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XP for Missing Players?

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On 7/7/2019 at 6:43 AM, Spraug said:

Currently I am GM but usually I am just a gamer. In almost all of the cases we have everybody at the same XP level because a) it helps having all players at the same rate b) we feel that the GM shouldn't judge people if they are playing "correctly" (we're doing if for fun not as acting class). But this is definitely something that will be different for every group with no universal right or wrong.

Well, most has been said anyway, but I had an interesting encounter when I was a player in a different group with no overlap with my other groups, that underscores this viewpoint a bit. We played the first adventure and that took about four to five sessions out of which I was present for all but one. That turned out to be the last one where the other players got XP. When I showed up next time and was told that the first adventure had ended. When I inquired about XP I was told I wouldn't get any because I had not been present. Everybody else had been rewarded for their contributions and I did feel cheated out of my XP of the previous sessions. For this and for other reasons it was my last session with this particular group.

I am sorry to hear that you felt cheated, and I'm being genuine about that, but if we dig down on that isn't that feeling you had a result of how you framed and thought about the situation? Can I venture a guess that the expectation you had in that situation was that all of the characters should be equal, or that you should get what everyone else gets? Perhaps you had framed everyone having fun to mean that those conditions needed to be satisfied among other things. There are things that will happen in game that are not perfectly equitable, and misfortune can affect one PC while another succeeds and excels. I'm not sure why XP must conform to a different standard because even though the points a meta thing, they interface with the game world directly in the form of power. 

Also was the only thing that was wrong with the group and the game that you didn't get equal XP? I'm a firm believer in the idea that if you don't like a game or GM you should bail as soon as you know for sure that it's not going to work, but this seems to me at least like a pretty minor issue and one that probably wouldn't have been all that frequent unless you had planned on missing a lot of sessions. Regardless, I do feel that getting upset over such a situation in unfortunate and I hop that you have found great games elsewhere. 

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Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, Archlyte said:

I am sorry to hear that you felt cheated, and I'm being genuine about that, but if we dig down on that isn't that feeling you had a result of how you framed and thought about the situation? Can I venture a guess that the expectation you had in that situation was that all of the characters should be equal, or that you should get what everyone else gets? Perhaps you had framed everyone having fun to mean that those conditions needed to be satisfied among other things. There are things that will happen in game that are not perfectly equitable, and misfortune can affect one PC while another succeeds and excels. I'm not sure why XP must conform to a different standard because even though the points a meta thing, they interface with the game world directly in the form of power. 

Also was the only thing that was wrong with the group and the game that you didn't get equal XP? I'm a firm believer in the idea that if you don't like a game or GM you should bail as soon as you know for sure that it's not going to work, but this seems to me at least like a pretty minor issue and one that probably wouldn't have been all that frequent unless you had planned on missing a lot of sessions. Regardless, I do feel that getting upset over such a situation in unfortunate and I hop that you have found great games elsewhere. 

I think it was more the point that the GM was playing an adventure that offloaded XP at a definite end point or breaking point and hadn't awarded any prior to that point. Just because the player missed the very last session meant that all his character's prior work the last 4 weeks was entirely wasted. That was the way it read to me which is completely different to "Oh we had 5 sessions where xp was given out, but I missed one so I'm behind." One is missing an entire month's worth of progress for a singular non-attendance vs a few hours. That is fundamentally unfair and not in the spirit of a good gaming table.

The former for me is completely unacceptable, though by the indication of the post there was also other issues at play. 

Edited by LordBritish

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Posted (edited)
On 7/19/2019 at 3:05 AM, LordBritish said:

I think it was more the point that the GM was playing an adventure that offloaded XP at a definite end point or breaking point and hadn't awarded any prior to that point. Just because the player missed the very last session meant that all his character's prior work the last 4 weeks was entirely wasted. That was the way it read to me which is completely different to "Oh we had 5 sessions where xp was given out, but I missed one so I'm behind." One is missing an entire month's worth of progress for a singular non-attendance vs a few hours. That is fundamentally unfair and not in the spirit of a good gaming table.

The former for me is completely unacceptable, though by the indication of the post there was also other issues at play. 

Yeah I missed that and if the GM was doing it like that then I agree with you. I thought it was regarding one session out of 5 in which XP was awarded each session. 

Edited by Archlyte

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On ‎7‎/‎20‎/‎2019 at 11:24 PM, Archlyte said:

Yeah I missed that and if the GM was doing it like that then I agree with you. I thought it was regarding one session out of 5 in which XP was awarded each session. 

Aye it's no worries, it's an easy mistake to make. ^^

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On 8/28/2018 at 5:30 AM, kaosoe said:

I never understood why people don't hand out XP for absent players. I suppose they want to discourage players from skipping sessions, but it has the potential of becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. Miss too many and they're not going to want to continue a campaign because their characters are too far behind. If the campaign or adventures are fun enough, The simple fact they are missing a session should be enough of a discouragement.

Bingo! We're all adults in my group with tons of adulting to get on with in real life, which sometimes bleeds over into weekends. People go out of town, parents/siblings/whatever get sick, something unavoidable comes up - it happens. If we go ahead and play anyway, screw it - it's only 15 points here or there. Their character is off doing something awesome just offscreen.

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3 hours ago, Desslok said:

Bingo! We're all adults in my group with tons of adulting to get on with in real life, which sometimes bleeds over into weekends. People go out of town, parents/siblings/whatever get sick, something unavoidable comes up - it happens. If we go ahead and play anyway, screw it - it's only 15 points here or there. Their character is off doing something awesome just offscreen.

I think this is a valid argument but I will say it does make XP not an "award" or something pegged to achievement. If you are doing it that way then XP is simply a factor of time, accruing as the game continues. That may be the way that some groups want to play. 

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4 hours ago, Archlyte said:

I think this is a valid argument but I will say it does make XP not an "award" or something pegged to achievement. If you are doing it that way then XP is simply a factor of time, accruing as the game continues. That may be the way that some groups want to play. 

XP should never be an award. It should stay only a tool used to measure the experience gained by the player characters.

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Posted (edited)

Interesting to see (being slightly pedantic, maybe) how some people see this as awarding the "Player" the XP, where others clearly make the distinction of the "Character" gaining the XP. I haven't seen much confusion in this thread about that, but I also know of a couple of people who due to various reasons struggle with their English. And a term such as "Player Character" doesn't help either.

What does become clear, is that in some cases XP seem to be awarded to players who were present. Sometimes even regardless of their character's contribution to the overall story. And I can imagine Player A feeling cheated after dragging the entire adventure forth, trying to keep everybody invovled, solving most puzzles, saving the party in combats, etc., and Player B getting the same XP after (for example) four hours of play in which that Player B was more involved with his cellphone or the TV visible in the next room. A reason not to use XP as a Player-Reward indeed. There is a very clear distinction between being present, and being involved. @WolfRider said it well.

Edited by Xcapobl
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14 hours ago, Xcapobl said:

Interesting to see (being slightly pedantic, maybe) how some people see this as awardubg the "Player" the XP, where others clearly make the distinction of the "Character" gaining the XP. I haven't seen much confusion in this thread about that, but I also know of a couple of people who due to various reasons struggle with their English. And a term such as "Player Character" doesn't help either.

What does become clear, is that in some cases XP seem to be awarded to players who were present. Sometimes even regardless of their character's contribution to the overall story. And I can imagine Player A feeling cheated after dragging the entire adventure forth, trying to keep everybody invovled, solving most puzzles, saving the party in combats, etc., and Player B getting the same XP after (for example) four hours of play in which that Player B was more involved with his cellphone or the TV visible in the next room. A reason not to use XP as a Player-Reward indeed. There is a very clear distinction between being present, and being involved. @WolfRider said it well.

In which case, Player A should get bonus XP for good role-playing. 

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20 hours ago, WolfRider said:

XP should never be an award. It should stay only a tool used to measure the experience gained by the player characters.

I used quotations around Award because of the way it had been discussed at times earlier in the thread and because some see it as a thing that is used in a meta way to affect the player. Typically in rule books when XP is transferred to a character it is referred to as an XP award. 

I agree that your definition of it is the one I like the best, namely the idea of XP used to show the relative power of the character. I think I have to change my view a bit here because upon reflection I think that I don't really like XP awards for absent players, but for the same reasons I don't like it as an automatic time-in-play schedule. Sometimes characters don't learn or really do anything in a session, and players give the character new powers and levels in skills they didn't even use or train. If a character did a lot that would have made them more powerful

I also think that power gain has a large effect on how a campaign feels and it's easy to jump the shark. I think WOTC did a study and determined that people overall liked the 7-12 levels the best. Not so low that they felt under-powered but not so high that the scope was fantastic and mortality was only achieved through fighting gods. This game is much less prone to power creep though, and I forget that sometimes when I am discussing it. 

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I've played RPG since July 1980 and experimented many different ways to use XPs. Deciding how much XPs will receive any characters present in the gaming session currently ran, seems to me the only unbiased way to give XPs. I don't need to measure the players activity or how good their roleplay is. Both thing I hate to do when GMing mostly because as a player I'm not very active and I'm not good with 1st RP. And it is not because the player sucks, like me, that the character should be penalized with receiving less XPs.

But if the character wasn't present then no XPs. As a rule if the player isn't present its character isn't too, except in the very rare case when the character must be present. Then it's another player who have the responsibility of this character and there is no reasons to not give him / her any XPs. Nothing complicated, the rules are known and accepted by all players before they sit down at the table to play. And because I'm not very generous with XPs, in SW FFG it's 5 or 10 for a session and 20 to 30 for a complete scenario, missing character are not to much behind others in their development.

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11 hours ago, Tramp Graphics said:

In which case, Player A should get bonus XP for good role-playing. 

Maybe the GM should think about how they failed to engage the seemingly distracted player, instead of making them feel even more left out like this.

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2 hours ago, Stan Fresh said:

Maybe the GM should think about how they failed to engage the seemingly distracted player, instead of making them feel even more left out like this.

I tend to agree with @Tramp Graphics about awarding some bonus XP to inviolved players, but @Stan Fresh makes as valid a point...

But there's more... I once saw a group where everybody, at the end of the session, voted who was the best involved, funniest, etc. Rule 1; don't vote for yourself. Rule 2; if everybody has one vote, nobody wins. The 'winner', or 'winners' in case of a tie, got those 5 bonus XP. Not the Game Master, but the players deciding where these bonus XP went. And if they tried to break the system by circle-voting, nobody wins. 😏

Haven't tried that before, as my players are people I never had to deal with such problems with. But that's two simple rules, putting the extra award in the hands ofd the players themselves. Maybe I have been most fortunate with that.

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6 minutes ago, Xcapobl said:

But there's more... I once saw a group where everybody, at the end of the session, voted who was the best involved, funniest, etc. Rule 1; don't vote for yourself. Rule 2; if everybody has one vote, nobody wins. The 'winner', or 'winners' in case of a tie, got those 5 bonus XP. Not the Game Master, but the players deciding where these bonus XP went. And if they tried to break the system by circle-voting, nobody wins. 😏

Haven't tried that before, as my players are people I never had to deal with such problems with. But that's two simple rules, putting the extra award in the hands ofd the players themselves. Maybe I have been most fortunate with that.

The Dice for Brains podcast does something like that on occasion.

It's also something that Powered by the Apocalypse games tend to do - they call it end-of-session questions. Some of them are directed at the whole group (did you overcome a significant enemy?), some of them at individual characters. Answer yes, and you get XP.

 

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4 hours ago, Xcapobl said:

I tend to agree with @Tramp Graphics about awarding some bonus XP to inviolved players, but @Stan Fresh makes as valid a point...

But there's more... I once saw a group where everybody, at the end of the session, voted who was the best involved, funniest, etc. Rule 1; don't vote for yourself. Rule 2; if everybody has one vote, nobody wins. The 'winner', or 'winners' in case of a tie, got those 5 bonus XP. Not the Game Master, but the players deciding where these bonus XP went. And if they tried to break the system by circle-voting, nobody wins. 😏

Haven't tried that before, as my players are people I never had to deal with such problems with. But that's two simple rules, putting the extra award in the hands ofd the players themselves. Maybe I have been most fortunate with that.

I did this back when we ran Shadowrun, and it worked great. Not because the group was xp hungry and felt left behind but they sometimes had different views what was the most awesome moment that session, and it was also great to highlight the most epic moments at the end.

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Wow, this is still going ... 🤪

As a GM, I do not give out bonus XP for good roleplaying and the like. First of all, I am not some kind of parent raising someone, rewarding "good" behaviour and punishing "bad"; we are all adults. Secondly, it is so very subjective, what some consider good others might think bad. Thirdly, some players are more outgoing, others are shy, and a million other character traits that might influence this, and I am certainly not going to reward or punish my friends for their personal characteristics; I am not the judge of them.

I could see doing a group decision. But in the end, what is the benefit? I do not game to educate or change my friends, so the possible benefit of encouraging RP is small. Either they do it because they want, because it is fun, or they do not. It is not my place to tell them what to do, how to play - as long as they all have fun, it is good. And if I feel that some behaviour is detrimental to the group, or if I want to encourage roleplaying, I just talk to my players ... again, we are all adults.

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