I'm engaging in an old-school heresy: I'm not awarding XP solely for monsters defeated/outsmarted and treasure earned.
I'm also awarding 100 XP for player journal entries. I know that XP is an incentive system, and here are my thoughts on why such things should be incentivised with experience points:
- It rewards player engagement. A player who is willing to write a journal entry is a player engaging with the fictional experience of their character.
- It doesn't do violence to the XP curve: early on the squishiness of characters ensures that incautious and unlucky characters don't survive regardless; later, 100 XP is a drop in the bucket.
- It encourages reflection, which I can only hope results in a positive "study history lest you repeat it" effect that may directly contribute to improved player skills.
- It creates a tangible artifact of play that I can re-use within the game world. It would be neat for another party to find a page of a fallen adventurer's journal.
- It's better than them trying to hunt rats for that 1 XP needed to level up.
So is this heresy unforgivable? Must I burn my GM dice in atonement? Have you done something like this and had interesting effects on the game and player behaviour?