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An idea I always wanted to try was giving players traits for completing chapters of the AP (not books, discrete chapters of the books). These relatively minor perks reflect the PC's experiences throughout the campaign and help shape the characters and their relationships with the NPCs around them.
At the end of each Chapter of the AP you'll earn Chapter Traits. Chapter traits are small perks that give your characters small bonuses that will a) increase your relationship scores with your allies and b) provide a perk for your character. At the end of each chapter you may choose one Chapter Trait.
Chapter 1 - The Brinestump Marsh
In thanks for your help with the imposter Walthus helps you raise a hatchling viper from birth.
Benefit: You have a viper except the poison deals Dex damage. The viper is trained for Performance and knows the following tricks (come, fetch, heel, perform, and stay). Furthermore your training with the viper has given you a resistance to venom and gain a +1 trait bonus to saves vs. poison.
Shalelu's Goblin Slaying Tips
You spend some time talking to Shalelu about your pitched battle against the Brinestump Marsh goblins. She is impressed by your story but provides some advice that might prove useful in future encounters against goblinoids.
Benefit: Your relationship score with Shalelu increases by 1. Furthermore you gain a +1 Trait Bonus to either attacks or AC against goblins, she also translates some of the goblin speech for you and you slowly learn the goblin language. You gain one rank in Linguistics learning the Goblin language.
You share the maps of the Brinestump with Koya, she is fascinated with the unexplored place and together your work on an official map of the Brinestump to present to the Sheriff of Sandpoint for the guard to use as an aid for patrols entering the trecherous swamp.
Benefit: Your time spent helping Koya map the Brinestump increases your relationship score by 1. Furthermore you gain a skill rank in Survival or Knowledge (Geography), or a rank in Craft (Cartography).
Sandru's Fencing Lessons
You fence the jewellery you found in the Brinestump with Sandru learning about the verbal sparring needed for good negotiation.
Benefit: You gain a +1 bonus on any checks made to haggle, or make a deal and 1 rank in Knowledge (local) or Appraise. Your relationship score with Sandru increases by 1.
Ameiko's Tian Lessons
Intrigued by the Tian artifacts you spend some time with Ameiko trying to decipher their meaning and history.
Benefit: Your relationship with Ameiko increases by 1 point, furthermore you gain 1 rank in either Linguistics (language learned must be Tien) or Knowledge (History).
Rat Bitten Twice Shy
The attack by the rats give you a terrible sickness (filth fever) that lasts a few days after leaving the swamp. Your system managed to bounce back ready and more able than ever.
Benefit: You gain a +1 trait bonus vs. disease and gain a +1 bonus to AC vs. Vermin.
Hmm, interesting ideas.
When you say "skill rank", is that an extra skillpoint that has to be spend on that skill and is still subject to the limit of "ranks <= level" or is it a bonus to the score?
Not sure I would give out the ranks in Linguistics to learn the languages. Just give the languages themselves as bonus.
Linguistics does a little bit more than give bonus languages (forgery, decipher languages etc) and usually can't be used untrained. So you might be giving those more than you thought?
Yeah I meant Skill Rank. Here's my reasoning:
Linguistics, Knowledge and Craft are story skills. A bonus rank here and there in them doesn't break anything. Story wise the lesson is specific with the character to teach them the language but the principles of learning and deciphering languages remains. If I create a trait that affects a combat skill I'd just give it a bonus.
Clarification: If you are already at max ranks with a skill then you do not benefit from the bonus rank until next you level up.
I really like them... and I'm now thinking about stuff that could be given out the chapter after that.
Personally I don't consider Chapter 2 a real chapter, it's just the travel to Brinewall. There will be one or two random encounters and stuff, but nothing to major. I think.
Depends on the group however I guess.
Some might enjoy RPing in every town and with every caravan they meet, so in that case there might be small boons there too upon arrival in Brinewall.
Yeah I'll be putting in a small 5-Encounter bonus adventure to throw some xp at my players. My idea for the travel chapters is the boons will be directly related to the Caravan rules as the PCs gain a taste for the traveller's life.
That actually makes sense. Some minor boons that increase caravan stats.
Not necessarily attack or so, but maybe something that reduces consumption by one, or increases cargo or passenger space by 1.
Maybe limit each trait to "one or two people only" so not everyone picks the same one for a bonus bigger than intended.