Hero Point Alternatives

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Richard
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Hero Point Alternatives

Postby Richard » Thu Sep 08, 2011 5:16 pm

There are things I like about the idea of Hero points. The concept of having exceptional reserves of skill or bravery to call on in moments of desperation, the capacity to develop spectacular and original manouevres. One thing I don't enjoy is the re-roll. When something has happened in my game, and I've gone to the trouble if investing the moment with drama and poignancy, I don't want anyone to be able to rewind the scene and to retractively alter the outcome. It most certainly takes the edge off a gritty game setting. I do realise that this is personal preference and that lots of people prefer to have a Deus ex machina/divine intervention/resurrection/hero points to bail out player characters. I've been thinking of ways to adapt the idea and am open to suggestions.

Ideas I'm considering at the moment are...

* Someone on the forum had the brilliant suggestion that Hero Points could be used to enchant items or make them legendary. Even that items themselves can possess Hero Points. May need development but I love the concept.

* Make it that Hero Points simply allow a character to extend themselves and push themselves to theri limits in critical situations. The player must announce the use of Hero Points Before the roll for the action is made. Each point spent gives the character a +10% modifier. A character can only spend Hero Points up to the maximum of their POW in a single shot. I was considering allowing these points to be recovered at the end of each scenario. Also tha each Heroic Ability is activated by a Hero point rather than a Magic Point and is likewise recovered at the end of a scenario.

As I say open to any other suggestions.
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languagegeek
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Re: Hero Point Alternatives

Postby languagegeek » Thu Sep 08, 2011 8:16 pm

Richard wrote:As I say open to any other suggestions.
Some of our players use hero points for an automatic success at improvement rolls. This negates the frustration at blowing a improvement of a skill and only getting a 1% increase. And it makes sense from an in-game perspective if hero points are awarded for a creative or awesome use of a skill.

I don't have a problem with using hero points for re-rolls as our players have been really hesitant to use them unless utter and tragic failure would otherwise result. Or if they wanted to accomplish something difficult but entertaining. And those hero points run out pretty quickly...
Heresy is the life of a mythology, and orthodoxy is the death — J. Campbell
Richard
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Re: Hero Point Alternatives

Postby Richard » Fri Sep 09, 2011 7:54 am

Ta language geek. Combining them with Improvement rolls seems like good move. Maybe a simple reward to cover both and the player decides how to distribute them. EG Endgame reward of 5 points. Player can split these 3 Hero Points/2 Improvement rolls.
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DigitalMage
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Re: Hero Point Alternatives

Postby DigitalMage » Fri Sep 09, 2011 9:29 am

Richard wrote:One thing I don't enjoy is the re-roll. When something has happened in my game, and I've gone to the trouble if investing the moment with drama and poignancy, I don't want anyone to be able to rewind the scene and to retractively alter the outcome.
How far after the roll do you allow a player to spend a hero point for a re-roll? Do you narrate the outcome and then allow a player to spend a hero point? If so that sounds too late to me. A re-roll is more a case of "Okay I failed my roll, I am spending a hero point to re-roll <rolls> okay a success now" - that is not much different than re-rolling the dice if they had bounced off the table.

Basically, I would determine success or failure, wait to see if the player wants to spend a hero point to re-roll, and then narrate the outcome - so effectively there is no rewinding of time or retroactively changing what happened.
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Re: Hero Point Alternatives

Postby Richard » Fri Sep 09, 2011 4:03 pm

What I find DigitalMage, and this was sometimes the case in Ars Magica as well where the analagous mechanism was the Confidence Point, is that often the drama builds up towards a particular roll or scene. The idea of then being able to play a 'get out of jail free card' (Albeit not one that is guaranteed to work) takes the sting out of the moment. The roll or action you see night not end up being the one that is actually applied. 'Hang on I'll try that again' deflates the immediacy and often on such moments games turn, and are subsequently remembered for years to come. Used as written I would certainly use them as you suggest which is sensible and as immediate as possible.

In addition it does seem a rather arbitrary leg up for PCs. I did consider the idea of Villain Points and inflicting the same tricks on the players but really the whole thing feels artificial and exterior to the narrative. It is a game mechanic 'imbalancing' the game in the player's favour. As I said I completely understand that many people prefer an extra get out for players or at least having something over on the enemy. Drawing on reserves of heroism/bravery/commitment for a pre-stated bonus seems like an alternative which is immediate, minimally intrusive and something which will involve the player in a level of tactical forethought, given that the outcome remains unknown.

An additional use I was considering was to record the character's accumulate Hero points in case of their death. Now if someone does cop it during a campaign there is often a disparity between the existing characters, who have plenty of in game experience to draw on, and the newby. Fair enough as it goes. However what I'm considering is allowing the player of the deceased to pass on some form of Hero point related 'inheritance' to their successor. I'd be looking for a life story event/rationale for this but it would give some additional meaning to the life of the recently deceased charcter.

e.g. The new character was the deceased's cousin and they have been training and sparring with them in the clan stead during downtime. The new character gets an extra 10% starting points per Hero point of their deceased relative to reflect this. Using the Heroic enchantment idea perhaps they inherit their big sister's spear which is imbued with half of her Hero Points which can then be called upon in combat with the weapon. They may be so inspired by their predecessor that this manifests as a larger Hero Point total of their own which they carry forward with them. It might not bring them quite up to the level of expertise of experienced survivors in the party but it would close the gap in a way consistent with developing the ongoing drama. It also outs a bit of flesh on the bones of the character's background and increases their involvement in the setting itself.

Any of this sound useful? I could maybe draw up a list of possibilites.

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