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PFS Quests: Rewards & Ideas

Pathfinder Society Scenario Submissions

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

I am having problems finding anyone willing to play the current 2 quests. During each PFS day at the FLGS I offer to run them. No one is willing to do so since they don't think the rewards are worth it.

Why don't the quests have any loot the characters could buy? About half the players I have talked to would be more interested if they could at least purchase items.

The quests could grant rewards that could not be gained any other way (like boons)? Not all players are able to attend various conventions due to $, time, or both. I am not saying give out great boons (like new races), but rather rare materials or unique character traits. I saw in another thread players were wanting dragonhide. A party could go on a quest to collect dragonhide.

In this thread, the possibility was raised about earning XP and gp from running a certain amount of quests. While this sounds like a decent idea, I think the risk/reward factor does not make this very worthwhile. Since each quest would count as a session, the chance of something bad happening in 1–2 —look an en-dash (and em-dash)— encounters are not as great as a regular scenario.

Create quests for character goals or unique group sizes. A single character quest to defeat a devil and become a Hellknight. A two character quest racing a chariot in the Tymon gladiator arena. Quests to earn rare familiars/animal companions.
Completely roleplay based faction quests would work well with the faction quests and could tie into the goals for the season. These quests would only be playable for the current season. A Szarni faction quest to smuggle goods from Riddleport to influential families in other cities. Grand Lodge quests tracking down and identify Aspis agents working against the Society.

Grand Lodge

I like that idea, but there are limited options for quest boons. It would also make Quest play as a once-off novelty, depending on what boons the character wants to attain.

So you'd have:
Mount/Animal Companion attainment 'Hunt' Quests. (access to a magical beast ally)
Prestige class recognition 'Order Acceptance' Quests. (access to a prestige class)
Custom magic item 'Artifact Found' Quests. (access to a new magic item)

The issue is, if I am taking cleric for 12 levels, I know all the items I want are in the Core Rulebook and I will never have an animal companion, there is still no point for me to go on any of these Quests and risk my character. The economics of the rewards do not outweigh the charity-adventuring my hero will be doing for another heroes desired reward.

I think the only way to make Quests worth it is to introduce Quest credits. Earn four Quest Credits, gain +1 exp, +1 prestige, appropriate tier gold reward and choose 2 boons from any of the four Quests completed. This way you can get the item or mount you want, and still have a reward. It's a lot of paperwork, but it'd provide interesting rewards to encourage casual Quest play.

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I like the quest credits idea (maybe sticking it with three=1 for consistency). Another option would be Prestige points (also 3qc=1pp), but that no fame is earned. That is you get pp up to your fame only & encourage a refilling of the barrel so to speak.

Also quests for smaller groups (or even solo) would be good. Sometimes we end up with odd numbers.

How about making it so you can buy, or upgrade, 1 item with Prestige Points instead of gold?

Grand Lodge

Playing 3 quests is not the same as playing a scenario. In a scenario, you may not get to rest, shop, or anything. After a quest, you're back to full and and take on quest 2 and then 3 at full health. It would be the 15-minute work day for PFS.

Quests are designed either as filler for when your game session ends early, or as short intro scenarios for new players (in addition to their *real* purpose of auditioning authors). They're not there as a career track.

Grand Lodge

Good point.
There's no rules saying you can't rest in the middle of a scenario, but a number of scenarios are written on a 'beat the clock' mode where resting may mean failure of the mission.

Perhaps this could be circumvented by a more challenging combat situation in a Quest?

Right now most scenarios I've played go like this:
+2-3 opponents average to easy combat
+ 1 puzzle, skill challenge, rping challenge
+2-3 copponents average to easy combat
+ Boss Battle, one tough opponent with mooks, or superior tactical starting position.

Gain chronicle, HP and spells reset, go shopping.

Whereas a Quest could be like this:
+Challenging Battle, tough opponents using resources in a tougher encounter that is likely to burn resources.
HP and spells reset, only gain chronicle and go shopping if this is the [3rd or 4th] Quest played.

Quest authors would then need to be cognizant that the average to easy combats that intersperse scenarios are not good for the format. Special conditions, such as spells, terrain, or unique factors might be an important part of the combat rather than the featureless dungeon room style of combat.
I hope this makes sense.

Liberty's Edge

Curaigh wrote:

I like the quest credits idea (maybe sticking it with three=1 for consistency). Another option would be Prestige points (also 3qc=1pp), but that no fame is earned. That is you get pp up to your fame only & encourage a refilling of the barrel so to speak.

Also quests for smaller groups (or even solo) would be good. Sometimes we end up with odd numbers.

I like the "refill the barrel" idea A LOT.

I was looking at Quests thinking, this would be a really good way to up the play of Factions in the Society. Creating Quests marketed towards the various Factions for 1pp each and no fame. By being able to refill your PP people would use their prestige instead of just forgetting about it until something horrible happens. With the additional interaction, people would start to identify with their Factions more. 1PP would be a winning concept.
(it would also cause the factions to start recruiting which could be interesting. "Hey Joe, why don't you make a Taldor character and do this one little mission with me...")

Liberty's Edge

I really love that idea, I really would enjoy more faction specific quests and I also agree with the amazing "refill" pp idea (my wands tend to run out, fast) I would also really enjoy opportunities to get some more unusual animal companions and equipment (do I smell a mastodon?)

Right now, I believe there are more factions than quests. :)
The quests would have to be evenhanded, which would be difficult to develop and release in a timely way.
Now gaining favor with a faction, I could see that appealing to members of other factions too.
"You owe me, Chelaxian!"

A quest should be challenging to be fun, but in turn that makes PCs use expendables, which is not fun if it sets you back later.
One possible answer: Replace the expendables.
If it's just for filler, why have risk without reward?

I wouldn't mind a different system in quest play. Each quest could specify its own nature, i.e...
-This has minor boons. Danger Level: Low (CR+2 for 6)
-This has a good boon or 1 PP. Danger Level: Medium (CR+4 for 6)
-This has a unique boon people will want to risk for or good boon+PP. Danger Level: High (CR+6 or more for 6)
-This is purely for fun. No benefits, no consequences.
Danger level: Lethal (I could see those becoming popular.)
-This is an introductory quest. Danger level: Low
possibly with subsets like...
-This quest teaches about darkness. Danger level: low
-This quest teaches about grappling/DR/flanking/etc.

Maybe even have an option for players.
"I'm going for the boon. Bring it on."
"I'm not. I'll have no consequences."

As for a 'standard' quest, giving access to unique things would be nice, not just items, but RPing boons too or that let you enter a PrC or...well, most anything that would be a good boon on a scenario.
There are lots of good boons out there. We just need them in quests too.


What I don't understand is... how are your players getting to preview the rewards at the end of a scenario?

I offer a couple of choices for the players to play, make sure none have played it before, and off we go. They came for adventure, and if the paladin had known the maiden captured by the dragon was a sharp-tongued shrew, would he have refused to fight the dragon?

Yea, sometimes you get jacked when all is said and done. Golarion's not posies and golden showers.

Yeah, the boons are secret by default.
For scenarios.
Does it have to be that way for quests?

A player doesn't necessarily need to know the boon to decide whether to risk death or not. They need to know what risks they want to take.

Either way, boons should be such that the players say "Cool" when they get it, rather than "Oh. Noted." or "I wish this PC could use that."

Would your Paladin have fought a dragon, knowing he'd get no reward? (Okay, bad example, he's a Paladin, but you know what I'm asking.)
After the 3rd shrew, he might sign off on princesses.
It'll only take a few bad boons/rewards for players to set aside the notion of playing quests, especially if the combat (almost) kills them.

I'm not necessarily in this camp, I'm happy if I get good RPing and an interesting fight. That's not even a given with scenarios, but those always have good rewards, Gold/PP/XP/Fame, rewards which quests don't have, and probably shouldn't. (Not sure.)
This suggests quests might need to be even better than scenarios to make up for having fewer awards, but as brief as the are, I don't see that happening. Or they need better boons because those are the only PC reward. But what's a 'better boon' and how does that balance?

Maybe this is swinging too far into the complicated, trying to match risk to reward, without overshadowing scenarios' risks & rewards.
Since I see quests as just 'time-fillers' and 'introductory sessions', I vote they have zero ramifications on PCs. Let the players go wild, and not worry about expenditures.
In turn, the monsters could be a bit wilder too. :)

Maybe when a player finishes a number of quests, he gets an award...

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