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Reward for "Good" / heroic acts.


Gamer Talk


I've noticed that a good many people can agree one issue with parties turning into ruthless murdering jackwipes is the immense reward in gold/loot/power from those dastardly acts.

We've talked about how heroism needs to be encouraged by rewarding players for acting heroic. But so far I've seen little in the way if actual examples.

That's what this threads for. If we are be good, what are the types of reward we can expect?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber

That warm and fuzzy feeling you get from, you know, doing the right thing?

One should never "expect" a reward for doing what's right and just...


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Warm and fuzzy feelings aside, there's no reason you shouldn't get loot for doing heroic things (even if that's not the PC's motivation for doing them). Gifts from grateful townsfolk, treasure dropped by demons before they bamf away back to the Abyss, or even just an interesting trinket found because the party went out of their way to do something good. In addition to loot, other rewards like land, citizenship, followers, etc. can also easily be in order, as well as memberships in prestigious organizations which may in turn lead the party to greater rewards in future adventures, and provide access to unique boons.

For a mechanical roleplaying award to the player, hero points are also good for that.

General fame, renown, and hero-worship can and depending on the campaign should be also described and in abundance. A well roleplayed out "thank you thank you" from that innocent dragon you saved from the evil damsel can be rewarding in and of itself.

On the other side of the coin, being evil should also come with obvious negative consequences. It may be easier to kill creatures and take their stuff or make a play for power, but villainous PCs should constantly be building infamy and attracting powerful enemies who will never let them rest or have a safe place to hide. It should be hard for them to go into a town and sell their ill gotten gains because their faces will be tacked to the walls, and the local constabulary alerted to attack on sight--or summon the elite legion if the party is known to be powerful. They are going to have to work to get their own allies and strongholds and black market contacts because it should be an absolute chore for them to try and function quietly in the normal working world, at least if they are being the typical chaotic stupid PCs who burn orphanages and attack town guards without a thought. And even if they are smart evil, they should always be challenged to conceal their evil deeds from the good common folk they are secretly exploiting -- an evil themed game should never be a cakewalk from treasure to treasure (no more than any other game).

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber
DeathQuaker wrote:
Warm and fuzzy feelings aside, there's no reason you shouldn't get loot for doing heroic things (even if that's not the PC's motivation for doing them).

Receiving rewards for good and heroic actions are fine (the game encourages it), but the second you ask "What's in it for me?" or do something good with the expectation of receiving a reward is when you are no longer being heroic...


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Pawns Subscriber

I am running a RotRL AE campaign. Through the first two modules, the party gave away roughly 60% of all the loot they found because "it was stolen from XXX", or "YYY is the rightful heir". They destroyed evil items rather than ransoming them to temples. They went out of their way to help the helpless, feed the needy, yada yada yada.

Item #1: They never had to pay for anything in Sandpoint. EVER. They saved the town and donated everything from the dead goblins and Thistletop to help rebuild the lives of those who had fallen, and to fund the temple's purchase of a new wand of Cure Disease. Sorry, as a GM, I can't see many townsfolk begrudging them some sticky buns, a meal, or a tankard of ale. Anything really expensive (a suit of ceremonial plate, for example) was at cost (so 1/2 price).

This was HUGE for starting characters. Who didn't accept any loot.

Item #2: GM goodwill. After my characters provided free training to the locals to help them defend themselves, defended the town and refused to accept any rewards, turned down any money from the mayor of Magnimar, and then paid out of their own pockets to have a GM NPC fully resurrected, I said, "Enough is enough" and worked out an in-story way to get the paladin of Sarenrae a keen holy scimitar.

So the long and the short of it is it's up to the GM to provide rewards for good behavior. I take my own sweet time about it, but I do it in spades.

Oh, I also ruthlessly kill evil PCs, so maybe it's just my GMing style that encourages them to be good...


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I agree that the character should not come to expect heroic reward, but it's ok for the player to expect something to put on the sheet other than XP.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber

Personally I'm always grateful when a GM makes it possible for idealistic good PCs to be able to function in a game that otherwise screams at them to have to metagame in order to keep up with the WBL system.

Organic approaches like many of the suggestions above(story-related boons, divine aid, NPC good will) really help players of heroic PCs concentrate on the roleplaying rather than wrestling with how they're going to keep up with the pace of the game and how they have to compromise their characters to do it.

I'd wager most people playing Good characters are plenty willing to go through lean times and hardships for taking the hard road. But it's very nice to know that you're not dooming yourself to automatic failure by wanting to play characters that do the right thing.

It also helps cut down on some players getting all frowny faced when you refuse to rob graves or engage in other sorts of murderhobo behavior in the name of meeting a phat loots quota.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber
Nepherti wrote:
it's ok for the player to expect something to put on the sheet other than XP.

For players just trying to play a "good" character I would agree, but not for a player trying to play a truly "heroic" character. For the player of a truly heroic character, the XP should be enough; anything else above that is a valued bonus...

I'm not saying that a GM should not reward a heroic character, but the player wanting to play a genuinely heroic character should not expect any rewards...


DeathQuaker wrote:
For a mechanical roleplaying award to the player, hero points are also good for that.

Indeed.

Even if hero points are not "institutionalized" as part of the game, a "free re-roll on 1 attack roll" here or "free automatic success on 1 saving throw" there can be rewarding.

I used to write those on a stock of blank business-cards I happened to have. Players would collect and use them as they liked.

Some gave mechanical advantages, some allowed plot twist in favour of the player (get out of jail card) or "summoned" a NPC's help or expertise. Eventually we simply adopted hero points, but deep inside I still preferred my business cards.

'findel


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Digitalelf wrote:
DeathQuaker wrote:
Warm and fuzzy feelings aside, there's no reason you shouldn't get loot for doing heroic things (even if that's not the PC's motivation for doing them).
Receiving rewards for good and heroic actions are fine (the game encourages it), but the second you ask "What's in it for me?" or do something good with the expectation of receiving a reward is when you are no longer being heroic...

There is a difference between wanting a reward and receiving a reward.

If you go to tremendous effort to help someone, people will do things to help you in return.

While a hero's motivation should not be compensation, they may still receive it.

Especially if that compensation further enables the hero to help others more easily (a gift of an undead slaying sword to help them wipe the undead scourge off the face of the earth, for example).

All I am saying is there is no reason to withhold loot from good characters because they are doing the right thing.

And if the player of the heroic character gets happy jotting down how much GP they earned on their character sheet, I am really not going to get self righteous on their asses for not being heroic enough. We play to be entertained, not to be judgmental of one another over pretendy funtimes.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber

On a very related note regarding helping heroic characters get by, Champions of Purity can't arrive a moment too soon. :)


I think you can go with the simple approach of turning player characters who run their characters as murderous bastards into hunted fugitives with no safe base of operations. Players whose characters act in a minimally civilized manner usually have a secure home base where they can usually relax.


I find the best way to reward good/heroic acts is through subtlety- or yes, organic rewards, thank you for the term, Mikaze. Not paying for their meals is an excellent start, but they also start getting serious business offers- masterwork weapons are made for free because local artisans are looking for patrons. Local well-to-do families work on arranging marriages. You really ARE the first person or group of people not only the commons but those in power look to to handle sticky situations. Evil, or maybe, more material acts result in next to no friends or social contacts aside from those earned through fear, intimidation, or lucre. One thing I'm working on uses a weird roundabout of the leadership feat to give the PCs contacts in society based on level and alignment.

Shadow Lodge

DeathQuaker wrote:
Digitalelf wrote:
DeathQuaker wrote:
Warm and fuzzy feelings aside, there's no reason you shouldn't get loot for doing heroic things (even if that's not the PC's motivation for doing them).
Receiving rewards for good and heroic actions are fine (the game encourages it), but the second you ask "What's in it for me?" or do something good with the expectation of receiving a reward is when you are no longer being heroic...

There is a difference between wanting a reward and receiving a reward.

If you go to tremendous effort to help someone, people will do things to help you in return.

While a hero's motivation should not be compensation, they may still receive it.

Especially if that compensation further enables the hero to help others more easily (a gift of an undead slaying sword to help them wipe the undead scourge off the face of the earth, for example).

All I am saying is there is no reason to withhold loot from good characters because they are doing the right thing.

And if the player of the heroic character gets happy jotting down how much GP they earned on their character sheet, I am really not going to get self righteous on their asses for not being heroic enough. We play to be entertained, not to be judgmental of one another over pretendy funtimes.

This. This, this, this, this, this.

The problem with your argument, DE, is that it's too much like the real world. If I'm going to play in a heroic game - or GM one - I want the heroic characters to actually be RECOGNIZED as the heroes they are, and treated like it. Too many times IRL you have people doing the "right thing" and getting completely overlooked, ignored, or worse hated for it. There's a reason our world doesn't have many heroes, and the few it does have are usually well, well after their time when the descendants of those they helped - who usually rejected them after receiving their aid - looked back and realized all the good they did.

There's a reason the real world doesn't have many heroes. We as a species seem to go out of our way to dissuade them.

Realistic it may be, but it's frustrating, depressing, and most of all un-fun to have to deal with that in-game.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber
Orthos wrote:
The problem with your argument, DE, is that it's too much like the real world. If I'm going to play in a heroic game - or GM one - I want the heroic characters to actually be RECOGNIZED as the heroes they are, and treated like it.

Well, in my second post I said "I'm not saying that a GM should not reward a heroic character, but the player wanting to play a genuinely heroic character should not expect any rewards..."

But you are correct; the view is much like real life. Many fantasy books also have true heroic characters sometimes overlooked, ignored, or hated; that's life... And if you run a simulationist game much like myself, then you want those aspects of real life (only augmented by fantasy). Augmented how? Well, by rewarding the heroes!

Again, I never said I do not think that heroic characters should not be rewarded. What I said, was that the player should not expect or assume that their heroic character will get rewarded...

Big difference!


I think you are confusing an out of character mindset with an in character one. I am not going to tell someone their hero is not one because out of character they want rewarded. I am not going to tell someone their character is no longer a hero when in character, they've been one.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber
Nepherti wrote:
I think you are confusing an out of character mindset with an in character one

There is a difference between playing just a "good" character and playing a genuinely heroic character, and the player's play style (and attitude behind that play style) should reflect this difference because it is the player who makes all of the decisions for their characters...

Thus, if the player through his character asks farmer Joe how much of a reward he's offering up for killing the monsters in his fields... His character, while still “good”, has now failed to be heroic...

Nepherti wrote:
I am not going to tell someone their character is no longer a hero when in character, they've been one.

If the player, after saving the town complains to you (the GM) because his character was not given a reward... The player has still played the character as being “good”, but fails under the banner of heroic because true heroes do not always get rewarded, and a player of a truly heroic character would know this and thus should not complain to you about it...

Playing a true and genuine hero has this potential pitfall, and any player willing to take on that challenge should be willing to deal with this pitfall (should it ever occur) both in and out of character...


Then what encourages players to play heroism if even OOC rewards are not to be desired? There has to be something other than the warm fuzzy feeling. ICly, you make sense, DE. OOC, not so much.

Shadow Lodge

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Yeah, on that we are going to have to disagree. IC=/=OOC in any sense, ever, and I shudder to think of a GM who attempts to enforce one upon the other.

Cheliax

Nepherti wrote:

I've noticed that a good many people can agree one issue with parties turning into ruthless murdering jackwipes is the immense reward in gold/loot/power from those dastardly acts.

We've talked about how heroism needs to be encouraged by rewarding players for acting heroic. But so far I've seen little in the way if actual examples.

That's what this threads for. If we are be good, what are the types of reward we can expect?

In the last campaign I played in, good heroics was rewarded. The clerics for example, tended to help folks in need without asking payment, rescued children, set up an orphanage and other items. Generally alot of the wealth gained was funneled into items that didnt benefit my character or another.

Which, while had its challeges and threats(at least one assassination attempt) it translated into many types of tangible and intagible rewards- given title over a large manor and property, plus licesnse to run said orphanage as licensed by the city. Many folks we helped seemed to turn up with information or items that we needed. When the city turned into a communist regieme, we were able to weather it better and property wasnt "declared communial" and other intagible rewards.

Where as the halfling spelldagger mage? The mage that was in it for himself, greedy, didnt go out of way to help folks, was a little mercenary and in general used all his wealth to better himself?

Yeah when the chips were down, he had no one to turn to to help beyond the party(we was a decent/good party memeber to count on. (Not counting the time he stole from the party) Didnt always find what he needed, and when the city turned communist, his family had a much harder time as they and their business was conscripted by the state.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber
Nepherti wrote:
Then what encourages players to play heroism if even OOC rewards are not to be desired?

This is the difference between playing a character that is just "good" as opposed to genuinely heroic IMO...

As I said in my last post, there is a downside to playing a character that is truly heroic. If you ignore this downside (even OOC), then you've lost the difference between just being "good" and what it is to be genuinely heroic...

Nepherti wrote:
There has to be something other than the warm fuzzy feeling.

It should be a challenge for the player to make sure his character defines the difference between just being "good" and being truly heroic. That player must be willing to sometimes settle on just a warm and fuzzy feeling as their character's reward...

Again, I am not advocating that a GM not reward truly heroic characters! What I am saying is that the onus of defining what true heroism is from being just plain "good" is upon the player...


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

You know, Digitalelf, I think the problem is you are trying to have an entirely different conversation than everyone else. In other contexts, I'd agree with at least some of what you've said.

You're talking about roleplaying, motivations therein, and feeling rewarded by the story itself -- and there is a lot to be said for that. A great deal in fact.

But this is more, at least my sense it is, a practical discussion of concerns about making sure players feel rewarded in various contexts of the game, not just one. (And the story itself feeling rewarding is a valid point.)

But if players have different motivations to play -- that is what it is. At least for the purpose of this thread, I think it's more productive to discuss how to make sure people are having fun regardless of their motivations than telling them their motivations to play are wrong. That veers us into territory of wrongbadfun accusations which are never productive or helpful.


Thank you DQ. You again put so eloquently what...well everything. I do agree with story itself being rewarding, but i want to encourage those who don't play heroic to do so.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber
DeathQuaker wrote:
You know, Digitalelf, I think the problem is you are trying to have an entirely different conversation than everyone else.

The question was asked: "If we are to be good, what are the types of reward we can expect?" to which I replied (quite honestly I might add) something to the effect of "true heroism is its own reward", and it just snowballed from there...

DeathQuaker wrote:
But this is more, at least my sense it is, a practical discussion of concerns about making sure players feel rewarded in various contexts of the game, not just one. (And the story itself feeling rewarding is a valid point.)

You're a long time Paizonian, so you know full well how these boards rarely stay 100% on track...

But like I just said, I started out honestly answering the question asked, but I then had to clarify my answer because I feel there is a huge difference between good and heroic...

DeathQuaker wrote:
I think it's more productive to discuss how to make sure people are having fun regardless of their motivations than telling them their motivations to play are wrong.

I have only advocated that it is the player's responsibility to make sure that he or she clearly defines the difference between being good and being heroic through their character's behavior...

And yes, I have also stated that the player should not complain the few times that his or her character does not get rewarded while playing a heroic character; because the player CHOSE to play a heroic character over a merely "good" character, and must take the good with the bad that comes with that choice...

So yes, I have a strong opinion on what the difference is between good and heroic. But I have not accused anyone of being wrong; I have only asserted my own opinion on the matter...


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Digitalelf: Then be well confident that your concerns about player responsibility and motives toward a PCs devotion to their ethics and aspirations are well and duly noted, and your own impressive devotion to the highest definition of "heroicism" is acknowledged. :) (Just in case Internet tone is borking this, I mean this sincerely.)

Nepherti, thanks for the compliment (although frankly I often feel quite tongue tied, or keyboard tied as it were). I thank you for the thread as well--I think learning to work with different player motivations is an important goal, as it's rare a gaming group--in my personal experience--will have all players coming from the same point of view about how and why their characters should behave a certain way. Hopefully some more suggestions will come as well.

Also, for anyone reading this thread, what campaigns have you played through where you felt truly rewarded (whether mechanically or narratively or emotionally) for the way you played something? I'll sift through my own memories in the meantime.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Pawns Subscriber
DeathQuaker wrote:
Also, for anyone reading this thread, what campaigns have you played through where you felt truly rewarded (whether mechanically or narratively or emotionally) for the way you played something? I'll sift through my own memories in the meantime.

Sorry for the "empty" post, but my players in RotRL were hand-picked for RPing instead of character advancement, and may meet even Digitalelf's criteria for heroic; I gave them essentially nothing but the gratitude of the citizens for 2 full modules, and they still gave everything away and did what was right, just because they felt it was more rewarding for their characters.

So I'm going to point this thread out to them and hope they'll chime in. (And not tear me to pieces in the process...)

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber

Okay, so moving on...

I think that the rewards a GM offers to a heroic character should include things tied directly into the setting. Things like titles, land, deeds (to things like manors, keeps, or castles), etc.

Sure monetary rewards will do, as will playing Santa and handing out "toys" (e.g. magical items), but these types of rewards tend to be commonplace within the game.

I think that the rewards offered for playing a truly heroic character should stand out!

It is true that some items can be tied into the setting or stand out on their own as it were (like heirlooms and artifacts), but from my anecdotal experience, a player tends to enjoy their character being knighted or given the deed to an old keep or castle (that must be cleared out before they can move in of course) than he or she does "yet another magical thing-a-ma-bob"...


My character was chosen by the city to head up the wizards tower after she got rid of the bbeg. She now has access to just about any magic out there now.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber
DeathQuaker wrote:
Also, for anyone reading this thread, what campaigns have you played through where you felt truly rewarded (whether mechanically or narratively or emotionally) for the way you played something? I'll sift through my own memories in the meantime.

As a player, I wish I had more to share. Our Jade Regent campaign has felt very good though.

A lot of it comes through simply from NPCs feeling fleshed out and believable, and they react to what the PCs do naturally. Just being able to win people over or feel like you've made their lives better really helps supply the feelgoods. The approval of NPCs my character genuinely looks up to for taking actions based on idealism rather than what's coldly optimal or pragmatic helps a lot too. Just stuff as simple as positive reinforcement from those NPCs in the face of "bleeding heart" accusations from other characters can be a morale booster.

Mechanically, just being able to have a GM-house-ruled version of the barbarian Spirit Totem line that does holy damage rather than negative energy, along with altered aesthetics, has been a huge boost all on its own. It offers some flavor I've been dying for, and knowing that my character gained it and can only maintain it by remaining truly Good really makes it feel like something that's been earned. Feeling like the gods and celestials have your back in a paladin-ish way is very nice.

This may not be as good an example for helping a large party of Big Damn Good characters, but being the one chosen by

Jade Regent:
Suishen to be its weilder
felt incredibly good. That it is also a full-fledged character and confidant has made for some very fun roleplay. That and the unusual number of
Spoiler:
celestials
we've picked up.

Still gunning for that holy grail, an actual successful redemption story, but even if that doesn't happen in this campaign there has been plenty to feel good about.


I agree that players should be willing to take plenty of knocks for being good. Indeed, I think it'd be best if being good has a large chance at landing them in much worse shape than if they'd been evil (not that the GM should deliberately strive for that). It's more exciting that way.

I also agree that the GM should feel free to give the occasional reward for being good. There shouldn't be a set "you were good, you get a Hero Point" rule, but if, say, the PC gives up his beloved +3 keen falchion to save some beggar guy he doesn't know, I think that particular act would be deserving of something in return. Probably a Hero Point. Or the beggar could be the mouse to the PC's lion later on.

I'm starting to think the only thing I actually contribute in these debates is annoying both sides. Hey, at least I'm not commenting on how paladins should lose their powers if their players request these rewards.

Because they should. Player greed is strictly prohibited by paladin law. It's right next to the rules about giving away any magic items they get, and refusing to swear.


Maybe the issue here is that Good and Heroic haven't been defined as of yet in this thread(or the other thread, to be fair), and are often mutually exclusive. Anti-heroes got really popular in the late 90's and on because they were usually one and not the other. This may be why two separate conversations are developing.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Pawns Subscriber
Freehold DM wrote:
Anti-heroes got really popular in the late 90's...

Ah, the folly of youth! Tsk... tsk... tsk... (Goes looking for his teeth while remembering how wonderful it was to grow up in the early 70's when the studios realized, "Hey, the heroes don't have to win ALL THE TIME," so every single movie was depressing...)


Well, saving innocent lives for starters. Giving the enemy a chance at redemption is another. Honesty. Kindness. Respect for life, even if that life must be taken. Protecting the public from that which would harm them, monsterwise. There's probably more. A lot more to consider.

Also defining good vs exalted is something to consider.


I think it would need to make sense in the terms of the story.

I don't like the random benefit you get, and a lot of people are actually pretty much in tune with it. If you help a bunch of villagers save their livestock so that they can sell their goods, and reap no reward from it because they state "They were in it to help them strengthen their society, not for monetary gain" then the reward should be something that this action inherently benefited. Trade is now more robust as the livestock survived so trading in general is reduced somewhat. The amount variant on how epic the feat was.

As other's have pointed out, what are we declaring as such actions? maybe some examples would be good.

Giving someone something they need seems like pittance against defending and diplomacy'ing that person's way out of a debt shark problem which pales in comparison to defeating the 4 trolls en-route to demolish his farm and home.


Nepherti wrote:

Well, saving innocent lives for starters. Giving the enemy a chance at redemption is another. Honesty. Kindness. Respect for life, even if that life must be taken. Protecting the public from that which would harm them, monsterwise. There's probably more. A lot more to consider.

Also defining good vs exalted is something to consider.

Aiyah, I don't wanna go there yet, lol. Heroic is hard enough to define without getting into exalted.


Fair enough, just a suggestion.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Mikaze wrote:
It also helps cut down on some players getting all frowny faced when you refuse to rob graves or engage in other sorts of murderhobo behavior in the name of meeting a phat loots quota.

OK, maybe I've been living under a rock for a while, but that's the first time I've encountered the term "murderhobo," and I can't stop chuckling over it. It is such an apt description of typical adventuring behavior!


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Lake NobodysHome wrote, I had the party in my Runelords game not have to pay for meals and lodging in Sandpoint as a reward. They have become confidantes of the mayor, the sheriff, the vicar, and other prominent citizens. The blacksmith will make anything they want at cost (i.e. half price), and Vindler gives a 25% discount to the PCs at his store (except the barbarian, whom Vindler caught shagging his daughter).

They've also made some powerful allies in Magnimar: both General Odinburge and the captian of Magnimar's navy trust them and have given them quests. When Odinburge received word from the PCs that Fort Rannick needed reinforcements, he mustered as many men as he could spare.

The Temple of Iomedae has bestowed some gifts of magic items on the party as well, in thanks for putting down the Skinsaw Cult and destroying the numerous evil magic items they found there. This included a fully-charged wand of cure moderate wounds and suit of +2 full plate that they gave as a long-term loan to the PC paladin of Iomedae-- a suit of armor with significant historical value.

They're also on the radar of the Pathfinder Society, and the next time they're in Magnimar, Shiela Heidmarch will seek them out and offer membership...

Cheliax

Digitalelf wrote:

Okay, so moving on...

I think that the rewards a GM offers to a heroic character should include things tied directly into the setting. Things like titles, land, deeds (to things like manors, keeps, or castles), etc.

Not only that, but things like contacts and information. Its amazing how much easier it is to track down information from grateful folks then it is from self centered folks with ranks in gather information. Many times folks we came to only wanted to deal with the heroic clerics in our party rather then the mages who only looked after themselves. In fact in on part of the game we had to track down two items we only had the names of. No description, no other information. Mages struck out looking high and low within the mages guild and researching in libraries. But the heroic guys struck gold because of folks helped before, one group actually had the item and another pointed us in teh right direction with a description.....

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