What is the best way to XP?

This is a constant problem for me. I hate that most games give out XP solely for combat. Its something that rewards a specific kind of behavior, and is very one-dimensional. In my mind, XP should be much broader as a reward.

Some examples of what I mean…

  • In real-life, you learn from getting your ass kicked. Its part of life, and its the part that contributes to the accumulation of “wisdom”.
  • Overcoming any obstacle should be a victory to some extent. Only killing things doesn’t offer any sort of reward for any other success.
  • Handing XP out at the end of the session turns it into a door prize. XP shouldn’t be handed out just because a player shows up for a session. Its something that should be offered as a reward for in-game play, and not necessarily just the successful stuff.

These are just three examples of things that frustrate me about most XP systems. One of my favorite ideas for handing out XP is the extent to which a character played their class, alignment, or demonstrated an excellent contribution to the game.

A great example of this is someone playing a barbarian. Most people look at this and think that the character should be some muscle-bound face puncher. I see barbarians as people who survive despite, and possibly because of, incredible situations. Playing the character as a survivor is much different from playing them as a super tough goon. Just my two cents, but I think its something worth considering. XP is a major part of most games, and considering how it is awarded matters.






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