The Action Point system in Epic Path is carefully designed to allow players to 'fight back' against a run of bad luck. Yes, random results of d20 rolls are integral to the game, but there are times when players will really, REALLY, want a particular roll to go well. Action points allow any player to re-roll a bad die roll at any time during combat.
Even better, as the round count wears on, Action Points can be used for other useful buffs and boosts, so read on below!
Note: Action Points are only available during combat! The players (and possibly monsters) receive their allocation of Action Points when a combat is initiated, IE, while an initiative count is active. Even if there are Action Points available on a daily basis (see optional rules below) they may not be used outside of combat. That's why they are called 'Action Points' and not 'Awesome Points.'
Basic Action Points
PCs receive 1 action point at the start of each combat. This action point may be used at any time during the player's turn, with varying uses depending on the round of combat in which it is used. PC's and GM's who spend action points must clearly state how they are spending their action points, to distinguish them from their normal actions during that turn. Any action point which is not spent during the combat in which it is earned is lost. Use it, or lose it!
If there is a surprise round, you may use an action point during the surprise round if you wish, but you may only use the first two applications of action points detailed below. A surprise round does NOT count as advancing the round number for the combat. Effectively, a surprise round, if present, is counted as round zero.
Spending an action point grants one (and only one) of the following effects:
- During any round of combat, an action point may be used to reroll any d20 roll and add 1d6+1. This must be done before the roll's result is resolved, and in no case does the bonus provided by the 1d6+1 constitute a "natural" result, meaning that the bonus cannot result in a critical threat.
- During any round of combat, an action point may be used to add 1d6+1 to a just-rolled d20 result (without rerolling). This must be done before the roll's result is resolved, and in no case does the bonus provided by the 1d6+1 constitute a 'natural' result, meaning that the bonus cannot result in a critical threat.
- On the second or later rounds of combat, an action point may be spent to take a move action or a 5-foot step as a free action. Using an action point in this way allows a character to make a second 5-foot step in a round, or make a move and then a 5-foot step, or any combination thereof, even though such combinations are normally not allowed (except with certain class abilities, such as the Prowler's 'shifty' ability). This move action may be traded down to a swift action, if you choose.
- On the third or later rounds of combat, an action point may be used to take a standard action as a free action. As with any standard action, this may be traded down to a move or even a swift action if you choose. Standard actions from action points can be combined with a move action to grant a full-attack action. Furthermore, actions taken with an action point on the 3rd or later round are treated as though they are part of their own mini-round, meaning that attacks or actions which are normally only allowable once per round (e.g. cleave or charge) can be performed again with this standard action.
In the event that you have 2 action points available to you, you may only use 1 action point per round.
A Note to GM's: The Action Point system presented here is optional, but its use is strongly encouraged. Epic Path combats are meant to last three rounds or so, and an integral mechanic to reaching that goal is the 'escalating strength' of the Action Point system. As the fight wears on later and later, players may use action points to considerably increase their effectiveness. If action points are not used (since they are optional) the game becomes considerably more lethal. Some referees may like the increased risk, but be aware: Epic Path without action points is playing on Hard Mode! (See below)
Monsters With Action Points
Some monsters, mainly those with certain roles (threat, heavy, etc.), get one or more action points. These behave similarly to those players get, but are different in three significant ways:
- Monsters may not use action points for a re-roll, only for a standard action.
- Regardless of what round of combat the monster spends his action point, if he spends it to take an additional action, the action point is always worth 1 standard action, though this may be traded down to a move or a swift, if the GM wishes.
- Like player characters, monsters may never use more than one action point per round.
Adjusting Campaign Difficulty with Action Points
Epic Path assumes that referees have a table of experienced players of D20 games, and is balanced to provide plenty of challenge to such players. The principal mechanism to adjust the difficulty of Epic Path is by setting the Campaign Power Level when characters are being generated. However, we're all human and make mistakes, so it is possible for referees to find that the difficulty they were shooting for just isn't working out. In such cases, rather than making the players re-roll their characters, it is possible to 'fine-tune' the difficulty by using the action point system.
- Much easier: Players get an Action Point every round. If this doesn't do it, you're doing something wrong.
- Easier: Players get two Action Points per combat.
- A Little Nudge: Players get one extra Action Point per day.
- Making it Tough: Players only get one Action Point per day.
- Hard Mode: Players don't get Action Points at all!
- NIGHTMARE: Players don't get Action Points, but all monsters do! Approach with caution!
Expanded Action Points
Note: All uses of Action Points below are Optional, and NOT recommended for normal play! DM's may institute any or all of the Expanded Action Points as they wish, depending upon their campaign needs.
The first optional use of an Action Point is to give a character a quick burst of healing. This may be instituted when the party has chosen not to have ANY healers, or when the GM is running an especially murderous campaign. When you use an action point for Increased Morale, you receive the following effects in place of the normal effects of an action point.
- First round: Spend the Action Point and gain hit points as instantaneous healing equal to your Con Modifier, minimum 1
- Second round: Spend the Action Point and gain hit points as instantaneous healing equal to your Con Stat plus your Con Modifier, minimum 10.
- Third and later rounds: Spend the Action Point and receive hit points as instantaneous healing equal to your Bloodied value.
This use of Action Points is useful when you have no strong damage dealing melee characters in your party, or lack offensive buffs, or both. Note that Blitz has no effect on spells. When you spend an Action Point to Blitz, you receive the following effects in place of the normal effects of an action point.
- First Round: Spend the Action Point and gain an untyped +3 bonus to hit on all attacks you make in the first round.
- Second Round: Spend the Action Point and gain an untyped +3 bonus to-hit and +3 bonus on damage on all attacks you make in the second round.
- Third Round and later: Spend the Action Point and gain an untyped +5 bonus to-hit on all attacks and damage you do for the remainder of the encounter.
This use of Action Points is useful for when you have no highly durable 'tank' type characters to soak up attacks. When you spend an Action Point to Castle, you receive the following effects in place of the normal effects of an action point.
- First Round: Spend the Action Point and gain an untyped +1 bonus to Armor Class and Touch Armor Class ratings and all Saving Throws until the end of the encounter.
- Second Round: Spend the Action point and gain an untyped +3 bonus to Armor Class and Touch Armor Class ratings, and all saving throws, until the end of the encounter.
- Third Round and later: Spend the Action Point and receive an untyped +5 bonus to Armor Class and Touch Armor Class ratings, and all Saving Throws, plus gain DR/- and ER/- equal to the Campaign Level until the end of the encounter.
This use of Action Points is useful for when you have no characters with battlefield control abilities. When you spend an Action Point to Walk Casually, you receive the following effects in place of the normal effects of an action point.
- First Round: Spend the Action point, and any five foot steps you take in the first round gain an extra five feet of non-provoking movement.
- Second Round: Spend the Action Point and any movement you make in any legal movement mode you possess does not provoke attacks of opportunity during the second round.
- Third Round and later: Spend the Action Point and any movement you make in any legal movement mode you possess does not provoke attacks of opportunity for the rest of the encounter.