A player resource is any trait or other game mechanic that can be spent or used up during the course of play and only recovered when players make certain choices. Player resources may reflect actual things in the game world, e.g. equipment, or be more abstract, e.g. metacurrencies or hit points.
The consequences of a depleted player resource vary according to the game being played and the specific resource in question, but lack of a player resource will often limit the choices that a player can make and/or the actions that a player character can take. At its simplest, a lack of ammunition may mean that the character can no longer use their firearm.
A common player resource is hit points. Because a character may die if they run out of hit points, they are only capable of continuing with an adventure if they have enough hit points remaining. In games that use hit points, e.g. Dungeons & Dragons, most other player resources do not directly result in death if depleted, but do make it easier and faster to lose hit points. For example, running out of magic (e.g. in the form of spell slots) severely limits a caster's ability to partcipate in combat, making them more vulnerable to losing hit points.
Examples of player resources[edit | edit source]
- Hit points, which are depleted as characters take damage and regained through resting or healing
- Metacurrency, which can be passed among players (including the GM) for various reasons. These include plot points, which give players some control over the narrative
- Equipment, which can be used up (e.g. in the case of potions or ammunition) or broken (as in most other types of equipment) during an adventure.
- Magic, especially when measured in spell slots, mana or similar