Do you like evil boons?


Pathfinder Society

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Silver Crusade

Finlanderboy wrote:
Andrew Christian wrote:


Certainly some good stuff here. But Raistlin was all the way evil.

What about Zarta?

Lawful Evil. That's been confirmed in several published sources (just about any scenario she's appeared in).

She's not the only evil recurring NPC aligned with the Society, either. And I'm not even talking about those who have betrayed the Society.

Silver Crusade

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For what it's worth, I agree with just about everything Harold said.

Silver Crusade 5/5

I don't think one group of people with a differing play style should get to dictate what shows up in PFS scenarios. John and the PFS crew have been doing excellent work for a good while now, and I trust them to keep doing an awesome job. I get the people that don't want evil boons in PFS, but those boons are optional, nobody is forcing them to accept those boons. That having been said, optional ways for Pathfinder to be able to do good above and beyond the constraints of the main mission, would be cool too.

Silver Crusade

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Not dictating anything. He asked for opinions, and he is getting them.

Dark Archive 5/5

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

Do you like these?

Meaningful choices are the core of any game. I'm a fan of options.

Have I taken them? Yes and no, based on the character and the power of the boon. Temptation works. :-) The Warden's boon, in the right case, would be very interesting to the right character. When I ran it, no one took it...but our main martial character was a paladin, and our second was a magus. I felt the warden's boon's long term effect was thematic and cool.

Long term trade offs are important. An atonement is a good first step for weaker evil boons. For stronger boons, there should be more consequences. I think a good trade off would be if you can't (easily) gain similar bonuses from an item, you should pay for it in additional ways. These could be trading a trait slot, a feat slot, a class ability, more atonements, ongoing prestige, money, spellcasting, or...perhaps something you can find on chronicle sheets to power it up for X number of scenarios. Or something corrupting...permanently sacrifice a trait/feat/class feature to temporarily power it up. With some kind of power source, another decision happens: use your powerful but limited ability, or risk death.

Ultimately, I feel that any piece of power earned should be paid for in some way.

Ideas:

We've talked a lot about good and evil...what of chaos and insanity? One of my favorite characters I role play that he has hallucinations. What if a boon gives a benefit, but also some form of insanity, or drawback? Perhaps a chance-based disability? For example Roll a 1, trigger a drawback 1/scenario.

1/5

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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Glav wrote:


Ideas:

We've talked a lot about good and evil...what of chaos and insanity? One of my favorite characters I role play that he has hallucinations. What if a boon gives a benefit, but also some form of insanity, or drawback? Perhaps a chance-based disability? For example Roll a 1, trigger a drawback 1/scenario.

This runs into a very different and very REAL issue with mental health concerns, as well as griefing possibilities.

If there's a chance-based disability to say, 'get confused' under *insert trigger here*, then it could be abused to engage in 'legit PvP'.

ie, 'I couldn't help murderhoboing the rest of the party, not my fault my negative aspect of my boon kicked in!'

From the mental health perspective, there have been several threads that have addressed the idea of having characters with mental health issues, and it came back around to it sort of 'being a jerk' to someone who *does* have a mental health issue IRL.

Not all insanity is Chaos, and to place that as an equivalency is sort of misguided.

An exceptionally strict Lawful person could be even more deranged than a Chaotic one, with a very taut philosphy that brooks no wavering.

Silver Crusade 5/5

Evie Smith wrote:
Not dictating anything. He asked for opinions, and he is getting them.

I respect your right to your opinion, even though I disagree with it. That's one of the good things about this thread, is that this is hard proof that John and the rest of PFS leadership is listening and that they care about our opinions. I just think that saying you back someone that is going after leadership for actually having the audacity to ask our opinions on this matter is not the best call.

To clarify/sum up my own thoughts after 150+ post in this thread, I'm okay with having evil boons, as long as we get chances to do good and earn boons for taking the high road (especially when it is the harder choice).

Silver Crusade

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Hence the qualifier in my earlier statement of support.

I do agree with your last statement in that I would likely have an easier time accepting more evil boons if I felt good characters were getting equivalent attention. I've really liked how the faction choices in season 7 have given you boons for either choice, and I want to see more of that (some of the boons are not quite equivalent in effectiveness, but that problem is more of implementation than anything).

I will say it again: I don't think it's asking much to have the campaign cater to people who want to play good characters as well as it does for people who want to straddle the line. My fantasy is just as valid as yours, and I don't like feeling as though I'm somehow ostracizing myself from the group in order to play the game in a way I enjoy. We have had several people in this thread express how they felt pressured by their tables into taking evil boons, and I don't want to see that happen again.

Speaking of those particular boons, while John said:

John Compton wrote:
I lean strongly toward requiring one to give up an evil boon's benefits before atonement can wipe away its drawbacks.

I would like an unambiguous clarification as to how those particular boons should be ruled in regards to atonements.

Dark Archive 5/5

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Wei Ji the Learner wrote:
Glav wrote:


Ideas:

We've talked a lot about good and evil...what of chaos and insanity? One of my favorite characters I role play that he has hallucinations. What if a boon gives a benefit, but also some form of insanity, or drawback? Perhaps a chance-based disability? For example Roll a 1, trigger a drawback 1/scenario.

This runs into a very different and very REAL issue with mental health concerns, as well as griefing possibilities.

If there's a chance-based disability to say, 'get confused' under *insert trigger here*, then it could be abused to engage in 'legit PvP'.

I agree that a pure mental illness as an effect would be in bad taste. I'd assume the designers would build the boons in such a a way that it limits the effects, like every other item or boon that had a drawback. It could be a stated spell-like ability, a status condition, with a specific duration (die-roll rounds, next encounter, etc.) or some other stated effect (e.g., temporarily can't consider anyone an ally for the purposes of flanking and teamwork feats.) As with most other effects with downsides, anything that would inflict a status that the player is immune to would nullify the effect of the boon.

Quote:

Not all insanity is Chaos, and to place that as an equivalency is sort of misguided.

An exceptionally strict Lawful person could be even more deranged than a Chaotic one, with a very taut philosphy that brooks no wavering.

Absolutely, but they can be, and exploring some of that "descent into madness" from lovecraftian style fiction might be an interesting way to introduce some new boons, especially with Horror Adventures right around the corner.

The idea of "chance" or "Freedom" could be explored with a purely chaotic boon, but I'd want to avoid "rod of wonder" like effects.

Venture-Captain, Germany–Hannover aka Hayato Ken

Andrew Christian wrote:
Benjamin Falk wrote:

Here are some thoughts:

-many people seem to imply playing a CN character is actually playing an evil character. I think that´s wrong and offensive. CN is a distinct alignment with a clear write up and totally worthy playing of it´s own.
-when a player has a CN (or other alignment character, because the same is possible with LN or N alignment and those are much closer to some very interesting evil gods...), but plays evil, then it´s a player problem, the problem of one certain person and should be handled as such by eventually marking of that character as evil and unplayable.
-most players i know and have seen who want to play an "evil" character aren´t actually playing an evil character, they want to play a struggle and fiddle with dark forces, so they are really better off playing a neutral character. That´s a 100% legal concept and quite often seen in the most thrilling literature. Probably the most famous character like that is one from very iconic novels in the RPG genre, Raistlin Majere from Dragonlance.
-I have seen more jerkish paladins than jerkish CN characters so far.
-If you want to have a black and white game world that´s fine. Please accept that others have their own ideas though and all have to cooperate within PFS. (And your homegames most likely win a lot when you cooperate there too. We have a very interesting Mummys Mask game going on with an UC summoner and an undead eidolon, who wants to head the call of Urgathoa, and a calistrian warpriest and life oracle on the other side, who want to defend life and especially the living, for various reasons. Not to mention that there are cursed half-undead party members, what makes channeling positive energy very difficult often.)

Certainly some good stuff here. But Raistlin was all the way evil.

I disagree^^

As far as i remember, Raistlin pursued his own goals, sometimes at the cost of others, yes. He also used evil powers. In game terms, that makes him evil, no doubt.
Yet, he cooperated and often saved his friends, other people and even worlds. That´s not all the way evil in my book.
In fact, that might even be called good.
And i saw many people playing Paladins not cooperating, saving other people and pursuing only their own goals, at the cost of others, sometimes simply with the excuse that those would be evil, because they do "x".
There´s more than one shade of each alignment step. Good and evil aren´t as black and white as some people want them to be, neither ingame nor outgame.
The fact that a nation like Rahadoum exists which denies all gods the right to fiddle with mortal lives very much prooves this.

3/5

Evie Smith wrote:

Hence the qualifier in my earlier statement of support.

I do agree with your last statement in that I would likely have an easier time accepting more evil boons if I felt good characters were getting equivalent attention.

Something we can agree on.

Some of us who are pro-evil boons are not opposed to good-boons. The existence of these types of boons help assist with the game design concept "meaningful choices" (and also assist with giving a more structured reward in the form of a boon for accepting some of the restrictions of the alignment system, but that would be a whole longer thread).

Evie Smith wrote:
I will say it again: I don't think it's asking much to have the campaign cater to people who want to play good characters as well as it does for people who want to straddle the line.

Who is saying otherwise?

The point was that PFS isn't the "good guy organization" and has not been since its inception. It is an organization with widespread influence and within that organization are good and evil people. Those who are good may be using their influence to have the society promote the cause of good. Those who are not may do things like promote their own agendas such as a drive for financial success, information, or influence. It's almost like there's already a whole faction system in place to do just that.

Evie Smith wrote:
My fantasy is just as valid as yours, and I don't like feeling as though I'm somehow ostracizing myself from the group in order to play the game in a way I enjoy.

That always sucks. I can sympathize. People assume that because I like lawful evil characters (in home games, not PFS, obviously), I'm somehow out to get them rather than assuming that I'm playing sociopaths with hyper efficiency complexes that see their party members as the most valuable things in the universe. Meanwhile, if someone wants to play a paladin, it's the person who is wanting to play an evil character who is often viewed to be in the wrong since the paladin can't play with them due to their paladin's code.

Evie Smith wrote:

Speaking of those particular boons, while John said:

John Compton wrote:
I lean strongly toward requiring one to give up an evil boon's benefits before atonement can wipe away its drawbacks.
I would like an unambiguous clarification as to how those particular boons should be ruled in regards to atonements.

I think the alignment boons already in existence spell out how they function mechanically. My takeaway from John's statement was in how future boons might be worded, not a change in how existing boons on sheets might change.

Lantern Lodge 3/5

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Nope, didn't like the evil boons.

They make you feel like you are being punished for playing good characters.

I had good PCs reject them for roleplay and felt being cheated for doing so.

1/5

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The other side of the GOTCHA part of a Boon that's evil in a campaign where NO EVIL ALLOWED! is that it becomes either an automatic character retirement device (which shouldn't be called a Boon at that point, but rather a Bane?) or it diminishes and cheapens the value of an Atonement (as already noted).

Now if there were some 'good' boons out there, that would force 'neutral' followers of an 'evil' deity to engage in a little quid pro quo.

This could also lead to 'neutral' boons that force anyone that's not neutral either on the Lawful-Neutral-Chaos or Evil-Neutral-Good Depending on the item, of course to pay for them in some way, too?

Lantern Lodge 5/5

The problem with "good boons" is that neutral (or even evil!) would likely do whatever is required, for the sheer benefit of it.

What kind of task/benefit would be "too good to be worth it" for someone who cares not for others?

Silver Crusade

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Jeff Hazuka wrote:

The problem with "good boons" is that neutral (or even evil!) would likely do whatever is required, for the sheer benefit of it.

What kind of task/benefit would be "too good to be worth it" for someone who cares not for others?

Rather than have good boons be things like "oh, you shift one step towards good," I would have them be tied to binary actions/effects, like monk vows or specific tenets of a paladin/cavalier code. Just off the top of my head, one could make it so your spells are more powerful against evil enemies (higher CL, better against SR, whatever) but you are not allowed to cast or willingly benefit from spells or magic items with the evil descriptor (so no evil summons, infernal healing, etc). Another could make you better at damaging/hitting evil things, but you get sickened if you ever kill a non-evil person.

I'm not a game designer, but it seems to me stuff along those lines would be relatively easy to track and would be sufficiently annoying to many neutral and borderline evil PCs that they wouldn't take them.

Silver Crusade

Quote:
  • Do you enjoy seeing these boons on Chronicle sheets?
  • Has one of your PCs ever taken one?
  • Where do you feel the right balance is between power and drawbacks when handling these evil boons (e.g. benefits should be stronger, drawbacks should be stronger, the two should be roughly equal, or any variation on these)?
  • Do you have any other thoughts on the matter?
  • Nothing new to add but did want to chime in. I definitely enjoyed the 'evil boons' I've encountered so far. I've yet to actually acquire any of them because the good aligned characters I was playing at the time flatly refused to partake in them. There was some disappointment when I found out how powerful the effects were which felt 'inaccessible' to good characters but I would still make the same in-character decision. On the other hand, I have a lawful evil deity worshipping LN intimidate build tiefling samurai who would love to get his hands on an evil boon, even if it is nothing but flavor. I like how some boons crystalize some of the choices my characters make and can be a vehicle for greater roleplaying.

    To that end, I think it would be nice, as others have mentioned, to support other playstyles, beyond evil or with good 'as its own reward'. It is important not to trivialize such choices like Pally's atoning for that time they wanted to go alignment slumming. I believe power should be balanced with drawbacks OR at least difficulty to acquire. The drawback should not only come into play in a completely separate scenario. (Too easy to avoid, on purpose or otherwise).

    I also liked Magfire's suggestion of a good option to redeem evil. Same boon, different options to acquire it, less writing intensive.

    Another thought that I want to share (which I will immediately shoot down, but still wanted to share):

    Alignment cards that function like faction cards. In short, the more you stay true to your alignment you pick up some modest perks.

    Now, some of the reasons an alignment card might be a terrible idea are 1) it's yet more paperwork to track, audit, etc... 2) it will likely start to pigeonhole a lot of roleplaying saying that all LN's must act this way or that this is what it means to be CG etc...

    But, food for thought.

    p.s. - Thanks for the awesome work and reaching out to the community for feedback!

    Sovereign Court 5/5 Venture-Captain, Canada—Manitoba aka Kess, Humble Servant of Abadar

    I intentionally thought about this for some time before providing my opinion to John.

    1. Do I enjoy seeing evil-themed boons on chronicle sheets. Not particularly. Personally, as far as PFS goes, I have few characters who would ever consider such an evil item, so no skin off my nose. Did I feel cheated because my character didn't eat the cookie? Again, not really. The in-game price for him was too high and he didn't like who he'd have to thank for it. Would the benefit have been nice to have? Of course, don't be silly. For me, evil-boons feel like it would better suit a home game, since long-term consequences of being evil could be fully fleshed out, same with resisting those temptations. In PFS, that story-thread doesn't necessarily follow-through for the character, so there are potentially no consequences for the evil choice.

    2. No. Never. The characters I've had that have had the choice willfully chose not to take them because they are evil.

    3. I liked the Warden's boon in terms of drawbacks. I think it was better done that those of season 4, where it was simply an insignificant gold expenditure to obtain a really strong mechanical bonus.

    4. As far as Good boons go, I'd like to be able to actually tithe, or donate money to charities in-game. Might one-day there be a boon from it? Who knows, maybe. That's not the point. The point is my characters could choose to do good on Golarion for good's sake.
    Heck, the bonus could even be as simple as improved starting attitudes on NPCs because you're known as the hero who donated money to help rebuild the orphanage, or something to that effect, in a later scenario. Evil often provides greater rewards because evil's intention is to corrupt. Good's rewards should be reward enough, though often manifest themselves in small, yet profound ways.

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