Jump to content
phoenix240

Discussion of Hero System's "Health" on rpg.net

Recommended Posts

Get the Red Dead Redemption licence :)

 

Being a historical AND fictionalised historical setting, primary sources are also available. It's also in the photograhic era and you can get street plans of real towns.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, many people use "Pulp" as slang for "Pulp Crime stories with Mystery Men", but the broader use of the term does include Westerns, Spies, Police, Private Eyes, Planetary Romance, Lost World, Sports, Humour, Spicy and more. Justice Inc does have some discussion on that, and of course the JI supplement Lands of Mystery tackled the Lost World stuff (and effectively Planetary Romance) and many of those sub-genres are just Urban Mystery Men without the actual Mystery Men and are handled by core Justice Inc. The only wonder is that there was never a Wild West supplement for JI back in the day!

 

I think that's because the Mystery Men genre is the one that hews most closely to RPG adventuring. It straddles the line between fantasy (supernatural elements), sci-fi (gadgetry and mad science), and superheroes (crimebusting). Just like many people use "Fantasy" as slang for "Tolkien-esque stories of dragons and wizards", but we all know the broader use of the term.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sure, but the real Mystery is why it took seven years and the next edition to cough up the JI Western supplement :)

 

Maybe we can thank Dances With Wolves for reviving the film genre in 1990?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sure, but the real Mystery is why it took seven years and the next edition to cough up the JI Western supplement :)

 

Maybe we can thank Dances With Wolves for reviving the film genre in 1990?

 

That's interesting. There were a lot of good Westerns popping up in the late '80s and early '90s: Silverado, Pale Rider, Young Guns I & II, and Unforgiven to name a few off the top of my head. Heck, even Back to the Future III! It seems like Western Hero was a well-timed product. This is what I was trying to say a couple of pages ago in terms of marketing & licensing opportunities. Heck, just looking at the trends of sci-fi, fantasy and urban fantasy today seems like it would make for some great gaming opportunities. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd love to see a "Powered by Hero" stand alone wild west setting with a handfull of adventures in it.  Some stock NPCs, some big names, some basic critters, just like Western Hero.  You could even provide those online for free, with the Hero Designer files for low cost.  Wouldn't actually be that tough to do, there's tons of copyright free western art out there, plus the work is mostly done already.

 

I saw last year that High Rock Press was planning on releasing Danger International again. I wonder what the policy is with DOJ for re-writing and re-releasing older books? Doing a new Western Hero or Justice Inc. in the mold of Monster Hunters International, along with great campaign/adventure books like Justice Inc. ​had in its original box, could be really interesting projects. 

 

I know licensing is fairly easy with DOJ, but what if it involves previously owned intellectual property? Anybody know?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You'd have to ask Jason, I have no idea what they think about that.  I wouldn't call it Western Hero though, it would be something gritty and frontier like Gunsmoke (can't use, but that's the idea).  It needs to feel and sound like a stand-alone, presented as its own game.  It wouldn't need a powers or modifiers section.  Put in some talents for common and useful frontier-type abilities, but that's it.  A further book could have mystical/weird west stuff in it.  You don't need animals or bad guys, that can all be online for free.  Sell the Hero Designer files, and if people want, a POD book of the NPCs.  

 

A book of history/timeline of the west with major events like settler movements, major figures, events like trains being laid down, etc.  Character creation could be done with templates of different archetypes like sheriff, ex soldier, cavalry, scout, mountain man/trapper, explorer, cowboy/vaquero, etc.  You just need the basics of combat and environmental effects.  And of course a few dozen adventure ideas, a couple of short-writeup adventure arcs of a few paragraphs, and one big adventure.

 

Later book expansions could be slim things but include adventures, cover different time periods: early 20 th century with cars (The Wild Bunch), Australia, Mexico, Early west with just mountain men, and then maybe an alternate history version like Aces&Eights has of a different post-civil war result.

 

Kinda easy to put out, really.  If I did it, every year I'd want to put out another batch of adventures with the same pattern as the book (something I want to do for fantasy some day, if I can ever get my campaign books done).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We do a lot of discussion about "powered by Hero" presentations, but what about just straight campaign books in a setting Hero has already put out?  What about a Golden Age Champions campaign book?  I could see this just using the GAC book as the default, then the layout and presentation a lot like the original Strike Force: here are campaign rules, here are bad guys, here is any differences in the time line, and here's the campaign sequence, with a bunch of adventure suggestions and NPCs, maps, etc.  

 

I mean, you don't even need the rules in a book like this.  Just the stuff to jump into the game and start playing.  All the character building and combat stuff is in the other book already.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, now you're asking new players to invest in three books: Champions Complete, Golden Age Champions, and the campaign setting book. To my mind that's just "business as usual", and "business as usual" is not going to breathe new life into the brand. If you're looking for quick and dirty ways out of the present dilemma, you're not going to solve anything, IMO.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, now you're asking new players to invest in three books: Champions Complete, Golden Age Champions, and the campaign setting book. To my mind that's just "business as usual", and "business as usual" is not going to breathe new life into the brand. If you're looking for quick and dirty ways out of the present dilemma, you're not going to solve anything, IMO.

 

I was thinking the same thing, but I was going to suggest the same problem about something you suggested earlier about a "line of products."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It sounds like even with the new GAC you still need two books, rather than just one (like MHI).

 

And maybe this is just semantics, but a campaign setting book should provide the info needed to run a game in that setting, not its associated genre(s). Genre feel will emerge by virtue of a well-written setting and campaign guide. You shouldn't need to focus on the genre as a subject of its own. Just focus on the setting and how to use the mechanics to simulate the particulars of that setting.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In other words, the third version of GAC is pretty much the same as the first two, updated for the new edition and formally integrated with the Champions Universe. Probably dropping the old character suite based on the original author's own campaign from the first two in favour of characters from the new author's campaign. I have no problem with that. More characters and fresh viewpoints are always welcome (and I own both of the Chris Cloutier volumes anyway). 

 

In this case the setting IS the (sub)genre. It's not like Fantasy which can be on any imagined world with magic, or Horror, which can be set anywhere or anywhen. Golden Age Superheroes takes place during WW2, almost always in homefront America. (In case anyone nitpicks about the first supers pre-dating the invasion of Poland, ask the Chinese what date WW2 started...). Once it gets into alternative history variants, it's basically Silver or Bronze Age stuff set in a historical time, not Golden Age.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Unfortunately, I only recall ever seeing one book for the Golden Age setting (for any given edition of Champions). It never became a product line. The Hero System doesn't need more one-off books to throw onto the pile with all the other one-off books everyone outside of the Hero Faithful completely ignores.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not quite sure what "semi-developed" means, but it sounds like a euphemism for "half-assed" without intending to. A heavily-developed campaign setting does not restrict players to only a fixed set of adventures. Instead, it offers so many elements of inspiration that compatible adventure ideas just flow naturally from it. I would consider the Star Wars universe and the World of Darkness as examples of heavily-developed campaign settings, but they do not in any way restrict the adventures you can have. They provide rich narrative frameworks (like the rebellion against the Empire, or the twelve scheming vampire clans) that establish critical contexts for the game experience. Without those frameworks, all you have are bland settings that players have to populate with good ideas of their own just to make them interesting.

 

The truly tricky part is in coming up with a campaign setting that captures the imaginations of players and makes them want to play in it. If you do a good enough job of it, players will give just about any game system a try just to play in that world.

No semi developed is semi developed. I haven't play WoD to really know to comment however Star Wars is another thing that I can. As far as I can tell, Star Wars is an exemption to what you are saying about fully developed worlds. By that I mean by being on other boards, it's generally accept to have your "own" Star Wars Universe. By that I mean you use what was canon or is canon and leave out what you don't like. Hate Episodes I-III ? Don't use it. Like something that West End Hames published but got over written? Use it anyways. What about that comic book? Hey how about the xenopores from Aliens? I don't see that happing at such a scale in other games.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ignoring things from a published campaign setting (licensed or otherwise) is simply a choice any GM is free to make. But campaign products shouldn't be designed with the expectation that will happen. It isn't even possible to do so since you, as writer/editor/publisher, have no idea what a prospective GM might choose to leave out (i.e., what aspect of the canon/lore to ignore). All you can do is design and write a comprehensive setting and give it to players. They will do with it what they will. But I don't think it is at all helpful to only "partially develop" a campaign setting just because there is the possibility that some (unknowable) portions of a fully-developed setting will be disposed of by some portion of the player base.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


×