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Skip Navigation LinksHero System>Meta Concepts >Subsidized Buy-in HERO

Subsidized Buy-in HERO

This document describes an alternate method of character rewards that works kind of like a 401k by means of a subsidized / matched Buy-in.


In addition to spending or saving their XP in the standard fashion, players also have the option to allocate some or all of their XP to a special pool, which we'll call a Deferred Fund.

The GM matches player's allocations by up to 50% rounded down; thus if a player contributes 2 XP to their Deferred Fund, the GM adds 1 point. If a player contributed 5 points the GM would match with 2 XP.

A player may withdraw some or all of the points in their Deferred Fund at any time when the GM has indicated players can spend XP on their characters; this might be after every session, a story arc, or whatever cycle the GM prefers.

Deferred Funds are interest bearing at a rate of 10%, with interest being compounded irregularly after each formal opportunity to spend XP has elapsed and before more XP deposits can be made.

Awarding XP

Using this method, full normal XP is awarded in the standard fashion.


  • Players can chose to participate or not as they prefer.
  • The decision about when to invest or withdraw points is entirely in the hands of the player; the GM only limits opportunities to spend XP which apply to all players equally.
  • This model allows participating characters to periodically get powerups at the cost of immediate gratification.


  • The GM has to be very clear about declaring opportunities to spend xp -- at the end of a session, end of an arc, whatever, it just has to be clearly communicated and counted.
  • This method is somewhat complex and adds an additional level of accounting and administration.
  • Participating characters will sometimes be behind the power curve, but will eventually have more points than non-participating players.


The complexity of this method lends itself to several variants.

Matching Rate

Some GM's might feel that 50% matching is too high or low. This is just a numbers game; the GM can set the matching rate as they see fit.

Interest Rate

Some GM's might feel that 10% interest is too high or low. This is just a numbers game; the GM can set the interest rate as they see fit.

Talent Driven Percentage

The GM can opt to mechanic this approach a little and allow the percentage of increase to be adjusted by players with a Custom Talent.

Interesting Progress: This Custom Talent increases the percentile amount for this character's Deferred Fund by 5%; this talent may be purchased multiple times. Cost: 5 points


If a player earned 4 XP in a session and put them all in the Deferred Fund, the GM would match +2 XP. If the player never contributed any more points, but let these 6 points sit in the Deferred Fund for five different opportunities to spend xp, the following compounding would occur.

  • Opp1: 6 + 10% = 6.6
  • Opp2: 6.6 + 10% = 7.26
  • Opp3: 7.26 + 10% = 7.99
  • Opp4: 7.99 + 10% = 8.79
  • Opp5: 8.79 + 10% = 9.67

Running Total: 9.67 xp

If when the sixth xp spending opportunity occurred the player opted to take 5 points out of the Deferred Fund, the following adjustment would occur:

Withdrawal: 9.67 - 5 = 4.67

Running Total: 4.67 xp

  • Opp6: 4.67 + 10% = 5.14

Running Total: 5.14 xp

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