Every season since the Year of the Ruby Phoenix at Gen Con 2011, the we've released a new set of convention-exclusive boons that Pathfinder Society Roleplaying Guild players can win. The next year I wrote the Season 4 boons as a volunteer, making a few rewards that have reappeared over the years: Expedition Manager (what if a boon let you do real archaeology?), Treasure Map, Missing Mentor (can a standalone boon tell its own story?), and the infamous Xenophobia (what if there was a boon that ate all of your race boons?). I have no doubt that boon writing played an important part in my being hired by Paizo, so you can understand that I have a special fondness for the process.
This year Linda Zayas-Palmer joined in, and she brought some great ideas and energy to the project. We also had a great new RPG hardcover book dripping with flavor that we could incorporate into these unique rewards. Finally, now that the Pathfinder Adventure Card Guild has begun the Season of the Righteous, we have teamed up with Tanis o'Conner to create several convention rewards tailored specifically to the Adventure Card Game's organized play program.
This year that adds up to 25 new rewards: 18 RPG convention boons, 5 Adventure Card Game convention rewards, and 2 GM boons.
Wait, two GM convention boons? Yes, by popular demand, we took the much-desired Expanded Narrative boon—allowing one to "recharge" GM star replay opportunities by GMing more games—and converted it into an alternate GM boon. Now every time you GM at a convention, you can earn your choice of that or that quarter's boon that unlocks the ability to play a PC with a rare race. To kick it off, we're reintroducing aasimars as a GM boon.
Let's take a look at look at this year's Roleplaying Guild player rewards:
- Psychic Dilettante allows your PC to use one of the psychic skill unlocks from Pathfinder RPG Occult Adventures without being a psychic character.
- I rather enjoyed writing Prophetic Dream, which lets your character experience a nocturnal vision that can grant her a much-needed advantage during the rest of the adventure.
- The Soothsayer is a unique follower who can assist you on a skill check or boost your Armor Class with a dire prediction that then leaves you shaken for 1 round.
- Aspis Slayer is the first of two anti-Aspis-Consortium boons, and it lets a ranger choose the Consortium as a favored enemy or lets anyone else perform a devastating smite against an Aspis agent.
- Against the Consortium is the second of these, and it's what I'd categorize as an achievement boon. Foil enough Aspis schemes, and you can gain a deadly reputation that gives you an edge over any other Consortium thugs.
- Niche Specialist appears for the second time, granting a PC his choice of a bonus during chases, an edge when fighting in darkness, or an advantage against haunts.
- We were rather charmed by the idea that regular use of an object could imbue it with a psychic impression. To introduce this in the organized play campaign, Linda created Psychic Awakening, a boon that lets you develop a greater attachment to a favorite piece of equipment by using it regularly or incorporating it into your actions. In return, it becomes slightly easier to enchant.
- Why should kineticists have all the fun? Elemental Blast lets any character unleash a kineticist's signature attack once—or allows a kineticist to perform a much-needed composite blast she otherwise hasn't learned.
- Some new spells and abilities in Occult Adventures allow a character to read auras, whose colors correspond to different emotions. The Emotional Aura boon lets you channel one of these emotional auras and glow with the corresponding color to gain temporary bonuses.
- Ley lines wind their way through the world, and Ley Line Access lets your PC tap into one to bolster spells with certain descriptors. I'm particularly proud of this one—both because of the way you can reuse it when especially close to the ley line and because of the fun opportunity I had to describe a few minor lines in the Inner Sea region.
- Some locations have their own benevolent spirit, and the Loci Spirit Ritual boon allows a PC to contact one of these to curry its favor (and gain defensive and healing abilities). However, performing evil actions can corrupt a loci spirit, causing it to turn vengeful.
- The Expedition Manager is back, giving a PC the ability to launch his own archaeological expedition and uncover more powerful items when spending Prestige Points.
- One of the most common requests I've heard over the past two years is for a way to transfer a boon from one PC to another. Share the Wealth allows for exactly that, but only for boons that grant the PC the ability to select an otherwise prohibited animal companion, familiar, or other creature. You can instead use it to transfer access to an intelligent item from one PC to another. I know that some folks aren't going to like that this is a convention boon and not a universal ability, but we'd first like to see whether this mechanic works on a smaller scale before introducing a more widespread rule. Let us know what you think.
- Hypnotic Therapy lets your character retrain a class feature at a greatly reduced cost, or she can subsidize a larger retraining project.
- Linda and I enjoy boons that allow one of a player's PC to interact with another of his PCs, and the Pathfinder Apprentice boon allows one of your Seeker PCs to mentor a 1st-level PC and grant her an additional trait from a short list.
- Now that there are rules for psychic magic, it's important for PCs to consider ways to defend against these abilities. Psychic Bastion grants a PC a small bonus on saving throws against mind-affecting effects, and the bonus increases if the effect is from a psychic source.
- Not everyone joined the Pathfinder Society early in life. Some started as members of the Aspis Consortium and then thought better of that decision. The Aspis Defector boon grants your PC a reusable trick learned from her time among the Consortium.
- It's hard to say no to a Treasure Map, which lets a PC use his downtime to search for hidden treasure rather than work a day job.
And those are just the RPG boons! As Tanis O'Connor explains, "The Adventure Card Guild rewards run the gamut from useful to awesome, with die bumps and scenario-spanning powers representing just a few of the goodies on offer." On of my favorites is the Riftwarden Response, which helps everyone fend off summoned henchment.
We're excited to see these Chronicle sheets in players' hands, and we hope you enjoy using them as much as we had fun writing them.