Use an experience point ‘slush fund’ to encourage role-playing

While there are several different connotations for the term, one definition for “slush fund” is an account in the general ledger of a company that uses the double-entry system of bookkeeping. Essentially, the slush fund is used to record transactions involving funds commingled from other accounts, and as the default place to record transactions and expenses that shouldn’t properly be recorded elsewhere in the ledger. Strangely, the concept of a slush fund has applications for a Dungeons & Dragons game, which can inspire superior role-playing. 

The fourth edition of the D&D game (4e) is especially suited for this function, due to the formulaic nature of encounter design and character advancement. The Gentle Reader will remember that the 4e Dungeon Master’s Guide recommends that each experience level be divided into a number of combat, skill challenge and quest encounters, the total XP award of which is enough to bring the heroes to the next level. This post suggests that while the 4e experience point (XP) system allows for the dungeon master (DM) to reward heroes for victory in combat, success at skill challenges, and broad completion of campaign quests, a formal mechanic for rewarding superior role-playing – like the individual XP awards presented in legacy editions of the D&D game – is absent. Continue reading