Valor in North Holds: Awarding Hero Points in Crown & Skull



In ‘Crown & Skull’ players are awarded Hero Points by the GM. Intriguingly, ‘Crown & Skull’ is rather open-ended about its guidelines for awarding Hero Points. I am currently contemplating running a West Marches campaign using Crown & Skull in the North Holds or a new world designed by me and the players. So, for further advice and guidance I turned to the RPG ‘Forbidden Lands’ listed under Resources on page 340. Hero Points are comparable to the Experience Points (XP) in ‘Forbidden Lands’ both in relative quantities and how they customize characters. Inspired by the XP criteria from ‘Forbidden Lands’ and my own gameplay experiences from my past campaign in that system, I composed this little post that illuminates my personal take on bestowing Hero Points in the majestic realm of North Holds. When or if I start my West Marches campaign I might of cause tweak it further.

1. Honor in Participation

Just showing up and being part of the story matters. As in ‘Forbidden Lands’, where players earn an XP merely for participating, in North Holds, a Hero Point should be granted simply for being there, acknowledging each player’s essential role in the narrative.

2. Uncharted Expeditions

Much like traversing a new hex on a ‘Forbidden Lands’ map, North Holds beckons adventurers to tread unknown paths. Venturing into new territories or unearthing a previously undiscovered adventure site can earn players Hero Points, highlighting the game’s spirit of exploration and discovery.

3. Confronting Challenges

Challenges in ‘Crown & Skull’ aren’t just about deciphering runes. Defeating monsters, uncovering treasures, or even building functionalities in strongholds should merit Hero Points. These accolades motivate players to face the adversities North Holds presents head-on.

4. Personal Narratives

Every character in North Holds has a story to tell. Players confronting their Flaws (akin to Dark Secrets) or activating their core abilities (resembling Pride) should be rewarded. Delving deep into these personal narratives and playing true to character origins can earn players additional Hero Points, enriching the gameplay with layers of depth and emotion. Later on, roleplay or achievement that impacts your Crown or Skull faction significantly should likewise also be acknowledged with a Hero Point.

5. Celebrating Valor

Heroism in North Holds is multidimensional. Risking one’s life for a fellow player character or showcasing unmatched bravery is commendable. Such acts of valor and selflessness, in line with risking life for another PC in ‘Forbidden Lands’, should be recognized with Hero Points, fostering a spirit of camaraderie and selflessness.

6. Highlighting Deeds

Every session in North Holds will have its hallmark moments. Whether it’s performing an extraordinary action or crafting a brilliant strategy, these standout deeds—akin to ‘Forbidden Lands’ extraordinary actions—deserve Hero Points, spurring players towards creativity and excellence.

In reflection from my previous Forbidden Lands campaign, a balanced range of 3-6 Hero Points per player per session seems apt. This balance ensures players are acknowledged, yet keeps the thirst for adventure alive.

In conclusion, with ‘Crown & Skull’s’ expansive realm of North Holds and the flexible framework of Hero Points, GMs can reward engagement, imagination and good game play. Melding these insights from ‘Forbidden Lands’ with their unique flair, GMs can spur the evolving journey for every adventurer in North Holds.

What do you think? How are you planning to award Hero Points as a GM? Or how many Hero Points are you expecting per session as a player?