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Inspired by what I saw in "Dragon Age" series, I have a main quest of the story line have the character "dream" into the astral plane where they have several fights towards an unfolding that will provide them with some additional information.

I want to give them some kind of reward which can't be items (after all they are dreaming). I'm already giving them XP if they pull through it but I wanted to give them something else. I was inspired by Dragon Age's pillars which give you an increase of +1 to one of your ability scores.

Is that (+1 to one desired ability score) too much of a reward (making the characters too powerful to early) or is it ok? If it is too much, what are ways that I can reward my players that are not strictly "XP" or "Magic items / treasure" that still feel good to them.

Background: High Epic Fantasy (Epic campaign, the fate of the world is on your hands stuff).

Current character level. 3

Party Size. 3

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The DMG has a few suggestions

In the DMG, pp. 227-232, there is a section called Other Rewards, listing things like Blessings, Charms, even Epic Boons (although that's level 20+ type stuff).

In particular, Blessings (pp. 227-228) or maybe Training (in particular, learning skill proficiencies or feats, p.231, although this one implies that it should take some downtime, but you could waive that) might suit your "something that isn't physical" requirement.

As for a +1 to an ability score, that's essentially half an ASI, which a sidebar on page 230 suggests as an alternative to Epic Boons. Given that Epic Boons are for level 20+, this suggests that a full ASI is a big deal, but on the other hand, it also suggests that you can learn feats in your downtime (p. 231), many of which include a +1, so I think +1 to an ability score isn't too big a deal.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ As an extra note, in a short Tier 3 party adventure I'm wrapping up at the moment, I'm about to award the PCs with a Blessing each (since they've already got a fair few magic items, so more might not feel that special, especially since the "quest giver" was an Empyrean, whereas a Blessing better suits the celestial nature of the Empyrean and feels more unique), so this section of the DMG is something I do occasionally use (rather than just falling back on XP and magic items like I do most of the time). \$\endgroup\$ – NathanS Jul 2 at 9:22
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As noted in the DMG (p227), "rewards" can be more Socio-political. Examples include Medals, Letters of Recommendation, Parcels of Land, Titles.

So, if a PC has "dreamt their way through the Astral Plane", maybe that could be recognised as such, gaining them Reputation. People who meet them know they are a Planes-Sleeper (for good, or ill!).

The local Noble, despite mistrusting this loutish ne'er-do-well, still seeks their advice as a Seer. Other Mystics and Seers seek them out.

Give them Spotlight time! A metaphorical "pat on the back"!

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    \$\begingroup\$ Have you offered such rewards in your own games or seen/experienced them being offered as rewards? How has it worked, in your experience? \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Jun 29 at 4:32
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Ultimately, it shouldn't matter too much if you offer them an ability score increase, as you can scale encounters/DCs if it turns out that +1 makes things a little too easy.

One thing you could experiment with is a link to a spirit or something similar that resides in the astral plane that can offer them guidance or assistance.

If your opposition to giving them items is purely because they aren't acquiring physical items in the material world, you can also offer clues to the location of items in the material world in the dream.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.SE! Take the tour if you haven't already, and check out the help center for more guidance. Have you offered such rewards in your own games or seen/experienced them being offered as rewards? How has it worked, in your experience? \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Jun 29 at 4:31
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A pretty sword that means something? Like, for instance, a sword or knife or ring that when people see it on them, they know the bearer has the King's favor? Or it's the mark of their job or status?

You can also give them books that enable a plus to a certain skill, or a piece of cloth that signifies to merchants that the bearer gets better rates. Or maybe just that they get entry to certain places they might otherwise be barred from.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.SE! Take the tour if you haven't already, and check out the help center for more guidance. Have you offered such rewards in your own games or seen/experienced them being offered as rewards? How has it worked, in your experience? \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Jun 29 at 4:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ The question mentions the reward shouldn't be an item. \$\endgroup\$ – Erik Jun 29 at 8:12

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