Fallout #4 - Full of Action (Points)!

Players of the Fallout videogames will be familiar with the spending of Action Points. In the earlier games, every action you took cost Action points, while later games have used Action Points for more specialized benefits.

In Fallout 2d20, Action Points—referred to as AP for short—are generated whenever you succeed at a skill test by more successes than the test’s Difficulty, as explained in an earlier blog. Each extra success becomes one Action Point, and you can use those points immediately, or save them for later use. When you save them, Action Points become a resource that the entire group can use, and you can have up to 6 AP saved up at once.

While the Gamemaster is free to let you use Action Points for a variety of story-based effects, and some characters have perks which let them spend AP in other ways, there are a few standard rules benefits that you can always use AP for:

  • Buying extra d20s on a skill test is probably the most common use of Action Points, allowing you to turn earlier victories into better odds on later challenges. It costs 1 AP to buy the first extra d20, 2 AP to buy the second extra d20, and 3 AP to buy the third; you can’t have more than three extra d20s on a skill test.
  • Obtaining information is a useful option when you’re trying to figure out something. Each AP spent lets you ask the Gamemaster one question about the situation, and the GM must answer truthfully, representing your character being especially observant or finding clues that others might’ve missed.
  • Reducing time comes in hand when you’re doing something that takes a while. Spending 2 AP halves the time it takes to complete a skill test.
  • An extra Action in combat can be invaluable. It costs 1 AP to take an extra Minor Action, or 2 AP for an extra Major Action (which also adds +1 to the Difficulty of any skill tests in that major action, as you’re in a rush). You can only use these once per turn, but they’re just the thing for turning around a tough fight.
  • Extra damage when using a melee or thrown weapon can also mean the difference between defeating that Super Mutant and being its next meal. Each AP becomes an extra Combat Die of damage for the weapon, up to a maximum of +3 dice.

The Gamemaster also has Action Points, which they can use in all the same ways to bolster the efforts of non-player characters. The GM gains AP in the same way; if an NPC scores more successes than they need, those extra successes can be turned into AP for the GM. As the GM controls more characters than the players, they don’t have an upper limit on how many AP they can save up at once.

If you’re stuck in a situation where you need to succeed at a difficult Skill Test, but you’ve got no Action Points of your own saved up, you can still buy extra d20s. Instead of spending your own AP for those d20s, the Gamemaster gains 1 AP for every AP you would have spent. So, if you want to buy two dice for a skill test, the GM gains 3 AP for their own use.

Plain Old Dumb Luck

Characters in Fallout have another way to push the odds in their favour: Luck.

In addition to being the L in S.P.E.C.I.A.L., Luck provides characters with a way to come out of tricky situations more favorably. At the start of each quest, each player character starts with Luck Points equal to their LUC attribute (NPCs can have Luck Points too, but only if they’re important).

Luck Points can be spent in a few useful ways:

  • Spend a Luck Point to use your LUC attribute instead of the attribute you’d normally use for a skill test. Mainly useful if your LUC is higher than the attribute you’d use otherwise.
  • Spend a Luck Point at the start of a round in combat, or immediately after another character has acted during the round, to take your turn in that round immediately. You still only get one turn each round, but this lets you act sooner.
  • Spend a Luck Point to re-roll a single d20 or up to 3 Combat Dice. You can’t re-roll a die you’ve already re-rolled, but otherwise this is a solid way to pull victory from the jaws of defeat.
  • Several Perks are activated by spending Luck Points.
  • Spend one or more Luck Points to introduce a helpful fact or detail about the situation you’re in. Maybe that ammo box you’re searching contains just the right bullets for your gun. Maybe you find a password for the computer controlling that Protectron. The Gamemaster needs to approve your suggestions, and can suggest situations where this might be handy, or ask for several Luck Points to be spent for a particularly big request.

You get back all your spent Luck Points at the start of a new quest, as well as when you reach important milestones within your current quest. You probably don’t have enough to use them frivolously, but you shouldn’t avoid using them either, as any you don’t spend by the end of the quest will be wasted.