Annals of Aldamere
There are moments in any struggle that influence the outcome. Does the brave warrior lay low the villain before he can finish casting a devastating spell? Does the sly rogue avoid detection as she sneaks into the giant chieftain’s lair? Does the pious cleric finish casting her healing spell before the rain of arrows ends the life of her companions? Just a few die rolls decide each of these critical moments, and while failure is always a possibility, true heroes find a way to succeed, despite the odds. Hero Points represent this potential for greatness. They give heroes the chance to succeed even when the dice turn against them.
Hero Points are only awarded to player characters. NPCs, animal companions, familiars, cohorts, and mounts do not receive hero points. Unlike other points in the game, hero points do not renew over time or with rest. Once spent, they are gone forever. Hero Points are awarded as a character gains levels or whenever a character accomplishes a truly heroic feat. The GM is the final arbiter on the award and use of hero points.
Awarding Hero Points
Each character begins play with 1 hero point, regardless of her level. In addition, whenever a character gains a level, she earns an additional hero point. Aside from these basic rules, awarding additional hero points is up to the GM. The following options are just some of the ways that a GM might award additional hero points.
Character Story: GMs can award a hero point for the completion of a written character backstory. This reward encourages players to take an active roll in the history of the game. In addition, the GM can use this backstory to generate a pivotal moment for your character concerning his past. When this key event is resolved, the GM can reward another hero point. Alternatively, the GM might award a hero point for painting a miniature or drawing a character portrait in the likeness of your character, helping the rest of the group visualize your hero.
Completing Plot Arcs: The GM might award a hero point to each of the PCs who were involved in completing a major chapter or arc in the campaign story. These hero points are awarded at the conclusion of the arc if the PCs were successful or advanced the story in a meaningful way.
Faith: In a campaign where the gods play an important role in every character’s life, hero points might represent their favor. In such a setting, the GM can award hero points to characters whenever they uphold the tenets of their faith in a grand way, or whenever they take on one of the faith’s major enemies. Such hero points might be temporary, and if not spent on the task at hand, they fade away.
Group Service: The GM can award hero points for acts outside the game as well. Buying pizza for the group, helping to clean up afterwards, or even hosting the game for a night might be worth a hero point. This sort of hero point should be given out of generosity, not as a payment.
Heroic Acts: Whenever a character performs an exceptionally heroic act, she can be awarded a hero point. This might include anything from slaying an evil dragon when the rest of the group has fled to rescuing townsfolk from a burning building despite being terribly wounded. It does not have to be related to combat. Convincing the reticent king to send troops to help with a bandit problem or successfully jumping a wide chasm might earn a character a hero point, depending on the circumstances. Note that a hero point should only be awarded if the PC involved did not spend a hero point to accomplish the task.
Return from the Dead: When a character dies, she does not lose any hero points she has accumulated. If she died with no hero points remaining, she gains 1 hero point when she is brought back from the dead through powerful magic, such as raise dead or resurrection.
Maximum Hero Points: Characters can have no more than 4 hero points at any one time. Excess hero points are lost.
Using Hero Points
Hero Points can be spent at any time and do not require an action to use (although the actions they modify consume part of your character’s turn as normal). You cannot spend more than 1 hero point during a single turn of combat. Whenever a hero point is spent, it can have any one of the following effects.
Bonus: A hero point grants you a +2 luck bonus to any die roll – this can be applied before or after any die roll has been made. You can use a hero point to grant this bonus to another character, as long as you are in the same location and your character can reasonably affect the outcome of the roll (such as distracting a monster, shouting words of encouragement, or otherwise aiding another with the check).
Extra Action: You can spend a hero point on your turn to gain an additional major and minor action this turn.
Inspiration: If you feel stuck at one point in the adventure, you can spend a hero point and petition the GM for a hint about what to do next. If the GM feels that there is no information to be gained, the hero point is not spent.
Reroll: You may spend a hero point to reroll any die roll you just made. You must take the results of the second roll, even if it is worse.
Change a Die: You may spend a hero point to change the face of one die, including the Dragon Die, to any number.
Cheat Death: A character can spend 2 hero points to cheat death. How this plays out is up to the GM, but generally the character is left alive, with negative hit points but stable. For example, a character is about to be slain by a critical hit from an arrow. If the character spends 2 hero points, the GM decides that the arrow pierced the character’s holy symbol, reducing the damage enough to prevent him from being killed, and that he made his stabilization roll at the end of his turn. The character can spend hero points in this way to prevent the death of a familiar, animal companion, eidolon, special mount, or even another character or NPC.
Acquire Something Unique: A character can spend a hero point to acquire some unique item — if more than one hero point is spent it might even be magical. There should be some sort of narrative attached to acquiring this item.
Plot Twist: A character can spend a hero point to adjust the ongoing narrative in some fashion.
Increase Ability: A character can spend hero points on increasing abilities (See Ability Increase).
Learn a Language: A character with the Linguistics Talent may spend a hero point to learn a language to which they have had exposure.
Acquire a Focus: A character may spend two hero points to acquire an Ability Focus — with the usual caveats for Primary Ability and Secondary Ability focuses.