My games tend to be more “cinematic” than the assumptions made in the current game rules. As such I need a way to balance out play to keep my characters alive. This small guide details some additions to the published hero point rules. These optional rules were inspired in part by the Drama Points in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer RPG formerly published by Eden Games.
The books primary method of earning new Hero Points is based on making Quality Rating 1 rolls. This tends to result in low Hero Points for Rookies and high Hero Points for 00’s. I have added two other means of earning Hero Points.
- Having a James Bond moment. This may be a witty line of dialogue or in other ways acting very much in the spirit of the films. I tend to award these primarily for dialogue.
- Displaying good spy skills. Example: The character gets a few pieces of evidence, looks them over, and puzzles out some major element of the plot. I use this primarily to encourage espionage game thinking in my players who are rookies to this genre.
This is where the primary differences between the book and my cinematic version comes into play. The book allows Hero Points to be spent for two reasons, what I call a plot hook, basically modifying the environment in the agent’s favor, and by spending one or more points to change quality ratings. These new rules have several additional uses of Hero Points.
- It’s not as bad as it looks. The character spends a Hero Point (two if you feel this rule is too easy) and for each point spent the character can lower wound levels by one level. So for one Hero Point the character is able to lower a medium wound to a light wound for instance. The big advantage of this use of hero points is that it can be used later during the game. For instance, you have zero hero points and get shot, taking a medium wound. Later you earn a Hero Point through role play and knowing that your wound will jeopardize the mission you spend the new Hero Point to lower your wound total. This represents the fact that while the wound was initially very painful (the higher wound level) you later discover that it was in fact not as bad as it looks (and might even by a negligible flesh wound if you spend enough points to totally heal.) Note that this use of Hero points cannot bring a dead character back to life and does not negate scar chances based on the original wound level.
- I’m giving it 110%. For 3 Hero Points a character can add a +2 ease factor to all actions for a round. For 1 Hero Point he can add a +2 ease factor to his next action.
- The rumors of my death were greatly exaggerated. The amount of Hero Points this costs varies. If a character wants to come back in the same battle they died in it costs 10 Hero Points. If they want to come back in the next session it costs only 5 Hero Points. In both cases the character has a 70% chance of a scar. The character is alive and returned to the wounded state he was in before his death. In some circumstances it is acceptable to make the character incapacitated instead, for instance, if coming back to life heavily wounded in a large firefight it is probably better to have the character incapacitated and possibly captured instead of killed.
Note: If a player comes up with an interesting way for their character to have survived whatever befell them, I’d give a discount of 1-2 Hero Points. Example: A PC is killed by a mishap during a chase sequence on his motorcycle when he fails a trick roll and his motorcycle slams into a tanker trunk. The player spends 10 Hero Points and states that he leapt off of the motorcycle at the last moment and rolled under the truck before it exploded. This use of Hero Points is most often made retroactively and will most likely be rare since characters will usually just spend the Hero Points to avoid the entire situation in the first place.
Note about these new uses: Both the healing and resurrection skills are useable by Major Villains and Priviledged Henchmen with Survival Points at the GM’s option.