Boons and Discoveries
When the adventurers overcome a great obstacle or are triumphant in the face of a difficult struggle they deserve to be rewarded. Boons and discoveries are a different way for Narrators to reward the party, and although they sometimes result in coin or an enchanted trinket, their greater purpose is to make journeys all the more memorable.
When the party gains a boon or discovery, the Narrator can invent one or roll 1d10 on the following table. Note that not all boons and discoveries are appropriate for all tiers of play, and the Narrator should reroll when a reward is too powerful (for a lower tier party) or insignificant (for higher tier adventurers).
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Boons and Discoveries (1d10)
1 Animal: An animal accompanies the adventurers for the rest of this region.
2 Blessing: The adventurers receive divine or local favor.
3 Follower: The adventurers gain a temporary follower who aids them in some way.
4 Herbs and Medicinals: The adventurers find some rare herbs or medicinals .
5 Route: The adventurers discover a shortcut, reducing their journey time by 1 day (to a minimum of 1 day).
6 Secret: The adventurers learn some rare or secret information.
7 Shelter: The adventurers find a cave or other location which can be used as a haven.
8 Supply: The adventurers find Supply equal to 1d4 + 1 Supply per adventurer.
9 Treasure: These discoveries are either coins, valuables, or magic items.
10 Other: Roll on the Unusual Items table.
Animals which accompany the adventurers typically do so for as long as they remain in this region. The animal assists in combat, uses its senses and other abilities to aid the adventurers, and if large enough will allow the adventurers to use it as a mount. When bloodied, a boon animal flees.
The Challenge Rating of the animal is based on the region’s tier. Select one animal appropriate to the environment, or one animal per adventurer from a lower tier.
A boon animal does not generally possess intelligence greater than those of a regular animal of its type, but there is a 50% chance that an animal understands basic commands and engages in crude attempts at communication.
Flying animals such as birds are especially good at warning adventurers of impending danger, and additionally grant advantage on ability checks made to avoid being surprised .
The Narrator is encouraged to invent colorful or thematic ways for the animal to be introduced. Some examples follow.
- A bear cub or other young animal follows the party.
- A hunting hawk tangled in a branch because of the jesses on its legs. If freed, the party gains its loyalty.
- A flock of birds takes off and flies in an ominous pattern, accompanying the adventurers and warning of danger.
- A large feline stretches, yawns, and moves its tail aside to reveal kittens.
- Cow wearing a bell engraved with the name ‘Osiress, Death to all She Sees’.
- A very plump rodent is stuck in its burrow. If freed it loyally follows the party.
- The party finds well-trained mounts or labor animals (one per adventurer) appropriate to their environment such as axe beaks in grasslands, camels in a desert, elephants in the jungle, or giant spiders in Underland, but no sign of the beasts’ previous tenders. The creatures return home when released or left unmonitored.
- A court of fey have been watching the adventurers from afar and are amused by their success, rewarding each of them with giant elks that are loyal mounts until the party leaves the region.
Boon Animals Examples
Tier 0 (CR 0 0–½) Ape , axe beak , baboon , black bear , camel , cat , eagle , wolf
Tier 1 (CR 1–2) Brown bear , dire wolf , giant eagle , giant spider , hippogriff , lion , raptor , tiger , giant boar , polar bear , giant elk , saber-toothed tiger
Tier 2 (CR 3–4) Ankylosaurus , griffon , winter wolf , elephant
Tier 3 (CR 5–6) Mammoth , triceratops
Tier 4 (CR 7–8) Giant ape , tyrannosaurus rex
The gods are pleased with the party’s actions. These boons are sometimes the result of divine favor, or sometimes reflect approval of local communities.
Blessing Boons (1d12)
1 The adventurers discover an enchanted spring. When a creature consumes water directly from the spring, for the next hour it gains advantage on Strength checks and doubles its carrying capacity. Water that is bottled or otherwise stored for later retains this blessing for only 1 hour.
2 Spirit who wants to give the adventurers a gift. The item appears to be extremely mundane, but has an immense situational benefit (such as an arrow of dragon slaying or waterskin with a secret compartment holding a potion of superior healing ).
3 Something the party did not intend frees a trapped spirit or undoes an ancient curse, granting each of them good fortune for 1 week. While an adventurer has good fortune, the next time they roll a natural 1 on a d20 they reroll the die, expending their good fortune.
4 The party witnesses an aurora in the night sky that rejuvenates them, granting the benefits of a long rest after they complete their next short rest.
5 Butterflies follow the party. If an adventurer holds out a finger, a butterfly lands on it and they gain an expertise die on their next saving throw . Once 1d4+1 butterflies have granted this boon the rest disappear.
6 The next time the party uses healing magic the location around them becomes a holy site infused with radiant power. The faithful begin traveling far and wide to rest at this site. Any living creature that spends 24 hours in the area regains 2d4 hit points.
7 One adventurer finds an important trophy or trinket that grants them inspiration (though they lose the keepsake after the inspiration is used).
8 An air elemental impressed by the party lightens their burdens. Each adventurer increases their Speed by 5 feet until the next time they finish a short or long rest .
9 The adventurers find a book filled with stories about their quests and successes. Once per week, a new paragraph appears on its pages and after reading it one PC gains an expertise die on an ability check (whichever member of the party chooses to use it first).
10 One of the adventurers gets bitten by an insect that leaves a wound in a geometric shape which won’t go away. The next time they fail a Wisdom saving throw against a spell, they succeed instead and the bite mark disappears.
11 Clouds of pollen (well known to locals) permanently stain the cuffs and hems of the party’s clothing. The party gains an expertise die on Charisma checks made against people local to the area.
12 Some people that witnessed the adventurers overcome the obstacle tell everyone about it, and for the next month the PCs gain an expertise die on Charisma checks made in this region.
To randomly flesh out the follower’s heritage, name, and other details, see Social Encounters. The expertise of the follower is based on the region’s tier (tier 0–1: inexperienced, tier 2–3: seasoned, tier 4: expert). A boon follower typically remains with the party until they leave the current region.
Boon Followers (1d20)
15 The party meets a traveling trade caravan or circus which journeys with them, sharing their meals in exchange for help on the road and the security offered in numbers.
16 The party gains a fan who asks them for a new story or autograph or souvenir at every turn. This might be a merchant, a young traveler, or just a commoner in a town that gets a lot of foot traffic. While the fan is with them, the adventurers’ Prestige rating is increased by 1 point.
17 The ghost of a fallen traveler finds the party and haunts them, pulling harmless pranks such as blowing off their hats and scaring their pack animals. Despite this, the ghost warns the party of danger and can answer questions about the region.
18 A friendly nature spirit takes a liking to the party and leads them towards safe paths with pleasant smells or other signs or wards them away from danger with bad odors or noises. While in this region, the adventurers gain an expertise die on Survival checks made to find their way.
19 A pixie decides to tag along with the party until it gets bored.
20 A wandering knight travels with the party for a while, regaling them with stories about their heroic deeds.
Herbs and Medicinals
The party discovers a small patch of vegetation that can be harvested and used as an herbal remedy or potion.
Herbs and Medicinal Discoveries (1d20)
1 1d4 doses of adderwort which can be prepared to make adderwort roots.*
2 1d6 doses of fairy cap.
3 1d6 doses of ironwood acorn.*
4 1d4 doses of lavender which can be crushed into lavender paste.*
5 10 doses of spiderbulb which can be made into pressed spiderbulb.*
6 1d4 doses of sycamore, the petals of which can be made into a poultice.*
7 1d6 doses of yewclaw which can be prepared to make dried yewclaw bark.*
8 1 dose of antitoxin.*
9 1 rare magewrist flower. When a creature uses a bonus action to inhale the flower’s magical pollen, the next spell it casts within 1 minute increases in range by one step (from self to touch, touch to short, and so on). The spell must have a casting time of 1 action.
10 2d4 flower blossoms with healing properties. A creature can use a bonus action to eat one of the blossoms and regain 1d6 hit points.
11 1 very rare dose of angelus root which can cure any nonmagical disease.*
12 1 dose of moon clovers, which undead cannot come within 10 feet of. Once picked, this plant permanently loses its efficacy in 1 week.
13 A patch of 1d4 saffron lilies. A creature can use a bonus action to eat a saffron lilly and gain resistance to poison damage for one hour.
14 2d4 fireroots. It takes an hour to crush and prepare one of these warm, red roots, but when ingested they provide immunity to the effects of cold weather until the creature has taken a long rest.
15 Leeches sufficient to fill one jar.
16 A mix of rare ingredients which can be combined to make a single dose of laudanum.*
17 Roots which can be pulped to make a medicinal salve.*
18 A rare combination of plants which form a single basic healing potion .*
19 A rare combination of plants which form a single greater healing potion .*
20 A rare combination of plants which form a single superior healing potion .*
*These plants must be prepared before use, which requires 1 hour and a DC 10 Intelligence (Nature) check.
The adventurers discover a shortcut, reducing their journey time by 1 day (to a minimum of 1 day).
Route Discoveries (1d6)
1 The stars align showing unique paths when a map is held up to the sky.
2 An animal shows the adventurers a new route.
3 Discarded backpack with a local map, a distant map, and a frontier map. One of these maps depicts the region around the adventurers.
4 Runes or glyphs carved into nearby trees or rocks point out a shortcut.
5 A local tells the adventurers of a better path.
6 Unusual tracks reveal a secret path.
Something mysterious is revealed to the party.
Secret Discoveries (1d12)
1 The adventurers find a warning of dangers in the area etched into stone or painted on a wooden sign. For the rest of the day the party cannot be surprised by monsters.
2 Half-filled out or outdated map (roll 1d4: on a 1–2 it’s a frontier map, on a 3 it’s a distant map, and on a 4 it’s a local map) that is only useful half of the time. If the map is useful and local, it can be used as a Route result.
3 Wizard’s spellbook containing either four 1st-level spells, a 1st-level spell and 3rd-level spell, two 2nd-level spells, or one 4th-level spell. These spells are chosen by the Narrator.
4 Letter containing a piece of information that would be very valuable in the right hands.
5 Old journal containing scandalous rumors about acquaintances that was written by the current governor of a local town decades ago when she was a young woman.
6 Map case containing an accurate map of an unexplored location (roll 1d4: on a 1–2 it’s a frontier map, on a 3 it’s a distant map, and on a 4 it’s a local map). There is a slit in it as if a knife was driven through it to mark a point. If the map is local, it can be used as a Route result.
7 Someone has carved a prophecy into the bark of a tree.
8 One of the adventurers receives a dream with information about an item, locale, or creature they’ve been seeking.
9 A spirit that has been bound to the area since losing its life there is finally freed and as thanks it answers one question for the party (as the divination spell but with a plain and straightforward response).
10 The adventurers pick up a few basic phrases of the local language if they do not already know it, making it easier for them to communicate simple concepts.
11 The adventurers uncover an ancient stone carving that has a prophecy etched out in an obscure language, and when deciphered it reveals something useful for their current quest.
12 The secret formula to a rare spell etched in the walls of a cave.
These discovered shelters can all be used as havens .
Discovered Shelters (1d10)
1 A homestead belonging to a married couple of halfling ranchers. They offer to sell common supplies to the party (none of which has a cost greater than 10 gold).
2 A warm, dry cave, safe from the elements and monsters.
3 A massive dead tree with a hollowed-out interior that is comfortable.
4 A tranquil grove protected by a dryad .
5 A sailing vessel that makes for a perfect place to take shelter in.
6 A shortcut that just so happens to go by an inn or trading post.
7 A ruined temple which radiates an aura of comfort and peace.
8 An abandoned cottage or farmhouse. There is no sign of the occupants, who clearly left a long time ago.
9 An old military fort or watchtower built by some conquering army or ancient civilization.
10 A tiny village of fey folk who offer the adventurers a night’s food and rest.
The adventurers find Supply equal to 1d4 + 1 Supply per adventurer. Roll 1d10 to determine the nature of the Supply.
Discovered Supply (1d10)
1 A grove of edible mushrooms.
2 A prime fishing spot.
3 Prey dangling from a hunter’s snare.
4 Tracks from either hooves or paws lead to a stream of clear, potable water.
5 A well-tended campsite with food and a friendly note.
6 A berry bush with ripe and very tasty pieces of filling fruit.
7 A smashed wagon.
8 An abandoned hut with a stocked larder.
9 An animal leads the adventurers to a cache of nuts and berries.
10 A friendly adventuring party offers the adventurers a meal at their camp.
Roll on the treasure table for a Challenge Rating equal to the CR of the encounter or challenge, or of the average character level. The table below can be used to describe how the treasure is revealed to the adventurers.
Discovered Treasure (1d8)
1 Coins lead to a dropped coin purse or other treasure.
2 Travelers whose lives were made easier by the actions of the adventurers give them treasure as thanks.
3 Desiccated remains of an adventuring party. There may be clues to what they were doing.
4 A shepherd or other local who witnessed the party’s success gives them rare treasures.
5 An animal leads the adventurers to a hidden cache.
6 A wagon stands abandoned with scorch marks and multiple arrows embedded in it.
7 An adventurer receives a vision from a pleased god or powerful being, who claims to have hidden a surprise along their path.
8 The adventurers spot a symbol on their map that they hadn’t noticed before. It leads to a cache of buried treasure.
The value of an unusual item is based on the region’s tier (tier 0: 50 gold, tier 1: 150 gold, tier 2: 600 gold, tier 3: 1,500 gold, tier 4: 4,000 gold).
Unusual Items (1d100)
1–3 Pocket watch that tells perfect time and never needs to be wound.
4–6 Portable sundial made with gilded wood. Anyone carrying the sundial always knows what time it is while the sun is up.
7–9 Sheet music to a rousing song that when played inspires great confidence in those who hear it. The performer chooses any number of creatures that can hear them. These creatures gain an expertise die on the next ability check, attack roll, or saving throw they make before the beginning of the performer’s next turn. Once performed, the sheet music burns up out of existence and further performances of the song have no benefit.
10–12 A half dozen thick vines that are 20 feet long and as strong as hemp rope (roll separately for each vine). The vines dry out after 1 week unless treated daily with water by a druid or ranger.
13–15 Strange mechanical device that walks about after being wound, delighting children and often adults as well.
16–18 Beautiful lute with a recognizably noble name engraved on the handle in a sturdy leather case.
19–21 Sentient magical ring of uncommon rarity. It is blind and able to communicate with any creature wearing it, but it has a rather abrasive personality and no other magical properties.
22–24 Trees offer ripened sweet fruits that are a desired trade item with local cultures, though they spoil within 1d4 days of being plucked.
25–27 Mysterious chunk of ore that has never been encountered before worth gold when melted down.
28–30 A single silver bell. When a creature uses an action to ring it, an otherworldly guide and vehicle appear to transport the party (as the teleport spell). After the first time it is rung the bell loses any magical properties.
31–33 The adventurers find a plant with 1d4+2 leaves that are Huge-sized, durable (AC 15, 12 hit points), lightweight (1 pound), and waterproof. After 1 week the leaves harden in whatever shape they have been kept in.
34–36 Mask made from simple materials that turns the wearer’s head into that of an animal common to the region. While wearing the mask, an adventurer gains an expertise die on Animal Handling checks made against that type of animal.
37–39 The uniform of local law enforcement or security, or the raiments of a local religious sect—perfect for disguises.
40–42 Unbroached cask of a rare gnomish mead.
43–45 Beautiful lute with a recognizably noble name engraved on the handle in a sturdy leather case.
56–48 Abandoned length of silk rope that seems perfectly serviceable measuring 60 feet.
49–51 A shadow on a tree stump and refracted sunlight give away the presence of an invisible dagger.
52–54 Explorer's pack that also has a natural magnetic stone, ball bearings, a pouch full of talc, a mirror, and a curious glass prism.
55–57 An adventurer stumbles into a honey bee hive but none of the insects attack them. The hive makes 1 gold worth of honey each month, and if destroyed the insects inside spill out in a swarm to surround the adventurer for 10 minutes, granting half cover and damaging creatures within reach.
58–60 The adventurers acquire a fundamental piece of planar essence from another dimension. The form it takes—an elemental gem , an imp , a sentient thought—is at the Narrator’s discretion.
61–63 The party stumbles upon a witch’s hut. Its owner (use mage statistics) takes a liking to one of the adventurers—if they return her advances, they awaken the next morning healed of all curses and diseases .
64–66 A minstrel witnessed the adventurers’ success. For the next month, whenever the party is in a tavern roll 1d20. On a result of 17 or higher they hear a performer sing their own exploits, albeit much exaggerated, and when their presence becomes known their drinks are free.
67–69 Breadcrumb trail that when followed leads to a pair of young siblings who are hopelessly lost. They are the children of rich nobles who will reward the adventurers handsomely.
70–72 A cadre of constructs sit around a flame made of bizarre energies—not fire but cold, necrotic, psychic, thunder, or another type of energy. When a weapon spends 1 minute or longer placed in the flame, for the next 24 hours it deals an extra 1d6 fire damage on a hit. Before they will share their strange flame however, the constructs want their mechanical engine fueled first.
73–75 Single, divinely perfect and surprisingly large feather that inspires awe in all who see it.
76–78 At the end of their next long rest, each member of the party finds a playing card in their pocket that depicts a skill or tool kit they are proficient with. An adventurer can use a bonus action to pull out the playing card and gain an expertise die when they make an ability check using the depicted skill or tool kit, after which the playing card disappears.
79–81 Shedded crystalline antler.
82–84 Gaming set that contains dice and the rules for a game that is about to become a popular local pastime.
85–87 Locket containing a portrait of a lovely tiefling.
88–90 A bizarre skull that seems not of this world.
91–93 Unmistakably beloved wedding ring half-buried in the muck. An engraving on the inside reads “K+R”.
94–96 Seeds from a rare or unidentifiable plant.
97–100 The next time one of the adventurers casts a spell, instead of its normal effects the spell takes on a life of its own! The living spell has an AC of 10 + spell level, hit points equal to spell level × 10, a fly speed equal to spell level × 5 feet (hover), and a 10 in each ability score. A cantrip counts as a 1st-level spell. In addition, the living spell can cast itself a number of times equal to 10 – spell level, using the spell attack bonus or spell save DC of the adventurer that originally cast it. Until it fades away the next time the sun sets, the living spell becomes an ally of the party (controlled by the Narrator).