Style points

Alright, April is officially style month, and I'm gonna start it off by firing a hot houserule at ya. This is something called a "Style Point" that we use at my table. It started off as a class feature for a class I was writing, but now It's grown and mutated into a house rule all its own.

The basic idea is this: Everyone starts off the session with a "Style Point" and you can spend that point to take a non offensive action at any point you want. Including in the past, as long as it can't be proven that you didn't, and if doing that action needs a roll, such as a skill check, you automatically get a 20 on the roll. This should be used to do something cool or exciting rather than boring and practical. For example

"As the assassins burst into my room I roll out of bed. I'm going to spend my style point and pull the wand of lightning bolts I had stashed under my pillow so I can blast these fools on my turn."

Is cool and interesting. Using the point to have stashed a magic item in a useful easily retrievable place in the event of enemy attack is a great use for this power.

"I attack the enemy, thats a +6. Oh actually +8 because I am gonna use my style point to cast bull strength before we entered the room." That's boring and not a good use of style point.
 

But something like "As he goes to strike me he finds I defend not with magic, but with my bare forearm, blocking the blow as rage fills my eyes. He realizes I  don't intend to engage in the spell battle he has in mind. I'm already deep in the sway of my Transformation spell, making me a deadly warrior."  Could definitely count as a use of a style point, as long as the player hadn't cast a spell since the time they declare having cast Transformation in the past.


After all the point is to be stylish and exciting, not to give minor tactical benefits. The other important thing about style points is that when you do something really cool, you get back the style point, but you can never have more than 1. This is to prevent players from hoarding them and holding on for too long and encourages them to use those points when they have an idea.
 

I've found this system really encourages players to get creative and not worry too much about their limitations, since anything is possible if you have enough style. The other benefit of this system is that it's very easily adapted to any kind of game no matter what the base rules are.