I just finished a quest where the players were able to help determine which side won a war. How much experience should they receive for this?
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closed as unclear what you're asking by Wibbs, okeefe, Hey I Can Chan, mxyzplk♦ Mar 14 '14 at 23:56
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The XP reward should be proportional to how difficult their actions were, and how much the party affected the outcome. This is exactly analogous to rewarding XP for combat or other accomplishments, and story rewards. (You have been awarding XP for accomplishing non-combat things or finding a non-violent solution to their problems, right?)
If you've been awarding, say, an average of 1000XP per session lately, use that as a baseline for how much the players' accomplishments are worth. If you took multiple game sessions to finish the war, increase the reward proportionally. If this war is the capstone to the campaign (or a plot arc), then increase the rewards again. If the players surprised you with excellent role-playing or clever solutions, then give them bonuses!
If you choose, this is also an opportunity to give several levels, just because You Said So. Perhaps you've decided that the next interesting plot involves hydras, and the party can't currently tackle hydras. Perhaps you're trying to wrap up the campaign earlier than expected, so you need to level up the heroes so they can defeat the Big Bad.
I would personally bump them to the next level provided that this war significantly changes the politics, economy, etc. of the region they are in.