I have a set of XP house rules I like a lot, especially with some little tweaks we made after the initial writeup.
But one of my players suggested a more "mission oriented" or "exploration oriented" reward system. I thought about that, and decided I had some changes to make, too. Ideally I would make a system that is:
1) loot-centric, so gathering loot is the name of the game (keeps it light, fun, and cheerfully profit-oriented.)
2) mission- or exploration-oriented, so you always feel the need to do need things or push further.
3) encourages risk instead of punishing it.
#1 is fun because the drive to make a profit makes people do crazy risky things something.
#2 I like because it discourages attrition-based raiding strategies that eat up sessions without really providing any excitement. There is a big difference between, "Today, we go for the dragon!" and "Today, we wear down the orcs with some low-level attrition and hope to steal enough swords off of them to get nearly full points!"
#3 means the risk of losses is minimal compared to the gains of success.
Here is what I am thinking - we'll hash this out with the group, and maybe I'll hash it out more across additional posts.
XP House Rules Proposal
Base XP for a session is 1 xp - even a bad delve teaches you something (plus, it leaves something to lose for poor roleplaying and other penalties.)
Loot - Gaining sufficient loot to reach your threshold - $200 each, to start - is worth 2 xp. Less than your threshold is 1 xp. Coming back with no loot or almost no loot (1/5 or less than the threshold) is 0 xp. Vastly exceeding this number (5x your loot) is worth 3 xp.
Minimum 0 xp, maximum 3 xp.
Exploration and Mission Completion - Exploring a significant new area (staircase down in a megadungeon, exploring multiple areas of a large level, find a new location and making efforts to clear it, etc.) is 2 xp. Minimal exploration (minor new areas, little real exploration) is 1 xp.
No exploration of new areas of significant at all is 0 xp.
The usual bonuses for special tasks completed will also accrue - exorcism of an evil shrine, destruction of a source of malign power, overcoming a difficult puzzle or task, etc.
Minimum 0 xp, Maximum is 2 xp plus bonuses.
Casualties: Two ideas here:
Never Leave a Man Behind! - No casualties is 1 xp. Losing 1+ PCs or NPCs is 0 xp, so long as the bodies are recovered, given Final Rest, buried or burned in a safe spot, or otherwise safely and respectfully disposed of - or if they are utterly unrecoverable (lost at sea, fell down a nearly bottomless pit.) If the casualties are all Resurrected or otherwise brought back to life (Zombie doesn't count), this counts as No Casualties (1 xp)! Summoned creatures don't count, usually (I'll note special exceptions.) Losing characters where they can come back as undead, or otherwise when bodies are treated poorly, is -1 xp.
Maximum XP is +1, minimum is -1.
Casualties, Smasualties - Casualties have no effect on XP at all except from a Roleplaying standpoint.)
Maximum/Minimum is 0 xp.
Roleplaying, Awesome Bonus, MVP - all unchanged from the original document. Note that Sense of Duty will mitigate against abusing the "Casualties" rule. It will be okay if they happen, but running out on your buddies so they die on the ground that "maybe we can make it back and rescue your corpses" will cost you points if you have Sense of Duty or the appropriate Code of Honor. You took the disad, you have to play the disad.
Assuming Never Leave a Man Behind:
So a solid bit of looting (2 xp) plus significant exploration (2 xp) plus no casualties (1 xp or 0 xp) plus the base (1 xp) means 6 xp for the session, one more than now.
A solid bit of looting (2 xp) with just a little exploration (1 xp) and some casualties not resurrected (-1 xp) would be 3 xp including the base 1 xp.
A careful delve with minimal loot (1 xp), no exploration (0 xp), and everyone is safe (1 xp), plus the base, is 3 xp. (which seems high, actually)
A bad session with a near TPK (-1 xp), no exploration (0 xp), no loot (0 xp), and plenty of PCs left behind (-1 xp), plus the base points is 1 xp - 2 = 0 xp. Better hope you were MVP.
Assuming Casualties, Smasualties, those same delves would be:
5 xp (2 + 2 + 1), 4 xp, and 1 xp.
Not sure if we'll go with this. We'd need a good understanding of what "exploration" means. For example, my feel that for exploration, opening a door, seeing monsters, and running away is not significant exploration. But equally it means the area is known in the future, so going back doesn't count as a new area.
But is exploration a new room? 5 new rooms? How many hexes? How many new things? That I'm not sure about.
I may have to jigger the numbers around a little, and get rid of the base point. Maybe make the loot numbers 0, 1, 3, 4 instead of 0, 1, 2, 3, so "made enough" is 3, and loot is still front-and-center.
Overall, though, I think changing the concept to a loot minimum, loot assumption, and loot bonus is good. I like the idea of making casualties less of a concern - if you risk less xp cost, or nothing, from pushing into new territory and trying to loot treasure at the cost of dead characters, will you risk more?
That's a rough draft, in any case. Except changes!