no more healing surges, Awesome Points are here!

I wrote about healing surges a few months ago, and have implemented some of the things I said I would, and am now going to implement the rest and more. Here are the new official rules for my “Ethos” campaign (aka, Monsters on a Plain):

  • Healing surges are now called Awesome Points. (Thanks, Old School Hack!) They are not just for healing. They are for being awesome. Your surge value is still relevant, as it’s what you get back when using Second Wind or other healing powers, which will still often cost Awesome Points.

  • Action points are gone. Any Power that used to cost an Action Point now costs two Awesome Points. This is like starting every day with a lot of Action Points, but you do not recover them at milestones. Encounters wear you out, you do not get “on a roll.”

  • You can spend two Awesome Points to take (only) one extra action on your turn. In other words, the most common use of Action Points is preserved, but…

  • You can spend as many Awesome Points as you want in a turn. This might be limited by other factors. For example, you can only use Second Wind per encounter, because that is how Second Wind works. On the other hand, there is no such limit for extra actions. This means that if you have ten Awesome Points, you can take ten actions in a five round combat – you just better hope you have no need for those points any time soon.

  • Healing outside of combat is limited to one surge per hour. In other words, getting a five minute break outside of combat is not enough to get all your HP back. You can get a quarter of them, and if you can stay out of trouble for another hour, you can get another quarter – but you might not want to, since those Awesome Points will have other potential uses in that upcoming encounter.

  • You don’t regenerate all of your hit points from an extended rest. An extended rest restores your surge value in hit points. If you want to get all your HP back overnight, you need to spend Awesome Points. An extended rest is still, by definition, enough time to fully recover your hit points, but…

  • You don’t regain all your healing surges overnight. Instead, you get two. This means that if you’re down to 1 HP and zero Awesome Points, it will take two two days to get back up to full HP, at which point you will have two Awesome Points to spend.

  • You can spend an Awesome Point to reuse an encounter power. You can do this as many times as you want. Combined with extra actions, this means that you could spend three Awesome Points to, in one turn, use a standard action encounter power twice.

  • You can spend two Awesome Points to reuse a daily power.

  • Everyone gets the daily power Awesome Effort. This power costs one Awesome Point to use and is a free action. You replace a d20 you’re about to roll with a d30. Because this is a daily power, you can (for example) use it twice in a single encounter for a total cost of four Awesome Points.

That’s it for now. I would also like to add a means to use Awesome Points to end status effects, but I want to think about it some more. It will probably be that you can spend one to end a status effect only after suffering through it for one round.

I have a few goals here: one is my original goal of forcing the party to spend more time recuperating. I think 4E originally rejected this because it wanted characters to feel heroic. I want them to feel heroic, too, but I don’t think the original “back to nearly 100% after every combat” was working for me, for reasons described in my previous post. I want them to feel heroic by doing awesome stuff, and that means inflicting huge amounts of damage, succeeding at highly improbable tasks, and surviving against all odds.

Another goal is to force players to choose more clearly between offense and defense. Do they want to be able to heal after they win, or are they more concerned with winning the combat now?

Yet another goal is to encourage the players to spend more time in safe places, resting, interacting with “locals,” or hiding out from omnipresent threats. I want the campaign to feel like bouts of caution interspersed with tremendous, brutal bursts of activity. I think these rules wil help.

I will report back after our Jan 14th game.

Written on December 30, 2011
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