Working With The HERO System -
As you read through these questions, please keep in mind that
there's often more than one way to achieve a particular effect or create
a particular ability using the HERO System. Some Hero gamers may prefer
other ways than the ones listed here, or have their own take on how a
particular power should function in game terms.
If you have questions you can't find the answers to here, visit
our message boards to discuss the subject, or contact us directly.
Q: How do I make a character who's really good at fighting?
A: That's a broad question, so there are several
First, you need to make sure you have either (a)
paid Character Points for an attack or weapon (as you would in Champions
or other "Superheroic"-level games); or (b) paid Character Points for
the appropriate Skills to fight, such as Weapon Familiarity (as you
would in Dark Champions, Fantasy Hero, or other "Heroic"-level games).
See the "Combat Skills: Building Combat-Capable Characters" sidebar on
pages 244-46 of the HERO System 5th Edition for more suggestions.
Beyond having the basic skills and abilities
needed to fight, there are several things you can do to make your
character a powerful combatant:
-Improve the Characteristics that have the most effect in combat, such
as STR, DEX, PD, ED, and SPD.
-Buy Combat Skill Levels. Generally speaking, CSLs are the best way to
represent a character who's "really good in combat." They're easy to
customize so that you can make the character do just what you want
-You can use them for many different combat effects.
-Buy Penalty Skill Levels. Similar to CSLs, PSLs help you cancel out or
avoid various combat-related penalties, such as the Range Modifier or
penalties for Placed Shots.
Q: How can I make my character do more damage?
A: The first thing you should do is take a look at
the Adding Damage section of the HERO System 5th Edition (pages 270-72).
It describes the five ways you can add damage to an attack: Combat Skill
Levels, STR, Haymaker, Martial Maneuvers, and movement (velocity). Any
character who's willing to accept the penalties for doing so can perform
a Haymaker. Combat Skill Levels, Martial Maneuvers, and increased STR
are things you have to pay Character Points for.
All of these methods suffer from one significant
restriction: no matter what you do, you cannot more than double the
damage of the weapon or base attack (there are a couple of minor
exceptions to this rule, but for the most part it's set in stone). That
means, for example, that if you're using a dagger (HKA 1d6-1, or two
Damage Classes), you can't more than double that damage (1d6+1, or four
Damage Classes), no matter how you add damage. So there's an absolute
restriction on your character in that respect - beyond a certain point,
all you can do is pick a bigger weapon.
However, there are ways around this difficulty, if
you have the Character Points to afford them. You have to buy the
ability to do more damage with a weapon than you normally would. For
Lethal Warrior: HKA +1d6 (plus STR) (15 Active
Points); OIF (any standard weapon; +1/2), Cannot Use Targeting (-1/2).
Total cost: 7 points.
This ability represents the fact that the
character who buys it is so skilled with weapons that any attack he
makes strikes a vital part of the target (since the ability reflects his
skill at "targeting," he can't make a Placed Shot when using it). This
adds HKA +1d6 (three Damage Classes) to any weapon attack he makes - and
that's base damage he's adding. (If the weapon has an Advantage on it,
this ability adds to it at a lesser rate; see page 272 of the 5th
Edition.) That increases his ability to add damage to the attack with
STR. If you're willing to spend enough points on an ability like this
(and your GM lets you!), you can create a character who can strike
deadly blows with even the smallest weapons.
Q: How can I make a character who's really stealthy and sneaky?
A: The basic way to represent a character's
ability to be sneaky is the Skill Stealth. Buy that up to a high enough
roll, and you can sneak around just about anywhere. If you want to go
beyond that, you can use the Power Invisibility to create "superior
stealth" abilities. For example, you could take Invisible to Hearing
Group with the Limitation Requires A Stealth Roll, so that if you made
your Stealth roll, you would move with absolute silence.
Q: How do I cast spells in the HERO System?
A: That's a complicated question. There's no one
way to create magic powers or cast spells in the HERO System. For a full
answer, you're going to have to wait for the Fantasy Hero genre book,
which will discuss the subject in detail. For now, all we can do is give
you a short answer.
How spells work depends on the campaign setting
and the GM, but the "typical" HERO System spell (if there is such a
thing!) is usually built with a Power and the following Limitations:
Focus (a material component, wizard's staff, or the like), Gestures,
Incantations, Requires A Magic Roll (Magic being a form of the Power
Skill), and Side Effects (nasty things that happen to your character if
he fails his Magic roll). For example:
Lightning Bolt Spell: RKA 2d6, +1 Increased STUN
Multiplier (+1/4) (37 Active Points); OAF (Wizard's staff; -1), Gestures
(-1/4), Incantations (-1/4), Requires A Magic Roll (-1/2), Side Effects
(character suffers Drain STUN 3d6 as the power of the lightning bolt
hurts him; -1/2). Total cost: 11 points.
Wizard's Shield: Armor (8 PD/8 ED) (24 Active
Points); OAF Expendable (small piece of metal from a suit of armor worn
in battle, Difficult to obtain; -1 1/4), Gestures (-1/4), Incantations
(-1/4), Requires A Magic Roll (-1/2). Total cost: 7 points.
Other Limitations often used for spells include
Concentration and Extra Time.
Q: How do I build a power that can affect a target at a
A: Many Powers already work at Range (typically
defined as Active Points x 5", or "Line Of Sight" in the case of Mental
Powers). Check the Power Table on page 87 of the HERO System 5th Edition
for a quick summary of which Powers can hit a target at Range, and which
If a Power doesn't work at Range, you can make it
do so by applying the Ranged Advantage (see page 173 of the 5th
Edition). Page 172 has some additional Advantages that affect how a
Power functions at Range, and page 197 has some Limitations that change
or diminish a Power's effectiveness at Range. With the right combination
of Power Modifiers, you can create whatever ranged attack ability you
Q: How can I blind another character, or cut off his senses?
A: That depends on how severe an affect you want
To blind someone for a short period of time, use
the Power Flash to affect the Sight Sense Group. If you want to blind a
whole group of people, or prevent characters from seeing into a
particular area, use Darkness against the Sight Group instead.
If you want to blind another character
permanently, that's a form of the Power Transform: Major Transform
(humans into humans with the Physical Limitation: Blind). It's
expensive, but then again, it's pretty powerful, too.