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I have a player who rare participates in game except for combat. I feel hes treating the game we're playing in a like a console game. For better or worse he being more like an NPC vs a PC. So I want a way to dish out exp that is fair to party. I don't want to penalize him much in exp but I want the division of bonus exp to fair to every body. Is there a universal check list of thing that player could do in game that shows that they deserve bonus exp?

EX: 1) Showing up on game day 2) Specific Class skill usage 3) Thinking out side the box or puzzle solving skills 4) Taking a chances (Leap of faith) and any other things that contributes to the game.

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closed as too broad by wax eagle, LitheOhm, Brian Ballsun-Stanton Nov 22 '13 at 4:26

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It depends of the game. Some have the almost exact system you describe, others won't work well with it. What game are you talking about? –  Kethryweryn Nov 21 '13 at 17:23
    
Do you want to encourage roleplaying, clever use of skills, interesting decisions, or all of the above? It's not clear from the question at the moment. –  Dakeyras Nov 21 '13 at 17:24
    
Dakeyras: all of the above. Keth: a D&D version of Big Eyes Small Mouth –  Jhyarelle Silver Nov 21 '13 at 17:33
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@JhyarelleSilver Could you at least provide a link to the rules if there's no tag for the game? –  KRyan Nov 21 '13 at 19:05
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Once concern I have is that if he still choices to not participate in the way you expect (which isn't necessary bad - see @KRyan's answer), you will eventually have an experience gap in your party. Especially if you already give out a varied amount of experience to each player. –  Ellesedil Nov 21 '13 at 22:55

3 Answers 3

Have you spoken to the player about this? And is it actively detrimental to the game? Do the other players feel like he's getting "freebies" because he doesn't "work" as hard for XP?

Because I don't feel like it would overly bother me to have a quiet, follower-type in the party. He's already missing out on a lot of the fun, as I see things. But if that's what he wants, that shouldn't in itself be a reason to penalize him. That's only appropriate if you feel the need to coerce him into behaving differently, and you should only want to do that if he's detracting from your fun or the fun of the other players.

And frankly, a game shouldn’t be about coercion; if he’s not interested in the same game you are, that’s something you all, as a group, should discuss and come to an agreement about. Trying to use in-game rewards to influence out-of-character issues (i.e. what one wants from a game) is almost always a bad idea. If nothing else, I suggest that you at least try to offer the XP as specifically an incentive: “I’m going to offer XP when I think it would be good for your character to become more involved, because I want you to be.” (which you should offer to everyone, of course). Be up front about what you want and be sure to listen to what others want as well.

But in other words, ignore whether or not it's "fair," focus on whether or not there is a problem and whether or not alternative forms of XP distribution are likely to solve problems. I'm kind of dubious about both, to be honest.

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There is no such thing as a "universal" set of reasons to give bonus XP. XP is always best given for the things you want to encourage, and that list is going to be entirely personal – the opposite of universal. What you think contributes to the game will be different from what another GM thinks does.

Think about what you want to encourage during, before, and after the game. Make a list of those and decide how much XP each is worth. That's your checklist.

As for fairness, effectively encouraging things with XP and being "fair" (that is to say, keep XP awards about equal) are diametrically opposed goals. Why should a player try harder for bonus XP when they're going to get it anyway without trying? Decide whether "fair" or effective is more important to you, then keep that balance in mind when you're making your checklist.

Once you have a checklist, use it for a while. Revise it if you find that it's not quite performing as desired. (This is how all XP systems in published games were made.)

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"Fair" might mean equivalent XP for equivalent effort. As in, what division is "fair" considering the relative efforts of each player. –  KRyan Nov 21 '13 at 20:00
    
@KRyan Might, but I'm 99% sure it doesn't, judging by "I don't want to penalize him much in exp but I want the division of bonus exp to fair to every body." and by the fact that it's D&D 4e. –  SevenSidedDie Nov 21 '13 at 21:55
    
Er, not 4e, I'm mixing up questions. Anyway, still that quote. –  SevenSidedDie Nov 22 '13 at 2:29
    
Yeah, I came to the same conclusion when I reread before answering it myself. –  KRyan Nov 22 '13 at 2:31

In all the games I have been in we have (almost) always used a system which awarded experience not only in what you killed or the quests you completed, but also depending on how you actually roleplayed and such. Here is a copypaste from the AFMBE rulebook you will surely find useful:

Experience Point Awards

Being There: All Cast Members who participated in the game session receive 1 point.

Good Roleplaying: 1 point per instance.

Advancing the Storyline While Remaining in Character: 1 to 3 points. This rewards players whose roleplaying, planning and Cast Member actions helped develop the Story.

Heroic Roleplaying: 1 to 3 points. Given to players whose Cast Members remained true to themselves even when it meant they would suffer for it. The heroic type who risks his life for others, or even the coward who runs or surrenders when the wise course would be to fight are good examples of this.

Ingenuity Award: 1 to 3 points. Given to players who used impressive and unexpected tactics and problem-solving to deal with a plot device. This, however, only applies if the devious plan or tactics were true to the Cast Member (not the player). If the village idiot suddenly starts having spurts of Machiavellian brilliance for no good reason, then no award should be given.

Don't follow it strictly tho. Set your own rules and talk it with the group. If they find it interesting and everyone agrees in such a system it can be a bonus for certain people and a great reward for the people who naturally roleplay through the situations and solve the challenges in game.

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