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Incentivizing Roleplaying Behavior: A Bad Idea (Mark Brantingham)

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Bedrockbrendan:
AUTHOR: Mark Brantingham

Ever since the very first party survived their first adventure, GMs have been awarding XPs and otherwise assigning value to the things that player characters do. As GMs age and become more self-confident, they tinker with the system mechanics they use and this applies as much to XP awards as it does to combat modifiers or skill multipliers.
   
GMs are traditionally responsible for determining the value of character actions, and no two GMs are exactly alike.  Some don’t give XPs for gold.  Some refuse to give XPs for killing creatures.  Some hold post-adventure voting sessions and let the players determine to a lesser or greater degree who gets XPs and for what. There are a million different formulae and processes. But no matter how it is done, awarding XPs according to what characters do during the gaming session (eg: “incentivizing” character behavior) is always - yes always - a mistake.

And I can prove it.

However, this is a gaming discussion, and that almost demands some preamble full of legalistic qualifying remarks. So, here we go: For my purposes, roleplaying is a group-based game in which the primary focus is a social one, regardless of the particular setting and set of rules.  Gaming scenarios are there to create an environment in which the players use their imaginations to deal with situations through the eyes of their characters.  The behavior of and interaction between the player characters is the feature that sets a roleplaying game apart from other types of games and other forms of entertainment and ultimately defines what it is that I am talking about when I use the term “roleplaying” game. There are other types of games that are often lumped in under the general term of “roleplaying games” and I have played some of them and I enjoy some of them, but they are not what I am talking about here. I’m not talking about 40k battles or a LARP session where never a die is rolled. I’m not talking about a group of players who aren’t interested in loot or treasure.  I’m talking about normal meat-and-potatoes RPGs and RPGers.

Real people have normal behavioral drives, both as characters and as players.  The drives of any given character may be simple or complex, selfish or altruistic, logical or chaotic, even different characters that belong to the same player.  That’s what’s fun about roleplaying.  You get to be someone else.  You get to be a thief.  Or you can be a killer.  Or you can be a paladin.  It’s the behavior, the playing of a role, that makes roleplaying interesting.  It’s using your imagination to do things you would never normally do, and the most rewarding roleplaying is consistent with and true to your own motivations and ambitions.

The entire hobby of roleplaying is based upon this premise: roleplaying is its own reward.  That is why members of a roleplaying group choose to spend Friday night roleplaying in a dungeon instead of watching a movie or going to bars or doing all the other things there are to do. It is because they LIKE to roleplay. And no two roleplayers are going to do it exactly the same way.  There’s no reason they should.  Roleplaying is essentially individualistic.  People do it because they like to do it and the best roleplaying that can be done is roleplaying that adheres to one’s own standards.  “This is what my character would do” because he feels this, because he thinks this.  It’s something that is not well-suited to being judged by an outsider.

It is for precisely this reason that GM-generated XP awards meant to incentivize character behavior are directly opposed to the ideal of roleplaying, because the effect is always to pit the desires of the player against the desires of the character he plays. A player naturally wants to see his character improve.  He wants the character to gain new skills or spells to further express the character’s personality, to further that character’s goals and plans. The whole reason the player is there is to build and improve his character, so that by doing so, the character become better able to do whatever it is he thinks is important given the specifics of the setting, the campaign, and the psychology of the PC.  Therefore, when a player knows that only certain types of activities will be rewarded by the GM, or that some types of behaviors are preferred, the result is that players often find themselves torn between remaining true to behavior that is authentic, or engaging in behavior that is likely to result in more XPs.  This happens all the time.  It is completely unavoidable no matter what scheme the GM can dream up to reward behavior.

To demonstrate this, we can start with the simplest example from an old-school 1st edition AD&D campaign straight out of the DM’s Guide which awards XPs for gold pieces and XPs for slain monsters.  Don’t bother protesting that you award XPs for “defeating” monsters which includes accepting their surrender or sneaking around them or whatever.  It doesn’t make any difference, or to be more correct, it can make a difference, but there will never-the-less be a significant problem so long as a GM is awarding different amounts of XPs based on what characters do. If the GM offers awards for doing certain things, the players will always find themselves doing things that they would not normally do in order to get the awards that the GM offers.  This is inevitable.

On with the first example, the famous “baby goblins” scenario. The group kills the adult goblins and then finds a room with female goblins and/or infant goblins.  In the simplest version of the behavioral incentive dilemma, the GM awards XPs strictly per monster killed.  Period.  Well, it would be surprising to find an adventuring group which, under these conditions, did not have at least one character who ends up instigating a fight with the goblins women and children for those extra 20 XPs per goblin (or whatever the reward).  Even more surprising would be to find a group that did not collectively shrug and then join in the slaughter of the female and young goblins once the fight began, secure in the knowledge that it was that other player who caused the fight, not me.  Even if there is a player who resists the inclination to collect the extra XPs he knows he will miss out on, and instead decides to actively protect the helpless goblin civilians, he is still doing so with that dramatic irony lurking in the back of his mind – the knowledge that he is remaining true to the goals of his character only at the expense of the XPs that he still desires to have as a player even if he is willing to forego them in the interest of roleplaying integrity. This is a very unsatisfying and completely unnecessary situation which undermines the whole purpose of roleplaying and really serves no purpose other than to give the GM some easy metric with which to calculate character progress, arbitrary though it is.

But as any RPer knows, and as I’ve already admitted, the specific problem from the example above was long ago identified and corrected by almost every GM.  “Nobody still gives XPs per kill” you say, but it doesn’t really matter.  If a GM is assigning XPs based upon specific actions taken by specific characters, the same essential problem exists and I could spend hour after hour giving examples to illustrate that it all amounts to the same thing, but the intelligent reader doesn’t need them, he already realizes that I’m right.  Incentivizing behavior will always affect behavior.  What characters do in response to incentives is not the same as what they do in the absence of incentives.  This is an axiomatic truth, and the result is detrimental to the experience of roleplaying.

One of the easiest ways to prove that I am right is to consider the campaigns that you have participated in as a player and not a as a GM and to ask yourself if you ever ended up wanting to roleplay your character in a manner that would have resulted in less XPs or slower advancement for the entire group, or if you noticed situations where you felt your roleplaying was undervalued or misinterpreted by the GM, and not credited as it should have been towards your character’s advancement. Everyone who is honest is going to say yes. It happens and it happens fairly regularly.  Does it undermine your experience as a roleplayer?  Sure it does, and you vow to yourself that when you are a GM you will rectify the situation by never scoring XPs in that way.  YOU will solve that problem by giving XPs for X Y and Z and by noticing (insert thing your GM ignored) and by not doing (insert lousy thing).  Oddly enough, of every single GM that you have ever known, only YOU know how to accurately and fairly award XPs.

Everybody thinks that, even your players.  That’s because the process itself is inherently flawed.  There is no way to incentivize character behavior without undermining roleplaying, because roleplaying itself is incentive for character behavior and should be the ONLY incentive for character behavior. When it is not the only incentive, when XP awards are also an incentive, then there is an inevitable conflict between those two incentives. Any time there is a conflict between the way a player thinks he should roleplay his character and the way he decides he is going to roleplay his character, roleplaying suffers.

I’ll give you a much more subtle example.  What about a GM who awards character involvement?  That seems reasonable, even laudable.  A character who talks to NPCs and gets in there and gets involved in the details of the adventure gets more XPs than characters who sit back and don’t talk.  That seems to make lots of sense at first. But what about when a player intentionally crafts a character who lost his daughter and wife in the war and just stopped caring and has a death wish? He doesn’t want to talk to NPCs and he is perfectly happy to follow the group leader and is perfectly willing to die for the only friends he has left, his adventuring party.  This is a strong character concept and could make for a very compelling roleplaying experience.  The one thing that is sure to screw it up is a GM who is consistently awarding this character an average of 25% less XPs every session because he doesn’t understand that the player is roleplaying his character faithfully, or even if he does know it he refuses to properly value that roleplaying.  This type of thing happens all the time. It is an inevitable consequence of the very process of scoring character behavior numerically.

There are more problems with the above example than simply failing to appreciate the roleplaying of this one individual.  Consider the unintended effect it can have on the campaign if, in order to get an XP bonus, 3 of the players in a group begin to compete to be the most “involved” or “vocal” characters.  What a nightmare. This interferes with real roleplaying as much as anything else.  Players should be interacting because of the natural impulses arising from the scenario and the mindsets of their characters, not because of some social reward scheme concocted by a well-intentioned GM.  Never reward character behavior. Never ever ever. It is always always always a mistake.

The larger point is that there is no sense in trying to be the judge of what is “good” roleplaying and what is “inferior” roleplaying, because no GM can possibly see inside another player’s soul or mind and understand why a player is doing everything he is doing, and not all players are the “talky” type who constantly explain everything they are doing or why.  They shouldn’t need to.

Sometimes player behavior may have to be restricted or punished as too disruptive to the group, like when a player shows up to game sessions drunk or has a habit of talking over everyone else at the table. Often in-character behavior may have negative campaign consequences, such as a thief who is caught and hanged for stealing a horse.  These issues are completely distinct from XPs awarded to actively encourage or discourage a certain type of character behavior.

Another example is the common practice of rewarding groups or individuals for completing certain objectives. If the group figures out x or solves the mystery of y then they get (insert XP award). This type of reward is often given with the intention of motivating players to follow a certain story path or keep after “adventure goals.”  While expedient for the GM, who might simply desire to stick to the script of the module he is reading from or has designed, it is often quite frustrating for a player who takes an interest in a certain detail of the campaign which has nothing to do with the official script. Now a character’s interest in some element of the campaign is pitted against the player’s desire to improve that character. It can get worse if the rest of the players are convinced that what a certain character is interested in will only delay a story-related XP bonus.  They can become hostile to the actions of a character as a result, where they would otherwise have either had no objection or would have actually taken interest themselves had they not felt the need to pursue story goal awards.

A GM must recognize that, if left alone, roleplaying creates its own value. External reward systems only conflict with and subvert the organic roleplaying impulses of the player.

The same applies to every element of the game.  Gold pieces are their own reward, no need for XP rewards per GP.  No need for monster experience either.  No matter how clever the implementation, the characters should approach risks such as monsters based only on their instincts of risk versus reward.  If left to this consideration, behavior tends to be more authentic.  Players are more likely to go around a black bear if there is no arbitrary XP “payment” for attacking it, driving it off, befriending it, or whatever other clever parameters a GM can list on a sheet.  Just let the characters decide what to do based on what they want to accomplish along with the normal impulses of loot, boasting-rights, curiosity, and self-preservation. Not to mention…it’s a whole lot easier on a GM to play a bear to its fullest lethality if the group who attacked it didn’t feel that doing so was sort of necessary to advance.

There are often XP awards offered for bravery - another noble concept.  However, what the XP incentive really does is strip some of the nobility from a heroic gesture if other players interpret it to have been prompted by the expectation of an XP bonus at the end of the night. The roleplaying experience itself is the best incentive, and any other incentive can only cheapen it by casting it in another light.

So “okay” you say, how do I award XPs?  They have to be awarded after all.  Characters do need XPs to advance. That is a fundamental concern of players as you yourself already admitted.

Yes, obviously characters need XPs which must be awarded based upon some criteria and the criteria I recommend will at first strike most as being beneath consideration.  Award XPs based on session time. 10 XPs per hour. 100 XPs per hour. 1000 XPs per game session.  Whatever fits the advancement pace you prefer as a GM.  

You’re thinking that it’s too simple.  Well, what’s wrong with simple? It’s not just simple, it’s fair, and it’s predictable too. Every time you come up with something that seems clever to you, what you’re actually doing is coming up with something that is unfair or counterproductive in some way you cannot yet see and might never realize. In any case, awarding XPs based on the length of the session finally frees players to be true to their own characters. The moment that XP advancement is unhitched from character activity – the concerns of the player for his character’s advancement and the behavior of the character itself become two completely separate things. No conflict remains.

What is lost by implementing this very simple XP system? That clever XP/roleplaying manifesto that took you five hours to compose, you know, the one you hand out to new players that takes into consideration all the stuff all your former GMs didn’t understand about roleplaying awards…you lose that.  But the truth is, most players have seen at least a few of those in the past and yours may not strike them as being any more well-reasoned or logical than the one before it.  Try this one-sentence replacement manifesto: “Roleplaying is the province of the player and this GM does not attempt to judge roleplaying in terms of ability, effort, or authenticity.” You may be surprised at how well-received it is by players who are genuinely tired of presumptuous GMs and their overbearing, opinionated approaches to roleplaying theory.  Most players are going to recognize that the new way is a real attempt by the GM to be completely fair, and they will appreciate it.  Watch the change in attitude as it begins to dawn on them that finally they are roleplaying strictly for their own enjoyment, and they are answerable only to their own standards and pursuing their own personal goals, instead of working to satisfy a GM’s agenda or to avoid his “pet peeves” in order to net better awards.

What is gained?  Lots. Whatever amount of time and energy you spend at the end of a session calculating who gets what and why is now free for just kicking back and hanging out, trading stories with players about the game that just happened, players who are less likely to be miffed at you for some unknown slight over an XP penalty they suffered or the fact that Ken got the “rp V.I.P. award” for the 5th week in a row.  Who wants to do XP calculations at the end of a ten hour gaming session anyways? It’s mind-numbing and pointless. Let the players redirect all their annoyance at other characters.  Up your aura of neutrality. Free yourself.

There’s very little you will look back on and miss once you make the move to a per hour or per session XP flat rate, and there are unexpected benefits.  You know that player who always seems to drag in an hour or two after everybody else for no discernible reason?  Under this system, he would be docking himself 20% experience every week he did that.  You can choose not to rate XPs by the hour of course, if you dislike enforcing it, that’s up to you, but consider the possibility that other players might approve of such a rule.  THEY got there on time.  The absence of the straggler impacts them if there is a fight or if there’s something that needs to be decided on or figured out.  Not only that, but the disruption caused when the late guy arrives at 9:36 pm inconveniences them too.  It’s just plain annoying if nothing else.  They will secretly approve of the 20% XP penalty, believe me, and you cannot be accused of being a hard-ass.  It’s just math.  Look at your watch and note the time on your XP log.  Everyone else has been at the table for 2½ hours already.  They deserve more XPs.  There’s nothing controversial about it.

One less meta-gaming issue to compete with roleplaying issues. One less thing for players to complain about. One less thing for you to have to think about during game design.  You’ll resist introducing this XP system for fear of being thought a simpleton by your players, but once you’ve used it for a few weeks, once your players are used to the idea, they won’t be able to imagine going back to the old system, and neither will you.

Bren:
Yay! An article about roleplaying. What a delightful change.


--- Quote ---AUTHOR: Mark Brantingham
The entire hobby of roleplaying is based upon this premise: roleplaying is its own reward.
--- End quote ---
So roleplaying is (or should be) its own reward. Got it.

--- Quote ---The whole reason the player is there is to build and improve his character
--- End quote ---
So roleplaying is not its own reward? Now I’m confused.


--- Quote ---The larger point is that there is no sense in trying to be the judge of what is “good” roleplaying and what is “inferior” roleplaying, because no GM can possibly see inside another player’s soul or mind and understand why a player is doing everything he is doing, and not all players are the “talky” type who constantly explain everything they are doing or why. They shouldn’t need to.
--- End quote ---
As far as incentives go, I’m pretty neutral on the subject. But if I’m going to incentivize then I’m going to incentivize based what I value as a GM. Which is me having fun while the the other players at the table are having fun. So if your behavior promotes both of those things, I might incentivize it. And if your behavior inhibits both of those things, I might de-incentivize it.


--- Quote ---This happens all the time.  It is completely unavoidable no matter what scheme the GM can dream up to reward behavior.
--- End quote ---
If the problem really is “completely unavoidable,” then there is no point in worrying about it. So I'm guessing you didn't really mean what you said.


--- Quote ---It doesn’t make any difference, or to be more correct, it can make a difference, but there will never-the-less be a significant problem so long as a GM is awarding different amounts of XPs based on what characters do. If the GM offers awards for doing certain things, the players will always find themselves doing things that they would not normally do in order to get the awards that the GM offers.  This is inevitable.
--- End quote ---
The same sort of conflict will also arise if there is any risk of danger to the PCs or to their toys. I don’t find that conflict to be a bug. I find it to be a feature.


--- Quote ---Incentivizing behavior will always affect behavior.
--- End quote ---
Obviously that is the point of incentives in the first place. So incentives often (but not always) will affect behavior. How the incentive affects behavior is seldom the simple cause and effect that you posit.


--- Quote ---Oddly enough, of every single GM that you have ever known, only YOU know how to accurately and fairly award XPs.
--- End quote ---
Gotta disagree here. Most GMs I know do a decent job of awarding experience. It does sound like you have some issues with how some of your GMs handed out XP though.


--- Quote ---There is no way to incentivize character behavior without undermining roleplaying, because roleplaying itself is incentive for character behavior and should be the ONLY incentive for character behavior.
--- End quote ---

--- Quote ---When it is not the only incentive, when XP awards are also an incentive, then there is an inevitable conflict between those two incentives. Any time there is a conflict between the way a player thinks he should roleplay his character and the way he decides he is going to roleplay his character, roleplaying suffers.
--- End quote ---
So we should eliminate character improvement altogether, so it isn’t a conflicting incentive?

OK. I can work with that. I’ve played in and run a game like that. Of course we are still left with character survival as an incentive for character action and it is equally axiomatic that survival will sometimes be at odds with roleplaying. So roleplaying is still not the sole incentive for character behavior. So I guess we need no character improvement and nobody dies (or get’s crippled, or loses their fancy gear, or an NPC friend, lover, spouse, child, etc.) You know now this game that is only about roleplaying is starting to sound uninteresting to me.


--- Quote ---Sometimes player behavior may have to be restricted or punished as too disruptive to the group, like when a player shows up to game sessions drunk or has a habit of talking over everyone else at the table.
--- End quote ---
Those are not in-game problems so one should not use in-game attempts at solution. Much better to say, “Hey Sue, when you show up half an hour late because you are drunk out of your gourd, then you spend the rest of the session talking loudly over everyone else, until you either pass out on the sofa or end up blowing chunks in the bathroom…well that really makes the session a lot less fun for me. So either you can stop showing up drunk or you can stop playing. Your choice, Sue. (If gender concerns you feel free to substitute Stu for Sue.)


--- Quote ---So “okay” you say, how do I award XPs?  They have to be awarded after all.
--- End quote ---
No. No Mark they don’t have to be awarded after all. In fact, as I pointed out if you really want to only focus on roleplaying you are better off not awarding experience. At all.

--- Quote ---Characters do need XPs to advance. That is a fundamental concern of players as you yourself already admitted.
--- End quote ---
No. No I didn’t admit that. Quite the opposite in fact. But even if one wanted to include character improvement or advancement, one could use a system like BRP/Runequest where improvement is a result of character actions. You used your Tie Knots skill so you get a chance to improve it. You didn’t use your Crossbow skill so you don’t get a chance to improve it. You spent a game week training in horseback riding so you get a chance to improve that. Incentive is now aligned with character action. Problem solved.
 

--- Quote ---Award XPs based on session time. 10 XPs per hour. 100 XPs per hour. 1000 XPs per game session.  Whatever fits the advancement pace you prefer as a GM.  

You’re thinking that it’s too simple.
--- End quote ---
It’s ok. It’s not a fundamentally bad idea. I’ve used that too. But it is not without it’s own problems. Now you are incentivizing attendance. So you still have the potential for an incentive problem. It’s just a different problem. And it’s a problem that is counterproductive to roleplaying. Now your players will show up to grind out the experience per sessopm even when they should have stayed home because they were too tired, drunk, or in too bad a mood to productively and entertainingly engage with the other people at the table. Why would you want to incentivize that?


--- Quote ---You know that player who always seems to drag in an hour or two after everybody else for no discernible reason?  Under this system, he would be docking himself 20% experience every week he did that.
--- End quote ---
So now my players are punching a time card for their experience points? That sounds great. And when I say great I mean sucks terribly. How many people do you know who really and truly enjoy having to punch a time clock?

crkrueger:

--- Quote from: Bren;929679 ---No I didn’t admit that. Quite the opposite in fact. But even if one wanted to include character improvement or advancement, one could use a system like BRP/Runequest where improvement is a result of character actions. You used your Tie Knots skill so you get a chance to improve it. You didn’t use your Crossbow skill so you don’t get a chance to improve it. You spent a game week training in horseback riding so you get a chance to improve that. Incentive is now aligned with character action. Problem solved.
--- End quote ---
Now you're incentivising skill spamming and "me too" skill conga-lines where if one person is spending time to get a skill check in, they all are.
 

--- Quote from: Bren;929679 ---Now your players will show up to grind out the experience per sessopm even when they should have stayed home because they were too tired, drunk, or in too bad a mood to productively and entertainingly engage with the other people at the table. Why would you want to incentivize that?
--- End quote ---
Every other method of experience does that as well.  If players are going to push themselves when they know they shouldn't play because they want to "level" or attain some mark of advancement, then they will do that no matter what that mark is, whether it's roleplay, skill spam, mission turn in, get 12,000 more gold, kill 15 more ogres, or play one more hour.


--- Quote from: Bren;929679 ---So now my players are punching a time card for their experience points? That sounds great. And when I say great I mean sucks terribly. How many people do you know who really and truly enjoy having to punch a time clock?
--- End quote ---
That's just silly. Unless you specifically give them a break, every other form of advancement means someone coming late will get less.  Someone misses half a gaming session, they miss half the skill checks, half the kills, half the quest goals, etc...  That's really no different.

The only metagame concern with X advancement per session or Y advancement per hour is how often you play and how long you play.  The more you play that character, the better you get.  There's no system to game unless you want to try to sell the bullshit that actually playing vs. not playing is a system to game.

I'm not entirely convinced that 4 hours pubcrawling is worth 4 hours saving the Princess or killing the BBEG, but...if roleplaying is the primary concern...why not?

Mythras has Improvement Points per session, and I've been trying it.  We'll see how it goes.  No problems so far.

daniel_ream:

--- Quote from: CRKrueger;929833 ---I'm not entirely convinced that 4 hours pubcrawling is worth 4 hours saving the Princess or killing the BBEG, but...if roleplaying is the primary concern...why not?
--- End quote ---

I once saw a Champions session where two female players spent two hours roleplaying shopping in [real multi-storey shopping center in nearby major metropolis].

When players start RPing pub crawling or shopping, I'm reminded of Seanbaby's review of Pictionary for the NES: "Motherfucker, I have a board game.  I don't have a fighter jet."

Bren:

--- Quote from: CRKrueger;929833 ---Now you're incentivising skill spamming and "me too" skill conga-lines where if one person is spending time to get a skill check in, they all are.
--- End quote ---
You might be. Depends a bit on what is required to get a skill check. And sometimes there are counter incentives. For example, yes you could stop in the middle of melee, switch from the 1H spear and shield you are good with to the 2H axe you have strapped on your back that you are just learning to use, so you get a chance for a skill check. But there might just be some reason other than metagaming that would prevent that from being a really popular option.
 

--- Quote ---Every other method of experience does that as well.
--- End quote ---
Other methods are often less incentivized than a pure show up and get the experience to just show up to get the experience. That's one of the reasons people use them. Of course they do require some method of giving different experience based on what the player does. Which is what the OP objects to so vehemently.


--- Quote ---That's just silly.
--- End quote ---
Well its kind of a silly solution. And you could just level people the same whether or not they attend. That way there is no exerience incentive to attend or disincentive not to attend. If it were really true that roleplaying is its own reward sufficient unto itself no one should care that experience is unrelated to anything that you the player or your character do.


--- Quote ---Someone misses half a gaming session, they miss half the skill checks, half the kills, half the quest goals, etc...  That's really no different.
--- End quote ---
Yeah it is. Skill checks, reward for accomplishing goals, good roleplay, XP for gold, or for killing monsters, or what have you are not equally metered per hour of real world time on the clock. Part of a session may be Monty Python jokes or other OOC chatting about the kids, weather, life events, it might be IC roleplaying unrelated to accomplishing anything except shooting the breeze with other PCs or NPCs in character. So no, it isn't no different.


--- Quote ---The only metagame concern with X advancement per session or Y advancement per hour is how often you play and how long you play.
--- End quote ---
The rate of improvement in game is also a concern that may be unrelated to pace of play out of game or length of play in or out of game.  If a session represents a few hours in game I'm going to have different concerns when PCs improve based on that session than when a session represents a week, month, or year of game time.


--- Quote ---I'm not entirely convinced that 4 hours pubcrawling is worth 4 hours saving the Princess or killing the BBEG, but...if roleplaying is the primary concern...why not?
--- End quote ---
Not only am I not convinced, I lean towards the point of view that just shooting the shit in character for a session isn't especially deserving of improvement of the character. And if roleplaying is the primary concern there is no reason why it should be deserving of improvement. Typically, when a session goes like that, we just enjoy it for what it is and are satisfied with minimal or no improvement from that session.


--- Quote ---Mythras has Improvement Points per session, and I've been trying it.  We'll see how it goes.  No problems so far.
--- End quote ---
As I said. I've done that. It's OK, but it has its own issues such as the question of whether an essentially aimless 4 hours of in game pub crawling and in character yacking should net the same, character improvement as 4 weeks in game of risky, action packed, skill under pressure adventuring, that accomplishes something important to the characters and their world. It's not that the simple 1 hour in the real world equals 10 XP is a bad method, but it isn't an issue free method of managing character improvement. Nor is it intrinsically better, from the perspective purely of roleplaying, than no character improvement at all.

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