Hero Points at the start of each session


Advice


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

With Hero Points being awarded and discarded at the start (and end respectively) of each session, I was curious if anyone has altered this paradigm for shorter or longer play sessions?

For example, if a group is planning on a marathon 12 hour game session, I wonder if handing out 1 hero point at the start of the session puts them at a disadvantage over a group that plays a 4 hour session. Obviously the longer session gives PCs more opportunities to earn additional hero points, but the baseline "automatic" hero point handout changes considerably with the PCs in a group playing 4 hour sessions having a minimum of 3 times as many hero points over the course of that block of time.

On the opposite side, my group typically plays 2 hour sessions and I worry that that a "Get out of death free" card every single session will take a lot of the threat out of the game as there's only so many combats you could get into in 2 hours.

Just generally curious if anyone has made adjustments and if so how that went?


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The hard part, as a DM, is remembering to hand out extra hero points *during* a session.


Gaming sessions at my table can be a tad erratic as for how long they last. I hand out hero points ...
Campaign starts all players awarded 3 Hero Points.
Defeat a boss 1 HP awarded.
Survive a Deadly encounter 1 HP awarded. I think that is pretty damn heroic :)


I think you should probably be handing out enough hero points to roughly match what it would be if the sessions where split?

You could also just schedule a break every 4 hours, and treat the return from break as a new game session for the purpose of gaining hero points.


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I had the "remember to give out" issue with inspiration. My fix for that was just give the group a pile of advantages equal to the party size, and they could be used anytime for any d20 roll. For hero points, I have given them all 1 each as a get out of death free card only. I may make it a pool once they pass level 5. When I first started 5e I thought inspiration was cool, but it ended up being a headache. So I am pre-avoiding it now.

So far this has been my only house rule i have implemented. We will see how things change after age of ashes.

K-ray


I give all my PCs 2 hero points when the session begins.

Too irritating trying to micromanage every single encounter's play of the game.

The system is very swingy and most of the time they just use the second hero point on things they really want to have happen-- usually Recall Knowledge rolls, or Diplomacy versus non-important NPCs.

The system is already so pitted against the PCs that I can't imagine playing without them.


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Yeah I really dislike this metagame mechanic (hourly rate session reset) because it does not fit the narrative at all. Interesting to watch short youtubes struggle to deal with this rule in 1-2hr sessions where it makes no sense at all.

But you cannot get rid of them because they are the intended counter to swingy critical ranges unbalancing the game. These are my simple changes to make them fit the narrative and not your playtimes.

Hero points are reset only after downtime. Makes sense as you stopped being a hero during downtime. If PCs want to blow their unused one crafting/working that is fine.

Hero points are given out to MVP after noteworthy explorations or social encounters (when you can earn quest XP) and every battle encounter. This is easy to remember as you are handing out loot and XP while taking a break, just put it on your checklist to hand out a hero point then. At severe level bosses maybe two hero points as those tend to be long fights. If someone is maxed they can give their new point to someone else.


I would certainly allow my players to use as many as they want as long as the action they are currently making seems extremely important for their character and as long as they describe it the way it should.

Otherwise, everyone keeps them for saving throw critical failures, and considering the number you have, it removes nearly all chances of such thing to happen.


I give Hero Points resets at each level (which, being milestone-based, happen after major thematic moments). You can start a session at zero, or at three. I do grant them moderately often, but this lets people make use of their accomplishments even if they're late in the session.


I completely forgot to mention that I also have the Hero Point reroll add +10 to the number if it's below 11.

Natural 20 is still only a Natural 20, but 1s are 11s and 10s are 20 without a critical effect.

Even with this I feel like Pathfinder 2 is sometimes prohibitively difficult. Maybe it's just Age of Ashes, but my 6 person party often barely survives fights and I'm not looking forward to how bad things get in 10 levels.


Ice Titan wrote:

I completely forgot to mention that I also have the Hero Point reroll add +10 to the number if it's below 11.

Natural 20 is still only a Natural 20, but 1s are 11s and 10s are 20 without a critical effect.

Even with this I feel like Pathfinder 2 is sometimes prohibitively difficult. Maybe it's just Age of Ashes, but my 6 person party often barely survives fights and I'm not looking forward to how bad things get in 10 levels.

I haven't checked past the first- and second-level portions of the adventure yet, but if the other sections continue the trend Age of Ashes has roughly a 3:1 ratio of using creatures that the Table: 10-2: Creature XP and Role has the word "boss" in the suggested role column for, making it more difficult than a campaign laid out by a GM adhering to the apparent encounter building advice/guidelines is likely to be.

It's something I looked into because members of my own group were commenting on how hard the game feels - and while I could explain some of the feeling of difficulty being from the players not yet being fully "in the zone" as far as how the new rules work, and some being from thinking of hitting zero HP as being as "I nearly died" as it is in PF1 or D&D when it's not actually as severe in PF2, there was still enough feeling of difficulty increase that I had to figure out where it was coming from: encounter design including mostly "boss" monsters, and in my first couple sessions my poor choices of how to expand encounters to fit the 5-person party of player characters (note: if adding the elite template to the one monster present in an encounter is just the right number of XP to fit the larger budget, do something else instead if you can because that elite monster will really push the players' buttons and make them think the game personally hates them)


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I haven't had any issues with a party of 4-6 so far. The first sessions were a bit rough with elite mobs at level 1 but when people started to learn how to play better it was fine.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
krazmuze wrote:

But you cannot get rid of them because they are the intended counter to swingy critical ranges unbalancing the game. These are my simple changes to make them fit the narrative and not your playtimes.

Hero points are reset only after downtime. Makes sense as you stopped being a hero during downtime. If PCs want to blow their unused one crafting/working that is fine.

Good feedback all around, but I particularly like this idea!


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns Subscriber

Note I originally was thinking to reset hero points to zero at downtime because hero points should be earned... but then I opened chapter two of Plaguestone which starts with two severe encounters back to back. 240XP beyond deadly!

After the backup party arrived in town and met up with the surviving alchemist, they started with the new rule of reset back to one hero point after downtime. Use up your extras earned on rerolls, but always keep that one point around in case you die.

Everyone eventually has that moment in their life where they say - I could/should have died. That is what hero points are. Takes some kills to realize they put those points in because they did not want to balance crit range out of the game.


We are working with 1 point at the start of each Char Level with the option of gaining more through that level, but when a char levels up its reset back to 1 again.


Miy2Cents wrote:
We are working with 1 point at the start of each Char Level with the option of gaining more through that level, but when a char levels up its reset back to 1 again.

Yeah, works fairly well.


I wish there were more uses for Hero Points. As a player, I've yet to spend one, despite starting each session with 2. (I get an extra for keeping a game log.) I always like being able to spend such things for minor narrative effects in RPGs. The bartender is actually an old family friend. The long sword we found was actually a rapier. That sort of thing.


Sapient wrote:
I wish there were more uses for Hero Points. As a player, I've yet to spend one, despite starting each session with 2. (I get an extra for keeping a game log.) I always like being able to spend such things for minor narrative effects in RPGs. The bartender is actually an old family friend. The long sword we found was actually a rapier. That sort of thing.

The point is that they are not hero points, but more a random reroll.

There is an ongoing discussion in the homebrew section

https://paizo.com/threads/rzs42tvw?Hero-Points

Personally, I would prefer them being even more limited, but more effective.

Given a situation where our hero fails a specific task, which could be

- avoiding a dragon's breath
- resisting the medusa's gaze
- tripping/shoving the enemy before he kills the prisonore
- avoid being notice
- disarming the enemy
- etc...

Declaring an heroic act shouldn't mean reroll the die and take the new result, only because it wouldn't be heroic at all.

It could still be a failure, or simply worse than the previous result.

Instead, for an instance by increasing the result by 1 degree, a failure could be turned into a success ( or a success into a critical one, or a critical failure into a failure ).

Something like

I try to hit the enemy *roll 3*

You miss the enemy

*using an hero point and describe the scene*

With steadiness I grip my weapon with more strength, slightly twist ing my wirst in order to correct the trajectory of the blow, intent to land it.

With a heroic maneuver, you somehow manage to turn a failed swing into a hit.

...

Obviously hero points should be then even more limited ( X per campaign more than X per session ).

This will give on the one hand better performance, which really could turn the tides ( instead of meaningless reroll which could have nothing heroic ).

On the other hand a DM won't have to dedicate time by assigning reroll to their players at the beginning and during every session.

And saving them for an epic task instead of wasting them to reroll a check, a save or a failed attack with 0 map ( since they would be limited ).


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Sapient wrote:
I wish there were more uses for Hero Points. As a player, I've yet to spend one, despite starting each session with 2. (I get an extra for keeping a game log.) I always like being able to spend such things for minor narrative effects in RPGs. The bartender is actually an old family friend. The long sword we found was actually a rapier. That sort of thing.

I use the Plot Twist cards from first edition, giving one to each player per hero point. Each player gets one for showing up and a second for showing up on time and ready to play. More can be given out during the session if players and/or their characters do something helpful/awesome. Helpful would be a player reminding me about something I forgot (a recent example is that I forgot to play one enemy during a fight for one turn). Something awesome would be anything the character does that greatly enhances the story (often this involves the use of another card, so it basically can pay for itself).

They can be used as hero points, or used as the card describes (subject to my discretion since they were meant for first edition). The players really seem to like them, and use them more often than they used hero points in the playtest, even though they were given roughly the same amount. Hero points were hoarded (with many sessions having none used) whereas cards are used every single session by at least one player and sometimes all players.

Here is the relevant portion of my house rules document, in case anyone is interested:

Fumarole's House Rules wrote:

Plot Twists

One Plot Twist card will be given to each player at the start of each session, with a second being given to each player who arrives on time and ready to play. A third can be earned during play for exceptional roleplaying or especially cool/heroic activity, at the GM’s discretion.
-Players may suggest that the actions of a fellow player are worth a card if the GM doesn’t immediately award one.
-Cards may be awarded to players who help keep the GM honest regarding things forgotten during a session.
-No more than three cards can be held by a player at any time.

Plot Twist cards can be used as Hero Points, in which case the cards function as Hero Points as outlined in the Core Rulebook on page 467.
-One card equals one Hero Point.

Plot Twist cards can also be used to alter the story being told, per one of the four narrative elements on the card or with the mechanical element on the card.
-When using the narrative element of a card, the player will describe to the GM what effect they wish the card to have over the story. The GM will then adapt the story to fit the player’s request, within reason. Any idea the player suggests that is unreasonable can be ignored at the GM’s discretion and the player retains the card for future use.
-Cards can be played at any time, in combat or not, on anyone's turn, as appropriate to the card.
-Players will not reveal their cards to anyone until they are played; this is to encourage each player to direct the story to their own desires and not have other players play their cards for them.
-A second player may play a card at the same time as another player if the cards synergize to improve the story or make for a more dramatic moment.
-The mechanical element of the card may be modified or ruled inappropriate by the GM as these pertain to first edition rules.

As Plot Twist cards are used they are returned to the deck.
-Unused cards at the end of a session will be returned to the deck.


Fumarole wrote:

I use the Plot Twist cards from first edition, giving one to each player per hero point. Each player gets one for showing up and a second for showing up on time and ready to play. More can be given out during the session if players and/or their characters do something helpful/awesome. Helpful would be a player reminding me about something I forgot (a recent example is that I forgot to play one enemy during a fight for one turn). Something awesome would be anything the character does that greatly enhances the story (often this involves the use of another card, so it basically can pay for itself).

They can be used as hero points, or used as the card describes (subject to my discretion since they were meant for first edition). The players really seem to like them, and use them more often than they used hero points in the playtest, even though they were given roughly the same amount. Hero points were hoarded (with many sessions having none used) whereas cards are used every single session by at least one player and sometimes all players.

Here is the relevant portion of my house rules document, in case anyone is interested:

Fumarole's House Rules wrote:

Plot Twists

One Plot Twist card will be given to each player at the start of each session, with a second being given to each player who arrives on time and ready to play. A third can be earned during play for exceptional roleplaying or especially cool/heroic activity, at the GM’s discretion.
-Players may suggest that the actions of a fellow player are worth a card if the GM doesn’t immediately award one.
-Cards may be awarded to players who help keep the GM honest
...

I quite like this, though I'm a little wary about rewards for impressing the GM. Depending on the group, some people may feel unappreciated or "less than". I tend to be very involved as a player, and I find that the RP and increased table time is reward enough for that. But rewarding people for showing up on-time and ready? LOVE that.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

During the playtest it was one hero point for showing up on time and another one for completing the player surveys (for the first session of parts 2-7 anyway). One player in particular would always be on time but was rarely ready to play; sometimes it would take an hour for him to be ready. When we jumped into Age of Ashes I added one for being ready and since then he has been ready every single time, so I call that a big win for the group. I'd much rather the game be easier on the PCs (since the Plot Twists cards can be extremely helpful) than have four people waiting around for the fifth.

I'm not sure "impressing the GM" is a good way to put it (it's more like the rulebook describes: "performing heroic deeds—something selfless, daring, or beyond normal expectations"), but even so I have a great group that has been together since before the playtest and we get along great, so it's not a big deal for me.

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