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New GM Question: Experience Points

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I'm in the midst of my second EotE campaign.  In the first, being a new system my players received too much XP and credits, in my opinion.  I was giving the recommended 20 per session, plus the occasional bonus for good roleplaying and achieving goals.  We played once per week for several hours.  The Murder Hobos topped out around 500 XP before it ended.

 

In the second campaign, I reigned in the XP to about 10 XP per session, with the occasional bonus, so that they are averaging a little over 13 per session.  This campaign just topped 750 XP, and while they are a powerful group, their progression has been a gentler incline, so I have found it easier to make things challenging for them.

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I give things out on a "get stuff done" basis. Small encounters which take a handful of rolls total are 2-3 xp, while large encounters which take a handful of rolls each are 5-10xp. I try to target 15xp in 3 hours, but they usually play a little slower than I expect so it has been as low as 10 (one great session with some good roleplay and fast acting got them 25 though).

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Our exp used to be about 10 every session, more when we used adventure books. We are a high level group with the most experienced characters reaching 900 exp. Lately after some chatting (though I would never say I convinced anyone) it was raised to roughly 15. After all our adventure is more like the A-team then anything else, so we are doing epic stuff more or less every time we roll up.

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I give out 10 per session, 15 when its been exceptional. Then, each player can earn up to 5 more per session when nominated by another player for session awesomeness. In various games our extended role playing family refers to them as "style points". For one, it helps to bring out more awesomeness, and it gets the rest of the players to pay attention to more details.

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If I have one player that does all the work and has all the good ideas, can I award that player more XP?

 

 

I tried that all of once, and I could tell it wasn't a good idea, at least for my group.  Some people are there more for the social event than the game itself, and so long as they're not disruptive that shouldn't be penalized.  Getting into the game is its own reward.  If the player doing all the work feels they should get more, then let them be the "bad guy" and propose it to the group.

 

What I find more useful is rewarding in-game work and ideas with boost dice.  I've seen that encourage the other players to rise to the occasion.

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If I have one player that does all the work and has all the good ideas, can I award that player more XP?

 

If you can define and present the criteria for XP reward, then yes.  Otherwise, it's a recipe for hurt feelings.  One way to approach this is to have a pool of XP that is rewarded via vote at the end of a session.  This way it's not all on the GM to make the call, and the players give kudos to appropriate person as well as hopefully feeling inspired to try to be the elected party next time around.  

 

With previously-defined criteria, you can just keep a small running tally and sum it up at the end.  While roleplaying isn't about getting points, everyone wants them and there shouldn't be rewards only for participation.   It's also feasible to consider XP awards for loosely-related tasks like "fed everyone at the table" or the like, I'd imagine everyone's table is different.  

 

I also reward 5XP for the note taker and 5XP for the initiative tracker, both tasks that free me up to keep the action rolling.  

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I tend to give 5xp an hour a session with me usually goes from 4-6hrs so a session my PCs can usually get 20-30xp just for playing though I do lower it they spend waaaaaayyyy to much time talking out of character by 5xp though that's only if the OOC talk is unrelated to the game.

 

I chuck on an extra 5-10xp to the whole party for every milestone I think they have achieved depending on how big it is.

 

and I give out an extra 5xp to any player who does something particularly cool, interesting or good RP though.

 

But I like to toss out xp so my players can get to the cool stuff that they want.

 

 

If I have one player that does all the work and has all the good ideas, can I award that player more XP?

 

If you are going to do this I wouldn't give the person anymore then 5 bonus xp for that and I would tell your other PCs why he got that bonus so that they know that they have a chance to get it as well if they go out of their way to take a leadership role.

Edited by masterslayer321a

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In our group we have following habit. At the end of each session, every PC writes a name of most entertaining or useful (N?)PC to piece of paper, and gives it GM. I'll then award extra XP to every PC whose name was voted to deserve it. Usually this is between 1 to 5 points, in this game line (in PF it might be something between 100 to 500 XP). We never ask why player wants to give XP to someone. Few times player has voted himself, but no one cares and that's rare and usually deserved. Also, we allow voting NPCs, sometimes it has led to hilarious results (e.g. NPC has gathered all extra XP, but this hasn't happened in my games, one other GM is master of making unforgettable NPCs). When NPC gets the XP GM usually raises one of her skills.

 

I can't remember from where we acquired this habit but we are using it in most games we play. This works for us, but might not work for every group.

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My playing group are pretty much just out of the blocks, having only played about 12 sessions, they are currently sitting at 130xp, although our sessions are only 2 hours or so. That is about 10xp per session which may be a little light. I might up that to a 15 average. That way we could see some more heroic actions coming into play. I do love the character development in this system.

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My group is 500+, they aren't monsters.  Nobody has a higher dice pool than YYYY.  What it means is breadth, so, for example, the Enforcer is starting to be decent at Charm as well as having the full Enhance tree, plus a smidgen of piloting and gunnery.  If you focus too quickly on your core ability, you'll quickly max out, sure, but there's a lot of room to explore outside your core strengths.

​Our campaign has been going for around a year and a half, with at least one session per week giving exp of around 20 +5 for good roleplaying and we have an mvp who also gets a bonus 5 exp each session. We now have characters who have earned over 1000 exp (not including starting exp). You do have to be a bit more creative when coming up with challenges so it doesn't just end up with either everything being really simple or stupidly hard stat checks but as Whafrog says everyone still wants more exp to learn new things and improve skills.

​Saying that if I was going to start again I would slow exp growth to less than that. The simple reason being is that improving a skill or learning a new talent has almost lost its narrative lustre. When people are buying multiple talents each session or always ranking up skills it is not as monumental. Obviously if you are not playing regularly you want them to feel like they are progressing after every session but when play is regular I personally think giving less exp is not a bad thing so when they learn a new talent or increase the ranks of a skill you can make it bit more of an event in a narrative. For instance you could have a politico who in one session meets with an old senator from the republic and the way he leads and inspires his men inspires her, making her decide to do what she can to learn from him. This could correspond to increasing ranks in leadership or even learning the talent inspiring rhetoric. When characters are constantly fed exp however and are always learning talents you tend to miss these rp opportunities. Also in my opinion it should feel epic when a character first uses a new ability like double or nothing, improved quick draw or master pilot not just another day in the office.

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The Out of Ashes group has mostly been earning 15 XP per session, since our sessions are usually about 3 hours long. We played from 3 to 9 the first session, though, so the pair got 30 XP there. They've earned 95 XP total, due to one 4-hour session garnering 20 XP.

So far, the Shadow has branched into Shien Expert, and the Ataru Striker into Pathfinder. They seem to have been buying up combat capabilities a surprising amount, considering that they've talked their way past nearly every potential combat. I think the Shadow may have increased her Deception once or twice, but she's recently mostly been trying to not suck with her lightsaber. :D

Edited by The Shy Ion

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The game I'm playing in, where I'm a Kel Dor Seeker, is over 1,000 earned XP at this point. Just last night we played a session wherein I was nearly gunned down by four stormtroopers and their sergeant when I was caught out in the open, our sniper/medic was hobbled by complications with her addiction, and our team leader failed a Charm check which lost us the support of a local vigilante right when we were going to recruit him into the Alliance.

 

We're certainly much more competent and settled into our ideal rolls, but we can still be taken down and shaken up by sufficiently coordinated opponents. It also depends on which player you're going after. My character recently got into a duel with an Imperial Knight (we've drifted into an alternate Galactic Civil War scenario over time) which I won, but only by getting creative and putting my various talents to good use. I told my GM afterward how much fun it was and how it really felt like my character had become a Jedi Knight, and he mentioned that he was glad I picked up that duel. If our team leader had gotten it, it probably would have been over in a round; that Imperial was a match for me, but our leader is a lightsaber combat monster. When he pulls out his two lightsabers, the table's rallying cry becomes, "Will it blend?"

 

It's maybe the second reason why I love this game so much. It scales very well and good encounter design matters at all levels.

 

If I have one player that does all the work and has all the good ideas, can I award that player more XP?

 

You can, if you have a clearly delineated system of how much bonus XP a player can earn and why. My own solution is to award a 5 XP bonus to the whole table, explain that it was because of the group's stellar roleplaying (even if it's just one person) and then only award the bonus next session if a different player shines. Doing it this way, I've found my players are more likely to support each other when one of them ends up in the limelight rather than try to steal it for themselves.

 

It's not like my players are horrible people who try to hog the session, but I do have one very bold player, two decently outspoken players, and one timid player who is only just starting to get comfortable enough to come out of her shell. By default, the boldest of them makes the most decisions, so everything I can do to encourage the others is helpful.

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Hi there,

I see that the average XP Award per game session varies among 10 to 25 which seems fine.

But how frequently do you meet for a play to receive these Awards?

Due to many real life obligations our P&P Group can only be gathered to Play every 4 to 6 weeks.

Not only is this less frequently than I would wish, the character development is very slow, too, if you stick to the common XP rules.

How much XP would you Award to the Group for a 5 to 6 hour session every 5 weeks?

Regards

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I'd boost it personally to make it consequential.  I do 20ish a week in my campaigns and we meet about 5ish+ times a month.  I don't know as I'd just multiply because the problem with awarding too much is PCs tend to lose their organic nature and are more inclined to become dice pools.  I'd probably go as high as 30 or 35 maybe, and then I'd have some kind of online bonus options via Obsidian Portal, or Google+, or FB, etc that would allow people to contribute stuff like session short stories, character dev stories, in between session stories, or art, or background fluff pieces, and/or whatever adds to the campaign in a creative way.

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There are a lot of people here with far more experience than I (at GMing, that is), but what I've been doing with my Gang is setting 20-25xp as the standard and adding an additional 5xp if they did something extraordinary or unexpected. Did they find an alternate way to get past an obstacle? Boom, 5XP. It incentivizes them to try and actually attempt some feats of heroism or daring rather than going the minimal amount to get the guaranteed 20-25XP.

 

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My group plays for around 3 hours a week and I award between 5 and 20 xp depending on how much we get done and how good the roleplaying is.

I also award 5xp per session if a character diary entry is submitted to me, I highly recommend these as it's a great way for players to express their characters feelings that they would not want other players / characters to know and to catch up on the campaign if there is a break / remember info from sessions in the distant past (handy as my campaign has been running on and off since 2013).

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I'm awarding 20 Exp per session with 25 Exp if they do "Great Things," advance the plot significantly, or achieve a significant mission objective.

And this has been a topic that I've been wrestling with on whether or not to scale back my progression.

But a bit of background.  My PC's started with an additional 350 Exp to start so they were hovering at about 450 Character points to begin with and the average PC is about 1,000 Exp right now.  (Some of the newer PC's have less because the players started later).

However, the PC's are pretty unstoppable in most routine encounters.  Especially when they remember their force powers.

I was a bit concerned about how powerful these PC's are but then I realized that the players are having fun.  They enjoy getting new abilities, new powers, and increasing their skills.  That is part of the joy experienced as a player in this game.  And as a GM, I'm there to facilitate an enjoyable experience.  It IS fun for a player to be able to be the big unstoppable hero from time to time.

I also realized that these PC's are 'glass cannons.'  Sure they can take out 2-3 squads of regular storm troopers without too much trouble, but that fourth squad will start causing issues.  As we've learned the system, I am able to balance combat so that (If I want) I can ensure that 1 or 2 of the PC's are likely to go down in a session.

Space combat terrifies the Players (with good reason) and we all hate . . . nay despise The Last Jedi sufficiently that the players know that they can't "Leah Poppins" their way out of explosive decompression.

I also understand, as their GM, that I can start upping the stakes and start introducing bigger threats and more inquisitors.

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3 hours ago, Mark Caliber said:

I'm awarding 20 Exp per session with 25 Exp if they do "Great Things," advance the plot significantly, or achieve a significant mission objective.

And this has been a topic that I've been wrestling with on whether or not to scale back my progression.

But a bit of background.  My PC's started with an additional 350 Exp to start so they were hovering at about 450 Character points to begin with and the average PC is about 1,000 Exp right now.  (Some of the newer PC's have less because the players started later).

However, the PC's are pretty unstoppable in most routine encounters.  Especially when they remember their force powers.

I was a bit concerned about how powerful these PC's are but then I realized that the players are having fun.  They enjoy getting new abilities, new powers, and increasing their skills.  That is part of the joy experienced as a player in this game.  And as a GM, I'm there to facilitate an enjoyable experience.  It IS fun for a player to be able to be the big unstoppable hero from time to time.

I also realized that these PC's are 'glass cannons.'  Sure they can take out 2-3 squads of regular storm troopers without too much trouble, but that fourth squad will start causing issues.  As we've learned the system, I am able to balance combat so that (If I want) I can ensure that 1 or 2 of the PC's are likely to go down in a session.

Space combat terrifies the Players (with good reason) and we all hate . . . nay despise The Last Jedi sufficiently that the players know that they can't "Leah Poppins" their way out of explosive decompression.

I also understand, as their GM, that I can start upping the stakes and start introducing bigger threats and more inquisitors.

Dunno why they would be scared of decompression in the first place. First: Seat Belts, Second: Vacc Suits, Third: Theres not an idiot running the game (I hope :) )

Blowing someone off the ship in a hull breach is the exact same thing as starting combat by saying 'Bob, the sniper blew your characters head off. While he is making a new character, everyone else roll init'. 

Heck, I am one of the few people who only had a problem with the quality of the special effect instead of the actions taken, but that whole scene from the Raddus getting attacked all the way to Leia making it back into the ship was a failure of my third point.

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3 hours ago, Mark Caliber said:

I can't remember, but did I make it clear how much we (as an RPG Group) were disappointed by The Last Jedi?  

Well, if you divide the fans in half, I think you are on the 'liked it' side when everything averages out.....

:D 

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