A Game of Boons

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Alright, it's time to start kicking these Starfinder Society blogs into hyperspee... errrrr, speeds you'd expect while travelling through the Drift! Today's blog is going to touch on two things that people frequently ask about: boons and new races in the Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild.

Illustration by Maichol Quinto

Boons and Boon Slots

As previously announced in interviews and at our PaizoCon panel, Starfinder Society is changing up the Roleplaying Guild's handling of boons. Boons are non-standard rewards granted on the Chronicle sheets you get for completing Starfinder Society scenarios and sanctioned content. For all you Pathfinder Society veterans out there, the current boon system involves finding special boons on a Chronicle sheet and mentally keeping track of them throughout the course of your character's career. The existing system allows for a character to accrue a lot of boons over the course of her career, but it also requires a lot of tracking on the player's end. Did you remember that your second Chronicle sheet gave you a +1 circumstance bonus to negotiating with gnolls from western Katapesh? (John likes using that one as an example, a lot. He also wants me to remind Pathfinder Society players, that six seasons later, that boon is still relevant!)

To ease player record keeping burdens, as well as to give the development team some flexibility on ensuring that boons remain relevant throughout the campaign, Starfinder Society introduces boon slots. Each boon slot represents an available space in which a player can activate one of their earned boons; if you've slotted a boon, it's active for that adventure, and if you didn't slot one of your boons, it's dormant. Every Starfinder Society character has six boon slots, and each of which corresponds to a different type of boon. Most boons now include a corresponding boon type, so you can slot a Social boon into your Social boon slot, but not into your Faction boon slot. This means that with the exception of the occasional untyped boon, you'll only be tracking up to six boons during a session—not sorting through stacks of paper in the middle of the game.

In previous announcements, we've talked a little about boon slots, but today we're going to go over each of the six types of boons.

Ally: Ally boons are boons that represent an ally actively assisting the PC. This could be a temporary hireling versed in a specific skill, an ammunition porter, or even a less physical presence (such as the digital imp we discussed in our previous blog). Ally boons generally represent an additional 'body' on the team, or the presence of a creature that affects combat or general skill checks.

Faction: Every faction offers a boon that allows characters to champion that faction. Characters slotting these boons earn Reputation with the associated faction, effectively allowing the character to swap out what factions she works for on a scenario-by-scenario basis. The entry-level boon for a faction's referred to as the champion boon, and that can improve as your character gains more and more Reputation.

Promotional: Promotional boons are unique in that they often represent out-of-game acquisitions that translate to in-game benefits—Pathfinder Society veterans might think of this as the "shirt reroll" slot. One example of a promotional boon, would be a boon designed around bringing a Starfinder Player Character Folio to use at the table. If you're concerned about only being limited to benefiting from one promotional item during an adventure... well, let's just say there's a faction that has your back!

Social: These boons encompass agreements or alliances with in-game organizations or NPCs. For John's sake, this is where you'll slot that lovely ‘gnolls from western Katapesh' boon! A common example of a social boon would be forging a relationship with an organization, and in future scenarios that organization returns and reacts differently based on whether you've slotted this boon.

Starship: We sure have starships and starship combat in the Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild. The starship boon slot allows characters to customize some of the standard hulls available to field agents. Expect a future blog post to touch on exactly how starships work in Starfinder Society.

When does a player decide to lock-in his boons for an adventure? Well, Starfinder Society scenarios, much like their Pathfinder Society counterparts, include mission briefings. Each briefing now ends with an instruction for the GM to inform the players to select their boons. This gives players some time in-game to select what boons they think will be most appropriate to the mission at hand, based on the information they received from the briefing. If you're wondering about missing out on slotting story relevant boons, don't worry! The boon slotting section of the adventure will also give GM a list of especially relevant boons from previous Chronicle Sheets, letting the GM know to inform the players that these boons could have a significant effect on the game if they choose to slot them.

Illustration by Hugh Pindur

New Races

The most frequent question I've heard about Starfinder Society—not counting head-in-jar joke questions—is how we'll be handling the multitude of available races. With the recent release of Starfinder First Contact and the announcement of the Starfinder Alien Archive, the Starfinder team is certainly delivering on its promise of adding a wide variety of playable races beyond the core seven races. So how will Starfinder Society play handle the ever-expanding list of alien species?

Oh... hmmmm... did I miss one of the boon slots? OH! Well, isn't that fortuitous timing! Let me just take a quick detour from this talk on alien species to fix that omission.

Personal: Personal boons represent a wide variety of special boons available in the campaign. Unique races, typically those found beyond the core races of the Starfinder Core Rulebook, commonly occupy this slot. The personal slot often requires associated boons (such as new race options) be permanently slotted, so that the slotted boon does not change on a scenario-by-scenario basis. However, this also means that characters with this boon slot available can use it for other purposes...

Well, that certainly explains a bit, doesn't it? Yes, non-standard species will be made available by permanently slotting that race's boon in the Personal boon slot. This doesn't mean that every new race will be immediately available for use. We're rolling out new races in a controlled fashion, such as through convention or special event boons, as well as through some unique new distribution plans that we're adding into the campaign. Not quite ready to go into all the details on how these boons will be released, but stay tuned for more info!

Ok, fine, I'll answer one more common question—only because you're all great fans. How will Starfinder Society handle the legacy races from Pathfinder? Can you play a halfling starship pilot, or a half-orc solarian? How does one get access to play legacy races? Well, here's a hint: Pathfinder Society has this cool thing called a "Regional Support Program" and Starfinder Society will have one too!

Alrighty, enough spilling of beans from my end. I need to get back to work before John and Tonya find out I've spent all this time on an extra-long blog post!

Thurston Hillman
Starfinder Society Developer

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Tags: Hugh Pindur Maichol Quinto Organized Play Starfinder Society
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*** Contributor aka Alexander Augunas

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I give this blog post four kasatha-thumbs up.


So what if someone wanted to play a Space Goblin right out of the gate? How would they acquire such a boon to play one? Would they need to? I've always been a bit fuzzy when it comes to how some of these work in Pathfinder.

Scarab Sages ***** Venture-Captain, Netherlands aka Woran

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Race boons? Who needs race boons when you can play Ysoki ;)

Paizo Employee Starfinder Society Developer

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Sketchpad wrote:
So what if someone wanted to play a Space Goblin right out of the gate? How would they acquire such a boon to play one? Would they need to? I've always been a bit fuzzy when it comes to how some of these work in Pathfinder.

For Starfinder Society, that player would need to get a hold of a Chronicle sheet that allows a Space Goblin to be used as a playable race in the campaign. Exactly how these Chronicle sheets get released varies, with conventions being a prime example of a space where these special boons show up. That being said, we're trying out a lot of new options in Starfinder Society, so expect to see race boons show up in a variety of different places.

Sovereign Court ***

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Companion, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

I like the system!

Will there be a sort of "boon card" to write down and keep track of your active boons?

Paizo Employee Starfinder Society Developer

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KingOfAnything wrote:

I like the system!

Will there be a sort of "boon card" to write down and keep track of your active boons?

No immediate plans for a boon card. We figured that putting the list in the Starfinder Character Folio would be the more attractive option... :)

***** Venture-Captain, Ohio—Northern aka GinoA

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This is a very interesting system. However, I feel the need to point out that it achieves the exact opposite of the stated goal. I still need to keep track of every boon this PC has every earned. But now, I also need to keep track of which ones I've activated today.

Dark Archive * Venture-Agent, Ireland—Cork aka Psyblade

Time to work on a Google docs character sheet to have it all incorporated... time for the magic to happen!

Dark Archive ****

I imagine that with greater control (you have a max number of active boons) that the boons will tend to be a little more useful and general, part of the difficulty of keeping track of the gnolls is that you'd get maybe 1 shot to ever actually use the boon. If instead it was just a flat +1 to diplomacy that is a lot easier to remember and apply.

Paizo Employee Starfinder Society Developer

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GinoA wrote:
This is a very interesting system. However, I feel the need to point out that it achieves the exact opposite of the stated goal. I still need to keep track of every boon this PC has every earned. But now, I also need to keep track of which ones I've activated today.

This is a fair response. No system will be absolutely perfect. The key change with this system is the timing of boons. In Starfinder Society, players slot their boons at the beginning of the session, before any encounters start. This is intended to speed up play, so a veteran player with 60+ boons in a binder doesn't stop partway through a session to 'reference the library' to handle a specific situation.

I expect players to gravitate to certain boons, be it based on thematic or mechanical benefits. I suspect we'll have players with 'standard load outs' who opt to swap things around depending on the specifics of a scenario (such as GM called out boons), or occasionally slot in some boons that might allow for some character progression related benefits. In higher level games (Fictitious Example: 'Waking Rune in SPAAAAAAAAACE'), I fully suspect that players will spend time optimizing boon selection as part of party preparation for overtly difficult encounters. It's by no means required, but it's another layer of customization that players can partake in.

**** Venture-Agent, Minnesota—St. Louis Park aka BretI

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Reading between the lines, it sounds like using a race boon in your Personal boon slot will prevent you from using other personal boons.

Interesting! I'm now more curious as to what other things may fill that slot than what race boons will potentially be coming out.

Grand Lodge *****

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Blog wrote:
Ok, fine, I'll answer one more common question—only because you're all great fans. How will Starfinder Society handle the legacy races from Pathfinder? Can you play a halfling starship pilot, or a half-orc solarian? How does one get access to play legacy races? Well, here's a hint: Pathfinder Society has this cool thing called a "Regional Support Program" and Starfinder Society will have one too!

I'm a bit disappointed that PF core races will not be open for all. I hope it doesn't take too many games GMed till I can make the Gnome mechanic I'd been plotting.

Liberty's Edge *** Venture-Captain, Nebraska—Omaha

Wow. Really looking forward to playing Starfinder!

****

I really wish Pazio would stop trying to simplify things by adding additional rules.

***** Regional Venture-Coordinator, Northeast aka Shivok

Here are my first SFS boon ideas.

Starship Boon

Xykor Crystal:
Kal'Kalan, famed captain of the Lion's Vengeance is known for his wild exploits throughout known space. While battling the forces of the Azlanti Star Empire, Kal'Kalan managed to recover a Xykor Crystal from a damaged ship. By using the Xykor Crystal on your ship you can reduce your hex movement by 1 when performing ship maneuvers. Unfortunately most star drives are not designed to use the crystals efficiently. On a roll of 1 during the movement phase of starship combat the crystal has overloaded and cracked and becomes inert.

Social Boon
Ashindar Trade Associate:
The Ashindar trade in various commodities in the Pact Worlds and have made a name for themselves as honest dealers. You have earned their respect and are considered to have favored status when conducting purchases from them. You receive a 10% discount on all mundane items while in the Pact World System.

Grand Lodge ***** ⦵⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Online—PbP aka Hmm

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Oh no! I was planning on making my first Starfinder character a gnome! But I'll be needing a boon for that? Oh, shoot! All my plans for Gnomish domination of the diaspora are gone... Oh well, I guess I'll be activating a Shirren first instead. It'll be cool playing with the new core races, but I had a background built for my little gnome and everything....

___

I do like the boon slot system, though. I am looking forward to seeing more on how it works.

Hmm

Silver Crusade ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Pennsylvania—Pittsburgh aka Terminalmancer

As someone who religiously tracks the minor little skill things that probably fit into the "social" slot, I'm also concerned that this actually makes the system worse by adding yet another layer of complexity and bookkeeping to what was expected to be a more streamlined system... complexity that eats up time during a scenario, even! And then you can't even track boons adequately on most character sheets? So we're actually going to have to sit down and figure out which boons we've gotten access to, make up a brand new sheet to track them all, and use it or a second new sheet to slot them? This just sounds unpleasant.

I know you've said that you're going to include it in the folio, but the PFS folio is not a terribly good tracking mechanism and I doubt the new SF folio is going to be a major improvement in this regard.

Of course, I'm looking at this from the perspective of the Pathfinder boons, which are usually neat little "You made friends with a leshy so you get +2 to diplomacizing leshies in the future!". Do you anticipate making the boons more powerful or useful than in PFS? I would be sad to see those go, but it might make the added complexity more worthwhile?

Does not seem like a good path, but we obviously can't judge until we see the final product...

Scarab Sages *****

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Obviously it's too early to tell, but keeping the alien races locked behind convention boons seems to be the exact opposite of the Starfinder (RPG, not Society) goals of bringing the cantina feel of alien races to the player side of the table. I understand that race boons at conventions can be a desirable motivator to attend/volunteer, but I'd prefer convention boons to offer up access to unique/variant items/companions/spells that are specifically written for SFS (not withheld from player companions and other books).

Instead of getting a boon to play as a haxil character, consider a boon that allows a haxil character to trade out their Quadruped racial trait for the Quadcopter alternate racial trait that reduces their base movement speed but allows them to start play with a cybernetic enhancement.

Instead of a standard mechanic companion, a boon could grant a specific AI that can be in the form of an AI companion or uploaded into a robot body, with a brief description of their personality, their name and possibly a bonus special ability (based on power, anywhere from at-will to 1/day or 1/game).

Sovereign Court

I don't know, it still sounds like you're going to have top dig through all your Chronicle sheets to look up your boons, even if you're only selecting specific ones to activate.

Paizo Employee Starfinder Society Developer

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Raisse wrote:
Obviously it's too early to tell, but keeping the alien races locked behind convention boons seems to be the exact opposite of the Starfinder (RPG, not Society) goals of bringing the cantina feel of alien races to the player side of the table. I understand that race boons at conventions can be a desirable motivator to attend/volunteer, but I'd prefer convention boons to offer up access to unique/variant items/companions/spells that are specifically written for PFS (not withheld from player companions and other books).

You're in luck. As the blog mentions, conventions are just one of the many of ways that we're going to races out into the wild. The team is quite cognizant of the "Cantina feel" (we've used the same term internally) and we're working on ways to get a high number of races out in the hands (or tentacles, pseudopods, fungal growths....) of players, without creating a logistical nightmare for our hardworking GMs.

* RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

I struggle to see how this system is any better.

Not only do you have to keep track of all the boons made available to you, but now you have choose which ones are active. I can't think of an easy way to keep track of that unless I write out all the boons on cards or on a list where I can check off the active ones. Overall, it just adds more book keeping work while not fixing the problem of having to juggle lot of super situational boons.

And to make matters worse, the way scenarios are written had to be changed in order to facilitate this system.

Silver Crusade ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Pennsylvania—Pittsburgh aka Terminalmancer

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Thinking a bit more beyond my initial reaction... I think my primary concern here is that you have identified a primary problem: boons are difficult to remember and use. There are lots of ways of reducing cognitive load, but gamifying the existing system is not one of them.

I could very well be missing something, but I'm not seeing any clear connection between the cool system you've designed and any of the problems it's trying to solve.

Instead of:

1. Reducing the number of boons, to ease in record-keeping and cognitive load, or
2. Providing a mechanism for keeping track of your boons, to reduce the cognitive load and reduce the number of times you have to flip through your chronicle sheets,

your post suggests that you are, instead,

3. Changing the system to gamify the problem and forcing the problem to happen at the beginning of every game?

That does not sound at all like a logical reaction to the problem you have identified. That suggests that either:
A. You guys have identified a different problem than the one you talk about in the post, and it's not a problem you have thought to or want to discuss in this blog post;
B. You guys are doing something else behind the scenes as part of this overhaul, not mentioned in the blog, to fix the problem (and this system might be a dependency of the other work you are doing); or
C. I'm not missing anything and this is a poor solution to the problem?

You also identify a second problem: "[...] as well as to give the development team some flexibility on ensuring that boons remain relevant throughout the campaign"

None of the steps described in the blog actually seem to address this problem, either; in fact the system outlined has the potential to make the boons even less relevant, especially if the GM guidance in the scenario is incomplete or incorrect, because you could go into a scenario with a boon "inactive" where before in PFS, that boon would always be active, you just might not remember it. Unless you also have plans to increase the power of the boons in some way; but that's not something mentioned here at all.

Anyway, I guess that's a lot of negative text, and I don't mean to be this negative about it. Sorry! The big thing is that I am completely and utterly confused--this is adding complexity to a system because you decided it was too complex. Something just doesn't add up.

Sczarni **

So I'm going to assume that boons in SFS will be linked to the player instead of the character? A large chunk of PFS boom confusion is remembering which character had which boon.

And other than conventions will hopefully include methods that small groups that may not be able to muster 5 or 6+ tables have a chance of accomplishing?

Paizo Employee ***** Pathfinder Society Lead Developer

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While boon slots aim to reduce the amount of shuffling through papers once an adventure's underway, there's another design consideration that doesn't feature in this blog: power. Over the course of nine years and hundreds of boons, it's possible for a PC to acquire a huge number of boons that gradually nudge the character's power higher and higher—especially because most boons' benefits are untyped and therefore stack. For many boons that increased power is closer to increased versatility, granting a niche bonus or helping a character shore up a deficiency. Plenty of boons build upon what PCs are already good at doing, which makes it a little harder with every year to assess how powerful PCs really are at a given level.

There's no doubt that expanded character options across hundreds of books has also increased characters' overall power, but from an organized play perspective, boons and similar campaign benefits can add to the equation.

With a system like boon slots, Thursty and I are in a neat position where we can develop some really neat boons because we know that PCs will only be able to carry a handful into a scenario. We're also able to make an array of slotless boons that travel with your character at all times, functioning more like the Pathfinder Society system. The categorization of boons gives us useful shorthand that could make it easier to manipulate them (e.g. "Transfer one ally boon from one of your PCs to another" without having to define what qualifies as an improved familiar feat or the like). Finally, we're able to play around with the boon slot system at key times to represent a cool narrative element (like a "gather all of the friends you've made over the whole season" mission that grants each PC a temporary bonus ally slot).

There's a lot of potential in this system, and the adventures I've reviewed as they head to layout have further confirmed for me what boons slots/types have to offer the campaign.

Silver Crusade ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Pennsylvania—Pittsburgh aka Terminalmancer

John Compton wrote:
While boon slots aim to reduce the amount of shuffling through papers once an adventure's underway, there's another design consideration that doesn't feature in this blog: power. [...]

That neatly explains the motivation and issue, John. Thank you for shedding some further light on the matter!

With that information, I'm much more optimistic about the system, although the added complexity still feels like a risk to me. I'm looking forward to seeing what you guys have come up with.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Those who are saying this is adding complexity... I don't get it o_O???

Split your binder in 6 parts, one part for type of boon. After the mission briefing, spend 5-10 minutes (possibly longer, we'll see) going through your binder, select one boon of each type, then take them out of the binder and place them under your character sheet for future reference. PRESTO! DONE! Put your binder of boons away and game on!

That "Put your binder of boons away and game on!" is the stated design goal and I really don't understand how this isn't supposed to save time for a character with a lot of boons compared to what they described PFS situation being.

Silver Crusade ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Pennsylvania—Pittsburgh aka Terminalmancer

xevious573 wrote:

Those who are saying this is adding complexity... I don't get it o_O???

Split your binder in 6 parts, one part for type of boon. After the mission briefing, spend 5-10 minutes (possibly longer, we'll see) going through your binder, select one boon of each type, then take them out of the binder and place them under your character sheet for future reference. PRESTO! DONE! Put your binder of boons away and game on!

That "Put your binder of boons away and game on!" is the stated design goal and I really don't understand how this isn't supposed to save time for a character with a lot of boons compared to what they described PFS situation being.

My PFS binder is already split into 30 different parts, one for each non-seeker-tier character. And the chronicles are in chronological order. The easier thing is to write them all down on a separate sheet and pick from there, but there are a lot of players with shoddy bookkeeping who are already challenged by things like audits or telling us how much fame they have.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Terminalmancer wrote:
xevious573 wrote:

Those who are saying this is adding complexity... I don't get it o_O???

Split your binder in 6 parts, one part for type of boon. After the mission briefing, spend 5-10 minutes (possibly longer, we'll see) going through your binder, select one boon of each type, then take them out of the binder and place them under your character sheet for future reference. PRESTO! DONE! Put your binder of boons away and game on!

That "Put your binder of boons away and game on!" is the stated design goal and I really don't understand how this isn't supposed to save time for a character with a lot of boons compared to what they described PFS situation being.

My PFS binder is already split into 30 different parts, one for each non-seeker-tier character. And the chronicles are in chronological order. The easier thing is to write them all down on a separate sheet and pick from there, but there are a lot of players with shoddy bookkeeping who are already challenged by things like audits or telling us how much fame they have.

30 parts? That's a lot of characters! I'm intensely jealous of your PFS scene! There is basically no local scene for PFS where I live and the nearest one that I know of is quite a drive away on a day and time when I'm working. Anyway, I see your point.

Silver Crusade ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Pennsylvania—Pittsburgh aka Terminalmancer

1 person marked this as a favorite.
xevious573 wrote:
Terminalmancer wrote:
xevious573 wrote:

Those who are saying this is adding complexity... I don't get it o_O???

Split your binder in 6 parts, one part for type of boon. After the mission briefing, spend 5-10 minutes (possibly longer, we'll see) going through your binder, select one boon of each type, then take them out of the binder and place them under your character sheet for future reference. PRESTO! DONE! Put your binder of boons away and game on!

That "Put your binder of boons away and game on!" is the stated design goal and I really don't understand how this isn't supposed to save time for a character with a lot of boons compared to what they described PFS situation being.

My PFS binder is already split into 30 different parts, one for each non-seeker-tier character. And the chronicles are in chronological order. The easier thing is to write them all down on a separate sheet and pick from there, but there are a lot of players with shoddy bookkeeping who are already challenged by things like audits or telling us how much fame they have.
30 parts? That's a lot of characters! I'm intensely jealous of your PFS scene! There is basically no local scene for PFS where I live and the nearest one that I know of is quite a drive away on a day and time when I'm working. Anyway, I see your point.

We play a few times a month... which is actually a pretty good clip. I might have too many character ideas and too few places to use them besides PFS.

*

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
xevious573 wrote:
Terminalmancer wrote:
xevious573 wrote:

Those who are saying this is adding complexity... I don't get it o_O???

Split your binder in 6 parts, one part for type of boon. After the mission briefing, spend 5-10 minutes (possibly longer, we'll see) going through your binder, select one boon of each type, then take them out of the binder and place them under your character sheet for future reference. PRESTO! DONE! Put your binder of boons away and game on!

That "Put your binder of boons away and game on!" is the stated design goal and I really don't understand how this isn't supposed to save time for a character with a lot of boons compared to what they described PFS situation being.

My PFS binder is already split into 30 different parts, one for each non-seeker-tier character. And the chronicles are in chronological order. The easier thing is to write them all down on a separate sheet and pick from there, but there are a lot of players with shoddy bookkeeping who are already challenged by things like audits or telling us how much fame they have.
30 parts? That's a lot of characters! I'm intensely jealous of your PFS scene! There is basically no local scene for PFS where I live and the nearest one that I know of is quite a drive away on a day and time when I'm working. Anyway, I see your point.

Clearly you are not doing enough play by post. :-)


As a Pathfinder veteran, but someone who has never even once looked into Pathfinder Society...

What is it? And more specifically, what is Starfinder Society?

Dark Archive * Venture-Agent, Ireland—Cork aka Psyblade

AlaskanWolf wrote:

As a Pathfinder veteran, but someone who has never even once looked into Pathfinder Society...

What is it? And more specifically, what is Starfinder Society?

The Pathfinder Society Roleplaying Guild is a worldwide fantasy roleplaying campaign that puts YOU in the role of an agent of the Pathfinder Society—a legendary league of explorers, archaeologists, and adventurers dedicated to discovering and chronicling the greatest mysteries and wonders of an ancient world beset by magic and evil.

The campaign's home base is sprawling Absalom, the so-called City at the Center of the World, that stands astride the great Inner Sea on the mountain-capped Isle of Kortos. As a member of the Pathfinder Society, your chracter will explore the dark alleys and political intrigue between far-flung travels in the world of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. Each Pathfinder Society agent also works for one of several competing factions, all with their own motivations and secret agendas.

Play is organized into Seasons, throughout which the actions and achievements of you and your fellow Pathfinders create an ongoing storyline. Each season consists of numerous scenarios set in a variety of exotic locations across Golarion.

Pathfinder Society

And yes, that is a clear copy and paste, but basically, you create a char, can play it all over the world at FLGS, Con's, in a home setting etc. with different people...

I picked it up due to my work and being unable to commit to fixed game times.


Spider-Shirren, Spider-Shirren, does whatever a spider can!


Does anyone else have a problem with how tiny that halflings feet are?


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Subscriber

ok, i've never played Pathfinder - Starfinder will be my entry into the Paizo-verse - so i'm ready to be ridiculed here...

i don't see what all the complaints about complexity are about. I'm not sure what these "Chronicle" sheets are, but why couldn't you just have a sheet that has sections for each kind of boon and a list of all the boons for each section, then just check a box next to the active one(s). similar to spells but instead of spell level it is split up by boon type.

i mean, really, how many boons would a character collect over a season?

btw, boons just seem like a way to flesh out the character and differentiate them a bit more. more like edges/flaws from some games, but they can evidently be swapped out.

my question that I can't figure out is, if you need to have special boons for an alien race, how does that work? if i want to play race-x, but can't do it from start, it doesn't make sense to start with a human and wait until maybe i'm 6th level before getting the boon to become race-x. that doesn't make any sense. and if the intent is that i've earned the boon, and now i can start a new character with that race, well, why should i do that? i'm already up to 6th level on the current character! i enjoy character development, it's one of the features of RPGs I enjoy - i've played some characters in other games for years, even a decade. why would i cheat on my character with an alternate one? so what am i missing here about boons for playing a (new) alien race?


Pathfinder Companion, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
bitrunner wrote:

ok, i've never played Pathfinder - Starfinder will be my entry into the Paizo-verse - so i'm ready to be ridiculed here...

i don't see what all the complaints about complexity are about. I'm not sure what these "Chronicle" sheets are, but why couldn't you just have a sheet that has sections for each kind of boon and a list of all the boons for each section, then just check a box next to the active one(s). similar to spells but instead of spell level it is split up by boon type.

i mean, really, how many boons would a character collect over a season?

btw, boons just seem like a way to flesh out the character and differentiate them a bit more. more like edges/flaws from some games, but they can evidently be swapped out.

my question that I can't figure out is, if you need to have special boons for an alien race, how does that work? if i want to play race-x, but can't do it from start, it doesn't make sense to start with a human and wait until maybe i'm 6th level before getting the boon to become race-x. that doesn't make any sense. and if the intent is that i've earned the boon, and now i can start a new character with that race, well, why should i do that? i'm already up to 6th level on the current character! i enjoy character development, it's one of the features of RPGs I enjoy - i've played some characters in other games for years, even a decade. why would i cheat on my character with an alternate one? so what am i missing here about boons for playing a (new) alien race?

Well, generally there are level limits as to what you can play in a given scenario. So if someone was running a Starfinder Society scenario for 1st-5th level characters, your 6th level human character wouldn't be able to play in that game, but a hypothetical new 1st level character would be able to play in it.

Grand Lodge ***** ⦵⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Online—PbP aka Hmm

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bitrunner wrote:
ok, i've never played Pathfinder - Starfinder will be my entry into the Paizo-verse - so i'm ready to be ridiculed here...

Bitrunner, welcome to Organized Play and the Paizo-verse! We would never ridicule someone new. It's nice to see Starfinder bringing in fresh faces!

bitrunner wrote:
my question that I can't figure out is, if you need to have special boons for an alien race, how does that work? if i want to play race-x, but can't do it from start, it doesn't make sense to start with a human and wait until maybe i'm 6th level before getting the boon to become race-x. that doesn't make any sense. and if the intent is that i've earned the boon, and now i can start a new character with that race, well, why should i do that? i'm already up to 6th level on the current character! i enjoy character development, it's one of the features of RPGs I enjoy - i've played some characters in other games for years, even a decade. why would i cheat on my character with an alternate one? so what am i missing here about boons for playing a (new) alien race?

When you get a race boon, you usually apply it to a brand new character at level one. Your human will stay human.

Also, you should know that Starfinder core includes several 'really alien' races from the get go. My current favorite are the individualistic shirren (bug-people), but there are ratfolk and androids and other races right in core!

As far as 'cheating' on your primary character, I used to feel that way, but then discovered that having characters at different levels allowed me more play opportunities. I generally like having at least one character available for each of the different tiers of play. So it's nice to have both low and high level characters, so that you can play some of the new scenarios that are coming out. It's also nice to have a few differnt types of characters available, so you can help with table balance. (Though I've heard that table composition and balance will be less of a problem in Starfinder than it is in Pathfinder.)

Hmm

** Venture-Agent, Ohio—Hudson aka Blue Moose

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Out of curiosity, If this works well for Starfinder Society, would you think about trying to add something similar for Pathfinder Society?

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

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bitrunner wrote:
i mean, really, how many boons would a character collect over a season?

In the past year (since PaizoCon 2016) I have acquired about 25+ boons.

Now, I am certainly not typical, in that I attended and organized multiple conventions/events. A number of those boons were GM boons, and a fair chunk came from GenCon by itself. But these are also only a quarter of the boons contained within my boon binder. (Which yes, is separate from my character binders.)


EEEEEEEE! SPACE HALFLINGS! IN SPACE! :D

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Subscriber

I look forward to seeing this in action.

Even with a seperate note about which boons a character has available I tend to forget to use them most of the time.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Blue Moose wrote:
Out of curiosity, If this works well for Starfinder Society, would you think about trying to add something similar for Pathfinder Society?

You mean using Starfinder as a test bed for various things that might be useful for a version of Pathfinder and its associated things like PFS? Somehow, I suspect that's occurred to people at Paizo ;-)

Dark Archive

Starfinder Superscriber

Will boons still be locked to a character or will they be tied to the player?

Grand Lodge *****

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Rulebook Subscriber

I'm just really really positive about this, and agree with the sentiment of it finding a place in PFS.

Paizo Employee Starfinder Society Developer

DragoDorn wrote:
Will boons still be locked to a character or will they be tied to the player?

In most instances, boons will still be tied to characters. We want to ensure that characters still have a story of their own. There are several boons that will transfer to all characters—similar to how Pathfinder Society allows boons for unlocked prestige classes / archetypes to transfer over. One major boon type that we're looking at making available to 'all characters' is any boon that unlocks new alien languages.

Given the overarching season story of 'rebuilding the Society', we've positioned ourselves to do a lot of interesting things in terms of character vs. player boons. I bring up languages, because once a Starfinder team discovers a new alien species, it makes sense for that alien language to propagate throughout the Society.

Liberty's Edge *** Venture-Captain, Nebraska—Omaha

Thurston Hillman wrote:
I bring up languages, because once a Starfinder team discovers a new alien species, it makes sense for that alien language to propagate throughout the Society.

Can we say universal translator is that copyrighted term?

Dark Archive

Starfinder Superscriber
Thurston Hillman wrote:
DragoDorn wrote:
Will boons still be locked to a character or will they be tied to the player?
In most instances, boons will still be tied to characters.

This is terribly disappointing. I don't like that boons are locked to a single character. I don't get to play as often as I would like to due to scheduling reasons. Getting boons that won't benefit me feels like I wasted time on a scenario. Being limited on play time makes getting worthless boons really hurt.

Shadow Lodge Venture-Lieutenant, Ohio—Columbus aka Luke Woods - Columbus

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I was thinking through how to keep track of this for my characters and I struck upon the idea of making playing cards for each boon (Name / Slot / Scenario / What it does) and then using a trading card page (the one with 9 slots) to equip my character for a scenario.

If I have a base load out for my character then tweaking it based on the mission briefing keeping track of what is equipped and keeping it on hand during play should be pretty easy.

Can characters earn/unlock multiple boons per scenario?

Liberty's Edge *** Venture-Captain, Nebraska—Omaha

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Did anyone else notice Thurston sneaking around in the picture?

Must be John on the right, with Tonya, looking at the giant globe. With Linda directing in the back?

Grand Lodge ***** ⦵⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Online—PbP aka Hmm

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♫ Let me tell you the story
Of a gnome named Charli
On a tragic and fateful day
With wayfinder and jetpack
She waved bye-bye to her fam’ly
Left for Starfinder Society

Charli handed off her ticket
For Absalom Station
Where the Starfinders are so hip
When she got there the Society asked her
“Where’s your boon?”
Charli could not get off that ship!

CHORUS:
Did she ever return,
No she never returned
And her fate is still unlearn'd
(My poor Charli!)
She may ride forever
Cross the wide diaspora
She's the gnome who never returned.

Now all night long
Charli rides on the drift ship
Saying, “What will become of me?”
Standing on tip-toes
Her nose pressed to the windows
Crying, “I wanna be in the Society!”

Charli’s ship has other stragglers
Half-orcs, Elves, Halflings too
It’s a mixed legacy crew
They all sigh as the station flies by
Oh well, at least the Dwarves
Make a damn fine brew!

Ahoy, Absalom Station
Don’t you think it a scandal
That the little gnomes are locked away?
Contact your Venture Crew!
Start up your region’s RSP
Contact your Venture Crew
To bring poor Charli back today!

CHORUS:
Or else she'll never return,
No she'll never return
And her fate will be unlearned
She may ride forever
Cross the wide diaspora
She's the gnome (who’s that gnome?)
She's the gnome who never returned.
She's the gnome (bring her home)
She's the gnome who never returned.
She's the gnome who never returned. ♫

Source: The M.T.A. Song by the Kingston Trio

____
Here’s a gentle plea from the players of the Online Region, and any other region not currently sanctioned for RSP. Can there be an alternate means for getting legacy races in Starfinder too? Perhaps convention boons or some other option? Once again team, I appreciate all you hard work, and hope you enjoyed my very silly song.

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