XP/Intrusions per... turn?

The core rulebook has rough recommendations for about how often you should be using GM intrusions and rewarding XP per gaming session, which is great. However, it's my first time GMing (anything, much less Numenera), and I'm running a play-by-email game. Since we don't have "sessions" and each action can take quite a long time because of delays involved in various party members checking in to the mailing list, it's hard to determine what would constitute a "session".

What I'm curious about, then, is if anybody has any rough metrics that could relate these concepts of play time. A vague sense of how many turns are in a game session would work, for example. Ideal would be about how many turns elapse between awarding XP or using an intrusion, but I don't expect anybody to have a good sense of turns, since probably a lot of the non-combat action when played around a table doesn't get broken down into turns.

If it helps, we're playing Beale of Boregal. My players have currently spent a few turns chatting over lunch with an NPC that I introduced as another Peregrine on the walk, who was basically an instrument to get them to talk about themselves and get to know each other a bit. They then spent a couple of turns chatting over dinner amongst themselves, which turned out to be a dud, because without a way to prod them or an obviously immediate motivation they didn't really know what to do. It had come up that the Mouth Cairns were a bit of a sacred site and thus a safe place to camp, so they continued on in that direction. I thought that I'd: a) spice things up; b) delay them so they wouldn't quite make it before dark, so I introduced a whole-party intrusion in the form of a chasm crossing the walk created by a band of ten bandits using a single-use Numenera device and being exploited by said band to lure and rob Peregrines. I awarded the whole party 1XP for creating the roadblock. They're currently still dealing with that situation (which has turned out to be really entertaining).

I had vague thoughts that they could experience a light swarm just outside of the Mouth Cairns and re-encounter the NPC from earlier catching up to them just as they finished dealing with that (having either been robbed or not, depending on how they deal with the bandits), or that they could re-encounter the NPC just before camping at the Mouth Cairns and wake to her being consumed by a Zaelem during the night. Given how significant the bandits encounter is gearing up to be, I think introducing both of these would be a bit much. I might hold onto one or both for later.

Anyhow, my immediate questions with all of this: Should I be using additional intrusions during the combat beyond ones that occur on 1-rolls, should I award them XP if they find a way across the chasm and/or find the cutting device that created it (which would mean they went around the chasm in the other direction), how often in general should I be doing both?

Even just knowing how many overall XP and Intrusions were awarded / used during a playthrough of Beale of Boregal might be a start. :)

Or if anybody else is doing PBEM and wants to let me know how they handled the issue, I'd love to hear it!


  • Hi Maize, welcome to the Hub
    I'm currently running a PbF over on RPGGeek called 'Tears of the Gods'. Feel free to have a look. I've run various Games of Numenera.

    1) Based on what you posted above - you are on the right lines. As a rule of thumb, as GM, any time you feel like reaching for the dice, then that's time for a GMI.
     - The chasm was spot on -exactly right
            What could have been more fun was to have the device go off and split the party, half on one side of the chasm and half on the other!
     - The bandit attack is spot on

    - Why was dinner a dud? You wanted them to talk and that's what they did.

    2) Have the NPC meet them again. Not every event/ happening has to be a GMI. Having the NPC attacked and eaten is just combat; not a GMI. Having a PC wake up in the midst of being swallowed is a GMI.

    3) Award the xp if they find and inventive way across the chasm, or if they find the device that made it, or if you think they deserve it.

    4) Use a GMI in combat (other than the die roll of '1') if the situation suggests it, it makes sense and is fun

    5) Unlike FtF Games, PbF/ PBeM doesn't break down into sessions easily. So don't bother worrying about it. I keep a record of who has had a GMI and when, so I can decide who might be due one (so that everyone gets an equal share); then work it into the story.

    Hope this gives you some ideas; feel free to chat more if you want
  • Thanks! That's quite helpful. :)

    They just managed to hilariously get rid of the bandits without fighting, so I was thinking I might award some XP there. 

    Dinner was mostly a dud because they didn't actually do much talking, and there were long gaps of time between each player turns. When I had some opportunity for casual conversation, people mentioned that they weren't playing as frequently because they just didn't have any idea what to do.

    I will for sure check out your PbF game! Thanks for the pointer!

    One thing that's good is that since we're all new both to PBeM and to Numenera, my party is pretty good at chatting with me and telling me what works and doesn't work for them, so I suppose I can just wing it so long as people are having fun. I was a little worried about them being overpowered/underpowered, but I suppose I can just adjust the game to fit if that happens.
  • You could move it all over to the Geek so that others can look and possibly post OOC any suggestions
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