View Full Version : [4e] Additional Uses for Action Points [PEACH]

2008-09-10, 03:45 PM
Action points, in my opinion, own. They add a large additional tactical choice for players and have been used to great effect by both players and NPC foes in my game.

However, it seems to me they represent a great opportunity for a kind of "currency" in the game. Besides offering new turns, they could be used to power all kinds of interesting effects, primarily "recharge" based. My goal is to make it more possible to do 'endurance runs' through dungeons/settings, as I'm having a lot of fun now that I'm not forced mechanically to design places my characters can rest safely inside an enemy fortress.

Keep in mind that while some of these are powerful, I don't think they are any better than getting an entire free minor, move, and standard action (as well as, thanks to the party warlord in my game, +4hp and a free save at +4)

NOTE: I have already houseruled that players may expend as many action points as they have saved up in an encounter, not the arbitrary 1. I don't see a reason to penalise them for hoarding their currency for emergency use.

Recharge an Encounter ability
Expend an action point during combat to refresh a used Encounter ability.

Recharge a Daily ability
Expend an action point out of combat to refresh a used Daily ability. You must have at least 2 action points stored to expend an action point in this way.

Automatically Pass a Save
Expend an action point at any time and immediately throw off the effects of something you normally need to pass a save for. You must expend the action point before you roll the save.

Retry a Catastrophic Skillcheck
Expend an action point at any time to reroll on a skillcheck when failure would be catastrophic, eg. a failed jump check while leaping between cliffs above a steaming river of magma. Trigger: the DM announces your failure.

Recover a Healing Surge
Expend an action point out-of-combat to recover 1 healing surge.

Other suggestions/comments? Are any of these overpowered? I realise a few are somewhat underpowered, particularly the "pass a save" and "recover a surge", but it does allow the characters to pull their irons out of the fire. If that Ongoing 5 Damage is going to kill you....

2008-09-10, 05:39 PM
There are some paragon paths that offer the recharge of one encounter as a feature. Giving this to all for free is not fair. Getting back a daily is too powerful though. Even out of combat. Consider the level 29 daily of the fighter. 7[W] reliable damage. As long as you keep an action point around, you're activating this practically every encounter. This is not fair.
Automatically save is ok, but if an enemy's power focus is making it hard for you to save, and you automatically do it for a mere action point, it isn't particularly fair. Healing Surges are plentiful, and so I see no use for the last one. Catastrophic skill check is ok as well, but again, it has some extreme abuse potential. A chracter could rule that their 1 on their stealth check would be catastrophic, as every enemy nearby would see them and attack, but then there would no longer be a danger in trying stealth as long as you have action points.

Action points only give you +1 standard action. No more. You can use that one action to either move, attack, minor, etc., but you only get one. I think WotC gave us the options they did because it was balanced, and that would be why they did not add any other uses for action points.

2008-09-13, 06:36 AM
One use I was thinking of was:

Not die: When you die, you can spend an action point to instead be stable, unconscious and seriously wounded. You become conscious again after an extended rest. Your serious wound can only be healed by use of the Cure Disease ritual. Examples include loss of vision, arm, leg, or lung. If you take another serious wound, you die.

There are some alternate skill challenge rules around that provided uses for action points.

2008-09-13, 11:11 AM
I've since spotted the paragon paths with the AP->encounter ability, and I see how that could be a problem. I still like this idea, so I'm gonna continue trying to retool it.

Another idea I just had is linking some of these AP expenditure options to feats, rather than making them automatically available. Thoughts? I'd say the feats would group them into:
feat 1: double-charge encounter
feat 2: requires feat 1. Recharge daily
feat A: reroll catastrophic check/save, cling to life

I'd opt to change these options as such:
Double-charge encounter:
During a short rest, you can spend an AP to "double charge" an encounter ability. You can then use that ability twice in the next encounter. You may only have one double-charged ability.
(accomplishes the same goal, but is much more restrictive than the paragon path version)

Recharge or exchange daily ability:
During a short rest you may spend AP to:
-switch between memorised daily abilities (eg. wizard spells)
-recharge a previously expended daily ability
The cost of this ability is 1 AP + 1/2 the level of the ability (minimum 2)

Retry a catastrophic save or skill check
Spend an AP to reroll a save or a check only if the result of failure would be catastrophic (eg. your character will die, failing to catch the bomb will destroy the dam and flood a city, etc). If one of your party members has an ability that grants a bonus to saves/skill checks during the extra turn granted by an action point, that bonus applies here.

Recover a healing surge
Spend 1 AP to recover a healing surge out of combat.

Cling to life
(thanks Martin: great idea, but at least in my campaign I want to ensure that the Heal skill remains important, so I don't want the stabilisation to be permanent)
Spend an AP to automatically stabilise until the end of your next turn. You are not healed in any way, merely hanging on that much longer. At the end of your next turn you continue to die unless treated or unless you spend another AP.

2008-09-14, 01:01 AM
It seems to me like the only being able to retry "catastrophic" skill checks is unnecessary. Players already have an incentive not to waste action points retrying unimportant skill checks because then they won't have any action points left over for more important ones. Also this could lead to lots of arguments about when a check is "catastrophic" enough to allow a reroll. I don't see what's wrong with just saying you can retry any skill check using an action point.

And also, for recharging dailies, 1 AP plus half the level of the ability? So if it's a 10th level ability, it costs 6 AP? So you would have to save up all your AP for five whole milestones without taking an extended rest just to recharge one daily? This option won't get much use past the first couple levels.

2008-09-14, 07:05 AM
I would let them:

Stunt Off A Feat
Expend an Action Point during combat as a minor action to gain the benefits of one feat for a round. (Inspired by Mutants & Masterminds.)

2008-09-14, 06:20 PM
I would let them:

Stunt Off A Feat
Expend an Action Point during combat as a minor action to gain the benefits of one feat for a round. (Inspired by Mutants & Masterminds.)

... I am not sure about the mechanics but that could be a wicked ability or even schema for a set of abilities.

2008-09-14, 06:26 PM
I would let them:

Stunt Off A Feat
Expend an Action Point during combat as a minor action to gain the benefits of one feat for a round. (Inspired by Mutants & Masterminds.)

I've seen this work before, with Fudge Knacks, which were introduced in a cinematic modern game. Stuff to reflect the movies, like jumping through a pane of glass guns blazing, which somehow makes you impossible to hit. Thats the sort of thing that this really should cover, meaning that there should be special action point feats.