New Bolt-On for Yellow Dawn RPG: Hero Bonuses and Hero Points

More Hero Bonuses and Rules for Spending Hero Points

Credit: featured hero image – by Darkness Bliss (DeviantArt). Image used for aesthetics and the artist is not associated with Yellow Dawn or myself in any way.

The primary rulebook for Yellow Dawn – The Age of Hastur contains a comprehensive list of Hero Bonuses; these are perks and special abilities that a character can pick up when they go up a level (+1 Hero Rank). This bolt-on contains some new ones and rules on how characters can spend their Hero Points  (if they have them) in an ad-hoc way to eject themselves out of trouble or achieve nifty tricks.  No prerequisites.  Just spend the Hero Points and they’re yours.  For reference, a character has a number of Hero Points to spend per day, equal to their Hero Rank (starts at 1 at character creation). Hero Points regenerate fully at 7 a.m. every day.

! BETA ! This bolt-on was launched 1st March 2014 and has yet to be fully play-tested. Feedback welcome. Updates / amends will appear on this URL but be mentioned via blog.

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Ad-Hoc Heroisms

Extra Action
Need one more action in a round, spend 4 Hero Points and it is yours.
(Note, if you have the Hero Bonus called “Nitro” then it only costs 2 hero points to buy another action)

Flash of Inspiration
If you’ve got an important IDEA check coming up then spend 4 Hero Points and enjoy +20% to any IDEA check. You must spend the points before you make the roll.

Fury
Sometimes, you just need to find the anger that lets you push through.  Spend 5 Hero Points and you get the following benefits.  Effects last until you roll a ‘1’ on 1d6, one roll per combat round (roll immediately BEFORE your action): +2 HP, +2 to SHOCK and DEATH saves; +2 to any damage delivered by physical attacks; increase any current Initiative value by 2 points; +10 to COOL checks; minus -20% on IDEA checks to avoid targeting friends or things that are not opponents; if you ever roll a ‘6’ then enjoy another immediate action.

Momentary Distraction
In a tight spot? Need to create a moment where you can start some action with at least a small chance of beating the odds?  Spend 4 Hero Points and you can make an opposed POW check against as many targets as in visible range, as you attempt to catch their eye, engage them with a weird stare, make a sound or hand gesture.  If you succeed then you get to make a SURPRISE ACTION against one person – all others who experience distraction suffer -5 penalty to Initiative rolls.  Anybody not experiencing distraction can react normally.

Threat Zone Bypass
Caught in a tight spot by somebody (or something) using a weapon with a Threat Zone stopping you getting close?  Spend 2 Hero Points to ignore the Threat Zone (so no free attack against you / no need to make a COOL check to get through) for one round (includes move and action).

Trivial Knowledge
Any (non-combat) skill that is 20% or less, even zero, may gain an immediate 5% bonus if you spend 2 Hero Points, as the particular situation jogs your memory on something you saw or read somewhere.

True Purpose
Desperate to get the truth or compliance from somebody? Give your argument a sense of true purpose and sincerity.  Spend 3 Hero Points and you can gain a bonus of +20% to any Streetwise, Persuasion, Leadership or Interview skill check. It does not work on Intimidate.

Strike to Disable
ONLY WORKS ON HUMANS. If you’re delivering stun damage and you’re up against somebody who is looking to kill you, it can seem like a pretty unfair fight.  Spend 5 Hero Points when you deliver 3 or more Stun damage, and your attack is so precise – or lucky, that it strikes a nerve cluster causing the target suffer -40% penalty to all attack skill checks, -8 to any initiative score, -8 to any DEX checks and SHOCK saves. This effect lasts until the target rolls ‘1’ on 1d20, one roll per round on their initiative.  Importantly, the target must also make a COOL check to be able to continue their attack, otherwise they back off, in pain, disoriented** (In Dragomir this works on Humans, and the same Race as the person delivering the disabling strike)
**However, if you then attack them again, they automatically resume their attack although continue to suffer effects as described.

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Heroes Don’t Die

This is the idea that a player character is a valuable asset and really should be given as much opportunity to survive as possible. The GM has the right to ALLOW or DENY this option at any point it is requested, based on the following principle: the character has not been a fool, the character has made a heroic stand and deserves a chance to live.

Rule Data: if the character drops below zero HP, or enters DEATH STATE, they can make a Heroic Stabilisation roll.  If they can roll equal to their Hero Rank or less on 1d20, then they are considered stabilised** (but unconscious) until somebody comes along to rescue them.

**Stabilised in this way they can be moved, carried out, without risk of dying: however, every 6 hours spent not rescued, requires a DEATH SAVE; if being carried for a long period to reach safety, then every 6 hours of travel (and rest) forces a DEATH SAVE.

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New Hero Bonuses

Blind Fury
Prerequisite: Hero Rank 6+,
Spend 3 Hero Points and you get the following benefits.  Effects last until you roll a ‘1’ on 1d10, one roll per combat round (roll immediately BEFORE your action): +5 HP, +5 to SHOCK and DEATH saves; +1d6 to any damage delivered by physical attacks; increase any current Initiative value by 5 points; if you ever roll a ’10’ then gain another immediate action; +20 to COOL checks; minus -40% on IDEA checks to avoid targeting friends or things that are not opponents.

Crime Scene Investigation
Prerequisite: Hero Rank 3+, Awareness 40%+, INT 14+
This modifies any successful awareness skill check to give you  more detailed and forensically sound information about a crime scene. What information and how much is determined by the GM, based on how much you succeeded the skill check by – and how much time you are spending there.  A BASIC TOOLKIT (forensic investigation) can give a bonus to Awareness for this specific purpose. Likewise, an ADVANCED TOOLKIT would also be feasible.

Deadly Accurate Swing
Prerequisite: Hero Rank 5+, DEX 14+
Allows you to ignore all cover, including shields – except TOTAL cover –  for 1-handed and 2-handed melee attacks, and brawling.

Disable
Prerequisite: Hero Rank 5+, DEX 14+, STR 11+
ONLY WORKS ON HUMANS. If you’re delivering stun damage and you’re up against somebody who is looking to kill you, it can seem like a pretty unfair fight.  Spend 2 Hero Points when you deliver 3 or more Stun damage, and your attack is so precise – or lucky, that it strikes a nerve cluster causing the target suffer -40% penalty to all attack skill checks, -8 to any initiative score, -8 to any DEX checks and SHOCK saves. This effect lasts until the target rolls ‘1’ on 1d20, one roll per round on their initiative.  Importantly, the target must also make a COOL check to be able to continue the attack, otherwise they back off, in pain, disoriented **  (In Dragomir this works on Humans, and the same Race as the person delivering the disabling strike)
**However, if you then attack them, they automatically resume their attack although continue to suffer effects as described.

Distract
Prerequisite: POW 14+, Hero Rank 3+
Gives you the ability to catch somebody’s eye, or make a sound or hand gesture that creates a moment of uncertainty or loss of opponent concentration.  You can use this when encountering any human, or non-human species (but not robots or Great Old Ones, Outer Gods).  In combat, successful Distract gives you the option to launch an immediate SURPRISE ATTACK against one opponent – all others who experience distraction suffer -5 penalty to Initiative rolls.  Anybody not experiencing distraction can react normally.  Outside of combat, distraction will create a -20% penalty against any skill check being attempted. To succeed in Distraction,  you need to make an opposed POW roll against each potential target (or one roll against a group of targets).

Educated
Prerequisite: INT 14+
Boost your IDEA checks by 5%, and any skill check that relies on INT gains a +5% bonus.

Increased Brawling Damage
Prerequisite: STR 12+, Hero Rank 3+
You have a knack of knowing where it hurts with your fists and feet.  Any hits from Brawling gain a bonus of +1 Stun damage (up to rank 6). Rank 7 to 9 you get +2 Stun damage, per hit.  Rank 10 to 12, you get +3 Stun damage. Etc.

Know-It-All
Prerequisite: Hero Rank 8+, INT 14+
You have a talent for absorbing miscellaneous fragments of knowledge and applying them at random moments of insight.  Spend 8 Hero Points and enjoy an immediate +20% to any non-combat skill check, as your raft of experience allows you speculate on how something can and should be done. These even applies to skills currently set at ZERO.  NOTE: You do not get any experience points for a successful skill check using this.

Nitro
Prerequisite:  Hero Rank 3+
Need one more action in a round, spend 2 Hero Points and it is yours.  You can only do this once in a round. It cannot be combined with any Hero Bonus that gives you another action.

Master Sword
Prerequisite: You have Power Strike, Almighty Strike, you have Hero Rank 5+
Allows you to specialise in the use of one particular type of sword; broadsword, bastard sword, rapier, etc. Once set you cannot change it.  You can now enjoy the following bonuses with the sword:

  • +10% to your sword skill
  • The option to increase damage by a value up to your sword skill divided by 10 (rounding down)
  • One of the two following options:
    • The option to deliver one attack with flat edge / hand-guard, as a free action, delivering +1d4 +d/b, plus above bonus damage (STUN only).
  • OR
    • The option to make a DIFFICULT  skill check (-40%), as a free action, against any opponent wielding a sword or other 1-handed melee weapon. Success means you knock the weapon from their hand. It lands 1d3 metres away.

Max Effect
Prerequisite: Hero Rank 5+
In YD – “Age of Hastur” every Hero Point spent will give you 1d2 points to spend instead (in other words you get a 50 percent chance of doubling your Hero Points when you spend them).  In YD – “Dragomir”, every Hero Point normally gives you +1d6 points to spend anyway, so this Hero Bonus gives you +1d8 instead.

Mental Strength
Prerequisite: NA
The character has +6 natural Mental Defence (MD) against opponents with mentalist talents (META).  This does not provide any bonus to a character who acquires META.

Moral Might
Prerequisite: Hero Rank 5+, COOL is above 40**
If you are in physical combat (excludes ranged weapons but does include thrown blades) with an opponent that you consider Evil, with a capital ‘E’, then this Hero Bonus means you have such hatred, such passion for destroying these scourges on ordered life, that you deliver +1d6 damage per strike.  It is entirely down to the GM to agree with the definition of what can be considered Evil in your eyes, in each and every instance. A GM agreeing once does not set a precedent for agreeing a second time in similar circumstances. The GM always has the right to refuse this extra damage.  NOTE: if you are using the MADS system (Morality, Anxiety, Depression, Stress), then increase the character’s Morality value by +20 points.
**If COOL ever drops below 40 this Hero Bonus cannot be used until it goes above 40 again.

Research Sense
Prerequisite: INT 14+
Any Research Skill check only takes 2 hours instead of 4 hours, as your brain maps out possible cross-connections  through raw instinct, almost like a sixth sense, and you plunge straight into the best avenues of enquiry.  The GM may wish to reward good skill checks with additional information / padding or even new lines of enquiry based on this talent.   Awareness skill checks get +20%, but ONLY when used to search a location for anything where a human (who is known) has done or left something; the situation must involve somebody that the character has met, knows directly or through study.

True Purpose
Prerequisite: Hero Rank 5+, POW 12+
Give your argument a sense of true purpose and sincerity.  Spend 3 Hero Points and you can gain a bonus of +20% to any Streetwise, Persuasion, Seduction, Leadership or Interview skill check. It does not work on Intimidate.

Unnerve
Prerequisite: Hero Rank 5+, POW 14+
Allows you to creep people out with your tone of voice, facial expression, stare, etc. It comes from a theatrical nature tied into knowledge of how people respond to your evolving persona.  Can only be attempted on one person who is directly involved in dialogue with you.  Can only be used once per day on the same person.  Can only be used once per hour in total.  The effect can vary, but always forces a COOL check.

  • If the target succeeds in a COOL check they think you’re weird and subtract 2d20+3 points from any First Contact score.
  • If the target fails in a COOL check then they’re actually a little frightened and wary of you. Subtract 1d20+4 points from First Contact. If they’re trying to interview, persuade or interrogate or Intimidate you, they suffer a -20% penalty to their skill check, and any opposed POW checks they suffer -4 to their 1d20 roll.  If you are Interrogating or Intimidating them, you enjoy a +20% bonus to your skill check, you also gain +10 to any THREAT SCORE.  Finally, if they roll ’00’ on their COOL check then they actually lose 1 point of ANXIETY.

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LEARN MORE: Yellow Dawn – The Age of Hastur RPG

David J Rodger – DATA

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