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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Which is More of a Carrot For You as a Player - XP or a Cool Magic Item?

D&D has multiple carrots to keep the player's motivated: XP, wealth, magic items, new spells, knowledge, connections, rulership, plot, etc.

The big two seem to be XP and magic items - unique and possibly powerful magic. Usually the end results of killing things and taking their stuff

Which motivates you the most as a player? What fails to motivate you?

19 comments:

  1. Play for fun, really, especially now...so neither.

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    1. I think Tenkar meant "character" as in what keeps the player character motivated?

      Let's say, your character was standing at a crossroads. One path leads to probably wealth, another XP, magic items, and the fourth a powerful plot hook. In which direction does he adventure?

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  2. When I was younger i could say magic items which, by using them, would let me gain more XP. however these days it is about "being awesome" - doing epic and crazy things with my characters and having fun with my friends first and foremost.

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  3. I like to play for exploration, of strange lands and the emergent story. But, if I have to choose among those, XP.

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  4. The play's the thing. Not game rewards- table rewards.

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  5. Access to power motivates most of my PCs. I don't think I ever chose goal A over Goal B based on the expected exp yield.
    Being expected to do crazy stuff just because I'm a hero puts me off, don't worry I'll think up lot's of crazy stuff it doesn't have to be engineered by the DM ahead of time.

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  6. I've noticed that I feel more inclined to push for more XP than for a chance at better magic items in the S&W games we've been playing. I can't say magic items don't motivate me, but I don't try to figure out how to get more of them, or eyeball my record sheet and think about what I might want or need. With XP, I do both. So I think XP wins out of the two based on how I actually act in game.

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  7. If your players aren't afraid of magic items, you're doing it wrong.

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    1. No, I'm not doing it wrong. I'm just not doing it your way...

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    2. But you're not real, you're just some pixels on a computer screen.

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  8. XP. XP is guaranteed to make my character better. In most campaigns I play in magic items are rare and seldom actually help me; they tend to be utility items (which are nice but not awesome) or not something I want for my character (a +2 polearm when my character fights sword and shield is useless).

    XP has set rewards I can plan for and anticipate...magic items are random stuff I can't look forward to.

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  9. Really doesn't matter if my character lives or dies or acquires magic or improves as long as it was a cool adventure and I had fun. Usually that means avoiding playing with folks obsessed with XP and magic items.

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  10. An item with a good story is more encouraging to me than XP. It doesn't even have to be a magic item, or an item my PC can use it. It might just be something mine has to deliver to the magistrate of Summerland ( http://youtu.be/Dd4Uto-0XZg ).

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  11. A magic item can be lost, stolen, nerfed or annihilated... xp is forever... which is why level draining by undead is SO nasty.

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  12. A magic item, for sure. Magic itens are in game rewards, XP are metagame rewards, and the in game rewards are much more cool.

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  13. I'm going with XP over magic items, though I must say either is very nice!

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  14. My characters are always very fleshed out personalities with their own drives and goals so what really motivates me is engaging in a story in which I can explore these aspects of my character's personality and further the character's goals. A strong second motivator is of course XP because it enables my character to advance and push out in new directions.

    One of my favorite aspects of 3.X D&D is the Prestige Class and when I play 3.X, I usually have a Prestige Class in mind for my character which gives me and my character something to strive toward becoming.

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  15. In pre-3e, items are cool,powerful and not purchasable, and for non-caster classes they make more difference than XP, so I would say items.

    Magic items as a reward got broken in 3e - items remained powerful, but IME if the PCs found a very powerful item they'd just sell it for gp and distribute the cash so everyone could buy a bunch of weaker items. Then in 4e items became too weak to be exciting. In both 3e & 4e levelling up is more important than items; indeed in 4e you can use Inherent Bonuses and not have items at all.

    I think personally as a player I'd value political achievement, power & social connections most highly, but I've not played in any campaigns that much supported that.

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    1. In my own online D&D games I think social rewards - connections, power, love etc - tend to be the most valued by the players, to the extent that these days they tend to have Charisma as their highest stat whenever possible. The AD&D Reaction d% roll really supports that very strongly. My 4e group also strongly values social connections (there it's about defending and developing Loudwater domain, NPCs included); and even my new (6 sessions in) Pathfinder group too I think most value the social side, but in PF the frequent level-ups and big power boosts each level seem very signifcant, so maybe XP - but level ups tend to be quite regular one per two sessions, which reduces the impact of XP awards compared to the 1e paradigm of highly variable awards based on wealth gained.

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