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  1. #1
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    Apr 2002
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    I`m going to experimenting with using Action Points in my games. A lot of
    systems use something like this for character advancement and I think it
    works pretty well. They`re usually called Hero Points in many systems. I
    call them Regency Points for my Birthright games.

    There are some characters that are blessed by the gods. Others don`t bother
    with blessings and were simply born with innate divine power inherited as
    their birthright. These people have uncanny luck, and can perform
    extraordinary feats that would otherwise be impossible. This innate divine
    advantage is abstracted through Regency Points.

    Everytime your character levels up, he acquires a certain amount of Regency
    Points based on his bloodline. Non-blooded characters do not gain Regency
    from Bloodline, but some may be awarded with advancement. The second method
    of acquiring Regency Points is by advancement awards. Sometimes, when
    you`re characters has made a particularly noteworthy achievement, a Regency
    Point is awarded to the character. Sometimes these awards are only
    temporary and lost if not used soon.

    Temporary Regency Points are basically meant to provide an abstract benefit
    for achieving an advantage in a situation. For example, in an adventure
    based around a murder investigation, a successful Sense Motive check on one
    of the key NPCs may provide the character with a Regency Point in
    interactions with particular characters or knowledge checks. The most
    common situation is in combat where successful leadership tactics checks,
    research done ahead of time on the foe, or a particularly daring maneuver in
    combat may provide an abstract advantage in the form of temporary Regency
    Points that can be used during that combat.

    There is a special third way of acquiring Regency Points. If you reduce a
    character to less than 0 hitpoints with a piercing blow wherein you spent a
    Regency Point to improve your attack roll, you may gain Regency if that
    character was a blooded scion. If that character is then immediately
    killed, you will gain a number of Regency as if you had just leveled up, but
    using the opponent`s bloodline score instead of your own.

    Up to two Regency Points may be spent per combat round: once, during your
    action, and once in response to another character`s action in order to
    improve your saving throw or activate a defensive ability. Once Regency
    points are spent, they never come back. You may use a Regency Point to
    activate a special ability or bloodline ability. These are things that
    normally can only be done x/day; they instead take Regency Points.
    Abilities usually only allowed 1/day instead costs two Regency Points,
    expending your maximum spendable Regency Points for that round. To cast a
    spell, you must first expend a Regency Point. (First level spells are the
    exception.) The other, more often used, advantage of a Regency Point is
    that it can be used to add +1d6 to any d20 roll. (This is done after the
    d20 is rolled, before the result is announced.) Non-blooded characters
    can`t usually perform these amazing abilities. Outside of the game session,
    you may spend a number of Regency Points equal to your bloodline score to
    raise the bloodline score by one (which may effect how many Regency Points
    you gain when leveling up).

    I like the abstract nature of the Regency Point in this case, and the "edge"
    it gives blooded characters. (It`s not really an edge since its
    availability will be factored into the challenge.) It`s a rather abstract
    edge, though. The level 6 unblooded fighter is not that much off than the
    level 6 blooded fighter, but let`s face it, you want to be the guy with
    divine power running through your veins.

    The best part is that it gives you another method of awarding characters
    without significantly altering their power. Anyone whose DMed a D&D game
    for any length of time and tried to have a relatively "realistic" level of
    play knows that haphazardly awarding XP and GP can be dangerous, and so you
    generally want to limit the amount you give based on where you want your
    characters` appropriate level of power to be at any given time. But if a PC
    does something to warrant a reward, like an exceptionally innovative action
    or stupid risk that actually worked or otherwise just roleplayed well, then
    you can go ahead and give him a Regency Point. Either a temporary one to be
    immediately used in some manner, or just as an abstract award.

    Since you`re limited to how many you can use in a turn, it doesn`t
    significantly overpower your character even if the GM hands them out like
    candy (which he probably won`t). This makes it an ideal character award,
    because players will still benefit from having lots of Regency Points. They
    generally won`t add to the potency of the character, that is the sheer
    amount of power he has at any given encounter, challenge, or trap, but it
    will add to the versatility of the character allowing him an overall easier
    life than someone without Regency Points.

    Also, it can be used to represent any abstract advantage. What`s the effect
    of a successful leadership or warcraft ability? Maybe just a few extra
    Regency Points at the beginning of a combat or the ability to spend Regency
    Points to help other characters. What are the stats of a cavalry units with
    a few clerics or wizards in it? The same, but with a few Regency Points it
    otherwise wouldn`t have.

    Also, I`m thinking of writing a skill list for each derivation and saying
    that Regency Points have double the effect when improving the d20 result of
    a skill check for those skills. For example, a scion of Reynir might get
    +2d6 whenever spending a regency point to improve the results of a skill
    check for any of the following skills: Animal Empathy, Climb, Handle Animal,
    Heal, Jump, Listen, Ride, Sense Motive, Spot, Swim, and Wilderness Lore.

    -Lord Rahvin

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  2. #2
    On a personal level I prefer the 3rd edition method of assigning fixed modifiers to die rolls rather than adding +1d6 (or whatever die is going to be used).

    It means players know what they are getting - it removes uncertainty and a potential source of disgruntlement. If action points are valuable, a player can roll low and feel robbed. At the same time, rolling less dice is a good thing, IMO.

    I would go with something like the effects of a Skill Focus in a relevant area when spending an action point: a set +3 bonus.

    On another level I'm not sure that I'm keen on characters becoming very good at one thing because they succeeded at another totally unrelated thing. For example, if my character is a bit of a fop but succeeds at an important sense motive check at Court and secures an action point for doing so, I don't think he should be able to spend that action point to significantly increase his ability on the battlefield.

    I'm not saying that the mechanic is bad, but I'm not sure of its underlying rationale when applied to roleplaying instances.

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