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XP for Missing Players?

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On 9/2/2018 at 9:28 PM, Rimsen said:

Why is it pushing them away?

Not true in every instance, but the fact that the character doesn't get XP, and therefor doesn't get to increase skills, talents, specializations, etc., while the rest of the do get the XP and thus the increases, might feel as an unjust punishment for players that have stuff happen to them outside their span of control. Like real life, unexpected work, caring for family, or not feeling alright.

Not all, but some people might see this as reason not to show up anymore, demotivated to game on, as their intruding personal life causes them to lag in the game as well.

Edited by Xcapobl

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7 minutes ago, Xcapobl said:

Not all, but some people might see this as reason not to show up anymore, demotivated to game on, as their intruding personal life causes them to lag in the game as well.

And these people are often those most in need of the escape gaming can provide.

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There are other things that are great about this hobby besides progression. There are Narrative things like exploring the motivations of your character and experiencing the cause and effect of the character's choices. There is the enjoyment you get for exploring the setting and trying to make and play characters that are in alignment with the setting. You can have an arc for a character without making them overtly transformed as far as the game mechanics are concerned. The constant emphasis on XP is just crazy. Imagine what would happen if the character were killed and had to start back over from 100 XP. Are you playing just to get XP?

Also, I feel like that people not showing up because the XP isn't what they want would be a dangerous thing to have happen. You trust the GM to run the game or not? 

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1 hour ago, Xcapobl said:

Not true in every instance, but the fact that the character doesn't get XP, and therefor doesn't get to increase skills, talents, specializations, etc., while the rest of the do get the XP and thus the increases, might feel as an unjust punishment for players that have stuff happen to them outside their span of control. Like real life, unexpected work, caring for family, or not feeling alright.

Not all, but some people might see this as reason not to show up anymore, demotivated to game on, as their intruding personal life causes them to lag in the game as well.

I keep asking, but no one has been able to do it..

Please explain how not receiving XP for a missed session is a "punishment."

I'd hoped to go to a local store's X-Wing 2.0 promo event yesterday, in which their version 1.0 inventory was on sale for 50% off. I didn't get to go. Was not getting ships for half price "punishment?"

Edited by Nytwyng

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I always assumed since I've got people, some of whom drive up towards an hour in rush hour traffic to make game nite, and then are upset when they miss game nite, that I didn't need to withhold xp, not showing up was enough disappointment.

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59 minutes ago, Nytwyng said:

Which is fine.

It still doesn't explain how not receiving something that one wasn't present to receive is a "punishment," as so many keep describing it. Disappointment and punishment are not synonyms.

I'm not sure anyone has to explain it, if that's how they view it, that's good enough for me, I don't feel owed an explanation. 

Of course the same could be asked of those that do withhold it, and why they feel some Pavlovian use of xp has to be imposed weekly? Doesn't someone's interest in the ongoing campaign qualify as participation overall on some level?  Can't that be reason enough to not worry about it? 

I don't personally feel those that withhold have to explain to me why, they just do.

I don't think one is good or bad or right or wrong.  Honestly I've done both, but at the end of the day my opinion is what's the point bothering?  People want to play, and they're mad when they can't.  Seems self correcting imo.  It's just math for math's sake imo if you even want to track it.  Whether it's easy for someone with a spreadsheet isn't the point, the point is there isn't one for my tastes.

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3 hours ago, Nytwyng said:

I keep asking, but no one has been able to do it..

Please explain how not receiving XP for a missed session is a "punishment."

Let's start by stating that I'm not saying it is punishment. Whether characters receive XP or not when the player couldn't attend the gaming session, should simply be an understanding reached during session 0, and people need then accept this mutual agreement.

However, some people, not you nor I, interpret it as punishment. A feeling they get when they see that their character isn't as powerful / advanced / developed / grown (pick and choose) as the other characters from the players that did attend (each and every ?) session. They feel something valuable was withheld, only because they couldn't attend due to very valid reasons beyond their control. I think, that not getting XP for skipping a session isn't defined as punishment in general, but interpreted as such by individuals. For whatever reason they might have to do so.

I have experienced Dungeon Masters in D&D who actually said to players: "Your character doesn't get the XP for last session as you weren't present." to players. Even when their character sheet was available and their character's skills and feats and special abilities were used in the narration of the adventure to overcome puzzles, obstacles, fights, and what not. I don't define this as punishment, but I can imagine how some people might interpret this as such, especially in the way the DM had given the message.

Another DM had the house rule that characters from absent players only got 10% of the average XP other players' characters got. "Your character got 10 XP while listening to some stories in the local pub, gaining a rumour (and plot hook) or two, while the other characters got 100 XP for going into the dungeon and fighting the goblins there." All that is fine and well, until the situation arises where it wouldn't be logical and practical to have a character 'not attend' because the player could not attend; the "my character was suddenly in Limbo"effect.

3 hours ago, Nytwyng said:

I'd hoped to go to a local store's X-Wing 2.0 promo event yesterday, in which their version 1.0 inventory was on sale for 50% off. I didn't get to go. Was not getting ships for half price "punishment?"

You and I might be disappointed to have missed an opportunity. If you didn't get to go because your parents grounded you after some bad behaviour, go ahead and call it punishment. But that is one very specific reason I can think of. To be honest, however, not getting 1.0 X-Wing stuff at half price isn't a punishment in this case, it is a consequence of having to stay at home, the true punishment in this example.

It is, however, just an axample I could think of, as you haven't given your reason why you couldn't go.

3 hours ago, Archlyte said:

 The constant emphasis on XP is just crazy. Imagine what would happen if the character were killed and had to start back over from 100 XP. Are you playing just to get XP?

To me, @Archlyte is right here. People want "Loot and XP" like they're the life bread and water of gaming. That constant drive to improve the character and have it become more powerful. In a way we have many RPGs to thank for this, with an emphasis on the games that have a level-based structure that defines the character's  power. Both tabletop and online games with it. That next tier in hitpoints, and that following spell level with more powerful effects. Computer gaming has evolved to the point where the death of your character has become a minor inconvenience. In Diablo III you have to make a conscious choice to make a hardcore character, that is actually lost if it is not raised from the dead by other players. World of Warcraft forces you to run/walk from the graveyard to near the spot where your character died, and except for some damage to your gear (punishment?) your character is just fine after reacing that spot. There are hardly any save points in games anymore, just safe games.

I think there are people who play just to get XP (and Loot!). Getting Loot and XP is considered the reward for playing/attending game night. @Nytwyng, @Archlyte and myself would simply be disappointed, if even such, not to get loot and XP for our characters. Just playing, having fun with friends and seeing the story unfold and being part of it can be its own reward for us (or such is my impression anyways).

3 hours ago, Archlyte said:

Also, I feel like that people not showing up because the XP isn't what they want would be a dangerous thing to have happen.

Again, I am in agreement, with @Archlyte here. People not showing up because of disappointment about few or no XP isn't just about those people possibly interpretating not getting (enough) XP as punishment, but it also has the capacity to undermine group stability. Outside the game people might might start to harbor resentment for fellow gamers when they don't show up "for no good reason". In-Game this might mean a constant flux in party composition. Either way, I have seen groups fall apart over this subject. Hence why I thik session 0 is so important, and even that is no guarantee.

Edited by Xcapobl

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23 minutes ago, 2P51 said:

I'm not sure anyone has to explain it, if that's how they view it, that's good enough for me, I don't feel owed an explanation. 

Of course the same could be asked of those that do withhold it, and why they feel some Pavlovian use of xp has to be imposed weekly? Doesn't someone's interest in the ongoing campaign qualify as participation overall on some level?  Can't that be reason enough to not worry about it? 

I don't personally feel those that withhold have to explain to me why, they just do.

I don't think one is good or bad or right or wrong.  Honestly I've done both, but at the end of the day my opinion is what's the point bothering?  People want to play, and they're mad when they can't.  Seems self correcting imo.  It's just math for math's sake imo if you even want to track it.  Whether it's easy for someone with a spreadsheet isn't the point, the point is there isn't one for my tastes.

I'd agree that no one is owed an explanation as to why one does/doesn't provide XP to someone who wasn't present for a session. As you say, that's a group-by-group thing.

What I'm left scratching my head at is this constant refrain that absent players not receiving XP is a "punishment."

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24 minutes ago, Xcapobl said:

Let's start by stating that I'm not saying it is punishment. Whether characters receive XP or not when the player couldn't attend the gaming session, should simply be an understanding reached during session 0, and people need then accept this mutual agreement.

However, some people, not you nor I, interpret it as punishment. A feeling they get when they see that their character isn't as powerful / advanced / developed / grown (pick and choose) as the other characters from the players that did attend (each and every ?) session. They feel something valuable was withheld, only because they couldn't attend due to very valid reasons beyond their control. I think, that not getting XP for skipping a session isn't defined as punishment in general, but interpreted as such by individuals.

Interpretation does not make it so. Meanwhile, all of the references of punishment on this subject have been directed at the GMs: "Why punish players for something coming up?" "Why push players away?" and so forth. It's not addressed as a perception or interpretation of the player (an incorrect one, at that?), but as a stone cold truth that GMs who don't deliver XP for missed sessions are doing so out of some vindictive motive.

You say that they "feel something valuable was withheld." If they weren't present when that "something valuable" was distributed, what, exactly, is being "withheld?"

30 minutes ago, Xcapobl said:

I have experienced Dungeon Masters in D&D who actually said to players: "Your character doesn't get the XP for last session as you weren't present." to players. Even when their character sheet was available and their character's skills and feats and special abilities were used in the narration of the adventure to overcome puzzles, obstacles, fights, and what not. I don't define this as punishment, but I can imagine how some people might interpret this as such, especially in the way the DM had given the message.

OK, now we might be getting somewhere. I can see poor delivery being an influencer on the matter. But, traditionally, XP is delivered at the end of a session, so it can be spent before the next, yes? So...aside from the type of example that you cite here (which I'd agree is a case of the GM just being a jerk), how, exactly is a player who's not there to be told, "OK, great game, everyone...20 XP." being delivered any message poorly?

Now, you also start to touch on another puzzler for me, then go into a bit more detail....

40 minutes ago, Xcapobl said:

Another DM had the house rule that characters from absent players only got 10% of the average XP other players' characters got. "Your character got 10 XP while listening to some stories in the local pub, gaining a rumour (and plot hook) or two, while the other characters got 100 XP for going into the dungeon and fighting the goblins there." All that is fine and well, until the situation arises where it wouldn't be logical and practical to have a character 'not attend' because the player could not attend; the "my character was suddenly in Limbo"effect.

I've done it in the past (as recounted earlier) and it ended badly, so, personally, I can never condone a GM using a PC as an NPC, or someone else play their character, unless that player explicitly requests it be done for that session. (My wife and I both play in a few groups, and there have been times she hasn't been able to play. She's given me her character sheet and said, "If you guys need my character play it," and has also messaged the GM to let him know I have her OK to play the character. It's happened maybe twice.) As a GM, I will bend and twist logic to (and maybe beyond) it's breaking point to set aside a character whose player couldn't attend. I don't ever want to be in a position again where a player drops their character and the game because someone else made decisions on their behalf.

46 minutes ago, Xcapobl said:

You and I might be disappointed to have missed an opportunity. If you didn't get to go because your parents grounded you after some bad behaviour, go ahead and call it punishment. But that is one very specific reason I can think of. To be honest, however, not getting 1.0 X-Wing stuff at half price isn't a punishment in this case, it is a consequence of having to stay at home, the true punishment in this example.

It is, however, just an axample I could think of, as you haven't given your reason why you couldn't go.

Well, I haven't been in a position to be grounded by my parents for bad behavior for some 30 years. So...I'm flattered? ;)

But, the point is...the reason doesn't matter. Life got in the way. I missed out on the opportunity to get a good deal. If life gets in the way of going to a game session, I missed out on an opportunity to play and, as part of that, get XP. Still not a punishment, either way.

In point of fact, one of the campaigns I'm in as a player scheduled a session for this past Saturday...after I'd already made another commitment. While I enjoy the campaign greatly, I had no expectation to receive XP for not being there; not getting XP for not actually going through the experience isn't a "punishment." (As it turns out, with other players having dropped out of the campaign, the group is now down to just me, my wife, and our son, so the GM rescheduled...for our wedding anniversary. ? )

57 minutes ago, Xcapobl said:

Again, I am in agreement, with @Archlyte here. People not showing up because of disappointment about few or no XP isn't just about those people possibly interpretating not getting (enough) XP as punishment, but it also has the capacity to undermine group stability. Outside the game people might might start to harbor resentment for fellow gamers when they don't show up "for no good reason". In-Game this might mean a constant flux in party composition. Either way, I have seen groups fall apart over this subject. Hence why I thik session 0 is so important, and even that is no guarantee.

In some 35-ish years of gaming, I've never seen this happen over someone not receiving XP for a missed session. Never. Never even heard of it until this thread. (For that matter, never heard of routinely providing XP to players missing sessions, or PCs regularly being co-opted as NPCs if a player is missing until this thread.) As player, GM, or observer, across multiple game systems, venues, and groups. I find it hard to believe that I've totally beaten the odds and only experienced extraordinary groups in that time. If I have, though, I should probably book the next flight to Vegas.

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42 minutes ago, Nytwyng said:

I've never seen this happen over someone not receiving XP for a missed session. Never. Never even heard of it until this thread. (For that matter, never heard of routinely providing XP to players missing sessions, or PCs regularly being co-opted as NPCs if a player is missing until this thread.) As player, GM, or observer, across multiple game systems, venues, and groups. I find it hard to believe that I've totally beaten the odds and only experienced extraordinary groups in that time. If I have, though, I should probably book the next flight to Vegas.

Time to roll them bones on the strip there. ?

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6 hours ago, Xcapobl said:

Not true in every instance, but the fact that the character doesn't get XP, and therefor doesn't get to increase skills, talents, specializations, etc., while the rest of the do get the XP and thus the increases, might feel as an unjust punishment for players that have stuff happen to them outside their span of control. Like real life, unexpected work, caring for family, or not feeling alright.

Not all, but some people might see this as reason not to show up anymore, demotivated to game on, as their intruding personal life causes them to lag in the game as well.

TBH I play with friends, not random groups or FLGS playdays. So ppl usually know each other and have a different approach.

But I understand your point and if it causes troubles, obviously shouldn't employ.

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I don't personally think about this in terms of individuals, but the team. The missing player might be the Medic and one session away from "It's  Not That Bad", and I bet anyone upset about Doc getting xp when they were absent changes their mind when the GM just rolled 00+ on the crit table...

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You and your friends meet weekly for dinner. You missed last week's dinner. As a consequence you're the only one who isn't served dessert this week, and you get your food a bit later than everyone else. This is not a punishment! It's just a lack of reward.

How does that make you feel?

 

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2 hours ago, Stan Fresh said:

You and your friends meet weekly for dinner. You missed last week's dinner. As a consequence you're the only one who isn't served dessert this week, and you get your food a bit later than everyone else. This is not a punishment! It's just a lack of reward.

How does that make you feel?

 

It's not really a comparison. You don't get dinner if you don't show up. End of story. You can still get food next time.

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I think what I'm going to do right now is grant you all 1000 XP, whether you show up or not, whether you're even playing a game at my table or not.  You can put them on your character sheet right now.  Since XP is a valueless commodity that no longer needs to be earned, I'm just going to give it out to all of you so you may have your Happy Feelings™ because that is what is important.

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3 hours ago, Stan Fresh said:

It really is.

You don't get the dessert of new talents and skills.

And you're also a little bit behind everyone else.

Being served last and not being served dessert when you do attend is not equivalent.

You miss a weekly meal, and as such, don’t eat at that meal.

Next week, you attend, and you have a meal, including the dessert.

An equivalent scenario would be expecting to be served two meals and two desserts this week because you missed last week.

And not getting two meals and two desserts this week isn’t a punishment, either.

Edited by Nytwyng

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My view is it doesn't matter much, if players don't often miss, and if it isn't the same player missing every time.

If one player is away 50% of the time, and they start falling behind, and feeling like they cannot contribute, they won't be having fun and it becomes an issue.

If a player is away 10% of the time, I don't care if they get xp or not, it won't really matter to how much they can contribute or their fun.

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2 hours ago, themensch said:

I think what I'm going to do right now is grant you all 1000 XP, whether you show up or not, whether you're even playing a game at my table or not.  You can put them on your character sheet right now.  Since XP is a valueless commodity that no longer needs to be earned, I'm just going to give it out to all of you so you may have your Happy Feelings™ because that is what is important.

Blast you Themensch, I was going to do this too!  Stole my thunder . . .

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6 minutes ago, Mark Caliber said:

Blast you Themensch, I was going to do this too!  Stole my thunder . . .

Hey, don't let me stop you.  Now everyone can have 2000 XP!   Next we'll have to get funding from the Hugg* Cartels.

 

* like Hutts, but made of not-slimey plush materials.  Also quite lovable. 

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