Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Achievements in Dungeons and Dragons

Ok, I’m going to put off rules tweak one more time. I promise.

Today I wanted to talk about achievements very briefly.

You know achievements right? They are those things in video games and MMO’s that acknowledge you did something ‘cool’ – like killing 450 beetles or something.

Well, with just a minor tweak, I think that achievements have a place in the world of tabletop RPGs. As with most of my slight rules tweaks (I guess I am kind of continuing on the series), the goal behind achievements is to fuel a player’s immersion into his character. However, achievements also come with some solidly mechanical benefits.

Instead of telling you how to craft them, let me give you two examples from my current game.

Lady’s Man
When you fail a Bluff or Diplomacy check against a female target, you may immediately roll again. If this second roll works, you gain a pity success, and for all practical effects are to be considered as having succeeded the original roll.

Starts Strong
Any time you roll a critical hit on your first attack during an encounter, you deal an additional 1[w] damage.

Pretty simple right? The first one was given to Imilio, a virtue of valor bard. He has flirted with every female NPC. At first his rolls were comically bad, but he remained persistent, to the point where it seemed appropriate to give him this little bonus. It is not powerful enough to break the game, and it really adds flavor to his character.

The second one belongs to Ghesh are dragonborn paladin of Bahamut. He just joined are group last session as a replacement for a fallen halfling. On his very first attack, he critted and did upwards of 40 points of damage (3rd level character), nearly killing his foe in one strike. Considering it was his very first impression on the group I gave him the preceding bonus. Again, not gamebreaking, but flavorful.

Anyways, I hope this helps someone out there – do you guys do anything similar?


  1. Fun idea! I wouldn't be adverse to implementing it somehow.

    I did something similar in Dream Park (where you pick your character options for every game) by giving characters who "achieved" a certain number of games options that were unique to them. This was before Achievements in video games so it wasn't really modelled the same way. Time to rethink it for what I'm playing now, perhaps, especially since I'm an xBox achievement whore.

  2. Aren't we all achievement whores? Dream Park . . .? Must look up!

  3. My old website for it, with mucho more options than the game as published (I pilfered from GURPS and other sources) is still available at (don't be put off by the French stuff at the top, the game stuff is all in English).