Here are the rules we'll be using for the Lost City, wholly replacing the original set, and we'll see how it goes. If they work well, they'll remain when we return to Felltower.
We will use a modified version of the Advancement rules from DF3, pg 42. I won't give out points for killing things. I don't care if you kill stuff or not unless it's part of some mission or quest. I will give out points for getting things done and so on.
Loot: Loot makes the delver world go 'round. If sufficient loot is taken home to meet the base threshold for your character is worth 4 xp. Under this threshold (but still significant loot) is 2 xp. 20% or less of this threshold is 0 xp.
Unlike other awards, this is on a per character basis - lopsided loot distribution can mean some PCs get more XP, some get less.
Exploration: Exploration is part of a successful delve. No exploration or no significant exploration is a -1 xp penalty. Exploration of at least one new area of significance (which generally will be clearly significant) or exploring many areas in general is 0 xp. Exploration of many new areas or multiple areas of significance is +1 to 2 xp. +2 xp is reserved very significant exploration, and will be rare.
Roleplaying: If you find a way to make your disadvantages and quirks matter in the game in an especially disadvantageous and/or entertaining way, you will get between 1 (minimum) and 3 (maximum) bonus points. If your disadvantages help you, you don't get a bonus for them that session - getting an advantage from a disadvantage is sufficient bonus! Physical disads and flat-out stat reductions (reduced Speed, for example, or Hard of Hearing) don't count here, as they have constant in-game effects. Not playing your disadvantages is a penalty of -1 to -3 xp. If you can't play the ones you have, we can change them to ones that fit the character as played.
Awesome Bonus: If you do something especially clever, cool, or otherwise awesome, I will give the whole damn party bonus points. Encourage each other to be awesome. "Awesome" is not a die roll, its a memorable action that makes the game better. Think "Conan book cover scene" or "story we will tell forever" not doing risky stuff just to do risky stuff.
Most Valuable PC: Every session, at the end of the session, the party can vote at the end on who gets a bonus point just for being the most useful, best roleplayer, best dresser, brought the best beer, whatever. It's up to the players for gets it and why. GM preference is that it's not "because so-and-so needs one more point for that power-up he wants."
Never Leave a Man Behind! - No casualties (a "clean run") is 1 xp. Losing 1+ PCs or NPCs is 0 xp, if the bodies are brought back to town for Final Rest or Resurrection. Leaving corpses behind (or if they're disintegrated, eaten, etc.) OR many deaths (even if bodies are recovered) is -1 xp.
- the goal is 5 xp for a solid, profitable session with exploration and no deaths, just like now. The system we tried in Lost City session 1 was too generous. Getting 6 should be difficult, and 7 should be a session we talk about for the rest of our lives.
- loot is valuable enough that getting it makes up for a lot else, and even death.
- it's very loot centric, but makes exploration a possible substitute. It's always better to look around and find new things.
- "expected" level of exploration means that in a megadungeon, a few new interesting things is plenty. In a lost ruins full of potentially actionable targets, just going into one or two new buildings won't do, you'll need more.
- I ditched the "large score" bonus after finding that 5x was too easy, 10x wasn't crazy either (a mere $2000 each to start with), and making it some epic score seemed unnecessary.
- I personally liked "character deaths don't matter" but my players really like the bonus/penalty system, and so it stays in.
- One technical point: loot is based on sale value in town, and only counts what is actually sold.
- Another technical point: loot only "counts" when found initially. You can't keep taking portions of a hoard home and making your threshold. It's still valuable if you go back and get it on another trip, but it's only loot for xp purposes the first time you find it.