Group Rewards

edited December 2007 in Story Games
In most (all?) of the games I've seen, rewards are focused on specific characters/players for doing things which are "quite good." It seems like there's some interesting space to explore that involves rewarding the group for collaborative efforts.

Comments

  • In my fantasy game I'm working on, the group itself has a character sheet, with teamwork abilities earned through team XP, separate from character XP. So yeah, I totally agree.
  • edited December 2007
    That sounds pretty cool. I can see something along the lines of rewarding individual character XP for accomplishing team goals. And I'm not just thinking about in-the-fiction goals either -- I can see using this sort of thing to cut down on extraneous chatter, encourage players to play to the strengths of others, or reward collaborative setting creation.
  • Jarrod,

    That idea sounds utterly kick-ass. I'm going to steal it from you and make it do unspeakable things for me.

    If the idea has been around for a while, then I sincerely regret not having heard of it before now, and equally sincerely thank you for bringing it to my attention.

    My thanks also to Max for birthing this thread which brought this very cool idea to my attention.

    The closest I've seen to this idea is along the same lines that Max said in his second post, rewarding individual XP for supporting/pursuing group goals, or the goals of other players.
  • I've been doing story-based level advancement for D&D since 3e came out. When the PCs accomplish some pre-designated story accomplishment, e.g., kill the dragon, everyone levels up. Your question is a little broad and I'm not sure what your angling for, but I offer my own experience for what it is worth.
  • Suppose there are no "characters," only the group (XYZ Corp: The Game)?
    Suppose the only play reward is to avoid (mechanical, entropic) dissolution of the group (Hold the Line)?
    Suppose the reward is to no longer be required to operate in a coordinated fashion (Leaving the Hive)?

    Just some rain barrels for the brainstorm....
    David
  • Isn't this basically the same as the common D&D practice of "everybody gets the same number of XP"? The group succeeds or fails and advances in lockstep, as a group.
  • What Jarrod is proposing is very different from what Justin and Mark are talking about, as I understand it.

    The XP isn't a group reward, it's individual rewards given to everyone in the group. Each person advances individually, even if they do so at the exact same time as every other.

    What Jarrod is suggesting is a much cooler idea of a reward for the group as an entity, rather than one used by the individuals that compose it.

    Are there any existing games that do this?
  • Posted By: WolfeWhat The XP isn't a group reward, it's individual rewards given to everyone in the group. Each person advances individually, even if they do so at the exact same time as every other.
    Is there a difference here beyond semantics--cause I can't see it.
  • Posted By: Justin D. JacobsonIs there a difference here beyond semantics--cause I can't see it.
    Of course there is. It's just not been clearly stated. Just imagine there being a group character sheet in addition to the personal one you've got. When you act as a member of the group, or multiple members of the group act together, you can use resources from that sheet. When you perform actions as a group or accomplish group goals, the group sheet advances. Individual XPs work the same as you would otherwise expect. (I've actually got a semifunctional version of this going in the post-apocalyptic game I'm writing)

    The best examples of this I can think of are from video games. In Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks you can perform actions that require both PCs (I can't remember if you specifically unlock more as you go or not). In X-Men, Legends (I and II), where for using powers from different characters at the same time. Marvel: Ultimate Alliance tracks how much you've done with a specific group of heroes and you have a reputation score based on how long you've worked together and what you've accomplished - I haven't played it much, so I don't know what impact this has.

    Earthdawn did something like this, so you should check it out. I remember there being a nifty group experience thing in there, but I never got to play with it very much.
  • Posted By: Justin D. JacobsonI've been doing story-based level advancement for D&D since 3e came out. When the PCs accomplish some pre-designated story accomplishment, e.g., kill the dragon, everyone levels up. Your question is a little broad and I'm not sure what your angling for, but I offer my own experience for what it is worth.
    To clarify, there is no question in the original post. It's just an idea -- I'm not angling for anything, and you can feel free to take it wherever you like.

    In the case of what's Jarrod's working on, it sounds like there is a definite difference from being rewarded individually at the same time.

    Another direction to take it is to reward each player individually at the same time (like you're describing) for actions that fall outside the umbrella of story progress.

    Both seem interesting.
  • My post may not have been as clear as it could have been.

    To try again: What Justin mentioned, giving everyone XP at the same time so that they advance at the same time is individual rewards given to the group. Individuals benefit and the group benefits as a result of the individuals.

    What I'm thinking is so cool here is the flip side of that; You have a Group composed of Players A and B. You reward Group. Not Player A and Player B individually at the same time. Group gets some reward that Group can use, but Player A cannot use it by themselves, and Player B cannot use it by themselves. Only when they are both acting as Group can they benefit from the reward.

    To be less abstract, let's think about D&D. Say for instance there's an ability that requires 5 combined levels in Holy Classes (I don't remember the exact term; Let's just say we mean Clerics and Paladins) When your Paladin reaches level 2 and your cleric is level 3 (or any other mix adding up to 5) the group gains the supernatural ability Holy Choir, usable X times per day, that gives some special bonus. The Paladin can't use it by himself, nor can the Cleric. It requires them both working together to make the ability work.

    ...or something like that.
  • Posted By: WolfeMy post may not have been as clear as it could have been.

    To try again: What Justin mentioned, giving everyone XP at the same time so that they advance at the same time is individual rewards given to the group. Individuals benefit and the group benefits as a result of the individuals.

    What I'm thinking is so cool here is the flip side of that; You have a Group composed of Players A and B. You reward Group. Not Player A and Player B individually at the same time. Group gets some reward that Group can use, but Player A cannot use it by themselves, and Player B cannot use it by themselves. Only when they are both acting as Group can they benefit from the reward.

    To be less abstract, let's think about D&D. Say for instance there's an ability that requires 5 combined levels in Holy Classes (I don't remember the exact term; Let's just say we mean Clerics and Paladins) When your Paladin reaches level 2 and your cleric is level 3 (or any other mix adding up to 5) the group gains the supernatural ability Holy Choir, usable X times per day, that gives some special bonus. The Paladin can't use it by himself, nor can the Cleric. It requires them both working together to make the ability work.

    ...or something like that.
    You got it. The Group character sheet has its' own traits, merits, flaws, stats, etc. separate from the individuals. The players, together, build the group's statistics, and benefit mechanically from their cooperation. The comradery it builds is really exciting to watch.
  • This is a little like the Team system in the Marvel: Ultimate Alliance videogame (Xbox/PS2/360/PS3/Wii): in addition to being able to level up the characters you're playing with as you go along, you can spend points on the team: expanding its roster, buying advantages like faster XP gaining, and so on.

    Expand the kind of team benefits that are available, and voila, you're sitting next door to what Jarrod was talking about.
  • In the fighty game I'm working on, one of my tenants is "Working Together is more successful than Working Separately." While this isn't a reward system per se, the battle mechanics are set up so that helping others is a natural effect of the game. Which is to say that I'm looking to reward working together by making the goal easier to achieve (or vice versa, if you want to look at it from a cup-half-empty perspective). Or, rather, it's rewarding with a play experience rather than with character currency.
  • Ryan, I hadn't thought of working from the other side of the spectrum. Great idea; I'm trying to give this game some delicious crunch, so I was more focused on encouragement through tasty carrots.
  • Ryan's idea is actually the first thing that popped into my head when I read the original post, but then the uber-coolness of yours, Jarrod, knocked it right out of my head.

    The idea of having synergistic actions isn't exactly new, but in games where I've seen it, it seems almost accidental, like D&D. Perhaps it isn't accidental at all, but it certainly isn't given a lot of emphasis. This might be to allow the players the challenge of learning synergy themselves, for all I know. The only explicit use of synergy among different characters I've seen in D&D is flanking. The explicitness of this mechanic makes it very often used, in my experience.

    I think, though my experience with this game has been largely frustrating and brief, that Burning Wheel may have some level of synergy amidst it's maneuvers, in that I believe one character can do something that sets up for another character to do another thing... Though I may be getting this confused with the things you can do to set yourself up.

    Riddle of Steel also had a few maneuvers which could be used cooperatively, though again I believe they weren't necessarily intended that way, as the game is largely meant to simulate one-on-one combats, rather than larger multiples fighting multiples battles.

    I'd really like to see a game that makes this a larger part of play, explicitly.
Sign In or Register to comment.