Action Points (5e Variant Rule)

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Action Points[edit]

This variant rule presents an alternative way to use actions, bonus actions, and movement in combat.

Points and Costs

In combat, a creature can perform actions and movement on their turn by spending Action Points. All creatures gain 2.5 action points at the start of their turns. Actions cost different amounts of points based on the nature of the action. All unspent Action Points are lost at the end of a creature's turn. See the table below:

Normal Action Costs
Action Type Cost
Movement 1 Action Point
Action 1 Action Point
Bonus Action 0.5 Action Points, up to 2/per turn
Reaction 0 Action Points, 1/per round

Special Actions[edit]

By expending Action Points, you can take special actions. They are listed below.


Called Shots

You can expend 2 action points to take the Attack action against a specific point of an opponent. The table below largely assumes a familiar style of anatomy: brain in the head, legs that carry the body, etc. For creatures of alien anatomy, called shots may be impossible. Creatures that are two sizes larger than you are unaffected by called shots.

Called Shot Table
Location Accuracy Modifier Effect
Arm CR/4 Roll a d12. On an 11, the creature drops whatever it's holding with that arm. On a 12, the arm is rendered useless or severed entirely (DM's choice).
Leg/Wing CR/4 Roll a d12. On an 11, the creature's leg/wing is damaged, which reduces the creature's walking/flying speed by 10 feet. On a 12, the creature's leg/wing is rendered useless or severed entirely (DM's choice), which gives the same penalty as rolling an 11 on the d12.
Chest CR*1.25 Roll a d12. On a 1-3, the damage dealt is reduced by an amount equal to the Accuracy Modifier.
Head CR/2 The hit is treated as a critical hit.

For monsters of higher CRs, accuracy modifiers are changed as follows:

  • CR 1-4 = N/A
  • CR 5-11 = +2
  • CR 12-16 = +4
  • CR 17-20+ = +6


5-Foot Step

To add more mobility to close range characters, an optional rule is the 5-Foot Step.

Whenever a creature makes an attack on their turn, they may immediately spend 0.3 action points to move up to 5 feet without provoking opportunity attacks. A creature who can attack multiple times can spend 0.3 action points for every attack they make to move 5 feet before or after every attack they make on their turn.


Coup de Grace

Creatures can pull off a finishing blow by spending 2.5 action points. The creature must be wielding a weapon to do so. The creature makes an attack roll against another creature within reach that is prone, stunned, or unconscious. On a hit, the target is instantly reduced to 0 hit points.


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