Jump to content
warchild1x

XP for Missing Players?

Recommended Posts

To me this signals that XP gain has been made too important in the mix of reasons to play and reasons to keep playing. It's a design flaw in my mind, and while I understand why they did it, it wasn't the best way to go. To this end I try to slow and de-value XP gain in my games in order to take the emphasis off of it; there is still progression, but I want it to be way down the list as far as how prominent it figures in the presented reasons for play. Also a graph of it would look like it tapering off around the 400 XP point depending on the campaign. If a player chooses to fixate on XP gain/builds then fine, but the controls I have in place will mitigate that to a large degree. 

How many full specs do people want for the character? It's not like you picture the main characters in the movies doing absolutely everything as a pro (except Rey). At some point the character reaches a skill zenith and I would hope it's about the story of the character from then on with some small increments of improvement. If you do it RAW you'll end up with Han Solo who is also a full medical Doctor and a Force Wizard with half a tree of Ace from AoR. No thanks. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, EliasWindrider said:

Your question seems to assume that there is a regular gaming schedule to "book over" rather than picking one day out of a 2 to 3 month timeframe that works best for the most people, or that it was a day originally open to all people that one of them canceled on.  That isn't the real life situation for my gaming group. 

I'm sorry, that's not quite true for my group - we have people that will commit months ahead of time and then the day of have something come up.  Personal feelings aside, why would we reward that? We are all good friends after all and Unforeseen Circumstances™ happen to all of us.  However, I've often put other plans aside to make time for gaming because it is important to me.  Should I get extra XP because I never, ever miss a session?

I guess we could split hairs over this all day and never see eye to eye, but I just wanted to make sure my context was clear.  In order to avoid hurt feelings, our rule has been "XP is for those that show up." You don't get points for a game you don't play.  But, then again, we're all older people who have been at this a while and our mentality is likely influenced by that.

There is no one right answer here, every table is different and I always say, "your table, your rules."  Please forgive me if I ever implied otherwise. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, themensch said:

I'm sorry, that's not quite true for my group - we have people that will commit months ahead of time and then the day of have something come up.  Personal feelings aside, why would we reward that? We are all good friends after all and Unforeseen Circumstances™ happen to all of us.  However, I've often put other plans aside to make time for gaming because it is important to me.  Should I get extra XP because I never, ever miss a session?

I guess we could split hairs over this all day and never see eye to eye, but I just wanted to make sure my context was clear.  In order to avoid hurt feelings, our rule has been "XP is for those that show up." You don't get points for a game you don't play.  But, then again, we're all older people who have been at this a while and our mentality is likely influenced by that.

There is no one right answer here, every table is different and I always say, "your table, your rules."  Please forgive me if I ever implied otherwise. 

Different situations, in mine a player cancelling the day of (or even a few weeks in advance) almost never happens, it's the gm's choice of game day that determines 2 months in advance which of the same 2 people can't make it, and that's known by the GM before he chooses a game day.  It's the GM's upfront choice not the players' after the fact choice that determines who can't make it.

To show the level of dedication Player A makes sure the GM has an appropriate set of wotc minis for game days that he CAN'T make (i.e. he has 500+ wotc minis, the GM describes the type and number of characters and the player lends the GM a zippy bag full of appropriate minis a week or 2 before the game he CAN'T make otherwise it's done the day of the game ), player B organizes the doodle poll which has increased the frequency of gaming and managed to get player A and B at the same session once  now in the span of 7 or so months since player B joined the group.  Both are highly dedicated to the group don't have a personality conflict but they have largely incompatible schedules which they are both trying to make work.  But it is the GM's choice of game day that determines who gets to make a particular session.

 

BTW we have a pretty tactile group, custom minis, dry erase marker maps, physical dice, and othello tokens for destiny points rather than the cheap card stock tokens ffg sells with the dice.

Edited by EliasWindrider

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

People that think that they should get a participation trophy....eh, I mean should receive XP, even if they weren't there....

 

People that think *feel* that NOT getting their participation trophy....eh, I mean XP, BECAUSE they weren't there, is some kind of punishment....

 

Are entitled jackwagons that I would prefer not be at my table anyway. 

 

I'm willing to do a solo, no-dice (or very few dice) short adventure via email if they couldn't be there for some reason. They can make up part of what they would have gotten had they attended. But I'm not going to hand out the same bennies to people that weren't there as those that WERE would get. It cheapens everything for those that could actually be arsed to show up.

 

You know when we game. If it's a priority, you'll be there. If your grandmother/kid/spouse/dog is sick and in the hospital, that sucks, but missing a session isn't going to put you far behind everyone else. If you're not there because you'd rather be skiing or boating or whatever, we see where your priorities are and I see no reason to reward that behavior. If work interferes, well, sometimes that happens. If you know it's going to be a regular thing, either find a group that plays on a day that works better for your schedule, or don't complain when you're not advancing at the same rate as everyone else. OR, do things during the sessions that you *can* attend to earn bonus XP so even though you're missing sessions, you're NOT behind everyone else.

 

Sometimes, work interferes with me gaming with my group. When I'm 14 hours away, sometimes I don't feel like driving home on the weekend, so I stay where I'm at. I stayed last weekend. I stayed this weekend. I'm not such an arrogant, entitled pr1ck that I think that I should get to share in whatever the rest of the group accomplished. Nor do I want any of them playing my character. Nor do I particularly want the GM running my character as an NPC who just interacts with the adventure when something he's good at comes up, because I don't want the rest of the group thinking that he's available to do their bidding, catch bullets for them, or be the chump who does the things they don't want to do (they attempted to do this to me once already. And if my character gets a chance, he *WILL* watch at least one of them die). 

 

If I don't go to work on Monday, I don't get paid. I don't get more practice running my crew, which means my skill at my job doesn't increase. I'm not being punished, I'm just not being rewarded nor improving myself. Lack of reward =/= punishment. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/28/2018 at 4:23 PM, EliasWindrider said:

It's the GM's upfront choice not the players' after the fact choice that determines who can't make it.

I'm not sure we're talking to each other as much as at each other, but that's okay.  What you said here made it clear to me that your GM is either making a tough call or being stodgy, I can't say which.  You mentioned use of Doodle to coordinate schedules so it sounds like the former.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
23 minutes ago, themensch said:

I'm not sure we're talking to each other as much as at each other, but that's okay.  What you said here made it clear to me that your GM is either making a tough call or being stodgy, I can't say which.  You mentioned use of Doodle to coordinate schedules so it sounds like the former.

The gm is making a call that doesn't have a good answer but isn't that tough, take turns as frequently and evenly as possible and both players A & B get xp regardless of whose turn it is.  If it wasn't for giving both A & B xp the call might be a tough call.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, 2P51 said:

I've awarded 80 xp to everyone in my campaign since this thread started, present and absent, sky hasn't fallen...........just sayin..........

It's almost as if it doesn't actually matter in the grand scheme of the universe. 

Conversely, I have awarded zero XP to everyone in my campaign since this thread started and hey, look, the sky is still up over here too. 

I'll admit we just had session zero Thursday, though ?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/30/2018 at 1:37 AM, 2P51 said:

I've awarded 80 xp to everyone in my campaign since this thread started, present and absent, sky hasn't fallen...........just sayin..........

And I imagine you don't have consult a documentation if one of your players needed verification on how much XP they should have.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, kaosoe said:

And I imagine you don't have consult a documentation if one of your players needed verification on how much XP they should have.

Actually, I also award XP whether or not someone made it to the session, but I do need to consult a document if players need verification. I still award extra XP for good roleplaying, and I usually give a "bonus" at the end of a major story arc. I've also slowly increased the amount of XP I've awarded per session, from 15 at the beginning to 20 near the middle and finally 25 now that we're close to the end.

So I keep a "player tracker" for each campaign, which has the following notes:

  • "Base" XP awarded per session. (These days, 5 per hour played.)
  • Total XP earned during the campaign.
  • List of Obligation/Duty/Morality for each player character, as well as "combined values" for Obligation and Duty.
  • List of each PC's motivations.
  • List of certain skill checks for each PC, just in case I need to do a quiet roll.

Granted, I only started tracking XP when my players all managed to lose track of how much XP they had gained and all had wildly different XP totals. Multiple times. Fortunately, each time the highest XP total turned out to be correct, which meant that PCs had more XP than they thought, rather than less. But it doesn't speak well of my player's math skills and/or listening abilities.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
29 minutes ago, CaptainRaspberry said:

Granted, I only started tracking XP when my players all managed to lose track of how much XP they had gained and all had wildly different XP totals. Multiple times.

You know, I use a spreadsheet and I still manage to bungle it from time to time, good thing I am not an accountant!

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/30/2018 at 1:37 AM, 2P51 said:

I've awarded 80 xp to everyone in my campaign since this thread started, present and absent, sky hasn't fallen...........just sayin..........

What do you mean? It was falling all morning here :) 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I typically give a minimum amount of XP to each character, whether they're there or not, but that's it. Players who are present have the ability to earn addl XP above and beyond that floor, and that's handed out to individual players. I tally how much I want to hand to each player in my GM notebook, and record the total at the end of the game. I also record who was present at each session how much xp they got, so I can track where the characters should be. I've also made character advancement sheets for the players because using  the talent trees to track who bought talents and what when they bought them is just a nightmare.

In games with discrete 'levels' like D&D and WotC's previous SW products, I gave everyone the same amount of XP for my own sanity. But IMO this system and others that don't have large, discrete steps in advancement are waaaaayyyy more forgiving to having some players with lower XP totals than others.

I also think giving everyone the same rewards makes those rewards meaningless. I've had tables where some players that were engaged in the game, tried to find clever solutions, and made GM'ing enjoyable, and other players that had the absolute bare minimum of engagement and just mechanically rolled. Giving out extra XP acts as a carrot/reward to encourage the former behavior; That doesn't make it a stick/punishment for the latter, or absent players.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

All right!

Last night's session was a lot of fun for me but we didn't advance the plot as far as I thought we might.  We had a lot of hesitation where I think the players were collectively wondering, "Did the GM REALLY just say that?  What the heck?!?"

We also had a late start and I'm hoping we can get some more productive gaming in next week.

 

And for all of you who couldn't make it I awarded 20 Exp so spend it wisely.  :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just my thoughts here:

After Gming this system quite a bit I developed a certain system for XP.  This system wasn't universally loved and I had a player who hated the fact I didn't give out tons of XP like some of his other GMs.   I never liked players being to strong to the point they could breeze through combat.  Anyways here was my system.  

For published adventures I would use the recommended XP for completing tasks given by the module.  If the players take their time and only complete some of the tasks then i would give them XP based on what they completed with a minimum of 10 XP.  If they got a lot done then I would reward them the complete amount then we would move on.  

If we had someone miss a session I  didn't give them XP.  If I did it was reduced.   If they missed 2 sessions and didn't tell me I would kick them so It didn't matter.  

My philosophy is that XP is earned through the growth of a character and not just because a number of hours passed or a session ended.   Due to this when doing non Published adventures I would have a base of 10 XP per session with the option to gain more XP through RP and competing tasks.  So a fantastic session could have 15-20 XP and a standard would have 10 -15.  

I got tired of certain players bringing up XP every five seconds in rpg systems like this; so I moved onto systems that didn't use Xp as much such as Call of Cthulhu, the Doctor Who RPG, and most recently OVA.  My main concern for going back to this system, as well as D&D,is culture around XP and having to be unbelievably strong compared to every NPC.  I am starting to see that with OVA as well but considering the fact I was the only one with experience with how the system worked at the start I'll give it a pass.  

Thus I think the main point of the problem arrives with PCs wanting to get tons of XP not matter what( even if they don't show up) and the GM's ability to keep things somewhat balanced.  

Edited by elirrocks

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

I'm on page 3 of this thread and I wanted to chime in how I handle these situations because I havent seen it mentioned yet and Im not going to read any more of the thread. 

When a player is at an Exp deficit compared to the rest of a party they earn extra xp until they catch up with the party. The amount varies, but in an instance such as a player missing a single session, they will typically make up the difference within 2-4 sessions. So if a player missed out on 25xp, id probably give them an extra 10 the next session, extra 10 the session after that, and finally an extra 5 on the 3rd session after. Players missing one session wil recover quickly but habitually absent players will begin to feel it. Players that show up dont feel cheated and it doesnt turn into a situation where players might be disrespectful of the gms time because they get xp if they show up to game or go drinking at the pub. You dont want to give too much too fast or it feels unnatural. 

The point of this is so participating players are, rewarded and absent players dont end up in permanent deficit but consistant play is required to catch up. Im generally more forgiving of absences that give me a weeks notice or is a legit emergency. 

While Im not interested in punishing absent players, I am interested in a deterrant that helps insure my time is respected. My time is valuable and planning for a session takes a lot of my time, last min cancelations unbalace the encounters I have planned or break events intended for the mia player. A cancellation wastes the time that goes into planning a session, and time is the one thing in life you cant replace. 

I always make sure to set the expectation with my players to treat an rpg with the same level of commitment you would to a team sport. If you wouldn't ditch your team for it, dont cancel the roleplaying game for it. A soccer team without its goalie is the functional equivilant a an rpg group without a tank. We all have real lives and nobody "has time" you have to "make time" by prioritizing things. If you dont want to set aside the time to play, dont take the player slot from somebody else that can. I have far more friends that want to play than seats at the table. 

Edited by QuorumOf4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wonder how much the answer in this thread are influenced by whether you're playing games that expect huge amounts of mechanical prep work from the GM (DnD encounter design, statting up lots of NPCs, etc). There are games that don't require that sort of heavy workload and mostly focus on more fluid, story-related prep.

There's a massive difference in the kind of prep work you need to do for a session of DnD vs a session of Dungeon World, for example.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Stan Fresh said:

I wonder how much the answer in this thread are influenced by whether you're playing games that expect huge amounts of mechanical prep work from the GM (DnD encounter design, statting up lots of NPCs, etc). There are games that don't require that sort of heavy workload and mostly focus on more fluid, story-related prep.

What correlation are you suggesting?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, Rimsen said:

What correlation are you suggesting?

That a game requiring a lot of mechanically intense prep will be so rigid that a missing player leaves a GM flailing. And that makes the GM prone to handle missing players with less grace than they might otherwise.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Since the thread died down, I’ve started a second job that has caused me to have to miss sessions of campaigns I play in.

Here’s how that has changed my perspective on XP for missing players:

It hasn’t.

I’m not there. My characters haven’t taken part in those experiences that the others have. So why would I expect them to learn and grow from those events? And I’m absolutely fine with that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Stan Fresh said:

That a game requiring a lot of mechanically intense prep will be so rigid that a missing player leaves a GM flailing. And that makes the GM prone to handle missing players with less grace than they might otherwise.

 

I certainly see the reasoning behind this, but I disagree.

Obviously I can only talk about my own point of view, but I'm not doing intense prep for my sessions, I like to prepare the main plot, and the major turn of events (regarding NPCs and plot twists) but otherwise don't like to set everything, becuase the story is constantly in motion by my players. 

My point is that I don't withheld XP from the missing players because i'm preparing and I hurtful about not valueing my hardwork, but because I see the XP as the mechanical manifestation of the character arc. 

I do however give chance the missing players to catch up. Writing a small story what their character did while away, or maybe providing an interesting NPC, plothook. Anything that contributes the game, even when not happened next to the table. 

So for me, is the same as @Nytwyng, it's about the character's new experience.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Stan Fresh said:

That a game requiring a lot of mechanically intense prep will be so rigid that a missing player leaves a GM flailing. And that makes the GM prone to handle missing players with less grace than they might otherwise.

I'm in the "no play - no XP" camp and I assure you that (at least in my case) it has nothing to do with 'punishing' players for missing game.  My players all have very busy lives and its actually a rarity to have all seven of them on the same evening, so I've learned to be very flexible with my planning.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Personally I keep xp static because it just makes scaling encounters easier and Id rather not disinsentivise players with less free time. Our group all have jobs, some of us have families and setting a regular meeting time where everyone can always show is unrealistic. Besides if something need be represented by them missing the sessions it’s that they missed out on plot and/or loot. The party comes across a foe wielding a lightsaber? Guess who’s out of the running for manning it, the player that’s not there. I feel no need to further punish by withholding exp as the character didn’t really cease to exist and exp is not often reflected by the difficulty of fights or any particular challenge but rather is just used as a mechanic to slowly scale up the capabilities and thus challenges the players face.

 

Im kind of shocked by the people calling this method things like “participation trophies”, yikes what an awful table to be at where you treat it like a job instead of what it is, a game to hang out and have fun with. 

Edited by TwitchyBait

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...