This system is only good for 1st & possibly 2nd level. I'll worry about it more once players get close to 2nd level, but for right now, it's good enough for my game. The basic presumption is that I want characters to be able to earn roughly 400 xp each session to start. Using this number as a base, I then decided what kind of things I wanted to give XP for. The following is the list I came up with:
- Role Playing: This one's a bit obvious.
- Achieving Character Goals/Character Growth/Completing Plans: Since I'm running a sandbox, Story awards a bit hard to judge, but I still want players to get at least a little XP for achieving the goals of their characters. This would include things like finally managing to convince their idol to mentor them, or finally getting vengeance on the man who killed their parents.
- Monsters: This one is fairly standard. The one major change is that I want to offer the XP for Defeating enemies rather than just killing them. I'm on the fence about wanting to award XP for bypassing or being defeated by them.
- Treasure: I like the idea of XP for treasure. I don't really like the way it's been implemented before. I also think that characters should get XP for certain things they buy(such as a Stronghold).
- Exploration: Though I've posted a map or two, the sandbox setting I'm using has no up to date maps except the 4 hex maps(hexographer wouldn't let me save a PNG file of that size) on my HD and the one in my skull. Mapping and exploration should generate XP.
- MVP award: This is one point where the players are the ones doing the awarding, not me. At the end of the session, I'll be asking for an open vote for who the MVP of the session was. That person will get an XP bonus based on the average level of the party at the start of the session. A die roll will determine the winner in case of a tied vote.
- Characters doing their jobs: Wizards should get XP for doing research and casting spells. Warriors should get XP for defeating foes and leading allies into battle. Priests should get XP for defeating infidels and furthering the goals of their religion. Thieves should get XP for getting away with crimes or using their skills in such a way that it gives them some sort of actual gain.