View Full Version : Help adding Action Points/tokens to 3.5

2011-03-14, 09:44 PM
First, let me state my goal: I want to streamline combat by reducing the amount of things that need to be remembered.

To do this, I want to eliminate any spells/abilities/buffs/items that give +x or -x to any roll. Instead, anytime a player would gain +X to some roll in combat, they instead gain X tangible, physical tokens that can be "spent" for various effects.

Let me also clearly say that this is shamelessly stolen from a homebrew system posted on another forum (not sure if I'm allowed to link to it) called Enlightened Grognard. Although that system is nice, I want to try to port just the "tokens" over to 3.5 so my players don't need to learn a new system, and I can use all of the 3.5 resources I have without converting.

Here's how tokens work in Enlightened Grognard (pasted directly from its rules .pdf):
During game play, each PC can acquire and spend three types of tokens:
Power tokens represent a boost in a character's physical power.
Speed tokens represent a boost in a character's agility, reaction times and mental quickness.
Insight tokens represent a boost in character's creativity, comprehension and social acumen.

During play, it's recommended that you use real physical objects to represent these tokens. Poker chips or coins are good choices but just about any type of object that can be passed around will do. Whatever you choose, it will need to come in three varieties so that you can distinguish between the three token types. It's also best if all players share the same objects.
Spending Tokens
When you take an action or are attacked by an opponent, you can spend as many tokens from your pool as you want to proactively adjust the result of the die roll. Similarly, if a creature attacks you, you can proactively spend tokens to increase your defense. A proactive bonus means that the tokens must be spent before the die is rolled.Tokens can also be spent retroactively, after the die is rolled, usually at a rate of 3-per-1: three tokens must be spent to retroactively get the same bonus as 1 token would have granted proactively.

Each token can be used to grant bonuses as follows:
Power Tokens
+1 to one Strength-based attack
+1 to an active skill check with a Strength-based or Constitution-based skill*
+1 to Fortitude defense against a specific attack
+1 to the range of a ranged weapon for 1 attack
+1 to damage you deal with a successful attack (including spells and special attacks). This benefit may be applied retroactively on a 1-for-1 basis.
-1 to damage you are dealt by a successful attack (may be applied retroactively on a 1-for-1 basis)
Speed Tokens
+1 to one Dexterity-based attack
+1 to an active skill check with a Dexterity-based or Intelligence-based skill*
+1 to AC or Reflex defense against a specific attack
+1 square of movement with a move action
Insight Token
+1 to an active skill check with one Wisdom-based or Charisma-based skill*
+1 to Will defense against a specific attack
+2 to a single saving throw
+1 to the range of a spell
*No more than 10 tokens can be spent to give a bonus to a single skill check. These bonuses are just the core use of tokens. Many feats, magic items, abilities and spells allow you to spend tokens to get other benefits.
Gaining and Losing Tokens
Gaining Tokens
There are many ways to gain tokens during play:
Whenever you roll initiative you immediately gain 2 tokens of your choice. Some abilities, feats and magic items increase this number.
Many feats, spells, abilities, and magic items grant tokens to you or your allies.
In-combat, circumstances that normally give you an advantage (like cover, concealment, flanking, a prone foe, fighting defensively, etc.) allow you to gain tokens. For example, if you are flanking an enemy you can use a swift action to gain 2 power tokens.
If you spend a standard action to attack and miss, you can grant a token to one ally (other than you) who is adjacent to your target as a free action.
Any ally can give you his tokens at any time. No action is required for players to share tokens. This exchange represents teamwork, verbal encouragement, or direct assistance.
Certain standard actions, like Aid Another, are designed to allow you to gain tokens.
If you spend a move action to move to a different square or take a five-foot step you gain 1 speed token.
You can use the Refocus action to gain 1 speed token.

Losing Tokens
A few circumstances force you to give up tokens in your possession or prevent you from spending them. If you are required to give up a token that you do not have, then you must give up a token of a different type instead. You may choose which type. If you have no tokens at all, your allies must
supply them. If neither you nor any of allies have any tokens, you can ignore the effect.

Persistent Tokens
By default, you can not hoard tokens between encounters; you lose any tokens you still possess at the end of an encounter. However, your DM can grant you tokens with a persistent duration. Persistent tokens are tokens that last until you spend them. Typically, persistent tokens are granted as the result of a success outside of combat. They are particularly effective as an award for good roleplaying but can be used in any way that the DM sees fit.

Now, as I said, I'd like to make this work with 3.5. My fear is that saying "Anytime you use a skill/spell/item that grants +X to a combat roll, you get +X tokens instead" would lead to an overabundance of tokens in 3.5. Abilities like Inspire Courage would lead to a character getting at least 2 tokens per round (since Inspire courage is +1 to hit and + 1 to damage). And with several buff abilities in place at once, I could see tokens really streaming in for some players. My players are not optimizers, but I can still see this being abused.

Why I really like the token system: Players only need to remember 2 numbers in combat: attack bonus and damage bonus. No more "Ok, I rolled an 11, + 4 attack bonus, + 2 for raging, + 1 for inspire courage, + 2 for flanking, but - 1 for being Dazzled". Instead, you choose what to add by spending tangible objects in front of you. Also, it promotes more teamwork by allowing sharing of tokens. Finally, it makes things more flexible, so you can spend some extra tokens after the fact to get that extra + 1 or + 2 you need to down a critical bad guy.

So, my questions to the playground:
Does this seem like a good idea to address the problem I have?
Will this turn into as much of a mess as the current 3.5 system?
Are there any better solutions to integrate tokens into 3.5 than the one I posed above?

Please leave any feedback you have, and if it's allowed to link to other forums, I will gladly post the link to EG to give it the credit it's due.

2011-03-15, 07:47 PM
Action points are in eberron.

2011-03-15, 10:20 PM
I know D&D variants that use action points exist; but like I said I want to eliminate all +X type bonuses that spells, potions, and abilities give, and retool them as physical tokens that can be shared between party members and spend for benefits.