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XP for Missing Players?

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Now in SW, I stick to increments of 5 for XP rewards but in our last System, the amount of XP for one session varied from 6 to 9 and the amount of XP you could do something with was sometimes as low as 2. Back then there was a possible point of XP per session for good RP per RAW. In the later periods, I tried something new by letting the players decide which character moments were their big favs this evening or who they thought just nailed it RP wise. The whole Table decided who gave them the best IC moment(s) and so the group allocated the bonus XP. I gave them around half the amount of Players in such bonus XP so they needed to decide together where to drop that XP (and no one could vote for themselves).

At my table, it worked out great it was a pure moment of recapping the most awesome stuff from that session and they surprised me more than once which actually were their favourites that session. It also turned out to give me more insight into what kind of interactions they overall preferred and could try to put more like those into the plot to have more awesome moments to choose from.

The other big benefit was shifting the Bonus-RP-XP from a possibly biased GM viewpoint (we sometimes don't see everything and possibly tend to favour some kind of interactions over others) over to what gave the whole table the most fun that evening.

Such methods could, in my opinion, counter some (if not all) of the maybe "being punished" bitterness when it comes to individual bonus XP. At the time I used it for different reasons but I think it can work that way also.

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Posted (edited)

Since this whole idea of a missing player not receiving XP keeps getting classified as “punishment,” despite numerous request to explain how it is, it might be beneficial to establish a baseline understanding of what, exactly, the word “punishment” means.

Here’s the Merriam-Webster definition, which jives with every other I could find:

punishment

noun

pun·ish·ment | \ ˈpə-nish-mənt  \

Definition of punishment

1: the act of punishing

2a: suffering, pain, or loss that serves as retribution

b: a penalty inflicted on an offender through judicial procedure

3: severe, rough, or disastrous treatment

That’s how I’ve always understood it to be, and that’s how I’ve been applying and interpreting the term in this conversation.

”Consequence” and “punishment” are not synonyms.

In the circumstance of a player missing a game, it seems pretty clear that not receiving XP is (unless the GM retroactively makes a big deal of it) clearly not being punished any more than one is being punished by not receiving a burger if they’re unable to make it to a cookout (for example).

Likewise, I don’t think any of us who are establishing long-time play experience are trying to assert any particular degree of expertise, but rather are using that as a means of comparison, as it appears that the ideas of both receiving XP when not present and that not receiving it is a “punishment” appear to be relatively recent phenomena.

Edited by Nytwyng
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Posted (edited)
23 minutes ago, Stan Fresh said:

Which have been answered.

To the effect of, “The players think it is.” But, that doesn’t make it so. They may not like it, but that doesn’t make it a punishment. A punishment requires punitive action designed to correct behavior. As I’ve described it, a player simply not being present and thus not receiving XP is not a punishment.* It’s a consequence of not attending, but, again, “punishment” and “consequence” are not synonymous. There’s no intent of correction or retribution.

Which is exactly why I felt it would be beneficial to see if we’re all interpreting the term the same way.

 

*(I do allow for the existence of d-bag GMs who don’t accept that - as a former manager of mine used to say - life happens, and who do go out of their way to try and “correct” someone having something come up to prevent attending.)

Edited by Nytwyng

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8 minutes ago, Nytwyng said:

To the effect of, “The players think it is.”

No.

 

9 minutes ago, Nytwyng said:

There’s no intent of correction or retribution. 

Also false.

There's no need to act as if all these things haven't been thoroughly explained already.

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1 minute ago, Stan Fresh said:

Also false.

There's no need to act as if all these things haven't been thoroughly explained already.

I’ll have to ask you to refresh my memory, then.

Joe can’t make it to the game.

Joe isn’t there when the GM distributes XP.

How, exactly, is the GM seeking retribution against Joe, and/or what behavior is the GM attempting to correct?

If the answer is, “The GM is trying to make sure Joe always comes to the game,” you’ll have to show me where that is established. The GM isn’t slapping Joe on the wrist; Joe just didn’t happen to be there to get the XP. (Again, I do allow for the existence of d-bag GMs who might do this. “Well, if you’d bothered to show up, you would have gotten XP.” I posit that they are the outliers.)

To illustrate again,

Joe can’t make it to the cookout.

Joe isn’t there when the GM (Grill Master 😏) distributes tasty burgers.

Is Joe being punished?

Worth noting, too...while I’ve never personally experienced a group that routinely distributes XP whether a player attends or not, I have nothing against groups that do. But, this constant characterization that the mere concept of not receiving XP must be a deliberate, punitive act by the GM is inaccurate.

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27 minutes ago, Nytwyng said:

To the effect of, “The players think it is.” But, that doesn’t make it so.

I'm all for "perception creates reality" but what sort of players are at the table that think this way?  The kind that wouldn't be invited back, but that's of course just my way to be. 

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1 minute ago, Nytwyng said:

To illustrate again,

4 People sit down to play poker.  One person continues to play better than the others and scores more chips.  Do the other players get to take chips to catch up?  What about the 5th buddy who couldn't make it?  Should chips be set aside for them, lest they feel punished? 

 

At the end of the day I'd not tell anyone else how to play at their table, but it's my hope that the "but but me too!" generation can understand why this seems so preposterous to others.  It seems to me that the effort spent trollishly gnashing teeth here about imaginary points being punishment could be better spent actually helping people where there is in fact a real need for effort. 

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Just now, Stan Fresh said:

You could, you know, read the thread in which you are participating.

 

If my understanding of the explanations has been, “If someone thinks it’s a punishment, it’s a punishment,” then retreading the same explanations is unlikely to change that understanding.

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2 minutes ago, themensch said:

4 People sit down to play poker.  One person continues to play better than the others and scores more chips.  Do the other players get to take chips to catch up?  What about the 5th buddy who couldn't make it?  Should chips be set aside for them, lest they feel punished? 

Great example.

My wife and I used to host a monthly poker game that would have anywhere from 4 to (one month) 10 (!!) players. From the sound of things, with the fluctuating numbers each month, there were many people who were regularly punished at that table.

I won twice, in about 3-4 years of games. I was so punished.....

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15 minutes ago, themensch said:

But did you get a participation trophy? 

lol nope. I got a day off, and that's fine. I'll get paid for the next day I work and won't begrudge anyone who worked for pay on the day  I was off. 

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2 minutes ago, Nytwyng said:

If my understanding of the explanations has been, “If someone thinks it’s a punishment, it’s a punishment,” then retreading the same explanations is unlikely to change that understanding.

Come at it with an open mind, then. The onus is not on others to provide an explanation at your convenience just because you can't be bothered to read through a discussion.

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6 minutes ago, Archlyte said:

lol nope. I got a day off, and that's fine. I'll get paid for the next day I work and won't begrudge anyone who worked for pay on the day  I was off. 

So, technically, you were rewarded by the other activity you chose to do, and thus didn't have them feels about being punished?  🤔

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Ok so here is how I see this:

If you play the game mainly to get XP and be able to buy up the tree you will be really disappointed if you don't get XP when you want to get it, so you need to be really open and express when you would like to have your XP so the GM can oblige you. The GM is not a mind reader. 

IF the GM is ok with having players who are there mainly for XP then no issue

BUT if the GM has other priorities or wants to have XP awarded based on any other convention than the player's desire for XP then something has to give. 

The player can accept that the GM is going to give XP as they will and reset their priorities to other aspects of play

OR the player can either quit, or try to get the GM to give XP in a way they originally did not want to give it. This gambit could result in the GM either kicking the player or letting the game run in a way they don't like, thus endangering the game.

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3 minutes ago, themensch said:

So, technically, you were rewarded by the other activity you chose to do, and thus didn't have them feels about being punished?  🤔

No one has to play and can vote with their feet. If they feel that bad about it my thing is that they can take one for the team (leaving or sucking it up and driving on) and let the game go on as the GM intended. Somebody chose that person to run the game so let them run the **** game. 

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36 minutes ago, Stan Fresh said:

Come at it with an open mind, then. The onus is not on others to provide an explanation at your convenience just because you can't be bothered to read through a discussion.

And yet I have read through it. Some posts, multiple times.

When the question has been asked, the answer has consistently been to the effect of, “The player feels like it is,” (perception) or, “The player didn’t get what the others did,” (consequence, not punishment).

It’s pretty clearly been a matter of not interpreting the term “punishment” the same way - some applying the definition of the word, others using it to mean something akin to “any perceived negative consequence.”

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23 hours ago, Archlyte said:

Again with the punishment. I didn't go to work yesterday and didn't get paid. Why am I being punished? 

First of all, there is really no need to quote whole posts if you only want to answer a single point.

Secondly, if you actually read what I wrote, you might notice that I am talking about trying to "correct" player behaviour using in-game stuff in general. And even if you do not act like this, the idea to punish players for perceived bad behaviour using the game often comes up (also in this thread), and it is a big No-No. Using XP is only one example of that, but it is as counter-productive as the rest.

Also, as has been pointed out to you, your metaphor sucks. Gaming is not work and the GM is not an employer. And I for one would not want to game with anybody, GM or player, who thought that way.

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Posted (edited)
8 minutes ago, Franigo said:

First of all, there is really no need to quote whole posts if you only want to answer a single point.

Secondly, if you actually read what I wrote, you might notice that I am talking about trying to "correct" player behaviour using in-game stuff in general. And even if you do not act like this, the idea to punish players for perceived bad behaviour using the game often comes up (also in this thread), and it is a big No-No. Using XP is only one example of that, but it is as counter-productive as the rest.

Also, as has been pointed out to you, your metaphor sucks. Gaming is not work and the GM is not an employer. And I for one would not want to game with anybody, GM or player, who thought that way.

Cool. Yeah right after I posted that I agreed it was a bad analogy but that was not visible enough I guess. Welcome to the argument :) I don't know how it's a No No as what flies is what will fly in the real world of games. The kind of stuff that goes on in community games is appalling. Sometimes these behavioral things are done in response to a player rather than some overbearing initiative by the GM. 

Edited by Archlyte

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2 hours ago, Nytwyng said:

Likewise, I don’t think any of us who are establishing long-time play experience are trying to assert any particular degree of expertise, but rather are using that as a means of comparison, as it appears that the ideas of both receiving XP when not present and that not receiving it is a “punishment” appear to be relatively recent phenomena.

They are not. I have been playing like this well back in the nineties, and I know tons of people who did the same. I also played Rolemaster 1st Edition back then and we earned and calculated every single XP. It is just different ways of handling things, and no big deal, really. It only gets to be a bid deal if folks make it one.

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16 hours ago, Vorzakk said:

Given how strong the feelings are on this topic, I actually asked my players about it.  Not a single one of them thought that they were entitled to absentee XP.  The one who misses most frequently actually thought the idea was ridiculous.  

And that's how you do it. Discuss it within your group, establish a baseline, and everybody's happy.

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