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Are your quest rewards rewarding enough?

Written by Daniel@DeepDark-Designs - Published on October 5, 2015
Don't let Han be right. After all, he didn't shoot first.

Don’t let Han be right.
After all, he didn’t shoot first.

So our hero plumber has eaten some mushrooms, stomped a few goomba’s, and booted King Koopa himself into a lava pit. Only to be informed yet again that his princess is in another castle– leaving our poor Italian stereotype unfulfilled and trudging down the path towards the next castle.

Why though? Just because he wasn’t able to receive the reward he was hoping for, does that mean he has to go empty handed? After all not every trophy or prize needs to be mechanical, or indeed obvious. In fact some of the most memorable are the least expected.

So other than gold, glory, and that warm fuzzy feeling that comes from doing good deeds (hunger I think), what else might a grateful quest-giver bestow upon our heroes for their job well done?

A videogame, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, provides an example. In it the Jarl of a town sees fit to compensate you for your services by making you a Thane (effectively a prominent member of the local aristocracy). This position entitles you to purchase area property, hire a housecarl (a bodyguard of sorts), and even causes law enforcement to turn an occasional blind eye to your lawbreaking. Cool huh?

Back to D&D, let’s consider other fun rewards that PCs might receive for completing tasks for the people who populate your worlds.

How about a favour for a favour? The heroes are repaid with whichever products and services their quest-giver has to offer, either for free or discounted. Perhaps the group has a number of other missions still to do but an appreciative mayor instead arranges to have one resolved on their behalf. A ranger, druid, or herbalist might be able to take care of a wizard, furnishing spell components. A savvy urchin who owes the party could pop up from time to time with information. Or a local priest might pray to bless the party and deliver them safely from danger on their travels (put away that random encounter chart for 1d10 days). Alternatively the same priest offers to hear PC confessions and absolve them of transgressions; some serious role-playing there.

If for nothing else than the look on your players’ faces, you could even give a reward they never expected (or wanted), like a farmer gifting them his best cow with a bow tied around her belly as a thank you.

A friend’s dwarven barbarian saved a town by slaying the goblin chief threatening it. The final blow he dealt to the tyrant was a critical strike powerful enough to cleave straight through and shatter the tiles beneath. The reward for this incredible feat? The broken tiles were never replaced, and instead a bronze plaque was placed next to them in the barbarian’s honour. It became something that the player still remembers fondly long after the campaign concluded.

Ultimately while experience, gold, and the joy of a good day’s work can often be incentive enough, a reward should be exactly that – a reward – and there is no reason why it cannot be as inventive or interesting as the very quest the party went on to obtain it. Those are some of our ideas; what are some of yours? Share your best unique reward in the comments below.

Written by Daniel@DeepDark-Designs

Hi, I’m Daniel, lead designer at DeepDark Designs and massive D&D enthusiast (well any roleplaying game really). I’ve been throwing dice as frequently as possible for over a decade now and love every second of it. In addition to ‘good’ adventures, I also write ‘bad’ fiction books. I won’t write an essay here but come say hi sometime, ya’hear?

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One Response to “Are your quest rewards rewarding enough?”
  1. MythicParty says:

    I’m going to suggest one of the obvious things & that is titles. Not necessarily even for nobility but simply to officially recognize deeds and contributions.

    Here is a link with some of the AD&D Level titles for inspiration:
    http://www.pvv.ntnu.no/~leirbakk/rpg/adnd/classesandkits/level.html

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