On the Division of Experience and Honor

I just wrote a long post on the division of honor and experience in my Hackmaster game and blogger ate it as soon as I was done. This is very frustrating.

Second attempt: I often find that information about old school games is lacking in specifics, (How wide is that hex? How large are your sandboxes?). So in order to address that, and because one of my players asked for a breakdown of the division, I'd figured I'd post this. This includes the last 2 weeks of play.

  • Spiritspyre
  • Hardimore
    • Gwenevere
    • Authunto
  • Zeltara
    • Nash
    • Quent
    • Kalen
  • Arolodo
    • Smoke
    • Niles
    • Gwendolyn
    • Petrus
  • Usis
  • Elimen
  • Kyra
16 total shares


Monster EP
Beetle                420*2
Bird                  2000
Corrupted Feral Gorm  160*2
Frogs                 0 (Fled)
Hightide Fen Lizard-Man
Hightide Fen Lizard-Man Mage
Bullywugs             65*24
Advanced Bullywugs    120*4
Bullywug Clerics      195
Alligators            65*3
Hyrdra                2000

Treasure EP
Coins                 419.4
Barrels (Swamp Herbs) 960
Casks                 16
Steel Bars            120
Jar of Pearls         20
Malachite             150
Opals                 48
Earrings              48
Bracelets             80
Belts                 72

Monster EP total is 8453.75
Treasure EP total is 1933.4
Total experience is 10387.15 / 16 total shares
Base award is 649.19687
Henchmen award is 324.59843 (1/2 base)

Bonus EP
Recovering Bera's remains: 100ep
"Solving" Bera's death:  200ep
No townsfolk killed during arrest and escape: 50ep
Entering swamp for first time: 100 ep
Eradicating Bullywug outpost: 250 ep
Crossing unnamed lake (100ep) with Lizard-man guides (/10 penalty): 10ep

Total Individual award is 710ep
Base party Award is 1359.19687ep
Spiritspyre: +10%
+21 Healing
+750 Best Supporting Player
Final: 2130.1967
Hardimore: +20%
+23 Healing
+1000 Most valuable player
Final 1429.318/1429.318
Zeltara: +5%
+351 Most damage
+270 Most damage single roll
+38 Most damage taken
+160 Most damage taken single roll
+400 Percision cutting (3 criticals)
Final: 2707.1066
Aroldo: +5%
Usis: +25%
100.8 Treasure stolen
Final: 1824.996

Final: 1359.19687ep

Honor is awarded in temporal form, i.e. 4 points of honor gained equal 1 permanent actual point of honor. After the positive and negative values are totaled together, I divide by 4, drop the remainder, and that is the increase or decrease in honor.

Group awards:
Fighting a worthy opponent in combat: +42
In school or training: -3
Being publically disparaged by a superior/inferior: -12
Banished: -5

Individual Awards:

Healing +3
Defeating Bullywugs: +4
Final: +49/-20
Healing +4
Defeating Bullywugs: +10

Final: +56/-20

Delivering criticals: +3
Defeating Bullywugs: +10

Final: +55/-20

Accused of a crime: +3
Defeating Bullywugs: +7

Final: +52/-20
Delivering death blow to helpless opponents: +5
Accused of a crime: +3
Defeating Bullywugs: +7
Final: +57/-20
Entering combat sans armor: +5
Failing a skill course: +1
Defeating Bullywugs: +10
Final: +58/-20
Accused of a crime: -5
Defeating Bullywugs: +10
Final: +52/-25

Final total Awards:
Spiritspyre 2343.2163 / +7 honor
Hardimore 1429.318/1429.318 / +9 honor
Zeltara 2707.1066 / +8 honor
Arolodo 1427.1560 / +9 honor
Usis 1824.996 / +9 honor
Elimen 1359.19687 / +8 honor
Kyra 1359.19687 / +6 honor

This calculation took about 2 hours to complete. Blogger eating my post turned this post into a 2 hour ordeal, instead of a 1 hour job. I spend on average 3 hours per 'adventure' calculating honor and experience. Sometimes the adventure can be over several weeks, meaning I only need to do this once a month or so. It's quicker when they are low level, but I have to do it more often. It's more complicated when they are higher level, but they level less quickly, and I have to do it infrequently (they tend to go on longer and longer excursions).

The last step is to send out an e-mail informing everyone of their final numbers, after I prepare myself for the deluge inevitable comments. ("You forgot this!", "I shouldn't have lost honor for that!", "I'm not getting enough experience!")


  1. I feel your Blogger-eating-post pain. After losing several over the last year or so, I began writing in Notepad and would then copy and paste it into the blog format when I'm done. I use Notepad because the MS Word formatting seems to screw things up sometimes.

    I really enjoy the idea of doling out ep based on roll-playing. If the digital dice roller I use in the PbP games I'm in would be kinder to me, I'd like the idea of the most damage/most crits/etc. part, as well. But it hates me.

    This method of ep distribution helps get more people to do the "Roll Playing" part of RPG, something I feel is severely lacking in the first game I'm in (second game to be determined). Or, at least, rewards those who do.

  2. There was a great article in a recent issue of Fight On! on giving experience for exploration. That's a new thing I started doing. I've always given out experience for completing "goals".

    It's interesting, but while I hand out experience for accomplishing in game goals I really only give the players the finished totals. I have everything worked out, but they rarely ask to see any of the information. So does it help to give role-play experience if they don't know about it?

    I find that role-playing sort of develops organically in the games I'm in (along with a little "You actually have to tell him that - go ahead and say it" for my more new school players). It's often the only way for them to accomplish their goals.

  3. In my AD&D games I always awarded xp for roleplaying and for experiencing new things. I did the rp xp on a per case basis, modified by the character's level.

    I rated their rp based on a few factors. First, was it short or long? Then, I gave it a basic quality assessment.
    - 50% award- they rp'd, but didn't really try. A throwaway effort.
    - 100% award- they really tried, and gave it their all.
    - 150% award- exceptional. Everyone at the table reacted, and it enhanced everybody's night.

    I obviously had to make a quick note of this during play, but that was easy enough to do.

    Here's why I modified it by level. If a player got, say, 500 xp for some rp, that's huge to a 1st level character, but almost nothing to a level 12. I don't remember off the top of my head how much the actual awards were, but I had it worked out so that a max amount for an exceptional, long instance of rp would be well less than 10% of a level.

    I didn't break it down for the players when I gave them their xp total, since I didn't want them to feel like roleplaying was some sort of competition, but I did make it really clear that I was giving xp for it.

  4. Several of the awards above are modified by level. Most specifically Most Valuable player (500xp/level) and Best Supporting Player (250xp/level).

    The fact that the roleplaying awards are a flat bonus, and not divided out keeps their relevance. (as above, ~700 ep from roleplay, and ~650 from monster/treasure). having played a high level 1st edition game, IMHE I've noted that experience points only increase per session till about level 6, and then they level out to about 20k an adventure.

    I think the exploration awards remain constant, but story awards increase based on, well, the scale of what they accomplish. As seen below, I also apply level adjusted awards for documents and writeups out of game.

    Word count 1665 x 1ep x 3rd level = 4995
    Naming the landmass 1000 ep bonus.
    Monsters named: 6 * 100ep * 3rd level = 1800

    Total Experience point bonus = 1800+1000+4995


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