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About Alcamtar

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    the Cleaver
  • Birthday 07/28/1967

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    Driver software engineer
  1. I don't suppose you have a reproduction hexmap of Saduria? I am looking at making a better map but the hexes in my copy are nearly illegible.
  2. Fantasy Champions

    He-man is especially appropriate since he never actually kills anyone with that magic sword. It is obviously STUN-only. The elves in The Silmarillion are absolutely champions-level superheroes, standing up to Morgoth himself. The portions of the Thor movie that took place in Asgard and Jotunheim depict a fantasy champions world. There is the anime interpretation of Dante's Inferno for inspiration. The comments on Youtube are priceless.
  3. Campaign Idea - Feedback requested

    OK well here's a stab at it: Effect defined as Major Mental Transform 6d6 for 60 pts. It's at least major because it affects the target's nature, but is not severe since it is not a total re-write of their psyche, and has no effect on "adventuring" abiltiies. I'd be inclined to allow it to be minor, since choice of beer is a pretty minor thing, but BtB it must be at least major. The transform adds Psych Comp: will not drink any other beer or alcohol (total, 20pt). No dependence was indicated in the original post, although you could slip that in easily. Dependence would raise the transform to Severe. It is not an all-or-nothing transform; if one beer doesn't get you, the second one surely will. Major Mental Transform 6d6 (60), Reversed by dispelling a 90 AP curse, or by drinking something even tastier. AVAD (mental defense instead of power defense, +0) Works against EGO not BOD (+1/4) Limited Target: sentient beer-drinkers (-1/4) [brewing] 250 charges that never recover (-1) Extra Time: one month brewing time (-5) OAF: the recipe book (-1) OAF: immobile brewery arrangement (-1 1/4) RAR: PS Brewer (-1/4) [Potion] Usable by Other (+1/4) No Range (-1/2) OAF: fragile expendable beer (-1/4) Must be imbibed (-1/2) Charges never recover, so you have to sink 8 CP into each batch of beer. Still, you're getting 30+ addicts for each CP invested, which is a pretty good return. There are technically three foci: the book, the brewery, and the beer. I split them up above for clarity, but it is a single focus for rules purposes. A quick google search says that it takes about 2 weeks to ferment beer and another 2 weeks to age it before it is ready to drink. Thus 1 month to prepare. I guessed that 250 pints approximates an industrial size batch of beer, but really I have no idea. Usable by other instead of trigger; the one who drinks this does so willingly and brings it upon themselves. No doubt at the urging of their comrades who have already partaken. Base: 60 Active: 90 Real: 8 (-10 total limitations) Prohibitionists could make good use of such a book: get everyone hooked, and then cut off the supply! Actually this is pretty funny. A potion that only has the effect of getting you addicted... I don't think I would treat this humorously at all. I would leave it low key, just put it on the menu and wait for a hapless PC to try it by mistake, or have a drink bought for them by an NPC. Let it spread silently and wreak its economic and political havoc. A likely plot would be hiking the price on this beer, driving the other brewers out of business while enriching oneself on the monopoly. The guilds would be in an uproar, but as soon as they taste the new brew they would cheerfully "admit" it is truly better, drop their lawsuit, and change professions in shame. This sort of thing could spread nefariously and require subtle and speedy investigation to get under control. If the king gets a taste, he might even order the investigation halted. The distributor could run it like organized crime, they could break kneecaps and threaten to cut off the supply to any middleman that reveals the source. Eventually once everyone is hooked they could come into the open, though still protecting their "trade secret" in a fortified factory guarded by armed thugs. The R&D arm could be hard at work developing new "variants" like hallucinogenic beer, beer in pill or powder form, etc. But rather than being slapstick, or an emergency, I could see it forming a subtle backdrop to a campaign. Something nobody notices or pays attention to, or maybe they mention it in passing. Like everyone addicted to their cell phone or their morning coffee or their latest netflix binge. It's just known and accepted, and so enjoyable that people LIKE being addicted. Why change a good thing? Only if the pesky PCs take notice and do some digging do they discover the seedy secrets behind it all, and get themselves into trouble trying to fix a problem nobody thinks needs fixed. Just had a thought: maybe failing your brewer roll creates a tainted batch of beer that tastes... bad. Real bad. So bad that where before, you would not drink any other beer, now you would drink ANY beer but this. Sort of like how if a food makes you sick you can't stand it anymore. That could be another way to reverse the curse. A villainous brewer would of course need to test each batch on an unsuspecting victim to ensure any tainted kegs are destroyed and not distributed.
  4. Fantasy Champions

    Agreed. When it is well balanced it is a lot of fun and works very well. OP asked about pitfalls. One pitfall is thinking you can easily mix heroic FH materials into a superheroic game. Not saying it can't be done, but that I failed to make it work smoothly. At this point I think it is a trap that looks easy but may be difficult or impossible. (And if folks here disagree, I would love practical advice on how to pull it off.) Another pitfall is expecting it to work like "other games you may have played." There are few games offering "superheroic" levels of play. D&D scales smoothly, while Hero is more like two different games in one book. Both end up being a completely different game at high levels; the in-between is the gotcha, and how they work at high levels is different. Anyway I wanted to not just name these issues but explain a bit about why.
  5. Fantasy Champions

    I started a game like this, with a solo ~400 pt character running through a moderately high level D&D module (X4). Since it was a solo PC we targeted around 10th level equivalent elf, expert at both combat and magic. It is easy to sink that many points into a FH character, and he looks really good on paper, and fits my idea of what a high level character should be capable of. He is a good match for the larger monsters. He was able to take on a wizard mounted on a wyvern and three trolls simultaneously, and basically one-shotted a dragon. But the vast majority of fantasy monsters in the bestiary are far outclassed, not to mention entire armies. In practice that means either I rewrite them to be tougher (thus negating the "high level" effect), or fights with lesser foes become dull. Dull in the sense of the PC being virtually invulnerable, so it becomes an exercise in dice rolling with a predictable outcome (or being hand-waved). One idea I considered was using Champions villains (from books or websitse) and re-skinning them as fantasy characters and monsters. That would save some effort in designing characters from scratch as they are already at a superheroic level. But this runs into a different problem, in that the PC is designed around heroic fantasy tropes, so certain aspects of the character (defenses for example) would be under-powered when facing an actual superhero built to Champions standards. We may pick that game back up if time permits, and I think its salvagable, but it's more work than I expected because nearly all the foes need to be custom-built to be interesting, and the module is really not useful as written since everything must be redesigned. So against suitable foes it works very well and is a lot of fun. But if you want a high-level D&D feel -- or if you want to make broad use of the bestiary and other resources -- then I don't think it does as well, unless you are careful to limit character power to stay within typical heroic parameters. Orcs can't whittle away at superheroes like they can in D&D because Hero characters don't have enough BODY, that level of invulnerability is necessary. I guess the gotcha in my experience is that the Fantasy Hero resources are not applicable, and (at least in my case) the Champions resources are not applicable.
  6. Magic System Design

    I really like GURPS magic; it feels both realistic and "tight" (for lack of a better description), yet has enough complexity to be interesting. But mostly I think I just like the powerstones and staves. And variable mana levels. And the healing/necromancy angle. And - oh yes - accidental demon summoning. It's one thing to say wizards use a lot of jewels, its another thing to define exactly how and why they do so, and to do it in a way that is not limiting. I've often toyed with the idea of a purely technology-based magic system. Essentially taking the idea of AD&D material components, GURPS wizardly tools like powerstones and staves, and magic items, all unified by an underlying metasystem like medieval alchemy. All magic is derived from physical objects and props: tools, components, jewels, staves, scrolls, potions. Incantations and concentration and personal END are useless and irrelevant. All magic is external. Stripping a wizard naked is a guaranteed way to take away his power. In such a system, magic would be just like technology; you buy it at the market, kings have research departments and defense contractors, wizards become engineers and technicians. It might lend a "Recluce" feel to the world. I tend to prefer multiple magic systems in a world, sort of like how D&D has magic spells and clerical spells, but expanded to dozens of competing systems. Ideally they all access the same underlying metaphysical rules, only nobody knows what those rules, only a particular tradition that can access those rules in a particular and limited way. I have done the multiple systems idea several times, but rarely gotten far with the unified metaphysics or really even tried; but I like the idea. In terms of flavor I really gravitate toward a dark medieval flavor, with demons and alchemists and curses and ancient forbidden tomes, but also paladins and holy hermits and stuff. High fantasy with (potentially) super powerful wizards, but a world that fears and avoids magic rather than benefitting from it. Worlds steeped in magic, or that get too gonzo with the planes and stuff, I think lose their flavor. A nice way to make magic powerful yet rare is to make it horribly dangerous. I have a soft spot for warhammer for this reason, with its necromantic decrepitude, sorcerous insanity... and then there is GURPS with its accidential demons and "Umana" accidents. I did a magic system once (not for Hero) that was authority-based. The Creator made a bunch of gods and demons and elementals and delegated his authority to them, and they in turn can delegate to wizards or priests. Authority means you simply will it, and it becomes so. It is not about effort or technique, but having the "right" to command and order things. Knowledge comes into play because you can only command what you know of and understand. But mortal authority usually comes with strings attached, thus magical traditions and limitations; multiple levels of delegation are all cumulative with respect to limitation. All creatures are born with authority to command their own body; everything else must be acquired through relationship with other entities. It was an interesting idea to toy with, especially for creating hierarchies of planar entities, but hard to define mechanically. I like alignments, not necessarily AD&D alignments, but I think it adds a mystical air to magic. I think elemental or political ("politics of hell") alignments could be interesting. You see Elric dealing with this sort of thing. Here's a favorite system, many here are probably familiar with in some form: Clerical Petition Pool: This idea is from an old Adventurer's Club. A deity is a Contact, accessed through a Faith skill roll. The cleric has a no conscious control VPP that represents how "important" he is to the deity's plans. Instead of casting spells, the cleric prays; the GM secretly makes a faith roll, and if it succeeds: interprets the prayer, designs a power, and triggers the VPP. Powers are invisible, indirect, and use no END; The GM is encouraged to use the minimal effect necessary to accomplish the request, and to do so in a way that is easily explainable by a skeptic. So, nobody is ever quite sure if the deity intervened or not. Except of course the cleric, who is always convinced of it. (This system of course requires a great deal of trust between player and GM! I have tried it and it can be hard to think of something on the spur of the moment. I found myself using a lot of raw superhero-like powers, because it takes too much time to fully flesh things out with limitations. It is also important to have a clear idea of what the deity wants, so you know when to say yes or no, and how to interpret things.)
  7. Unfriendly home page!

    For what its worth, this is how it appears on my phone: This is what comes up for www.herogames.com: The icon on the upper right that says [<- News] does nothing. The icon on the upper left opens a links "toolbar" with the following options: I mostly browse on a PC because I sit at one all day at work. Someone who learns about hero through social media is likely to follow a link on their phone, and get this. Really, I personally don't care a whole lot. I doubt Hero gains many customers via drive-bys on the website, or via word on mouth on social media or websites. In this case the posting was on the Fudge RPG forum on Facebook, a site that is often browsed on phones, and was made by a person who already plays RPGs but had never heard of Hero. I posted a link and when I followed my own link, was a bit startled. So I followed it up with a link to the much more informative wikipedia article, which spends about half the article discussing past financial difficulties and entanglements, but at least gives an overview of what Hero Games is. Anyway I just posted here as a public service, since perhaps nobody noticed. if everyone's cool with it, I am too.
  8. Unfriendly home page!

    I didn't see any "about" link on mobile. There is what appears to be a back button that doesn't go anywhere, and a button that brings up links to sign in, forums, store, chat.
  9. Unfriendly home page!

    Just an observation. I was responding to a mother whose son is playing hero. She wanted to know about it, wasnt even sure if it was an rpg, and I posted a link to the website. On mobile, www.herogames.com goes straight to the news page, a wall of text about random uninteresting (to a newbie) topics. Nothing about what hero is, or what its about. I could not find a page that said what hero games actually is. It presents a very off-putting and closed community. As if to say "if you have to ask then you're in the wrong place." The wikipedia page is a bit negative but more useful. By way of suggestion, it would be nice to see a page that has some graphics, some text that "hero is a roleplaying game that does X and Y" etc. And maybe some ideas where to go for more information and what products are available.
  10. As mentioned, a continuing charge is a good way to represent a very long term effect. 100 years on the time chart should be synonymous with "forever" in most campaigns - at some point the time scale ceases to be meaningful and shouldn't cost anything. if you want to burn permanent CP like you would with Indepedent, you could use a single nonrecoverable charge (-4). That way the points are gone permanently, and if you want to cast it again you have to invest more CP. Independent also makes the power entirely disconnected from the PC, so you no longer have any ability to control it or turn it off. You could simulate that with Persistent, so it doesn't end when the caster goes to sleep, and Uncontrolled, so you can't turn it off. A continuing charge is automatically Uncontrolled, but you have to define a way to turn it off just like defining a way to reverse a Transform. Could be a remove curse spell or something else. So: one nonrecoverable charge continuing 100 years (-1.25), Persistent (+0.25) Instead of buying CP, you might make it very difficult to recover the charge. For example, a curse that is only usable once a year, or requires the tears of a baby dragon to recover a charge (which I'd put at -2).
  11. What's in your hoard?

    Nomunah, the Ghost Bear, is the Guardian of the Valley of the Ancients. The valley is a circular sinkhole in a tableland, ringed by vertical cliffs, open on one side to the outer world by a winding slot canyon. The valley is virtually unknown as the plateau is covered with thick clouds, which eddy and descend through the valley in a sluggish vortex, and exit through the Whispering Canyon. The Treasure of Nomunah is the Will of the Ancients, even their Testament, and is inscribed on the cliffs overlooking the valley in hoary and puzzling petroglyphs. The four thousand, three hundred and twenty-one petroglyphs are found at regular intervals on the faces of the rocks, descending in a spiral around the circumference; some covered in mosses and lichens, some behind wispy waterfalls, and others concealed by fog and protected by vertigo. The few who have found a petroglyph have neither understood it, nor been made aware of the others, for all must be known before even a single one is understood. Nomunah the Moaning One dwells in the slot canyon, where the foggy wind sighs and caresses the meanders of the canyon, his form obscured in the billows and his voice lost in the wind. Do not seek him at the shrine of Bear Rock, where the superstitious leave offerings of flowers and honey and fish, for he is not a stone nor does he grant blessings. Neither seek him in the cave of the obsidian throne, where the glittering gold of the ancients mingle with their bones in a deep cenote*, for he may not enter there. But for those with ears to hear, he murmurs the Song of the Ancients, of their Will and Testament. For the Song of Nomunah is the melody of the Inscription, and the Inscription is the words of the Song. And what is this Will of the Ancients? That their last Necromancer-King should rule forever from his obsidian throne, and that his enemies should mingle their bones at his feet. And so he shall, when the Seeker sings the incantantion of the glyphs while sitting on the obsidian throne, and thus breaks the spell whereby Nomunah is ensorcelled. The Seeker shall certainly have his reward, and shall be made an arch-lich and shall be a pupil at the feet of Nomunah, to learn all his black secrets and become his heir. For necromantic lore is his treasure, and power. And Nomunah shall cast down the Couatl that imprisoned him and the Sun, and shall bind them in darkness forever, and the Black Moon shall ascend and shine forth its black radiance, and the Seeker shall be his vizier and lieutenant. Such is the Will of Nomunah, the Ancient Demon, the Ghost who shall be Great once again. *Indeed, besides ordinary gold, the cenote contains the Dragon Orb, a head-sized crystal that stabilizes and strengthens the Dragons, but which also destabilizes and weakens Nomunah. If removed (by Gothormr for example), it will set into motion the inevitable escape of Nomunah, allowing him to immediately call and instruct some depraved and weak-willed madman to do his bidding. But a very clever seeker could wield the orb, such that when Nomunah is released he may be commanded through the orb. Doing so would require defiance of both Gothormr and Nomumah, and involves the weaving of a counter-spell into the incantation that releases the curse. Unfortunately that counter-spell was inscribed on a golden scroll, which Gothormr has already liquidated and lost, not knowing its value. Next: The Secret of Sorcerer's Spire
  12. Thoughts on PD and ED in Fantasy

    Regarding the idea that Fantasy has a significant amount of ED, my point was that energy is usually a result of magic. Remove magic from fantasy and how many energy attacks are there? There is fire, which I would say is uncommon unless you're using D&D style greek fire or crazy trap setups on a regular basis. Otherwise there is not much, other than attacks by a few beasts... mostly dragons, which again means fire, though again if you have D&D type dragons you'll have cold and electricity which are energy. But apart from these -- and I would call all of these uncommon if not rare -- fantasy combat is almost all swords, stones, teeth, claws, crushing, rending... Then again maybe I just tend toward the realistic and understated in my fantasy games. Anyway it seems that it is only when you add magic that energy becomes a significant factor. And those beasts that have energy attacks are nearly all magical too: dragons, demons, elementals. The only type of critter that comes to mind that has a non-magical energy attack is the electric eel, which again is very uncommon in fantasy (which tends to downplay science and focus on mythical magical creatures instead). Hence my thought that energy basically means magic in a fantasy context. Other genres have a lot of energy attacks: flamethrowers, dynamite, electricity, napalm, concussion bombs, sonics, radiation, lasers, etc. Low fantasy sans magic is nearly devoid of weaponized energy. I don't think of ED as a dump stat. In my games it is usually within a few points of PD and I have sometimes wished they were combined into a single DEF stat (like CV used to be prior to 6E), because I had two stats with nearly identical values. When I first started Hero it seemed pretty cool but after a while ED seemed boring, like pointless clutter. Maybe I'm just not using it enough. That's a nice solution for a combination attack. Ah, now this is an interesting thought!
  13. This weekend, I was contemplating PD vs ED. My game has always been Fantasy Hero, rarely so much as looking sideways at other genres, and the PD/ED divide always struck me as artificial. Something left over from superheroes, but needless clutter in a fantasy game, where PD and ED are listed separately but typically closely balanced if not identical. My ideas about supers are probably naive, neither reading comics much nor having ever played a supers game, but it seems to me that energy projectors are all about energy (duh!) while bricks and martial artists are all about physical stuff. In other words, PD and ED exist to express and differentiate character archetypes. Energy types have strong energy attacks and energy defenses, but are often weaker against physical attacks; and vice versa for the physical types. In fantasy, the most obvious character breakdown is magic vs mundane. Most fantasy game systems have the concept of saving throw, magic resistance, and so forth. This does not really exist in Fantasy Hero except in the sense of Power Defense, which probably should be a characteristic but instead is an obscure-ish power that is rarely taken. The 6e books even suggest creating a new stat for magic resistance in one of the toolkitting comments. So anyway my a-ha moment was that ED could be used to represent magic, while PD represents non-magic. In other words, if an attack is non-magical then it is PD regardless of whether we'd call it energy or not. And if an attack is magical then it is ED, regardless of whether it is fire or stone or whatever. Doing this would accomplish the whole magical defense notion without resorting to houseruling it in or trying to shoehorn power defense or some limited version of PD/ED. It is my experience that only one player will bother with that stuff, the one whose character concept relates to it, and everyone else goes with the default build. So to make it apply to everyone, it has to be part of the default stuff that everyone buys. PD and ED are stuff nobody can ignore. As an example of how this works: normal armor might protect against PD only yet be completely transparent to spells, with 0 ED, or maybe it only offers half protection against magic. Magical armor might be the reverse, with limited physical defense but very high ED. A globe of invulnerability to magic would have astronomical ED but no PD. A creature immune to physical attacks but susceptible to magic would have high PD but low ED, and a magic sword that does 2d6 to both normal and magical creatures would need to do BOTH types of damage at once. (Can you even do that? Buy damage twice, once for each type?) Anyway, just tossing this out there. It seemed new and interesting to me, but maybe it is already a well-trodden road? I think the notion has a lot of promise, but would require building the setting and equipment and spells from the ground up to implement it properly. I'm thinking that, for fantasy anyway, losing the ability to express physical vs energy doesn't really have much impact, as pretty much the only energy attacks you'll ever encounter are magical anyway.
  14. Alcamtar was a character name from an example magic item build from the 1985 edition of Fantasy Hero. My first game was B/X D&D, circa 1981 or 82. That was also my first GM experience... I didn't have anyone else to play with so I roped my family into it. Currently prepping a Fantasy Hero (FHC) adaptation of Master of the Desert Nomads (X4/X5). This is the first Hero in some years, as we've been playing B/X D&D and ACKS exclusively, and Dungeon World before that. First played Fantasy Hero in 1985. Also played Star Hero once in 1986 (IIRC). Those are the only Hero genres I've played.
  15. I always teach Hero with an inverted combat roll: 1. Roll 3d6 2. Add your OCV 3. Subtract 10 4. The result is the highest DCV you hit. Easy to grasp, fast to calculate.