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Monday, October 23, 2017

Hero Points (but not really)

I've been giving a lot of thought on how to address the tendency of Pathfinder players to have a 15-minute adventuring day. I fixed it somewhat with importing Arcane Recovery from 5th Edition D&D to Pathfinder as a feat, but that only affects wizards and leaves all the other classes out in the cold. (Admittedly, as wizards are basically glass cannons, especially at low levels, it could be argued that they needed special attention anyway.)

But Arcane Recovery and 5e's differentiation between the Short Rest and the Long Rest got me to thinking about how to implement that within Pathfinder. I liked the concept of using hit dice to top up spent hit points between combats, but how best to use that in my game which makes heavy use of Hero Lab to keep things running?

The answer is a Frankenstein-style mash-up between 5e's hit dice and Pathfinder's hero points.

TLDR version: they're gained like PF hero points, but they're spent and regained like 5e hit dice.

Hero Points in my Pathfinder RPG

Acquiring Hero Points
PCs have X Hero Points, where X = PC level. Every time a character levels up,  a new Hero Point is earned. The GM may also hand out non-persistent Hero Points as a reward for good problem-solving or role-playing (non-persistent means "Spend it once and it's gone forever"). 

Spending Hero Points
Players can spend one or more Hero Points at the end of a short rest. For each Hero Point spent in this way, they roll a die corresponding to their character's hit dice and add their character’s Constitution modifier to it. These are hit points that have been regained as a result of resting and tending to wounds. Players can roll as many times as you like until they're out of dice. 

Players can also spend a Hero Point to regain a single use of extraordinary or supernatural abilities, including but not limited to:
  • Bardic Performance
  • Channel Energy
  • Rage
  • Smite Evil
  • Lay On Hands
  • Raging Song
  • Grit
  • Panache
Note: I am uncertain about long-term effects of letting players use Hero Points to recover spells. If I do, this will be expensive, on the order of 1 Hero Point per spell times the spell level.

The main idea here is that the PCs spend hero points while taking a short rest in order to "catch their breath" and recover some combat efficiency, encouraging players to adventure a bit longer before resting.

If in doubt, charge them more to regain abilities. 

Recovering Hero Points
PCs regain spent Hero Points at the rate of one-half their level (minimum 1) only after a long rest.

Note that per the definition of a long rest, any strenuous activity before it's completed (like combat or running away), the 8-hour clock on the rest period "resets" and must begin again.

Additional note for clarification: I am NOT implementing the 5e "regain all lost hit points after a long rest" rule.


Ideally, this new system will encourage my players to press forward a bit more boldly rather than stopping to rest every time the wizard is out of spells or the cleric is out of heals. We shall see.

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