Action Point Economy

Each player begins the game session with a single action point. Action points are spent during the game to reroll the dice, add dice to a roll, influence the narrative of the game, or temporarily alter the rules of the game. Additional action points are earned during the game for accepting complications based on the hooks in a character’s description or at the Game Master’s discretion for exceptional role-playing that entertains the table in a memorable way.

Whenever an action point is spent, the player describes an event or action that allows them to benefit from the action point. The action point then either provides a specific dice benefit, narrative effect, or change in the rules.

Action points may be spent to reroll the dice for any ability check. If the player is not satisfied with their first ability check, they may roll again and choose which dice total to accept.

Action points may be spent to add dice to a roll at a 1:2 exchange. One action point adds 2D to a single ability check. The point may be spent after the initial roll has been made.

Action points may be spent to influence the narrative of the game in a way that does not necessarily provide a dice benefit. Spending an action point allows the player to add a new element to the scenario, alter an existing element in the scenario, or to describe an event that occurs in the scenario.

Action points may be spent to alter the rules of the game. This allows characters to temporarily gain 1D in skills in which they are not trained or to substitute one skill for another skill in an ability check.

For example:

  • The Gray Maus attempts to cast a spell on his hated enemy but fails his skill roll and the GM informs him that his magic is not strong enough. The Gray Maus delves into his slain master’s spellbook for a more powerful ritual and the player offers the GM an action point to try casting the spell again.
  • Dr. Hu tackles a complicated sonic engineering problem with only his screwdriver. “If only I had a hydrospanner, that would be something!” he declares. The player offers the GM an action point; the GM accepts and declares there is a hydrospanner in the toolbox that will add 2D to the ability check.
  • Rick O’Shea is getting pummeled by The Viper but can’t seem to get away. After a hard hit, the player says it would be nice if the floor gave way and Rick fell down to the first floor out of the Viper’s range. He offers the GM an action point.
  • Sure-Luck Homes is tailing a suspect through the streets of Lundyn. He asks if the fog rolling in from the River Tims is thick enough to provide concealment, and offers the GM an action point.
  • Cloon-E finds himself the last cyberclone standing after a firefight. Bending over his injured pod mate, Cloon wants to help out but does not have the cybernetics skill. The player states that Cloon-E just binged a popular medical drama and some of it ought to apply. The GM agrees and awards Cloon a temporary 1D skill in the trained skill cybernetics.
  • Roz insists that all of the paperwork be filled out correctly. Sullivan doesn’t have the communications skill he needs, but says that he knows how to talk to people. The player offers the GM an action point to let Sullivan use his contacts skills instead.

Action points may be awarded by the Game Master if a character accepts a negative narrative effect based on a character’s narrative background hooks. The complication may be offered by the GM or prompted by the player. The narrative effect should make the character’s situation more complicated by requiring them to make a decision that incurs a narrative cost, by making their actions more difficult, or both. The complication should not be easily overcome by a single skill check. The action point is awarded at the end of the scene.

Action points may be awarded at any point in time by the GM for exceptionally entertaining role-playing or for memorable gaming that involves the entire table.

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© February 22, 2024 Winston

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