Thursday, October 11, 2007

Hero Points

I read an interesting article (about the Living Death campaign) about hero points.

I like the first part, about how you get Hero Points

Earning Hero Points

PCs earn Hero Points by acting bravely, selflessly, daringly and dramatically. The judge determines whether a PC has earned a Hero Point for any particular action; but since defining these qualities is difficult, here are some general guidelines about what do not and what do constitute heroic actions:
  • Heroic actions are not hesitant or calculated. A soldier whose companions must persuade him to confront a deadly assassin to save an NPC from death is not heroic. An adept who pauses to consider whether his spells will be more effective than weapons against the champion before agreeing to fight him is being brave, but not heroic. Heroism is courageous, not scheming.

  • Heroic actions are not performed for personal benefit. If two PCs struggle with each other to reach the limelight, then neither may receive a Hero Point: "I'll swing down and scoop the ambassador off the deck of the assassin's ship!" "No, I'll be the one to do it! The senator is watching!" Furthermore, when a PC performs an act which has an obvious reward (fighting the assassin to take his antique scimitar) no Hero Point is awarded. If the PC expects a reward for his action ,then it is not heroic. Heroism is selfless, not selfish.

  • Heroic actions are not safe and easy. A PC must face and realize she faces a serious threat for an action to be heroic. Thus, a detective who leaps into a pit of vipers to save a fallen comrade is acting heroically -- unless she thinks she is immune to the poison or that the vipers are no real threat. A reporter who rushes across a rope bridge to save a young boy from an imminent landslide is heroic only if he has a real chance to fall or be caught in the landslide -- and knows it. Heroic actions are dangerous and difficult.

  • Heroic actions are not mechanical and bland. If a player simply declares, "Oh, I guess McEwan will fight the thugs," then the judge shouldn't award a Hero Point. On the other hand, a player who accepts a challenge with real panache is acting heroically: "Stand back, you villain! Your evil plan ends now!" Heroism is grand and dramatic.

In addition, I'd like to add that players can get a Hero Point for writing a back story of their character and posting it here on the blog.

And, if a player writes a blog entry after each session describing from the PC's point of view what happened in the past session, I may assign a Hero Point for that.

Also, if the other players unanimously nominate a player as MVP (Most Valuable Player), that player will receive a Hero Point.

I'd like to experiment with an alternative version of Hero Points.

  1. Each player can receive at most one Hero Point per session
  2. The player using the Hero Point will give it back to the DM for further use.
  3. The DM will consult his Table of Hero Point Results to determine the results. The results may include
    • Reroll of a die of the player's choice
    • Add (or subtract) 1d6 from the last roll
    • Add (or subtract) 2d6 from the last roll (obviously rarer)
    • Permanent increase in hit points (rarer yet)
    • Increase in random ability score (rarest)
  4. The player may use multiple Hero Points to obtain more powerful heroic bonuses on the Table of Hero Point Results
I've only just begun to think about what should be on the Table of Hero Point Results. If you have any ideas, please let me know.

I'll be updating the Hero Point rules and posting them on the blog.