Real life concerns have once more slowed my ability to make anything more than casual posts, pushing back the type of blogging that requires more detailed thought and attention. Ya'know, like Smurfs.
Let's talk about Boons...
The way I see Boons they are, I hope, a rather neat idea but as with most of my ideas the concept is easier for me to understand than the mechanics are to create. I know what I want and I know how I would run it but conveying it to all of you in the form of a rule you can duplicate is rather tricky. Let's see what happens...
Boons are a representation of a favor owed, a deed done, a connection to another character and a barter/exchange of goods and/or services. A Boon is all of these things or more precisely, it can be any or all of these things.
When starting a Smurfs RPG campaign, each player determines:
A Boon your PC owes someone.
A Boon someone owes your PC.
A Set up for a Boon in the future. Possibly one mutually beneficial to you and another character.
To use Spacey Smurf as an example...
Spacey promised to help Handy with a project since Handy helped fix his Rocket Pack.
Brainy is going to give Spacey an Astronomy book since Spacey saved Brainy from Azrael.
Papa and Spacey are both eager to help each other check out a fallen star in the woods.
Now, Spacey (and Spacey's Player) is obligated to help Handy with whatever project Handy decides he needs help with. If Handy is being used as PC, the Player of Handy decides what the project is. It must be listed as a boon on his Character Sheet. If Handy is an NPC, it is recommended that the GM make this a catalyst for an adventure or at least a subplot.
Brainy is obligated to give Spacey an Astronomy book in his possession. Be he a PC or NPC, it is highly recommended that this transaction be completed in all honesty (Note to traditional GMs - not the typical need to pull a fast one on the player and jip him out of the item). However, the circumstances that lead to Spacey saving Brainy from Azrael could create a story, adventure or obstacle. Maybe Spacey zapped Azrael with his Ray Gun and Gargamel, seeing the resulting burnt fur, seeks to find this amazing device. Perhaps Azrael is still lurking about bent on revenge. Maybe Brainy tries to build a Ray Gun of his own after giving Spacey the book so he won't need saving next time.
As for the mutually benefical potential Boon idea, the key word is potential. There is nothing definite about this one. Papa Smurf saw a shooting star and thinks it landed in the forest. Spacey, always watching the night sky, saw the same thing. The two of them either contact each other or accidentally run into each other and make plans to join up and investigate.
In both of the first two Boon instances, something has already happened (Handy fixed Spacey's Rocket Pack. Spacey saved Brainy from Azrael.). In the third instance, while the star has already fallen, it is key that Papa Smurf and Spacey have not yet helped each other and do not yet know what the fallen star is all about.
Now, once the PC involved in a Boon situation completes his or her required part in the exchange, they should receive a SMURF! Boons are an obligation, so if any Smurf refuses to honor a Boon they lose two - That's 2! - SMURF!s.*
*One could argue that Grouchy should only lose 1 since, after all, he "Hates Boons!"
Now here is what I think is fun...In the case of you owe them, giving them what you owe gives you a SMURF! and them the item or service. Vice versa if they owe you. In the case of the potential Boon, who knows? Perhaps you both get something cool and a SMURF!
Papa and Spacey find out the fallen star is a Magic Meteor Rock. Spacey uses his Ray Gun to blast a few pieces off so Papa can study their magic but not before Papa uses a balm on Spacey's suit to protect him from the Rock's dangerous magic glow. Papa used the Rocks in potions that make things glow in the dark. He gives some to Spacey so he can make parts of his outfit glow (enabling the other Smurfs to find him when he spaces out watching the stars and falls into a deep hole).
Papa helped Spacey get close to the Meteor. Papa gets a SMURF!
Spacey got the Meteor fragments for Papa. Spacey gets a SMURF!
Papa gets a new ingredient for his potions.
Spacey gets glow in the dark stripes on his spacesuit.
Once a Boon situation is completed, erase it from your Character Sheet. You may then add a new one of the same type you completed. You can't owe two or be owed two. You can substitute a potential Boon for one of the others however, since there is a chance of it being useful to more than one Smurf.
What do you think? Does it need anything? Let me know.