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The Drama Point System

The Buffy RPG uses a game mechanic called Drama Points to enable characters to perform incredible feats at just the right moment, survive impossible odds, and the like. Each PC starts out with 10 to 20 Drama Points, depending on character type (Heroes get 10 Drama Points, White Hats get 20). These points do not return automatically; they must be earned (more on that later).

Using Drama Points

There are five ways to use Drama Points:
  1. Heroic Feat: Spend one Drama Point to receive a +10 bonus on some value - an attack or defense roll, a Fear or Survival Test, or any use of a Skill. Only one Heroic Feat may be performed per Turn.
  2. I Think I'm Okay: Spend one Drama Point to instantly heal half the Life Point damage (round down) the character has taken up to that point. I Think I'm Okay may only be used once per Turn, but it can be used several Turns in a row, each use halving whatever damage remains (subject to GM's discretion).
  3. Plot Twist: Once per thread, a character can spend a Drama Point to get a "break" (the killer leaves a vital clue at the scene of the crime, etc.). This is not a "Get Out of Jail Free" card - if a character walks into the villain's lair and is surrounded by a horde of demons, a Plot Twist will not allow him to escape unscathed. On the other hand, if the GMs determine that a Plot Twist is not possible, the player gets the Drama Point back.
  4. Righteous Fury: Spend two Drama Points for a +5 bonus to all attack actions (including magical attacks) for the duration of a combat. Note that these bonuses are cumulative with Heroic Feat, above. However, Righteous Fury requires that the character be properly motivated (a brutal attack on a loved one, an unexpected betrayal of trust, and other crimes so horrible they go beyond the usual vampiric and demonic mayhem). The existence of vampires and demons is not sufficient motivation, by the way - that comes with the territory in a BtVS game.
  5. Back From the Dead: By spending Drama Points, a character may even return from the dead. The number of Drama Points spent depends on how soon the character returns - it costs five Drama Points to return in the next storyline ("Episode"), and ten Drama Points to return in the same thread. If the Player does not have enough Drama Points, she can pay in installments - all Drama Points she has now, and any Drama Points she receives later, until the debt is paid. Spending the points is not enough; the GM and the player must also work out the details of the character's resurrection.


Earning Drama Points

Players earn Drama Points in the following ways:
  1. Experience Points: Players may "trade in" Experience Points for Drama Points - Heroes receive one Drama Point for every two Experience points spent, and White Hats receive one Drama Point for every one Experience Point spent.
  2. Quotable Quotes: Players who come up with funny and memorable lines receive one Drama Point per thread.
  3. When Bad Things Happen to Good People: If the plot requires that something bad happen to a character, the GM may choose to reward the player with one to three Drama Points (the exact amount depending on the unfairness of the situation). When this rule is invoked, however, the players cannot use Drama Points to undo the result.
  4. The Agony That is Life: When a subplot involving a character and her Drawbacks (Addiction, Emotional Problems, etc.) results in a tragedy, she receives one to three Drama Points, every thread where the subplot comes into play. Sometimes, an emotional crisis directly affects the character; when tragedy strikes, she cannot use Drama Points for Heroic Feats, Plot Twists, or Righteous Fury, and suffers a -2 penalty to all actions. These times of grief get the character two Drama Points, or three if her suffering lasts for an entire storyline.
  5. Support Your Local Hero: This option is available only to White Hats. By roleplaying out helping others through The Agony That is Life, above, the character receives two Drama Points.

(Much of the material in this post appears in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer Core Rulebook, pp. 126-131)
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