Once per round, you can spend an action point. When you spend an action point, it’s gone, but you can earn more. Normally you can only spend an Action Point to take an extra action in combat. However there are many more things that would benefit from Action Points. To use Action Points for anything other than an extra action you must justify the action by linking it to the characters Aspects.
Aspects in D&D
Your character’s personality is defined by four Aspects: Class, Alignment, Background and Theme. By invoking any of these four Aspects you can perform extraordinary feats. When you have an aspect that is applicable to a situation, it can be invoked to grant a bonus. If the DM agrees that it’s appropriate, you may spend an Action Point and do one of the following:
Spending an Action Point: Free Action
During Your Turn you can spend one action point, but never during a surprise round. You may spend an action point to produce a number of results. You may produce each result only once per encounter.
- Gain an Extra Action: You gain an extra action this turn. You decide if the action is a standard action, a move action, or a minor action.
- Activate Paragon Path feature
- Automatically Stabilize: If you are dying you may spend an Action Point to stabilize rather than making a death save.
- Emulate a Feat: You may spend an action point to emulate the bonus gained from a Feat of your tier or lower.
- Improve Attack rolls: Before hearing the result your attack you may spend an action point to add to the roll. At Heroic tier you may add 1d6 to the result. This increases to 1d8 at Paragon tier and 1d10 at Epic tier.
- Improve Saving Throw: You may spend an action point to add to a Saving Throw. At Heroic tier this bonus is +1. This increases to +2 at Paragon tier and +3 at Epic tier.
- Non-Lethal Defeat: When reducing an enemy to 0 HP you may spend an Action Point to inflict a Non-Lethal Defeat on them (see below).
- Recover a Power: You may regain the use of one Encounter power or 1 Psionic power point by expending 1 Action point.
- Setting the Scene: You add something to the map. You can add flammable booze to a tavern brawl, a patch of quicksand to a swamp, or a patch of concealing stalagmites to a dungeon.
There are many reasons not to kill an enemy. In a world where anyone can return from death, killing is often not a true defeat. Some characters have codes against killing. Still others may consider death too quick an end for a particularly vile enemy. In these instances a permanent, non-lethal affliction may be a better fate. At Heroic tier these could include imprisonment, blindness, or crippling. Paragon Tier afflictions could include cursing, cutting someone off from their power source, or polymorphing them into something else. Epic tier afflictions could include the kind of eternal torments usually only meted out by the gods. See the article To Live Defeated for more details.
Earning Action Points
- You start with 1 action point.
- You gain 1 action point after every encounter.
- At the DM’s discretion you may gain 1 action point for exceptional role playing, especially in keeping with your aspects.
- Arbitrary DM call: Sometimes lousy things happen to you in a game because the DM decides it’s necessary for the adventure. Usually you must suffer in silence. Now at least you get an Action Point out of it.
- After you take an extended rest, you keep any unspent action points.
DM Intervention, or “Countering the Curbstomp”
The increased use of Action Points is an effort to introduce the narrative aspect of Fate into D&D. But one of the chief killers of narrative drama in that system is what has affectionately been called “The Curbstomp”: the PCs have surrounded the prone enemy and it’s just a matter of time. Combat is essentially over and it’s a simple matter of paperwork. To maintain tension in the story the DM may choose to intervene on behalf of important NPCs. They may unexpectedly shake off an effect early, have a sudden surge of movement which allows them to roll out of the mushpot, or teleport their movement away from the party. Those who are directly affected by DM intervention receive an Action Point. This includes those who had placed affects on the NPC and those who are attacked due to DM intervention.
Additional Affects of Action Points
At times there will be additional effects that activate automatically when you spend an Action Point. Each of these effects can be used only once per encounter. This includes those derived from Paragon Paths or from allies such as warlords.