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I am about to start my first game with The Dark Eye system (5th edition), and I am wondering how many skill points I should give my players for winning an encounter (not necessarily combat).

Specifically, I am asking for experiences other GMs have made with The Dark Eye and for a rough estimate that I should aim for when rewarding my players. The rulebook only states that a "small adventure" should offer about 5-10 and an "adventure that spans over 2-3 evenings" should be about 15-25 points. However, I like to give rewards on a per-encounter and not on a per-adventure basis, so these estimates aren't really worth much to me.

How many skill points should I give my players for winning an encounter?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ @lokimidgard That's a good point, i could split the suggested points among the number of encounters in the adventure, or rather among the average number of encounters per session. Also, I would not mind letting the points be predictable for my players, as most of them are not very power-gamer-y. \$\endgroup\$ – WhiteMaple Jul 5 '19 at 13:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ If you are still around, it'd be good to confirm that you are talking about 5th Edition, even though that seems rather obvious from the amount suggestions and the mentioning of Skill Points. \$\endgroup\$ – Trish Jun 25 '20 at 9:48
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Don't grant Skill points per encounter. TDE is not meant to be Encounter based but Plot based. The use of experience or Skill Points is something for downtime between adventure, something that reflects time spent on reflecting on the adventuring life.

In earlier editions you don't even grant skill points in most editions, you grant experience, which then is used to level up (1-3E) or pay for sills or feats directly (4E). This Experience was no longer based on killing stuff since 3rd Edition, and that is a good thing! There is a saying in Germany about "GM, I need 10 XP, are there rats in town?" which stems from these olden days where adventurers would go and clobber small creatures to level up before going after the adventures. Since the later 3rd edition Experience is granted for story: completing arcs of your planned plot with a possible bonus for achieving objectives, good RP, and encountering something new.

Meting the first Zantim granted some experience if you survived, but for the second Zantim you'd get no extra experience. It doesn't matter if you won or ran away - you only get the 'new experience' experience once, and you hand it out with the plot experience. The whole idea of TDE is plot centric, not encounter centric. Keep the Experience for the pot to keep the players focussed on the plot! Breaking down the handing out of the experience is a task that takes away extra time from the adventuring, and it ultimately saves time to bundle up handing out the whole bundle at the end.

The books for 5th edition suggest the values you quote to keep up a somewhat sane scaling and matching for the playstyle that the published adventures depict. The bigger the adventure, the bigger the payoff. For a good flow, the given values in the book form a good baseline while a series of adventures that are very 'high scale' could warrant a few extra points to get the players a little edge.

If you have to indulge in the travesty of giving rewards per encounter, don't play TDE but D&D.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ It has been a year and by now i have come to many of the conclusions you describe. I am currently using the values from the rulebooks i mentioned in the question as an estimate for how many skill points i should give. If you could just add a little sentence about the values from the book indeed being the right way to do it, i'll accept and put this answer up top for future GMs to learn from. \$\endgroup\$ – WhiteMaple Jun 29 '20 at 9:06
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Since I don't know which edition of the dark eye you play I will answer with my favourite 4th edition (4/4.1).

For animal/beast/creature encounters one rule of thumb is, the first encounter with that type should be rewarded with the squared dangerousness value (DV - Gefährlichkeitswert GW in German. Following encounters can be rewarded with the DV itself split up for the group.

Similar can hold for other situations. A first can always be rewarded better than a second.

Also the reward should not be too dependent on winning, since you get experience out of both.

Update

As Trish states correctly the reward should not be encounter-centered but more story-centered. Nevertheless looking at all encounters in an adventure is helpful to find the amount of experience to grant for the whole campaign.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Hi Linosch, welcome to rpg.se! Take the tour and visit the help center for more information. This is a nice first answer. Thanks for contributing and happy gaming! \$\endgroup\$ – linksassin Jun 25 '20 at 8:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ Welcome! Just keep in mind one thing: the amounts of AP needed vary extremely between tde 4 and 5. From the amount listed in the question body I would assume that this question is about tde 5, but I can not say for sure. \$\endgroup\$ – Patta Jun 25 '20 at 9:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Patta The use of "skill points" and not "Experience" or "AP" actually petty much means it must be 5E, as before it was Experience/Erfahrung or Abenteuerpunkte \$\endgroup\$ – Trish Jun 25 '20 at 9:46
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    \$\begingroup\$ I took away the first sentence because "necro" isn't really a problem on this site like it is on many forums. In fact, one more upvote and you'll get a [Necromancer] badge for it! \$\endgroup\$ – NathanS Jun 26 '20 at 9:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ Ah, i am sorry, i should have specified the version. Thanks for the effort, anyway. Maybe someone from 4th edition will come accross this question and be lucky. \$\endgroup\$ – WhiteMaple Jun 29 '20 at 8:47

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