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Avoiding Temporary Modifiers


First Post
A common issue with fantasy RPGs is remembering temporary bonuses and
penalties. For example, having a "-2 to attacks, saves and skills for
4 rounds" is easy to say but, in practice, it's difficult for people to
keep track. Some players have found semi-effective ways to deal with
this. (The best solution I've seen is to sheath your character sheet
in a wet-erase-marker-capable sleeve.) But ultimately, even an
effective accounting system slows down the game and reduces the fun.

I'd like to propose a more fundamental change that will greatly reduce
this problem. (I'm posting it here instead of in a "House Rules" forum
because it applies to multiple rules systems.) It goes like this:

Every PC has three pools of tokens:
- Power tokens represent a boost in a character's physical power.
- Speed tokens represent a boost in a character's agility, reaction
times and mental quickness.
- Insight tokens represent a boost in character's creativity,
comprehension and social acumen.

Anything that normally grants a bonus to attacks, defense, saves,
skills now grants one or more tokens instead. As a rule of thumb, each
+1 bonus grants 1-3 tokens depending upon the duration of the effect.
This does mean that a bonus may not "last" as long as originally
intended but this made up for by the fact that tokens are more
flexible (see below).

Anything that normally applies a penalty now removes tokens from a
PC's pool. If the PC has no tokens in that pool, it removes tokens
from another pool of the player's choice. If the PCs has no tokens at
all then there is no effect.


When you take an action, you can spend as many tokens from your pool
as you want to proactively add a bonus to a die roll. Similarly, if a
creature attacks you, you can proactively spend tokens to increase
your defense:

Power Tokens:
+1 to one Str-base or Con-based attack or skill
+1 to Fortitude defense against a specific attack
+1 to damage dealt by a successful attack

Speed Tokens:
+1 to one Dex-based or Int-based attack or skill
+1 to AC or Reflex defense against a specific attack

Insight Token:
+1 to one Wis-based or Cha-based attack or skill
+1 to Will defense against a specific attack
+1 to a single saving throw

By proactive, I mean that the tokens must be spent before the die is
rolled. However, tokens can be spent retroactively at a rate of
3-per-1: three tokens must be spent to retroactively get the same
bonus as 1 token would have granted proactively.

In some circumstances, you can also spend your tokens on other PCs' actions:
- If your PC is adjacent to another PC, you can always spend tokens to
aid that PC's actions.
- If you are adjacent to the same enemy as another PC, you can spend
tokens to aid that PC's actions as long as they deal directly with
that enemy. For example, if your fighter is flanking a troll with the
rogue, he can spend tokens to increase rogue's defense against that
troll's attacks.
- Other circumstances at the DM's discretion


By default, tokens remain in your possession until you spend them or
the current encounter ends. In combat, you can also gain tokens
during your turn that are "temporary." Temporary tokens last only
until the BEGINNING of your next turn. Thus, they are usually spent

Temporary tokens do not stack. If you have temporary tokens from two
sources that could apply to the same action, you may only use the
tokens from one of those sources.

PCs can not horde tokens between encounters. When a new encounter
begins, each PC always starts with exactly two tokens in each pool.


Refocus: A PC can spend a standard action to gain two tokens of a
specific type.

Aid Another: A PC can spend a standard action to grant an adjacent
creature 2 tokens of a specific type.

Any in-combat circumstance that normally grants a temporary bonus
(e.g., cover, concealment, flanking, prone, higher ground, fighting
defensively, etc.) instead allows you to gain an equivalent number of
temporary tokens of an appropriate type. If the circumstance
generally has no action associated with it, then the PC must spend a
free action to gain these tokens.

Optional: If you spend a standard action to attack and miss, you can grant a
token to one ally who is adjacent to your target as a free action.
(This is designed to ease the sting of a miss a little and encourage

Optional: If you end your turn adjacent to a foe, and that foe does not move on
its turn then you can use a free action during your next turn to gain
one temporary speed token. (This is designed to encourage combatants
to be mobile.)


Monsters and NPCs don't start encounters with tokens like PCs do.
However, circumstances can grant tokens to such creatures and they can
use them in such circumstances.

When there are multiple NPCs or monsters on the battlefield, tracking
which tokens belong to which creature is an issue. In the case of
temporary tokens, their short duration means that this should be easy.
In the case of non-temporary tokens, the DM should simply put all
tokens of the same type in a communal pool that is shared by all the
creatures under his control. The DM is also expected to avoid using
this privilege to gain an unreasonable advantage. Additionally, a DM
can only spend a maximum of two tokens on any one action and may never
spend tokens retroactively.


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First Post
So if you have total concealment you can use that to get +5 on an attack roll? Seems powerful... For that matter, having your superior cover get used up when you're attacked seems quite strange.

Also, what would something like Lead The Attack do?

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