This has probably been done before, but I want an advancement system where at the end of each session, you write down one thing the PC did that was really risky but saved everyone's butts. The deed should be remarkable and creative, and must be approved by the table (landing the killing blow on a giant doesn't count. Spending several rounds climbing him, cracking open his skull with a hammer and then cooking his brain with a fireball does). If you didn't do anything special, you don't write anything down. You could conceivably write down more than one thing per session, but the bar should be high enough that this is rare.

When you try something in the future that is really similar to a previous deed, you get a bonus (like Giant-slaying in this case). The nice thing is that you would build up a record of the stuff that you'd achieved, and the DM could incorporate it into the reputation that you build throughout the setting.

Possible downside: the more creative you are, the less creative you need to be in the future, as those tasks get mechanically easier.
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