Tuesday, March 12, 2013

What Do You Award Expo for in Your Campaigns?

Sure, there's expo for killing things and taking their stuff - combat and loot - but what other things can you award expo for?

Me, I award expo for defeating an opponent - fleeing and surrender gains the same expo as killing them (although in the case of surrendering it seems like my players tend to kill most of them afterwards anyway - ah well).

I DON'T award expo for gaining, retaining or using magic items. The item itself is it's own reward. However, if it is sold before it is used, the GP gained is awarded as expo.

I have my "Attack the Darkness" houserule, where Natural 1's on an attack roll apply points of damage to a pool. The points left in that pool at the end of a session are multiplied by 10 and awarded as an XP bonus to the PCs.

When players complete an adventure or a level in a large dungeon (such as Rappan Athuk) I award an expo bonus based on the difficulty of the adventure or level - this helps balance out the lack of rewarding expo for magic items.

So, what do you award expo for?


  1. In Dragonquest you get expo for killing things, appropriate use of skills and completion of adventures. You never got any expo for money in DQ. The big thing is preventing players who want to milk skills and accumulate bogus expo. Go play an MMORPG is you want to do that.

  2. I award xp for gp spend on non-adventuring/resource stuff like research, carousing, trying to buy membership into a guild, putting it toward a future keep or building ones own dungeon. Also there is a small 10xp per person for each new creature encountered.

  3. The obvious response is - it depends on the system I'm running. For 3.x, I gave experience for defeating anything with a Challenge Rating. I figure that I've killed enough PCs with traps that they should be worth something. For exceptional, as in something we see once a year, role playing I'll give an individual player a bump for their character. For other systems - what's XP in RuneQuest? And Chivalry & Sorcery has it's own system where everyone gets points for doing different things.

  4. My players get 1xp for each 1gp they spend in carousing, magical research, offerings to the gods, charity, or training. I also have them roll to check if something special (good or bad) happens, with dedicated tables for each activity. Most of their xp come from this.
    I also let them have the xp for the slain monsters, but that doesn't add much (we play with houseruled Labyrinth Lord).
    At the end of each session I let the players vote the "best" player or character (the one who saved the day, had the smartest idea, or had us all laugh, or whatever) and he or she gets a little bump: 1d10% of the xp needed from current level to the next.
    Last year I also allowed my players to receive a similar amount of extra xp if they wrote some kind of in character session/adventure recap, so they came up with diaries, letters to distant lovers, songs, poems, and even drawings (which I promptly posted on my blog).

    Now I'm considering giving each character some sort of starting goals, like adventurers' dreams, that they might try to accomplish: subduing a dragon, crossing a desert, winning a tournament, riding a flying creature, visiting the capital city of a different kingdom. If a character manages to fulfill his/her dream, the character receives a significant amount of xp, and all the group receives a portion of it. This, of course, works best with a sandbox campaign, with characters free to roam and explore.

    During the discussion of this system on my blog, it came out that Adventure Fantasy Game, by Tsojcanth, already had such a system, and very well thought and developed!

  5. Below is a copy of the email I sent after my last session (kicked off a new campaign with one new player). I give XP for everything!

    "I hope everyone had fun. I know I did. Making the DM laugh within the story is always worth extra XP.

    XP calc:
    Combat #1 - 311xp
    Minor Quest - find out why someone is trying to kidnap Virginia - 100xp
    Combat #2 - 625xp
    Skill challenge - discover way to gain entry to Baron Pettigrew's party - 200xp
    Major Quest - rescue Jeb Cotton - 200xp
    Combat #3 - defeat the Lanceboard game - 1,000xp
    Roleplay - making me laugh - 250xp

    Total XP for session - 2,686 xp each

    When you teleported after defeating the champion, you found Gquincy unconcious and a sack with the following: 900 sp, 2 pearls (100gp each), a Guardian Whistle and a set of Flame Bracers.

    Just a side note on Action Points - generally you get an extra action point whenever you finish two encounters without an extended rest, so in the future that is how we'll do it.

    Next session:

    Finish escape from Baron Pettigrew's
    ? Sail off for the buried treasure

    By the way - Baron Pettigrew doesn't like you."


Tenkar's Tavern is supported by various affiliate programs, including Amazon, RPGNow,
and Humble Bundle as well as Patreon. Your patronage is appreciated and helps keep the
lights on and the taps flowing. Your Humble Bartender, Tenkar

Blogs of Inspiration & Erudition