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View Full Version : DM Help Performance based experience rewards for pure roleplay scenarios.



MonkeySage
2014-08-21, 01:57 PM
My pathfinder game, up to this point, has been heavily focused on combat, despite my desires to give equal weight to both combat and rp.

It's obvious to anyone who has played d&d/pathfinder or even read about them that most of the rules are for combat scenarios.

I've found that the hard rewards for taking on role play challenges are pretty unsatisfactory.

At first, my solution was going to be to think of a non-combat scenario and see if I can assign a difficulty to it, and award exp based on them rising to the challenge, but again I found this unsatisfactory, and pretty difficult.

The second solution I came to was to award experience based on how well they perform. Maybe I list a set of challenges within the scenario, and depending on how many of them the players overcome, award experience ranging from failure to perfect. Or maybe just rate their performance at the end like a judge at some show, 1-10, and give them experience based on that.

To provide an example of a non-combat scenario that could potentially result in an experience gain:
An elven man has fallen for a dwarven woman. On neither side do the parents or the cultures approve of their relationship. The players stumble into a feud between the elves and the dwarves because of this relationship, and since they need the help of both camps, it is in the players' best interest to defuse the feud.
Might I list a number of tasks and award experience based on how many of them the players complete? What tasks?
If I were to instead judge them at the end of the scenario, rate them 1-10, what standards might I go by?

How much experience should be awarded in either case? Relative to their character levels, I mean. Should they be given less experience weight than a combat scenario?

Airk
2014-08-21, 02:11 PM
Disclaimer: I don't think this will work, because you're basically trying to redirect the focus of an entire system, and that's hard. But it's an interesting thought exercise, so...

I think that the most important things to consider when trying to work out an "XP value" for...well, any sort of challenge are:

A) How hard is it
B) What is at stake

It should be worth more XP to, I dunno, convince a board of magistrates to issue you a pass to a building than it should be to get a bored guard outside said building to wave you in. (Difficulty)
Similarly, it should be worth more XP to convince the parliament to declare war on another nation than it is to convince them to put up a stop sign and 4th and main. (Stakes).

These two things are tied together. Probably in a multiplicative fashion, but that might be ugly, but it's probably not straight addition.

Maybe you set the baseline based on the stakes and do like...

1/10th of a level for 'low' stakes
2/10ths of a level for 'moderate' stakes
3/10ths of a level for 'high' stakes

And then modify that with:
x0.5 for easy
x1 for "moderate" difficulty
x1.5 for "hard"
x2 for "holy crap how'd you do that?"

The trouble from there of course is figuring out what those categories map to. Honestly, it's going to be super hard to quantify fluffy stuff like this, which is part of why I don't think this is really going to work. There are ways to approach this kind of situation, but I don't think they connect easily with Pathfinder.

Mark Hall
2014-08-21, 03:12 PM
How much rolling do you do?

If there are a lot of opposed rolls (Diplomacy v. Sense Motive), then base the ECL on the level of the opposition. You're defeating them, just not with sword and spell.

If there hasn't been a lot of dice play, then base the ECL on the level of the players... most of the encounters, on average, will be X ECL, with X equaling the level of the party.

Alternatively, break the goals up a bit into distinct accomplishments, and award flat XP for the various accomplishments. Consider that dealing with racist Uncle Bob isn't all that different from dealing with a trap... you roll a few skill checks, come up with good reasons why it works, and let it happen.

Milodiah
2014-08-21, 05:29 PM
Racist Uncle Bob
Trap CR: 6

Type: Unpleasant family member

Detection: Spot DC of 22, to notice substantial level of alcohol missing from bottle in hand

Trigger: Detection, of any non-human races in the vicinity/conversation. Automatically resets after each encounter.

Initiative: +4, +6 against targets possessing orc blood

Effect: All members of the targeted race present must make a Will save, DC16, or suffer the effects of a mindless rage spell-like ability (Complete Adventurer, P.155) for the duration of the trap's activation. Should Uncle Bob be physically struck by any of the targeted races in this time, he will further escalate his derogatory comments, requiring a new Will save, DC18, of all the targeted races present.

Duration: 10d6 rounds uncomfortable slurs, escalating to 12d6 rounds irate ranting.

Disarm: Provided all present make their Will save, trap can be disarmed by redirecting the conversation with a Bluff check of 20 or more. Otherwise the trap cannot be disarmed unless physically separating Uncle Bob from the targeted characters and achieving a Diplomacy check of 25 or more to calm him down.

Bypass: This trap may be bypassed by all members of the targeted race present making a Hide check of 18 or more, ensuring that Uncle Bob does not see them in the room. However, there is still a 20% chance Uncle Bob may trigger the trap regardless, for a completely unrelated reason.

Jeff the Green
2014-08-21, 06:35 PM
How much rolling do you do?

If there are a lot of opposed rolls (Diplomacy v. Sense Motive), then base the ECL on the level of the opposition. You're defeating them, just not with sword and spell.

If there hasn't been a lot of dice play, then base the ECL on the level of the players... most of the encounters, on average, will be X ECL, with X equaling the level of the party.

Alternatively, break the goals up a bit into distinct accomplishments, and award flat XP for the various accomplishments. Consider that dealing with racist Uncle Bob isn't all that different from dealing with a trap... you roll a few skill checks, come up with good reasons why it works, and let it happen.

I think I'd go with this. Same if you defeated an encounter by sneaking around it or if you were dealing with some sort of non-creature non-trap encounter, like a wildfire.


Racist Uncle Bob
Trap CR: 6

Type: Unpleasant family member

Detection: Spot DC of 22, to notice substantial level of alcohol missing from bottle in hand

Trigger: Detection, of any non-human races in the vicinity/conversation. Automatically resets after each encounter.

Initiative: +4, +6 against targets possessing orc blood

Effect: All members of the targeted race present must make a Will save, DC16, or suffer the effects of a mindless rage spell-like ability (Complete Adventurer, P.155) for the duration of the trap's activation. Should Uncle Bob be physically struck by any of the targeted races in this time, he will further escalate his derogatory comments, requiring a new Will save, DC18, of all the targeted races present.

Duration: 10d6 rounds uncomfortable slurs, escalating to 12d6 rounds irate ranting.

Disarm: Provided all present make their Will save, trap can be disarmed by redirecting the conversation with a Bluff check of 20 or more. Otherwise the trap cannot be disarmed unless physically separating Uncle Bob from the targeted characters and achieving a Diplomacy check of 25 or more to calm him down.

Bypass: This trap may be bypassed by all members of the targeted race present making a Hide check of 18 or more, ensuring that Uncle Bob does not see them in the room. However, there is still a 20% chance Uncle Bob may trigger the trap regardless, for a completely unrelated reason.

I expect you to compensate me for the soda I just snorted onto my keyboard.

cobaltstarfire
2014-08-21, 07:38 PM
Or you could go the way of one of my old GM's.

Of course this was for Rolemaster, and we didn't have combat too very often (it was more of an exploratory/social/sneaky game, although we did have several key battles). A good chunk of our xp came from role playing.

But the way she did it made it fun, she'd write down things of note to her during a session, whether it was something funny, an interesting IC moment, good use of ones skills/strategy in battle, or simply a good idea in general for what the party should do next. Much of our role playing wasn't even necessarily with NPC's, but within the party itself. There were lots of key NPC moments too, which normally did award more xp than in party interactions, but I think encouraging any kind of role play to start will help a lot. Many of the times we had to rp with PC's it was to convince them we were friendly, or to get information/aid from them, with varying levels of success.

At the end of each game she would then give each person in turn a run down of their various bonuses (which would normally just be 10 or so, each worth 50-300ish xp each). It was really fun because she'd have corny, or silly descriptions and we'd get to remember high points and important things for the session.

I've tried this method before too, and I can say it's pretty fun as a DM (for a 3.5 game with more combat) too, it made me feel more involved with the players, and I think it makes for a fun summary at the end of each session.

I guess my point is that you don't have to quantify every bit of xp from role playing with a difficulty table or something like that, especially if you dole it out in small amounts that add up. I guess it can be comparable to achievements in some ways.

Mark Hall
2014-08-21, 08:14 PM
Racist Uncle Bob
Trap CR: 6

Type: Unpleasant family member

Detection: Spot DC of 22, to notice substantial level of alcohol missing from bottle in hand

Trigger: Detection, of any non-human races in the vicinity/conversation. Automatically resets after each encounter.

Initiative: +4, +6 against targets possessing orc blood

Effect: All members of the targeted race present must make a Will save, DC16, or suffer the effects of a mindless rage spell-like ability (Complete Adventurer, P.155) for the duration of the trap's activation. Should Uncle Bob be physically struck by any of the targeted races in this time, he will further escalate his derogatory comments, requiring a new Will save, DC18, of all the targeted races present.

Duration: 10d6 rounds uncomfortable slurs, escalating to 12d6 rounds irate ranting.

Disarm: Provided all present make their Will save, trap can be disarmed by redirecting the conversation with a Bluff check of 20 or more. Otherwise the trap cannot be disarmed unless physically separating Uncle Bob from the targeted characters and achieving a Diplomacy check of 25 or more to calm him down.

Bypass: This trap may be bypassed by all members of the targeted race present making a Hide check of 18 or more, ensuring that Uncle Bob does not see them in the room. However, there is still a 20% chance Uncle Bob may trigger the trap regardless, for a completely unrelated reason.

Oh, Bravo. Well done.

Slipperychicken
2014-08-21, 08:55 PM
I like the way Dungeon World awards XP (though I haven't seen it in practice much). Basically, at the end of each session, the game says something like:

Did you defeat a noteworthy opponent? If so, gain one XP.
Did you fulfill your alignment? (translation: Did you roleplay certain aspects of your character?) If so, gain one XP.
Did you find a noteworthy treasure? If so, gain one XP.
Did you resolve a party bond? (translation: Did you develop your relationship with other party members in a significant way?) If so, gain one XP.
Did you fail in a significant way? (the game gives XP for failed rolls, and almost all failed rolls have bad consequences) If so, gain one XP.


This approach means that fighting is just one part of the XP mechanic, and the most effective way to "grind" for XP (if you can even call it that in DW) is to make sure each session contains a variety of roleplay between PCs, combat, and adventure scenarios which involve both your strengths and weaknesses. I could imagine adapting it to 3.X/PF, though the precise math eludes me at the moment.

bjoern
2014-08-21, 09:20 PM
I just want to chime in and make one suggestion.

Talk to your players before hand and make sure that they are on board for a non-combat adventure for a session or two. I wouldn't just blind side them with it.
I know for myself if I've been champing at the bit to try out that new sword I got last session then, come game day, I find out I don't get to use it for another 6weeks I might be bummed out.
But if I had known ahead of time id be good with it and ready to RP it up and help Fabio the elf and Bertha that dwarf hook up.