You think Action Points should be used?

Alpha Release 1 General Discussion

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They arent just for Eberron.
Unearthed Arcana had Action Points to.

Waddaya think?

Sovereign Court Contributor

I am in favour of an Action-Point-like mechanic.

I'd like to see something new done in this regard however.

Although I guess Action Points are open content due to Unearthed Arcana, and are also more "Backward Compatible" for most people's existing campaigns.

Liberty's Edge

My players have used Action Points in our home campaign for about a year now, and they enjoy them. It gives them that feel of a little extra heroic ummph when they really need it. I'd like to see them a part of the game, but then with backward compatability, I can keep them and still enjoy some of the other changes Pathfinder has in store for the game.

Scarab Sages

I'm a fan of action points, mainly because they give players more options. You get a little extra oomph when you need it or you get to bend the rules a bit by use of the special actions, and you only get so many per level, which helps keep them from being too unbalancing.

I mainly started them in my Greyhawk campaign to give my players (who don't have much experience gaming) a sort of training wheel effect, but really I ended up liking them as standard for anyone.

We've fleshed out the special actions available for action point use, and I also tie the Retraining rules from the PHB II to using action points so players who want to change feats, skills, and so on need to make sure they've got action points left when they're ready to level.

Dark Archive

While I enjoy action Points in some of my games, I wouldn't like to see them set as a core rule. Sometimes it's good to play a Gygaxian dungeon crawl where you get no "cheat points", and let the dice fall as they may.

And, as far as "backwards compatibility" is a main target for PF, I'd keep them out. PF characters are buffier enough than standard 3.x ones to give them another biscuit.

Dark Archive

First off, I wished the typo in the thread title switched the I and A around.. would have been a great typo.

Now on the to the topic, I wouldn't mind. They let the PC get away with a little bit by burning a non-renewable resource. I think they may be a way solve certain problems.

For example, many player have a problem with random character death. However if you change the rules on damage and things like SoD, the PCs in up feeling like they have plot-armor. So, let give action points and add rule to it. On any roll or any roll effecting the character, a character can use action point to make a reroll. The character must accept the reroll. This represents a burst of luck.

The idea here is to make things here less lethal for PCs without giving them more cushion. SoD are less instant-kill without nerfing them, and a crit at low levels can be prevented, and thus saving a character. However they can't always count on them, and if they keep playing stupidly, they are going to die when they run off of action points.

Possibly not in any of the ways already written. However, I do believe that this game should include a way for the players to alter die rolls, whether that be action points, spendable tokens, or something else. The game is more fun when the players can somewhat control outcomes both before and after the die is cast.

Jason Grubiak wrote:

They arent just for Eberron.

Unearthed Arcana had Action Points to.

Waddaya think?


I loved them in D20M and have been using them in my current 3x game following the UA rules. They add a lot of flexibility and dramatic feeling to the game.

Lord Welkerfan wrote:
I do believe that this game should include a way for the players to alter die rolls, whether that be action points, spendable tokens, or something else. The game is more fun when the players can somewhat control outcomes both before and after the die is cast.

The Harrow deck could do the trick. It is true that it is fun.

I don't like action points as they are done in Eberron. It's just a way to fudge the dice. I think rolling of dice brings enough randomness in game. And also with action points characters can make skill checks with dc over 30 at first level. It's not a big deal, but I don't see any need for that. Although I like you can stabilize yourself with action point.

I'm not a fan of 4th edition action points either. I think one standard action in a round is enough =).

Of course there could be some other means to work with action points...

I don't really like action points as they are right now.
They seem like a clunky way of giving players a "get out of jail free" card.
There's gotta be better ways to give players the same benefits as action points.
An optional system that makes use of the Harrow deck seems like it could be an interesting idea. Some kind of limited fortune telling that lets you tweak fate maybe.

Dark Archive

After re-reading the rules for action points, if we were to use action points, I would advise far less points than the found in the SRD. 5+1/2 character level is too much. I say 3 per level, perhaps with the ability for DMs to give a point for heroic deeds.

hmmm...action points to move a little fatser. More then one combat feat a round. max out a die on a damage roll. maybe.

Please NO

Liberty's Edge

Jason Grubiak wrote:

They arent just for Eberron.

Unearthed Arcana had Action Points to.

Waddaya think?

Absolutely. From my experiences, action points are a great way to give PC's just a little edge. They add an extra element of dramatic tension, and cut down a bit on "save or you screwed" effects on PC's. One of my gaming groups started using action points when Eberron was released, and we've continued to use them in every other game since then, even if they weren't part of the core canon for a particular world or product.

BM wrote:
5+1/2 character level is too much. I say 3 per level, perhaps with the ability for DMs to give a point for heroic deeds.

5 + 1/2 level isn't added to your total each time-- it's a refresh.

It's actually much less than 3/level.

To the OP: Action Points are an excellent mechanic, for no other reason than adding another layer of resource management to the game.

What you can actually DO with an action point is up for debate and I expect folks will differ widely on that point.

Liberty's Edge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Companion, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Things like Heroic Surge and Action Points have their place in D20M and Star Wars... but I don't want them at my D&D table.

I think the Pathfinder RPG base book should contain several action point systems as optional rules.

In my games, you can spend 1 action point to make any action an heroic action. When making a heroic action, you roll your dice and see what face they shows. If you want you can keep it, if not, you may roll the dice again. Only then will the gm tell the result. The reroll applies for any roll that is part of the action, so you can reroll the jump check, the save to to grab something if the first check fails, or the save to lessen the damage you take when you do fall down.
You have to anounce making a heroic action before doing the roll and you spend one action point the moment you announce the heroic action, regardless of if you use the reroll or not.

So when you want to try something that is really cool, but you wouldn't normaly do, because it's too risky, the heroic action makes it more attractive to try.

Dark Archive

Wulf Ratbane wrote:
BM wrote:
5+1/2 character level is too much. I say 3 per level, perhaps with the ability for DMs to give a point for heroic deeds.

5 + 1/2 level isn't added to your total each time-- it's a refresh.

It's actually much less than 3/level.

To the OP: Action Points are an excellent mechanic, for no other reason than adding another layer of resource management to the game.

What you can actually DO with an action point is up for debate and I expect folks will differ widely on that point.

It's not clear in the SRD. It says gains so I assume its added.

SRD wrote:

A beginning (1st-level) character starts the game with 5 action points. A character above 1st level starts the game with a number of action points equal to 5 + 1/2 his current character level.

Every time a character advances, he gains a number of action points equal to 5 + 1/2 his new character level. Some prestige classes might allow a faster rate of accrual, at the GM’s option.

emphasis mine.

Even if its refreshed it still 15 points gained at level 20, vs a flat 3 per level. Over 20 levels is added up to 205 action points. You gain 100 just from the flat 5.

Mine give 60.

Scarab Sages

Just for the sake of throwing it out there, here is the current list of special actions we're considering (but not all have been adopted) as house rules. These are culled from various sources and some tweaking has been attempted for balance:

Activate Ability: A character can spend 2 action points to gain an additional use of a class ability or feat that has a limited number of uses per day. For example, a monk might spend action points to gain another use of her stunning fist ability, or a paladin might spend action points to make an additional smite attack.

Boost Defense: A character can spend 1 action point as a free action when fighting defensively. This gives him double the normal benefits for fighting defensively for the entire round (+4 dodge bonus to AC; +6 if he has 5 or more ranks in Tumble).

Emulate Feat: At the beginning of a character’s turn, he may spend 1 action point as a free action to gain the benefit of a feat he doesn’t have. He must meet the prerequisites of the feat. He gains the benefit until the beginning of his next turn.

Extra attack: During any round in which a character takes a full attack action, he may spend 1 action point to make an extra attack at his highest base attack bonus. Action points may be used in this way with both melee and ranged attacks.

Hasten Infusion: On his turn, an artificer can spend 1 action point to imbue an infusion in 1 round, even if the infusion's casting time is normally longer than 1 round.

Metamagic Boost: As a free action, a spellcaster may spend a number of action points equal to the spell level adjustment of a metamagic feat to spontaneously apply that metamagic effect to a spell he casts. This ability may be used to apply only those metamagic effects which the spellcaster already has available.

Shrug it Off: A character may spend 1 action point as a standard action to convert a number of hit points equal to his Constitution score from lethal to non-lethal damage.

Stabilize: Any time a character is dying, he can spend 1 action point to become stable at his current hit point total.

Scarab Sages

I would love to see Action Points in the Pathfinder RPG. In my Eberron campaign, and in my Pathfinder campaign, we use APs as a standard part of the game. What might surprise most of you is how the players use the majority of their Action Points, it's not for rerolls. I let them use APs to:

1) Stabilize automatically, something desperately needed in the Pathfinder Adventure path.
2) Gain an additional use of a x times per day power. Low level Paladins won't hesitate to use an AP to smite again. The barbarian rages more. This was especially true in CARNIVAL of TEARS where resting at all means the death of the town.
3) The standard roll 1d6 "before you know whether you succeed or fail" and add it to a d20 roll. I can't tell you how many times I have stressed the players out and they have spent points when they didn't need to spend them.
4) Alter the environment in some useful way. Remember the DC Heroes RPG? Imagine your PCs sword is sundered and he needs a weapon. You're at Thistletop and there are certainly a lot of weapons in certain rooms, but is there another longsword. Instead of begging the DM and getting into a conversation, if you have it standard for APs to alter the environment with an AP cost associated with "severity" of alteration, you just ask "how many APs do I need to spend to 'find' a shortsword lying around in a convenient location?" It's very useful as a tool, particularly if you are not relying on battlemaps. You can use APs as a means for Rogues to ensure they are flanking, which is difficult to arbitrate without a tactical map. By difficult, I mean it is arbitrary without a map. But incorporate APs and it suddenly isn't.

Those are just some of the ways we use APs in my home game.

While I like action points, I understand that not everyone does. Still, I think the mechanic (in some form) could be used to work around some problems being discussed in other threads.

For example, if we limited APs to standard 5+1/2 level (refreshing at each level), we could allow spellcasters to spend APs to recover spells that they just cast or making its use part of a "recharge mechanic" for spells to allow limited spell recovery to extent adventuring time.

There are a number of different options without using the extra d6 to a roll.

At the very least, it could be presented as an optional rule.

Neithan wrote:
I think the Pathfinder RPG base book should contain several action point systems as optional rules.

I think this would perhaps be the best way to go. I find myself these days hard-pressed to play a game that does not have some sort of action point mechanic. We've used a variant on the Eberron system now for several years and it's worked just fine.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

If Action Points are included, they are best as an optional mechanic, IMO. Don't link them to feats or force their use in play. They're essentially bennies, and should be easy to take out for those who want to put together a meatgrinder type of game.

If given, APs should be a kind of mechanics that encourages people to roleplay their chosen character personalitites. And as the only character personality label in D&D is alignment, I guess that makes the focus of the AP mechanics clear.

We use action points in all our games. It allows players to decide when their characters are drawing on an extra determination or effort. We love them.

But I know not everyone does. I really think the pathfinder RPG is going to HAVE to have some optional rule sections, and this is a perfect place for those. Add action points, but as something you can use or not at your leisure. Dont have class abilities or feats that require action points to work. make them something a group can bolt on, or not, as they prefer.

Psionics are another good example of a fully-optional rules set.

Using truly optional rules, that *aren't* woven through everything else in the game, lets gamers customize the game to their tastes without creating pure chaos or making things incompatable with each other.

For the record, my current thought is that each player AND THE DM should get one UA style-action point each game session, plus one for every 10 FULL levels the character has (or highest level NPC the DM is using that night). This encourages people not to hoard their points, so they have fun with them, but also prevents players from spending 8 in one encounter with the Queen of Skulls and turning the BBEG into a cakewalk.

Dark Archive

From the keep skill points thread.

NSTR wrote:

The below option might be overkill for taking rogue at first level delema just to get skills, it will help with other things as well.

In True20 they have a mechanic called conviction that works similar to action points, but allows you to do more things with. Each role has a specific ability that only they can use with conviction. You only get the ability for the role you pick at first level, so if you multi-role you do not get the abilities for conviction from every role you go into.

Could we do something similar to that with each class? Each class have a core ability or two that can only be gained by taking that class at first level. If you multi-class into that class you do not get it, but of course you would get all the other abilities of that class except the core ones. So when you take rogue at first level and then take other classes later, at the core you are a rogue who happens to have a few abilities of other classes.

The core abilities would have to be fairly powerful/useful for this to work and not detract to much from the others abilities you could gain from multi-classing into. Enough so that your first level choice is important and not because you are trying to min/max or make some certain build that is optimal.

What does everyone think about that? Of course the reasoning for this delves into to issues not related to skills as well.

Maybe if we could do action points, which I like, but also each class has a special way they can use action points as well. As noted above, your character gets a special use from your first class level for action points and not from your multi-class special use.

I love action points, and use them in all my games. Other people hate them. It seems like they should be supported, but not required.

Liberty's Edge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Subscriber

This was actually a post that I was thinking about starting.

In my current campaign, I have been using "Hero Points," which are a little different than action points, but it is the same idea.

Here are the basic rules that we have been using. Characters start out with 3 hero points at first level, and then gain 1 point for every third level (4th, 7th, 10th, 14th, etc..). These are usable each day, and you cannot save up un-used points for the next day. With these points, players can do the following:

1) Add 1 to ANY die roll per hero point that you have available (including a point to bump up the die roll on #3). This was a very straight forward, and it was more frequently used when the characters just missed a monster, but were able to use a point or two to bump up the to hit die roll.

2) Add 1 die to any spell (ie fireball, cure, etc). This definitely gave a boost to spell casters going up against tough opponents.

3) Roll a DC15 save against any attack for no damage (1 chance per attack). You can use a hero point to bump up your roll.

I really liked the way this worked out. They were a limited resource that had to be managed, and sometimes was the difference between life and death of the character. They had a couple of diffent options for use, and every character class could take advantage of them. There were a couple of times that the characters took a brutal hit and then used a hero point to see if they could survive. Needless to say, this turned into a very exciting moment.

I realize that the Eberron action points work a bit differently. I really like the concept of the players being able to be "Heroes" and be able to defy the odds.

Count me in on supporting a system of hero or action points, as long as they are limited in number, but have several different uses.

No. Not at all, or purely optional please. 3e has enough balance problems without action points aggravating the situation from the get-go.

I've used action points to avoid bleed damage (from the Critical Hit deck). It's worked pretty swimmingly.

Liberty's Edge

As an option to add if you wish, that's fine, just please don't make them part of the core game and necessary.

-DM Jeff

Scarab Sages

Lilith wrote:
I've used action points to avoid bleed damage (from the Critical Hit deck). It's worked pretty swimmingly.

Oh! That reminds me: I allow a draw from the Critical Hit Deck when a player criticals on an attack that was boosted by an action point. This means that draws from the CHD are rare indeed, but also that much more special ;)

Liberty's Edge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I use the Hero Points System from Monte Cook, which works pretty well.
At every new level my players get 1d3 hero points and any points left from the previous level are cancelled.
This system is from Arcana Evolved...
I would love to see them incorporated, but such things are easy to add anytime to 3.5 or 3.Paizo, i am sure!

Grand Lodge

personally speaking I've never liked action points, now thats probably because my only experience with them is with eberron and I'm not a fan of that setting either.

I have seen times when action points could have changed a dire outcome of a battle like when the cleric rolls a 1 on a cure spell, or a paladin wastes his smite on with a natural 1 (sidetrack, I sure hope paladins get a reusable smite in Pathfinder *fingers crossed*) but I have also seen action points used to destroy a DMs plot.

If action points where to be incorporated I would like to see two types. Action and Reaction points.

Action points can be spent like they are in 4e, on your turn to either gain an extra move or standard action.

Reaction points can be spent to re-roll a failed check, attack, save, etc.

As to how many a character should be allowed I have no idea personally, I would keep it to a minimum however and keep the equation simple.

Sovereign Court

Anything that adds to player survivability is good in my books. Earlier in the game they're not a big deal, but late in the game, where there's a ton of save or die spells, I think action points are a god send. Imagine building a character and running them from level one to level 16 and then loosing that character because of one bad dice roll. Some people love this part of D&D but I hate it. Action points are a great way of increasing player survivability.

I am opposed to Action Points on several grounds.

At the most basic level Action Points favor characters in weird ways (characters who roll dice less often benefit more), and at higher levels, the Action Point "stuff" you get to do in all of the so far published materials have been grossly unbalanced internally.

Basically Action Points are an entirely distinct mini game that you also have to balance on top of whatever else you are doing, and the monsters are seriously not written with the idea that you'd even have access to such a game.

So I am against. Severely and pointedly. They add nothing to the game inherently but heart ache.


RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

Mandatory action points would hurt backwards compatibility, so action points should be an optional rule at best. Even then, the action point system is straightforward and easily customizable. Perhaps page count could better be spent codifying other, more complicated subsystems that are harder to house-rule.

If it was up to me I'd leave them in, or something like them, as a sidebar option. Enough people are interested that it seems a sensible addition.

I think everyone knows it unbalances the CR system.

I'm not in favor of action points for dungeon rpgs.
Even if they were made into the rules we would house-rule then back out.

I like anything that makes the game more fun. My players LOVE action points. Keep them rare, to prevent abuse - say,one per level and as story rewards at key intervals for exemplary play.

Dark Archive RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32

There's no need to make them a "standard" feature of the setting. They should remain as they are today: Optional.

If you want to run a dark, gritty, horror campaign, Action Points add a lot of survivability and extra power to the PCs that might upset the mood you're trying to establish. On the other hand, if you want a high-action, very dramatic campaign, action points are very easy to plug in and go with.

I find it interesting that there are two kinds of posts here:

1. They should be an option, but not required; or
2. No one should be allowed to use them.

Looks like (1) will always be possible, though, unless the type 2 people are planning on conducting audits to make sure no one's sneaking them in.

I'm gonna vote for an option myself there fun but not for every game.

As a DM I love action points.
I use a session allotment system Players start with 2/session until 8th then three until 15th level, then 4/session. I think they are a great resource for critical encounters, and offer depth to RP opportunities.

I also enjoy tempting players with villains using action points. When a villain uses action points (only "named" villains get them)players are on their toes and the game is very suspenseful. Antics ensue.

I would like to see an action point system in Pathfinder RPG.

My group tried action points and after a while stopped using them. They took away a lot of the tension, especially using action points to stabilize. One one worried about downed comrades anymore.

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I'm not a fan of Action Points, but I sure do love Action Dice (a la Spycraft).

Like many others, if Action Points are going to be in the game it should be optional.

Optional. They're pretty easy to add in if you want them.

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I too believe that they should be included as an optional rule.

Another vote for optional.

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