The Red Box Blog

Ramblings about D&D.

Sell Me On It

While playing 3E I started giving players what I called Hero Points as an additional reward system. The idea was they could spend Hero Points to give them a better chance at completing especially heroic moves. The problem was that it was a balanced mechanical system, and it never felt particularly heroic when they were used (and that players tended to hoard them because they could be used defensively as well).

After playing 4E for a short time I found that action points were the same way; they ought to (in my mind) allow PCs to have a moment to shine, but all to often they seemed to be spent on re-rolls when the character missed an attack (and more often than not the re-roll missed too).

So I implemented a system with action points that I had briefly tried with Hero Points that I like to call “Sell me on it”. Basically, when a player says they want to use an action point, they can either use them the way they are intended or they can use them as an opportunity to bend the rules.

In spending the action point the player can propose to have his character do anything; there is no limit on what they can propose as a use for an action point, but whether I agree or not will depend on how in line it is with the character (I really like proposals that are extensions of existing powers), how dramatically appropriate it is, and who benefits from the action.

My favourite example of a player using “Sell me on it” was a way of extending Fey Step far beyond its rule use, yet was something no one would have blinked at if read in a story. Basically the party’s sorceress was trapped and in grave danger, so the Eladrin rogue used Fey Step to teleport in, grab her and teleport out (ala Nightcrawler).

To be honest some of my favourite memories of 4E involve this house rule, so I will have to be sure we bring it back when we start our new 4E game. I will say that’s its one downfall is that it tends to favour players who are playing more for the story; but seeing as they frequently get the short end of the stick, I don’t think that’s a problem.


October 28, 2010 - Posted by | 3.x, 4E, Dungeons and Dragons, RPGs | , , , ,

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