yay, a gaming post.
Some role playing games recommend giving out experience point awards based not on how many monsters you managed to kill, but instead for things like good role playing, being brave, etc.
I'm running a werewolf game with a fantastic, and somewhat diverse group of players. I've got a young D&D guy, who is very interested in how many guns he can collect, a hesitant role player, a head-strong player, a guy interested in making sure that he's playing correctly, and a fellow who shows up and role plays his heart out. I'm not complaining in the slightest about any of these people. I'm really happy with my crew. But, where I'm going with this is: I'm a little torn on "teaching lessons via experience".
Let me phrase it this way, I can either hand out experience after every game, giving basically the same to each player, with small bonuses if someone did an absolutely bang-up job during the game. Or. I can hand out experience and use it as.. negative reinforcement? to encourage people to strive for those hard-won points. Like, don't give out the role-playing point award unless people give me oscar winning performances. I'm hesitant to do that though. Partly, because that makes me the judge, and I hate judging people, at least to their face. I cringe at the thought of telling everyone at the table that they did a great job role playing, and just quietly skipping the one sad face at the table that just doesn't jump into the character like everyone else does. Should I penalize that player? The player is showing up and enjoying themselves, and is not so hesitant that they're a wall-flower or anything. (*drool* TSOY xp)