Skip Navigation Links
Hack Guidelines
Dice Pools
Plot Points
Chart
Ability Sets
Ability Traits
AttackExpand Attack
DefensiveExpand Defensive
InnateExpand Innate
ManipulationExpand Manipulation
MetamorphicExpand Metamorphic
MysticalExpand Mystical
PsychicExpand Psychic
SpecialExpand Special
TravelExpand Travel
SFX
Limits
Milestones
Vocations
Assets
Complications
Setting
Concept
Normals
Psychics
Characters
IconicsExpand Iconics
Campaigns
Be At Ease, HuntersExpand Be At Ease, Hunters
Credits
Contact Webmaster
KillerShrike.com
Skip Navigation LinksHack Guidelines>Plot Points

Plot Points

As in Cortex Plus Marvel Heroic, when using this hack Plot Points (PP) are the currency of play. They are earned by investing in the story or taking risks, and spent to enhance the impact of the character on the story, to activate opportunities rolled by the GM, and as a cost to activate some powerful abilities.

The GM has an infinite supply of Plot Points to distribute to player characters when appropriate, while player characters start each session with at least one Plot Point and potentially more.

Physical and Practical Considerations

Plot Points should have a physical representation; glass beads, poker chips, coins, or tokens are all common choices. It is highly recommended to not use anything messy or edible to represent Plot Points. All Plot Points not currently in the possession of major characters (PC's and important NPC's) participating in the session are kept in the Plot Point Reserve (some players prefer the term "bank", like in Monopoly).

The GM controls the Reserve, and is in charge of issuing Plot Points to major characters from it when it is appropriate to do so. When Plot Points are spent they are returned to the Reserve; however when Plot Points are spent as part of an action or reaction, it can be useful to keep spent Plot Points in the play area where the dice pool resolution they are being spent on is being determined and then toss 'em into the Reserve when the resolution is over. In theory, the Reserve has an infinite supply of Plot Points, but a starting Reserve of about sixty (60) Plot Points should be plenty for most sessions.

Gaining Plot Points

Major characters start each session with a number of Plot Points equal to their Starting Plot Point Rating; for most characters this is one (1) Plot Point. If a character ended their last session with more Plot Points saved up, those Plot Points are lost, so there is no incentive to not spending Plot Points during a session or trying to run the game clock out at the end of the session in an attempt to start the next session sitting on a pile of Plot Points. It's a use 'em or lose 'em arrangement.

During game play there are several ways a character can gain additional Plot Points. The most common way is by choosing the d4 option when adding a Distinction to a dice pool, followed by rolling 1's (offering the GM opportunities which requires them to pay Plot Points to the affected character to activate). Some characters also have Limits which offer Plot Points when they complicate the character, and some characters select Milestone Goals that grant Plot Points when they are acheived.

Spending Plot Points

Spending Plot Points is voluntary, and given how potentially useful a Plot Point not spent now might be later some players may be tempted to hoard their Plot Points. This is a reasonable and shrewd strategy, and it is always a good idea to keep back at least one Plot Point before heading into an escalating situation.

However the game works best when Plot Points flow back and forth between players and the reserve, and players hoarding them can suck the energy right out of scenes and sessions. Non-intuitively, hoarding Plot Points during an Action Scene to force a "win" in a later encounter makes the current encounter take longer, gives the GM more opportunity to build the doom pool, and potentially puts the player characters at more overall risk.

As a rule of thumb, a player with three (3) or more Plot Points should probably start spending some of their Plot Points in an attempt to move the story forward faster towards an outcome beneficial to the player characters.

The following table summarizes the common things that a character can spend Plot Points on, and detailed explanation of the options follows.

Change Stress you've taken to another type of Stress

Some Special Effects (SFX) and Limits require a Plot Point to be spent

Activate an opportunity

Before you roll, Plot Points may be spent to:

  • Extend the range of a Standard Range Ability trait by one (1) zone
  • Add an extra die to your dice pool
    • two Distinctions
    • two Aptitudes
    • two Ability Set traits
  • On a reaction, activate an opportunity to add a d8 (or potentially higher) to your dice pool

After you roll, Plot Points may be spent to:

  • Reroll a single die; the second result must be taken
  • Include an extra die from your roll in your total
  • Use an effect die from a reaction roll
  • Keep an extra effect die

Change Stress Type

When a character would take Body Stress they can spend a Plot Point to take the Stress on their Ego Stress Track, and vice versa. This is typically a desperation tactic to avoid being taken out, but a character with Ability traits or SFX that allow them to mitigate or manage Body Stress or Ego Stress might do this purposefuly to fully leverage their capabilities.

Satisfy A SFX

Many of the most powerful SFX require a character to spend one (1) Plot Point to use the SFX. The timing will vary upon the nature of a given SFX, but regardless of the timing of anything else going on the character pays the Plot Point immediately when the SFX takes effect. This might happen before, during, or after a dice roll, in the middle of some other character's action or reaction, or conceivably at any time during gameplay. If it is valid to use the SFX the character may interrupt whatever is currently going on to spend the Plot Point and resolve the SFX's effect, after which gameplay resumes.

Satisfy A Limit

Some Limits allow a character to spend a Plot Point and activate an opportunity to do various things (such as recover a shut down SFX, Trait, or Ability Set), or something similar. The timing of spending a Plot Point per the directions of a Limit works exactly the same as spending a Plot Point for a SFX, when the circumstances apply whatever is currently going on is interrupted to resolve the Limit's effect, after which gameplay resumes.

Activate An Opportunity

When another character in the Scene offers an opportunity, a character may spend a Plot Point to activate it. If the target of the opportunity has any relevant Limits, one can be triggered per opportunity being activated.

Alternately the character activating the opportunity can put a d6 Complication into play, or improve an existing Complication by d6. If multiple opportunities were offered, one Plot Point per opportunity can be spent to step up the Complication. For instance, if three opportunities were offered, a character could spend three (3) Plot Points to put a d10 Complication into play. All Plot Points spent in this way must come from the same character.

Note that sufficient justification for the selected outcome of the opportunity being activated must be provided up front or the Plot Point(s) cannot be spent.

Before Rolling A Dice Pool

When a character is about to take an action or reaction, they first must justify what they are attempting to do and satisfy any rules restrictions (such as checking that they are within range of whatever they are trying to affect). Once that has been accomplished, a dice pool is formed; Plot Points can be spent on various things as part of this process.

Extend Range

Some Ability traits use Standard Range, which determines range in terms of zones based upon the step of the Ability trait. A Plot Point can be spent to extend this maximum range on the action or reaction the character is about to take by one (1) zone per Plot Point spent.

Add Extra Trait Dice

Normally a character can add one Trait die from the same trait group to the same dice pool; one Distinction, one Aptitude, and one Ability Trait per Ability Set. However a Plot Point can be spent to allow an additional die from the same trait group to be added to a dice pool.

For instance if more than one of a character's Distinctions applies to the action or reaction they are attempting, a Plot Point could be spent to allow another Distinction die to be added to the dice pool. A character might want to combine multiple Aptitudes; a master swordsman might do something like spend two (2) Plot Points to add Violence, Smarts, and Finesse to the same dice pool as part of a complex series of feints, flourishes, and thrusts.

Similarly, a character might have an Ability Set with both Ranged and Melee and want to use both Ability traits in a single combined attack, or combine Durability and Reflexes on a reaction to represent rolling with a punch, avoiding some of the force and absorbing the rest. The possibilites are endless, limited only by the ability of the player to justify how the additional die they want to add is applicable to the situation.

React To Opportunity

When forming a dice pool to make a reaction to some other character's action, if any opportunities were offered in that action's result the reacting character can spend a Plot Point to add a d8 to their reaction dice pool. If the opponent offered more than one opportunity, then for each additional opportunity an additional Plot Point can be spent to step the d8 up by one each. For instance, if three opportunities were offered the reacting chacter could spend three (3) Plot Points and add a d12 to their reaction dice pool. All Plot Points spent in this way must come from the same character.

After Rolling A Dice Pool

Once a dice pool has been rolled for an action or reaction, Plot Points can be spent in various ways during the resolution to change the outcome.

Reroll A Die

Immediately after rolling, before 1's are resolved, a character can spend a Plot Point to reroll a single die. Any number of Plot Points can be spent like this on separate dice, but each individual die can only be rerolled once and the second result must be taken.

Include An Extra Die In Your Total

Normally two dice from the rolled result are selected and their face values are added together to form the action or reaction's total; the higher the total the more likely the roll will succeed. Before a total is declared, a character can spend a Plot Point to include an additional die when forming their total.

Multiple Plot Points can be spent to allow multiple additional dice to be include in the total (until no more dice remain in the result). However, dice used to form the roll's total can't be used as part of the roll's effect.

Reaction Effect Die

Normally a character does not get to choose an effect die from a reaction roll. However, a character can spend a Plot Point to pick an effect die from a successful reaction roll result and apply it in exactly the same way as if they themselves had taken a successful action.

Keep An Extra Effect Die

Normally a character may choose one die from a successful action roll to be their effect die, and similarly a Plot Point has been spent to choose an effect die from a successful reaction roll. However, in either case a character can spend a Plot Point to keep an additional effect die from their result. This can allow a character to attack multiple targets, do Stress and also introduce a Complication or an Asset with the same roll, and so on. This offers excellent action economy.

Multiple Plot Points can be spent to keep additional effect dice (until no more dice remain in the result). However, dice used as an effect die can't be used as part of the roll's total.

It should be noted that multiple effect dice from the same roll do not combine or stack with themselves, so for instance a character cannot apply multiple Body Stress effect dice to the same target with a single attack.