d20 Spotlight Tokens
d20 Spotlight Tokens are an optional rule for most d20-rule based (or “T20”) games. The tokens are designed to give players a concrete way to grab some spotlight time (real-world time where they are getting the most done, being the most impressive, and having the most attention paid to them). These are absolutely a power-up in terms of what a group of PCs can handle, and that’s both intentional and, in my opinion, a good thing. It’s not an increase in what characters can do all the time, but it is a way for a player to decide to have remarkable success when the going gets tough… or when the player just wants that to be the way the story goes.
These are a mechanical solution to spotlight time. A player can’t help but be the focus of attention when one is spent, even if they are shy or not big talkers.
Once you have played with d20 Spotlight Tokens for a few game sessions, it should be obvious how to adjust for them as a GM. It may be the players simply choose to take on more encounters in a row, taking overnight rests or breaks to recharge abilities less often, in which case no adjustment may be needed. Or it may be appropriate to treat the characters as being one or two levels higher, so they face more dangerous opponents that require them to expend some tokens to succeed.
Spotlight Token Rules
You get one token per session, plus one per 5 full character levels. If no other player takes the same spotlight token as you, you gain 1 extra token per session.
Select one of the following tokens. This should be done, together, as a group. If two players choose the same token, they can decide if they want to overlap, or one or both of them change their choice. Once this choice is settled, it cannot be changed until you gain a level or another player selects the same Spotlight Token you already have (in which case, again, you discuss it and one, both, or neither of you can change your choice).
You can spend a Spotlight Token immediately any time the relevant game event occurs, even if the action has already been resolved. For example, if you select the Attack Token, you can spend it after an attack misses, or after it hits but does less damage than you want. When you spend a spotlight token, you also get one additional full round of actions you get to take immediately. This additional round of actions does not benefit from the powers of the Spotlight Token–for example if using the Assault token attacks you make as part of your bonus round of action do not also automatically hit.
Currently, here are the token choices. They are designed to lean into common character focuses, and to have more than one options for each broad focus.
ARMOR – You take no damage until the end of your next turn.
ATTACK – Your attack (anything requiring an attack roll) hits and does 150% its max damage.
ASSAULT — Your attack (anything requiring an attack roll), and all attacks you make before the beginning of your next round, hit.
CRITICAL — Your attack, effect, or spell (anything requiring an attack roll) is a critical hit, if it has rules for being so (for example of a spell does not require an attack roll and has no rules for being a critical hit, it does not benefit from this token).
DEFENSE – An attack misses you, as do all other attacks from the same source until the beginning of your next turn.
EFFECT – One foe fails a saving throw against a spell or effect of yours. If there are degrees of failing a saving throw (such as an additional penalty if the save is failed by 5 or more), it takes the worst effect.
MANA — You activate one spell or ability you can use at least once per day without it counting against your normal uses per day.
OVERCOME — You get to take a single action that can be performed in one round or less, that you would be able to take if your character was not suffering any damage, penalties or effects, and without applying any penalties for current damage, penalties, or effects. Yes, even if you are dead.
RESIST — You succeed at a saving throw, and at all other saving throws from the exact same effect (such as all saves against a poison, or against one ongoing spell).
SKILL — You may choose for one skill check (regardless of how much time it represents), or all skill checks you make in a single round, to be treated as if you had rolled a 20 and the d20 roll.
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Posted on October 14, 2020, in Game Design, Pathfinder Development, Starfinder Development and tagged 5e, d20 Design Diary, Game Design, Gamemastering Advice, gaming, Geekery, Pathfinder Development, Pathfinder Second Edition Core Rulebook., Starfinder. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.