I run a weekly campaign with one session every Sunday. My core group (4-5 people) always show up, with the occasional person who joins from time to time (either playing a new character they wanted to test, or playing NPC's/monsters/etc). This composition works great for us.
Generally I have been holding experience until the end of the session and awarding it in bulk at the end of the session, which then levels people up afterwards (this was generally done to save time, keep people focused, etc). However what I am finding is that they typically walk away form the session and forget to level their characters (after having added the exp/etc). This has been leading to one of two situations.
(Please also note: I do this for a number of other things such as saying mundane items/common items are always available when inside a city, so please purchase them outside of campaign — again, to keep things moving at a brisk pace.)
- They remember when they come back, and proceed to level their character at the start of the next session (effectively delaying the start).
- They totally forget and only remember when they have something reminding them (similar to: wait, shouldn't I be level X?)
This means that it doesn't end up saving time. Session time is generally flexible, however I would rather use flexible time to do more campaign rather than updating characters/etc. I'd rather it was done outside of the campaign's time-slot so that we can play more.
My question: How do I motivate players to take care of their characters outside of the campaign's sessions, so as to not slow down the actual campaign? (e.g. leveling, healing, buying mundane items, etc)
It is worth noting that I am not giving the players additional work. Just simply the basic requirements to be able to play the game (e.g. updating their character as required).
My only thoughts so far would be to give Inspiration at the start of session for anyone who does not slow the campaign by having to level during a session, or by giving some sort of reward in the campaign (for instance, maybe if everyone was ready for the next session, I'll give them an extra 100gp per person as a reward in the dungeon).
I have already seen How can I get my players to do extra “homework”?, but it is more focused on additional outside work (homework), while character sheets (or other required mechanics/etc.) are much closer tied with just being able to play the game in general.