Tweaking 4E: Expanding uses for power points and healing surges

So while action points and healing surges are cool, I think they can be under utilized. I’m a huge fan of healing surges and think they make an interesting economy in the game. They are a requirement for recharging some magical items and I’ve liked that idea of using a PC’s vitality to enhance their power, so why not expand on that? Likewise, action points are cool but you can only use them once per encounter. Granted the bonus standard action is pretty huge, but only comes into play if you are going though several encounters in the game day.

A while back I talked about limiting choices of powers in my next 4E game. One downside of this is the limit of damage output players have. So to work on this I really wanted to be sure players could count on the limited encounter powers they have. Also, I wanted a way to get more powers that could inflict higher damage. So I’ve been thinking about the following changes.

Action points – Players have two options for action points:
A) Spend an action point can allow the player to do another standard action (as per rules)
B) Spend an action point to grant a +4 bonus to any roll. This can be done after the roll is made.

Players start with 2 action points at the beginning of each extended rest. They can spend multiple action points during an encounter, but can only take the additional action option once.

Healing surges
– Players may spend a healing surge to add one more damage die to at-will, basic, or trained basic attacks. This can be used after a successful to-hit die roll is made (but before any damage die rolls are made).
– If players activate an encounter power and it fails to hit, they may use a healing surge to recharge that power.
– Healing surges can also be spent to re-roll any single die roll. The second roll must be accepted as the result.

This is likely going to allow my players to really crank out the damage. However I want to encourage my players to use healing surges. Not to mention, those 2-3 healing surges they lose in an initial fight leading up to the big boss now have more impact. Players now have to weigh their options when using healing surges. Do they use the surges to keep on their feet, or use them to crank up the damage on an attack? I also want action points to allow the player to do big things. +4 is a huge bonus, but I want players to be able to pull out a huge attack, or pull out of that critical death save if needed. So I am making those action point bonuses go big or go home.

Taken as a whole with some of my other changes, I’m hoping it adds some spice to my 4E game and makes for some more engaging choices for the PCs.


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