Role-playing in most RPG’s is secondary to the combat, yet absolutely vital to the game. Today’s tweak addresses a common house rule that can be hard to get right. Award too much out-of-combat xp, and the game slows down while everyone tries to be as goofy as possible with as many NPC’s as possible. Award too little XP, and either the players ignore it or the bonus points simply become a way of slapping your favorite players on the back. These dangerous roads can be avoided by using the following technique:
Tweak: Whenever a player learns a major story point from an NPC, convinces someone of something in a significant way, or influences the game’s story through role-playing, award the entire party XP for an encounter of their average party level. Ignore the CR of the NPC’s. This award should usually come no more than once a session.
This tweak encourages the players to engage with the story as a group rather than individually seeking glory and power. You want them to argue among themselves about how to handle a card sharp on the street, a political dissenter against the king, or any intricate social situation. You want them to become immersed in your world and their characters through role-playing. Therefore, handle the encounters as you would any other; plan for a certain situation to arise, then play it out by ear according to what the players choose to do!