So I have a few problems with trying to teach Fantasy Hero Complete to new folks. I am tying to teach a buddy FHC, and he's been gaming for decades, but there are some problems cropping up. I'd like to get some feedback from sone newbies, or anyone else, who can see the problems with learning the system from an "outsider's" point of view. My buddy's point is that the new FHC is written with the intention of teaching new people, but it is written and presented in a way that is useful to Hero System veterans, not newbies.
- First off, in all honesty, it's horribly edited. I can find at least one typographical error on virtually every page, which is really bad form for what is supposed to be the new face for Fantasy Hero. I want to recommend a product I am proud of, and this falls short. This is, of course, a different issue which has been discussed elsewhere. The aesthetics of this book don't really give a fantasy feel in its presentation either.
- The rules are obviously boiled down versions of the larger sourcebooks. For people who are experienced with the rules, this is a great summary to work with, but for my friend they were hard to understand. He noticed right away that, without examples (which were intentionally removed to save space) the rules were really dense.
- The layout of the text is not exactly intuitive. From my friend's perspective, he wanted to learn how to make a character. Here is what he found, and didn't find:
- He found characteristic maxima tucked away on page 24, but couldn't find beginning values (hidden away in the appendix on page 252!).
- Templates are mentioned on page 12, which is what he was looking for, but there is no reference to where they are available (page 202-211). From an experienced gamer's perspective, he wanted to have some sort of suggestions to work from, and felt like he was floating in the game mechanics without any sort of reference point.
- He wanted to see what equipment was available, etc. This isn't available in the Equipment chapter (p. 188), but it tucked away on the last page of the book before the Appendices (p. 248)! Again, this was off-putting because none of it was intuitive.
- As discussed in this thread http://www.herogames...mage-is-normal/ my buddy had a hard time understanding the damage in FHC. We sorted it out in time, but I realized that, while Damage Classes are nominally explained on page 183, there is no chart comparing normal damage to killing damage. The definition uses Active Points to explain the two kinds of damage, but the Damage Class chart offered in other texts is an essential tool for understanding how they work. I mean, there is absolutely nothing intuitive about a 5DC killing damage attack when all that is defined is that 3DC is 1d6. There's no way for a beginner to understand this.
- The powers are mind boggling to my friend. In all honesty, he doesn't need to know the build for each thing (weapons, spells, talents, etc.). It is just too overwhelming for him. Is there a way to mediate the information overload? He doesn't need to see how the sausage is made at the beginning.
I don't want this first post to get too long, so I'll keep it brief. Please add your observations on how the book appears to new eyes. What is expected, what are the impediments, what would make it better?
I'm asking all of this because I'd like to create some sort of introductory text for newbies. Something between the Hero in 2 Pages document and Fantasy Hero Complete. For example, I love how Monster Hunters International is laid out. It is different than other Hero System books because it defines the setting first, before the character creation. I realize, however, that there is a very strictly defined setting for those rules, and that Fantasy Hero Complete is intentionally more generic. But are there some things that can be presented as standard beginning material (like a magic system, for example!) that give a new person a feel for the new system? What are the basic tropes that everyone expects to see when they open a fantasy book that can be taken as a baseline for a new game setting/rule book introduction?
Some of you may remember the old Basic D&D classic module, The Keep on the Borderlands. It was simple, generic, but also introduced the players to new rules and things as it also introduced their first scenario. I'd like to create something kinda like this. What would you like to see in it, and what should be included? What is the order of importance for introducing the material?