Comparing PFS Boons


Pathfinder Society


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I count five ways of getting a bonus in PFS that don't involve playing a Scenario, Module, or Quest. These have all been discussed individually in the past or are being discussed presently. I wanted to open a discussion on the comparison between them all and talk about what benefits each has to the Pathfinder Society Organized Play Campaign. Keep in mind, all of these benefits cost PFS development time with the exception of the t-shirts and folio.

Presented in order of appearance (I believe..)

Paizo T-shirts
Product Cost: $25
Deliverable: A t-shirt with a logo on it.
Bonus Granted: One d20 re-roll during each scenario.
Benefits to PFS: This may be trivial, but a lot of players really hate "losing" by the roll of a single die. Even if it's really a series of events that lead up to that moment, seeing that natural 1 on saving throw versus an effect that's likely to kill your character is seen as unfun. Having a re-roll helps eliminate that feeling, because if it happens again, well it's the dice's fault, not the game's.
Benefits to Paizo Publishing LLC: Visibility. The sales of the t-shirts likely produce little income (see old faction shirts...). The main draw here is visibility especially at conventions. Anyone at Gen Con this year remembers how many purple shirts they saw walking around the convention.

Pathfinder Tales
Product Cost: $10
Deliverable: A ~370 page softcover novel.
Bonus Granted: Usually some minor skill bonus in a specific region or a use once minor bonus to a certain race or type of creature. Also usually includes a rather expensive, but unique item available for purchase.
Benefits to PFS: Players who buy the books and play PFS may read the books and learn about a specific region and some notable NPCs in Golarion. This could help them become more emersed in the story elements of the PFS scenarios they play.
Benefits to Paizo Publishing LLC: In theory this helps sell more books, likely by picking up PFS players as subscribers.

Convention Boons
Product Cost: $0*
Deliverable: Nothing other than the boon (unless you count hanging out with friends a deliverable).
Bonus Granted: Races, Skill Bonuses, Traits, Proficiencies, Side Missions, other cool stuff.
Benefits to PFS: Helps organizers draw players to their convention.
Benefits to Paizo Publishing LLC: More players playing Pathfinder at conventions. Also, visibility. Nothing more awesome than looking into the PFS room at Gen Con when all the tables are packed with people playing Pathfinder. Essentially sums up as more people playing, thus more people buying the associated products that are used in PFS.

*:
The product cost is $0 because most of these boons are available at small conventions or large multi-day game days, some of which are free to play. I realize that going to most conventions is expensive. So what's really the cost? How much does it cost to organize a 15 table event? If you can get the space for 5 tables, you can run 3 slots in a single day. There's a lot of effort required here to make it "free." The other end of the spectrum is Wes flying from Australia to Gen Con. I think that costs a couple of dollars or so. Additionally, you're not even guaranteed a boon if you go to a convention, you usually get a CHANCE of getting one.

Character Folio
Product Cost: $10
Deliverable: "16 character-defining pages"
Bonus Granted: One d20 re-roll during each scenario even if your character isn't kept in that folio.
Benefits to PFS: See T-shirts above.
Benefits to Paizo Publishing LLC: Sales of the Character Folio?

Pathfinder Online MMO
Product Cost: $5
Deliverable: Nothing other than the boon.
Bonus Granted: Advanced Template for a scenario or some other permanent benefit to your character.
Benefits to PFS: "MMO players who try out PFS since they have a nifty boon." - A_D
Benefits to Paizo Publishing LLC: Help getting a kickstarter funded for a sister company so they can produce their MMO faster without the need for additional traditional funding.

None of my statements are meant to be definitive or entirely objective. They can't be. I want to explore the benefits further and cost vs. deliverable. Please keep it civil.

Silver Crusade

Benefits to PFS for the PFO Boon: MMO players who try out PFS since they have a nifty boon. The chartered company I'm a part of has several people planning on trying out PFS in the near future, more so now that they'll have a boon.


Alexander_Damocles wrote:
Benefits to PFS for the PFO Boon: MMO players who try out PFS since they have a nifty boon. The chartered company I'm a part of has several people planning on trying out PFS in the near future, more so now that they'll have a boon.

Thanks.

Sovereign Court 5/5 ⦵⦵

Kyle Baird wrote:
Alexander_Damocles wrote:
Benefits to PFS for the PFO Boon: MMO players who try out PFS since they have a nifty boon. The chartered company I'm a part of has several people planning on trying out PFS in the near future, more so now that they'll have a boon.
Thanks.

*Stops trying to figure out what kind of crazy CareBaird emoticon A_D is*

The Exchange

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Alexander_Damoncles, because it's his quote :-p


Shouldn't you add holiday boons to the list of "ways of getting a bonus in PFS that don't involve playing a Scenario, Module, or Quest"?


Yes, thank you! Will do tomorrow.

Sovereign Court Owner - Enchanted Grounds, President/Owner - Enchanted Grounds

There's the Beginner Box Bash boon. That was pretty cool (first ever chance at a tiefling or dhampir, I believe).


One of the first questions I saw regarding the kickstarter asked if there was any PFS goodness. It was kind of inevitable that it would get involved somehow. The barrier of entry to this boon is comparable to both the tales and holiday boons.

If the MMO did get published and they did something like give you a PFS boon if you completed a certain quest in the game, how would that be viewed? What if it was a code for something in the game if it was reported you played a certain scenario/module in PFS?

Theoretically to be able to play in PFS at all you have invested in the core assumption. There is a necessary investment (additional resources, can be shared in some ways) to get to play with certain classes, feats, etc. With content available in the pfrd the 'deliverable' for the additional resource could sometimes be less valuable to the PFS player than being able to play that feat/class in PFS.

It seems like PFS ought to be involved in the marketing of Pathfinder brand extensions, but it seems like it is tricky each time they try.

Grand Lodge

Kyle Baird wrote:
Benefits to Paizo Publishing LLC: Sales of the Character Folio?

Actually, this has another benefit for Paizo: People have been requesting something that gives a similar benefit as a shirt that doesn't require one to be able to wear it. This meets that requests and bolsters their image as a company that is responsive to the needs of its player base.

Grand Lodge

Drogon wrote:
There's the Beginner Box Bash boon. That was pretty cool (first ever chance at a tiefling or dhampir, I believe).

And even more useful in my view was the free resurrection you could get up to 16 Fame. I'm GMing for many starters and a good proportion of kids. It saved one or two of them with the very first character.

Sovereign Court Owner - Enchanted Grounds, President/Owner - Enchanted Grounds

Thod wrote:
Drogon wrote:
There's the Beginner Box Bash boon. That was pretty cool (first ever chance at a tiefling or dhampir, I believe).

And even more useful in my view was the free resurrection you could get up to 16 Fame. I'm GMing for many starters and a good proportion of kids. It saved one or two of them with the very first character.

Good point. I totally forgot that. What an awesome way to mitigate the "1st level is a death trap" feeling that seems to be prevalent these days.

Grand Lodge

Drogon wrote:


Good point. I totally forgot that. What an awesome way to mitigate the "1st level is a death trap" feeling that seems to be prevalent these days.

I regarded this one of the best ever boons for starting players. It allowed me as GM to 'teach' new players by not pulling punches when they acted foolish (because they didn't know better yet as new players).

I still saw tears on the occasions when I killed someone - but it was reversable - at least once. And this player didn't drop out from his friends.

Edit: And yes - seems season 4 could use one such boon for starting players again.


Holiday Boons
Product Cost: $0
Deliverable: None
Bonus Granted: Minor boons similar to Pathfinder Tales.
Benefits to PFS: Keeps hardcore forum people happy? Provides minor boons to game days to attract people in a given time-frame?
Benefits to Paizo Publishing LLC: Something similar to Conventions Boons above.

Liberty's Edge

.

Venture-Captain, Germany–Hannover aka Hayato Ken

Drogon wrote:
There's the Beginner Box Bash boon. That was pretty cool (first ever chance at a tiefling or dhampir, I believe).

There´s a boon for the beginner box? Where can i find that?

Grand Lodge

I'm not sure it is valid anymore.

5/5 ⦵⦵

It was available for people running the Beginner Box bash when it first came out, haven't heard of it since then.

Venture-Captain, Germany–Hannover aka Hayato Ken

Seems i should have reported those^^ Went through the trouble running my girlfriend through it along with some of her friends, which was really difficult, but still fun. If it´s Tiefling, it doesn´t matter anyway, since those are open.

Sovereign Court Owner - Enchanted Grounds, President/Owner - Enchanted Grounds

Hayato Ken wrote:
Seems i should have reported those^^ Went through the trouble running my girlfriend through it along with some of her friends, which was really difficult, but still fun. If it´s Tiefling, it doesn´t matter anyway, since those are open.

If you schedule it with Mike Brock he will still give you the package for the event. Keep in mind that he will want it to be more visible than a single table you run at home. So, an all day store event or a time slot of multiple tables at a convention. I know he will because he has given me permission to continue to hand out the boon if I run an event (not that I've taken him up on it, recently; I should).

The GM boon is two things.

1 - your choice of a race: tiefling or damphir, the latter of which is not available otherwise.

2 - A free raise dead that you can use without worrying about what Fame level you've achieved.

The players who participate in all four parts get a boon, as well: the free raise dead.

Liberty's Edge

Good to know. I have a friend that may look into this. He really wants a Damphir.

5/5

It was only available for the launch of the Beginner's Box - it is no longer valid.

BUT: maybe it should be, as part of the Kids' Track/Beginner's Box system, now that there is such a program? Perhaps only applicable to someone's first character, to avoid the "everyone-plays-BB-twelve-times-to-"legally"-get-free-raise-deads" we ran into the first time...

EDIT: Missed Drogon's point there - unfortunate. It was designed to help new players survive, not let experienced players save money on raise dead. (Although the racial boon is one that should be released separately, then.)


Drogon wrote:
If you schedule it with Mike Brock he will still give you the package for the event. Keep in mind that he will want it to be more visible than a single table you run at home. So, an all day store event or a time slot of multiple tables at a convention. I know he will because he has given me permission to continue to hand out the boon if I run an event (not that I've taken him up on it, recently; I should).

Hmmm. I could have sworn I received an official answer somewhere that the Beginner Box Bash was no longer a thing, but now I can't find it anywhere.

Sovereign Court Owner - Enchanted Grounds, President/Owner - Enchanted Grounds

Scott Young wrote:

It was only available for the launch of the Beginner's Box - it is no longer valid.

BUT: maybe it should be, as part of the Kids' Track/Beginner's Box system, now that there is such a program? Perhaps only applicable to someone's first character, to avoid the "everyone-plays-BB-twelve-times-to-"legally"-get-free-raise-deads" we ran into the first time...

EDIT: Missed Drogon's point there - unfortunate. It was designed to help new players survive, not let experienced players save money on raise dead. (Although the racial boon is one that should be released separately, then.)

Out of curiosity: what about my post makes you think I was setting up an assembly line situation for veteran players to get their free raise dead boons?

Patrick Harris@SD wrote:
Hmmm. I could have sworn I received an official answer somewhere that the Beginner Box Bash was no longer a thing, but now I can't find it anywhere.

Maybe it was just that I asked nicely?

It seemed to me, considering his reply, that he was thrilled that an organizer would want to continue to introduce new players and prospective RPGers to PFS via the Beginner Box Bash model. I asked him last fall if I could still schedule it and he said, "Absolutely." I asked him if the boon was still available to GMs and players, and he said, "Yes."

At the time, I was planning on filling a hole in my schedule with a "Learn to Play RPGs" day, and the Beginner Box Bash is a perfect model for that. I was also going to do some D&D Encounters, and some Mouse Guard sessions. Basically, kid and new player focused. Enticing GMs with that boon is a very powerful tool, and Mike seems to agree with that thought. Ultimately, I scrapped it because of something that got in the way (I don't recall what). But I've always kept it in the back of my mind, and will certainly ask him the same questions in the future.

Killing promotion by being draconian or exclusive seems like a poor way to market a company. I have seen no indication from Paizo that they operate that way. Quite the contrary, in fact: ask them for help and they gladly provide. It is why I champion their company at every chance I get.

Edit: And is why I think I will win my bet with you. (-;

Another Edit: I also recall when I first ran the BBB that the boon was like any other chronicle: a player could have it once, and a GM could apply it once. No "repeats" for this one, any more than there are "repeats" for Holiday Boons.

5/5

Sorry, Drogon, didn't mean to imply that your event was "assembly line". I see I jumped several steps of my so-called "logic" in my post. :)

I don't think it's draconian to not let everyone have free raise dead boons... it was a special event, it was designed for those new players and the GMs who helped teach them the game. If it's something that anyone can get without meeting those criteria, I don't think it's a good idea. BUt if they run a eral Beginners' event (with real beginners, not just the regular players filling the spots), then great.

I do think the BBB is a good idea, though, even without the Chronicle: we're using it (well, the GenCon Kids' Track, but we're calling it a beginners' session since it's not just for kids) in all of our cons this year as our intro table. Guess I should ask Mike if I can award a Chronicle for them - it was just going to be done for its own value.

And... what bet? Did I miss a post somewhere?


Drogon wrote:
Another Edit: I also recall when I first ran the BBB that the boon was like any other chronicle: a player could have it once, and a GM could apply it once. No "repeats" for this one, any more than there are "repeats" for Holiday Boons.

It's a transferrable boon like all other race boons--I'm not aware of any specific requirements re: applying it. Can you apply it without playing a Tiefling or Dhampir? That would be the only good way to spam free Raise Deads.

Scott Young wrote:
And... what bet? Did I miss a post somewhere?

http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2po43&page=5?Request-for-a-generic-GM-credi t-chronicle#250

Sovereign Court Owner - Enchanted Grounds, President/Owner - Enchanted Grounds

Scott Young wrote:
Sorry, Drogon, didn't mean to imply that your event was "assembly line". I see I jumped several steps of my so-called "logic" in my post. :)

No worries. I was grouchy, at first, but I knew you were just carrying that thought process out to its logical conclusion. Still gonna ask, though. (-:

Scott Young wrote:
I don't think it's draconian to not let everyone have free raise dead boons... it was a special event, it was designed for those new players and the GMs who helped teach them the game. If it's something that anyone can get without meeting those criteria, I don't think it's a good idea. BUt if they run a eral Beginners' event (with real beginners, not just the regular players filling the spots), then great.

Draconian was probably the wrong word. What I meant was the implication that Paizo was just going to say, "No," out-of-hand to anyone who asked about whether they could do the BBB. If they have a reason to deny the request (there was a time frame when it was valid, much like the Holiday Boons), then it's not a big deal. But there isn't. I think you just need to ask. And have a plan.

Like this:

Scott Young wrote:
I do think the BBB is a good idea, though, even without the Chronicle: we're using it (well, the GenCon Kids' Track, but we're calling it a beginners' session since it's not just for kids) in all of our cons this year as our intro table. Guess I should ask Mike if I can award a Chronicle for them - it was just going to be done for its own value.

This is an excellent reason to use those boons. I don't see why he would say no.

And, by the way, veteran players have a place at a BBB game: they are there to show the new players what it's like to really role play and get into the game. Don't sell that short. If they're willing to sit through a level 1 game and patiently explain how the PFRPG works to new players, there is no reason that they shouldn't get the boon.

Scott Young wrote:
And... what bet? Did I miss a post somewhere?

Patrick pointed it out. [shameless plug] I think it's worth pursuing. You have access to the super secret boards, and I'm sure you are aware that this kind of thing can only help grow the game. So, a little help?[/shameless plug] (-:

Patrick Harris@SD wrote:
It's a transferrable boon like all other race boons--I'm not aware of any specific requirements re: applying it. Can you apply it without playing a Tiefling or Dhampir? That would be the only good way to spam free Raise Deads.

Sure, it's transferable. But you can only apply it once. Just like any other boon. Once you've assigned, say, the damphir boon to a character, you cannot subsequently apply the tiefling boon to a different character. Likewise, you will not be able to apply the raise dead to a different character than the one you applied the race boon to. If, on the other hand, you apply the raise dead boon to a character, you do not have to apply the race boon. The race is a "may" ability, to borrow a phrase from Magic.

Edit: Now that I think about it, I don't think it is transferable. It says something along the lines of "your adventures and brushes with death have given you the ability to..." I'm pretty sure that's yours and not some random person you want to give it to. I could be wrong, but I know that, as a coordinator, I would be hesitant to sign off on that idea.


Drogon wrote:
Edit: Now that I think about it, I don't think it is transferable. It says something along the lines of "your adventures and brushes with death have given you the ability to..." I'm pretty sure that's yours and not some random person you want to give it to. I could be wrong, but I know that, as a coordinator, I would be hesitant to sign off on that idea.

That's just fluff, though. For this to be the only non-transferrable race boon, there would definitely need to be an explicit statement about same. To be fair, though, I do have a dog in this race; someone gave me theirs because they couldn't think of anything clever and I'm going to be introducing my new curoromancer soon.

I'd be okay with the rule that you can't have it more than twice, if that were a ruling that was published somewhere, although I'd want to be able to use Dhampir twice, especially since Tiefling isn't a boon race anymore. Specifically, though, I'd be okay with that ruling because I'd enjoy giving my extras away to people who wanted them. But this entire concept is academic, since I'm unlikely to encounter a BBB with boons unless I hit up your store, I think. ;)

Side note, where do you download the boon for this? It doesn't seem to be available on the Beginner Box page.

Sovereign Court Owner - Enchanted Grounds, President/Owner - Enchanted Grounds

Patrick Harris @ SD wrote:
Drogon wrote:
Edit: Now that I think about it, I don't think it is transferable. It says something along the lines of "your adventures and brushes with death have given you the ability to..." I'm pretty sure that's yours and not some random person you want to give it to. I could be wrong, but I know that, as a coordinator, I would be hesitant to sign off on that idea.

That's just fluff, though. For this to be the only non-transferrable race boon, there would definitely need to be an explicit statement about same. To be fair, though, I do have a dog in this race; someone gave me theirs because they couldn't think of anything clever and I'm going to be introducing my new curoromancer soon.

I'd be okay with the rule that you can't have it more than twice, if that were a ruling that was published somewhere, although I'd want to be able to use Dhampir twice, especially since Tiefling isn't a boon race anymore. Specifically, though, I'd be okay with that ruling because I'd enjoy giving my extras away to people who wanted them. But this entire concept is academic, since I'm unlikely to encounter a BBB with boons unless I hit up your store, I think. ;)

I think the problem we're running into is the word choice, again. It's not a boon, it's a chronicle. Unlike the "boons" handed out at convention, you earn this chronicle by playing in a specific event. Thus, like a chronicle given to you after playing in a scenario, it is specific to you. Think of it like the chronicle you get from We Be Goblins. You can't give that to anyone either. Yes, it's different in that it doesn't give an XP, but it is the same in the sense that it is a "Chronicle." That is also why you can only have one as a player and one as a GM.

Make sense?

Patrick Harris wrote:
Side note, where do you download the boon for this? It doesn't seem to be available on the Beginner Box page.

You don't. You have to schedule the event and Mike Brock gives you access to the download package.


Drogon wrote:
I think the problem we're running into is the word choice, again. It's not a boon, it's a chronicle. Unlike the "boons" handed out at convention, you earn this chronicle by playing in a specific event. Thus, like a chronicle given to you after playing in a scenario, it is specific to you. Think of it like the chronicle you get from We Be Goblins. You can't give that to anyone either. Yes, it's different in that it doesn't give an XP, but it is the same in the sense that it is a "Chronicle." That is also why you can only have one as a player and one as a GM.

Good call on separate categories, but this clearly is the former. You can only earn it at an event (even if it's a small recurring event), which makes it a con boon. You can apply it to any character in your stable, like a boon. You can't just decide download it; it comes from Mike Brock, like a con boon. And it assigns neither XP or PP, although I guess Quest Chronicles are muddying the waters there.

So if it looks like a duck and sounds like a duck, I generally check the label--and the page I have says "Beginner Box Bash GM Boon." Which means it's a boon. :)

Grand Lodge 4/5 Regional Venture-Coordinator, Great Lakes aka TwilightKnight

As I recall, the "special" boons with the no cost raise dead ("Death Walker") was specifically for those who played/GM'd all four Beginner Box delves/demo's during the product release "bash". It was not intended to be used after that. Furthermore, it was limited to one chronicle per player/GM. Of course, I could be wrong, but that is what my understanding was/is.

Sovereign Court Owner - Enchanted Grounds, President/Owner - Enchanted Grounds

As you said, you have a horse in this race, so I understand your arguments.

But I promise you it's to be treated like a chronicle. I looked up my instruction sheet, and here is the language they use:

Quote:
We also know a Game Master’s time is valuable. Since those volunteering to make your Beginner Box Bash event a success will not have the chance to play in any demos and complete their demo checklists, be sure to thank them for their time and effort by awarding anyone who runs all four demos (or the same demo four times) a special Pathfinder Society Organized Play Chronicle sheet as well.

Sorry, Patrick, but your argument cuts both ways. And, seeing as you didn't run the demos, you should not have the sheet.

The instructions on handing out the sheet for the player boon also uses the words "Chronicle Sheet." It goes on to instruct me that the only way the players can get them is to play in all four adventures. I am supposed to explain what a "Chronicle Sheet" is, how to earn them, and what the rules are to apply them to characters.

It's even a reportable event that you earn credit for GMing.

Edit: More proof, from the promotional material:

Quote:
For completing all four demo adventures offered as part of the Beginner Box Bash, you’ll receive a special reward to use in the Pathfinder Society Organized Play campaign. This record sheet (called a Chronicle) grants whatever character within the campaign a special boon not available to regular players. With this special Chronicle your character of choice can receive a free casting of raise dead when fate works against you or a poor decision leaves you on the wrong side of 0 hit points. Aren’t sure how this works? No problem, your fellow players and your Pathfinder Society Game Master will help you with any questions you might have, either about this special prize or general Pathfinder Roleplaying Game inquiries. ©

Heh. There's even a little copyright tag.

I remember the discussions that happened around that time, asking how many sheets you could earn. The answer was the same answer we get when we ask how many chronicles you can get from a scenario: one for playing and one for GMing.


Hmmm.

Sovereign Court Owner - Enchanted Grounds, President/Owner - Enchanted Grounds

Bob Jonquet wrote:
As I recall, the "special" boons with the no cost raise dead ("Death Walker") was specifically for those who played/GM'd all four Beginner Box delves/demo's during the product release "bash". It was not intended to be used after that.

This is not correct, however.

Once again, I was given permission to both run the Bash and give out the chronicle sheets over a year after the initial event. Obviously, it has been eight months since then so things may have changed, but as of last fall I was being allowed to do a repeat of this event.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Pathfinder Society Campaign Coordinator

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The BB Bash Chronicle sheets for players and GMs is not currently available to be issued. John and I have a new GM and player Chronicle on our list of things to do.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Regional Venture-Coordinator, Great Lakes aka TwilightKnight

Drogon wrote:
This is not correct, however

I disagree. You may have received special approval to offer the chronicles after their official time window, but that does not invalidate the intention that they are not to be used outside of the original Beginner's Box Bash event. My original comments were directed at the general membership.

Sovereign Court Owner - Enchanted Grounds, President/Owner - Enchanted Grounds

Bob Jonquet wrote:
Drogon wrote:
This is not correct, however
I disagree. You may have received special approval to offer the chronicles after their official time window, but that does not invalidate the intention that they are not to be used outside of the original Beginner's Box Bash event. My original comments were directed at the general membership.

Agreed. I went searching for information while Patrick and I were debating, and discovered the December 15th end date on that event. I wasn't even aware of that, or I never would have even asked last fall.

So, I guess it was because I asked nicely. My mother was right. (-;

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