Hero Points

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MinusInnocence
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Hero Points

One of the optional rules I'm curious to find out if you guys are interested in using for 2EE is the hero point system. Hero points aren't so different from the system for action points presented in d20 Modern or Unearthed Arcana; essentially, a PC can spend a hero point to be able to do something he wouldn't normally be able to do or gain a substantial bonus to a d20 roll. There are a handful of feats available to characters using the hero point system; one of these even lets NPCs who choose it to use the same system. Very rarely, there are scenarios where using a hero point (or trying to) can have repercussions for the adventure; for instance, in the D&D v3.5 adventure Expedition to Castle Ravenloft, using an action point (or hero point, in Pathfinder) in Count Strahd's castle to augment a die roll, and failing that roll, gave Strahd bonuses.

Under normal circumstances, characters receive a hero point every time they level up and can have no more than three at one time. There are a few other ways to gain new hero points, like performing exceptionally heroic deeds, completing story arcs, returning from the dead, or so on. In this campaign, I'll be starting a thread where everyone can post descriptions of their characters' personalities and backgrounds to help refresh everyone's memories about who they're adventuring with. If we decide to use hero points, everyone will start with a single hero point, or two if they post their character biographies before the game starts.

There are also a few spells and magic items for use in a campaign utilizing hero points. Finally, there is a feat tree for humans in the Advanced Race Guide that kind-of, sort-of replicates the use of hero points, but they aren't mutually exclusive. Also, I should point out that if we decide to use hero points as a group but that one or more of you aren't interested in using them for your character, you'll receive a single bonus feat as compensation. Such characters are referred to in Pathfinder as antiheroes.

You can learn more in the Advanced Player's Guide, pp322-25, or here at the Pathfinder SRD.

So yeah, what do you guys think? In terms of game balance, the hero point system is a great example of a system that is almost never utilized by NPCs or monsters. It only ever really makes the game easier for the PCs. It also provides for some really spectacular situations, but your mileage may vary; sometimes people do silly things with their hero points, like using them to score astronomically well on Knowledge checks that turn out to be irrelevant to advancing the plot, or to give themselves just enough rope to hang themselves.

For example, you can use two hero points at once to "cheat death;" basically, an attack that would kill the character outright turns into one that drops him to the next nearest negative hit point, where he stabilizes automatically. I once witnessed a PC with two action points spend one to race outside a burning building to pursue the arsonist, where he was set upon by all the bad guy's friends. One cast hold person and another coup de graced him, which was only successful because he had spent one of his hero points instead of saving it. At the other end of the spectrum, the precious nature of hero points sometimes misleads players into hoarding them rather than spending them judiciously. Recently in my home game, a character rolled an 18 on a Reflex save to avoid falling into a pit trap. He had a hero point, and wasn't aware that he was only within two points of the DC 20 (well within the margin of a +4 bonus for using a hero point after you see the die roll). Just a few rounds earlier, he had observed another player's character fall into a different pit trap and emerge relatively unscathed. He declined to use the hero point, not knowing until it was too late that the bottom was lined with spikes. He was killed outright.

Anyway, let me know what you guys think. If you vote yay or nay, please leave a comment to that effect with your reasons why.

Fixxxer
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I'm okay with it. I think the way d20 Modern handles action points is a tiny bit limited, but I like that it has a system for influencing rolls that the player finds particularly important.

MinusInnocence
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Yeah it works a little bit differently here. Re: die rolls, a hero point can be used in one of three ways: first, it can augment a die roll with a +8 bonus. Second, you can wait until you roll the die to see the result, but before the DM tells you whether it succeeds or fails, you can opt to add a +4 bonus. Finally, you can use the point to reroll using the same bonus, but you keep the second result even if it's worse.

But there are a handful of other things you can do with them, too, which is where it really shines. Acting out of turn without having to ready an action, taking extra actions during your turn, retaining a prepared spell or spell slot after using it, etc. You can ven do things that would normally be impossible, like casting spells you don't have access to yet or breaking the rules in some other way.

I think if we decide to use them in this game, I'll ask that if you think you might want to use a hero point after a die roll, to request when you declare your action for the round to see the roll in question before I determine its success or failure.

"Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag and begin slitting throats." - H.L. Mencken

Talanall
Talanall's picture

I am indifferent.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

drumandfight
drumandfight's picture

Hmm, Jugg does strike me as an Antihero, even though his is charming and EVERYONE loves him.

I am somewhat indifferent at this point. But I will go with majority.. and I may opt not to use them for another feat.

deadDMwalking
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Since if we personally opt not to use them we'd get a bonus feat, I imagine everyone will be on board with trying it.

Darker

I constantly forget about action points in Modern games - I think I played through the entire "World of Bad People" game without using a single one, and I think I would do the same in this game. However, holding 2 points in reserve to cheat death would be pretty damn useful - I'm assuming you'd remind us after the killing blow we could burn those 2 points?

I do see Thunk as someone who's survived by a good deal of dumb luck, so I'm not sure which way I'd go on that one (feat or points...)

On a side note, all the character histories/personalities from the old forum are still there and I did get a copy of those in case it craps out suddenly again for everyone.

Fixxxer
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Would you send Feruq's on over to me please, Darker? I'm having trouble locating it on my own.

MinusInnocence
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Darker wrote:
However, holding 2 points in reserve to cheat death would be pretty damn useful - I'm assuming you'd remind us after the killing blow we could burn those 2 points?
Yes. If someone has two points left, there's no reason not to spend them at that point, so I would message the player and strongly encourage them to do so. I guess theoretically if you knew for a fact ready access to resurrection magic was right around the corner, keeping two instead of returning to life with only one would be advantageous. But in my experience, characters who have an obvious, foolproof way of saving their own life but refuse to do so end up being left in a ditch somewhere, stripped bare by their former friends.
Darker wrote:
I do see Thunk as someone who's survived by a good deal of dumb luck, so I'm not sure which way I'd go on that one (feat or points...)
It's hard to compare the two, but both are attractive options. For instance, characters who use hero points can eventually choose three feats that, together, raise their maximum reserve from three to five; give them two points instead of one every time they level up; and, if they used the hero point to augment a die roll, give them a 25% chance of keeping it.

So, that's pretty awesome. Such a character is much more likely to use a point to turn an average roll into a good one, because he has more to spend and may not even lose the point at all. He probably wouldn't do so on frivolous rolls like Diplomacy checks to gather information or Perform checks to pay for the party's room and board at the tavern that night, but it increases his chance of success when it all comes down to that one attack or saving throw. It also allows the character to attempt things that would normally be beyond his abilities, and the bit about being rewarded with a point for performing superheroic deeds incentivizes derring-do.

On the other hand, an extra feat can work wonders for a character who is only one away from completing a particular chain, like Whirlwind Attack. Having hero points is awesome, unless you don't actually have any at the moment. In that situation, maybe Improved Initiative or Combat Casting or Toughness or something like that would have been more fruitful.

Darker wrote:
On a side note, all the character histories/personalities from the old forum are still there and I did get a copy of those in case it craps out suddenly again for everyone.
Well, there you go. I would encourage everyone to amend theirs to reflect how their characters have changed, if at all, since the game began. I know that one character in particular has changed alignment in the time between we started playing and when we switched to Pathfinder.

"Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag and begin slitting throats." - H.L. Mencken

Darker

While looking over Thunk's feats, I questioned Endurance and knew I had a reason for picking it before - it fits very well with Thunk's role and physical traits, but I'm pretty sure his next feat was going to be Diehard... essentially granting him a similar ability to cheat death, but I'd say a tad bit more useful. Sure, its not a real cheat death because its not going to save poor Thunk from a hit that does 16 damage when he's at 1 hp, but staying in the fight for an extra 15 hp may just help the party out considerably given our low levels...

MinusInnocence
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Yeah. Diehard is better in every way than Thunk's orc ferocity racial trait.

"Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag and begin slitting throats." - H.L. Mencken

Board Rider
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I am indifferent too. I am like Darker though where having two action points to save the day would be particularly useful. Never know when a bolt of lightning will rain down and fuck up an otherwise awesome evening.

drumandfight
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Board Rider wrote:

I am indifferent too. I am like Darker though where having two action points to save the day would be particularly useful. Never know when a bolt of lightning will rain down and fuck up an otherwise awesome evening.

There we were, just minding our own business, having a nice lesiurely pony ride through a beautiful meadow next to a river, when out of a nowhere God decides to slap his dick right on top of Gideon's head. PARTY RUINED.

I am going to need some help going through this. I left my hardback books in the States. Luckily everything has been SRD'd, but it has been so long since playing a Fantasy game, and this game in particular - hell even this system - that I feel like there will be quite a learning curve for me AGAIN.

drumandfight
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Quote:
On a side note, all the character histories/personalities from the old forum are still there and I did get a copy of those in case it craps out suddenly again for everyone.

I am definitely going to need Jugg's. Please and Thank you.

MinusInnocence
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I've been playing and DMing Pathfinder almost exclusively with my local group since we shelved 2EE, but if memory serves, it was a new system for pretty much everyone back then. It may require a learning curve for everyone.

"Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag and begin slitting throats." - H.L. Mencken

Darker

Does that mean I can drop ferocity racial trait and use one of the alternate racial traits? These two in particular stand out for Thunk because of his background or described appearance.

- Squalid: Some half-orcs exist in surroundings so filthy and pestilent that even orcs would have difficulty living in them. Halforcs with this racial trait gain a +2 racial bonus on saving throws made to resist nausea, the sickened condition, and disease. This racial trait replaces orc ferocity.
- Toothy: Some half-orcs' tusks are large and sharp, granting a bite attack. This is a primary natural attack that deals 1d4 points of piercing damage. This racial trait replaces orc ferocity.

MinusInnocence
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Yessir. That brings up something to ensure it's clear: if you want to revise anything on your sheet, now's the time, before the game starts. The alternate racial traits from the Advanced Race Guide are pretty interesting, even for humans.

"Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag and begin slitting throats." - H.L. Mencken

Board Rider
Board Rider's picture

I will need Gideon's backstory as well. I should also let you know that I will be gone and without internet until Monday as I am moving.

I love you all.

drumandfight
drumandfight's picture

Tunnel Fighter is a definite for Jugg and I really like Grounded and Zest for Battle - although I don't understand the latter much at all. Explain?

Darker

Board Rider wrote:

I will need Gideon's backstory as well. I should also let you know that I will be gone and without internet until Monday as I am moving.

I love you all.

All I found was a draft, but I guess that's better than nothing... I'll message it to you.

MinusInnocence
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drumandfight wrote:

Tunnel Fighter is a definite for Jugg and I really like Grounded and Zest for Battle - although I don't understand the latter much at all. Explain?

These are race traits, under the Traits system, but not racial traits (like Jugg's +1 bonus to attacks against goblinoids and orcs, or his +4 bonus to AC against attacks from giants). I concede that this is terribly confusing. What Darker and I are referring to are alternate racial traits from the Advanced Race Guide. For example, Jugg could replace Hatred with Ancient Enmity so he would get a bonus to attacks against elves instead of orcs or goblins.

If you understood all of that and were talking about Trait traits, just in the wrong thread, my mistake. See the list under the Important Stuff thread for all of Jugg's options. Note that there isn't a separate list for dwarf race traits, just one for the Coldstone Mountains. Technically, gnomes and humans and elves all live in the mountains, too, and if that's where they're from, that's the list they could pick from. Some are more appropriate for certain character concepts than others, but that's the whole point of having a list of options.

"Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag and begin slitting throats." - H.L. Mencken

drumandfight
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I am talking about pathfinder traits from the traits thread. How many do I get?

MinusInnocence
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Two. You can take Tunnel Fighter from the Coldstone Mountain list, if you like, then one more from the General list.

"Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag and begin slitting throats." - H.L. Mencken

drumandfight
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Ah, so we are limited to the lists you have posted here in regards to regional? For instance, I can't jump on the SRD and pick any two (granted I meet the pre-reqs) that I like?

MinusInnocence
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Correct.

"Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag and begin slitting throats." - H.L. Mencken

drumandfight
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Gotcha. OK, I will have a look, get back to you and mark them down somewhere. Most likely the area between my belly button and the start of my man-root.