In table top games the concept of re-rolls or advantage is far from new. Pathfinder first edition used a fortune and misfortune mechanic that operated similar to the 5E advantage system but Paizo has done some additions to spice up the idea with hero points.
In Second Edition hero points are temporary awards that are intended to last for a single game session and help reward awesome roleplay, great strategy and epic moments.
In a pinch a player can use all their hero points to save themselves from dying with minimal negative effects and keep those pesky wounds at bay!
Hero points are very sweet, but you may have noticed we don’t use them exactly like the book says. Much of this is because of the style of play we are using for the podcast.
At the start of each recording session I hand out a button representing their hero point and they must turn in a button each time they want to use the hero point mechanic. Since our sessions don’t run for more than three hours and we give only a few out, we are having hero points persist from session to session.
You might be thinking, but what if your players hoard all their buttons for the big bad boss fight! They could do that but if they did that means I have not been challenging them enough to feel the stakes from moment to moment. I can use their button count to gauge how threatened the player’s character feels and adjust my descriptions and scene setting to raise or lower the stakes.
If I am doing my job correctly a player should have only one to three buttons at a time as the core rule book indicates.
Persistent buttons have another advantage of making players feel more control on their roles when they hit a bad dice streak. Did you just roll a 1? Hero point. Did you just roll a 1 on a second skill challenge? Give Medvick his buttons.
My goal in this tweek to the rules is to help empower my players to take risks, make epic moments and reduce the effect of too many botched rolls.
Well till they run out.
A treasure pile of buttons only lasts so long as Dice Fall and Everyone Dies