Hero Points from the APG: How do you like the rules for their use?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion


I recently started running Serpent's Skull and introduced the Hero Point system into the game.

I wanted to hear people's experiences with Hero Points: how they affected your game (are they too powerful?), and if you like them!

Also: It seems like using two hero points to stop death is pretty powerful...too powerful? What are people experiences with it?


I really like them. It's a small option for players to adjust the game if they think they have screwed up, or if the dice are not rolling in their favor.

Also, the last game i GMed was an Eberron campaign, where we used action points. They are just about the same, albeit totally inflationary (5 + 1/2 per level). I liked how they were used, but not how often they were used, so I really welcomed the Hero point concept.

Quote:
Also: It seems like using two hero points to stop death is pretty powerful...too powerful? What are people experiences with it?

Maybe... but we're in the middle of a kingmaker campaign, the characters are about level 7, and we have used this option exactly once. My players, on average, use 1 hero point per level, so they usually don't have 2 points to spare for a death cheat.

So my personal experience is that it is not too powerful.


We use the hero point system since the APG is out and it works very well. Be carefull and dont reward the players with to many hero points so that they are something special. My players usually have only one or rarely two of them per player. Additionaly i allow HP sharing as a houserule.

They use HP in heavy fights or other important situations but due to the limitation of HP they dont overdo it. From GMs view i like HP because i hate PC deaths or TPK but sometimes they would happen. HP prevent this without GM influence and the players are warned etc.

I like HP :)


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So far, Hero Points are a great resource in the games I play and/or GM.

What we don't use are the Hero Point Feats. They are a bit too meta-gamey, in our opinion.


Garm Sumner wrote:
Also: It seems like using two hero points to stop death is pretty powerful...too powerful? What are people experiences with it?

As far as I'm concerned, the "cheat death" ability is the only one that I really want out of a hero point system.

I don't see how spending two hero points to cheat death is any more powerful than letting PC #1 die and rolling up PC #2 to replace him, and it's infinitely more satisfying to have party continuity, in my experience.


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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

We've been using mainly the Action points from 3.5, though the two systems aren't all that far apart. I really like hero point systems ever since I first personally encountered one back in James Bond 007.


Pathfinder Maps Subscriber

If I'm GMing a game where we're using hero points, I actually give everyone that feat that raises the cap on how many hero points you can have at any one time for free. My reasoning is I don't want anyone spending a hero point because they're about to get another for leveling but will lose it because they're at the cap.

As a player in a game with hero points, I'm personally rather stingy with mine. I believe there's a way for the other characters to chip in a hero point to help someone else if there's a reasonably way they could affect whatever the other character is doing, rather like "aid another" but with hero points. This has been a character saver.

It is rather annoying when the bad guys spend hero points too ! But I guess what's good for the goose is good for the gander.

My diviner wizard-rogue was, however, disappointed that no hero point related magic was allowed, as there is a divination spell (unravel fate, I think it's called) that I really wanted to use on a BBEG.


Pathfinder Maps Subscriber

Follow-up post

The feat I award for free is Hero's Fortune. You start with two hero points instead of one and may have as many as five at any one time instead of the usual limit of 3.

The spell is Unravel Destiny. I always wanted to do this to the BBEG who was using Hero Points of his own. There just aren't that many divination spells that are even remotely offensive in nature.


Near every game I've been in used the hero point system, and considering how often the dice appear to be against us, it comes as a MAJOR blessing. We've never had to use the "use two to escape dieing" rule (that I know of), but with how often we botch rolls, we really do need them.

Sovereign Court

The two points stop death rule is pretty good. I have been running Carrion Crown and my players are not always tactical. Some players would be on their 4-5th character by now. Its fun I get to kill them and they get to keep the characters they spent so much time developing. win/win


From the responses all you guys gave, I think I shall be keeping Hero Points around!

Thank you all for your insights!

The Exchange

I use the hero points system but I house rules it so that they can re-roll any dice roll, or cheat death but they have to earn them by either doing very clever things or awesome roleplaying. And I am thinking of making my next campaign by having them each start with 3 points that they can either spend on themselves or give them to someone else. But for every one they use I get one to use on the NPCs.

Dark Archive

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I use them in the games I run and they're also used in the Pathfinder RPG game I play in. They've worked very well and they've added a more cinematic feel to the game.


I'm liking them so far. We haven't used them extensively yet.

I'm not allowing the Hero Point Feats, Spells or Magic Items, although a plot device like a Sword of Destiny Hero's Blade might be fun. Very Excalibur-ish.


WrathW1zard wrote:
I use the hero points system but I house rules it so that they can re-roll any dice roll, or cheat death but they have to earn them by either doing very clever things or awesome roleplaying.

This is a common house rule, but I'm not a fan of it. If your players aren't already doing clever things or roleplaying awesomely, bribing them probably won't help.


So this past weekend, we had another session...and the group burned hero points like crazy! It definitely did turn the tide of battle in their favor...

But as I think about it, if the 4 person group wants to spend 5-6 hero points to win a couple encounters...so be it. (Leaving All with 0 or 1 left)

Because they are gonna wish they saved them for the ending battles!


Garm Sumner wrote:

So this past weekend, we had another session...and the group burned hero points like crazy! It definitely did turn the tide of battle in their favor...

But as I think about it, if the 4 person group wants to spend 5-6 hero points to win a couple encounters...so be it. (Leaving All with 0 or 1 left)

Because they are gonna wish they saved them for the ending battles!

I use them like savage Worlds Bennies, they get three each session and I get one for each player. The plus side of this is that I can make truly dangerous and epic encounters for my players without much fear of a tpk or player death. My players love and are always terrified of what I will send against them!


I use them, though modified a bit.

I grant them only on levelup and they are only rewarded for roleplaying, achieving storyline objectives (including personal character objectives), and heroic actions.

I also removed the cap on the number you can have at once. Additionally, you can spend as many as you like in a round. I think one character has only spent a couple of his in really dire circumstances and currently has 13 banked. I expect him one day to cut loose and it is going to be epic. Personally, I'm looking forward to it.

Only one character so far has had to use them to avoid a death. When it came up I was glad since it was a combat with a nasty half-fiend gnoll with a flaming burst hammer that charged and landed a critical hit. Knocked him from full to death in a single shot. Honestly was not counting on it and was just an unlucky roll for him, nothing intentional.

I also tend to make players put a lot of thought into their characters and make elaborate backgrounds with ties to NPCs and the setting so having one go from an unlucky crit would really suck. Having the hero points as a safety net has made for a more entertaining game for everyone.


We've been using them since the APG was out and I love them. I for one hate the high death rate that happens in D&D/PF, mostly because of the slowdown of the game session it creates. PCs are heroes, and these HP fit the bill well, since they allow characters to succeed where normal people would have failed, or allow their character to endure through a whole campaign - which is what a hero should be able to do. This is especially true in the "Rise of the Runelords" AP, where the players are real heroes and face very high odds of dying. I know that when a PC spends a hero point (or two), his player knows that without them his character would probably have been killed. Hence, death isn't out of the game, we still have a sense of impending doom.

Now the key of this system is how often the PCs get their hero points vs. the dangers they face. In RotRL, the mortality rate is high, but the PCs level quickly enough to regain HP to be able to cope with what they face - unless they make a big mistake.

I'm GMing a "Skull and Shackles" sandbox campaign with the slow advancement track, so the HP gain is lower and the characters gain HP more slowly. It's fine since that AP isn't as difficult (barring the first installment) as RotRL, and PCs aren't as heroic as the Sandpoint heroes.

I've GMed a sandbox post-apocalyptic fantasy campaign (in which I basically destroyed the Forgotten Realms to the ground and put Elminster's head on a spike) where the gods were "far away", so resurrection magic didn't work anymore. Using HP with that setting was very interesting, since it was the only thing that could save them from death. I get that it's not everyone's cup of tea, but it worked like a charm.

When RotRL ends, we're probably going to play "Way of the Wicked", where the PCs play villains. I anticipate that I won't use the hero points for the PCs, since they don't fit the concept of heroes (in my view). However, it's highly possible that I'll give a HP or two to some rare paragons of good / heroes that the PCs will face (including a certain arch-nemesis paladin). But I won't cheapen it to the point of giving HP to every would-be hero the PCs will face.

Ultimately, it all boils down to what you want to achieve. The system works well, provided there's a balance between the HP gain and the dangers encountered.


As a DM I truly dislike character dead, and so do my players.
I like Hero points meanly for two reasons, evil dices and stupidity.
An example of evil dices was when all my players had to roll a savingthrow against a blinding effect, and nobody rolled higher than 3.

I keep the cap on hero points because I like it that they feel the consequeses of a mistake/heavy fight. My players have never used their hero points in non-deadly situations.


My group uses Hero Points and really like them. We also gain Hero Points when there is a story award for the adventure.

One instance of use happened recently. Our wizard was downed by a bugbear in the area of Thistletop (RoTRL). He was 1 HP away from death if he didn't stabilize. Our varisian rogue pulled out a Scroll of CLW, said a prayer to Desna for aid (spent his Hero Point for +8 to the Use Magic Device check) and was able to save the wizard (he would have had to roll a 18 to make it work, so only a 10 by spending the Hero Point).

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