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8 ways to make PC’s somewhat ‘super’ with Hero Points

Written by MythicParty - Published on May 18, 2015

got2So Superheroes are pretty much everywhere & are only going to become more widespread.   In addition to the plethora of these movies that have already come out, (seriously, we kept losing track trying to count) there are almost 30 confirmed release dates just through 2020.  It would be silly to imagine that as these films continue to permeate our culture, their influence won’t further impact gaming.  But in a way, some of that heroic impact is already available for use in D&D games: Hero Points.

Now at least in Pathfinder, Hero Points will make most characters more Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D heroic than amazingly awesome Avengers heroic.  But they are a mechanic that will help characters accomplish impressive things at important times- a characteristic common to all hero media.  Simply put, they give players a small measure of control over the randomness of critical die rolls while at the same time providing a mechanism for the GM to offer a useful in-game award for super role playing or for making real life helpful contributions to the group.

Here’s the link to the full rules of the Paizo version: http://paizo.com/pathfinderRPG/prd/advanced/advancedNewRules.html …but we’ll go through the 8 possible uses for this official option as well as the reason why that particular use will better your game.

1) WHAT- Act Out of Turn:  “take your turn immediately. Treat this as a readied action, moving your initiative to just before the currently acting creature. You may only take a move or a standard action on this turn.”  WHY- allows players who have come up with a time-based plan to try to go when they need to go to get that plan to happen.

2) WHAT- Bonus: “used before any d20 roll, get a +8 luck bonus. If used after, this bonus is +4.  Grant 1/2 this bonus(+4 before, +2 after) to another character, as long as your character can reasonably affect the outcome.”  WHY- rewards risk taking as well as selflessness through teamwork.  Possibly both on a single crucial roll!

3) WHAT- Extra Action:  “gain an additional standard or move action this turn.”  WHY- assists in allowing cool tactics or possibilities that require some oomph to make possible.

4) WHAT- Inspiration:  “petition the GM for a hint about what to do.”  WHY- the easiest way to unstick a stuck party & get the game moving again.  If you allow only 1 use of Hero Points, allow this one as it will help you help your players, which in turn only helps you.

5) WHAT- Recall:  “recall a spell you have already cast or to gain another use of a special ability that is otherwise limited.”  WHY- solves the classic case of player frustration at having used a character resource when it would have better been utilized later on.  Let your players do a MtG untap & watch their unhappiness at a mistake fade.

6) WHAT- Reroll: “reroll any one d20 roll; take the results of the second roll, even if worse.”  WHY- a replication of a casino table, trusting in Lady Luck for an all or nothing shot.  Memorable drama from a die roll.

7) WHAT- Special: “attempt nearly anything that would normally be almost impossible; cast a higher level spell, make an attack that blinds a foe or bypasses its DR, use Diplomacy to convince a creature to stop attacking.”  WHY- encourages creativity, by letting the player put forth possibilities that might not otherwise come up in the games.  Their imagination is still in check by GM, but as long as their Special use has a basis in background, it should be considered.  i.e. the Try to Say ‘Yes’ goal for GM’s

8) WHAT- Cheat Death:  “spend 2 hero points to prevent dying; be left alive, with negative hit points but stable.”  WHY- powerful, but balanced since the rules only allow for a maximum of 3 Hero Points (not counting spells or magic items).  If like us you feel that constant Raise Deads/Resurrections are removing tension from your campaign yet want the PC’s to have a safety soul net, then Cheating Death is a workable option.

So those are the 8 uses of Hero Points.  What do you guys think- is your game ready for some of their uses?  Or do you feel that heroes are already everywhere & becoming cliche?  Tell us in the comments below.


Written by MythicParty

Dog-loving, movie-watching, pizza aficionado. Content Editor for DMing.com, Project Manager for AvatarArt.com, & player of the coolest characters in a weekly D&D game. Halflings are the real heroes.

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7 Responses to “8 ways to make PC’s somewhat ‘super’ with Hero Points”
  1. MythicParty says:

    Not be confused with Action Points from Unearthed Arcana:

  2. MythicParty says:

    Or 1987’s Dragon Magazine article: “A Hero’s Reward: The Hero Point system for the AD&D game” by Leonard Carpenter, that gave them based on character Level. Each Old School Hero Point equaled a +1 bonus or a 5% bonus.

    And weren’t those chess covers cool?

  3. We use Hero Points in the campaigns I am in and they work fantastically well. We started out with Action Points, but they didn’t have the needed utility that Hero Points do. I think Hero Points allow you to have a more hybrid party, comprised of unique and uncommon classes while still being able to pull off some much needed feats.

    However, what we use Hero Points the most for are rerolls and bonuses to our rolls. A few of us at the table are known for our terrible, terrible rolls (I mean very terrible). Hero Points give us a better chance, if used properly, to make that critical roll where a lot of the time Action Points just came up short. In one of the campaigns I am in, one of the PCs took some Hero Point feats in order to utilize more of them. We also have a house rule for cheating death. The 2 Hero Points can be spent by anyone at the table to keep anyone alive for one round. Sadly, we have had to do that on more than one occasion.

    All in all, I am a proponent for Hero Points.

  4. MythicParty says:

    Hi Benjamin. How does that spending for someone else translate to ‘in game?’ i.e. what is happening story-wise

  5. When we burn our Hero Points to keep someone else up, there’s really no story angle to it; we just don’t want them to die. I cannot remember, off the top of my head, if our DM made some kind of statement on how we were able to keep them alive. I think it just happens.

    I am sure, however, that if we needed some kind of story hook in spending our points to keep another player alive we could do it.

  6. MythicParty says:

    Hey, to whomever left a 2-Star ‘review’ it would be helpful to know what you didn’t like about this piece, as well as what we could have done better. We do value feedback, but it’s really only useful if its, well, useful.


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