I'm toying with creating a good secret society and want to encourage my PCs to join. One of the incentives I thought of using would be in exchange for singning on and pledging to remain true to the organization they'd train you in some secret knowledge, then give the PCs some trait or feat or something.
Has anyone ever done this and if so please expound.
|Michael Sayre Design Manager|
I ran a campaign once where the party members were being trained by various martial schools in preparation for a tournament, and one of the benefits of joining a particular school was gaining a bonus feat associated with that school. As long as you're in control of what feat or trait is being given out, and everyone is being given the same opportunity to gain that edge, it should be fine.
I've given out the Leadeship feat for free before, as well as other things like rich parents (giving someone some baubles from their parents at level 1 if they had a good background). I've also given out things like +2 or whatever to deal with certain groups based on what was done (I handed out a 'Sash of Bast' which gave a +2 if you were wearing it when dealing with the Church of Bast).
I've included the ability to get a special feat or trait, but not a free feat, just like Stereofm said. Likewise to mdt, Leadership has been an exception, in solo PC games. If I wanted the PCs to join an organization, I'd have them start as part of it, or give in-play benefits that match their play-style. If they're motivated by story, secret knowledge is good, also make it clear that they are on the same side and it would be nonsensical to join their cause. If they're motivated by game mechanics, give privileged access to the wares of a skillful magic craftsman or exceptional trainers to reduce the requirements of some of the stronger feats. If they're a tough lot, have the society want them. Badly. Offer them money, magic loot, position- and have their agents hound them until they relent or you give up and have the society just give them whatever plot hints or quests you wanted to deliver.
Of course, talking with them before you put it in, asking them to give you insight to what they would want to join, is the best way if you really want them in the society that much.
Most characters when I GM get equivalent of Leadership by 7th level.
I'm good with a free trait like bonus (some of the examples are Bonuses to dungeoneering and survival in a certain dungeon, an additional language taught by an NPC that let's everyone participate in a certain region, Bonuses to Survival if in a particular environment after a period of alcclimation.., Etc.)
As Doofensmirtz says,"Backstory, Backstory, Backstory!"
They can get a few things by coming from a specific city or area.
If they are a monk, being part of a specific Temple will allow them access to rituals their Sense taught them. Being a Gnome and having been brought up in a Gnomeish community, will give them proficiency in the Gnome double hammer irregardless of their class.
I haven't run a Pathfinder campaign or Adventure Path yet but when/if I do I plan on giving my players a free campaign trait (provided they follow the regular rules for traits - i.e. they still can't have two magic traits etc) in addition to allowing them to have two "regular" traits.
This would primarily be to encourage them to take campaign traits that help tie their characters into the story of the campaign from the beginning as well as to give them a, slight, mechanical advantage - hopefully it would also encourage them to take flavorful other traits over maximally optimized traits w/o character/story reasons.
(I may also take some cues from PFS play in terms of which traits and possibly which feats I will ban). Specifically I haven't decided how I will deal with Leadership as a feat - would likely depend on the size and makeup of the party (i.e. if everyone already has animal companions/mounts/eidilons and/or is frequently summoning creatures I might just ban Leadership entirely If the party is small I might award it as a bonus feat or modify it as a "party" feat vs an individual feat (coming up with a modified party set of metrics to govern how the feat works)
A system I use sometimes is to give PCs a free trait at the end of each chapter of a campaign (module of an adventure path, really). Said trait represents something they have learned or done in that chapter, something that has come to them, something they have gained.
They can choose it, but they have to justify it.
I think handing out extra feats and/or traits is a good thing if the campaign can handle a little bit of extra oomph or the GM doesn't like to give out too many magical items.
^That. My first time running Pathfinder I got a magic item high and handed them out willy-nilly, but now that I've sobered up I like to give them out only when the story calls for it, rather than as random loot.
Re: magic items - I've given out a nine potions and 2 wands over the course of 3 levels totaling 8 adventure sessions. Other than that the party has not seen any magic items. The wizard of the group has crafted a couple scrolls, but that's it.
Re: kinds of bonuses - most of you seem to hand out traits, some after major events instead of just in background. I like this idea, since most traits offer some combat-secondary ability like enhancing crits or skill bonuses. Also these bonuses are minor and represent intense focus of effort or study. Well, the guild I'm talking about having the PCs join would require a handshake, a signature, the taking of an oath...and then months of intensive training.
Yes I want to incentivize them to join up and of course I will let them know what they might earn if they do, but I don't want the prize to be game breaking.
Now I notice that some of you hand out powers/abilities after milestones in your campaign arcs. Is that something common to PF APs or in PFS? I am also toying with this concept too. I have a scene coming up in my next adventure: an iconic fight thats been building over the last couple games. One PC has a hag ancestor and said hag has loomed over her whole life and specifically had a hand in her recent troubles.
The PCs are tracking the hag-related character's sister through the woods to "granny's" house. It will all come to a head when they finish her off; after she's reduced to dying she'll monologue about a mad queen trapped in the plane of shadow and the party will have the chance to put a wrench in the works if they can destroy a magic mirror. Said event will unleash a dramatic explosion and release weird radiation that will imprint some abilities into the party's items.
Cliche right? I know...
Anyway, in either instance do you think it would be better to work directly with the player to come up with the power/trait that THEY want or just assign one as I see fit?
I give out traits at predetermined campaign milestones.
The players get to choose one from a list, all of the options representing their experience during that chapter.
In a war of liberation against an invading nation, those bonuses might be extra damage, spell DC or bonuses to skills against members of that nation's army.
But if my player perform some special actions over a long time i give boni (powerwise like traits).
E.g. we had a campaign where we were on open sea for ~ 6 month, as everyone know that they will not travel to sea again in the future the players didn't raise "Profession (sailor)".
I gave all players a +1 trait bonus to "Profession (sailor)" after they finished the "open sea" part of the campaign.
I have occasionally given out free feats. Usually it is a weak one, such as exotic weapon proficiency for a weapon that is not really that great. I have also given the whole group certain feats to represent something from the past or being part of an organization. Usually the biggest hassle is remembering where the extra feats came from if we do a feat count.
With organizations, I prefer to give benefits like a bonus on skill checks or special favors. Those are fun and useful, but can be taken away if the player leaves the organization of falls into disfavor. In my homebrew campaign I give out reputation bonuses. The characters have not even made use of their reputation scores, but still like the reward for accomplishing something.
|Turin the Mad|
" (B) " after a feat works wonders for controlling power creep anxiety.
I rather like the idea of paying XP to get traits and feats. Traits are also ideal to award to reflect the campaign's trials and tribulations.
House Rule: 1 campaign trait +2 regular traits are gratis. Unlike the RAW on traits, however, I'll sometimes award 2 traits and even a campaign trait from a different campaign to some of the villains.
The other notion I use holds over from 1e in the form of "dual classing". (In this case, re starting a new campaign.) It has been a lot of fun to scrub back to 1st after "burning XP" to integrate feats and traits into the PCs to start anew. The rules of thumb are pretty simple: a new campaign means new class that is not the same "category" as the previous class / class combination. There are a few other guidelines, time does not permit codifying them into anything formal. Largely because I've never hard - coded the "rules" for this.
FWIW, there's a .pdf available through drivethrurpg and its mirrors called "Expansion for Level-based Character Progression" that caught my eye - go ahead and look it up, it's free!
Instead of outright giving PCs 'free' feats or skill-points or whatever, it posits awarding groups 0-4 'reward points' after every session - '0' would be if the PCs/players incessantly squabbled over everything and bungled the entire session IC and OOC, with '4' being if the party worked like a well-oiled machine and completed all of the session's objectives perfectly. Being designed for 3.5, the system allows a character to use reward points (RPs) to purchase skill-ranks (subject to normal rules about class skills and level limitations), feats (for a couple of sessions' worth of RP, provided the character meets all of the pre-requisites), or even increase attributes (at a cost that requires banking several sessions' worth of RP).
I think it looks pretty decent for addressing this sort of thing. Of course, I a] came to d20 gaming from Shadowrun, which is classless and uses Karma to allow much more free-form advancement and b] consider many PC classes to suffer from a criminal shortage of skill-points, particularly when the character concept includes a lot of RP-driven skill-choices, so YMMV.
|Please Don't Kill Me|
My GM did it in a creative manner. We played once a week but we continued to use the campaign boards here to do some actions in between scenarios. We finally got a ship and crew so when ever we where traveling long distances he would let us take "Ship Board Actions."
These actions could be used to do several things. The first was to improve our relationship with one of the crew members, who in turn could provide services for a discount or some other small bonus. Second, you could train a skill while on the voyage to get a bonus to it. And lastly, over several trips you could train yourself to pick up a feat.
The only thing was that you had to describe in detail what you wanted to do, and then he would give you a roll to make (using a skill or ability score as a modifier) and if beat the DC you either immediately got the bonus or made progress towards it (more often with the feats and relationship improvements).
I have to say it was really fun because it turned our once a night campaign into a week long affair and it granted us some cool abilities and bonuses the normal game mechanics don't allow for. No one gained a significant advantage over the other players, mostly because you where only allowed one action per trip.
Ok, then I'm asking for the "suggestions" part of this area of the forum please: what are some good traits? Here's what I've got in the party:
A dwarf fighter (unbreakable) who is a brewer in his spare time, also an alcoholic who has been very good about roleplaying the drinking like taking nips from an imaginary flask, slurring or describing drinking binges when he's not battering things with power attack/cleave/warhammer
A 1/2 elf wizard abjurationist who detects magic constantly, is very fond of his familiar, and in combat focuses on defensive party buffs while also using a crossbow or cantrips coupled with point blank shot
A human cleric of Erastil who is very good with a bow but also has had remarkable luck with her daggers, flirts with every boy and has lots of boyfriends as a "hobby"; furthermore she's just learned she's the granddaughter of a green hag
A human monk/bard devout of Saranrae with the dervish bard arch, weapon master monk and some approved swap in her weapon master swords to give her scimitar; she's notoriously clean having taken a vow of cleanliness and also uses tons of knowledge and "sneaky" skills though she's extremely naive
Finally we have a newcomer to the table: a 1/2 elven oracle, worshipper of Pharasma with the Time mystery and clouded vision. The homebrew also contains a corruptive evil called the Shadow and it's Enshrouded minions who can hide in plain sight, so the oracle has a trait granting him the ability to detect Shadow just as a paladin would detect evil; finally after one session he's proven himself highly competent at knowledge and (ironically) perception checks
What would you suggest?
Not sure that it will help really, but for our Kingmaker campaign our DM house ruled that we could create traits ourselves that gives us skills as class skills, following the guidelines given by a trait that does so.
He made sure to have us flavor it to our characters, explaining why we'd have it as a class skill.
Here's an example of one I had made and he had allowed.
When you were supposed to get training your mentor was out drinking himself into a stupor, but not before he locked away food and other important items that you would need to grow or survive. Therefore, you took matters into your own hands and taught yourself how to get past the locks and to the items.
You gain a +1 trait bonus on Disable Device checks, and Disable Device is always a class skill for you.
So, perhaps you can give your players some guidelines and let them make something that they believe fits them.