There's no doubt that killing for experience is now considered the norm in modern D&D games and their simulacra (Pathfinder fits that label, right?) Combat experience is sometimes the only type given in some of these games, and it is almost certainly what sticks out in most new players' minds as the key to advancement, until they have a firmer grasp on the game.
This is not to say everyone runs their campaigns like this, but before I digress, I'll state that campaign style is not the focus of this post. Instead, I want to touch on something that I find to be missing from most modern rules sets: morale.
When I started playing AD&D 2nd Edition, Paul - who showed me the ropes of DMing - utilized a simple system, using a d6 (if I remember correctly,) that I believe was derived from published TSR rules. I remember him checking at milestones like 1/3rd combatants fallen, leader taken out, etc., and possibly even giving bonuses if a PC had dropped and so forth.
I like that. It makes sense in the context of the world. If you have the advantage, you press it. Once you lose that advantage, you hit fight or flight. A good morale system can simulate those responses fairly well, and I think it does nothing but add to the game's enjoyment, realism (which I care about, but not to a fault) and overall flavor (especially if, for some reason, say, ogres always seem to roll breaks, you might come up with lore stating they're craven, and never fight if they lose the advantage.)
At any rate, I want to find or make a workable morale system for use in my Pathfinder game. I want it to be somewhat simple, but I would like, also, for it to present more options than "stay and fight" and "run away." Maybe a parley result or surrender.
I'll definitely be posting more on that, as I think I might want to design my own, or at least take the skeleton of something I find and slap some meat on it...but before I sign off on this one, I want to touch on one more thing...
When awarding experience for encounters in which a morale system is used, and the npcs run away or cede victory, I would like to give full xp, but what if these same npcs are faced once again, or even multiple times? I don't want to keep dishing out xp for the same group encountered, or do I? With the shift of experience progression to the "Slow" chart, something like that would do very little to impact overall progression, so I might go ahead and award full for those that get away/give up the fight. Always in the past, I've given 1/2 or less in those instances.
As always, comments are welcome.