During an encounter, many of the classes allow you to build up tokens, which you can use to power class abilities or cash in for special maneuvers. You earn tokens when you take actions in keeping with your class’ tactics and fighting style. Tokens also serve as abstract representations of actions you take to position yourself for a special maneuver.
For example, an armiger earns tokens based on how much damage his armor absorbs. The armiger’s fighting style involves taking advantage of an opponent whose weapon strikes his armor. Thus, when a foe hits his armor, he gains tokens. When he gains enough tokens, he can spend them to power different class abilities.
A character assembles his tokens in a token pool. Each class that uses tokens has access to one particular type of token pool—the aforementioned armiger has an “armor pool,” for example. Characters of certain classes get more efficient at accessing their token pools as they gain levels, meaning they can earn tokens more quickly at 13th level than they did at 3rd.
For instance, archers have an “aim pool” that grants them tokens based on how long they spend taking aim at their target before making a shot. Taking aim for a standard action earns our archer 2 aim tokens, which she can turn around and spend to enhance her attack. Her token-powered potential attacks against her target include such options as an “armor-piercing shot” or a “distant shot.”
Available token pools are described in the “Class Features” section of each class that uses tokens. Some classes—the harrier, man-at-arms, and thief—do not have token pools; they make good character choices for players who would rather not get involved with the token concept. And even these classes can choose to access token pools through the use of certain feats, as described in Chapter Five.
The easiest way to keep track of tokens is to use a pool of pennies, poker chips, or chits that every player draws on. When you earn a token, take a penny from the pile. When you spend a token, return a penny to the pile. Having a small stack of coins or chips serves as a useful visual reminder of your token pool.
While the different types of token pools allow you to build up and use tokens in different ways, a few standard mechanics apply to all of them. Those rules are as follows.
You can never have more tokens than 10 + your level in a pool at once. You lose any extra tokens you build up above this limit.
Many token pools allow you to spend an action to gather tokens. You can take only one action per round to do nothing but build up tokens, even if it is a free action. This does not apply to events or conditions that, in addition to their normal effects, allow you to build up tokens. For example, the berserker gains fury tokens whenever his foes strike him. There is no cap on the number of times he can gain tokens in this way (though he must obey the limit given above), but he could not spend two move actions to stoke his fury simply to build up tokens.