XP for avoiding encounters?


Running the Game


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The rulebook states that you get XP for combat and social encounters. What's about potential encounters the group managed to avoid? Will those also add up to the XP for an adventure? Or are only killed monsters awarded with XP? This would be a little letdown because it would prevent the group from seeking alternative solutions. Am I missing anything here?


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I am of the opinion that an obstacle overcome, no matter the manner in which it is overcome, should award the same XP value - as that is the only way not to be pushing the players, who would like to get as much XP as they can, to behave in a specific sort of way (i.e. if they get a big XP reward for killing monsters, and get a smaller XP reward for hashing out a deal with or sneaking past the monsters, more often than not they will go straight for trying to kill the monsters).

The only limitation to that is that an obstacle has to actually be an obstacle - you don't get the XP for defeating something by happenstance never encountering it, otherwise the average town guard would, by measure of having never even seen a dragon, be immensely high level.


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Belisar wrote:
The rulebook states that you get XP for combat and social encounters. What's about potential encounters the group managed to avoid? Will those also add up to the XP for an adventure? Or are only killed monsters awarded with XP? This would be a little letdown because it would prevent the group from seeking alternative solutions. Am I missing anything here?

If players managed to outwit or escape something in a reasonable manner then it's probably fair to treat it as normal, else consider using the accomplishments table on page 339.


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I have a problem with per creature defeated XP awards. I think that they encourage players to go out of their way to kill as many of the things that they encounter as they can get away with. It makes the game more hack and slash and less strategy or genuine role playing. Players should be best rewarded for the most strategic and most efficient solutions and solutions that from the best role playing that doesn't get in the way of meeting the campaign goals. Per creature / per combat XP gets away from that.


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Avoiding encounters yes, ignoring encounters no. If the players are able to avoid encounters because of their skills or ingenuity then yes give them that XP. But if the players actively ignore something then no do not. Sneaking past an Orc patrol, yes. Talking their way out of a bandit ambush, yes. Ignoring cries for help or seeing a group of goblins they don't deem worthy of their time? No.


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Rameth wrote:
Avoiding encounters yes, ignoring encounters no. If the players are able to avoid encounters because of their skills or ingenuity then yes give them that XP. But if the players actively ignore something then no do not. Sneaking past an Orc patrol, yes. Talking their way out of a bandit ambush, yes. Ignoring cries for help or seeing a group of goblins they don't deem worthy of their time? No.

This is how I handle it. Talk past an encounter? Absolutely. Use your sneaking and tracking skills to find where the enemies that are hunting you are and bypass them? You bet!

Simply ignoring an encounter? No. You can do that (and sometimes you need to if you're low on resources or on a more pressing situation), but you don't get rewarded for it.

Sovereign Court

I think another possible approach can be to use significant quest XP rewards, and graded rewards for how well you accomplish the main goal of the quest. For example, if the bad guys start executing hostages when you burst into their boss room, you want to come in their with your best spells and powers still available. So any encounters you talk your way through are good, even if you miss out on some small XP: the XP per extra hostage saved should outweigh that.


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Tridus wrote:
Simply ignoring an encounter? No. You can do that (and sometimes you need to if you're low on resources or on a more pressing situation), but you don't get rewarded for it.

If ignoring an encounter in the manner of turning left instead of right willy-nilly, no xp. If following a plan and thus avoiding detours, at least some xp.

The Lost Star actually has good examples of this in the centipede room - the players have been told where the objective is likely to be, and that's not in the centipede room. Avoiding that room is certainly worth an award - but that might be a side quest award rather than the full fight award on GM whim.

This is why I don't use xp and instead give out levels at waypoints - I don't want my players to feel they have to examine every nook and cranny. They still do tough - but usually after finishing the main encounter.


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Starfox wrote:
Tridus wrote:
Simply ignoring an encounter? No. You can do that (and sometimes you need to if you're low on resources or on a more pressing situation), but you don't get rewarded for it.

If ignoring an encounter in the manner of turning left instead of right willy-nilly, no xp. If following a plan and thus avoiding detours, at least some xp.

The Lost Star actually has good examples of this in the centipede room - the players have been told where the objective is likely to be, and that's not in the centipede room. Avoiding that room is certainly worth an award - but that might be a side quest award rather than the full fight award on GM whim.

This is why I don't use xp and instead give out levels at waypoints - I don't want my players to feel they have to examine every nook and cranny. They still do tough - but usually after finishing the main encounter.

This is EXACT scenario my playtest group encountered. They had a goblin PC in the group, so they knew that the centipede nest had no value at all. Luckily, since the playtest doesn't care about accumulating XP for future games, it didn't matter if they fought the centipedes or not.

Stuff like this is why, like you, I've switched over to leveling up at appropriate moments in the campaign instead of through XP tracking. PCs can feel free to choose to avoid/ignore encounters as how they pertain to their in-character motivations instead of metagame reasons.

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