One of the things I loved about Spore was its system of player achievements—badges of honour that players could earn for doing certain, specified things in the game. A few other blogs (such as Icosahedrophilia, Key Our Cars and Spend a Healing Stirge) have some great ideas on how to implement this concept in D&D 4e: in essence, when a player meets the criteria for a given achievement, let them keep a permanent token to signify it, but also give them some sort of in-game benefit.

It occurs to me that making that benefit single-use would minimise power creep, but still leave each achievement memorable and significant. I’d also suggest modelling the achievement benefits on the RPGA’s D&D Player Rewards Cards (available for download here), in that not only does each card reward its holder directly, but when activated, it provides a discretionary bonus to another player as well.

That way, achievements reward individual merit, but also encourage teamwork—thus reinforcing one of 4e‘s central tenets.