Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A Matter of Luck

Art by Carl Frank
A few months ago, I mentioned my apprehension about adding the Hero Point option rule from the Advanced Player's Guide to my Pathfinder games. While I like certain aspects of the rule and how they allow a player to turn a failure into a success at the drop of a hat, I dislike how they can subtly encourage a character to be more reckless with their actions since the hero points can always save them.

Recently, I've been working on my house rules document for Pathfinder since I'm probably going to run a Pathfinder game in the near future, and I've been thinking about hero points once again. I've been toying with the idea of adding them to the game, but in a heavily modified manner and calling them "luck points" instead. 

At the beginning of each session, characters receive exactly 1 luck point. During the game, a player may spend their luck point to A) re-roll a failed attack roll, saving throw, or skill check, B) add 4 to any attack roll, saving throw, or skill check, or C) automatically stabilize their character when they are dying. However, once they use their luck point, they do not get another one until the next session and you cannot have more than 1 luck point at a time. 

My reason for putting the cap at 1 luck point is rather simple. If a player knows they only have 1 luck point to spend, the likelihood of them being more cautious with it and not spending it willy-nilly should go up. However, since you can't save them between session to gain more, the likelihood of the point being used during the session goes up as well. 

While each player receives only 1 luck point each session, I have been toying with an idea that would let players receive the benefits of a second luck point, but at a price. Basically, the player would ask to "push their luck" and would roll a d%. If they roll 50 and under, they receive the benefits of the luck point. However, if they roll over 50, karma bites them in the ass and they receive a disadvantage/penalty of some kind. I have always like options that require a bit of randomness or a cost. I find it makes things a little more interesting. However, I still have no idea what the disadvantages or penalties would be yet, so I probably won't implement this element just yet. 

I've also been toying with the idea of a feat called "Fortune's Friend" that would allow characters to have more luck points or have a better percentage when "pushing their luck", representing their character being very lucky. However, I want to think of a good prerequisite so it doesn't become a feat everyone takes, making it less unique. 

I will most likely be implementing the basic Luck Point rule in my upcoming Pathfinder game, mostly to see how it works out and if my players like it or not. If they do, I might try and introduce the other elements at a later date once I've figured out how I want them to work exactly. Also, I'd love some feedback on this rule and the additional elements as well.