My my my, we just loooove to hear ourselves don't we?
Do you guys actually award XP on a session-by-session basis? Do you award XP on the spot? Do you award more XP to some players than others?
Pixel-bitching is what kills it for me. It kills it for everyone but the Thief, really. I've been trying to beat it out of them by cutting back on reasons to do it (arbitrary traps mostly). But they've been rewarded for it for so long, it's hard for them to stop doing it.I need another way to stay entertained or the game will die for lack of GMing.
XP is awarded when the players return to civilization with their loot and kills, or when they perform downtime activities such as lording over their domain, crafting magic items, or treating wealthy patients.
When running D&D usually I award it on the spot, before or after an encounter. (I like before because it telegraphs difficulty, but sometimes I forget.) I split combat XP among characters proportionate to level or CR (rounding up to 1, e.g. a bunch of CR 1/8 guard dogs or CR 1/4 animated skeletons consume the same share of XP as level 1 (N)PCs).
It's an odd dilemma, isn't it? Because repetitive-but-rewarding low-risk work isn't necessarily unfun to do, but it's unfun to supervise or spectate.*snip*... Grindy procedures and combat are a definite cause of DM burnout for me.
It's not too bad to figure out the total, but calculating the split can be more of a hassle. Since my goal is for transparency in why XP was earned, I may just say "the party collectively earns 5300 XP now" because that's enough to show why they earned it. It doesn't matter to me when they actually split it up and increment the number on their character sheet, especially since they don't go up any levels until downtime happens.I assume you have the XP values precalculated like in the old MM's or the Pathfinder Bestiaries? Otherwise calculating XP on the fly has got to be a hassle?
Yeah, I use macros in my VTT to do a lot of the work during combat (rolling, determining whether attacks hit, calculating attack rolls and damage including any resistances and vulnerabilities, tracking conditions), so I can think about how the combatants I am controlling react as NPCs. I don't have a good VTT framework for 5e, which does decrease my enjoyment.For me, GMing is an act of service to my friends, but it's not fun per se. There are aspects which can be fun, but especially for stuff like combat, there's a lot of work which isn't fun for me to do unless there's dramatic uncertainty about who's going to win. E.g. running the monsters in a D&D 5E Medium encounter where the PCs are destined to win at the cost of nothing but a few HP and spell slots is deadly dull to me, and I generally would prefer to skip it (or make a computer do it while I relax and think about the big picture).
I calculate XPs between sessions, and usually award it then as well. I find if you award it in the middle of a session, it not only disrupts the flow of the game, but if anyone levels you have basically lost their attention until they have resolved any resulting changes on their character sheet. Not an issue in 1e, but definitely an issue in 4e. The math is also a bit more onerous because I am converting a combat =XP system to a goals (usually GP) = XP system.
Yes! We calculate the treasure haul so it can be either sold or sequestered or put in the "identify later" pile so they know exactly how much they get from treasure and from monsters (though not which exact monster gave what). The decision to sell or keep magic loot in ACKS is important, you only get XP for sold (and unused) items, they are usually worth a lot to the point where selling them is diffucult. There are sliding breakpoints in the campaign where you stop selling potions of healing (500gp) and start saving them for their utility, or when you start selling weapons+1 (5,000gp) instead of keeping them because everyone is already equipped.Do you tell them what they earned XP for?
We used to hand out XP on an individual basis, but since the majority of XP came from Bosses and Treasure, it lead to a lot of ugly (and not very immersive) competition to MKS (Made Kill Strike) and steal/hoard loot at the expense of party cooperation. We divvy it out evenly now with acting in character/performing exceptional deeds being perceived as benefiting the whole party, but it has definitely lead to a reduction in truly inspired play.850 XP to Gragmor, 200 to Isabella, [etc.]
Can't you just roll that into the skip-ahead? Roll three wandering monster checks before you say "three corridors later," and if any of them comes up with an encounter, you instead say, "you're in the middle of the next corridor carefully checking for tripwires when you hear a soft footstep...".Wandering monster checks. Which I also loathe...
I confess, part of my motivation for that experiment was explicitly to encourage competition between players, partly in hopes of entertaining the DM by baiting players into high-risk, high-reward actions like wandering off alone and opening a sarcophagus without others present, in hopes of getting ahead. (I had also been reading the book Characteristics of Games and thinking about its observations on the problems with cooperative games with one big team, vs. race games where players have individual goals. E.g. cooperative games are more prone to player resentment of other players who make bad decisions, or conversely of one player making the decisions for all players. Supporting fine-I'll-do-it-myself as a play mode was intended to increase individual player freedom as well as GM amusement, but as I said it ran into issues with bookkeeping slowdown and I shelved the experiment for now.)We used to hand out XP on an individual basis, but since the majority of XP came from Bosses and Treasure, it lead to a lot of ugly (and not very immersive) competition to MKS (Made Kill Strike) and steal/hoard loot at the expense of party cooperation. We divvy it out evenly now with acting in character/performing exceptional deeds being perceived as benefiting the whole party, but it has definitely lead to a reduction in truly inspired play.
D&D socialism vs capitalism?
Yeah, that seat-of-the-pants formula is how I do it too.I might give this a whirl next time we're back in the dungeon. We recently completed a chunk of Barrowmaze late in the gaming evening and everyone was tired and ready to quit, but we needed to bookmark the campaign so we could set it aside and head back to the Irradiated Paradox playtest. I came up with a seat-of-the-pants formula, had them roll some dice vs my dice and allowed that they had made it back to town with all their loot having fought off a mob of lesser undead and a band of brigands in the woods at the cost of 1/3 of their original hp. That didn't kill anyone (close), so there was no further drama and we can resolve town stuff by mail and get all set up for next time.
Hockey metaphors:We used to hand out XP on an individual basis, but since the majority of XP came from Bosses and Treasure, it lead to a lot of ugly (and not very immersive) competition to MKS (Made Kill Strike)
Many GMs do this, but I don't think Eero is advocating this in Muster.Another idea I just had: if the GM's job at the end of the session is to "score" the players' actions by handing out character points (or XP)... then in some scenarios, I should hand out character points for retreating! If retreat is a wise course of action given what has just been learned about the opposition, I should reward that intelligent decision the same as any other intelligent decision.
Yeah, after reading more, I think you are right. Eero is not advocating this.Many GMs do this, but I don't think Eero is advocating this in Muster.
First, XP need to be anchored in the fiction, whether that's 1 XP for 1 gold piece or 10 XP per six-mile hex mapped etc. Hence, no rewards resting on the judgement of the game's participants (whether that's the GM deeming a course of action wise, or the players voting for the session's MVP regarding character portrayal etc.).
Secondly, XP rewards need to be set beforehand (or negotiated - that's a very interesting section of the book!), so the players can act accordingly. You can't play to win if you don't know the victory conditions.