Take a card...it's your turn to shine...
Sharing the spotlight is an element of game play that can determine a gaming group's longterm success. This houserule is a way of introducing an economy of spotlight points to your game. With it, sharing moments of cinematic center stage with other players becomes easier to manage.
The idea behind this houserule is developing a self-initiating cycle of highlights that flow naturally through round by round encounters and specific challenge rolls. When applied well and put into practice by the players, it increases the sense of shared experience and gives each player a sense of having been the recognized central character during notable moments of the game.
Imagine during a combat or skill roll when all eyes have turned to see a single character's action. This houserule is meant to be applied toward that moment and to help create them. The level of attention increases the cinematic importance of the action and, through this point-sharing system, lends a measurably increased level of support to the character's success.
Face-cards from a standard deck are used as the token for this ecomomy. Each player selects a suit or number series. A table of four players might all have a Jack and a King (or Queen), both from one suit.
Players begin with two cards each. Each is worth 1/2 a point (for a total of 1 point). During combat, players may give an odd number of these cards (1, 3, 5, etc...) to the player seated either at their immediate left or right (or use their cards themselves) at the Initiative turn of the player intending to use the cards. These cards each add 1/2 a point to the roll of a d20. Prior to a roll, any player can use the total number of cards that they have face-up to add points toward their roll. Cards used in this way are laid face down in front of the player who used them. The player cannot use these cards again. Expended cards are dead for that round and cannot be shared again until the end of the round.
During non-Initiative d20 rolls, such as skill checks, the expended cards can be shared in the same way (with adjacent players). During non-Initiative d20 rolls all cards shared must be used with that roll by the player who received them. Non-expended cards can be shared or used with any d20 roll.
1/2 point bonuses, from these card-applied rolls, round down to nothing. It takes pairs of cards to fully affect each roll.
Expended cards from previous rounds can only be passed to the players seated on the immediate left and right. The points lent to these rolls only increases the chance of success. It cannot be used in any way to increase damage caused by a successful attack. Checks with a d20 that increase damage are not eligible for use with this houserule. Also, applying cards toward a roll does not eliminate the risk of a Fumble, or rolling a 1.
The DM reserves the right to collect the cards at the end of each session for equal distribution at the beginning of the next session. This right is not waived even if the DM chooses not to do so for several consecutive sessions. Furthermore, the DM reserves the right to suspend indefinitely the economy should it fail to meet the objectives of the houserule.