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Desmond Tiny
2009-10-04, 07:54 PM
How much should I give my level 1 players for writing a two page backstory. I told them beforehand that I would give them xp for writing a good backstory. Thanks in advance.

Siosilvar
2009-10-04, 07:55 PM
As much as you want to give them.

Really, there's no right answer to this question.

EDIT: Is it actually good? Quality isn't determined by length.

mr.fizzypop
2009-10-04, 07:58 PM
I usually give low amounts of roleplaying xp. It's usually 25-100xp.
But its your decision.

onthetown
2009-10-04, 08:15 PM
I've never gotten XP for backstories, but my DM usually gives me 50 - 200 xp for in-game roleplaying with Diplomacy and the skills rather than killing things. Exploiting my characters' backstories usually falls into that category.

Zeta Kai
2009-10-04, 08:21 PM
Well, a good quality character background is worth quite a bit. In fact, one that is detailed enough, with character development & growth, might be worth 1,000XP, which is enough to advance to 2nd level. That should be the most extreme high end, though, & may destabilize the party dynamic from the outset. A bonus in the 100-500XP range would be more appropriate. As stated before, it's completely your call. You're only obligated to hand this out because you said your would beforehand; good roleplaying is it's own reward, really.

Temet Nosce
2009-10-04, 09:12 PM
How fast are you going to give out EXP after the game starts? How much do you want to emphasize the RPing/backstory EXP (I assume you'll also be giving out EXP at the end of each session for RPing?)

Personally, for a two page background (a good one, that actually caught my interest and held it while managing to define all major areas of the character) would be worth at least a level in my opinion. I have on occasion given out even stranger awards for them (free LA, magic items, free 18s, feats, etc). That said, I try to encourage RPing in my games and want my players to have thoroughly developed characters.

If it's going to take you multiple sessions to hit level 2 though, it might be more appropriate to just give enough to make the players with better backgrounds hit it a couple sessions early.

Delwugor
2009-10-05, 02:25 PM
I don't give out XP for roleplaying nor character background. The reasoning being that XP reward only affects the level of a character which is not really a aspect role-playing. XP is a mechanical reward which does not translate well into character rewards.
Instead I give action points which the player can use to affect the story and outcome of the campaign. So their reward for character background,development and rping is to have an even greater affect on their characters greatness, the campaign and the overall story.

King of Nowere
2009-10-05, 02:57 PM
For roleplaying, I generally give 10 or 20% extra xp for the time. For a background, I'd have no idea. But I wouldn't give roleplaying xp for background, I dn't want my players to feel forced to roleplay more than they wish

Lysander
2009-10-05, 03:55 PM
Instead of xp, which kinda busts any sense of immersion, why not give them bonus items and roleplaying benefits based on their backstory?

A former soldier might have a high quality sword. A scholarly wizard might start with a few free scrolls. A thief might have underworld contacts that allows them to buy and sell illegal items. A famous bard might get free food and lodging from fans everywhere they go. Etc.

Samurai Jill
2009-10-05, 04:05 PM
How much should I give my level 1 players for writing a two page backstory. I told them beforehand that I would give them xp for writing a good backstory. Thanks in advance.
IMHO, Role-Play XP is actually a misguided concept to begin with.

The problem here is that reward systems create value systems. I mean, what does XP actually amount to? -More and better spells, damage, HP and tactical options- in other words, things that make you efficient in combat. So when you reward players with XP, you're basically saying, "efficiency in combat is the most important thing about this game!"

And I'm afraid that maximising combat efficiency may actually diverge drastically from dedicated role-play of a convincing character, insofar as having meaningful convictions would imply making sacrifices for their own sake, whether that helps you win or not. And by definition, making sacrifices for things besides winning is an impediment to winning efficiently. It's a classic Gamism/Sim conflict.

Now, sure- you can hand out XP for things like putting on a convincing accent, catching appropriate plot hooks and simulating the right social mannerisms, but if you want to make role-play the first and foremost priority of play, then you need to reward role-play with things that strengthen and deepen role-play, and not just combat. I'm not sure D&D really has an easy option for that.

Samurai Jill
2009-10-05, 04:38 PM
I don't give out XP for roleplaying nor character background. The reasoning being that XP reward only affects the level of a character which is not really a aspect role-playing. XP is a mechanical reward which does not translate well into character rewards.
Instead I give action points which the player can use to affect the story and outcome of the campaign. So their reward for character background,development and rping is to have an even greater affect on their characters greatness, the campaign and the overall story.
So, yeah... something like that.

Fiery Diamond
2009-10-05, 05:15 PM
Now, sure- you can hand out XP for things like putting on a convincing accent, catching appropriate plot hooks and simulating the right social mannerisms, but if you want to make role-play the first and foremost priority of play, then you need to reward role-play with things that strengthen and deepen role-play, and not just combat. I'm not sure D&D really has an easy option for that.

What I like to do is give out appropriate skill bonuses, aka faux ranks (for example, if they do in-depth roleplay for learning a language, I might cut the skill points required to learn the language - that kind of thing.

Do avoid GNS, please.

Samurai Jill
2009-10-05, 05:31 PM
What I like to do is give out appropriate skill bonuses, aka faux ranks (for example, if they do in-depth roleplay for learning a language, I might cut the skill points required to learn the language - that kind of thing.

Do avoid GNS, please.
Umm... no? I'll touch on the subject if it happens to be relevant.

The problem with the approach you suggest is that you still have to go kill monsters before you can have skill points to invest at all. You're still trying to shove Sim priorities through the basically Gamist back-door of levelling.

Fiery Diamond
2009-10-05, 05:39 PM
Umm... no? I'll touch on the subject if it happens to be relevant.

The problem with the approach you suggest is that you still have to go kill monsters before you can have skill points to invest at all. You're still trying to shove Sim priorities through the basically Gamist back-door of levelling.

GNS is never relevant unless you're trying to start a flame war.
Also, what if I let them be "partially proficient" until they level up at which point they spend only 1 point (instead of the normal 2) to become fully proficient? I've done that before.

Samurai Jill
2009-10-05, 05:49 PM
GNS is never relevant unless you're trying to start a flame war.
Also, what if I let them be "partially proficient" until they level up at which point they spend only 1 point (instead of the normal 2) to become fully proficient? I've done that before.
...Why would killing monsters be remotely relevant to learning a language in any way, shape or form? These things have nothing intrinsic to do with eachother aside from the metagame concern of maintaining parity in character effectiveness. (If that's not GNS being relevant, I don't know what is.)

Samurai Jill
2009-10-07, 05:17 PM
I don't give out XP for roleplaying nor character background... Instead I give action points which the player can use to affect the story and outcome of the campaign. So their reward for character background,development and rping is to have an even greater affect on their characters greatness, the campaign and the overall story.
-Actually, this sounds very similar to the system of awarding 'checks' in Mouse Guard, for using traits in a way that actually hampers your character. (e.g, if you have the 'generous' trait, you might say that puts you at a disadvantage when haggling with merchants.)

Ashtagon
2009-10-08, 02:15 AM
Rather than give a bigger reward for a bigger backstory, I'd do this.

Each time you would normally give bonus XP for roleplaying during thegame, if that bit of RP was somehow linked to the backstory, it gets doubled.

More backstory = more hooks the player could use to tie to his in-game RP.