Q: What is Champions?
A: Champions is Hero Games's award-winning superhero
roleplaying game. It uses the HERO System rules that let you
create any sort of superpower or character and then have amazing
adventures with them!
Q: How long has Champions been around?
A: Champions was first published in 1981, making it one
of the first superhero RPGs. The original creators of the game at first
published it on their own, then partnered with other companies - first
Iron Crown Enterprises (ICE), later R. Talsorian Games - to get Champions
books published. In 2000 they sold the Hero Games assets, including Champions
and the HERO System rules, to Cybergames. In late 2001, DOJ,
Inc., the current publisher of Champions roleplaying game
books, purchased the Hero Games assets from Cybergames, and has been
publishing HERO System books ever since. Champions
celebrated its 25th Anniversary in 2006 with a special hardcover
During its lifespan, Champions has gone through six editions. The first three were published by the original owners in the early-to-mid Eighties. The 4th Edition, also known to fans as "the Big Blue Book," was published by ICE in 1989. The 5th Edition version, the Champions genre book, was published by DOJ in 2002. The 6th Edition was released by DOJ in 2009 and is the only edition currently supported by Hero Games.
Q: What's the difference between Champions and the HERO System?
A: The HERO System rules are the rules used to play Champions
and create Champions characters. Originally the two were
indistinguishable (and even today many long-time players tend to use the
terms interchangeably). When Hero Games began publishing other games
(such as Espionage and Justice Inc.) using the same
rules, it began referring to "the HERO System" as a separate thing from
Champions. This culminated in the 4th Edition of Champions/the
HERO System in 1989, when for the first time the company published a
HERO System rulebook separate from the Champions book (which
also included those same rules). This emphasized the fact that the HERO
System is a "generic" roleplaying game rules set that can be used for any
type of RPG - Fantasy, Pulp, Espionage, Military Action, Science
Fiction, Urban Fantasy, Post-Apocalyptic, Cyberpunk - not just
When DOJ began publishing HERO System books in 2002, we
took things one step further. Rather than sell fans the same material
twice, we organized our main books into the rulebook and what we call
"genre books." Our current rulebook is The HERO System 5th
Edition, Revised, which contains only the HERO System rules. It
doesn't have any setting information at all and isn't aimed at Champions
or any other genre specifically. Our 5th Edition of Champions
is a "genre book" - it reviews a genre (in this case, Superheroes),
discusses and describes it and its elements in detail, and then shows
how to use the HERO System rules to create characters and
campaigns in that genre. Unlike the four previous editions, the 5th
Edition of Champions does not include the HERO System
rules; the rulebook is a separate book.
You can find out more about the 5th Edition of Champions
and talk with other fans about it on the Champions forum of
the Hero Games Discussion Boards.
You can find out more about the HERO System
Q: What's the difference between Champions and Dark Champions?
A: Champions is Hero's game about Superhero
role-playing. Dark Champions is Hero's game about modern-day
action-adventure, starting with costumed vigilante crimefighters from
the comics (like Batman and the Punisher) but also encompassing
espionage, military action, police dramas, and things like that.
Q: What's the Champions Universe?
A: The Champions Universe is the official setting that Hero Games
publishes for Champions. You don't have to use it to play Champions
(after all, many gamers prefer to create their own settings), but it
helps us organize our published Champions books into a coherent
whole and makes it easier for gamers to use them however they prefer.
You can find out more about the Champions Universe
The Champions Universe is part of an even larger timeline of settings,
the Hero Universe; you can read about that in a document available on
Q: What types of Champions campaigns can I play?
A: Any that you want! Champions doesn't try to define or
limit what you can do with your game or your character; that's all up to
you and your GM. Of course, that assumes you want to do all the work
setting up a campaign yourself. But if you want to choose from our
published materials, you still have plenty of options.
The main "Champions Universe" campaign is a fairly "typical"
Superheroes setting where just about anything can happen. It's most
strongly influenced by the comics of the Seventies, Eighties, and
Nineties, but there are plenty of touches from earlier and later
periods. Champions Universe, Millennium City, Conquerors,
Killers, And Crooks, and most of our other Champions Universe books
focus on this setting.
If that's not to your taste, there's still lots for you to choose
from. Hidden Lands describes some of the secret, Kirby-esque,
civilizations on Earth, such as the Empyreans, Atlanteans, and
Lemurians; any of them could form the basis for a campaign. Galactic
Champions explores high-powered cosmic superheroing and looks at what
the Champions Universe is like as of the year 3000 AD. Teen
Champions describes the "teen hero" subgenre where you get to mix the
angst and discoveries of teenage life along with the perils of fighting
Q: What's the relationship between the Champions Online MMO and
the Champions roleplaying game?
A: In late 2007 Cryptic Studios was looking for a comic
book-style setting for its next massive multiplayer online roleplaying
game. Several of Cryptic's designers and administrators are long-time Champions
fans, so naturally they thought of using the Champions Universe. They
opened up negotiations with us, and the end result of those negotiations
was that Cryptic bought the Champions and Dark Champions intellectual
property from us. They didn't buy the HERO System rules, just
the Champions and Dark Champions IP (the characters, places, events, and
so on). Under the terms of our agreement they license back to DOJ the
right to produce roleplaying game books for Champions and Dark
The Champions Online MMO is going to be based on the
Champions Universe setting and characters, so it will contain a lot of
people and places that Champions fans know and love - Dr.
Destroyer, Millennium City, Mechanon, VIPER, Vibora Bay, and so on.
However, characters and organizations in the game may not be exactly
like they are in published Champions books. The needs of an MMO
and of a paper-and-pencil roleplaying game aren't always the same, and
as the owners of the Champions Universe IP Cryptic Studios can change
things around however it sees fit. However, we're working closely with
them, and they're always interested in our ideas. So it's safe to say
that Champions fans will instantly recognize a lot of what's
in the MMO, and that reading our Champions books will give you
some insight on the content of the MMO. Going forward we'll work with
Cryptic so that new Champions books we publish "match up with"
the MMO as much as possible, both graphically and in terms of content.
Another thing to remember is that the Champions Online
MMO is not a "HERO System MMO." It doesn't use the HERO
System rules, and the full rights to those rules are still owned by DOJ,
Inc. Players of the MMO won't be able to use the HERO System
rules to design their characters, for example. But once the MMO is
available we'll publish a book that shows how to build Champions
Online powers and abilities in HERO System terms so you can
easily re-create your MMO character for your tabletop RPG game if you