Many computer games these days have “achievements”. These are little things that you can do in the game that aren’t necessarily part of the main gameplay.
e.g. In the iPhone game Rolando, the object is to save the rolandos in each level by getting them to the level’s exit. There are also diamonds scattered around the levels. Collecting all the diamonds can earn an achievement.
I’ve been thinking about adapting this to tabletop role-playing games. Achieving one could grant a small XP bonus. Generally, a character could only earn each achievement once. Although some achievements may be a superset of another achievement. When it is achieved, the player must record it. (Having a record of your character’s achievements is part of the point of pursuing them, so this really isn’t a bookkeeping burden.)
One of the fun things about this—especially if you have the type of players who will find achievements hard to resist—is that it gives the referee an indirect method of influencing player/character behavior.
This is purely a metagame thing, so it might rub some people the wrong way from the get-go. shrug
Well, they don’t have to be purely metagame, I suppose. They could also help make up for the “only getting XP for killing† and stealing” fault that some find with D&D.
Anyway, I haven’t come up with any good ones yet.
†Although in some cases—such as when I’m DM—this should really be “defeating”.