20 March 2017

Olga's Options: Expanded XP awards for non-combat, non-GP earned activities

Editor's Note: Our group has never used the rule that 1 GP earned equals 1 XP earned. Removing this means that all XP comes from combat, which can slow advancement down quite a bit. If you're like us and building an ongoing campaign and are in no hurry to rush from level up to level up, that's fine, but this article from the archive, originally written by the blog's original owner, Rich Trickey, aka chatdemon, offers a compromise that lets the PCs earn XP through other things in the game. As the characters advance to higher levels, some of these become kind of moot, but by then the monsters they are facing are worth a lot more XP

I made a couple clarifying tweaks to the action descriptions, adding Cleric's turning ability and fixing the missing "per Hit Die" of monster defeated under the death blow actions.
~Olga~


Overall, there's nothing really wrong with the XP awards as written, but I like to have some loose guidelines for XP awards for non-combat activities.

This is a more detailed version of the system I've used.

XP awardPlayer/Character Action
25Clever but ineffective idea or action:
100Clever and effective idea or action:
50Well role played encounter
150Exceptionally role played encounter
25Class ability used successfully Note that spells are considered under "Clever Actions, above, not as class abilities. When applying this to Turning Undead by a Cleric or Druid, the bonus applies to each creature turned, since the Cleric does not have a unique 'death blow' option like the other classes, below.
50Class ability used to benefit a fellow PC or NPC, not self Note that spells are considered under "Clever Actions, above, not as class abilities. 
100Furthering the game. In other words, Encouraging, teaching or helping other
players; avoiding rules lawyering arguments, helping the DM remember relevant
rules, etc.
50Innovative or creative use of the rules.
100Selfless bravado, placing your character in harm's way to aid another PC or NPC.
100Solving a puzzle, riddle or similar situation.
50Playing within alignment guidelines as decided by the DM and players
25/HDDefeating an opponent (in other words, delivering the death blow). This is in
addition to the normal XP awarded for the monster.10 XP per hit die of the opponent defeated.
25/HDDefeating an opponent with a spell (in other words, delivering the death blow).
This is in addition to the normal XP awarded for the monster. 10 XP per hit die of the opponent defeated.
25/HDDefeating an opponent with a Backstab (in other words, delivering the death
blow). This is in addition to the normal XP awarded for the monster. 10 XP per hit die of the opponent defeated.
50Active participation in the story. This is awarded once per session, to each PC who qualifies.
100 Completing a campaign/story goal. This is awarded to each member of the party.