Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Musings About Hero Points

For a good while, I have been contemplating whether I should add the Hero Points system from the Advanced Player's Guide to my list of house rules for Pathfinder.

On the positive side of things, I like how they present the players with some narrative control of their characters and give them away to potentially save themselves if they botch a roll or make a terrible decision.

I also like how they allow me to reward players for thing beyond defeating challenges like traps and combat. If a character finds an interesting way to sneak past the guard to get into the treasure room, I could reward him a hero point for that.

However, there are a few negative sides as well. Strangely enough, hero points being a way for players to save themselves is kind of a bad thing as well. In most games, if a player makes a terrible decision and ends up suffering for it, they will hopefully learn from that mistake and be more cautious next time and plan ahead. However, when using the hero point system, there is a chance the character will not learn from the mistake because they have a hero point the can use to save them.

If I were to implement a hero point-like system into my home games, I think I would rework it a little bit. I would keep the three point maximum so players would have a limited pool of hero points and would not want to just throw them around without much though. The player could use a hero point to 1) re-roll an attack roll, saving throw, or skill check, 2) add a +4 bonus to their next attack roll, saving throw, or skill check, or 3) automatically stabilize their character if it is dying. 

What are your thoughts on hero point-like systems like Action Points or Fate Points? Do you like them or hate them and why?