Dungeons & Dragons

Power Recharge

Recently I’ve been thinking about ways to spice up combat in my Dungeons & Dragons campaign.  My players are reaching the high heroic tier levels right now, but after a few rounds combat has a tendency to start getting more repetitive because encounter powers have been used up.  One idea that I’ve had is to allow encounter powers to recharge during a fight, and I’ve been brainstorming a few potential recharge mechanics.

Limit Breaks

My first was to introduce limit breaks inspired by the Final Fantasy video games.  This mechanic would allow a character to recover a previously used encounter power after taking a certain amount of damage.  I think tracking an amount of damage in hit points would probably be too involved, so instead my thought is that it would kick in after spending a number of healing surges in a single encounter.


Another idea is to introduce a Refocus power that allows a character to spend a standard action to recover a power.  The action could also require a class appropriate skill check in order to make power recovery less certain.  For example, a character using the arcane power source might need to make an Arcana check with a DC equal to the recommended hard DC for a character of the power’s level (DC 19 for a level 1 power, DC 39 for a level 27 power).


My third recharge idea was to allow spending a healing surge as a minor action in order to recover a used power.  This allows the player to choose to pull off another cool move, but at the cost of a daily resource.  I think this mechanic has the potential of causing shortened work days, but that’s something that I think could balance out with the options it offers players.

Has anyone else implemented a power recharge mechanic?  If so, how did it work out?

By Scott Boehmer

A game enthusiast and software engineer.

2 replies on “Power Recharge”

The Limit Break based on # of surges in a single encounter could be good. It could make it rare (who really spends 4-5 surges in a single encounter) and if they have healed up that much, they could probably use another flash of heroics. It’d maybe be more fiddly but an alternative could be when the party spends a certain # of surges they can either each recharge an encounter power or one person can, or something like that. Then if things are really bad across the board, they’d get a bit of a break, just when they’re most desperate, but also probably all reduced to swinging At-wills.

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