I, the DM, reserve the right to nix anything that comes up in the game that conflicts with the campaign I’m trying to run, story that I’m trying to tell, or the game balance I hope to have. I hope that I will not have to do this often or at all, however.
We will be using the incremental advances optional rule as presented on page 203. On average, I will be trying to award one advance every couple of sessions.
Roleplaying and excellent description will be rewarded mechanically in the following way. Roleplaying or describing your actions reasonably will net you a +1 on the roll for the event you’re describing or playing out, with better (as defined as being more fun, interesting, or unique) efforts gaining better bonuses, up to a +3. The key point is that it needs to be reasonable. Spending 5 minutes describing the minute details of your basic attack so you can get a +3 on the roll is not going to happen.
In combat, the moment another player or I, the DM, rolls dice, your turn is completely over and cannot be retroactively changed. Meaning that you cannot change damaged given or received, make forgotten saving throws or take forgotten actions, and so on. I’ll allow some leeway on this, but it’s basically a rule intended to keep things moving along at a decent clip.
I use something I call DM Points. DM Points are rewarded by me for doing awesome things that I really enjoy or that go far above what is needed for the game and will correspondingly be uncommon. Things like consistently great roleplaying, working hard on this Obsidian Portal wiki with adventure logs or notes, getting character portraits or other art done for the campaign, and so on. DM Points can only be used once per session and they can only be used by the person they were awarded to. DM Points can be used for a reroll (a d20 roll or all dice in a damage roll), to temporarily add +2 to all defenses for 1 turn, to spend a recovery as a free action, to automatically pass a saving throw, or for a 20 on a skill check (but not combat actions), or any other reasonable request. They may also be used to force the DM to reroll one roll that affects your character.
For a while at the beginning of the game (the first few sessions), I will allow players to make some adjustments to their characters until they’ve gotten the kind of character that they really want to play. Once, and only once, in the life of a character I will allow a reasonable (as determined in a conversation between myself and the player) PC overhaul.
We’re trying to use something I’m referring to as Icon points. At the beginning of each session, everybody will roll a d6 for each of their Icon Relationships. On a 5 or 6, as is typical for Icon rolls, players will get a bonus. This bonus disappears if not used by the end of the session. Here is the way the Icon points work:
On the roll of a 6, you the player get a d6 bonus for any roll you make or may subtract a d6 from any roll I make. Natural 1’s and natural 20’s are not applicable here (in either direction). The only other restriction is that you must describe (briefly) how your Icon relationship allowed that minor benefit.
Alternatively, you may use a 6 to get an unambiguous improvement in a situation. A very difficult negotiation may get a bit easier, a small reward might be bigger, a neutral NPC might be friendly, etc. This is arguably the more powerful benefit in many situations, but the restrictions are greater as well. You the player must narrate or describe how your Icon relationship helped out in greater depth or with more description or roleplaying.
On the roll of a 5, you still get a d6 to use in whatever fashion you choose (within the restrictions mentioned earlier). However I, the GM, get a d4 that I can use in the exact same manner that you use your d6 (any roll I wish aside from nat 1 or nat 20, etc).
Similarly, using a 5 narratively trades making one situation easier now for one situation being more difficult, less profitable, or more complicated later. Note that this is the only use of a Icon point which I the GM can save between sessions. If I don’t use it within 4 sessions, I lose my opportunity to do so.