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If a referee has to cancel a session at very short notice, what rewards to the players are sensible?

For example part of a sessions exps, bennies or hero points.

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closed as too broad by GMJoe, doppelgreener, Brian Ballsun-Stanton May 9 at 5:57

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What do your players do to reward the referee when they show up and run the game for them every week? –  mxyzplk Apr 20 '12 at 23:01
    
I think all the answers are worthy and I have given them an uptick. –  David Allan Finch Apr 24 '12 at 7:48

9 Answers 9

up vote 2 down vote accepted

It tends to depend on the system: For example in some games XP is entirely based on what happens IC (eg dnd killing mooks), in others it is based on what happens OOC (Eg iirc Paranoia recomends giving XP-equiv to the guy who brings snacks, or lends his house.), Or some for just showing up (nWoD, Eclipse Phase etc)

In others it is based on say Roleplay, which is technically OOC (In Character your characters are always acting consistently, in most system), but can't be done without having a session.

Most use a mix of all 3, I once had a session where only 2 of my 5 players showed up. None of the others even let me know they wouldn't be there. and the 2 that attended both had the furthest to travel: I ended up payingout the Attendance XP.

I rarely have a problem of myself having to cancel, and when I do my players are generally like "Fair enough, I have X to do anyway." I would lean away from any kind of explict recompense, because at the end of the day by GMing I'm already doing them a favor (admittedly one I enjoy). If I cancelled once they were already there, I'ld be pretty apologetic, but i expect one of my players would be all "Well hey, I have this idea for a one shot"

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I would simply recommend an out of game reward if any. Bring a box of donuts to the next game as an apology and pick up where you left off without anything else.

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I go for pizza, but yeah. If someone has to cancel the session, bringing the snacks next time makes sense. In game rewards just don't make sense when the characters literally did nothing. –  TimothyAWiseman Apr 20 '12 at 16:20

I absolutely would not give out in game rewards for the characters doing nothing. As CatLord said, bringing snacks next time is good.

But if you really want to provide an in-game reward, then provide an alternative avenue for the characters to do something. If the story permits, the GM could declare that to be "down-time" and ask each player to write a brief description of what the character does during the downtime and then hand out small rewards with the type or reward being based on what they described and the amount based on how well they described it.

For instance, if the fighter just says he goes off and trains hard and nothing else, perhaps he gets a small experience boost. If the mage talks about researching a new spell, and describes in detail how he does it, what the spell does, and provides some good details he might get something close to that spell.

But then the rogue writes an entire entertaining and creative short story about how he saves a young princess from a marriage she did not want while driving away the black knight but then wept tenderly over the kitten that was killed in the melee. The rogue might come off with a reward of gold, useful contacts that might show up again, and a permenant charisma increase.

That way, they get some benefits, but its because they and their characters all did something.

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+1 for describing the somethings. –  rishimaharaj Apr 20 '12 at 18:34

The only time we ever got rewards was when it was cancelled due to most people being a no-show (as in, not telling the GM they wouldn't be there, just not showing up); the GM would give a small reward to those who bothered to show up. These would be things like a reroll on any one die roll next session, or a small bonus to any one skill check. Something that doesn't stay with the character but instead helps the player gain a minor advantage.

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That actually does incentivise something worthwhile! –  SevenSidedDie Apr 20 '12 at 22:06
    
I've provided extra plinker XP at games with a skeleton crew. –  CatLord Apr 21 '12 at 0:21

Instead of rewarding the players in game, reward the players with a better more well thought out session. It will hopefully be more fun for the players and does not reward characters for inaction.

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I see players and gamemaster as being equally responsible for making the game work, but the GM is the one who actually puts more time into the game. So when a GM has to bow out for whatever reason, I don't see a necessity for the GM to give out any rewards to players or to their characters. By the same token, I wouldn't expect a player who misses a session to owe the other players or the GM anything.

Also, as a GM if I have to cancel a session for some reason, that usually means I'm able to spend an extra week prepping. So if anything, the players are more likely to have a more enjoyable session immediately following a skipped session.

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In-game rewards for a canceled game don't reinforce any kind of desired behavior.

The players should go do or play something else, roleplaying game or no, if they can.

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They reward the players turning up reliably and being punctual, which (trust me on this) are not behaviours all players share. –  GMJoe May 9 at 5:06

For the most part I agree with those saying not to give out any in-character rewards.

However, if characters have some kind of resouce which recharges on an out-of-character basis in the first place (such as "regain one point per session" or "once a session..."), you could consider letting them regain two points, or use the ability twice next session.

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I'd avoid that. They wouldn't have had a session in which the resource could have been needed. –  Quentin Apr 20 '12 at 20:17

I use Action Points.

When I screw up as a GM and a session is cancelled, I always reward at least an Action Point (can be used for a +4 or re-roll). I also encourage people to use our FB group or email threads and have in-character discussion to fill in some time gaps. If there's good discussion, i might allow each character a very small reward (XP, CP, whatever you use in your system).

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welcome to RPG.SE! looks like you have some great points in your posts but as I hope you've noticed both here and elsewhere they are badly in need of a bit of editing. While there are users who do this helpfully and willingly it's a lot better if you take an extra minute while posting to at least put some paragraph breaks in. –  wax eagle May 2 '12 at 18:55
    
As this was a Savage Worlds game my first choice would have been a Bennie but they never seam to use them so it did not seam right. Anyway I have gone with just saying sorry from now on. –  David Allan Finch May 3 '12 at 7:52

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