Ratfolk and Catfolk and Race Boons Oh My

Monday, June 3, 2013

Of all the feedback I receive about Pathfinder Society Organized Play, whether it be in person when I am visiting different regions, through emails, or on the messageboards, what I hear most is that non-convention-goers have little to no chance to obtain some of the convention-only boons that are offered at regional shows. The most popular of these boons are the racial boons, which open up the player's options to choose a unique race. I have thought long and hard on how we can even out things for those players who are not able to attend a convention for whatever reason.

First, let me clarify that we will always have special boons that can only be obtained at conventions. These will consist of a multitude of various options, from extending the range of the Day Job earnings chart to unique races. Our regional and national conventions and larger game days are where we garner the biggest PR for our game. But that doesn't mean I don't want to offer the chance of getting cool boons, especially racial boons, to members of our player base who don't attend conventions.

At these regional conventions, players only receive approximately a 10% chance to receive any boon that is provided at the convention. I don't think it is unreasonable to offer a similar chance to non-convention players.

One tool that has finally been opened to me is I am able to filter play of individual scenarios, and to see every reported table and every Pathfinder Society number that was at that table. I am also able to filter dates so I can see exactly how many tables of a specific scenario were reported over a specified time. Playing around with this new tool got me to thinking about how I could utilize it for the benefit of the entire Pathfinder Society player base.

My initial thought is that when a scenario presents something unique, such as helping a race like ratfolk, catfolk, or dhampirs (and no, I am not advising one way or another whether either of these races will make an appearance in Season 5), it might be possible to offer these races (or whatever races were aided in a specified scenario) via a lottery type of system. While I certainly don't want to flood the OP with a zoo of races (such as making them available on a Chronicle sheet for everyone who plays the specified scenario), I don't think it is a bad thing to occassionally give a limited pool of players the chance to play a new race, similar to the Grippli boon at Gen Con this year, as long as we control the flow of how many become available. With that said, my thinking is that after the first month or two of a specified scenario, I would randomly select from all tables that reported success in the specified scenario. All the players and GMs of the randomly selected tables would then have the unique Chronicle sheet sent directly to them.

Maybe this is or isn't the best way to offer unique boons to the entire playerbase, especially those who can't or won't attend conventions. However, it is the start of a working idea I am still toying with that would offer an equal chance to everyone who plays the specified scenario in a specified time limit. If you think this is a horrible idea, please offer a solution for how we can make it better. I would very much like to hear your feedback on what you think of the above system, or hear your thoughts on any other suggestions you might have for how to best utilize this new tool I have been given. As always, your feedback and comments help to strengthen the community at large, and without your feedback and participation, Pathfinder Society wouldn't be as awesome as it is today. I look forward to reading all of your comments.

Mike Brock
Pathfinder Society Campaign Coordinator

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Sovereign Court 5/5 RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

I believe, Whiskey Jack, the idea had been bandied about in the past and people felt it was a distasteful idea.

Grand Lodge

Paizo is in business, in part, to make money, but they also have a reputation to live up to.

Silver Crusade

Besides, if anyone can buy them, then they stop being special and rare. The point is to find a way to distribute them to a small number of random people, just like is currently done at conventions, so that not everybody has them. But they want to increase the pool of random people who have a chance to win them, so as to include non-convention goers. And personally, I approve of that wholeheartedly.

Sovereign Court 5/5 RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

Agreed with both of you. While I'd pay $5 for a kayal boon, I understand the 'tawdriness' of it.

I still like the linked scenarios idea.

2/5

Matthew Morris wrote:
I believe, Whiskey Jack, the idea had been bandied about in the past and people felt it was a distasteful idea.

Fair enough. It was mainly an idea for a mechanism to "level the playing field" as it were- similar to the lottery concept.

Grand Lodge 4/5

I like the idea Mike offered. (It actually works pretty good but we'd have to change our 'play scheme' up here in Jax to get the players to pay off on it)

That being said.. I think we need to consider this gives the 'average' player a better shot at getting the boons. I've gotten 1 player boon and something like 4 con GM boons so far.. 1/2 of the latter have gone into drawings for the players and odds are more of the future GM boons will go into future drawings. I know that not everyone gets a chance to go to a con and let's be honest... I'd LOVE to see players get the 10% chance at our game days.

If it's not too much more work for Mike and company, who already to a TON of work, I'd greatly appreciate the effort if the 'play boon' mechanism expands to give more players a shot at the 'fun exceptions'.


Matthew Morris wrote:

Agreed with both of you. While I'd pay $5 for a kayal boon, I understand the 'tawdriness' of it.

I still like the linked scenarios idea.

Not to confuse the fact that I am happy with any way that gets more of these boons out, would buying the boon be very different than the fact I bought say blood of demons to play tiefling heritages? Granted no one has ever asked me to see it, but I paid money just to play a race that I could look up the stats for online.

Silver Crusade

If it is practical I would rather see a 10% random chance per player rather than per table, for a couple of reasons. The first was already mentioned, that if someone happened to miss that day they'd be upset the table won without them. The second reason though, is that I think it's cooler to have boons more spread out rather than clumped together. If a boon is given out by chance to a whole table, then now you've got up to 7 or 8 (assuming the GM gets it too) of the same boon floating around that area. It's less "special" to the people that get it because there's a bunch of other people that got it too.

However, if it's not practical to do so by individual, I definitely support the idea of giving out random boons by table rather than none at all!

5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Illinois—Chicago aka thunderspirit

Matthew Morris wrote:
I believe, Whiskey Jack, the idea had been bandied about in the past and people felt it was a distasteful idea.

Speaking only for myself, "distasteful" doesn't begin to cover it.

Fromper wrote:
Besides, if anyone can buy them, then they stop being special and rare. The point is to find a way to distribute them to a small number of random people, just like is currently done at conventions, so that not everybody has them. But they want to increase the pool of random people who have a chance to win them, so as to include non-convention goers. And personally, I approve of that wholeheartedly.

+1 to this, particularly the bold.


Paul Trani wrote:

I think emphasizing the role-playing prowess of players would be paramount in determining who gets access to these new and rare boons. I don't think we'd like it if a racial boon simply became an exercise in mathematics to determine how to squeeze the most bang out of a new set of variables.

Currently, there's no way to determine via the reporting system who has done a decent job in playing their character - in role-playing... We've started to do that at our local con. We had the table GMs asterisk on their recording sheet the player who best exemplified their character during the scenario. All of those PCs were awarded a small prize, and were given a second chance to draw for a boon.

Agreed, and I think that could be integrated with the proposed approach (based off playing modules related to the given race somehow). The GM would choose the best role-playing character of everybody who plays the qualifying module. Since it's not ALL the players, the % chance to convert the opportunity to a boon would be much higher, if not 100%. The GM themself would probably have equivalent chance though (or reverse the dynamic, and have a player rating of the GM!). Or even have ALL the players AND the GM select the best roleplaying player.

Honestly, I think the proposed system could even be run based on completing MULTIPLE boon-race-related modules, some of which could be sequential arcs, or could be 'drop-in/out' modules scattered across a larger level range. After completing the full set you qualify for the next stage of seeing who gets an actual boon. The modules would each have a special 'mission' or qualifying outcome (not necessarily revealed to the PCs, but based on how they interact with the story). Some of them could even involve taking sides of different NPC factions of the same boon-race species... That could go along with boons explicitly specifying specific race alt-racial features/class archetypes, different factions could be associated with different features like that. Engagement in multiple modules/a larger story, more than just one module, seems like more role-playing buy-in than just one module (and it also establishes more in-game 'canon' presence for these races, the absense of which is one of the big factors against willy-nilly allowing races which we don't know much more about besides that they may exist in some corner of Golarion).


Matthew Morris wrote:
So do you shy away from tables consisting of two alchemists and two gunslingers? Or how about tables of summoners?

Essentially, yes. This thread actually had prompted me to think of classes like that being subject to boon allowance.

Scarab Sages

No Lottery System please. It would probably have more negative results than positive for those playing modules/scenarios. I would like a fair system for these rewards that does require roleplaying, time, and effort to get something that is special.

Grand Lodge

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Thumbs up for the idea of boons for regular players and GMs who do not get to attend cons often or ever.

I don't have a strong opinion one way or another about race boons but agree the idea is to spread them out so that non con-goers get a chance a them, not to make them super common. If players love them so much, it must increase their enjoyment of and excitement for playing those special PCs and I think that this is a good thing for PFS.

Someone mentioned human ethnicity-based boons and I think this is a great idea as it would help make the human race especially as culturally rich and interesting as it is in the various Golarion sourcebooks, which is something I'm not seeing at the tables. I don't mind odd races, but would love to see a little more roleplaying that highlights the uniqueness of the core races and ethnicities.

And I must be an odd duck because I don't understand why people don't report sessions. I enjoy doing so, and as a GM it gives me a sense of accomplishment for our group collectively. But by all means, reward me for being obsessive about reporting immediately after the session!

Dark Archive

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Well Mike i have a few thoughts if you'll bear with me. I hope you even make it to comment #114 heh.

- either make them rare/valuable or else offer them to everybody. The aasimar came dangerously close, in my opinion, to the dreaded pay2win, because they were available to people who bought a book. And they are just really powerful. Keep boons RARE and not at al lattached to purchases.

So if you go with a lottery system, thats fine, but make it RARE. To compensate, you might have to take their cut *AWAY from cons*, or else risk ruining their specialness.

- learn from established video games such as EVE online, that have actually working economies. Now PFS will never be so complex, but there are basic principles that apply. A Game must have gold sinks to remove currency from PFS. In a similar way, once you hand out a boon for a character, you need a method of removing them from the game. Sure characters die, but we all **KNOW** that people with a special boon will just GM their way to lvl 5 or whatever so they can afford a rez - youre not going to kill off the vast majority of boons you hand out.

Right now, convention-only policy is the only thing preventing 'boon inflation'. Like i said, i highly doubt people will roll a lvl 1 (insert sacred boon of rarity here) and stroll around scenarios with 150gp gear, 0xp. i think you should force them to (see below)

Once you let them out of pandoras box, youre going to have all

- tying the boon to a scenario makes wonderful roleplay sense but, imo, *terrible* business sense. just look at how no one in PSOC is running anything but "the way of the kirin" before the boon ends on aug 14th, and youll see the proof - people will only play the scenario they know has a chance to get them extra loot, no matter how small the chance. it will ruin the scenario system, the season long plots, roleplay entirely. Again as game designers learned in everquest, if there is a fun way to make 1 gold per hour, and a super annoying tedious way to make 1.1 gold per hour, 95% of players will do the 1.1 method then complain about how your game "forces them" to do tedious stuff.

You will wind up with 20,000 sales of Season 05-07 and 0 of the other 30-ish episodes.

So my suggestions:

- Always consider the convention and 'other' pool as ONE pool - if you give boons to non-cons, you must reduce boons to con folks.

- make it percentage based, meaning declare 0.5% will get a boon, not a static number like 500.

- ** disassociate the reward from the mission**. Decide which boons you want to hand out, randomly fling them at any successful scenario. give players ABSOLUTELY NO WAY to increase their chances by knowing/guessing which scens might have a lottery chance - make ALL scens have a lottery chance, for a *random* boon. yes, its hard to explain why completing an Irrisen scen gave you a Varisia boon, but i think the system will collapse if theres even the hint of rumors that some scens are 'special'. this doesnt happen at cons because at cons people basically play what they are offered and cant cherry pick, and they will cherry pick the hell out of any non-convention signup system.

- (maybe) put limits on the boons - the boon must be *immediately* used to build a lvl 1 0xp character, and that character MUST be played at least once before any other characters can be used. Now that wont prevent chron stacking after that first scenario, but at least the guy had to play his character at lvl 1, 0xp, 150gp and take a risk. i really believe something like this is necessary.

- (more evil maybe) - make them get to lvl 2 before being allowed to play another character. This would,i suspect, increase the play of moudles, a good thing in my book. They could get their toon safely to lvl 2 in one long session and get back to life.

But make them actually play these guys at 150gp please, i feel bad for the non-GM players who get boons and dont have the opportunity to have them walk out the gate with enough PP for a raise dead.

Matthew Paluch
gedanken@edgeoftheworld.us

PS See you at gen con!

Dark Archive

oh a followup already. its already well established based on my earlier reading that selling boons is illegal, but trading 1 for 1 is legal. my 'random boon' concept is more viable then, in fact you might establish a small trading post area on paizo to do it officially. Someone who got a random boon they dont like could trade it, but under your controls and record tracking. Never make a rule you cannot enforce!

but yeah, force thos suckers to play their boon a little. if they dont want to, they can trade it or something. its amazing how upset people can get when handed free amazing boons.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Pathfinder Society Campaign Coordinator

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strangepork wrote:
Well Mike i have a few thoughts if you'll bear with me. I hope you even make it to comment #114 heh....

I read every comment. :-)

Sovereign Court 5/5 Venture-Captain, West Virginia—Charleston aka Netopalis

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Upon further reflection, I agree that it should be randomized individually rather than by table. I can imagine that otherwise, some regions would be flooded by a particular race, while other regions don't have any. Also, online and home games would be kinda weird if EVERYBODY was, say, a wayang.

Silver Crusade

Netopalis wrote:
Upon further reflection, I agree that it should be randomized individually rather than by table. I can imagine that otherwise, some regions would be flooded by a particular race, while other regions don't have any. Also, online and home games would be kinda weird if EVERYBODY was, say, a wayang.

Agreed.

The Exchange

I apologize if this idea has been floated already. What about a boon for PFS members who have completed a whole season? One of the problems the campaign faces is people run out of low level scenarios to play. This is often a result of character ADD--people keep starting new characters and never make it to the higher tier play. Subsequently Tier 5-9 and Tier 7-11 scenarios don't get as much play, which has to have an impact on the bottom line. If there was an incentive to play through an entire season, AKA "gotta catch 'em all", that would have a positive effect on both reporting and scenario sales. It would require more dedication on behalf of the player, but if the boon were suitably attractive they would go after it. This would be of use to both convention-goers and home groups.

Grand Lodge

Doug Miles wrote:
I apologize if this idea has been floated already. What about a boon for PFS members who have completed a whole season? One of the problems the campaign faces is people run out of low level scenarios to play. This is often a result of character ADD--people keep starting new characters and never make it to the higher tier play. Subsequently Tier 5-9 and Tier 7-11 scenarios don't get as much play, which has to have an impact on the bottom line. If there was an incentive to play through an entire season, AKA "gotta catch 'em all", that would have a positive effect on both reporting and scenario sales. It would require more dedication on behalf of the player, but if the boon were suitably attractive they would go after it. This would be of use to both convention-goers and home groups.

I really like this idea, though I am nowhere close to accomplishing it. A different boon for all season 1-5 would encourage a lot more playing. I tend to enjoy low level games but would definitely play more high tier stuff if this were the case.

I do like Mike's idea as well, a lottery system sounds great. I'm happy the campaign leadership is thinking of new and inventive ways to make the community happy.

Sovereign Court 5/5 RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

Doug Miles wrote:
I apologize if this idea has been floated already. What about a boon for PFS members who have completed a whole season?

Hmm, not sure if it's possible, especially if we're seeing a mix of low tier/high tier games for season 5. I mean, even with two scenarios a month, that's 24 sessions, assuming you play them all. Is it even possible (keeping in mind new low tier scenarios coming down the pipeline) to play all the scenarios in a season with one PC?

And ADD has nothing to do with my PCs.

The Exchange

Nothing was said about playing them all with the same PC.

Sovereign Court 5/5 RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

I misunderstood then, sorry Doug.

Shadow Lodge

I like the idea of boons going to folks who don't get a chance to attend cons. As someone who just attended their very first con in May, had I received a boon earlier, it could have helped encourage me to go to a FLGS or con much earlier than I did.

I'm not a fan of the MMO-style treadmill system - i.e. complete every scenario of a season to get a chance (or guarantee) a boon. Ideally you don't want games to be stressful and interfere with your personal life.

If it were to work this way, I can see many husbands arguing with their wives that they simply cannot do something because they *have* to play a certain scenario *tonight( because it's the only night that the folks in their region who haven't played that scenario yet are playing, etc etc.

I'm actually not sure if there's an easy way to identify people who don't go to cons. I imagine it's people who don't have a reported event with a certain attendance, and Paizo would simply run a query, find these folks, and randomly select some.

It's also possible that this selects people who don't even care about the boon - they miss checking their e-mail or their PMs on the forums. If only say 10 people out of 10,000 are selected to receive a "ratfolk" boon, it would be a sad day if 8 of those 10 either never noticed, or didn't care or want it because they "hate ratfolk" for example.

I don't have any great ideas here yet, just my thoughts on some more attributes I'd like to see that could address these concerns:

* Should potentially include folks who have attended cons, but never gotten a con boon (yes, I'm in that camp!)

* Should try to include folks who would do something with that boon - some form of active engagement that validates desire to receive the boon - perhaps interaction with the website directly by posting in a thread, answering a survey, purchasing a Pathfinder Tales novel, etc?

Grand Lodge 5/5

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Rulebook Subscriber
Majuba wrote:


On topic: Encouraging reporting is great. Spreading the wealth is good. Giving chronicles and trusting people to print just one is iffy. Race Boons are bad.

Paizo already has a mechanism for watermarking a PDF, and a reporting system that tracks stuff.

If a boon is generated from the system have it be personalized with the PFS#-#, and stick it into the reporting system to boot.

If someone whats to hack that boon then there is really nothing stopping them but it makes the effort a by volition act of cheating and not a sort of passive cheating. This is no different then me scanning a boon from a friend, cleaning it up, and signing it as "gm credit" who at gen con knows "scribbly scrawl" (please don't copy my signature ;P) isn't my local VC.

Cheating in general is super easy for PFS, I could create 4 fake PFS numbers and then report in the system that me and my four friends play every week, and generate GM and PC credit for all those players creating uber chars of each tier, then show up at a con and pull out which ever one of those fakes I want and play what ever I want. The only person I'd really be cheating is myself.

Liberty's Edge

Brandon Huber wrote:
Galnörag wrote:

What about implementing a 'meta' prestige/fame system similar to the one for player characters, but in this case make it for players.

Allow players to accumulate points similar to the way you count GM tables for GM stars, then allow players to spend there prestige to buy boons that have been unlocked by their fame tier.

So maybe the Kitsune boon becomes available after 20 life time points, and it costs 10. Limits the total number of the varied races by making it an expendable player level resource, but makes it open and fair.

If you do X you get Y, not you "might" get Y.

You can still give away the same boons that they might buy, so con attendance gets a chance at a perk, but a perk you can still earn.

I think this whole thing could quickly become a management nightmare for folks who don't report online, but I guess it could be a perk of online reporting?

Additionally, it would be good if a player forced to replay a scenario for no credit (do to shortage of players to fill extra tables) still gets the player fame so that they are incentivized to stay and fill out the table.

As a final though as a local organizer always challenged to find GMs, perhaps GMs get 2 per module?

I think something along this line would be great. You could still stick to the 10% guideline and take out the blind luck aspect.

Create a star system like the GMs have. 10 sessions gives you one star. Which gives you access to tier 1 star boons.
This requires people to put in the time and effort to get the boons yet takes away from the luck. It gives something else for people to strive for and something else for people to collect. It rewards people for being consistent contributors to society.

Everyone wins.

I'm also supportive of this idea. Randomness won't help, but carefully giving people a boon for GM, coordinator, or player participation is a good idea.

"Carefully" IMO because now matter what the method, I think having a flood of Ratmen would only cheese people off, never mind if they're always being outfoxed by Kitsune. :ducks: Seriously, not *too* many variants out there; if everyone's playing a strange race, the norm stops being the norm. (and, for the record, I'm kinda eager to try a Ratman)

Shadow Lodge

Doug Miles wrote:
What about a boon for PFS members who have completed a whole season?

Yes! Awesome.

Grand Lodge 5/5

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Rulebook Subscriber
pathar wrote:
Doug Miles wrote:
What about a boon for PFS members who have completed a whole season?
Yes! Awesome.

Almost like unlocking an achievement

Silver Crusade

Galnörag wrote:
pathar wrote:
Doug Miles wrote:
What about a boon for PFS members who have completed a whole season?
Yes! Awesome.
Almost like unlocking an achievement

I keep a spreadsheet to keep track of which scenarios I've played and GMed, and which characters the credit got assigned to, to help with my scheduling. I checked last night, and out of 19 scenarios in season 0 that haven't been retired, I've played 15 of them... with 10 different PCs.

Scarab Sages

Tim Vincent wrote:
Adding Aasimar and Tiefling to the list of always available races was the worst thing that has happened to PFS in recent memory.

+1

I am against any races not in the core book to be "always available." I am not against race boons, however, except for the extremely OP or intrinsically evil races. (such as drow, duerger, and, yes, goblins. I know they're iconic and awesome, but they really don't belong in the society - their defining characteristics are insane, psychopathic, sadistic, pyromaniacs with little to no common sense)

Liberty's Edge

Just throwing out an idea, maybe an extra lottery ball for the person who paid for the scenario that gets played. I dont know if that makes it cheesey but as a guy who buys all the scenarios it would be a nice nod. Perhaps also a extra ball for the GM who puts in the prep time and often the heavy lifting of organizing the event.

Either way Im really happy that this sort of idea is being bounced around the PFS office. Keep up the great work guys.

Shadow Lodge

Doug Miles wrote:
I apologize if this idea has been floated already. What about a boon for PFS members who have completed a whole season? One of the problems the campaign faces is people run out of low level scenarios to play. This is often a result of character ADD--people keep starting new characters and never make it to the higher tier play. Subsequently Tier 5-9 and Tier 7-11 scenarios don't get as much play, which has to have an impact on the bottom line. If there was an incentive to play through an entire season, AKA "gotta catch 'em all", that would have a positive effect on both reporting and scenario sales. It would require more dedication on behalf of the player, but if the boon were suitably attractive they would go after it. This would be of use to both convention-goers and home groups.

Some refinement to the idea: exempt specials and exclusives, since the whole point is to make it more accessible. Otherwise I still really like it.

Grand Lodge 2/5

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While I'd love the chance to get a race boon in the way Mike proposed, since I don't generally have the ability to attend cons, I think it is more important to the health of PFS to provide them to GMs as rewards at star levels (or by some other means). It has come up in more than one recent thread that there are people out there organizing game days who always have to GM b/c other gamers aren't stepping up. Providing more rewards would both be a thank you from the larger community and Paizo to those who make the games possible, and also provide an incentive to get more people in the GM chair.

Scarab Sages

I do believe we have reached a deadlock.

People are...

For & Against:
- Pay to "Win"
- Lottery/Randomized Distribution
- "Achievement" Unlock System
- Immediate Avability (IE: Aasimar, Tiefling, Tengu)

So that leaves me and possibly others wondering how would this be resolved if different parts of the community have different sides as to wether or not a specific option is bad/good for the society.

You can please all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot please all the people all the time.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Pathfinder Society Campaign Coordinator

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After reviewing the feedback, I consider it for a bit, make a list of pros and cons, and whichever list outweighs the other is what I go with. That is how I resolve most issues that are divisive in regard to OP.

Silver Crusade

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Michael Brock wrote:
After reviewing the feedback, I consider it for a bit, make a list of pros and cons, and whichever list outweighs the other is what I go with. That is how I resolve most issues that are divisive in regard to OP.

While I might not always agree with your decisions, I do respect that they're well thought out and reasonable.

5/5

Fromper wrote:
Michael Brock wrote:
After reviewing the feedback, I consider it for a bit, make a list of pros and cons, and whichever list outweighs the other is what I go with. That is how I resolve most issues that are divisive in regard to OP.
While I might not always agree with your decisions, I do respect that they're well thought out and reasonable.

Couldn't have said it better myself. I don't always agree with the way things shake out, but I respect the way you handle the decision making process.

Scarab Sages

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I waited a few days after reading this to comment because I've got a lot of opinions on race boons, so I figured I should mull it over a bit first...

First of all, I like using race boons to draw attendance to cons. For many people, the opportunity to get a unique boon is the primary reason why they would be willing to go to a convention rather than just play at their local gaming store.

On the other hand, I know a lot of people don't have the opportunity to go to cons, and I would like to see a way for them to get boons without begging or bribing the con-goers for theirs.

With that said, I think a time-limited lottery system is a bad way of handling it. First, for any given race, you have to consider that there are many people who aren't interested in that race. Some people don't think any races other than the core six belong in PFS, some are only interested in races that are the best mechanically, and some people just don't like the flavor of particular races. If you hand out races via a lottery, inevitably there will be a lot of people who get a racial boon and simply don't want it.

In fact, despite the clamor I see on message boards, in real life I don't see a lot of people playing unusual races. After aasimar/tiefling/tengu were made open, there was not a sudden flood of them. I know a couple of players with characters of those races, but the core races still vastly outnumber them. Almost every long-time player I know has at least one kitsune, nagaji, or wayang boon, and most of them have never been used. There are a lot of people who hate seeing non-core races who worry that making a boon easy to get will lead to a huge surge of people playing that races, but I don't see any actual evidence that makes me believe that.

The situation this leads to is that you'll have some people who really want that boon, and they'll try as hard as they can to earn it legitimately, but they don't get one just due to the luck of the draw. This leads to the people who don't want those boons selling them to the people who do, and I know Paizo doesn't want to see boons getting sold for cash. If there's a time limit on the lottery, that also means the boons will become rarer and more valuable as time goes on, and players who start playing later will feel like they're punished for not having started earlier.

I would much rather see a guaranteed way for somebody who wants a race boon to get one; unfortunately, I don't know what Paizo's database is capable of doing, so I don't know what I can suggest that wouldn't involve a lot of software development. I think that offering a race boon as a prize on a chronicle sheet for completing a scenario is a better solution than a lottery, although I know some people think that will make the races in question too common.

With that in mind, there should probably also be some kind of limiting factor that makes it more difficult or more time-consuming to get the boon. I like the idea of a boon being a reward for completing an entire season; after you've played or GMed every scenario in a season (all of the ones that are legal, at least), you automatically get an appropriate boon. If an entire season is too long, maybe make it a prize for completing all the parts of a multi-part scenario or a module?

A reward for earning GM stars is a possible idea, too, although again, that'd probably take more database work for Paizo. Earn a star, pick a boon from an approved list. That is simple enough in concept.

Another idea that occurred to me is having a chronicle sheet that lets you pay prestige in order to buy a race boon, but after thinking about it, that leaves kind of a bad taste in my mouth; I don't want to have to spend one character's resources just to make another character. I have a feeling that would lead to people making "dump" characters whose only reason to exist is to earn enough prestige to play as the race they really want. Maybe a better implementation of that would be a chronicle boon that lets you transform that character into a different race? (you could write it off as a "Polymorph Accident")

Anyway, those are all the thoughts I have. The main thing I object to is having it be random; I would like to see a way for players who want a particular boon to earn it rather than either get lucky or get it from eBay.

Scarab Sages 5/5 RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16

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Phillip Reed wrote wrote:
Maybe a better implementation of that would be a chronicle boon that lets you transform that character into a different race? (you could write it off as a "Polymorph Accident")

ohh, what about a Reincarnation boon that let a dead character come back as another PFS Legal race - or apply a race boon at the time of Reincarnation.

The Exchange 5/5

Rusty Ironpants wrote:
Phillip Reed wrote wrote:
Maybe a better implementation of that would be a chronicle boon that lets you transform that character into a different race? (you could write it off as a "Polymorph Accident")
ohh, what about a Reincarnation boon that let a dead character come back as another PFS Legal race - or apply a race boon at the time of Reincarnation.

wow... or a boon that let's you come back as an undead?

nah - not a good thing...

Silver Crusade 5/5

As much as I like the flavor that these additional races brings, I feel that the huge variety of choices available to players is so expansive already that the proliferation of alternate races works to muddy the waters of the campaign setting... We already see way more aasimar adventures in the society than I personally think makes since in the game world, and it seems almost every group I GM has a kitsune hiding in it now with that boon making the rounds... Moderation I think is Key, but that is just one humble GM's opinion.

If folks who don't attend Cons want these boons, then well, have them trade with folks who do or rely on the charity of those of us who have lots of boons. Or maybe this is reason enough to branch out and attend one local con a year...

Again just my opinion.

Liberty's Edge

I love the idea of new races at my tables. Especially when they fall into the hands of particularly good RPers who invest in telling their story in a completely different way through this new race. Personally Ive been playing with gnomes, elves, dwarves and the other tolkeinian races for over 30 years. New is definitely fun!


How are you supposed to in-depth roleplay Catfolk when they have no published culture or any other frame of reference? How are you supposed to be "Catfolk from X Catfolk Country" when you don't know anything about that country? You don't know the form of government, so if you meet somebody claiming to be 'emissary of the Catfolk king' you have no idea whether that is a claim to a literal fact you should be familiar with, or something that doesn't make sense and either indicates they are crazy or are speaking metaphorically, or indicates they are talking about something that has nothing to do with X Catfolk Country.

Silver Crusade

Quandary wrote:
How are you supposed to in-depth roleplay Catfolk when they have no published culture or any other frame of reference? How are you supposed to be "Catfolk from X Catfolk Country" when you don't know anything about that country? You don't know the form of government, so if you meet somebody claiming to be 'emissary of the Catfolk king' you have no idea whether that is a claim to a literal fact you should be familiar with, or something that doesn't make sense and either indicates they are crazy or are speaking metaphorically, or indicates they are talking about something that has nothing to do with X Catfolk Country.

I don't know Catfolk, so I can't answer that. But I've never really wanted to play one.

However, I made my nagaji character using a race boon after having already played a PFS adventure set in the nation of Nagajor, in a village made up mostly of nagaji. I based his childhood back story on having been a farmer's son from a very similar village to that one.

And as was mentioned in the blog, the races they're thinking of giving boons for will be tied into scenarios. So presumably, we'll learn more about those races and their homelands at the same time some people get the chance to play them.

Although, as I mentioned earlier, I would prefer to see the boons available to anyone who plays any PFS adventure during that time period, not just those who play the newest scenario that ties into the boon. Most people don't play new scenarios as they come out, as evidenced by the sheer quantity of earlier season scenarios still being played.

Venture-Captain, Germany–Hannover aka Hayato Ken

I only started in season 4, but i´ve played and mastered some others. Season 4 is way cooler so far i can tell and i clearly prefer them.
Also it´s understandable if the new stuff should get pushed. What do you have a living campaign for if most people only play the older stuff?

Scarab Sages 5/5 RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16

nosig wrote:
Rusty Ironpants wrote:
Phillip Reed wrote wrote:
Maybe a better implementation of that would be a chronicle boon that lets you transform that character into a different race? (you could write it off as a "Polymorph Accident")
ohh, what about a Reincarnation boon that let a dead character come back as another PFS Legal race - or apply a race boon at the time of Reincarnation.

wow... or a boon that let's you come back as an undead?

nah - not a good thing...

"Foolish BBEG! You strike me down and I shall become more powerful then you could possibly imagine! You have completed my transformation into a lich!"

yaaaah, probably not a good idea :)

Back on Topic: I think getting boons (of any kind, not only race boons) out to all players is a good thing. I really like the proposed idea of a player point system. Earn 1 point for each time you play, spend X points on a boon. Not sure what the value of X should be, probably 5 points for expendable type boons, 10+ for permanent boons like extra traits or racial boons.

Also for those saying "let non-Con goers trade for boons" - that is not a good option. I have made two successful boon trades via the boon trading thread, but I am mostly interested in trading for other boons. If someone doesn't have any boons at all, I don't know what I would trade for - check my subscriber tags, I have pretty much every Pathfinder book Paizo has ever published, 90% of the flip mats and giant pile of plastic minis. Besides how is trading for physical goods really any different than just selling the boon?

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Agent, Nevada—Las Vegas aka kinevon

Luthril wrote:
If folks who don't attend Cons want these boons, then well, have them trade with folks who do or rely on the charity of those of us who have lots of boons. Or maybe this is reason enough to branch out and attend one local con a year...

1) "I rely on th echarity of others." Or, to put it another way, what to trade dfor that race boon, since teh person likely doesn't have any other boons to trade?

2) Tell me, what is my local con? I live in Las Vegas. NeonCon, teh big local con, went belly up a while back. Not because people weren't going, but because the organizers were not getting deep enough discounts to nmake the con profitable, or at least zero-sum for them.

Xanadu is not a gaming convention, at least not for games like Pathfinder. Role playing, yes. Games, for sure. Adults-only, you betcha. Tabletop gaming? Probably not.

We are trying to get some PFS going at ComicCon Vegas, but this is only ComicCon Vegas's for PFS, and it was pathetic last year.

Conquest Vegas? I think that one died. I ran LG there one year, and never heard from it again.

So, local gaming conventions? Some of us, even in "large urban areas" dono't necessarily have any sort of gaming convention locally.

Add in some of our players in places that are out of the way and back of beyond, such that they mainly get to play PFS online, with shaky connections....
[/end rant]
On the original topic, I would much prefer a points earned per game played/spend X points for X boon, Y opoints for Y boon type of system. Won't leave me with things like an Eastern Weapons boon of no value to me. Either it is going to go for a martial weapon for a martial PC, or the PC likely wouldn't even be using any such weapon. Heh. (To put it another way, if I can find it, I have an Eastern Weapons boon available for trade...)

Liberty's Edge

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Quandary wrote:
How are you supposed to in-depth roleplay Catfolk when they have no published culture or any other frame of reference? How are you supposed to be "Catfolk from X Catfolk Country" when you don't know anything about that country? You don't know the form of government, so if you meet somebody claiming to be 'emissary of the Catfolk king' you have no idea whether that is a claim to a literal fact you should be familiar with, or something that doesn't make sense and either indicates they are crazy or are speaking metaphorically, or indicates they are talking about something that has nothing to do with X Catfolk Country.

By using a little thing I like to call imagination. Not everyone needs to read how something should be played to make the character interesting.

3/5

This is great. It bodes well for the future of PFS that the leadership is looking to widen the ability of players in weird, far-flung locations to feel like they are participating fully in the campaign.

That said, the only problem I have with the proposed system is that the random chance itself is time sensitive. It is ok (and probably necessary) to rotate the races offered in this way over time, but making getting a race dependent on playing a specific scenario in a specific pariod of time to get the chance.

The fair way to do this would be for the chance to work out for reported scenarios exactly the same way that it does for con goers. For every scenario you play from a specific list, or during a particular period of time (each month, every two months, I'm sure someone at Paizo can crunch the numbers to find the optimal timing), you get an X% chance to get a boon, and for each additional reported game that meets those criteria you can add to that chance. Now obviously these percentages would be toned down relative to a con, but the basic system should be the same to make it fair.

This would also invigorate boon trading, since then even people out in the styx could get at least something to trade for the race that they want.

Scarab Sages

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Personally, I'd rather play with a party of aasimar, kitsune, and catfolk who love their characters and are really into roleplaying them than a party of humans who are human because they wanted an extra feat. I can understand restricting races in some circumstances, such as the desire to use them as convention prizes or making sure they fit in the lore, but I don't think that making them rare just for the sake of ensuring their rarity really makes the campaign better overall.

Rusty Ironpants wrote:
ohh, what about a Reincarnation boon that let a dead character come back as another PFS Legal race - or apply a race boon at the time of Reincarnation.

Even if it's completely unrelated to how Paizo decides to handle race boons, I think it'd be really neat to have a "Reincarnate" boon that could be used to bring a character back from the dead as a random PFS-legal race.

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