Boons & Banes

I like the advantage system but I don’t really track it very well.  So I am going to keep that system as is and dish out the reward as needed, but since I am inattentive to it, I am reintroducing Fate Points from my previous campaigns (stolen from WFRP back in 1987) as I feel that suits the theme of my homebrew setting much more since its more mythic fantasy (Conan the Barbarian) than medieval fantasy (Lord of the Rings).

Edit 20012019: This has gone through a few iterations.  Latest version replaces inspiration entirely and renamed from “Fate Cards” to “Boons & Banes”. Name stolen from Shadow of the Demon Lord.


Fate is the essential difference that marks you as an adventurer, rather than an ordinary run-of-the-mill citizen.  Adventurer characters have a destiny, a mission, a definite goal in life. You may not be aware of what this is. It may not be very glorious, it may not even be particularly pleasant, but you are is marked out by the gods to do it – whatever it is.

Because you are marked by destiny, you are unlikely to be cut in two by the first goblin to swing an axe in your direction – you are marked for better things!  To represent this, characters are allotted a number of boons, which can be used during the game to save them from serious injury or death.    With this option, a character starts with 1 boon at 1st level. Each time the character gains a level, he loses any unspent boons and gains a new total equal to half his character’s level (rounding down, minimum of 1).

A boon allows the character to add a d6 to any d20 roll they make. A bane imposes a -d6 on any d20 roll. This can be declared after the roll is made but before the results are known. A d20 can only be modified once by a boon or bane die. Both are represented by tokens. A player can spend a token in the following ways:

  • 1 token can be used as a boon on any d20 roll.
  • 1 token can be used to turn the failed death saving throw into a success.
  • 1 token can be used as a boon or bane on another creatures d20 roll (so any PC, NPC or Mob).
  • 1 token can be used along with a bonus action to spend a Hit Dice to heal themselves.  The healing effect of this hit die is maximised.
  • 1 token may be used to gain an additional reaction.
  • 1 token may be used to “have a flash of insight” to automatically figure out a problem – like a puzzle, or remembering a bit of relevant historical information etc.
  • 2 tokens may be used to score a critical hit.
  • 3 tokens can be consumed to get an automatic success on any d20 roll – to hit, ability check, skill check or saving throw.
  • All tokens can be used to change the narrative and overrule the DM (minimum of 1 token per PC, DM’s discretion).

PCs may earn boons (or banes) if they play within their alignment and/or some other character trait like a bond or flaw. They are also rewards from defeating powerful enemies.

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