Character Rewards Experience and Treasure
Character rewards are important in any RPG. Character rewards encourage players to do well, work together, and try hard to be successful in their quests. In the Atomic RPG System the primary goal is to have fun. Players have fun playing the Atomic RPG System with friends, socializing, and creating awesome stories. That is, and always should be, the primary goal and character reward for playing games. However, nipping at the heels of fun is the players’ expectations to gain experience, fame, treasure, and strength. They Atomic RPG System has both PCs and GMs covered with the streamlined way it handles character rewards in the RPG.
The Atomic RPG System Doesn't Use Experience (XP)
The Atomic RPG System does not use experience points (XP) as character rewards. In many other RPGs, XP is handed out to individual players as character rewards for individual tasks. This character reward system is OK, but it has a few inherent problems.
The Problems with XP as a Reward
Tracking XP makes more work for Players and GMs .
GMs wasting lots of time figuring out XP instead of working on the meat of the game.
Players that miss a game are punished for being responsible taking care of real life.
Levels and Loot as Rewards
The Atomic RPG System gives the power to the GM to level the group up as a whole.
Generally in Atomic RPG System games, the group will level every 2 to 4 Adventures. However, the GM can have the group level between battles or never level at all. Either is OK depending on the type of game you’re playing. This flexibility ends up being a huge advantage in many ways.
The Great Benefits of using a No XP System
The Atomic RPG System gives the GM the ability to give character rewards at their own pace. The players benefit because they don’t have to compete against each other for XP or other character rewards. Instead players can work together towards greater glory!
When to Level a Group in the Atomic RPG System
Game Masters need to know when to level up the group. This boils down to a couple factors but ultimately boils down to:
Whenever the GM wants to!
That might be vague, so look below to some common guidelines to follow. These may help to keep everyone happy with the speed and pace of your game.
When to Level a Group in the Atomic RPG System
Here are a few guidelines that most games should follow in order to have a good progression through quests and campaigns.
This is a simple guideline to follow but has proven to be a pretty good measurement of the pace of the campaign. Even though there are not specific character rewards, the players feel like this is usually a good pace of advancement.
The GM can stretch this out or shrink it depending on the situation. The best gauge is to follow what your players would like. Generally it is nice to have a couple of play sessions after a level up so a player can use their new Powers and enjoy the new perks of their character. If after 3 or 4 sessions your players get tired of using the same old stuff, level them up! By keeping pace with the players, GMs are sure to run a fun and properly paced game.
To Level or Not, That is the Question
It’s important for the Game Master to be aware of when the group is going to level up or get other rewards. It’s important to reward good achievements. It’s even more important to not reward players for bad play, disruption, or failures.
Good Times to Level
Bad Times to Level
Ultimately it is up to the GM in the Atomic RPG System to determine how often characters will level up. The pace of any campaign should be discussed before it begins. Character rewards like leveling can easily be adjusted from quest to quest. The important thing is that players feel that their character rewards match the time and effort they spend in game.
This should help both players and GMs with leveling expectations. It might be strange not to have XP, but the benefits of this style of character advancement will become apparent as you begin to advance through levels!
PC Fame and Renown as Rewards
Fame often comes to a character or characters who save people from some great peril. Or it can come from defeating a powerful foe. Usually in RPGs the fame and renown is earned and shared through roleplay while a player is acting as their character. This can be a powerful character reward in of itself. This should be fostered by the GM and other players to provide a rich and fulfilling RPG gaming experience. Earning fame and renown are a lot of fun. It really does put the RP into RPG.
There are no set rules on how to do this. The best way is to provide a good example as a GM and roleplay your Non Player Characters (NPC’s, or characters or creatures that are controlled by the GM instead of players) as much as possible. NPC’s should react to the the PCs actions and visa versa.
The NPCs are also usually part of a community. So if the PC does something with one, for good or bad, it is often reflected in the NPCs around them. Their fame helps to immerse players into their characters which makes a more fun and believable game setting.
Wealth and Treasure Character Rewards
One of the biggest motivations for players is treasure seeking. In so many books and movies the centerpiece of plot revolves around treasure. Often times it is a specific item of incredible strength or worth, or both. With the treasure the party gains on their quests, they can get better gear, buy nice places to live, and afford luxuries for their character.
How much treasure and wealth should Characters have?
Check out the table below to see the numbers. There is a target a GM should hit as well as a poor and rich threshold. This is designed so that characters remain in the “right” amount of strength coming from their items.
As a general rule, this should allow a character to have 1 close to maxed out item for their Character Tier. This means that a Tier 1 character should have 1 item that is a +3 item. +3 is the maximum that a Tier 1 character can use. See the Crafting Skill for more details on items and level restrictions. A Tier 3 character should have 3 items that are +7.
This does not mean that a character has to have these exact items. Instead, it means that they have enough items that would equal that cost. It is far more likely they may have one or two items that are “maxed out” and a whole handful of items of lesser quality. The amount of wealth a PC has will regulate the strength of their items. All players in a group should be near equal to one another in wealth. This way the game remains equitable and fair for everyone.
The GM for the game can make decisions whether to allow more or less wealth into the game. This all depends on the type and style of the campaign. As long as the PCs are all close in wealth it should be fine.
Campaigns that are either too rich or too poor have problems of their own.
In a campaign that is too rich, the party will soon find themselves with the best of everything. Where this might seem fun at first glance, it takes away from the goals they might have. It may also trivialize the game if no problem is unsolvable if they just throw cash at it.
In a campaign that is too poor, players we have a frustrating and difficult journey. They will not be able to get the supplies they need or upgrade their equipment as expected. This can make even trivial encounters deadly if the party is under equipped. It also stands to sour the mood if players feel they are not rewarded enough for their efforts in the game. This then leads to them giving up or making a halfhearted effort, worsening the gaming experience.
The best place for character rewards to be is somewhere in between these two wealth markers. GMs can reference the Wealth Chart to quickly assess the economy of their game. Then they can check their players to see if they fall into the range of reasonable PC Wealth. It should also be noted that this is done automatically on characters sheets. Character sheets will show an error of the PC Wealth is too low or high.
The best way to give these character rewards to the players is through payment of service, cash they find on their enemies, selling loot they find, and of course finding treasure caches. NPC’s do not have specific items on them but they do have a Cash value. This is an easy tool for a GM to use to add up the Cash on each NPC in a fight and then give it to the party as money they loot or equivalent items if they prefer.
Character rewards, as with many things in the Atomic RPG System, all boils down to whatever the GM wants to do with the character rewards in their group. These are guidelines to follow for character rewards to make GMing easier and to keep the PCs in check. However, if the GM has other ideas or plans for character rewards for the PCs, that is the GM’s prerogative!
How to Fix PC Wealth Problems
There are a number of ways to solve PC wealth issues. It is important that these issues are fixed while playing the game. To suddenly strip a player of cash because they exceed the wealth limit will not be well received! Instead, tackle these issues through story and roleplay.Here are a few ideas that can be used to bring the PCs back into game balance.