Hero Points


General Discussion


Hero Points are, to my knowledge, the only thing I have house ruled in the playtest. "Sorry, Father. . . I tried." Thing is, we weren't using them at all until I modified how they were given out in play.

Here's how it ran:

We always play at the same person's house, for space and other reasons. I could give that player an extra point every week, but that doesn't sit well. Same for whomever takes notes, although it wouldn't bother me as much because it's more choice driven. I'm low on ideas for this category. As for in-game behavior and points, does anyone remember Humor Karma from the first edition of Shadowrun? That was fun, but it sure led to some slaphappy sessions, as players tried to find the sweet spot in the GM's sense of humor. Fast forward to PF2, and I didn't want to reward foolhardy behavior. As a result of all this, I hadn't been awarding many HP, and they all disappeared at the end of the session anyway, so they were reserved as death insurance.

And here's what I changed it to:

The points I award for in-game play carry over, up to a maximum of three, so people will use any at all. Reason for awarding points goes beyond especially brave or selfless acts to things like fine use of tactics and even, in one case, a novel character build that helped save the day. (I wouldn't use that in a campaign, naturally, but when you're building new people every other adventure, it seemed reasonable.) This change has players using their Hero Points now and then, at least, but I'll have to lock something down more precisely if we're ever to use the notion in earnest.

I suppose I could reward one person for hosting and the others for driving all that way, but that seems odd as well. . .

So how do you do it? Are you getting good use from your Hero Points? If you use them more than we do, are you liking the rerolls and extra actions?

Cheers,

Six

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

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In my group, we play at one couple's house, so they each get 2.

One person chronicles the adventure and writes the recaps, so he gets 2.

One person brings snacks, so she gets 2.

One person drives in from out of town, so he gets 2 in recognition of the extra effort it takes him to get there.

So, basically, everybody gets 2.

I might only give 1 if someone showed up really late/didn't level up their character/wasn't a "team player" for some reason. But so far that hasn't happened yet.


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I haven't found hero points to be a great feature in my playtesting.

We play online so no host or snacks so everyone starts with 1 each session. I give them out for cool stuff but so far it hasn't really mattered much since it turns out in a lot of sessions people either never hit 0 HP or only do so once in the session so earning a second doesn't matter since they don't roll over. When people hit 0 HP they just use their 1 free hero point to pop back up so it so the real death and dying rules haven't actually come up in play. My group tends to do shorter 2-3 hour sessions so maybe they would work better with a long session. But I don't think having them reset based on real world time is a good mechanic.


Yeah, I've been having everyone start with two outright. For a while everyone was contributing one thing or another out of character but as things changed a little some of those things fell out of use but I just can't call out some of my friends over others on contribution like that. Plus they're my closest friends and they make the game fun for me so good enough. XD

I try to remember to give them in session for cool stuff but I often forget, same in PF1. So often someone wants to do a thing and finds they're one hero point short and I think back and realize they did a cool thing somewhere that probably deserved a point so I'm like yeah sure.

As for our group we have collectively used the single point dying option only ONCE. First session, Alchemist got OHKOd by a lucky crit from Drakkus and didn't want the party to have to scramble to save him.

Rerolls have been far more commonly used and have resulted in some awesome moments (including a couple of Nat 1s turned Nat 20s), the extra action effect has been used less but has been done at least a couple times to squeeze an extra ability or spell out of a turn and usually turns out to be epic. I would like to see the cost for these two effects reduced, maybe even make them all 1 point effects but maybe that'd be too much, because these effects have been favored by my party and are pretty hype.

Of course we only just last night had a character hit 0 HP for the second time (battle cleric in Heroes of Undarin, had to heal in-battle while already fairly hurt and it targeted for it) so get out of dying is maybe less useful for my group than others.


So we've tested basically an extension to something we did in PF1, which is based on Ryan Stoughton's "Death Flag" from "Raising the Stakes".

Basically:
- At the start of the session everyone starts with 6 hero points (or whatever they finished with last time if is higher).
- PCs are normally immune to the dying condition (you are instead incapacitated, knocked unconscious, thrown clear, etc. as dramatically appropriate.)
- At any point, as a non-action, a player may elect to "Raise the Death Flag" stating that the current stakes are worth risking their life for, and instantly gain 6 hero points.
- A player who has raised the death flag loses their immunity to the dying condition until the death flag is lowered.
- In order to lower the death flag, a player must pay 6 hero points; there is no other way to lower the death flag- it persists between sessions.
- Hero points are not normally given out otherwise- if you aren't willing to risk your life to do something, it's not especially heroic.
- In order to balance a comparatively lower risk of PC death, raise dead and resurrection effects are not normally available (all spells and rituals which bring someone back are reclassified as rare.)

All of this is very similar to what we did in PF1 and it seems to work pretty well. Not having to worry about heroic recoveries trains people to spend their hero points more freely, so they *will* want more in an important context.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Oooh, that's a really cool system, I should steal that. :D


Tamago wrote:

In my group, we play at one couple's house, so they each get 2.

One person chronicles the adventure and writes the recaps, so he gets 2.

One person brings snacks, so she gets 2.

One person drives in from out of town, so he gets 2 in recognition of the extra effort it takes him to get there.

So, basically, everybody gets 2.

I might only give 1 if someone showed up really late/didn't level up their character/wasn't a "team player" for some reason. But so far that hasn't happened yet.

I'm glad that works for you. In one of the games I'm in, we play at my house because my wife and I both play and we have young kids, so going anywhere else is impractical.

I take notes, because I type really fast and have a laptop handy.

We provide snacks fairly often because our kitchen is right next to where we play.

I'm suddenly up to 4 hero points and my wife is at 3, while nobody else is past 1. That is problematic.

That's where I have a real problem with the game wanting to give in game powers for out of game actions, especially if they're not communal. It's making assumptions about how tables work that will be flat out wrong in many cases, to the detriment of the game.

If I were DMing PF2, each player would get 2 points. Reroll and the extra action would both cost 1. Get-out-of-death-free wouldn't exist. Extras would be earned by in character actions only, for good RP.

Lantern Lodge

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I'd like it if they added in more functions for Hero Points (Regaining spell slots, healing), and you earned them for doing multiple encounters in a day as a carrot that encourages players to keep pushing through chains of fights, rather than taking regular nightly rests. I realise this wouldn't be to everyones taste but itd make a nice optional rule.


Currently, I am granting a second hero point for turning up on time and a third for roleplay.
It's as close as I can get to printed rules when playing on roll20, unless I want to get players to pay my subscription (hey now that's an idea).

Once the system releases, I am likely going to either use a "death flag" system like Cabbage or to have a "hero points reset over arcs, not sessions" system. In either case, stopping the Dying condition will NOT be a basic function of hero points.

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

Hero Points right now do cater to a certain type of player. Folks who are shy or risk averse in play miss out.

Luckily, it's very easy to set different parameters for awarding them or to set group awards (hit a certain scenario objective, everybody gets a Hero Point).

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

The issue is that there isn't a satisfying loop for hero points, and because it's based entirely on GM fiat it's hard to adjudicate or gets ignored unless players constantly beg for hero points for stuff they do.

I posted a thread about this earlier.


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I am not a terribly big fan of Hero Points as written. I have houseruled them as such...

Each adventuring day the Heroes start with one, they reset to one at the end of the day. There are no out of game Hero Point rewards. Our table is a bit irked by the idea of trying to modulate player behavior.

All actions now cost only one Hero Points.

Heroic Recovery: As written
Reroll: As written, no refund.
Extra Action: As written.

Added two new Heroic Actions

Heroic Resolve: Outside of Encounter mode spend a Hero Point to recover half the hit points you are down. This helps offset toning down Treat Wounds.

Heroic Defense: Gain benefit of appropriate leveled Mage Armor, last one hour. Its literally plot armor for those times out heroes aren't in their armor etc.


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DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:

The issue is that there isn't a satisfying loop for hero points, and because it's based entirely on GM fiat it's hard to adjudicate or gets ignored unless players constantly beg for hero points for stuff they do.

I posted a thread about this earlier.

What do you mean? It's totally fair that my girlfriend gets so many!


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PF Playtest hero points are dumb. There's really no good reason to ever use them for anything other than stablising before death.

I really like how Eberron implemented them, though, by essentially being what are now Fighter Superiority Dice. Give an extra +1d6 to any d20 roll.


ClanPsi wrote:

PF Playtest hero points are dumb. There's really no good reason to ever use them for anything other than stablising before death.

I really like how Eberron implemented them, though, by essentially being what are now Fighter Superiority Dice. Give an extra +1d6 to any d20 roll.

As a counter, my party has been using them to proactively avoid dying, by rerolling important attacks or saves or getting an extra blow in to down an enemy in a vital moment. And if someone goes down they're going to expect their fellow party members to save them, not a hero point. Maybe statistically and optimally saving them for getting out of death is optimal. Though that's debatable. But it's boring. Using points for a clutch reroll or action is fun, there's the reason to use them. And if my players only used them for recovery we would have used a LOT less so far. Not only that but if we didn't use them proactively we would probably have a higher KO count than we do (One KO in The Lost Star and two so far in Heroes of Undarin, no deaths).

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I'm pretty keen on Hero Points giving rerolls when the player deems it important. Given the limited number of spell slots, it stinks to roll a 1 on a disintegrate and waste a potentially devastating attack that you've been saving.


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Charlie Brooks wrote:
I'm pretty keen on Hero Points giving rerolls when the player deems it important. Given the limited number of spell slots, it stinks to roll a 1 on a disintegrate and waste a potentially devastating attack that you've been saving.

IKR? It wasn't Disintigrate but I had a player roll an important attack, get a Nat 1, and use a hero point to refill it Andre got a Nat 20. It was awesome. XD


PossibleCabbage wrote:

So we've tested basically an extension to something we did in PF1, which is based on Ryan Stoughton's "Death Flag" from "Raising the Stakes".

<snip>

- Hero points are not normally given out otherwise- if you aren't willing to risk your life to do something, it's not especially heroic.

I like this idea a lot, but I'm not sure I follow the implementation. Are you saying characters earn Hero Points normally when their flag is up? There must be some way for them to regain points other than raising the flag. Otherwise, if they raised the flag, gained six points and then spent below six, they would never be able to lower the flag again.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I believe PC meant that each player starts each session with 6 points, and then gains 6 additional points by raising the flag. So effectively to lower it, they have to go an entire session with no hero points.

Basically the Death Flag allows the PC to borrow hero points from the future.


Hero points are one of the few things I currently do not like in the playtest.

Funnily enough, at face value they're loosely similar to a system I actually loved - Edge, from when I played Shadowrun 5.

I suppose it might be worth it for me to consider just homebrewing in an adaptation of Edge, if hero points as are make it in to the final game?


What is this death flag nonsense? Death is always a possibility.


Thank you, everyone. For now I'm going with two automatic points (the usual one plus one for hosting or getting there, as mentioned above) and an attempt to be more timely about in-game heroism and tactical improvisation. Onward!


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sherlock1701 wrote:
What is this death flag nonsense? Death is always a possibility.

In heroic fiction the type I try to emulate in a game like Pathfinder, our heroes never die to random mooks who get lucky, or randomly die when facing an obstacle when the narrative stakes are low. If a hero does die, it's always in a high stakes dramatic moment and their death is generally a noble sacrifice to save the day or otherwise narratively satisfying. None of this is normally the case in Pathfinder, you can tpk before our heroes get anywhere near he BBEG they desperately need to stop. So if you want to guarantee that the PCs meet the big bad and get a chance to stop their foul machinations, you normally might have to fudge dice or otherwise take it easy on the party.

I choose to leave this in the hands of the player. If we want for characters can only die when the stakes are meaningful, I find the best way is to determine when the stakes are life and death is to let the players decide when they are.

So no, normally there is no chance of death in my game. Which is not to say that our heroes cannot lose, suffer loss, become captured, suffer severe injuries, etc. It's just that I don't get to kill them unless a player says it's okay first. I also hate the "death is a revolving door, coming back from the dead is just a hit on your wallet" model we normally see in this game so this is a good way to achieve the desired level of lethality when death is almost always permanent.

Silver Crusade

I like them in theory but just like the PFS rerolls, they really should not depend on the GMs current mood, thus I usually gave everyone the same number.

Dark Archive

After running Doomsday Dawn, my experience with 2e version of hero point system is that 1) I never knew when I should give players hero points. After all, they never did anything heroic that was "out of ordinary" for what any PC would do in the situation. 2) My players really hates "meta currencies" in other words, stuff you get by giving snacks or role playing well(considering that not everyone is able to roleplay in same way)

There is also that it would be much more useful if you could use one hero point for rerolls and 2 for saving yourself from death, it would be much more useful to be able to save yourself from crit fails and such :P

All in all, we have always played 1e with its version of hero points and everyone agree 1e hero points are great <_< Besides you having baseline of "You get one hero point per new level", there is also that they are resources that don't reset at end of session which is considered good. Basically, my players apparently(I learned this when we started testing he doomsday dawn, I didn't know this about their opinion on 5e before hand) really hate 5e's Inspiration.

Silver Crusade

Our group after the 3rd playtest scenario went to 2 hero points per scenario and it worked out really well with death and dying and/or the chance of a reroll.


CorvusMask wrote:
After running Doomsday Dawn, my experience with 2e version of hero point system is that 1) I never knew when I should give players hero points. After all, they never did anything heroic that was "out of ordinary" for what any PC would do in the situation.

That's my feeling as well. Some games reward you for doing things out of the ordinary, but not Pathfinder. You build a PC to do a certain thing, and you succeed when doing that. Stop doing the thing you built the PC for, and it will fail, even if the GM is giving away Hero Points like Halloween candy.

I do like the idea of rewarding out-of-game behaviour with Hero Points. Helping the GM run the game, bringing food and refreshments, or maintaining a campaign journal with important notes. These things can help a campaign running longer by reducing GM stress and boosting engagement. I'm willing to give out some rewards for that.


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1 point for showing up each session.
1 point for doing something that helps the rest of the group in-character.
1 point for doing something that helps the rest of the group out of character.

Keeping it focused on helping the group, for me, makes it feel less like accepting a bribe or handing out a benny for “good roleplaying” and more like acknowledging something you did to make everyone’s night better.


Currently leaning towards this:

- players can earn Hero Points for in-game roleplaying / heroic actions (or villainous actions, if evil. We do not discriminate).
- points do reset over arcs. Since I use milestone pretty much everywhere, points will basically reset on levelup.
- characters who fall to 0hp get the dying and wounded conditions as usual. They however do not worsen their dying condition value unless attacked (automatically stabilise).
- characters can claim the Hero! condition at any point. The Hero condition grants 6 hero points when first obtained, and a minimum of 1 hero point each session. However, each turn the character spends unconscious, the dying condition increases by 1 (never stabilise) unless treated. The Hero! condition lasts until the end of the arc.
- points can be used as Focus points, to reroll a single d20 (any d20), or to take extra actions. Not sure if costs will be 1/2/3 or 2/1/3.


Recently, I really found myself disliking the 1 hero point to recover both dying and wounded. Not only is it the cheapest and arguably best option, but I had a player who went down multiple times and built up a wounded value. While I wasn't trying to go killer GM or anything, it really killed the building tension when a single hero point turns what would have been wounded 3 (& insta-death if they went down again) into wounded 0 in addition to bringing the character back up.

Considering how powerful that is, it absolutely shouldn't be the cheapest and easiest option. No one at my table even considers the other uses as a result.


Agree, it cheapens out danger and death (as if Cleric wasn't enough of a problem with it).

Also, pretty sure I ended up stating costs as 1 point to reroll either one of your check or an enemy check against your DCs, 2 points to use 1 Focus, or 3 points for an extra action.


I ignore Action/Hero Points, and inspiration. Also, reminds me of Eberron, which makes me feel slightly hostile/negative.

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