote:
I personally don't want him decapitated.
141722973 wrote:
And do not call me a Yank. I am a Québecois, basically your better.
And the greatest post moderation of all time...
58115148 wrote:
I gave that (Content Removed) a to-scale Lego replica. (Content Removed) love to-scale Lego replicas. (ORC_Cerberus: Edited - Vulgarity is against the Code of Conduct)
..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" />I mean damn. I'm about to start running a level 20 game with these guys and instead of talking about a cool background or unique roleplaying elements, they literally only care about the fact that one character should be unhittable (well over 40 AC) and the other (a druid) can deal out about 1000 damage or more (combined among all enemies) inside a 100 square feet radius. 



I feel your pain. That's "America's Wackiest D&D Players" material. Best to laugh about it, rather than become bhitter.

Edited for clairfication.



At this point, I'm generally not that bitter about it. But sometimes I wonder if we all just wouldn't be better off playing a MMO together. -.-

That said, I did just add player number 5 to the group who is more excited about actual roleplaying. So, we'll see where this goes. 
My username should actually read: Lunar Savage (damn you WotC!) *Tips top hat, adjusts monocle, and walks away with cane* and yes, that IS Mr. Peanut laying unconscious on the curb. http://asylumjournals.tumblr.com/
..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" />I mean damn. I'm about to start running a level 20 game with these guys and instead of talking about a cool background or unique roleplaying elements, they literally only care about the fact that one character should be unhittable (well over 40 AC) and the other (a druid) can deal out about 1000 damage or more (combined among all enemies) inside a 100 square feet radius. 



I feel your pain. That's "America's Wackiest D&D Players" material. Best to laugh about it, rather than become bhitter.

Edited for clairfication.



At this point, I'm generally not that bitter about it. But sometimes I wonder if we all just wouldn't be better off playing a MMO together. -.-

That said, I did just add player number 5 to the group who is more excited about actual roleplaying. So, we'll see where this goes. 



I didn't mean to suggest that you in particular were bitter-just that anyone heading that way should reconsider. Honestly, you're a better person than I. Had I been forced to put up with those players for however long I might have just quit trying.

"The real purpose of socialism is precisely to overcome and advance beyond the predatory phase of human development." -Albert Einstein Resident Left Hand of Stalin and Banana Stand Grandstander Half of the Ambiguously Gay Duo House of Trolls, looking for a partner Wondering what happened to the Star Wars forums?
Show
Star Wars Minis has a home here http://www.bloomilk.com/ and Star Wars Saga Edition RPG has a home here http://thesagacontinues.createaforum.com/index.php
Show
141722973 wrote:
And it wasn't ****. It was subjectively concensual sex.
57036828 wrote:
Marketing and design are two different things. For instance the snuggy was designed for people in wheel chairs and marketed to people that are too incompetent to operate a blanket.
75239035 wrote:
I personally don't want him decapitated.
141722973 wrote:
And do not call me a Yank. I am a Québecois, basically your better.
And the greatest post moderation of all time...
58115148 wrote:
I gave that (Content Removed) a to-scale Lego replica. (Content Removed) love to-scale Lego replicas. (ORC_Cerberus: Edited - Vulgarity is against the Code of Conduct)
..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" />I didn't mean to suggest that you in particular were bitter-just that anyone heading that way should reconsider. Honestly, you're a better person than I. Had I been forced to put up with those players for however long I might have just quit trying.




Why not change your DMing style to accomodate 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.