In this week’s WISH, Ginger asks:
What do you think the value of contributions to a game is? Do you think it’s fair for the GM to give out experience or character points for contributions? If so, what qualifies? What about the informal value of contributions? Do they balance or unbalance a game?
I think contributions can add a lot to a game (he said modestly). They’re not essential, but they can really help set tone and feel and they definitely make players feel more of a stake in the world. That’s not always a desired effect, but it’s an effect I happen to like, so I’m all for it. It takes a certain willingness for the GM to let go control, but that’s OK.
On the other hand, I’m not a big fan of giving out extra points for them. This is more a sign of my uncertainty about experience points as a whole, I suspect — but what exactly are you rewarding? Contributions don’t much reflect additional training/learning/experience gained by the PC in an in-game sense. If you give experience points “just for showing up,” then sure, contributions are another sort of “showing up.” But then you get into the problems of lack of balance. I just think it’s a bit of a risky wicket.