So I have been working on Achievements! These are rewards (currently I am looking at putting out cards) earned by completing various acts. Each Achievement will have a benefit (either one time, expendable or passive), an act required to gain it, a scope, and a set of descriptive tags.
Before I get too deep into the layout of achievements, I should stress the point and it falls onto the last mention, the descriptive tags. Achievements utilize the best in passive aggressive technology to help a GM steer a sandbox campaign into having a theme or tone. Achievements are thus a form of meta gaming without forcing a move into railroad or story gaming (though they can be used in that as well). The Achievements are something laid out to all the players at all times, these don't work if players do not know all of the Achievements and all of the ways to gain them.
Benefit: Cash in to re-roll a die
Requirement: Roll a 1 on a d20 where 2+ is success
Scope: Game Session
Tag: Light-hearted OR Epic
The Frasier Crane
Benefit: Once per game, re-roll a d20 result of 1.
Requirement: Roll a 1 on a d20 where a 2+ is success, then re-roll it and get a second 1.
Benefit: +1 to all saving throws
Requirement: Have your character sacrifice himself to save the party
Tag: Dark OR Epic
Benefit: Cash in to dictate the result of any die roll or set of die rolls.
Requirement: Buy Pizza and/or Beer for the entire table
Tag: Light-hearted OR Damn Leech Players
So what does this mean? The name is just a title, the benefit is what you gain from the Achievement. The requirement is likewise self explanatory. So we'll dive into Scope.
Scope involves how long a player can keep the benefit. The following are currently planned scopes:
Game Session - Until you leave the table tonight
Character - Until your current character dies
Campaign - Until you switch campaigns
Player - Any time you play under the same GM
Tags are not purely descriptive; they do have an impact. When the GM is trying to run a campaign with a specific theme or tone, he should specify those tones and themes. Only Achievements that match those tones and themes are available (including already awarded Player achievements).
A final note is that Achievements are a first come first serve. If Bob gets "the Frasier" and 20 minutes later Tom achieves the same conditions he gets squat (unless Bob already cashed in the Achievement and put it back in circulation).
What is the goal? Rather than trying to force characters to act in a certain way, you set out a nice spread of carrots for acting in the way you wish. They can ignore them all, but they are there as 'encouragement'. Note these can things that also act as teaching methods for new players. If you want a wilderness exploring adventure for people used to story games, throw down some Achievements for wandering into a new hex, or building an outpost or whatever you wish to expose players used to the "plot-wagon" to.