Posted by : David Guyll December 31, 2009

In the past I used to toss some bonus XP to players who did particularly well in a session, be it good social role-playing, clever ideas, or just some form of sacrifice on the part of a PC or (better yet) a NPC. This didnt matter to most classes except non-artificers who could also make magic items. Hell, as a fighter I kept a log of "bonus XP" that I was given so that I could have the wizard scribe scrolls and make potions for me.

Though several DMs have done so in the past in games I've played in, I'm not exactly a fan of rewarding players for "role-playing" (as it is often mistakenly identified), but for role-playing of any type. I also like players who actually create a character history, especially if it gives me tender bits to chew on when writing adventures. It was mostly a problem of determining a viable reward that they would actually give a fuck about but doesnt mess with long-term balance.

See, extra XP in 4E isnt terribly useful since you no longer have to burn it in order to make magic items, and it would take quite awhile for it to accrue to the point where you are leveled temporarily higher than everyone else...assuming no one else is also hoarding bonus XP.

So, no, thats out. Some ideas that are in are as follows.

  • A bonus action point that never "decays", and can be used in the same encounter as another one.
  • Add +1d6, +1d8, or whatever to an attack roll or skill usage.
  • Recharge a spent encounter power.
  • Recharge a spent daily power.
  • Remove a spent magic item power usage.
  • Act as if you got a 20+ on a death save.
  • Typed bonus to attack rolls, damage rolls, defenses, etc.
  • Untyped bonus to attack rolls, damage rolls, defenses, etc.
  • Automatic critical hit if an attack hits at all.
I dont really have a name for these, yet, though boons seems like a fitting name (except that DMG2 added those, as well). I wouldnt create specific conditions to award these, but do so on a case-by-case basis to avoid "boon farming", or whatever. Mostly I'm doling these out when the plot would benefit most from having a mechanical representation.

For example, if a friend or loved one is being attack by a monster, I might grant a bonus on the attack and/or damage roll. If a player is on their last leg trying to defend someone or thing, I might give them a power bonus to defenses to represent their determination. A chaos sorcerer might get a variable bonus to an attack roll. Think any scene in any media where an adrenaline rush of sorts pushes the character to do something particularly badass, or just pick an anime where rage-bullshit kicks in to save the day.

{ 1 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. "In my game, I use what are called 'Fate Points', of which I always get a certain amount at the beginning of a session. They get to keep theirs throughout the campaign, and get them as a group for anything that I am impressed with. They allow them to tap into the 'zeitgeist' (a very important being in my world) to reroll rolls or perform certain stunts (though the former is much more common)."

    "Much of my world, Rivengard, is built to certain specifications, which allows me to explain game mechanics in fluff and certain tropes become second nature to the campaign world."

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