Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Non-combat XP awards



Though it's frequently said that D&D is a first and foremost a combat game, this does not actually accord with the way a lot of people play it in practice. There may be built-in "assumptions" about how many encounters make for a properly balanced game, but there aren't really many games that that incorporate these assumptions into actual play. On top of that, one of the strengths of D&D has been its versatility: not only can you play different sorts of games with the basic ruleset, you also have a large-enough player base to be able to select the type of players and to play the type of game you want.

I talked about putting this up, and it keeps coming up in private discussions, so I figured I would bite the bullet. It is a set of guidelines I use to award XP to make the the game less combat-centered, and to reward players that want to do other things. It's designed for 5e, but in principle, it could work for any D&D iteration. Some of these are vague, and need to be adjusted to the situation, but I still find it a useful blueprint. Some people prefer milestone leveling, of course; this provides a more granular system that allow you to reward individual character actions. It also allows a GM to slow advancement through the lower levels (to provide that old-school feel) by allowing characters to focus more on interaction and exploration.


Journey

Wilderness survival                                                                                   10 XP/day
Wilderness survival – extreme conditions                                                20 XP/day
Urban survival – familiar                                                                           0 XP/day
Urban survival – unfamiliar territory                                                         5 XP/day

Urban survival – extreme (hostile environment, minority, poverty)        20 XP/day
Wilderness hazard - (depends on type; probably requires a separate post)

Creature encounter
Managing creature/object (incl. parlay, expeditious retreat)                      10% value
Outwitting creature                                                                                     20% value
Defeating creature                                                                                       50% value
Vanquishing creature                                                                                   full value

Succor
Saving a life                                                                                                 creature XP value
Redeeming from slavery/rescuing                                                               50% creature XP value

Social mobility
Negotiating favorable solution with institution                                           pop. value
Major personal advance in/vis-à-vis institution                                          pop. value x2
Decisively changing institution                                                                   pop. value x5
Intentionally destroying institution                                                              pop. x10

Exploration
Learning information about person(s)                                                         XP/10
Finding person(s)                                                                                         XP/2
Learning information about treasure                                                            value/10
Finding treasure after seeking                                                                      value/2
Learning information about item/finding after seeking:                               one fact/all
            Common (village)                                                                             5/25
            Uncommon (district/town)                                                                50/250
            Rare (principality/city)                                                                      500/2500
            Very Rare (kingdom/realm)                                                              5000/25000
           Legendary (cosmos)                                                                         50000/250000

Generic
Good action/suggestion                                                                                 1% bonus
End of chapter                                                                                               10% bonus





2 comments:

  1. Good stuff, and now I think I'm going to add something very much like this to my LotFP game.

    A question: Under "Social Mobility" what do you mean by population value? So let's say the party negotiates peace between two rival families in a village of 100. Does that mean they get 100? If a PC becomes the leader of a 30-person weavers' guild, do they get 60xp (pop value x2)?

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  2. Basically, yes, though it's subject to adjustment if the creatures that form the population. E.g. if a shapechanged character becomes the alpha of a group of 12 dire wolves, they would count more than just 12 (x 20 for their XP value relative to a human commoner?)

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