Pathfinder Character Creation, Part 3- Mechanical Additions

Part 1 and Part 2.

So in this post I will be talking about 2 things from Savage Worlds and one thing from 4e Dungeons and Dragons.

Here are the mechanics and I will explain further below:

Savage Worlds:
• Bennies
• Acing Damage

4e Dungeons and Dragons:
• Healing Surges

My friends and I really enjoy Savage Worlds, but at heart I think we just really enjoy 3.5 (now Pathfinder) as our favorite system. We haven’t played 3.5 in a half year now, so I think it’s time for us to get back into the groove.

I noticed that there were two aspects of Savage Worlds that got my players really excited. Bennies and Acing on Damage. To me, anything that gets players excited is usually a damned good thing.

So I wanted to incorporate those things into my Pathfinder game.
Acing Damage

For those of you not familiar with Savage Worlds- Acing Damage is where you roll the highest possible number on a die and get to roll again and add the new number to the total. If you ace again, you roll again and so on (IE- Roll a d6 and get a 6, roll again and get another 6, and then roll again and get a 3 =15 points of damage.

I know that this makes damage swingy, but one thing I like in Savage Worlds is players tend to think more when attacking someone because there is the potential for high damage and death. In Dungeons and Dragons and Pathfinder I think combat is more a war of attrition (especially at higher levels with uber hit points), where characters run up to the enemies and they all beat on one another with sticks till one falls down and goes boom.

As I thought about this though, two conflicts came into my brain. One- Spell Casters, and Two- Player Survivability (I want to make combat tough, but not too deadly).

Spell Casters pose a real problem for Damage Acing, especially at higher levels when they are rolling a ridiculous amount of dice. After some thinking I decided that no matter the class, only your first 4 dice can Ace. That means that a Barbarian using a 3d6 + 1 ½ STR damage sword will be able to keep up in the damage department with a Wizard casting a 8d6 Fireball or 6d6 Lightning Bolt Spell. The Spellcaster can still do high damage with the ability to have 4 damage die that can Ace and the “x” number of dice left to do standard damage.


This was actually a two fold situation. Before thinking of allowing Acing of Damage I also didn’t want one of my players to have to be a healbot and sacrifice their “cool,” as Chatty DM would say. So that got me thinking about 4e Healing Surges, which I have used in the past for the same reason.

Second was if players are taking a huge amount of damage they need a mechanic that can counteract that to keep them alive.

So it seemed natural to include healing surges, however I didn’t want to do just “you can use this “x” number of times per day.” And that idea got me thinking about the next part.


I have been using the Action Point mechanic ever since it was introduced in the 3.5 Eberron Campaign Setting. My players and I really liked Action Points because it allowed your character to be a little bit more heroic.

What I started to notice though was that my players horded their AP because they only refilled once per level and they were saving them for fights with big bads or really hairy situations. In the end the players didn’t get to use half of their AP.

In Savage Worlds Bennies always reset every session at 3, so you are encouraged to use them. Boom, problem solved right there for hoarding.

So for my game, Action Points can be used to add a d6 to attack, saves, or skill rolls. Players will also be able to burn an Action Point to use a healing surge.

So these are things I’m going to try out. They might not work, if that’s the case I’ll axe em, but I think they have potential.

I’ll do updates on how it is working out.

Feel free to comment.

About wrathofzombie

I am a History major attending a community college until I can get more financial aid and attend a four year school. I am living in NJ with my girlfriend who is currently wrapping up on obtaining her PhD in Toxicology. I love Star Wars, Role-playing, video games, working out, reading, writing, and hanging with my girlfriend, dog (Perfect), and two kittens (Birch and Brambles). My main focus on this site will be my discussion of Role-playing games and ideas and hopefully contribute something worth a damn. View all posts by wrathofzombie

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