Bennies and experience

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Should players be able to exchange bennies for experience points (as in the rulebook)?

Yes
29
13%
Yes
29
13%
Yes
29
13%
Yes
29
13%
No
25
12%
No
25
12%
No
25
12%
No
25
12%
 
Total votes: 216

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jfiz
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#21 Postby jfiz » Thu Sep 02, 2004 11:18 am

I tend to see it like this...you have 3 bennies at the start of the session normally. Each time you figure out a way to handle a particular encounter *without* spending a benny (as a PC), you're demonstrating that you're learning through experience how to do that, so then you have a chance to convert that to xp points to spend on your character as a reward for "learning" and gaining actual experience.

The trick is, the GM has to put the PC's in challenging situations that require either 1) a clever solution, sacrifice, or other demonstration of something learned from experience or 2) spend a benny to save their bacon when it htis the fan.

If those situations are presented regularly in the course of play by the GM, then I think it works out fair; fall back on spending a benny cause you can't figure out a way to solve or survive the challenge, and no chance at extra xp points for you. However, find that solution or method of survival from your learned experience, and you deserve the chance to get the xp point for that benny that you could have potentially spent in that situation.

I also give out extra bennies for *extra* clever RP/problem solving/drama/etc. However, I do not award a benny for an action that involved spending a benny in the first place.

So I keep to the benny->xp points rule per the book. The only other thing I tend to do is to be stingy with regular xp awards, as I have some pretty clever players who get to roll for bennies fairly often, and as such I need to make sure they don't advance *too* fast to a point where they get far ahead of the challenges I have planned in the adventure.

It's sort of a fine line really....a very clever PC can quickly gain benny->xp conversions and if they advance too fast, the challenges you have to present (as noted above per spending a benny or finding a clever solution) become less challenging for those players, so then they don't have as great a need to spend those bennies...so they get more chances at benny->xp, and it becomes a vicous cycle at that point.

The key for me is to keep the situations challenging enough that players will have to spend some bennies, but when they do overcome the challenge on their own and roll to convert, it's a well-earned reward, and by keeping regular xp awards somewhat strict, the rewards won't out-class the challenges. I find that I have to keep a close check on how much xp the PC's have pretty often so I can adjust regular xp awards in a manner to keep it fair for everybody.

*shrug* just my thoughts I guess...

allowing PC's to roll for xp from bennies the *spend* seems counterproductive to me; you're basically awarding players for falling back on bennies to save their hide when they aren't "putting out" - i.e. they aren't working to find clever solutions or learning from experience, but rather just always falling back on the Benny...

that just seems backwards to me I guess...but to each is own ofcourse, this is all just IMHO.

//jfiz

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#22 Postby jblittlefield » Thu Sep 02, 2004 11:30 am

jfiz wrote:I tend to see it like this...you have 3 bennies at the start of the session normally. Each time you figure out a way to handle a particular encounter *without* spending a benny (as a PC), you're demonstrating that you're learning through experience how to do that, so then you have a chance to convert that to xp points to spend on your character as a reward for "learning" and gaining actual experience.

The trick is, the GM has to put the PC's in challenging situations that require either 1) a clever solution, sacrifice, or other demonstration of something learned from experience or 2) spend a benny to save their bacon when it htis the fan.

If those situations are presented regularly in the course of play by the GM, then I think it works out fair; fall back on spending a benny cause you can't figure out a way to solve or survive the challenge, and no chance at extra xp points for you. However, find that solution or method of survival from your learned experience, and you deserve the chance to get the xp point for that benny that you could have potentially spent in that situation.

I also give out extra bennies for *extra* clever RP/problem solving/drama/etc. However, I do not award a benny for an action that involved spending a benny in the first place.

So I keep to the benny->xp points rule per the book. The only other thing I tend to do is to be stingy with regular xp awards, as I have some pretty clever players who get to roll for bennies fairly often, and as such I need to make sure they don't advance *too* fast to a point where they get far ahead of the challenges I have planned in the adventure.

It's sort of a fine line really....a very clever PC can quickly gain benny->xp conversions and if they advance too fast, the challenges you have to present (as noted above per spending a benny or finding a clever solution) become less challenging for those players, so then they don't have as great a need to spend those bennies...so they get more chances at benny->xp, and it becomes a vicous cycle at that point.

The key for me is to keep the situations challenging enough that players will have to spend some bennies, but when they do overcome the challenge on their own and roll to convert, it's a well-earned reward, and by keeping regular xp awards somewhat strict, the rewards won't out-class the challenges. I find that I have to keep a close check on how much xp the PC's have pretty often so I can adjust regular xp awards in a manner to keep it fair for everybody.

*shrug* just my thoughts I guess...

allowing PC's to roll for xp from bennies the *spend* seems counterproductive to me; you're basically awarding players for falling back on bennies to save their hide when they aren't "putting out" - i.e. they aren't working to find clever solutions or learning from experience, but rather just always falling back on the Benny...

that just seems backwards to me I guess...but to each is own ofcourse, this is all just IMHO.

//jfiz


I agree, and that's exactly how I'd handle things ... if I didn't also use Bennies as "drama points". I tend to give out a lot of Bennies during play - probably 4-6 per player; however, I run high action games so they tend to get used up during play. I've only ever had one player have leftover Bennies at the end of a session. I reward good roleplaying and such simply by awarding extra XP (at my discretion) at session's end. I agree with you though that awarding "CP conversion rolls" for spent Bennies is a bit odd and probably counterproductive.

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#23 Postby jfiz » Thu Sep 02, 2004 11:42 am

...and I'll agree that using Bennies for Drama points is not only a very cool idea...but means you need more bennies, need to spend more bennies, and when you spend them for Drama effect, it's a different situation than spending them to just say save your bacon in a combat or something. Makes perfect sense to me.

My group tends to shy away from the more narrativist concepts so we've not really used any drama mechanics like that in our games. I'd live to give it a try, but I've gamed with the same group of nice folks for many years, and they just aren't into it.

Is that working out well for your group though, JB?

//jfiz

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#24 Postby jblittlefield » Thu Sep 02, 2004 12:18 pm

jfiz wrote:...and I'll agree that using Bennies for Drama points is not only a very cool idea...but means you need more bennies, need to spend more bennies, and when you spend them for Drama effect, it's a different situation than spending them to just say save your bacon in a combat or something. Makes perfect sense to me.

My group tends to shy away from the more narrativist concepts so we've not really used any drama mechanics like that in our games. I'd live to give it a try, but I've gamed with the same group of nice folks for many years, and they just aren't into it.

Is that working out well for your group though, JB?

//jfiz


It works great in my group. We all abhor the whole N/G/S thing - we just do what's FFF to us and spending a couple of Bennies to ensure that you can swing on the chandelier and clear the balcony of mooks is just that! I generally don't allow dramatic editing of the storyline ... unless someone comes up with something really cool! Then I just run with it. Static gaming is booooring IMNSHO, anything to liven things up a bit and make things unpredictable - both for my players and myself - is a good thing AFAIAC! ;)

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#25 Postby dr evil » Thu Sep 02, 2004 12:30 pm

or even simpler (and possibly crueler :) ) players who don't act don't get XPS and must rely on benny conversion to gain with only a 1 in 3 chance to gain upto 3 rather than guaranteed XP he should find himself on the loosing end of advancement pretty soon :arrow:
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#26 Postby razorwise » Thu Sep 02, 2004 2:17 pm

I've been thinking of this last point. (Simple and cruel.)

Just out of curiousity, how do you guys award XP? Do you dole it out old school (on secret slips of paper) or just shout it out?

Joe, you get 2. Bob 3. Etc....


Regards,

Sean

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#27 Postby jblittlefield » Thu Sep 02, 2004 2:19 pm

razorwise wrote:I've been thinking of this last point. (Simple and cruel.)

Just out of curiousity, how do you guys award XP? Do you dole it out old school (on secret slips of paper) or just shout it out?

Joe, you get 2. Bob 3. Etc....


Regards,

Sean


I throw rocks - one rock = one XP ... :twisted:

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#28 Postby bighara » Thu Sep 02, 2004 2:41 pm

I generally just give everyone the same basic XP and let them roll their possible bonus XP for bennies
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#29 Postby jfiz » Thu Sep 02, 2004 2:53 pm

I usually award xp like this:

At the end of each session, I award a base number that every PC gets - usually 1 or 2 xp.

Then, I single out individual PC's whom I thought roleplayed very well, did something clever and really ran with it, or provided amusement over and above the norm for our sessions. I aware those individuals (usually 1 or at most 2 players per session) an additional 1 xp point.

Note that I usually award Bennies for on-the-spot cleverness, great humor, or astounding insight that is circumstantial. I only award bonus xp for things that carried on through a good chunk of the session.

//jfiz

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#30 Postby Nevada Jim » Thu Sep 02, 2004 3:01 pm

My SW sessions are divided in 3 sections.
Begining, Middle and End.
Each section has a "climax", a special moment or place or clue or item you have to go through or find if you want to get rolling fine in the next section.
Each "climax" attained or understood is 1 XP for the group.
So if the entire session was a blast each player get's a minimum of 3 XP at the end of it.
No XP based on non spent bennies.
Extra XP is awarded after session is over for each individual "roleplaying", big time you gave to the group and the GM. (deadly quotes, amazing actions etc..and most of the time these goes out generally to the ones who are big bennies burner and who play their characters hindrances to the max).
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#31 Postby dr evil » Thu Sep 02, 2004 3:44 pm

Personally I give them White wolf style one for showing one for learning curve (ask the players what they learned if they learned something they get a second point) and one more for roleplaying (if the player roleplayed well or was sucessful in the session They get a third point then they get their extra bennies as per the rulebook, this way they know why they got thier XP and and ther are less arguements as to why Jeff got more XP than Ted as it were.
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#32 Postby razorwise » Fri Sep 03, 2004 3:06 am

Hrmmm. I love the rocks. Do you think Pinnacle could make us some rocks with the little Savage Jack guy???


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#33 Postby Rodnarok » Sun Sep 05, 2004 11:29 am

I was having a problem in my Evernight campaign with players hoarding bennies in order to (hopefully) convert them to XPs at session's end. The only other thing they would use them for in the game was Soak rolls. It came to a point where I had become very leery about giving out bennies during play.

I was loathe to decrease my XP awards (average 3 per session) to compensate for this, so I recently imposed a compromise to the "bennies-as-XPs" rule: now, only 1 leftover benny can be cashed in for a roll to convert it to an XP.

There was a little grousing at first, but the end result has been that our last few sessions have been our best of the campaign with the characters acting more heroically (since they suffer fewer failed rolls) and the players having a better time immersing themselves in the story unfolding around them.

-Rod

PS: (rantish comment) I lay the blame for this notion of hoarding bennies for XP rolls, at least in my group, to MMORPGs. 3 of my 4 players are frequent players of games like EverCrack and CoH, which unfortunately encourage the single-minded model of "kill the bunnies, take their stuff, and level up" to the exclusion of almost anything else. I've been playing RPGs with a few of my current players for over 20 years and was upset that their PnP gaming skills seemed to have devolved into such a simplistic "dungeon crawl" mentality. As I noted above, however, our last few sessions have been a real improvement... I'm finally starting to feel like I have my old players back!

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#34 Postby cpk666 » Sun Sep 05, 2004 12:00 pm

That's why I don't allow my players to trade in bennies for a chance to get more XP, Rod. Instead, any bennies that I award in-game also garner that PC an additional experience point. This puts the focus back where it should be--on the PCs actions.

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#35 Postby Rodnarok » Sun Sep 05, 2004 12:31 pm

cpk666 wrote:...any bennies that I award in-game also garner that PC an additional experience point.
Nice idea, and I see where you're coming from CK, but I really don't want to keep track of the bennies I hand out during play. Nowadays, I tend to shoot someone a benny anytime they do something that inspires, delights and/or amuses me during roleplay, or performs an action that really "turns the tide" of the battle or dilemma at hand. This has turned out to be about 3 bennies per player per session, so I would still be faced with "XP inflation" if I gave them XPs for the bennies as well as my standard XP award of 2-3 points per session, and I don't want to decrease the standard award to compensate.

I had originally considered abolishing bennies-for-XPs entirely, but I didn't want to "change the rules of the game" quite so radically mid-campaign and reached my compromise instead.

cpk666 wrote:This puts the focus back where it should be--on the PCs actions.
I totally agree with you on this point. Thankfully, that has borne out to be true in our last few sessions. Well said, and thanks for your input!!

best,
Rod

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#36 Postby cpk666 » Sun Sep 05, 2004 2:00 pm

Rodnarok wrote:
cpk666 wrote:...any bennies that I award in-game also garner that PC an additional experience point.
Nice idea, and I see where you're coming from CK, but I really don't want to keep track of the bennies I hand out during play.


I leave it up to my players to keep track of such things. Every time I toss them a gold-foiled chocolate coin (we are playing 50 Fathoms, after all) they immediately note the xp award on their character sheet. I haven't had to keep track, and I'm sure not a single xp award has gone unrecorded.

Rodnarok wrote:This has turned out to be about 3 bennies per player per session, so I would still be faced with "XP inflation" if I gave them XPs for the bennies as well as my standard XP award of 2-3 points per session, and I don't want to decrease the standard award to compensate.


As to "xp inflation," I haven't really noticed that effect. The better players tend to level up after each session--which is cool, since we play for about 10 - 12 hours each session.

CK
Last edited by cpk666 on Sun Sep 05, 2004 9:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Since this is my post, please understand that the thoughts expressed in it are my opinion.



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#37 Postby Leitchy » Sun Sep 05, 2004 8:51 pm

Galen_Rasputin wrote:Do you give out extra bennies as spot awards for good roleplaying, amusing the table, or heroic actions?

Yes I do. I also allow players to use bennies to gain a +2 to a roll, or as a drama point, similar to what JB does. But I don't give out many bennies...mainly because I forget. :(

But all the comments on this thread make me think my way is the simplest. :) No buggering around; all the players get whatever the GM decides; 2, 3, or (very rarely) 4. Our game sessions last 3-4 hours tops. Families, work and other commitments mean it's just impractical to game longer.

BTW, if I were to give individual XP awards based on participation, then there is a very quiet member of our group that would quickly fall behind. She players her character correctly, spends her bennies, etc. but is just not as boiterous as the rest of the players...and her character is similar. Individual awards would thus be unfair IMHO and IMC, so I don't do it. Besides, adding 1XP to the standard award and not allowing rolls (whether for bennies saved or bennies spent...or any other technique) seems to me to mean that the PCs in my campaign advance about the same speed as in everyone else's campaign. :D

Finally, as JB rightly pointed out, there's no right or wrong way to do XP awards, there's just what suits you and your players. My way has suited my group nicely and everyone is happy. Their PCs get to advance at a relatively regular pace, which is part of the fun. And because of the way Savage Worlds advancement is done, there is massive amounts of scope for improvements before a character is TOO advanced to be considered playable in anything but super-over-the-top-end-of-the-world kind of games. ;)
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#38 Postby Jackson » Sun Sep 05, 2004 9:28 pm

Well, in my game players get to roll for exp for each bennie spent during the session. Saved Bennies are lost and worthless. I think this gets those reluctant players to be more heroic and adventurous. BTW, I also give out a bennie when a player creatively uses an adventure card during a session, though I rarely give out extra bennies beyond that. I don't mind quick leveling as the differences between novice and seasoned, really ain't much.

my 2 cents,

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#39 Postby Storn » Mon Sep 06, 2004 9:31 am

then there is a very quiet member of our group that would quickly fall behind. She players her character correctly, spends her bennies, etc. but is just not as boiterous as the rest of the players...and her character is similar. Individual awards would thus be unfair IMHO and IMC, so I don't do it.


well said, Leitchy.

For the record, I don't give out many bennies during the session, and I tend to be about 4-5 hours a session too. Partly because EVERYONE roleplays well, everyone entertains the table. Differentiating what is Benny worthy and what isn't is too much of a chore for me.

Also, I often run sessions where no combat is conducted, barely any dice are rolled. These are highly political, problem solving sessions. No Bennies are spent.

I give a 3xp per session, so that is a rank every couple of adventures. That seems to work well for my players. I do not have trade Bennies for Xp chance. I don't want a lucky player having 2 extra ranks on another unlucky after 10 sessions... that just doesn't seem to be fair or even needed.
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#40 Postby steamdriven » Tue Sep 07, 2004 11:42 am

i hand out xp and use bennies as it states in the SW book. if anyone has been hoarding then i've not done my job well or they were lucky and got through the nights gaming with out spending to many bennies. i'm not bothered if anyone hoards come to think of it i'd do the same as a player if the gm was handing out a lot bennies and not giving me a hard time so i'd have to spend a few to stay alive.


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