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Challenges and Rewards
 
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Average Rating:3.4 / 5
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Challenges and Rewards
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Challenges and Rewards
Publisher: Bards and Sages
by Robert H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/29/2006 00:00:00

The CR for Skill use rules are poorly designed.

Without giving away the intellectual property content, the fact the CR is built specifically on character level/skill level based factors violates the d20 design principle that CR's are absolute (a given creature's CR is constant whether facing a 1st level character or 20th level).

This translates into the flaw that a target skill check that is 1 point over character's roll is the same CR regardless of whether it is 1 point over a 1st level or 10th level character's expected roll. Thus the 1st level character gets experience but because characters do not get experience for defeating obstances of CR 8+ below their own, the 10th level character gains no experience.

The sample in the text where a 10th level character "will earn XP for CR 1" encounter (zero) demonstrates this flaw.

You can find better "translate skill check DC into CR" rules in d20 modern rules (page 206 of Hardcover).

<br><br><b>LIKED</b>: Addresses area of non-combat rewards, which needs addressing.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: Botches the crunch test in its value (fluff ideas nice, but crunch rules aspect poor). For a low page count product, tolerance on such is also low.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Poor<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Disappointed<br><BR>[THIS REVIEW WAS EDITED]<BR>



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Challenges and Rewards
Publisher: Bards and Sages
by Phil N. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/04/2006 00:00:00

This expansion to awarding Experience Points is an ideal way to reward Players for their non-combat actions. While many GMs may do this already, the possession of a formula to make such awards is very useful.<br><br> <b>LIKED</b>: The formulae for determining non-combat Xp<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: The added book-keeping that would be required, although most of the maths can be performed between sessions. Only short, but concise.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Excellent<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Very Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Challenges and Rewards
Publisher: Bards and Sages
by Dennis K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/02/2006 00:00:00

This product provides some simple but effective means to determine CRs and gauge rewards, making nice additions to the SRD. However, this publication is more of an essay than a book, IMO. The Cover, ToC, and OGL license take up 1/2 of the publication. You only get 3 pages of content. While, it is nice to not have pages and pages to read through in a reference; that is also partly why you buy a book-- for the flavor text. Then, just add on a reference sheet that GMs and players could print out and use in their games. In this manner, I feel that more could have been done to enhance the meaning, context and usage of the rules outlined in this publication. Overall, I would think this would make a nice add-on for bundling with another product or as a promotional. [Update Note: I've adjusted my Quality rating up to Acceptable and Overall rating to better reflect what I do like about the content, namely the suggested rules mechanics. I'll admit that I do use the rule mechanics in this publication for my games, so I am finding the content useful. However, I just can't shake off my disappointment in the value and presentation of the content. I also notice that the publisher has lowered the price by nearly half since I purchased it earlier this year, so IMO the value is better now than when I purchased it. (No, I don't want any money refunded, etc. I'm just being honest here.) Finally, I appreciate the publisher's reflections and feedback on my initial comments; I think that it was appropriate for me to expand on my initial review. Thanks.]

<br><br><b>LIKED</b>: This product provides some simple but effective means to determine CRs and gauge rewards, making nice additions to the SRD.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: The Cover, ToC, and OGL license take up 1/2 of the publication. You only get 3 pages of content.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Acceptable<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Disappointed<br><BR>[THIS REVIEW WAS EDITED]<BR>



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Creator Reply:
We always like to hear back from customers. Yes, the product is short, but when it comes to calculating experience for special circumstances, who wants to wade through 20 pages of text? The product is deliberately short and concise to make it easy to use. Other than the page count, was there another issue you had with the product, because from your first sentence it sounded like you liked the product, but your rating doesn't reflect it. We appreciate feedback we can use, so if you could flesh out your review a bit more it would be appreciated.
Challenges and Rewards
Publisher: Bards and Sages
by Chris G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/04/2006 00:00:00

Challenges and Rewards

The game of D&amp;D is built for combat. The easiest way to gain levels is by killing things and the DMG does suggest getting XP in other ways but really fails to say exactly how that can happen. I would have thought that someone would have come out with rules for this type of thing years ago. But the long wait is over, or so it seems. Challenges and Rewards is a PDF that has ways for gaining XP through skill use, breaking things, and other actions out of combat. Challenges and Rewards is a small PDF by Bards and Sages. It is written by Julie Ann Dawson and Josh Benton. The PDF is one of the smaller I have seen coming it at only seven pages. And with the OGL taking up two pages, the front cover and a page for the table of contents and then art on most of the pages this is actually much smaller then those seven pages might suggest. There are no book marks in the PDF though they really are not needed for a one of this material and this size. The art is okay. The layout is in a rare single column format that is also just okay. The book starts with skill checks for experience. It has an equation for how to figure out what the CR of a particular task is based off the DC of the skill check and potential rolls of the skill check. The book does stress that not every skill check should award XP. Only those that are rather important like swimming to save drowning and important NPC or picking a difficult lock. It does not give the DM guidelines for figuring out what is important or what is not; so the DM will have to make some judgment calls with this. The equation seems to work but I am sure there will be some odd instances especially at higher levels where it can break down. The breaking things section is really simple. I am not going to reprint the equation they use but it should be simple to use and the CR?s determined by this will be low and at higher levels the PCs will not gain XP from just breaking things. And that seems to be about right as breaking things at higher levels is not all that impressive. Gaining XP from contests is similar to the skill checks. The equation is the same and even though contests are usually opposed rolls of some type there is enough similarities between the two that allow this to work. It can potentially have the same problems at higher levels but I think that is less likely to happen in these types of contests. Creating magical items is an odd way to get XP since in making them one uses XP. I like the idea here though because it is not just making magical items for the party and player; this is making magical items to help people or give away or fix the broken holy sword of a famous NPC knight. The CR?s here look like they can get pretty high at higher levels but I like the idea behind this way. The last way is through sacrifice. This usually involves money like making a large donation to a church or actually returning a merchant?s stolen gold to him. Of course the key here is it has to be a true sacrifice of a gift and be meaningful to the character and possible to the campaign. Overall I like the idea here of awarding XP for non combat activities. The attempt here is good. Some of the equations could be a little simpler and at higher levels I can see some of these breaking down a bit. This is a product for DM?s who have a good idea on what XP should be awarded for like important activities and not just climbing az random wall.

<br><br> <b>LIKED</b>: Giving another option for gaining XP<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: Some of the ways will break down a bit at higher levels. <br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Very Good<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Challenges and Rewards
Publisher: Bards and Sages
by Don R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/26/2006 00:00:00

Challenges and Rewards from Bards and Sages Publishing does exactly what its first page says. It offers a few hard and fast rules that allow GMs to give a decent amount of experience for non-combat challenges. The idea is a good one. Giving a set of equations by which to figure non-combat experience saves a GM interested in doing so some trouble. With rules to reference, he doesn?t give too low or too high by his own misestimation of the numbers.

The first section of the supplement gives an equation for figuring experience from any skill check. It uses the DC of the check along with some creative use of a character?s skill level to ascertain a CR for the check, and requisite experience is then assigned using that CR. This is an intuitive solution, I think, to the problem of non-combat experience. Offering a fairly simple equation makes things much easier on everyone and nobody can argue with it, so long as they?ve agreed to the rules.

Further rules in the supplement cover how to assign XP for other situations, like contests and item creation. What?s very nice about the supplement is that it uses the same basic principles as for skill checks, with minor modifications for other types of non-combat actions.

A potential balance problem is cleared up easily. The authors urge throughout the supplement that XP is not to be given for every single skill check made, only for skill checks that were highly beneficial or significant. This leaves part of the question in the hands of the GM while still offering rules. <br><br> <b>LIKED</b>: A great idea. I know that I and many people I know wish that d20 was more role-playing friendly, and this supplement allows it to be. Using Challenges and Rewards, a character is not stifled every time he wants to do something other than combat. The chosen equation is only slightly modified for different situations, and so the consistency is nice. It makes for streamlined usage. It?s also good that they cover pretty much any non-combat situation where you might want XP.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: The basic equation isn?t exactly easy to remember. You?ll be keeping this book on the table for constant reference, and you?ll need a calculator. Of course, that?d hardly different from normal XP. I?m also not sure how well the whole thing balances, and I imagine you won?t know until you submit it to some fairly rigorous playtesting. I?m also not sure how useful the whole supplement will be to a whole lot of people.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Acceptable<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Challenges and Rewards
Publisher: Bards and Sages
by Derek H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/15/2006 00:00:00

A rather simple, but useful system for those DMs who want more use of skills.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Acceptable<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Creator Reply:
Thank you for the comment. We're always glad to hear back from customers. I would hope when you have the opportunity you will flesh out your review a bit, so we can better hear about what you liked and didn't like.
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