Rewarding Players

Players like to feel rewarded for the challenges they overcome, and they like to see when their characters change and grow. A tabletop RPG where characters don't grow would be very boring indeed to a lot of players.

There are three main ways you can reward your players.

Token Rewards

Players receive a token whenever they fail a Success-outcome roll, but you can also reward them with a token at your discretion. You might do this when they achieve a minor plot point, perform some kind of good act of roleplaying, come up with an extremely clever scheme, or move the story ahead by some great amount.

XP Rewards

You should generally reward your PCs with xp every session. A good rule of thumb is 5 xp per session to each PC, plus a bonus of 0-5 depending on how much they advanced the story.

XP rewards are easy, because you don't have to think too hard about selecting the right thing, instead the PCs can save or spend them as they see fit.

XP rewards are the most permanent of the three, but often moderate in overall value; items are often worth more than the typical session xp reward.

Item Rewards

Depending on the situation, you might find that giving the PCs an item is a good way to reward them. Additionally, sometimes they'll either liberate a useful artifact, or salvage equipment from fallen enemies. These items do count toward the party's xp. Just because a PC didn't acquire an item by paying xp for it doesn't mean that the item is free.

Because items are pre-built, they tend to be worth more experience than you'd normally give the PCs for a single session, so be aware of how much you're giving them. Fortunately, the xp of items is always listed with the item, so it shouldn't be too much trouble to compare that with a normal XP reward.

While item rewards tend to be worth more xp, they are also less permanent than just giving the PCs a handful of experience. Items can be lost or destroyed, but the xp a PC spends on their own personal skills can't be taken away.