Your Favorite Way To Reward Players
As a Dungeon Master do you have a preferred way to reward players when they do well in your game? Is it through magical items, gold or just experience?
I don't know if there is a favorite way but for me the best way is a little of everything. For example a combination of treasure, magical items, experience and noterity among the people can be very helpful. They do not have to be at the same time either.
I usually reward player small amount of gold, gem, ring, etc... This happen throughout the game.
But to me, the most rewarding thing to do, is to give them yet another clue, another hint at something else. This keep them going as their is always something to think about.
I also like to develop character, so all of my players get side quest they can perform as a group or alone in between adventure.
Of course awarding experience is key to keep player motivating and in a normal live session, I usually award a MVP of the night. It gives absolutely nothing to the character, but the players feel very good.
I wanted to mention that rewards should also be consistent and equal the adventur otherwise it becomes a lotto play whether you get rewarded or not. An example, you get 1000 gold for killing a town thug but receive a few copper for removing a band of orc raiders from a nearby village. Although it is true that some missions might be for more than simply gold it should be clearly stated what the reward will be for success.
A great way is to have NPCs tell you how you are doing or how you've impacted their lives. If you just rescued someone from a burning building it will be nice to have the NPC go out of their way to show their appreciation, it makes it seem more 'real'.
Its easy to reward players with what they are expecting its when they get something unexpected is when they get excited about it. If your party is being paid a bounty of 50 gold to get a wanted man then that should lead to a reward of something more sinister where they can get another reward.