Hero Points


Homebrew and House Rules


Does anyone think it would have any major effect if these were removed? If removed should they be replaced with something else?

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

major effect, not really besides making the game grittier. Your PC will most likely die more often than not when under 0 without hero points (or if they take too much damage).

Up to you, if you want your game a little grittier.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Interesting -- I actually suggested to my GM that he consider introducing PF2 style hero points into our PF1 game.


Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

No real impact. Hero Points are a meta game construct that can be adequately handled in a variety of different ways. Historically, in my games player death after a certain level involves a table discussion about how to proceed. Some people choose to accept the death and others want negotiate a way to continue with that character. A group side quest for resurrection, divine intervention at a future cost, or any number of options can provide a satisfactory story.

Personally, I feel that Hero Points grant an unnecessary level of confidence in a character's chances of survival, and de-emphasize proper planning and caution.

Now, if hero points had a mechanical link to some real in-world justification or source, I would be more inclined to use them.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
David knott 242 wrote:

Interesting -- I actually suggested to my GM that he consider introducing PF2 style hero points into our PF1 game.

I recently did this and am quite happy with the results.

My issue with hero points in PF1 (and I suspect this was why the devs changed it) is that no one used a hero point unless they had 3. Everyone saved them to protect themselves from dying.

What I love about the 2E system is that it's the opposite. It disincentives you from hoarding them.

"Oh, didn't use those for re-rolls? Well now you're on the precipice of dying so its going to cost you all of your Hero Points.

In addition, I'm playing with 2 players new to PF and the simplification of what Hero Points did was appreciated by them. (They couldn't keep up with +8 before a roll, but +4 after a roll. etc etc)


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I never liked the idea of them personally in 1st or in the play test. I am not sure, if the meta game aspect or, if is just something I don't feel like keeping track of as GM. I do like the Idea of grittier game. I am coming background from 2nd ed. AD&D. Losing actual levels when you die was a thing. So harshness was pretty common. Do you guys think, a free ability boost\Feat\ or 10 extra hp. Be a good trade off for them. Still gritty but as gritty at low level?


KainPen wrote:
Does anyone think it would have any major effect if these were removed? If removed should they be replaced with something else?

Hero Points aren't new to gaming. My preference over the years has been to remove them and not replace them. I don't see a major effect in dropping them. Its one less rule to worry about.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber

I don't know that it's safe to assume removing them is low-impact, without actively playing the system for a while.

The statistical odds behind character death without hero points is a design factor. But the devs have added a method - given out once per hour - to dramatically reduce the odds of character death. That implies that the dying rules are balanced such that surviving isn't nearly a given and that characters may drop into dying condition more often than previous editions of the game.

Basically, when I read that DMs hand out "don't die" rewards hourly, and I look at the generally 50/50 odds on most rolls, and the hole "wounded" mechanic if you do come out of dying, plus the "doomed" condition, I start to suspect that the hero point rule may be somewhat integral.

Yes, traditional "okay Bob, your character is dead, what would you like done" discussion is very, very valid, but if it happens three times a session, something's wrong, and I suspect that might be what happens if hero points don't exist at all.

Compromise suggestion: remove the usage allowing d20 rerolls, give your players one per session, and see how often there are any left at the end of a session. If they rarely get used, remove them. If they're usually gone in an hour or two of gaming... start handing them out like the book says.


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Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

That's a good point Anguish, however if my group's characters are dying multiple times an hour the order of operations for troubleshooting would be:

1. Check that everyone's stats are calculated correctly and they have appropriate gear

2. Check that the party balance doesn't warrant an adjustment in encounter difficulty

3. Check that the players understand tactical options available to them, including preparation, flanking, buffs, potions, etc.

4. Adjust death and dying rules to suit the game the players want to be playing.

If you do 1-3 and they're still dying a lot, then hero points or meta-game "get out of death free" cards might be well suited for the group. I typically find that step 2 weeds out quite a bit of death, and step 3 allows me to eventually ease back up to normal encounter difficulty.


Well I gave this shot and looks like it is having a bigger impact then. I though especial at low level. My group is only level 3, I had a few nights of few good roll with Critical and Almost TPK the party several times. They were also not rolling all that well, which caused their good tactics basically be in effective. I had to intentionally waste action on dumb things for creature that had decent int. My players walk away from the game saying, dam we should have died DM was taking it easy on them. I did not like that. It swung so hard in that direction that it was obvious. I took it easy on them. So looks like hero points are very integral to the system and to be handed out pretty often, but then that rubs me the wrong way also. I did start my players with double race hp, and a extra Free boot stat at Class classes selection. This still happen. I was using Ash AP chapter 1 to so it should have been well balanced for system we had 1 extra player. I was not running exp, and just leveling everyone at point in the adventure it say the should be. So 5th person was not effecting the parts exp draw. If anything it should have made things easier. Any other suggestion maybe I can try out. We are running the AP to get better feel of system, the players like it and what my to write homebew game, but I want to iron out rules and house rules before investing time it writing.


KainPen wrote:
If removed should they be replaced with something else?

I wrote up a replacement Hero Point mechanism, here:

https://paizo.com/threads/rzs42xoe?Hero-Points


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Zapp wrote:
KainPen wrote:
If removed should they be replaced with something else?

I wrote up a replacement Hero Point mechanism, here:

https://paizo.com/threads/rzs42xoe?Hero-Points

Nice, but there is a bit of power creep there. One of my players is so offended by the mechanism that he refuses to use them. I'd prefer to not have option 2. But otherwise I like those suggestions.

At my table I limit the number that we hand out to one per level.


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Thanks for the suggestion Zapp, your stuff really looks good, but I want to remove them entirely. I really don't like the idea of spend a point system to get extra roll or do something amazing. One of the reasons I didn't like Swashbuckler in 1st edition. I am looking for a static/Passive thing that will not throw the system out of wack. But looks like death/Dying and hp rules in 2nd edition are very dependent on hero points. Saving you from such. It may not be possible to take that out of the system. It could also be maybe the AP is not as balance as I though it would be. I am not sure. I did not get play test because I was not GMing when it came around. So we are only playing with it now. It seems like 1st edition with unchained action economy may have been bit more balanced in this aspect of not needing hero points. I do know if, I had not double the players race based hp, the party would have TPK and we would have had death sooner.

I would like to come up with something that could give bit more flavor to the characters and be unique to them. Before I figured free ability boost would be good enough. But it is obviously not.

I was thinking of maybe a 2nd background, but call it Childhood. Player maybe pick something, that happen to their characters in their child hood that maybe gets them expert in a skill sooner or a free skill feat, ability boost or honestly maybe a small reaction ability or 1 act that ability unique to them. Could give them a bit of narrative power.


Gortle wrote:

One of my players is so offended by the mechanism that he refuses to use them.

Guess I'll take every bit of feedback I can get!

;-)


KainPen wrote:
Thanks for the suggestion Zapp, your stuff really looks good, but I want to remove them entirely.

I can certainly understand that - we ditched Inspiration when we played D&D5 after all.

However, after playtesting PF2 using a couple of Homebrew adventures (with no hero point system), we just started our very first official Adventure Path (Extinction Curse).

And boy am I glad I persevered in coming up with *some* sort of Hero Point (even though the official system always was a no-go as explained upthread)!

Lesson learned: heroes need every little bit of help they can get when up against official content, at least at the lowest levels...! :-)


My PCs mostly use Hero Points to re-roll skill checks they rolled 1s on that their character is very good at.

Beyond that, they use them to roll out of critically failing effects that would effectively kill their character.

For example, last session I ran, my Bard used a hero point to avoid taking 100 damage and a critical fail on a flesh to stone, both from a Prismatic Spray. Our champion rolled a 1 on Dominate and kept herself from causing a non-standard campaign loss by being dominated by the villain for a day. A few sessions ago our cleric rolled a 1 on Finger of Death and would have died instantly if he didn't re-roll.

I'm glad I have hero points at my table because I don't want to be a killer GM and hero points let me play rough without TPKing the party by accident based on one bad saving throw.


Ice Titan wrote:

My PCs mostly use Hero Points to re-roll skill checks they rolled 1s on that their character is very good at.

Beyond that, they use them to roll out of critically failing effects that would effectively kill their character.

Hmm. That sounds like you're effectively corroborating the criticism against PF2 Hero Points: that they're a crude patch to holes in the main design.

I mean, I'm glad you make them work, but I would be gladder if you hadn't just told me they're there because the critical rules are too coarse.

Quote:
'm glad I have hero points at my table because I don't want to be a killer GM and hero points let me play rough without TPKing the party by accident based on one bad saving throw.

Sure, but that's saying they serve a useful function, which I have never disputed or denied.

Instead my criticism is mostly against the workload they place on the GM and their lack of narrative power.

It would be interesting to hear you discuss your experience with Hero Points from the angle of this particular thread.

Best regards,
Zapp


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The workload they put on me is effectively zero.

If I had no hero points, I would add them, as I have since every campaign I've ever run since I first played Mutants and Masterminds 3e. The d20 is too variable to have an average play experience.

The critical rules for spells are meant for enemy monsters, who cannot spend hero points, but also have inflated health totals like 325 to my PC casters who have something like 140 at level 14.

I don't know why everyone has such a deep focus on not tainting their play experience by giving their players a break.


Ice Titan wrote:
I don't know why everyone has such a deep focus on not tainting their play experience by giving their players a break.

If you insist on making this a binary choice between either accepting Paizo's implementation of Hero Points on blind faith, or "not tainting their play experience by giving their players a break" we're done discussing.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I guess the key for me here is whose story am I telling? Is it the story of the heroes or of the villains they face? Or just a story of the situation.
I enjoy focusing on the story being told of the Heroes or Players. In many of the Fantasy stories I read the Hero often miraculously gets out of a tight situation or something happens in their favor that is unexpected. This is where the Hero Point comes into play for me. A Re-Roll when the dice are not in their favor, a second bad roll and fate has taken over even when luck tried to intervene. I have taken the Hero Point a step further and let a Point let a player add a story element to the narrative. It encourages interactive play between the GM and the Players. Of course this is just my take and it is entirely up to the story a GM wants to tell.
I reward Hero Points for Great RP and story interaction. A Great Explanation of a combat move or Spell Cast. I keep the Limit at 3, but rarely see it reached. The benefits are players who are the Heroes of the story, RP at their best to gain a "Story Point" Hero Point and a story that isn't always tied to bad dice rolls.
In the end it is how you and your group have fun.

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