Hero Points Fix


General Discussion


My Group initially did not use Hero Points for reviving as we wanted to test out the rules for death, dying and Treat Wounds. As we gained levels in Doomsday Dawn I treated the sessions as I would a normal session for my group and allowed Hero Points to transfer from session to session, which lead to accumulating enough points to use the 2 point Reroll a dice and 3 point Extra action. Both options made the game more fun, helped out players that were rolling bad that night, and made pivotal moments seem more epic. Also there seemed to be enough healing options, a mundane and magical route, to forego needing an extra revive.

As we made it to the 5th Chapter we finally had characters dropping on a regular basis and encountered the whack-a-mole problem with characters dying and using 1 Hero Point to revive multiple times in the session. It was more comical than heroic and seemed to take the threat of dying away from what promised to be a rather climatic chapter.

What does everyone think of our idea to limit the 1 Hero Point revive to 1 use per session? And allowing Hero Points to transfer over to sessions, allowing enough Hero Points to be saved up and used for Rerolls and Extra actions? It didn't seem to have much effect on making the battles easier or harder as most of the points were used on Boss battles which were fairly tough in their own right but maybe someone has had a different experience.


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Personally, I'd remove the revive option entirely. Make the other options both cost 1. Give everybody 1-2 per session with no means to earn more (so the DM isn't burdened by yet another thing to do and the risk of calls of favoritism if they aren't handed out equally).

Then you get to use the powers that let you feel good when you use them at least once every session without letting someone hoard them and without the get out of death free card completely overpowering everything else.

The side effect of letting players stockpile them is that they do. They tend to not use them and build up more and more, then blow tons of them in one session. They get more regular usage if you can't stockpile them, as the one you have in this session has no value once the session is over and you might as well use it for a key extra action.


I made all options take one and basically treat them like Force Points from EotE.


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I agree that the whack-a-mole hero point use is as wonky as all hell. I don't agree that points should carry over. I much prefer the WH40K RPG fate point style "X points per session" approach, since it means that hero points actually get used instead of being stockpiled for a crisis that may never come (the "too awesome to use"* problem).

*Warning, TVTropes link. View at your own risk.


I've been allowing hero points to roll over from session to session since my group has a pretty slow pace.

It feels like escaping death should cost at least 2 hero points, and rerolls should cost one. The extra action thing, I'm not sure about. So far only one of my players has used it and their turn wasn't really effected by it.

Overall I wish there were a boatload of uses for single hero points. My players are reluctant to use any of them because they want to save them for when they get knocked out.


kpulv wrote:

I've been allowing hero points to roll over from session to session since my group has a pretty slow pace.

It feels like escaping death should cost at least 2 hero points, and rerolls should cost one. The extra action thing, I'm not sure about. So far only one of my players has used it and their turn wasn't really effected by it.

Overall I wish there were a boatload of uses for single hero points. My players are reluctant to use any of them because they want to save them for when they get knocked out.

Nice, the best use I have seen for the extra action is if you are a Spellcaster and your first spell fails. It is nice to be able to use a second spell (as most cost 2 actions)and feel useful. But outside of that I agree, it's not as useful. That would be interesting to have multiple single point uses, might try and Homebrew something like that.


Tridus wrote:

Personally, I'd remove the revive option entirely. Make the other options both cost 1. Give everybody 1-2 per session with no means to earn more (so the DM isn't burdened by yet another thing to do and the risk of calls of favoritism if they aren't handed out equally).

Then you get to use the powers that let you feel good when you use them at least once every session without letting someone hoard them and without the get out of death free card completely overpowering everything else.

The side effect of letting players stockpile them is that they do. They tend to not use them and build up more and more, then blow tons of them in one session. They get more regular usage if you can't stockpile them, as the one you have in this session has no value once the session is over and you might as well use it for a key extra action.

I am definitely using this idea, much better fix. Thanks


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I am also not a fan of the escape death option being so cheap. In most other "hero point" type systems, "save your character" is the most expensive option.

It feels bad to be asking "is taking an extra action this turn worth giving up three chances to save my character's life?"


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As a player, I ignore Hero Points. I don't want to use them and I'm not really sure why. If the DM is going to give them out then you'd think I'd enjoy having the option in the game. Yet I don't. Likewise, I don't try to earn them. I just play the game. I suppose at some level they feel artificial and silly. Perhaps that over the years I've seen those kind of mechanics used by DMs to turn up the lethality of the game and then kind of let the players rescue their characters with those points.


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Lucrece wrote:


I am definitely using this idea, much better fix. Thanks

I'm glad you like it. :) If you're playing with people in person, I like to use little glass beads for these. I hand them out at the start, and when someone wants to use one, instead of crossing stuff off their sheet, they pick up a bead and hand it back to me.

Aside from the bead in front of them reminding them that they can do it, there's something more evocative about handing over a physical item when you tap into that power.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Tridus wrote:

I'm glad you like it. :) If you're playing with people in person, I like to use little glass beads for these. I hand them out at the start, and when someone wants to use one, instead of crossing stuff off their sheet, they pick up a bead and hand it back to me.

Aside from the bead in front of them reminding them that they can do it, there's something more evocative about handing over a physical item when you tap into that power.

Heheh. I remember a GM of mine once running Paranoia, which uses a benny system not unlike hero points. The GM handed out M&Ms at the start of the first session to represent bennies.

He did not tell us that was what they were for.

He was a good Paranoia GM. XD


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I would like to see the reroll option be cheaper. My DM isnt really giving out Points like he should. I keep track of the loot and I only get 1 point and he gives out a second point for whoever was voted MVP and or Roleplayer. He hardly gives out 1 during the game. So I sit with 1 point for a few games and no use for them.


I really don't like hero points as they are now.
Saving the character from death is extremely important, and definitely shouldn't be cheaper than the other options, that almost no one will use fearing that they will lack the life-saving point when needed.

Moreover, I don't like any rule that mixes real life things into game mechanics. The rules should talk about game sessions only to give guidelines about how to run the game, not use them as a measure of how often you should get your hero points and how long they should last. Bringing food and getting an extra point reminds me of Munchkin.
I could have a quick two-hours session to finish a single fight we left hanging, or a marathon with a dozen deadly encounters. My group's play style could be wildly different than another's, giving the game a different pace and actually playing much more, or much less, in the same number of hours. Same thing, the story could advance slower or faster depending on the medium, live or online. And what about people who play by post?


Megistone wrote:

I really don't like hero points as they are now.

Saving the character from death is extremely important, and definitely shouldn't be cheaper than the other options, that almost no one will use fearing that they will lack the life-saving point when needed.

If get out of death free is more expensive, people will save up for it. It's just THAT good. That's why I propose removing it entirely. Use your hero points on actions and rolls to proactively avoid the situation that got you killed, because encouraging that gives you a more engaging game IMO.

Quote:


Moreover, I don't like any rule that mixes real life things into game mechanics. The rules should talk about game sessions only to give guidelines about how to run the game, not use them as a measure of how often you should get your hero points and how long they should last. Bringing food and getting an extra point reminds me of Munchkin.

100% agree. My group flat out doesn't do this, and when I'm DM I will never use it. I'd rather give the group collectively a bonus than single people out, because frankly some people have harder lives than others and for them being able to show up and play at all on a regular schedule is difficult.

MaxAstro wrote:


Heheh. I remember a GM of mine once running Paranoia, which uses a benny system not unlike hero points. The GM handed out M&Ms at the start of the first session to represent bennies.

He did not tell us that was what they were for.

He was a good Paranoia GM. XD

Epic! :D


I don't allow roll-over, but I generally give "helping the GM out" for things like learning the damn rules, giving page numbers, or helping each other with the rules.

I'd prefer them not to be a thing in the final game though, or simply maximised and reset every session or long rest.


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The more I think about it, the more I don't want to see Hero Points in this form in the game. I love Hero Points, but there's a problem with them in that, the game has to fundamentally work without them, or else they just become another resource to manage, but one more prone to fiat. Where Hero Points work best is when they're not really a resource, but something that's part cooperative storytelling aid, part currency for RAW-bending, allowing for minor alterations to scenes or a way for the GM to say "Sure, you can do it... for a Hero Point" and as a way to reward good RP, or as a consolation for GM fiat. This isn't to say that it can't have defined mechanical benefits, like rerolls or whatever, and in fact I think it's better if it does have such benefits, if only to peg their value to something more concrete, or allow the player to influence climactic story moments in a way outside their character's mechanics or the whim of the die, but tying them too close to the mechanics of the game creates a situation as highlighted in this thread: If Hero Points allow for an effect as strong as staving off death, then in order to get the sense of danger the designers want, they have to make things deadlier, which results in more hording of Hero Points.

Now, personally, I'd be fine allowing hero points to be used to stave off death, if they weren't assumed to be standard, since the game would have to be benchmarked to a certain level of danger assuming no hero points, as opposed to that level with hero points, which means they'd be less likely to be hoarded for that purpose (essentially this is how Hero Points worked with my group in 1e, where in the playtest, everyone's pretty much expecting to go down at least once, and even saving Hero Points for when you hit dying 4, they're still far more likely to be necessary for that purpose that everyone hoards them). Not entirely sure how I'd fix them. I don't think the proposed solutions here really solve the core of the problem. Maybe the best fix would just be to put them in the book, but keep them optional (and maybe even then, rework the costs, as well), but I feel like there can be a better solution, and I just can't think of it.


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Snowblind wrote:

I agree that the whack-a-mole hero point use is as wonky as all hell. I don't agree that points should carry over. I much prefer the WH40K RPG fate point style "X points per session" approach, since it means that hero points actually get used instead of being stockpiled for a crisis that may never come (the "too awesome to use"* problem).

*Warning, TVTropes link. View at your own risk.

I've actually done something very much like fate points for my PF1 games instead of the regular hero points. I'd like to see a more official version.


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I don't think Hero Points are a necessary feature in any game, PF1 worked fine without them. On the flip side, a get-out-of-death-free card like this creates a bunch of issues. First, it's just too good not to hoard until the time comes to save your life, so it's unlikely to be used in any other circumstance. Second, its existence makes injury a lot cheaper. Characters don't need to worry about falling as long as they have one point left. Third, it's yet another currency to track, which will likely be used by other game mechanics like magic items or what have you.

So, I'm basically opposed to lifesaving Hero Points. I'd rather have the game tuned to be a little less deadly, rather than more deadly but with danger cheapened by Hero Points.

That said, I'm fine with Hero Points when used to power cool actions and reward risk-taking. Something like the Glass Canon guys' house rule ("bottlecaps") where players can spend one bottlecap to roll the best of 2 d20s when they feel the roll is important. This makes the game take a more heroic feel, but doesn't have the same high impact as removing the dying condition.


I think hero points as a cheat death option work as long as they inflict lasting damage that requires some cost in gp or questing to get rid of. Losing an arm or taking a permanent negative level for example.

You can already ignore death with adequate gp, so it creates an option that's a bit less costly and much less disruptive (if, say, you're in a dungeon and don't have components or spells prepped).


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Actually, for PF1 I found that Hero Points worked very well for villains :P


I should note in relation to my post, I also do not give hero points out by the book. I don't like rewarding points for out of game actions. I give them out when the PCs pull off amazing things, or have great role play moments. I then award hero points to the entire group at once. So if one character does something amazing, or has a really awesome rp moment, the entire group benefits. I'm not a fan of systems that reward only one player, because I don't like how it effects the table dynamics. When everyone benefits from a player going above and beyond, then I think it reinforces the cooperative nature of the game.


you call the 1ups as hero points in your table? Weird...

In all seriousness, I like the idea of hero points (i.e. allowing you to do something heroic and out of the norm/narrative) but i don't like their current implementation too much.

The system that really reminded me of hero points, in their essence, and that imo worked really well, was actually Panache.

a small pool of "heroic feats" that you need to accomplish something to replenish.

I've been trying to homebrew a similar thing for hero points:

The general chassis being "max 1-2 at any point, allowing some of the awesome stuff they currently do (+actions, "describe a feat of strength and simply do it", and etc) with similar replenishing conditions (killing blow on a cr+1 challenge, crit kill, heroic save/recovery, etc)

still trying to figure out exact replenishing and exact spenditure though.

I want them to basically be more dynamic instead of "hard" or "1ups".


I kind of want to treat hero points the way resonance is at present, where you get a small pool you can spend and then the ability to overspend by making an increasingly stiff roll. Then I'd expand the number of things it can do, such as restoring spell slots, power points, curing conditions, and accessing special abilities.

Oh wait, I just described mythic points, but added the overspend rule. My bad.

Though I kinda wish it were possible to make something like Breath of Fire V: Dragon Quarter's D-Counter and draconic morph. </obscure>


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Megistone wrote:


Moreover, I don't like any rule that mixes real life things into game mechanics. The rules should talk about game sessions only to give guidelines about how to run the game, not use them as a measure of how often you should get your hero points and how long they should last. Bringing food and getting an extra point reminds me of Munchkin.

We had a good laugh about this when we finally looked at the hero dice rule the first time someone went down. It feels condescending that the game feels it needs to reward you for being nice and helpful, while also encouraging bribing the DM with gifts. If it wasn't so absurd it would probably be insulting.


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If I move to PF2E, hero points will be houseruled into nonexistence in any game I run. Part of my evaluation of PF2E will be "is this a system that is balanced without needing that get-out-of-pharasma's-boneyard-free card?" - and if it is not, that will be a strike against it. It's not a dealbreaker for me - it's just a slight negative - if hero points are an intrinsic part of the game balance.


Personally, I don't find Hero Points particularly needed or good for the game. I always forget about them in 5E - as do my players.

Just get rid of them. I hate systems like Savage Worlds where you need to use metacurrencies to stay alive. That sorta stuff shouldnt be required.

Also, I am so happy they are merging Resonance and Spell Points into Focus. If they flat out eliminate Hero Points, thats just 1 metacurrency which is great. Less stuff to track when Im trying to have a good time.


My group so far has only played Act 1 of DD (and currently it's looking unlikely we're going to be doing the rest) and we play strictly by PbP. Since sessions aren't a thing, the GM just treated a roughly half-way point as the session boundary for the reset and 'free' point. He then replaced the 'bribe the GM' point with an extra IC point... at least in potentia. In reality, the only points anyone had were the session ones, no others ever got handed out because, simply put, there weren't really any circumstances to really get them. That said, there were a couple times where that 1 free point per 'session' prevented possible TPKs by keeping the two of us that could actually hit anything worth a damn off the ground. Without them we might have made it out, but there would definitely have been deaths, and it probably would have taken us a couple more in-game days to finish (likely coming right up on that 1 week deadline, since it took us about 4 days as is.)

That experience out of the way... honestly yeah, it really did make the damage feel cheap. There was a lot less risk while you had that point, and once the front-line lost their points that prompted a retreat anyways, since at that point of course we were both on 1 HP. I obviously can't speak to the other uses at all, since they never came up, but that one use honestly just doesn't feel that great.


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sherlock1701 wrote:
Snowblind wrote:

I agree that the whack-a-mole hero point use is as wonky as all hell. I don't agree that points should carry over. I much prefer the WH40K RPG fate point style "X points per session" approach, since it means that hero points actually get used instead of being stockpiled for a crisis that may never come (the "too awesome to use"* problem).

*Warning, TVTropes link. View at your own risk.

I've actually done something very much like fate points for my PF1 games instead of the regular hero points. I'd like to see a more official version.

I will probably use this for my next game and try it out, looks good.


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I'd prefer that they were just removed. The game has enough meta-currencies without adding another one - Balance death and dying without relying on them.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I've mentioned before that Hero Points lack a satisfying loop, and their method of being earned is entirely too undefined and unsatisfactory. Hero Points in the playtest are vestigial, and due to being entirely GM fiat, won't get handed out often enough so the players will only ever hoard them against Death and Dying.

Hopefully there will be a survey soon about this.

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