Pathfinder Off the Beaten Path
Hero Points and Harrow Cards
Party Harrow Card The Publican
Awarded for the characters’ selfless efforts to save Kearidilonshar and her children.
The Publican represents fellowship and camaraderie, and a place of refuge for those in need. Most would find the cyclops inconsequential, but he has insights relevant to the reading or a quest.
The Publican card may be used to allow any one player character to cast a spell or use a supernatural or spell-like ability that can usually only be used on oneself on any ally he can target, or to cast a spell or use a supernatural or spell-like ability with a range of touch on any ally he can target.
The Publican card may be used to give the PCs an automatic success on a Diplomacy check to ask for succor or sanctuary (in effect, they get the maximum result for such a check).
The Publican card can only be used once, and the entire party must agree to use the card.
Hero Points and Harrow Cards
I am going to try out a hybrid hero point system for Off the Beaten Path that allows players to choose between standard hero points from the Advanced Player’s Guide or the alternate Harrow cards from Carrion Crown. Each player must choose one or the other. A character cannot have both hero points and Harrow cards. If dissatisfied with his choice, a player may change once. Any Harrow cards a character has are exchanged for hero points, to a maximum of three (or more with the appropriate feat), and vis versa.
Hero points are gained and used exactly as described in the Advanced Player’s Guide. With the exception of the first two sessions, characters who are absent for all the episodes played at a character level do not gain a hero point upon advancing to the next level (they are presumed to have used it while adventuring “off screen”).
Harrow cards are gained in the same manner as hero points, but there is no limit on the number a character can have at one time. Unlike hero points, multiple Harrow cards with different effects can be played in a single round. Each of the 54 standard Harrow cards may only be selected once until all the cards have been chosen. This will happen around 13th level with four players. Note that this limits the number of effects that can be used before the deck is refreshed. Since each Harrow card can be used for either the effect of its ability score or alignment “suit,” but not both, it’s not possible to predict how many times each effect will be available. Unlike hero points, multiple Harrow cards with different effects can be played in a single round. All rules for stacking bonuses still apply, and only one of the same alignment or ability effect can be used on a target each round. For example, a character could not play two neutral good cards to channel 2d6 x character level but could play a neutral good card followed by a chaotic evil card to force an undead target of the channel to reroll a saving throw. In addition, two Harrow cards of any suit may be played to cheat death using the rule for hero points. If a character with harrow cards permanently leaves the party, their cards are shuffled back into the deck. New characters who join the party start with one harrow card.
I may also award Harrow cards to the party for campaign achievements. These cards have different effects than character’s cards and do not count toward the limit of one of each card at a time. They require unanimous agreement to be used and have different effects than ordinary Harrow cards.
Provided the bonuses stack, hero points and Harrow cards may be combined.
As is the case for traits, NPCs must take a feat in order to have hero points or Harrow cards.
New Feat Harrow Fortune. This is similar to Hero’s Fortune, but a Harrow card is gained instead of a hero point.
Hammers (Str): If used before a roll is made, a hammers card grants you a +8 luck bonus on any one d20 roll. If used after a roll is made, this bonus is reduced to +4. You can also use this card to grant a bonus to another character, as long as you are in the same location and your character can reasonably affect the outcome of the roll (such as by distracting a monster, shouting words of encouragement, or otherwise aiding another with the check). Cards of the suit of hammers spent to aid another character grant only half the listed bonus (+4 before the roll, +2 after the roll).
Keys (Dex): You can spend a keys card to take your turn immediately. Treat this as a readied action, moving your initiative to just before the currently acting creature. You may only take a move or a standard action on this turn.
Shields (Con): You can spend a shields card on your turn to gain an additional standard or move action this turn.
Books (Int): You can spend a books card to recall a spell you have already cast or to gain another use of a special ability that is otherwise limited. This should only be used on spells and abilities possessed by your character that recharge on a daily basis.
Stars (Wis): If you feel stuck at some point in the adventure, you can spend a card of this suit and petition the GM for a hint about what to do next. If the GM feels that there is no information to be gained, the stars card is not spent.
Crowns (Cha): You may spend a crown card to reroll any one d20 roll you just made. You must take the results of the second roll, even if it is worse.
Lawful Good: You may smite evil, as the paladin ability, gaining the benefits until the start of your next turn. If you have levels in paladin greater than half your total Hit Dice, use your paladin level to determine bonus damage; otherwise, your bonus damage equals half your character level, rounded down (minimum 1).
Neutral Good: You channel positive energy that cures a creature touched of an amount of damage equal to 1d6 × your character level. This effect damages undead creatures as spells like cure light wounds.
Chaotic Good: You receive a +4 circumstance bonus on one CMB check to avoid or escape a grapple or on one Escape Artist check.
Lawful Neutral: You gain a +10 bonus on any single Sense Motive check.
True Neutral: You may gain a one-time insight into the future as the spell augury, using your character level as your caster level. Meditating on the particular action in question requires 10 minutes and does not expend material components.
Chaotic Neutral: You gain the effects of rage, as the spell, with a duration of 1 round + an additional round for every 3 Hit Dice you possess above the first.
Lawful Evil: You can give another creature a command as per the spell command. This command can affect undead that are normally immune to mind-affecting effects, but not other creatures that are immune to mind affecting effects. The DC of this command is equal to 10 + your character level.
Neutral Evil: You channel negative energy that deals an amount of damage equal to 1d6 × your character level to a creature touched. This effect heals undead creatures as spells like inflict light wounds.
Chaotic Evil: You may instantly force any creature to reroll a saving throw it has just made, taking the result of the second roll, even if doing so means the check will fail.
Harrow Points: Posting to the Off the Beaten Path Obsidian Portal forums between sessions earns one Harrow Point or one temporary hero point (I need a better name for the second one), usable during the next session only. Players must select a suit for their Harrow Point before or at the beginning of that session. The same suit may not be selected two posts in a row. Temporary hero points have half the effect of standard hero points. Each Harrow Point may be spent in one of three ways.
Keys (Dexterity) can be used in one of the following ways:
Dexterity Rerolls: Spend a Harrow Point to reroll any one Initiative check, Reflex save, attack roll modified by Dexterity, or Dexterity-based skill check. You must abide by the new result (although if you have additional Harrow Points remaining, you can use them to attempt additional rerolls).
Dodge Bonus: Spend a Harrow Point to gain a +1 Dodge bonus to your Armor Class for one encounter. You can spend up to 3 Harrow Points per encounter to increase your Armor Class in this manner.
Speed Increase: Spend a Harrow Point to increase your base speed by 10 feet for one encounter—you cannot spend multiple Harrow Points to increase your speed multiple times in one encounter.
Shields (Constitution) can be used in one of the following ways:
Constitution Rerolls: Spend a Harrow Point to reroll any one Fortitude saving throw, Concentration check, or other Constitution-based d20 roll. You must abide by the new result (although if you have additional Harrow Points remaining, you can use them to attempt additional rerolls).
Fast Hit Point Recovery: Spend a Harrow Point after resting for a minute to catch your breath and recover from your recent ordeals—you heal a number of hit points equal to your class level and 1 point of ability damage (but not ability drain) each time you do so. You may spend a Harrow Point in this manner once after each encounter.
Damage Reduction: Spend a Harrow Point to gain damage reduction 3/—. This damage reduction persists for the duration of the encounter in which you spend the Harrow Point.
Books: (Intelligence) can be used in one of the following ways:
Intelligence Rerolls: Spend a Harrow Point to reroll any one Intelligence-based skill check. You must abide by the new result (although if you have additional Harrow Points remaining, you can use them to attempt additional rerolls).
Flash of Insight: Spend a Harrow Point to be able to make a skill check in an untrained skill you don’t normally have ranks in. You gain a one-time +5 insight bonus on this skill check.
Arcane Wrath: Spend a Harrow Point to increase the strength of an arcane spell as it is cast. This spell gains a +2 bonus on its save DC, a +4 bonus on its caster level check to overcome spell resistance, and a +2 bonus on any attack rolls needed to strike the target.
Hammers (Strength) can be used in one of the following ways:
Strength Rerolls: Spend a Harrow Point to reroll any one Strength-based skill check. You must abide by the new result.
Mighty Thews: Spend a Harrow Point to be treated as a creature one size category larger than your normal category for the purposes of making grapple checks, lifting heavy objects, or determining if a hungry monster can swallow you whole; this adjustment lasts for one encounter (but no more than 10 minutes at the very most).
Brutal Strike: Spend a Harrow Point to gain a +5 bonus on all melee or natural weapons for the duration of one combat. Alternatively, brutal strike allows you to ignore an object’s hardness for 1 round.
Stars (Wisdom) can be used in one of the following ways:
Wisdom Rerolls: Spend a Harrow Point to reroll any one Wisdom-based skill check or Will saving throw. You must abide by the new result (although if you have additional Harrow Points remaining, you can use them to attempt additional rerolls).
Greater Turning: Spend a Harrow Point to infuse a turn or rebuke undead attempt—your effective cleric level increases by 2. You can spend up to three Harrow Points at once to perform a Greater Turning. For each Harrow Point you spend on your turn or rebuke undead attempt, your effective cleric level increases by an additional 2 levels, to a maximum bonus of +6.
Divine Wrath: Spend a Harrow Point to increase the strength of a divine spell as it is cast. This spell gains a +2 bonus on its save DC, a +4 bonus on its caster level check to overcome spell resistance, and a +2 bonus on any attack rolls needed to strike the target.
Crowns (Charisma) can be used in one of the following ways:
Charisma Rerolls: Spend a Harrow Point to reroll any one Charisma-based skill check or turn undead attempt. You must abide by the new result (although if you have additional Harrow Points remaining, you can use them to attempt additional rerolls).
Inner Strength: Spend a Harrow Point to draw a card from a Harrow Deck. You gain a +4 bonus to the card’s associated ability score for the duration of the current encounter (the GM decides when an encounter is officially over). If the card you draw matches your alignment, the bonus increases to +6.
Destiny Shall Not Be Denied: Spend a Harrow Point to force any one d20 die roll by the GM to be rerolled. You must abide by the new result (although if you have additional Harrow Points remaining, you can use them to force additional rerolls).
Finally, in order to further confuse everyone, Harrow choosings may occur during the campaign. A Harrow choosing is an NPC Harrow reading that grants a particular bonus to one character during a specific encounter based on the card chosen. The bonus follows the normal rules for stacking with other bonuses from hero points, Harrow cards, temporary hero points, Harrow points, and party Harrow cards.