Action points now in core rules?

24 posts / 0 new
Last post
Anyone else catch that one of the new feats described in Dragon requires you to spend action points? So I'm guessing action points are standard now?
Anyone else catch that one of the new feats described in Dragon requires you to spend action points? So I'm guessing action points are standard now?

Yes, action points are core in 4e. This was confirmed by a developer somewhere, at some point (I'm helpful!), but they did mention that action points are substantially different in function than the d20 Modern / Eberron ones. I don't believe we've heard specifics on what these differences are. Allow me to speculate baselessly:

With action points being integrated into the core rules, it's likely that their effects will be more than the bonus dice system that was tacked on to the third edition rules after the fact. In addition, the rules on rerolling that are apparently in SWSE have the possibility of making it into 4e, taking Action Points' position as a safety net for bad rolls. More likely, we'll see specific uses of them opened up via feats, similar to the feat uses outlined in Unearthed Arcana. Instead of simply doing something a little better than normal, action points have the potential to allow characters to do something that would otherwise be impossible. It's pretty much the Rule of Cool made formal: when you really need to pull off something awesome, the Cool overpowers the normal laws of physics and magic.
Rhymes with Bruce
Like Force points, 4E action points can represent another limited resource.

Therefore, you would have:
[INDENT]At will powers
one/encounter powers
one/ day powers
action point powers (somewhere around 4 per level perhaps)[/INDENT]

The last would take the place of one/week powers, since a week varies a lot in actual game experience, but the number of encounters per level is more static. Allowing some percentage of encounters to have a full-power effect means you have to choose which encounters get that smackdown. Thus, another resource.
They may be using action points like sort of like the Factotum. You get a set amount based on level and you can use these points to enhance or activate a skill/power.
I was looking at the SW Saga book the other day and noticed that they had the Jedi Secrets powered by force points.

Any thoughts that some of these might appear in 4e?
I was looking at the SW Saga book the other day and noticed that they had the Jedi Secrets powered by force points.

Any thoughts that some of these might appear in 4e?

I have no way of proving it, but I have a hunch all of them will in one way or another.
Allow me to speculate baselessly:

OOOOh I want to do that too,

Action points will be part of the DDI and if you don't get a subscription you wont be able to use them, also they will be selling booster packs of the new collectable class feature cards that come with a random ultra rare foil card that has a code that you have to enter in and if your lucky gives you between 0-3 action points. this will be the only way to get new action points. Also a character without action points is not allowed to participate in combat. so buy your boosters, and hope you get the foil card and hope that your lucky and get your action points.

This is just pointless fun being had by me and expressing the worst fears of the anti-4th crowd:D
We've been using AHEM, Hero Points, since Dragon #118.

I'm interested to see how I'll have to house rule them from our experiences in balancing them. Ebberrroooonnnn made them mainstream thankfully, but I really look forward to seeing what the twinks are going to do with them.

jh

Gamer Chiropractor - Hafner Chiropractic 305 S. Kipling st,Suite C-2, Lakewood, Co 80226 hafnerchiropractic.com

I hope they're given out X per game session, rather than per level. I dislike the Action Point hoarding that comes with 'per level' systems.
I hope they're given out X per game session, rather than per level. I dislike the Action Point hoarding that comes with 'per level' systems.

I agree. Our house rule has always been that each character starts with a minimum of 1 per session.

I'm not going to work in a per-level benefit because as characters gain power, they typically need FEWER action points.

I may move up to two per session though. Maybe it would work well as a skill

Jay

Gamer Chiropractor - Hafner Chiropractic 305 S. Kipling st,Suite C-2, Lakewood, Co 80226 hafnerchiropractic.com

Why not have the amount of (Action, Hero, FATE, etc) points be set per session but unlock cooler uses for them at higher levels.
I hope they're given out X per game session, rather than per level. I dislike the Action Point hoarding that comes with 'per level' systems.

I completely agree. The Star Wars: Saga force point system drives me nuts. Don't get me wrong, I still use it and make it work...for Star Wars. However, I do NOT want mainstream D&D to have per level action points.

They seem to award hoarding points and they don't add the "cool" flavor and dynamic that they try to because everyone hangs on to their points and then blows them all at once on the BBEG in one round to kill THAT epic encounter also.

While the solution of each adventure having at least 1 AP works, I wouldn't mind if they were even per ENCOUNTER. That, of course, depends on what they can do and how many each character gets at any given time.

This is all MHO as usual. Take it in stride. :D
I completely agree. The Star Wars: Saga force point system drives me nuts. Don't get me wrong, I still use it and make it work...for Star Wars. However, I do NOT want mainstream D&D to have per level action points.

They seem to award hoarding points and they don't add the "cool" flavor and dynamic that they try to because everyone hangs on to their points and then blows them all at once on the BBEG in one round to kill THAT epic encounter also.

While the solution of each adventure having at least 1 AP works, I wouldn't mind if they were even per ENCOUNTER. That, of course, depends on what they can do and how many each character gets at any given time.

This is all MHO as usual. Take it in stride. :D

Indeed. Unless they're handled right, there's a tendency for players to get stingy with action points, and not spend them except during the BBEG fight or when it's the difference between life and death.

This is the case because, depending on how quickly the characters level, action points can feel like an irreplaceable resource the players are afraid of 'wasting'.

This is also why I'm wary of there being high-end abilities powered solely through action points, since if the power isn't good enough to justify spending the point, it will never get used. If anything, the action points might be burned to get an extra shot on a per-day ability, or recharge per-encounter abilities if they are needed. But powers that require action points to use aren't something I'd like to see in fourth edition unless the action point system has undergone a huge revision from its 3rd-ed form.
Yeah, the fact that Action Points scream "horde me" is the biggest problem with them.

There should be a way to earn them in combat, or during special situations. Hell, these Action Points could even ONLY be used during that encounter. That way, players don't feel that they should hold onto them until the end. You could have a base pool that you can horde, but special actions during a given encounter could give you action points only usable during that encounter. To make things more interesting, higher powered NPCs can earn them the same way. Here's some ideas I had...

  • Anytime you roll a 20 on a skill check, you get an action point which can ONLY be used to get another 20 on this skill, during another roll. This can be horded, but a player can't take 20 on this skill, if it's allowed, while holding this action point.
  • Anytime you roll a critical hit, you may instead deal normal damage and gain an action point for use in this encounter.
  • Anytime the DM wants, he can state that a player's natural 20 is still a failure, but must give the player an action point. Good for letting BBEG get away... for now.
  • If a player stands up to overwhelming odds in which he will most definitely die, he can get three desperation action points. At the end of an encounter in which a player chooses to get these points, he automatically dies.


These are just examples I came up with on the fly, but they prove my point that action points don't have to be a static player-controlled plot device that you save for when it's needed. These would give good reason to use them all the time.
OOOOh I want to do that too,

Action points will be part of the DDI and if you don't get a subscription you wont be able to use them, also they will be selling booster packs of the new collectable class feature cards that come with a random ultra rare foil card that has a code that you have to enter in and if your lucky gives you between 0-3 action points. this will be the only way to get new action points. Also a character without action points is not allowed to participate in combat. so buy your boosters, and hope you get the foil card and hope that your lucky and get your action points.

This is just pointless fun being had by me and expressing the worst fears of the anti-4th crowd:D

Heh, heh, heh ... I for one, CHOOSE to have faith in the devs. But if I'm wrong, then I stand corrected. Ooops!!!
Yeah, the fact that Action Points scream "horde me" is the biggest problem with them.

On the other hand, the examples you give would require intense bookkeeping that would slow the game down. Savage Worlds has a pretty good way of dealing with it.
* You get 3 points at the beginning of a game session
* Heroic, spectacular, or exceedingly lucky actions get you an additional point
* All points are turned in at the end of the session so hoarding them is pointless and may cost you your character's life if you fail to use them wisely
* Points turned in at the end of the session can be spent for XP bonuses so they are not spent all at once when it doesn't matter

Simple, clean and relatively efficient. The only thing that comes into play here is that rewards of points can sometimes seem arbitrary since the definitions of "Heroic" or "Spectacular" can vary by DM. But it's also a nice way to encourage RP since you can get a chip that will help you in combat later by RPing well now.

--Jack
On the other hand, the examples you give would require intense bookkeeping that would slow the game down. Savage Worlds has a pretty good way of dealing with it.
* You get 3 points at the beginning of a game session
* Heroic, spectacular, or exceedingly lucky actions get you an additional point
* All points are turned in at the end of the session so hoarding them is pointless and may cost you your character's life if you fail to use them wisely
* Points turned in at the end of the session can be spent for XP bonuses so they are not spent all at once when it doesn't matter

Simple, clean and relatively efficient. The only thing that comes into play here is that rewards of points can sometimes seem arbitrary since the definitions of "Heroic" or "Spectacular" can vary by DM. But it's also a nice way to encourage RP since you can get a chip that will help you in combat later by RPing well now.

--Jack

I was just throwing those out as examples. I can't say for sure how I would do Action Points if I were on the dev team, but one things for sure and that's the fact that I would make them more dynamic than just "start with this, refresh every level".

One problem with that system is that it still doesn't punish hording too much. Even if they all go away at the end of a session, you can save it all for the big encounter at the end and ignore their use for the rest of the adventure. That was kind of what I was addressing, the player's common standard for holding onto them until the final conflict, then burning them like a nitro boost in a race.
Having used the Force Point system in Saga, I can say that there is some hoarding, but so what? BBEGs get them, too, so it cancels out in an explosion of uber at climactic points in the story. That's fine.

Also, there are talents that give you temporary, one-encounter Force Points when you roll a nat 20 on certain rolls. I've kind of flirted with a "stupid lucky" build which just takes all those sorts of talents, so the character's not actually good at anything, but seems to be crazy lucky all the time.
The blog or article that talked about action points said they were something different than what we have seen in previous sources.
On the other hand, the examples you give would require intense bookkeeping that would slow the game down. Savage Worlds has a pretty good way of dealing with it.
* You get 3 points at the beginning of a game session
* Heroic, spectacular, or exceedingly lucky actions get you an additional point
* All points are turned in at the end of the session so hoarding them is pointless and may cost you your character's life if you fail to use them wisely
* Points turned in at the end of the session can be spent for XP bonuses so they are not spent all at once when it doesn't matter

Simple, clean and relatively efficient. The only thing that comes into play here is that rewards of points can sometimes seem arbitrary since the definitions of "Heroic" or "Spectacular" can vary by DM. But it's also a nice way to encourage RP since you can get a chip that will help you in combat later by RPing well now.

--Jack

I like this. It's easier to track and influences the players positively. I remember in AEG's 7th Sea RPG there were Drama Dice. They were much like Action Points, except that they were awarded for role playing.

I hope that Action Points are not awarded on a per-level basis. That's the way it is in Eberron, and I find myself looking at my EXP total before using them. That's not good.
I hope they're given out X per game session, rather than per level. I dislike the Action Point hoarding that comes with 'per level' systems.

Huh?

Actually the current system discourages action point hoarding, since they just refresh at each level, instead of accumulate.

As far as X/session, that's inherently unbalanced because it means that people who run shorter or longer sessions are playing a different amount of game balance.

It also encourages PCs to drag their feet, or stop the session early, which sucks. "Lets not go to the Dungeon of Death. Lets kill some time in the market so that we can go next session with full APs."

Therefore, you would have:

At will powers
one/encounter powers
one/ day powers
action point powers (somewhere around 4 per level perhaps)

The last would take the place of one/week powers, since a week varies a lot in actual game experience, but the number of encounters per level is more static.

Sort of... but not really. The nice thing about AP powers is that they don't have any game-time tag attached to them. They accumulate at the same rate regardless of time, but rather due to accomplishment. That's a good thing. It means that PCs can't drag their feet in-game or out-of-game to accumulate more resources. Personally I say they dump one/day powers entirely and solely have either X/adventure powers or AP-based powers (which is really similar to saying X/level).
Let's see - since we're all getting our wishes and guesses in on how action points work, this is how I'd like to see it done.

I'd like to be able to spend an action point to add an action on my turn. So instead of two move actions or a move and attack, or a full attack, i can do a move attack move, or an attack, move, attack.

Or being able to toss off two spells close together.

Or being able to run all out that extra few steps and still make the heroic leap to knock the M'kron crystal out of the evil sorceror's hand - or whatever.

Obviously, pushing yourself in this way will tire you out. So you can only do this so many times within an encounter, and then you tire yourself out.

Some feats, needing an additional moment of preparation require that you tack on the action point, or you just can't focus and execute the feat on your turn.

They would obviously work a bit differently depending on what sort of actions you're trying to carry out and depending on your class. But it allows for those extra heroic sequences that otherwise could not be carried out within the rules.

I'd like to see them keying the character's per encounter abilities and powers. You shouldn't get very many of them. You might only have one action point to use each encounter unless something in your class or feat choices allows you more.

It's not perfect or complete, but it's a start, and it sort of makes sense too.
I hope that there will be a fixed amount per level that everyone gets and then the DM is encouraged to hand them out for exceedingly cool or heroic moments. That's the way we play it now at any rate.
I hope they're given out X per game session, rather than per level. I dislike the Action Point hoarding that comes with 'per level' systems.

If that is how you want them to work, then guess what? That is how they will work. We had out drama points for stuff like saying cool lines that make everyone laugh or doing cool stuff. The typical rule for it is, "Is it cool?"

We tend to be more free form than most, so take that for what you will.