PF2 Hero Points

CapnZapp

Hero
How do you feel about PF2 Hero Points? Do you use them as instructed? Ignore them entirely? Something else?

I'm especially interested in hearing about your opinion if you found Inspiration in D&D 5E bolted-on, not well integrated in that ruleset. Because that's where I stand myself.

Getting rerolls could of course be great to bolster characterization of your PC, since you could decide "this task is my character's thing". But rerolls are worse and more irritating than advantage. And, annoyingly enough, you could still fail. (And likely will, if you attempt an untrained task).

And in combat, they carry far less weight than out of combat. Turning one miss into a hit, who cares. You can't really change anything with a single reroll, except for personal defense (changing a failed save into a success). Out of combat, however, entire storylines can depend on a single die roll.

I would like to see a system that acknowledges some or all of this.

Such as, you can spend a hero point to
1) increase the degree of success one step of a result your character just witnessed
2) immediately take three actions (no change in initiative)
3) be removed from current danger; personal survival ensured


1) would be mainly for out-of-combat usage. No anticlimactic die rolling, when the real aim here is for a player to take creative control over the story. So you can basically turn a fail into a success, after the fact, no randomness. You don't even need to be the one making the skill test - you just need to be there. You can't turn a success into a fail, by the way. You can only increase the degree of success, never reduce it. (Using meta currency to effectively stunlock the BBEG isn't very heroic anyways)
2) would be mainly for in-combat usage. And there have a real impact. Or at least, let you take a whole extra action and however much impact that brings. You could run past the pesky guards to challenge the big bad evil guy straight away. Or just run away. Or wave your sword three more times. It's your actions.
3) a real "fate point" or "extra life". Not some mechanically wimpy auto-stabilize bullcrap where you could easily die 1 second later. (If all you want is to make your death save, be my guest, since usage #1 allows just that) This is for those "you wake up washed ashore on a beach" or "you fall, but snag on a branch which saves your life" moments. You're transported out of harms way, alive to fight another day. No such promise for your friends, though. Perhaps other soldiers fall on top of your body, and you're taken for dead. Or a random planar gate whisked you away, I don't care about the how. Most crucially - you're removed from the scene, so you can no longer take action. Either way, you don't regain agency or even consciousness until after the current scenario is resolved by the others.

Then you'd start with maybe two of these. There would be no expectation on gaining more, certainly nothing like one a session. You might gain one per adventure path instalment (so about +6 over twenty levels or so). More if the players love 'em and/or use them selflessly (for another character or the whole group; and no, I'm not talking about "selflessly" charging ahead, making sure to be the one that kills the monster; I'm talking storywise). About the only rule remaining from the CRB would be the maximum of 3.
 

Philip Benz

Explorer
All three of your proposed additions to PF2's hero points system seem extremely overpowered to me. It might work for you in your home games, but I suspect you'll find little traction with the wider community of PF2 players.

Option 3 looks especially bad for your party members, unless you're proposing that they all suddenly "heroically" teleport out of danger with you.
 

kenada

Explorer
Under CapnZapp’s proposal, players would get far fewer Hero Points over the course of the campaign. Given that, it might be okay if they’re more powerful. My concern would be that it would induce the players to hoard their Hero Points and never use them.

How do you feel about PF2 Hero Points? Do you use them as instructed? Ignore them entirely? Something else?
They’re okay-ish. I’m trying to do a better job of more liberally handing them out. I’ve tried various things in various systems like tying them to playing up a flaw&c, but that never seems very popular. Now I’m just giving them out for doing something cool or entertaining.

One change I am thinking of making is also allowing them to spend Hero Points to do a flashback and retroactively prepare for the current situation (à la Blades in the Dark). I’ve proposed that to the group before, but I got push back saying preparation was part of doing an exploration-based game, but my players aren’t that great at being prepared. This would give them a way to retroactively fix those mistakes without feeling too convenient.
 

CapnZapp

Hero
All three of your proposed additions to PF2's hero points system seem extremely overpowered to me.
If the point is to give the player narrative control, they need to actually enable the player to do that.

If the point is merely to give the players a slight edge... well, the game already has levels and magic and hit points! How much more of an edge do you need?

My beef with the current implementation is that the points doesn't do very much, and that they don't guarantee any change.

Why muck around with points if they aren't truly heroic, I mean. They need to give the player the power to actually change the narrative for it all to be worthwhile.

I want to move away from the idea of them coming and going all the time. You already have a gazillion things, feats, magic items, spell buffs to turn on and off.

Seems to me hero points needs to be in an altogether different power level, since they're meant as a last defense, when all your other doodads have failed you.
 

Rhianni32

Explorer
How I use Hero Points. Its not very heroic to stabilize yourself yet be at 0 HP and lay there unconscious. I let my players use a hero point to get them to 1 HP. They can then decide if they want to retreat to heal or try to get back in the fight. Since they (usually) only have 1 point.

We've found it necessary because of the wide variance of critical damage. 1 "20" and then 1 max damage roll and you just took down the fully armored, full HP tank. Nothing they did wrong and in fact they could have taken every precaution. They only have 1 point a session so its not like they are removing all danger. There has been plenty of near TPKs.

We are only 3rd level and the early levels are notoriously hard because of a lack of abilities and resources so this may change later on.

Capn's Ideas. By having only 1-2 per adventure path you are really limiting their use. I couldn't see many people spending them for a single action in combat.
The out of combat use could be more dramatic and powerful in a good way. I would limit it though that the GM could override in VERY rare cases when its used. Only for case of say the BBEG's overall plans where the players might derail too much. But only if you are running that sort of campaign. If its more sandboxy than probably not a problem.
 
My players make extensive use of hero points for rerolls. The bit in the rulebook which says something along the lines of "The player must describe their heroic action" to get the reroll is awesome flavor and everyone loves it. I like to think I'm fairly generous in dolling them out, but only for actually heroic actions such as saving citizen x or defending player y or sparing villain z in order to give them a second chance, .etc
 

Philip Benz

Explorer
How to gain narrative control? Simple. Instead of using your rerolls in combat, use them during social interactions to give you a new roll on Diplomacy (Make an Impression) or Diplomacy (Request), or other similar social situations. A single roll can make a big difference in such situations.
 

CapnZapp

Hero
My players make extensive use of hero points for rerolls. The bit in the rulebook which says something along the lines of "The player must describe their heroic action" to get the reroll is awesome flavor and everyone loves it. I like to think I'm fairly generous in dolling them out, but only for actually heroic actions such as saving citizen x or defending player y or sparing villain z in order to give them a second chance, .etc
Coming up with awesome flavor only for you to roll another 2 summarizes everything that's bad with the rulebook implementation.

The idea of hero points itself is good.
 

CapnZapp

Hero
How to gain narrative control? Simple. Instead of using your rerolls in combat, use them during social interactions to give you a new roll on Diplomacy (Make an Impression) or Diplomacy (Request), or other similar social situations. A single roll can make a big difference in such situations.
Well, I already know social checks are much more decisive and story-impacting than even a string of ten combat checks.

What I want to change is how the rulebook implementation does nothing for the hero who faces a very difficult task. If you need to roll a 17 on your d20, even ten hero points could do nothing. So if the desired power of the hero point is for the player to be able to change the narrative, why not skip the pesky little rerolls and simply let them upgrade the success level?

So while I thank you for your suggestion, it was the very reroll itself I identified as the bug. Using them for social checks - yes. Getting a mere reroll - no. :)
 

CapnZapp

Hero
All three of your proposed additions to PF2's hero points system seem extremely overpowered to me. It might work for you in your home games, but I suspect you'll find little traction with the wider community of PF2 players.
Under CapnZapp’s proposal, players would get far fewer Hero Points over the course of the campaign.
My specific (yet approximate) suggestion was gaining one hero point for each adventure path booklet you complete. You would gain a hero point every third or fourth level or thereabouts. The GM is encouraged to hand them out when you complete major milestones, long quests, important successes etc.

Option 3 looks especially bad for your party members, unless you're proposing that they all suddenly "heroically" teleport out of danger with you.
If you're thinking of a potential TPK, they will have to spend hero points of their own if they have them. Your hero point is not intended to be so powerful as to save the entire party. Just you.

Since a complete and total party kill can sometimes stop a campaign in its tracks, since there is no longer any surviving character who "remembers" the story, the basic value of a hero point is... to prevent that. If nothing else is gained, one character survives, which the new characters of the other players can reform a party around.

My concern would be that it would induce the players to hoard their Hero Points and never use them.
You only need one to escape death. ¯\(ツ)

If you're still concerned about hoarding, limit the maximum number to two instead of three. That is, you're basically forcing them to use one of their two initial Hero Points if they want to avoid "wasting" them. If they haven't used up at least one by the time you hand out a new one, it's lost.
 
Last edited:

CapnZapp

Hero
Capn's Ideas. By having only 1-2 per adventure path you are really limiting their use. I couldn't see many people spending them for a single action in combat.
One for each of the six books of an AP. That's seven in total, over twenty levels.

And that's just my suggestion.

The out of combat use could be more dramatic and powerful in a good way. I would limit it though that the GM could override in VERY rare cases when its used. Only for case of say the BBEG's overall plans where the players might derail too much. But only if you are running that sort of campaign. If its more sandboxy than probably not a problem.
I understand your issue in theory.

I'm not sure official Adventure Paths can be derailed by individual checks - where a player succeeds where he or she wasn't "supposed to"...
 

5ekyu

Adventurer
Generally, I dislike hero points, drama points etc. They get worse when integrated strongly into system and have not seen system where they find a good balance.

Contrast with what I would call specialty points where Hero point type impact is limited to a narrow specialty on a character to spotlight advanced tricks or knowledge in their most potent field. I find that fine - just a flexible method for enhancing a specialty.
 

CapnZapp

Hero
The best system I've seen has been in the Warhammer FRP game, at least before later editions made it complicated and ruined it.

That is, 1st edition introduced Fate Points and the idea you could live to fight another day. (You could also use them to negate a single killing blow, but then you'd be open to dying the next round, so that usage carries next to no narrative weight)

And then 2nd edition complemented that with Fortune Points. Re-rolls basically.

Anything else than that is just clutter.
 

Advertisement

Top