Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Rules Reference: Extra Effort and Hero Points

Heroes are sometimes called upon to perform feats beyond even their amazing abilities. This calls for extra effort. Players can use extra effort to improve a hero’s abilities in exchange for the hero suffering some fatigue. The benefits of extra effort are not limited by power level due to their extraordinary nature.

Players can have their heroes use extra effort simply by declaring they are doing so. Extra effort is a free action and can be performed at any time during the hero’s turn (but is limited to once per turn). A hero using extra effort gains one of the following benefits:

  • ACTION Gain an additional standard action during your turn, which can be exchanged for a move or free action, as usual.
  • BONUS Perform one check with a bonus (+2 circumstance bonus) or improve an existing bonus to a major bonus (+5 circumstance bonus). This bonus can also negate a penalty (–2 circumstance penalty), allowing you to perform the check with no modifier, or reduce a major penalty from a –5 penalty to a –2 penalty.
  • POWER Increase one of your hero’s power effects by +1 rank until the start of the hero’s next turn. Permanent effects cannot be increased in this way.
  • POWER STUNT Temporarily gain and use an Alternate Effect (see Alternate Effect in the Powers chapter). The Alternate Effect lasts until the end of the scene or until its duration expires, whichever comes first. Permanent effects cannot be used for power stunts.
  • RESISTANCE Gain an immediate additional resistance check against an ongoing effect. If you’re compelled or controlled, the fatigue from the extra effort doesn’t affect you until you’re free of the effect; this is so you can’t resist yourself to exhaustion as a way of avoiding being controlled!
  • RETRY Certain effects (see the Powers chapter) require extra effort to retry after a certain degree of failure. The extra effort merely permits another attempt to use the effect; it grants no other benefits.
  • SPEED Increase the hero’s speed rank by +1 until the start of the hero’s next turn.
  • STRENGTH Increase the hero’s Strength rank by +1 until the start of the hero’s next turn.

At the start of the turn immediately after using extra effort, the hero becomes fatigued. A fatigued hero who uses extra effort becomes exhausted and an exhausted hero who uses extra effort is incapacitated. If you spend a hero point (see below) at the start of the turn following the extra effort to remove the fatigue, the hero suffers no adverse effects. In essence, spending a hero point lets you use extra effort without suffering fatigue.

Whether it’s luck, talent, or sheer determination, heroes have something setting them apart from everyone else, allowing them to perform amazing feats under the most difficult circumstances. In Mutants & Masterminds that “something” is hero points. Spending a hero point can make the difference between success and failure in the game. When you’re entrusted with the safety of the world, that means a lot! Hero points allow players to “edit” the plot of the adventure and the rules of the game to a degree. They give heroes the ability to do the amazing things heroes do in the comics, but with certain limits, and they encourage players to make the sort of choices heroes do in the comics, in order to get more hero points. Players start each game session with 1 hero point. During
the adventure they get opportunities to earn more hero points.  Unspent hero points don’t carry over to the next adventure; the heroes start out with 1 point again. Use them or lose them! Since hero points are a finite resource, players need to manage them carefully, spending them at the most opportune times and taking chances to earn them through complications. Playing it “safe” tends to eliminate chances of getting more hero points while taking risks, facing complications, and, in general, acting like a hero offers rewards that help them out later on.

Unless otherwise noted, spending a hero point is a reaction, taking no time, and you can spend as many hero points as you have. You can spend hero points for any of the following:


    • EDIT SCENE You can “edit” a scene to grant your hero an advantage by adding or changing certain details. For example, a hero is fighting a villain with plant-based powers in a scientific lab. You deduce the villain may be weakened by defoliants, so you ask the GM if there are any chemicals in the lab you can throw together to create a defoliant. The Gamemaster requires a hero point to add that detail and says the right chemicals are close at hand. Now you just have to use them! Generally hero points should not be allowed to change any event that has already occurred or any detail already explained in-game. This option is intended to give the players more input into the story and allow their heroes chances to succeed, but it shouldn’t be used as a replacement for planning and cleverness, just a way to enhance them.
    • HEROIC FEAT You can spend a hero point to gain the benefits of one rank of a advantage you don’t already have until the end of your next turn. You must be capable of using the advantage and cannot gain the benefits of fortune advantages, only other types. If the advantage has any prerequisites, you must have them to gain the benefits of the advantage as a heroic feat.
    • IMPROVE ROLL One hero point allows you to re-roll any die roll you make and take the better of the two rolls. On a result of 1 through 10 on the second roll, add 10 to the result, an 11 or higher remains as-is (so the re-roll is always a result of 11-20). You must spend the hero point to improve a roll before the GM announces the outcome of your initial roll. You cannot spend hero points on die rolls made by the GM or others without the Luck Control effect.
    • INSPIRATION You can spend a hero point to get sudden inspiration in the form of a hint, clue, or bit of help from the GM. It might be a way out of the villain’s fiendish deathtrap, a vital clue for solving a mystery, or an idea about the villain’s weakness. It’s up to the GM exactly how much help the players get from inspiration and how it manifests, but since hero points are a very limited resource, the help should be in some way significant.
    • INSTANT COUNTER You can spend a hero point to attempt to counter an effect used against you as a reaction. See Countering Effects in the Powers chapter for details.
    • RECOVER You can spend a hero point to recover faster. A hero point allows you to immediately remove a dazed, fatigued, or stunned condition, without taking an action. Among other things, this option allows you to use extra effort (previously) without suffering any fatigue. Spending a hero point to recover also lets you convert an exhausted condition into a fatigued condition.

    In comic book stories, heroes often confront the villain(s) and deal with various setbacks. Perhaps the villain defeats or outwits them in the first couple scenes. Maybe one or more of the heroes have to overcome a personal problem. The villain may have a secret the heroes need to discover, and so forth. By the end of the story, the heroes have overcome these challenges and they’re ready to take on the villain. Mutants & Masterminds reflects this kind of story structure through the awarding of hero points. The heroes gain additional hero points as an adventure progresses. When the going gets tough, the heroes get tougher, because they get hero points to help them overcome future challenges. Heroes get hero points from complications, acts of heroism, and roleplaying.

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