Action Dice

Prelude: Action Dice, Hero Tokens , Cinematic Dice and Mook Dice, Activated Characters.

  • Hero Tokens are, in essence, greater than Action Dice, but are similar. Hero Tokens allow one to do break rules a little more effectively, and overall give a higher advantage to the player than Action Dice. They are both pools of sorts, and you will start with a fixed amount at the beginning of each session. You lose both, if they are not used up during the session. Action points my be freely awarded during play, however, and you will gain EXP for gaining them (during play – see below), regardless of if you use them. Hero Tokens have been adjusted slightly with the introduction of Action Dice, but not greatly.
  • Cinematic Dice are rewards with additional dice for describing characters’ actions in an evocative manner. The out-of-game rationale for a Conematic bonus is that well-described actions keep the game interesting for everyone and help the DM set the scene. In game, they represent the capacity of epic heroes to be truly spectacular when they take risks and act like heroes. Again, they act similarly to Action Dice, but should be thought of separately. See Cinematic Dice for more information.
  • Mook Dice are very similar to Action Dice, but they are only usable to defeat the villain with whom the Mooks are associated, and they give no EXP awards. See Mook Dice for more information.

Action Dice Basics


Character Level Number of Dice
per Session
Die Type
1-5 3 (D4)
6-10 4 (D6)
11-15 5 (D8)
16-20 6 (D10)

At the start of each game session, your character receives a number of action dice determined by his Level, as shown on the Table above.

You may spend these dice in any of the following ways. There will be additions to this list based on new Class and other abilities, as well as new Feats, but the list below shows the basic ways Action Dice may be spent.

Note that Action Dice are not Hero Tokens, but one may exchange Hero Tokens for Action Dice, see Hero Tokens.

All action dice not spent by the end of a gaming session are lost.


You may add the result of 1 or more of your action dice to any die roll you make (e.g. any 1 attack check, 1 damage roll, 1 skill check, 1 saving throw, and so on). There are a few exceptions, as follows.

  • You may spend only 1 action die to boost each damage result.
  • You may not boost any roll made to increase an attribute score, nor may you boost any roll made to increase hit points (these restrictions apply whether the increases are temporary or permanent), although you may increase your cure spells and channeling in this manner.
  • Some abilities may disallow the use of action dice to boost one or more rolls, as noted in each relevant ability description.
  • Action dice may never be spent to boost a result for which no die roll is made (e.g. when your character “takes 10” with a skill check).

You may declare that you wish to boost a die roll at any time, even after making the roll. Also, you may spend any number of action dice to boost 1 die roll, so long as you have action dice left to spend. You may not continue to spend action dice to boost a roll, however, after the DM describes the outcome of the action associated with it (typically, if you’re unaware of your DC, the DM should ask you whether you’re happy with your result before describing what happens).

Here’s an example of spending action dice to boost a die roll:

Example: At Level 6, Kevin generates an attack check result of 12 against a target’s Defense of 20. He spends 1 action die and rolls 1d6, getting a 6. The die explodes (see below), so he rolls again, this time getting a 1. This action die result brings Kevin’s attack check result to only 19, not enough to beat the target’s Defense. Kevin spends a second action die, rolling a 4. This brings his attack check result to 23, enough to hit the target.


At the start of any combat round, as a free action, you may spend 1 action die to boost your character’s Armor Class by 2 for a number of rounds equal to the action die’s result. This action die may explode as described below.

Your character may not benefit from more than 1 action die spent to increase his Armor Class at any time.


When you roll a natural 20 with any skill check (i.e. the 20 is showing on the die), or roll your weapon’s s critical threat range in combat, it means that you’ve scored a threat.

When you score a threat, you may spend 1 action die to activate it as a critical success.

Example: Kevin rolls a natural 20 when making an Athletics/Jump check to leap over a table. He spends 1 action die to activate the threat as a critical success, which in this case means that he clears the maximum possible distance.

In combat, when you score a threat with an attack check, you may spend 1 action die to activate the threat as a critical hit. This entitles a check on the Crit Deck. The decision to activate a critical hit during combat must be made before damage is rolled.

Example: Kevin fires on a conscious henchman, rolling a natural 20. He spends 1 action die to activate the threat and the DM consults the Crit Deck. The result is double damage and stunned for one round. Kevin rolls damage, determining that his attack inflicts 12 points of damage. The henchman receives a 12 point Injury instead of losing 12 Hit Points/Strain.


You may spend one of your Action Dice to negate a critical threat scored on you by an opponent.


When not actively engaged in combat, you may spend any number of action dice to regain Hit Points or Injury Points. For each action die you spend, your character regains either a number of Hit Points equal to the action die’s result or 2 Injury Points.

Example: After fighting off the henchman, but before engaging the next henchman in the room, Kevin spends 1 action die to heal some Hit Points. Being Level 3, he rolls d4 action dice. He spends 1 action die and rolls a 4, then a 3. He recovers 7 Hit Points.

Your character may not use this action during at any time he is threatened by a foe. This counts as a standard action.


Use a limited resource ability (“per rest/per day”) an additional time (even if you have exhausted your normal supply).


Take an additional attack or move action on your turn. An extra attack is at the same bonus or penalty as your highest attack that round. (Once per turn only.) This has in part been swiped from Hero Tokens. Under the revised house rules, a Hero Token may be used to take another standard action. An extra move action is now covered by Action Dice. Additionally, you may spend an Action Die to take an extra attack as mentioned above, as long as you had already taken a full attack action for multiple attacks.


A character may spend an Action Die (as a free action) to become Stable if they are unconscious. Otherwise they should spend Action Dice to heal themselves (as HEAL YOUR CHARACTER above) if they are able (that use is a standard action, so the healing result will be reduced one point).


Make a “second chance” saving throw or SR check on a subsequent round. This use is only permitted if the target failed his first saving throw/ SR check and is subject to an ongoing (not instantaneous) effect.

“Exploding” Dice

Action dice are always “exploding” dice. If you roll the maximum result on the die (for example, a “6” on a d6), you get to keep rolling the die, and adding the next result to your previous total. Count the total and roll again, adding the next roll to the prior total. You can continue this as long as you keep rolling the maximum result.

Note: If you roll more than one die per action point only one die can explode, even if more than one die shows the maximum result.


Unless otherwise stated, you may not spend action dice to affect another character in any way. You may not spend action dice to boost another character’s die rolls, boost another character’s AC, activate another character’s critical successes, or heal another character. You may only spend action dice to gain these benefits for yourself.


Your DM may award you 1 or more action dice when he feels that you’ve roleplayed your character exceptionally well, exhibited leadership or problem-solving ability, entertained the group, or otherwise improved the gaming experience. Should you feel that another player deserves an action die for something that the DM doesn’t reward, you may nominate that player and explain your reasoning, but recognize that the DM is the final arbiter of who gains action dice and why.

Any action dice the DM awards to you are added to your pool and may be spent at any time, up to the end of the current session (when they go away, with all your other action dice).

Further, each time the DM awards you 1 action die, you also gain 25 XP per APL, at the end of the current session. These correspond to the “tick marks” on his DM rewards card.

Feel free to spend all the action dice you gain, as they vanish at the end of each game session. Spending action dice does not affect the amount of experience points you gain from them.

First Rule Changes
House Rules

ACTION DICE Rules based on Fantasy Craft and Trailblazer

Action Dice

Crimson Skies PhoenixMark