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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    PlatinumJester's Avatar

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    Default DM help (My group don't look)

    OK, next monday I am starting to DM my groups campaign. I have DM's a few single sessions before and that went well (except for the pie stealing T Rex incident ). However, I have no idea how to distribute XP, especially for roleplay which is important since our games tend to focus on that. I also need advice on what to do when players try to kill each other which I want to avoid.

    My group includes:
    A dragon marked ninja.
    A mentally unstable psion.
    A Warforged Barbarian.
    A quori swordsage.
    All level 10.

    Any helpful links, encounters, traps and especialy cool puzzles would be great. The campaign is based in Xendri'k.
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    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Kobold

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    Default Re: DM help (My group don't look)

    Personally I've never been a fan of giving out experience. The group levels when I say they level, which is usually after 3 sessions.

    But I firmly believe that good roleplaying deserves some sort of reward, as you mentioned. For that, I borrowed fate chips from Deadlands. Players get a poker chip whenever they roleplay well/entertain me/write an in character journal entry/write backstory/retell last week's session from their point of view (this last one is something we take turns doing so everyone has a fair chance at an easy chip).

    There is no enumerated list of what these fate chips allow you to do, but the basic premise is that they can be spent to fudge one of your own rolls. They do things like stabalize bleeding, reroll railed saves, emulate a feat for a turn, get GM insight, confirm a crit, etc.
    If you like what I have to say, please check out my GMing Blog where I discuss writing and roleplaying in greater depth.

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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Sucrose's Avatar

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    Default Re: DM help (My group don't look)

    For how to distribute XP, there are tables in the DMG. Take the number, divide by the total number of player characters. For roleplaying XP, assignment is ad hoc: the only things to keep in mind are not to level the party up faster than they acquire wealth-by-level, as that'll make it a nightmare to figure out the right sort of monster to throw at them, and to distribute it as evenly as possible while remaining honest.

    As long as everyone's doing their best to play their characters, don't penalize one too much for being a crappy actor.

    As far as PvP goes, try to head it off by making sure that they make characters that can get along: no Assassins (note the capital A) in a good campaign, and no Paladins in an evil campaign. It's best if everyone's within one step on the good-evil axis.

    If they still try to kill each other, you probably don't want to break versimilitude, so let them do so, but then send the best police forces you can justify after them. At the end of the session, tell the players not to do that, that nobody should ever have to use the excuse "but it's my character!", because that means that they're choosing to roleplay an asshat.

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    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: DM help (My group don't look)

    Quote Originally Posted by valadil View Post
    Personally I've never been a fan of giving out experience. The group levels when I say they level, which is usually after 3 sessions.

    But I firmly believe that good roleplaying deserves some sort of reward, as you mentioned. For that, I borrowed fate chips from Deadlands. Players get a poker chip whenever they roleplay well/entertain me/write an in character journal entry/write backstory/retell last week's session from their point of view (this last one is something we take turns doing so everyone has a fair chance at an easy chip).

    There is no enumerated list of what these fate chips allow you to do, but the basic premise is that they can be spent to fudge one of your own rolls. They do things like stabalize bleeding, reroll railed saves, emulate a feat for a turn, get GM insight, confirm a crit, etc.
    That is a great idea.
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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: DM help (My group don't look)

    Allocating ExP? i won't try to go into that, since many people have their own ideas- some go strictly by the rules, some adjust the tables, and some jsut level the party up when they think it's due (which is fine!). the only criteria is what you feel comfortable with, and the players. i personally set ExP reward for tasks/ goals/ quests, not encounter. this way, if the party gets bogged down, or cleverly achieve their goal, the reward matches.

    As to roleplay ExP: only three things i'd suggest

    1) you can decide how much ExP you're planning to give per session, and assign from this "stock". if there is left over, take it on to the next meeting, if you've taken more than needed, substract from next meeting. if you find that you're way off balance after a few seesions, than either you need to alter the size of your stock, or how freely you delegate ExP.
    from the 3 methods, i liek this the least. some players start to "fake rolepaly" jsut for the exp, and the ones that do not roelpaly that well, feel they are left behind (since in DnD ExP is the measure of your "succes")

    2) an alternate solution, is to reward roleplay in the atual game world- a good roleplay conjure some positive outcome (bonuses on diplomacy, making a conncetction, noticing something, and such). the outcomes should be game logical, and not "rewards from the allmighty DM" (if you want to avoid the reprecautions i detailed earlier). if done subtly enough, this usually encourages less roelpalying gamers to emulate the more succefull ones...

    3) a similar solution to the "chips" method that was metnioned earlier-
    give the player some Karma/ action points (fro mshadow run and eberron respectively). this gives the palyer some incentive, but isn't as hard to calculate as Exp, or causes such resentment.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: DM help (My group don't look)

    My way of allocating XP:
    1) Use the DM tables for total.
    2) Divide amongst the players who participated in the battle/fight/encounter/whatever.
    3) Players who end the encounter unconsious, but still participated, receive half what they usually would've.
    4) Players whose characters didn't participate combatwise, receive no XP. However, a character who didn't get involved in combat due to surrendering and being tied up, or something like that, may (or may not) receive roleplaying XP (see 5).
    5) Give some XP for roleplaying, not heaps, but enough to make a difference in the long run. The better the roleplaying, the more XP earned.
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    Talic's Avatar

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    Default Re: DM help (My group don't look)

    Other people are going to be listing most of the Challenge related xp. I'll detail my system for non-combat xp.

    Quest-driven xp, and Roleplay xp.


    Quest XP. First, what's a quest? It's a goal that the players have set for themselves. Each player may have his own goals (rescue his aunt, being held by thugs in an attempt to extort the PC, OR destroy the barbarian tribe responsible for the destruction of a village neighboring his hometown, killing a close friend, OR Uncover the secrets behind the ancient empire of the El'adrammi). Also, players have group goals, usually... (stop the wave of undead from enveloping the city, OR discover why the king is acting strangely, firing close advisors and keeping secluded).

    Each time a player accomplishes a milestone towards a personal goal (learning the city his Aunt was moved to, tracking down the tribe, Locating an ancient set of El'adrammi ruins), he gets some XP, usually equal to his share of a CR equal to his level. Accomplishing his goal earns him 5 times that (and should only happen once every 6 or 7 sessions in the entire party... this is rare).

    Each time a group achieves a milestone towards a group goal (learning of the necromantic cult beneath the city (but not about the illithid controlling them), or uncovering a major clue to the king's behaviour), earns the entire party XP equal to a CR appropriate encounter. Achieving an entire goal, completing it, 2-3 times that. Again, rare.


    Roleplaying XP:
    Each session, allow each player to positively critique (no slandering) each other player's roleplaying, highlighting memorable parts of the session, and constructively offering suggestions for helping bring the story to life through RP, and cast a vote for any player other than him or herself.

    Each player who gets a vote gets (ECL x 10) xp for each vote. The player who gets the most votes, instead gets (ECL x 100) xp.

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: DM help (My group don't look)

    Quote Originally Posted by valadil View Post
    Personally I've never been a fan of giving out experience. The group levels when I say they level, which is usually after 3 sessions.

    But I firmly believe that good roleplaying deserves some sort of reward, as you mentioned. For that, I borrowed fate chips from Deadlands. Players get a poker chip whenever they roleplay well/entertain me/write an in character journal entry/write backstory/retell last week's session from their point of view (this last one is something we take turns doing so everyone has a fair chance at an easy chip).

    There is no enumerated list of what these fate chips allow you to do, but the basic premise is that they can be spent to fudge one of your own rolls. They do things like stabalize bleeding, reroll railed saves, emulate a feat for a turn, get GM insight, confirm a crit, etc.

    I'm intruiged. What do these fate chips do exactly? Are they like action points?
    Own it, pwn it, nuke it, sheep it, eat it, quick re -right it, Joe it, turn it, turnip, pimp it, gimp it, dot it, rock it, spec re - spec it...

    I'm bringing smexy back

    As a Warblade, I'm pimp as hell.

    Big up kpenguin for the chronic Avatar.

    Powergaming - because you can't roleplay when your dead.
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  9. - Top - End - #9
    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: DM help (My group don't look)

    For your question of what to do if the party tries to kill eachother: you can usually ignore it. Generally, it will just be one player who thinks this is a good idea. If he picks a fight with another party member, the rest of the party will overwhelm him. Once somebody pulls that, let them reroll but tell them that's the last time you'll let them.

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Kobold

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    Default Re: DM help (My group don't look)

    Quote Originally Posted by PlatinumJester View Post
    I'm intruiged. What do these fate chips do exactly? Are they like action points?
    I'm glad you and crimson like it!

    The concept is similar to action points. I'm not sure how similar because I've never read up on action points, since I already had fate chips by the time they were published.

    I intentionally do not enumerate the uses of fate chips for my players. I don't want to get into the situation where they stockpile chips and know that by burning three of them at once they can automatically succeed at blah blah blah. That's not the point. The point is that their characters are badass heroes. When they need that extra oomph to succeed at something their character should succeed at, that's what fate chips are for.

    For instance, I was running a combat in a sewer. Picture a tube half full of water, with platforms along the side. It took a whole round to get through the water. One side had finished and one of the players (who was the group's acrobat) wanted to run up along the wall/curved ceiling and back down to the other side. For the low, low cost of one fate chip his character got to be badass and cool for that scene by running up the wall and back down as his move action.

    In a non combat example, I had a player in the same game sweet talk an NPC into an alley for the ambush. The PC was charismatic and all, but the player was having a rough night, stumbled over his own tongue and forgot the carefully constructed lie the group gave him. The conversation had progressed enough that I didn't want to roll back time and have him try the lie again once the group reminded him of it out of character. Instead he got to buy a new lie from the GM that was guaranteed to work.

    Basically they let players fudge areas of the game to make their character succeed as he would in a story instead of a dice game. This often includes preventing death in combat, but I kinda resent it when players hoard their chips for this purpose (which is why I imposed a chip cap and stopped giving them out once players hit the cap).
    If you like what I have to say, please check out my GMing Blog where I discuss writing and roleplaying in greater depth.

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: DM help (My group don't look)

    Quote Originally Posted by valadil View Post
    I'm glad you and crimson like it!

    The concept is similar to action points. I'm not sure how similar because I've never read up on action points, since I already had fate chips by the time they were published.

    I intentionally do not enumerate the uses of fate chips for my players. I don't want to get into the situation where they stockpile chips and know that by burning three of them at once they can automatically succeed at blah blah blah. That's not the point. The point is that their characters are badass heroes. When they need that extra oomph to succeed at something their character should succeed at, that's what fate chips are for.

    For instance, I was running a combat in a sewer. Picture a tube half full of water, with platforms along the side. It took a whole round to get through the water. One side had finished and one of the players (who was the group's acrobat) wanted to run up along the wall/curved ceiling and back down to the other side. For the low, low cost of one fate chip his character got to be badass and cool for that scene by running up the wall and back down as his move action.

    In a non combat example, I had a player in the same game sweet talk an NPC into an alley for the ambush. The PC was charismatic and all, but the player was having a rough night, stumbled over his own tongue and forgot the carefully constructed lie the group gave him. The conversation had progressed enough that I didn't want to roll back time and have him try the lie again once the group reminded him of it out of character. Instead he got to buy a new lie from the GM that was guaranteed to work.

    Basically they let players fudge areas of the game to make their character succeed as he would in a story instead of a dice game. This often includes preventing death in combat, but I kinda resent it when players hoard their chips for this purpose (which is why I imposed a chip cap and stopped giving them out once players hit the cap).

    That is pure genius.
    Quick question though - what is the max amount that a player can have and how many should I give out per level?

    @Squash Monster - the thing is the person who is most likely to be killed by the party kinda looks like he killed my character since he has all my stuff, he's covered in my blood and is standing next to my corpse and last session he lost his disguise, and my PC was the only one who knew what he really looked like, thus I think the entire party is likely to kill him rather than just one PC on his own.
    Own it, pwn it, nuke it, sheep it, eat it, quick re -right it, Joe it, turn it, turnip, pimp it, gimp it, dot it, rock it, spec re - spec it...

    I'm bringing smexy back

    As a Warblade, I'm pimp as hell.

    Big up kpenguin for the chronic Avatar.

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    Default Re: DM help (My group don't look)

    In deadlands, fate chips are like XP... except you can also use them instead of making them XP. You can use them to roll extra dice, prevent damage, etc. In that game, there are downsides to using some of them, but, in general, they're good.

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    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Kobold

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    Default Re: DM help (My group don't look)

    Quote Originally Posted by PlatinumJester View Post
    That is pure genius.
    Quick question though - what is the max amount that a player can have and how many should I give out per level?
    Why thank you!

    I've been tinkering with the max amount. Originally I told the group they could have 20 between all 6 players. This was problematic when one player decided to see if he could get his hands on all the chips at once.

    Last game I set the cap at 4 or 5 per player. It was a reasonable amount for each player to have, but people hit the cap too quickly. I think it would have worked better if I didn't give out chips for making me laugh (though there was a limit of one humor chip per player per session). I'd suggest 5 per player as a good way to start. Also remember that handing out chips is done at GM discretion. I'm more likely to hand you a chip if you're at 0 than if you're at 4.

    Another option I've been thinking about is different kinds of chips (also akin to Deadlands). Maybe a blue chip wouldn't count towards your limit. Or a red chip could be used on yourself or an ally (I think I let people spend 2 chips to affect an ally previously).
    If you like what I have to say, please check out my GMing Blog where I discuss writing and roleplaying in greater depth.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Prometheus's Avatar

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    Default Re: DM help (My group don't look)

    For me roleplaying XP has always been present, but low. Its just enough to make the players feel like they earned it, but not enough to affect the game as a whole. Also, I tend to try to keep all my characters so they level at the same time. It just seems easier for players to all work on their character sheets at the same time, and for me not to worry about assigning XP for characters of different levels.

    2) an alternate solution, is to reward roleplay in the atual game world- a good roleplay conjure some positive outcome (bonuses on diplomacy, making a conncetction, noticing something, and such). the outcomes should be game logical, and not "rewards from the allmighty DM" (if you want to avoid the reprecautions i detailed earlier). if done subtly enough, this usually encourages less roelpalying gamers to emulate the more succefull ones...
    Apparently there is some precedent for this somewhere in the DMG guide, which mentions giving a bonus to a search check for listing all the places you check, even if they place the item is hidden isn't in one of those places.
    This works really well in a lot of games, as things that motivate the player tend to cause the player to roleplay, which change the outcome of the character, which contributes to what players really care about, but nothing more.

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    Troll in the Playground
     
    SamuraiGuy

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    Default Re: DM help (My group don't look)

    At the end of each roleplaying session, we give out ad-hoc awards to each player for the following things:

    (Each player earns XP for)
    Best character Moment
    Best Class Moment
    Best Skill Moment
    Biggest Blunder (and what your character learned from it)

    (The entire group gets the same award for)
    Best Group Moment

    (Each player gets to give another player an award for)
    Best Moment by Somebody Else

    Maximum XP for each award is 50xECL.

    I like this because it allows players to get credit for their awesome moments, give kudos to other players, and encourages good roleplaying and stunts to receive XP bonuses.
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