The State of Boons

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The State of Boons

Post  ZamuelNow on Wed Nov 20, 2013 9:27 pm

There's been discussion about what to do with Boons within the system and it bears asking what everyone's views of them are.  Perhaps it should be determined what the problem with them is and that can stem from a few possibilities:


  • Dislike of current boons. There's been discussion about the power, worth, and design of various boons which may affect interest in the system as a whole.
  • Player disagreement. Their status as a group reward forces a level of agreement that not all groups can achieve.  The biggest issue actually isn't a single dissenter but either split down the middle or everyone wanting something different.
  • Rigid reward structure. For something based off of the group's input and actions, it's given through the leveling system.  This is probably the one that would most lead to being a GM given reward since it could be restructured as something the team would get based off of action.
  • Silent majority. It's worth pointing out that there may not be much discussion about boons because people are mostly fine with their current state, barring individual nitpicks.
  • Rewards speed. It's been pointed out that most play by post games move far slower than tabletop so it's possible that many simply have less experience with them, especially if combined with the earlier concerns.


So, what does everyone want out of the system?
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Re: The State of Boons

Post  Quietkal on Wed Nov 20, 2013 9:57 pm

I've never really gotten to use any of the boons, with most of the campaigns dying before our group got there, so I don't think I can make much of a call on them.
Generally, however, I've always thought that they were neat in concept, but sort of stepped on the GM's toes as the majority seem like items or effects that the party should just naturally have accrued by level 3.
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Re: The State of Boons

Post  Hayatecooper on Wed Nov 20, 2013 10:40 pm

Boons are... ok?
Nothing special. Most Boons are chosen less for RP reasons and more for "Should we be able to re-roll nat 1's(And mess over carefully laid plans and or just make nat 1's a thing of the past) or Adorable assistant. That's on lvl 3, the higher ones are sorta the same decision as most are so very mechanical now.

The boons, again, IMO, are boring and don't really enhance gameplay apart from making it take forever to level up 3,6,9 cause of player disagreements. They don't add much, and just getting more combat or ut's would be more interesting.
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Re: The State of Boons

Post  A1C Bronymous on Wed Nov 20, 2013 11:00 pm

Seconded, sort of. Some of the higher level boons are really neat- rewriting someones memories, reincarnation of someone who died, and because of their limits, they have the capacity to be really cool game changers. However, most players are boring and tedious and dont take the cool 1/game world changers in favor of the multiple use insurance against failure ones. Honestly, If one or more party members already has Awesomeness, and the party takes Team Awesome, your basically never going to have crit fails ever again, and that ruins much of the depth and playability, not to mention DM plans.
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Re: The State of Boons

Post  sunbeam on Wed Nov 20, 2013 11:31 pm

I get the distinct impression that I've suggested this before, but I'm not certain and it's worth bringing up again.

What if we made the boons into an optional supplement, but instead of being part of the character's level-up sequence, they were part of a guide/compendium of magic artifacts that the DM can give the players? Things like Fan club can be converted into tips on how to make your party's rising fame help/hinder them, while items like the whirlygig can be given directly to the party and abilities like rewrite memories can be made into other magic items. People who want boons can have them, and we eliminate the issue of a party potentially arguing over which boon to pick (instead there are the much more entertaining in-character arguments over who gets to carry the new shiny thing).
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Re: The State of Boons

Post  A1C Bronymous on Thu Nov 21, 2013 12:43 am

The game does desperately need an economy/Noncombat/artifacts system. things that add to the noncombat side that can be assigned as rewards and loot, and aren't just available at level up or creation.
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Re: The State of Boons

Post  Quietkal on Thu Nov 21, 2013 12:48 am

Bronymous wrote:The game does desperately need an economy/Noncombat/artifacts system. things that add to the noncombat side that can be assigned as rewards and loot, and aren't just available at level up or creation.
^this^
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Re: The State of Boons

Post  tygerburningbright on Thu Nov 21, 2013 4:57 pm

Quietkal wrote:
Bronymous wrote:The game does desperately need an economy/Noncombat/artifacts system. things that add to the noncombat side that can be assigned as rewards and loot, and aren't just available at level up or creation.
^this^
Third-ed.
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Re: The State of Boons

Post  Xel Unknown on Thu Nov 21, 2013 7:20 pm

I thought there had been such a thing on the Dev's backburner... Like forever, shich the Items first game out... And junk...
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Re: The State of Boons

Post  Fury of the Tempest on Thu Nov 21, 2013 7:44 pm

Its a very strong idea, but at the same time... I think boons is a great idea, its just needs better implantation... like... I dunno... group wide elements? Team Awesome reminds me a lot of the Virtue of Reliability.
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Re: The State of Boons

Post  Philadelphus on Sat Nov 23, 2013 3:39 am

My take on boons: in theory, they're a wonderful idea. I remember that the first time I heard about them I thought they were a really cool concept, and there were (and are) some neat ideas among them. I thought they'd be a great chance to get parties working together to pick something that was more powerful or flavorful than anything an individual could get (barring a level 10 destiny feature).

Now, in theory there's no difference between theory and practice, but in practice, there is.

In my personal experience over two campaigns, boons just aren't that much fun. Their distinctive element of being group-owned and operated tends to cause problems. First of all, for each level, there's no shortage of boons, so it usually happens that not everyone wants the same boon. In theory this could lead to a nice team-growing episode where everyone talks it over and comes to a rational agreed-upon decision. In practice, you often end up with lots of talk between people who don't want to compromise, and even when a majority of people have come to agree on one boon there can still be one or two people who still want what they want.

The second problem is that boons are group-owned and operated, meaning that you need the group to agree each time you want to use them. Most of them are fairly limited use – some of them are even limited to a set number of times per campaign you can use them. This means that every time you want to use them, you have to get the group (or a majority of them) to agree, which may not be an easy thing, and brings the campaign to a screeching halt as everyone argues over whether we should use the Rewrite Memories ability on this NPC or save it "for when we really need it." It's almost worse with something that only has a daily limit, because you might be getting these discussions multiple times per session, and regardless of what the decision is, it slows the game down. This pertains more to the new boons with defined mechanical benefits, but it can also apply to the original ones as well (is one member of the team allowed to take the Airship out on a joyride without the others? If you find A Wondrous Treasure, who gets to carry it? etc.).

Finally, a third problem with boons has more to do with the level up scheme than boons themselves. For every level PCs gain that doesn't involve getting a boon, each individual party member gains a new non-combat ability – either a utility talent or part of their destiny. In my own case, this tends to produce an expectation that I will get a personal non-combat ability every level – and then I don't get that on the levels the party gets a boon. I get a trait, sure, but nothing that I personally have control over. This is, perhaps, a more minor quibble that the first two problems, but I can't help wondering how different boons would feel if at the same time the party got one each party member also got something personal (for example another utility talent, not that I'm advocating that). If everyone also got something to call their very own it might be easier to take getting something shared among everyone.

Anyway, those are my thoughts on why boons – a great idea on paper – just don't live up to their promise. As to what should be done with them, I haven't given it much thought, I just thought I'd attempt to show how changing them somehow might help make the system a bit more fun.

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Re: The State of Boons

Post  Legendary Star King on Tue Feb 23, 2016 1:09 pm

In my campaign, the Wondrous Treasure has been taken out and reworked as a rare magic loot table. Same talents are available, but instead of a single item the party only gets once, it's a 100-item table to be used on rare occasions.
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Re: The State of Boons

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