January 14th, 2003

It's All Me

Experience points: basic gamer chow, or special treats?

Recently, I was talking with another GM about experience points. Both of us felt that there were some players who put more effort than others into our games, who were more involved, more focused, or just better roleplayers. But neither of us ever rewards that kind of thing with extra XP, because it seems too divisive and likely to cause problems between players. It's way too much like telling your fifth-grade class, "Now, I want everybody to listen while I read little Jimmy's essay out loud. He got an A+ because it was so good."

The upshot of that is that half the class is going to hate little Jimmy's guts, and he's probably going to get the crap kicked out of him on the playground at recess, because nobody likes hearing "So-and-so is better than you are and is being rewarded. Why can't you be more like him?"

One solution to this, obviously, would be handing out XP in some blind fashion. I've been in games where this was done — at the end of a session, everybody got a folded slip of paper with their XP written on it. Of course, this means that no one ever learns from their mistakes; the players who aren't getting as much XP don't necessarily know. When it's the same people being rewarded every time, that starts to feel vindictive to me: The GM is basically saying "I'm not going to come out and say it, but I think so-and-so is a better player than you."

In most of the games I've played in, everyone gets the same XP as everyone else every game (especially in D&D-like games, where XP are basically earned off a chart — kill this many things, get this many XP). But I've also been in games where the GM doled XP out in a variable fashion, based on a lot of factors, like who was most active in the game, who learned the most, who accomplished the most, etc. I've even been in a game where the GM asked after every session, "Now, what did your character learn?" and awarded XP based on the depth of the answer.

I'm wondering about ya'll's thoughts on the matter. Do you try to use XP as a teaching tool, rewarding individuals who roleplay better, or suit your game's purposes better? Or do you operate straight out of a book, giving them the rewards they've earned according to the chart? Or do you award the XP just for showing up, and assume that the people who put more into the game are rewarded by getting more out of it?
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Green Daffy

(no subject)

I get burnt out on gaming...it's pretty easy to explain.

I played White Wolf's Vampire: The Masquerade system from freshman year of high school until I was 21. (6 years straight) Around that time I just -really- needed to get away from the game. After being in about 6 LARP's and countless table-top games it was really hard to think of an original character to play that fit the genre. Quite frankly, I felt like I played them all.

So to answer it....I picked up Dungeons and Dragons d20 system and the Star Wars d20 system and played the shit out of them for a few years.

So my big point/question is this. The D&D's been done time and time again and I can only fathom so many dungeon crawls and I want into some new blood.


Who here plays Rifts or has anything to comment on my whole "burning out" tirade?
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