How do you deal with Bonus XP?

I know the DM guides in the past say to give bonus xp that parallels low, mid or difficult encounters 
Same with traps and skill challenges. 

 

I was thinking of a system where players reward xp to each other. For instance, every player gets a color token. If they feel a player roleplayed something well, they give that player a token. At the end of the session every token you have that is not your color can be cashed in for 5% of your next level

 

 

Another idea I had is that all players get the bonus XP (devided between the players) so that way everyone is always at the same level


How do you home brew your bonus xp?

 

 

Everyone levels when the story indicates they ought to level, and always at the same time.

 

XP is a tool for designing balanced encounters.

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If you want to use XP as a reward (in addition to its encounter/adventure design use), then you first need to decide what you wish to reward. 

 

Overcoming a challenge, like an adventure or encounter, has an XP value already & you already get that XP as your reward. 

 

So maybe you want to reward a clever idea? Say someone comes up with something great and pwns the encounter - great! But the reward is, again, the XP from the encounter, plus the resources they conserved with their great idea. That's really more than enough. 

 

Want to reward good RP? What IS good RP? Acting? Voices? I don't know. For me it's stating an intent & an approach, and not taking longer than accepted norm in deciding what you're doing. But I treat this as an expectation, not a bonus. 

 

What's left? In any event, reward the behavior you want to see more of. And give a reward that makes a difference. Something like a 5% bump?

 

Even then, the common culture is that characters in a party level together. So perhaps, treat levels as a party thing. Pile up everyone's experience-to-next-level and tell them nobody levels until it's full. Then, give them the XP rewards as normal. Whenever you give that 5% XP bump, it puts real progress toward the party's goal! Each player will look for opportunities to win that award, and each player's individual efforts will benefit the group. This will likely increase team-dynamics. 

 

I dont know though, what I'd reward. 

I follow the guidelines in the 2e DMG for bonus and individual XP awards.  Tracking XP is important.  It gives a sense of accomplishment and reward that has often been indispensible.

Another thing to do is tangible experience. 

 

Get a a jug or jar and some marbles. Nobody levels until the jar is full. Add the same number of marbles every session (10?), plus additional marbles for overcoming challenges (proportionate to the difficulty). On top of that, do bonuses rewards equal to the "show up" rewards. Players will see and be delighted by doubling or tripling their XP rate. 

 

(I did this once with the kids' group. Only instead of marbles, I used peanut M&Ms. So when the jar was full, they got to level up AND eat a grip of M&Ms)!

The DM guidelines aren't really talking about "bonus" XP, but rather XP for overcoming challenging situations that aren't combat or for achieving objectives.

 

I don't give out any other XP than that because if XP is an incentive (and it is only to some), then the incentive is for players to engage in combat and non-combat encounters while pursuing objectives. Along the way, they're roleplaying by default, so any "bonus" is just giving them something for roleplaying in a way someone else liked which I don't think is such a great idea. I think if you want to encourage a particular way of playing at the table, the best thing to do is to just talk to the players about what you want and see if they share that interest and will make an effort.

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I use to give out bonus xp at one point, but I stopped now. I only give out experience for reaching a milestone, e.g., completing a major objective. I might give some bonus information that the players might be able to use, but that is about all.

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Agreed with Sir Antoine.

 

Keeping XP variable creates a great sense of accomplishment, and can incentivize people to improve their roleplaying.  It also provides additional value to surviving encounters and playing tactically well.

 

I'm all for it.  I think the movement toward equal leveling is one of the worst philosophies of modern gaming.

I'd trade it all for a little more! Grognard? Is that French for awesome?

sliceoffruit wrote:
Another idea I had is that all players get the bonus XP (devided between the players) so that way everyone is always at the same level


How do you home brew your bonus xp?

Since D&D focuses advancement on overcoming challenges, I don't do bonus XP as you describe and wouldn't recommend it except as an alternative to XP for defeating something.

 

In other games that don't have specific XP awards for killing stuff, I go with the group XP option you mentioned. The group starts with a certain amount of XP for each session and earns more by making the session more interesting, usually by bringing in elements of their characters' backgrounds and by interacting with the setting or the scene in an unusually cool way.

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Ed_Warlord, on what it takes to make a thread work: I think for it to be really constructive, everyone would have to be honest with each other, and with themselves.

 

iserith: The game doesn't profess to be "just like our world." What it is just like is the world of Dungeons & Dragons. Any semblance to reality is purely coincidental.

 

Areleth: How does this help the problems we have with Fighters? Do you think that every time I thought I was playing D&D what I was actually doing was slamming my head in a car door and that if you just explain how to play without doing that then I'll finally enjoy the game?

 

TD: That's why they put me on the front of every book. This is the dungeon, and I am the dragon. A word of warning though: I'm totally not a level appropriate encounter.

thespaceinvader wrote:

Everyone levels when the story indicates they ought to level, and always at the same time.

 

XP is a tool for designing balanced encounters.

 

That's pretty much how I handle it as well.

There are a great many problems that can be circumvented by players and DMs having a mature discussion about what the game is going to be like before they ever sit down together to play.

 

The answer really does lie in more options, not in confining and segregating certain options.

 

You really shouldn't speak for others.  You can't hear what someone else is saying when you try to put your words in their mouth.

 

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I don't think leveling up at the same time is a bad philosophy, or granting individual experience. It depends on the group makeup. But overall, I have seen players pushing the limits on individual experience rewards; especially for classes that are very self sufficient or well suited for a specific setting. Plus it can be a pain to track different experience rates for all the players unless the DM takes good notes to settle arguments later.

Uchawi wrote:

I don't think leveling up at the same time is a bad philosophy, or granting individual experience. It depends on the group makeup. But overall, I have seen players pushing the limits on individual experience rewards; especially for classes that are very self sufficient or well suited for a specific setting. Plus it can be a pain to track different experience rates for all the players unless the DM takes good notes to settle arguments later.

 

One of the experiences I had in the direction of highly skewed individual XPs came from playing with a mixed group: veteran roleplayers, and people who were just learning to roleplay.  After giving out xp awards for good roleplaying and defeating encounters without having to fight them, both of the veteran players were ahead of the new players by one level and were rapidly gaining on their second one.  Of course, it exacerbated things a little that one of the new roleplayers was playing a caster with item crafting feats.  He always wanted to have a scroll with him for just the right occasion.

There are a great many problems that can be circumvented by players and DMs having a mature discussion about what the game is going to be like before they ever sit down together to play.

 

The answer really does lie in more options, not in confining and segregating certain options.

 

You really shouldn't speak for others.  You can't hear what someone else is saying when you try to put your words in their mouth.

 

Fencing & Swashbuckling as Armor.

D20 Modern Toon PC Race.

Mecha Pilot's Skill Challenge Emporium.

 

Save the breasts.

We dont do individual XP bonuses in my group.  Which is lucky since the other guys can not usually remember how much Xp they have and usually need to ask me (as the official XP rememberer)

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MechaPilot wrote:

 

Uchawi wrote:

I don't think leveling up at the same time is a bad philosophy, or granting individual experience. It depends on the group makeup. But overall, I have seen players pushing the limits on individual experience rewards; especially for classes that are very self sufficient or well suited for a specific setting. Plus it can be a pain to track different experience rates for all the players unless the DM takes good notes to settle arguments later.

 

 

One of the experiences I had in the direction of highly skewed individual XPs came from playing with a mixed group: veteran roleplayers, and people who were just learning to roleplay.  After giving out xp awards for good roleplaying and defeating encounters without having to fight them, both of the veteran players were ahead of the new players by one level and were rapidly gaining on their second one.  Of course, it exacerbated things a little that one of the new roleplayers was playing a caster with item crafting feats.  He always wanted to have a scroll with him for just the right occasion.

Good point. I forgot the simple fact of veteran players gaming the system.

thespaceinvader wrote:

Everyone levels when the story indicates they ought to level, and always at the same time.

 

XP is a tool for designing balanced encounters.

 

HUGE +1

 

If you want to reward individual players do so with things like new contacts, small rewards just for them in character based on the good roleplaying.  Or if you are ok with meta/gamist things give them action points/inspiration points that allow for rerolls or something like that.

Remember this is a public forum where people express their opinions assume there is a “In my humble opinion” in front of every post especially mine.  

 

Things you should check out because they are cool, like bow-ties and fezzes.

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thespaceinvader wrote:

Everyone levels when the story indicates they ought to level, and always at the same time.

 

XP is a tool for designing balanced encounters.

*groan*

 

And the railroad refines itself.

"In the game there is magic" - Orethalion

 

Only got words in my copy.

 

Philosopher Gamer

Noon wrote:

 

thespaceinvader wrote:

Everyone levels when the story indicates they ought to level, and always at the same time.

 

XP is a tool for designing balanced encounters.

 

*groan*

 

And the railroad refines itself.

 

I think you mean treadmill, not railroad.  Also, you are neglecting the fact that balanced encounters doesn't always mean what you think it means.  I love having a tool that will tell me if an encounter is going to be easy, challenging, hard, or lethal.  However, I don't use it to throw at-level encounters at the PCs.  Instead, I balance the encounter to the difficulty level that I want.  It's about knowing how difficult the encounter will be for the PCs, not designing it to be a perfect, on-level challenge.

There are a great many problems that can be circumvented by players and DMs having a mature discussion about what the game is going to be like before they ever sit down together to play.

 

The answer really does lie in more options, not in confining and segregating certain options.

 

You really shouldn't speak for others.  You can't hear what someone else is saying when you try to put your words in their mouth.

 

Fencing & Swashbuckling as Armor.

D20 Modern Toon PC Race.

Mecha Pilot's Skill Challenge Emporium.

 

Save the breasts.

sliceoffruit wrote:

I know the DM guides in the past say to give bonus xp that parallels low, mid or difficult encounters 
Same with traps and skill challenges. 

 

I was thinking of a system where players reward xp to each other. For instance, every player gets a color token. If they feel a player roleplayed something well, they give that player a token. At the end of the session every token you have that is not your color can be cashed in for 5% of your next level

Why can't the player just decide to assign themselves the bonus?

 

It just screams a lack of trust in anyone to roleplay 'right' unless someone else holds a carrot in front of the player (maybe this was true when we were all thirteen years old, but surely not now?)

"In the game there is magic" - Orethalion

 

Only got words in my copy.

 

Philosopher Gamer

Noon wrote:

It just screams a lack of trust in anyone to roleplay 'right' unless someone else holds a carrot in front of the player (maybe this was true when we were all thirteen years old, but surely not now?)

The bigger flaw is that "roleplay bonus" is either DM Favoritism or the appearance of DM Favoritism.  Neither is particularly helpful to the hobby.

In my view there is no such thing as "bonus XP" - there is only XP, which is by definition a bonus.

 

The entire purpose of XP is to reward the player for choosing to participate in moving the campaign forward.

 

That said, I award equal experience to my players because I have found that whenever I have given individual rewards that some of my players get distracted from participating with the group and the moving the campaign forward and become obessed with attempting to scrounge together as many XP as they can on their own... which involves a lot of attempts to hog the table time, and is very much not cool in my opinion.

 

Also, I advocate creating points in the campaign when the party simply increases in level, rather than actually concerning yourself with specific measurement of XP - I would do that myself, but some of my players just really love to see the incremental steps on their sheet after each session.

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Noon wrote:

 

thespaceinvader wrote:

Everyone levels when the story indicates they ought to level, and always at the same time.

 

XP is a tool for designing balanced encounters.

 

*groan*

 

And the railroad refines itself.

 

 

 

I think you mean treadmill, not railroad.  Also, you are neglecting the fact that balanced encounters doesn't always mean what you think it means.  I love having a tool that will tell me if an encounter is going to be easy, challenging, hard, or lethal.  However, I don't use it to throw at-level encounters at the PCs.  Instead, I balance the encounter to the difficulty level that I want.  It's about knowing how difficult the encounter will be for the PCs, not designing it to be a perfect, on-level challenge.

Glib: Choo choo!

 

Verbose: Controling things exactly - when they level, the exact 'difficulty' (which is to say, how many resources they spend before they automatically win (because losing interupts the DM's story)). This seems like something other than a RR?

"In the game there is magic" - Orethalion

 

Only got words in my copy.

 

Philosopher Gamer

One of my players who also DM's on occasion has all the players vote at the end of the session for the "MVP," who gets a small chunk of bonus exp.  If I remember correctly he gives 150xp, he also gives everyone 200xp at the beginning of every session for showing up.

 

Personally I'm not a fan of bonus xp so I don't give it out.  I reward players for overcoming challenges, whether they do it by combat, or roleplaying their way through it doesn't matter.  Complete a challenge get xp, doesn't matter how.  I don't do any kind of attendance bonus either, my solution for that is if you don't show up someone else plays your character and you only get half xp.  If you don't want your character to die while someone else is playing it, then you show up and play it yourself.

 

I'm really not a fan of the whole xp system in general. Rewarding players with xp requires you to fill out the campaign with extra encounters that aren't necessary and don't move the story forward just to give them enough xp to level.  I like how progression is done in Savage Worlds, you get 1 2 or 3 xp at the end of the session based on how much you accomplished, not what you killed.  Then every 5 xp you go up a rank.  Nice and simple, and makes it easier to keep things focused on the story.

I tend to give bonus xp when my players do something that is inline with their characters or something cunning to get past a problem. I dont normally give bonus xp for encounters. When I ran 2nd edition, I did use the bonus xp rules and my players loved trying to get bonus xps that way(fighters would get mad if the rthief stole their kills). I do kinda miss that and would enjoy a module that brought back that kinda friendly competition.

These new forums are terrible.

I misspell words on purpose too draw out grammer nazis.

The trouble with everyone leveling at the same time is evident in our group--because not everyone is THERE every time. So Norm only comes once every two weeks, Julie is once a month, Kevin is every single week, Dave takes turns DM'ing with Cassie.

 

So either Kevin is way ahead of everyone else, plays two characters, or everyone levels whether they were there or not. It gets rough sometimes!

I was thinking this over last night and there are some great ideas here but check this out. Everyone gets xp from killing as normal. In addition there is a list of challenges that don't involve combat that give xp to everyone. Like Xbox achievements and Playstation trophies. So often the campaign I'm running I made a list of achievements both public and hidden and make the players aware of it. They work together to accomplish the and get xp boosts. It's a lot of fun. If anyone is curious, for the hidden achviements, I make them clear as they become spoiler free. Cool!

Neat. What kind of challenges?

sliceoffruit wrote:
I was thinking this over last night and there are some great ideas here but check this out. Everyone gets xp from killing as normal. In addition there is a list of challenges that don't involve combat that give xp to everyone. Like Xbox achievements and Playstation trophies. So often the campaign I'm running I made a list of achievements both public and hidden and make the players aware of it. They work together to accomplish the and get xp boosts. It's a lot of fun. If anyone is curious, for the hidden achviements, I make them clear as they become spoiler free. Cool!

 

Interesting. So maybe one basic 'achievement' for 'reaching the cave' another for locating the secret shortcut, another for overcoming the bandit leader, and a secret one for releasing the tradesman prisoner held captive.

A quick group might only get 2 of these(reach the cave, overcome the bandit leader) while the others are optional but possible. More work for the gm, of course, but aren't the best things always?

Noon wrote:

 

Noon wrote:

 

thespaceinvader wrote:

Everyone levels when the story indicates they ought to level, and always at the same time.

 

XP is a tool for designing balanced encounters.

 

*groan*

 

And the railroad refines itself.

 

 

 

I think you mean treadmill, not railroad.  Also, you are neglecting the fact that balanced encounters doesn't always mean what you think it means.  I love having a tool that will tell me if an encounter is going to be easy, challenging, hard, or lethal.  However, I don't use it to throw at-level encounters at the PCs.  Instead, I balance the encounter to the difficulty level that I want.  It's about knowing how difficult the encounter will be for the PCs, not designing it to be a perfect, on-level challenge.

 

Glib: Choo choo!

 

Verbose: Controling things exactly - when they level, the exact 'difficulty' (which is to say, how many resources they spend before they automatically win (because losing interupts the DM's story)). This seems like something other than a RR?

 

They still have choice.  They still have the ability to say they want to do something, anything, else in the game world.  They can choose to ignore adventure hooks that I've baited for them, or to ignore dungeons that I've created for them.  If they do, then I adapt.  However, I still use the encounter building guidelines to give me knowledge of how difficult the challenge will be for the party.

 

I mean, it's fine to throw lethal encounters at them; I just drop hints about how lethal it will be beforehand.  I just don't want to throw in a villain that I've been playing up as the big bad for the last four or five session, and who is supposed to give the PCs a run for their money only to have them curb-stomp him, or create a challenge that is supposed to simply be difficult but that ends up accidentally killing the whole party without them making stupid choices during the encounter.

 

Additionally, who says they always win?  That's certainly not the case at my table.  They usually don't die when they lose (death is a pain for various reasons), but they have been looted and left for dead, sold into slavery, taken captive and geased into performing a quest for their captors, polymorphed for an extended period before finding a cure, and so on.

 

Ultimately, encounter building guidelines are a tool that people will either choose to use or to ignore.  There's no reason at all not to include it.  And there's no reason why using it means you have to throw at-level encounters at the party.

There are a great many problems that can be circumvented by players and DMs having a mature discussion about what the game is going to be like before they ever sit down together to play.

 

The answer really does lie in more options, not in confining and segregating certain options.

 

You really shouldn't speak for others.  You can't hear what someone else is saying when you try to put your words in their mouth.

 

Fencing & Swashbuckling as Armor.

D20 Modern Toon PC Race.

Mecha Pilot's Skill Challenge Emporium.

 

Save the breasts.

sliceoffruit wrote:

I know the DM guides in the past say to give bonus xp that parallels low, mid or difficult encounters 
Same with traps and skill challenges. 

 

I was thinking of a system where players reward xp to each other. For instance, every player gets a color token. If they feel a player roleplayed something well, they give that player a token. At the end of the session every token you have that is not your color can be cashed in for 5% of your next level

 

 

Another idea I had is that all players get the bonus XP (devided between the players) so that way everyone is always at the same level


How do you home brew your bonus xp?

 

 

 

My DM has an interesting system for bonus XP:

Whenever a player fails, such as by not rolling high enough on a skill check or spending an entire turn attacking without hitting or damaging anything, they make a mark on their sheet.

When calcualating xp at the end of the session, players get 10% extra xp for every failure mark. This works to incentivize trying new things, relieve the frustration of acomplishing nothing, and disincentivizes the DM from calling for needless rolls.

"Ha! Rock beats scissors!" "Darn it! Rock is overpowered! I'm not playing this again until the next edition is released!" "C'mon, just one more." "Oh, all right..." "Wait, what is that?" "Its 'Dynamite' from the expanded rules." "Just because you can afford to buy every supplement that comes out..." "Hey, it's completely balanced! You're just a bad DM for not accommodating it."
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RPGs are getting more popular, and whenever something gets more popular, it inevitably changes, usually becoming more palatable to the masses. Nintendo is the perfect example. In the old days their games coined the term "Nintendo hard" to extend play time, but they knew their fans were dedicated enough to play anyway. Now they mostly make stuff a five year old can master. That's not necessarily bad, though. Most of those old Nintendo games were infuriating. Likewise, a lot of old RPGs were too complex and irritating for the average person to really get into. Rules light systems are going to get more popular as more people enter the hobby, simply because the new people aren't bound by nostalgia, and would rather play something easy and fun than something that takes a huge amount of effort to learn.

Jordan175 wrote:
My DM has an interesting system for bonus XP:

Whenever a player fails, such as by not rolling high enough on a skill check or spending an entire turn attacking without hitting or damaging anything, they make a mark on their sheet.

When calcualating xp at the end of the session, players get 10% extra xp for every failure mark. This works to incentivize trying new things, relieve the frustration of acomplishing nothing, and disincentivizes the DM from calling for needless rolls.

 

Cool. I could get behind something like that. Dungeon World does something similar.

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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iserith wrote:

 

Jordan175 wrote:
My DM has an interesting system for bonus XP:

Whenever a player fails, such as by not rolling high enough on a skill check or spending an entire turn attacking without hitting or damaging anything, they make a mark on their sheet.

When calcualating xp at the end of the session, players get 10% extra xp for every failure mark. This works to incentivize trying new things, relieve the frustration of acomplishing nothing, and disincentivizes the DM from calling for needless rolls.

 

Cool. I could get behind something like that. Dungeon World does something similar.

I also find that an interesting mechanic... Dungeon Crawl Classics does something similiar - the XP reward for an encounter is entirely based on how hard it ended up being, rather than how hard it was predicted to be. For example, you would only get 1 or 2 XP if the PCs steamrolled the encounter ("There's a bunch of beast men down the bluff... let's cause a rockslide on them!"), but you would likely get the max reward of 4 XP if the PCs ended up barely scraping by ("We're surrounded by beast men! Every watch out... aw geez, that one just killed the cleric with a critical hit and the wizard just botched his spell and mutated his sword-wielding arm into a tentacle, we are in for a rough fight." Note: XP thresholds needed to gain a level are such that 1 DCC XP is roughly equivalent to 100 D&D XP.

 

Of course, my players ended up not liking that specific approach because it seemed like the game was telling them to skip the good ideas and go for the crazy/stupid ones. ("There's a bunch of beast men down the bluff... everybody charge!")

ATTENTION:  If while reading my post you find yourself thinking "Either this guy is being sarcastic, or he is an idiot," do please assume that I am an idiot. It makes reading your replies more entertaining. If, however, you find yourself hoping that I am not being even remotely serious then you are very likely correct as I find irreverence and being ridiculous to be relaxing.

MechaPilot wrote:
They still have choice.  They still have the ability to say they want to do something, anything, else in the game world.  They can choose to ignore adventure hooks that I've baited for them, or to ignore dungeons that I've created for them.  If they do, then I adapt.  However, I still use the encounter building guidelines to give me knowledge of how difficult the challenge will be for the party.

 

I mean, it's fine to throw lethal encounters at them; I just drop hints about how lethal it will be beforehand.  I just don't want to throw in a villain that I've been playing up as the big bad for the last four or five session, and who is supposed to give the PCs a run for their money only to have them curb-stomp him, or create a challenge that is supposed to simply be difficult but that ends up accidentally killing the whole party without them making stupid choices during the encounter.

If making your choices has absolutely no effect (not even a mild effect - no effect at all) on difficulty, then those choices are irrelevant to how play turns out. Just looking at this by itself for the moment, that's just a railroad.

 

"In the game there is magic" - Orethalion

 

Only got words in my copy.

 

Philosopher Gamer

Noon wrote:

 

MechaPilot wrote:
They still have choice.  They still have the ability to say they want to do something, anything, else in the game world.  They can choose to ignore adventure hooks that I've baited for them, or to ignore dungeons that I've created for them.  If they do, then I adapt.  However, I still use the encounter building guidelines to give me knowledge of how difficult the challenge will be for the party.

 

I mean, it's fine to throw lethal encounters at them; I just drop hints about how lethal it will be beforehand.  I just don't want to throw in a villain that I've been playing up as the big bad for the last four or five session, and who is supposed to give the PCs a run for their money only to have them curb-stomp him, or create a challenge that is supposed to simply be difficult but that ends up accidentally killing the whole party without them making stupid choices during the encounter.

If making your choices has absolutely no effect (not even a mild effect - no effect at all) on difficulty, then those choices are irrelevant to how play turns out. Just looking at this by itself for the moment, that's just a railroad.

 

Please show me where I said their choices have no impact on difficulty.

There are a great many problems that can be circumvented by players and DMs having a mature discussion about what the game is going to be like before they ever sit down together to play.

 

The answer really does lie in more options, not in confining and segregating certain options.

 

You really shouldn't speak for others.  You can't hear what someone else is saying when you try to put your words in their mouth.

 

Fencing & Swashbuckling as Armor.

D20 Modern Toon PC Race.

Mecha Pilot's Skill Challenge Emporium.

 

Save the breasts.

Solace wrote:

The trouble with everyone leveling at the same time is evident in our group--because not everyone is THERE every time. So Norm only comes once every two weeks, Julie is once a month, Kevin is every single week, Dave takes turns DM'ing with Cassie.

If, a miracle occurs and 5E doesn't fall apart when a party has level disparity, that could be a non-issue.

I enforce equal leveling across the board. If you miss a session, you still level at the rate everyone else does, but you miss out on the loot as well as whatever else we had going on. I also like to throw characters missing sessions in situations they don't like. If the party was camping when we quit for the day, and our next session a week later you are missing, the party doesn't know what happened to you. When you join the party the next session, they find that you had been kidnapped by bugbears and have to now be saved. I wouldn't kill anyone with this, just story reasons because it amuses me and my players.

 

On equal leveling, my players are cool with it but they want me to breakdown experience for what they did right and wrong. I still want them leveling up at story appropriate times, and they don't just magically level up in mid-dungeon or even during a long rest. It happens at down-time, or perhaps their mentor teaches them something, or whatever. But they still want a breakdown, so I show them what I liked and I'm really just breaking down what I was going to give them anyways and allocate it according to what they did. They are pleased, and I still get the even leveling that makes my games run smoother. I really hope none of them ever read this, though, or the gig is up!

Do you have an opinion on what campaign settings should be printed in D&D Next? If so, please cast your votes in this poll! Poll: What campaign settings do you want to see printed in D&D Next?

Noon wrote:

 

MechaPilot wrote:
They still have choice.  They still have the ability to say they want to do something, anything, else in the game world.  They can choose to ignore adventure hooks that I've baited for them, or to ignore dungeons that I've created for them.  If they do, then I adapt.  However, I still use the encounter building guidelines to give me knowledge of how difficult the challenge will be for the party.

 

I mean, it's fine to throw lethal encounters at them; I just drop hints about how lethal it will be beforehand.  I just don't want to throw in a villain that I've been playing up as the big bad for the last four or five session, and who is supposed to give the PCs a run for their money only to have them curb-stomp him, or create a challenge that is supposed to simply be difficult but that ends up accidentally killing the whole party without them making stupid choices during the encounter.

If making your choices has absolutely no effect (not even a mild effect - no effect at all) on difficulty, then those choices are irrelevant to how play turns out. Just looking at this by itself for the moment, that's just a railroad.

 

I'm currently running 13th Age which doesn't have any XP system and the players all level up when the GM or group decides. In our last session, two players stupidly tried to to take on an entire encampment of bugbears and hobgoblins which was a completely hopeless fight. When they realized I wasn't going to pull my punches and they were about to be crushed they managed to extricate themselves via some brilliant roleplaying.

 

Like MechaPilot, I build encounters with the PCs power in mind using the systems guidelines. However, that doesn't mean the players choices don't matter. In the above scenario, I had created the encampment with the expectation that the entire party of five would attack it so their choices made things far, far more difficult for themselves than I intended. At the same time, the desperarate plan they improvised in the heat of battle saved their hides even though I had every intention of unloading on them and making them pay for their foolishness. I actually had worked out exactly how I was going to screw them over once they lost the fight yet they managed to completely avoid those repercussions and get away without any setback.

 

So no, using encounter guidelines and ditching XP does not require railroading.

MechaPilot wrote:

 

Noon wrote:

 

MechaPilot wrote:
They still have choice.  They still have the ability to say they want to do something, anything, else in the game world.  They can choose to ignore adventure hooks that I've baited for them, or to ignore dungeons that I've created for them.  If they do, then I adapt.  However, I still use the encounter building guidelines to give me knowledge of how difficult the challenge will be for the party.

 

I mean, it's fine to throw lethal encounters at them; I just drop hints about how lethal it will be beforehand.  I just don't want to throw in a villain that I've been playing up as the big bad for the last four or five session, and who is supposed to give the PCs a run for their money only to have them curb-stomp him, or create a challenge that is supposed to simply be difficult but that ends up accidentally killing the whole party without them making stupid choices during the encounter.

If making your choices has absolutely no effect (not even a mild effect - no effect at all) on difficulty, then those choices are irrelevant to how play turns out. Just looking at this by itself for the moment, that's just a railroad.

 

Please show me where I said their choices have no impact on difficulty.

You genuinely can't see 'I still use the encounter building guidelines to give me knowledge of how difficult the challenge' as you deciding the difficulty, can you?

 

And you deciding to ensure there wont be a curb stomp, you genuinely can't see that as...well, you ensuring there wont be a curb stomp! Ie, no matter what the players do, you will set the difficulty exactly as you want to.

 

I don't know what it must be like to think that somehow you aren't controlling the difficulty there - so much so you ask me to show you where you are deciding by yourself the difficulty.

"In the game there is magic" - Orethalion

 

Only got words in my copy.

 

Philosopher Gamer

Qmark wrote:

 

Solace wrote:

The trouble with everyone leveling at the same time is evident in our group--because not everyone is THERE every time. So Norm only comes once every two weeks, Julie is once a month, Kevin is every single week, Dave takes turns DM'ing with Cassie.

 

If, a miracle occurs and 5E doesn't fall apart when a party has level disparity, that could be a non-issue.

Actually, it's not. I ran Encounters: Murder in Baldur's Gate with character's ranging from levels 2-4, and no one felt too powerful or too weak. Obviously the higher level ones were a bit stronger, but it really wasn't much of an issue. I think until level 8 or so, a 3 level range in party isn't a problem, and after that a 4 level range shouldn't be too much of an issue*

 

*Note: this assumes mature gamers. If you have a d-bag player who whines at the slightest hint of "unfairness," then you'll have to deal with that player issue.

Shiroiken wrote:

 

Qmark wrote:

 

Solace wrote:

The trouble with everyone leveling at the same time is evident in our group--because not everyone is THERE every time. So Norm only comes once every two weeks, Julie is once a month, Kevin is every single week, Dave takes turns DM'ing with Cassie.

 

If, a miracle occurs and 5E doesn't fall apart when a party has level disparity, that could be a non-issue.

Actually, it's not. I ran Encounters: Murder in Baldur's Gate with character's ranging from levels 2-4, and no one felt too powerful or too weak. Obviously the higher level ones were a bit stronger, but it really wasn't much of an issue. I think until level 8 or so, a 3 level range in party isn't a problem, and after that a 4 level range shouldn't be too much of an issue*

Whoo hoo!

 

*Note: this assumes mature gamers. If you have a d-bag player who whines at the slightest hint of "unfairness," then you'll have to deal with that player issue.

Nothing can prevent that.  Ever.

Noon wrote:

You genuinely can't see 'I still use the encounter building guidelines to give me knowledge of how difficult the challenge' as you deciding the difficulty, can you?

A less adversarial reading would interpret this as, "The encounter building guidelines tell me how difficult the challenge *that I have already created* will be."

 

Noon wrote:
And you deciding to ensure there wont be a curb stomp, you genuinely can't see that as...well, you ensuring there wont be a curb stomp! Ie, no matter what the players do, you will set the difficulty exactly as you want to.

Or maybe, "If I build the encounter organically, look over the XP budget, and realize I've made something anticlimactic, I start over or add elements that feel right until the numbers are in a better range." This is different from saying at the outset that the BBEG encounter will be exactly N XP.

 

Noon wrote:
I don't know what it must be like to think that somehow you aren't controlling the difficulty there - so much so you ask me to show you where you are deciding by yourself the difficulty.

Making sure that an encounter is approximately as challenging on paper as it is in your head does not take away the players' choice. The encounter can still be approached numerous ways or avoided entirely. It could be an encounter the PCs come into fresh and well prepared, or it could be one that they blunder into on the heels of another tough fight. The party could even make mistakes that bring the enemy to them. Whether the DM has rated the difficulty of those enemies has no bearing on this.

 

I have a sense you won't take my word for it, but you have pretty badly misunderstood what railroading is. The term refers to forcing players through a linear scenario by either ignoring their choices or giving them strong incentives to stay on a predetermined path. If MP had even hinted that encounter A leads inevitably to encounter B and then to encounter C, you'd have a reason to talk about railroading. But that didn't happen. Go ahead and google the word or look in a glossary of RPG terms if you think I'm lying to defend one stranger on the internet from another.

truth/humor
Ed_Warlord, on what it takes to make a thread work: I think for it to be really constructive, everyone would have to be honest with each other, and with themselves.

 

iserith: The game doesn't profess to be "just like our world." What it is just like is the world of Dungeons & Dragons. Any semblance to reality is purely coincidental.

 

Areleth: How does this help the problems we have with Fighters? Do you think that every time I thought I was playing D&D what I was actually doing was slamming my head in a car door and that if you just explain how to play without doing that then I'll finally enjoy the game?

 

TD: That's why they put me on the front of every book. This is the dungeon, and I am the dragon. A word of warning though: I'm totally not a level appropriate encounter.

Qmark wrote:

 

 

Shiroiken wrote:

 

*Note: this assumes mature gamers. If you have a d-bag player who whines at the slightest hint of "unfairness," then you'll have to deal with that player issue.

 

Nothing can prevent that.  Ever.

 

Sure there is don't be a d-bag GM that treats some players different.  Use point buy, everyone has access to same splat books, everyone is the same level, use a balanced game system.

 

I would never play in an rpg again that gives different amounts of XP to the players or that took different amounts of XP to advance in a class.  Wanting every players to be treated as the same doesn't make you a d-bag, treating people unfairly does.

 

 

Remember this is a public forum where people express their opinions assume there is a “In my humble opinion” in front of every post especially mine.  

 

Things you should check out because they are cool, like bow-ties and fezzes.

https://app.roll20.net/home  Roll20 great free virtual table top so you can play with old friends who are far away.

http://donjon.bin.sh/  Donjon has random treasure, maps, pick pocket results, etc.. for every edition of D&D.

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