Last post talked about The Pool and how you use it to generate effort toward various ends in an exchange.
Sidebar: Exchange is my word for a round in this game; I use a different term here not for the sake of being different but because I envision most actions being opposed, and thus order, and initiative, aren't as important. Heroes of Destiny doesn't have a mechanic where each person finds his place in a list and acts on his turn. Instead, all action is simultaneous, with the higher effort winning. If you really want to go before someone else (and it might matter mechanically), you can spend effort to do so.
Alright, with that out of the way, let's talk about the first of the two attributes that make up a player character's Pool: Hope. Hope is what he starts with more of, and it's what he stands to lose by being a big damn hero. His love of his wife and child, his simple desire to harvest his crops, his drive for all the things a person who is not caught up in quests and movements is all wrapped up in his Hope score.
To that end, a player must assign every Hope point in his Pool to a specific hope. This doesn't have to be a 1:1 thing either. If his character really, and I mean really loves his wife he could assign every Hope point in his Pool to her. This means he's got nothing else to live for outside of her. It also means he's probably clingy and annoying and it's only a matter of time before she gets fed up with his needy ass and moves back in with her folks, but hey, that's your character, not mine. Play what you like.
These hopes you define are important for a few reasons. First and foremost, these are the things that your character stands to lose by going off and being exceptional and heroic and all that cool stuff that most players hope for their PCs in fantasy games. You still can. In fact, you probably still should, because if your GM is doing his job there's some nasty stuff coming and only mighty men such as you can stand against it. But when you do, look at that list of hopes. Each and every item on that list gets put at risk when you make that choice. They may not die, burn to the ground, or otherwise be completely ruined, but your future with them could very well disappear. You beloved wife could get false word that you're dead, and by the time you come home she's already got a new family started with Farmer Joe from across the way. Farmer Joe might not be worthy to have you piss on his boots compared to what you've done and what you've become, but he was there for her during the last harsh winter when you were out destroying the goblinoid horde that was raging through the Irontooth Pass. You were there holding the line for the good of everyone, but he was the one taking care of her. Now you've got the fame, but he's got her.
So now that you know what Hope is, how do you use it? When generating effort pools, Hope points get you 1 effort for every 1 point spent. However, you can only spend Hope up to a given skill rating. I'll talk about skill ratings later. Right now let's leave it with they create a cap that you can't exceed with your Hope.