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Spence last won the day on December 10 2017

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About Spence

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    Anime...the other genre
  • Birthday 12/31/1963

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    Marysville, WA

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  1. Also not arguing 🤔 But I don't think I really clarified myself very well on a few points. Also I have no idea how to make this forum break up a long quote into sections. Its the old in me. So I will manually insert the items I want to quote below Here I believe I was really unclear with my example. D&D has three basic ways to publish support material for their RPG. 1. Standard Licensing 2. OGL 3. DMs Guild They actually have a matrix on the general differences between OGL and DM's Guild. Their OGL is pretty standard and allows you to use the 5th Ed rules to publish and sell your own unique world/setting/adventure. But your cannot directly use any of their published material, such as Sword Coast, Waterdeep or Monster Manual entries. In a broad sense you can use the SRD stuff but not the color or defined creatures/treasure/setting material. DMs Guild is different. You can use pretty much all of the setting material, monsters, classes etc. But you can only sell it as a PDF on the DMs Guild site and must conform to the format requirements. You retain the IP of your original material, and they retain the IP for theirs. They also may approach you to purchase material that is really good to incorporate into the main IP. They also get a small slice of the profit form each sale. So Bob the gamer has the opportunity to create content without the need to commit to a formal license. Mainline D&D players can easily create a short adventure in the existing D&D world and sell on the DMs Guild site to test the waters. Is my stuff really as great as I think it is. The caveat of WotC being able to buy it from you pretty much eliminates full blown campaigns on DM Guild, but does all initial entry. OGL is OGL and requires you to be completely unique and not use any setting related material. An agreed license has requirements. Time lines, costs, legal guarantees, etc. It is a contract. It might be completely super reasonable. But it is a secret, you do not know what they entail until you enter into negotiations. Which is fine for people in the industry and is 100% the way to go for serious projects. But WotC apparently decided they didn't want to deal with small content items. But they also realized that their is a market so they have established a pipeline to allow others to make them while maintaining control and getting a small slice of the profit for basically no effort on their part. Players and DM's get access to a lot of low cost material and WotC gets a few cents to a couple dollars each. I just looked at the DMs Guild and filtered to Adventures. There are 2462 as of this post for D&D. That does not include WotC material or licensed material. Champions/Hero System on Drive Through only has 74 items listed under Adventure and most are not actually adventures Hudson City, the campaign setting that doesn't actually have any adventures. NPCs, organization info, and some plot hooks. But no adventures. What adventures there are, are for Pulp Hero or mostly older editions. You can't filter for edition, but less than 10 are for the current edition. Not wrong, but the current, ever shrinking Herodom fan base isn't the target. Yes, the established Hero player has their rule book. But what else do they need? Nothing. One sale and done. A person who has not seen the game before does not have anything to deviate from in the first place. Viper? There is a organization book. But no adventure. There was Vipers Nest in the early editions and we have all played it. But Champs Complete has the write ups of The Champions and a few Villains. But no adventure. It isn't a case of "You don't want VIPER in your campaign, simple, remove them". Rather "remove them from what". There is not a playable campaign organized for novices to run Viper. There is a 5th Edition organization book for Viper (which also does not include an actual adventure) that you can convert. But a novice to Hero buys the current edition Champions Complete and discovers that the majority of material available has to be converted first??? Yes the current 150 active Hero gamers....err 149....148... 😉 Semi Joking here... But on the serious side, yes that is the priority of the majority of people here. Most of them are the same ones for years or decades. But for that slice of gamerdom, once they but a copy of Champs Complete, they are done buying. The target needs to be the vast sea of casual gamers that are flocking to the "lame" and "derivative" works that everyone here shows disdain for, and yet out sells Hero products by magnitudes. Exactly. Yes yes yes. Do what Pathfinder does. Publish each adventure and then later put out a combined "Campaign Book" that puts them all into a hardback with full art and a extra chapter on GMing it as a campaign. The Rise of the Runelords came out in 2007 and people still order it. Pretty much...yep. The thing is that Champions Complete does not need a rewrite. It needs a new layout and format. People here that already own CC or 6th Ed vol 1&2 are not going to buy it. In fact people here are the slice of gamers that really don't buy anything from Hero anymore. We have the rulebook, we can make it all. The target needs to be the guy holding CC in one hand and D&D's PHB or the Pathfinder Core in the other. Which are they going to take up to the register. When CC released and was available in general distribution, I covered/donated three copies for my FLGS. For the next couple of years... Customer picks it up. Puts it back. Moves on. When they did carry it to the counter they would ask a few questions. The store staff would talk it up. If I was there I'd do the same with some information. And then the "Question of Death". They would ask "What kind of adventures are out?" followed by "Oh it's new, what are the planned releases?" Followed by a surprised "It's been out since the 80's?" and then "Adventures need to be converted from previous versions, really?". In a three year period, one sold and I now have two extra copies. Yes, the current players that frequent this board are committed to designing their own cool stuff. But they are not the target. The target is the new player that is scooping up D&D 5th, Pathfinder, Starfinder, Conan, Star Trek and on and on. Champions/Hero rules have been hammered and squeezed down until there is nothing left to alter. There absolutely nothing to be gained from yet another iteration. What Champs/Hero needs to present a reason to play it. To catch the eye and get the players into a flashing super battle. Or a rousing adventure with the Heroes saving the village from the goblin horde. Or SOMETHING to ignite the prospective players creativity and wish to use Hero. Everyday I watch $60 RPG books leave the shelf. A LOT of adventures and a never ending rotation of RPG games. When someone does ask about Champs they normally already have their books and if someone does ask about getting a copy, the store recommends ordering direct from Hero. My FLGS's primary distributor is the local GTS (no shipping because they can drive there in 30 minutes) and their secondary is Alliance because they can get virtually anything not carried by GTS. They cannot justify opening and maintaining a new account for the purpose of a single item. And I already have multiple copies of the books and pretty much everything 4th, 5th and 6th edition. I will spring for new material, but I just can no longer buy items just to buy. Heck that was what CC was. I also have most (all?) of the third party material/adventures. But none of it is suitable for a teaching game. Great for experienced teams and I have folded them into my games, at least a few years back I did. But as an intro to supers adventures they are not the easiest to use, and for a novice Hero GM/player they can be daunting. Simple, introductory, playable. What is boring or blase for a veteran player can be new and exciting for a new player. D&D's Curse of Strahd and Storm Kings Thunder were basically updates of old adventures, Ravensloft has been retooled for multiple editions. And yet it was new and exciting as Curse of Strahd for the current generation of players. Well now I am preaching. Time to stop trying to hold back the dike with my pinkie
  2. Awful lot of Kryptonite floating around. More common than water........ 😈
  3. Agreed on both points. I was just (I thought) pointing out that in the end it really doesn't matter on the gaming table. All of the games I have run or played in, the PC's were built to the same starting points. While there have been a few that chose to start with significantly lesser point values to meet a concept. Generally the experiment fairly ended soon and they make a full point PC because of many drawbacks. Some of which you have pointed out up thread. Unless the group is experimenting, the PC's in a table top RPG will all be of a similar starting point and generally maintain comparable power. Where a book/comic/movie can easily mix anything because the writer controls all. But the end of the road is that we are discussing a table top RPG. So any real divergence in power level isn't going to be an issue unless the GM/Players ignore guidelines and decide to experiment. Or at least this is my experience so far.
  4. I find the discussion interesting. As I noted above, I do not think it is possible that material can be ported directly from written or video form to the table. But then if you step back and take a look at the reality of gaming (at least from my view point and experience) the entire point is moot. I have yet to play a Champs game where Player 1 has a 2000 point Superman and Player 2 has a 400 point Batman in the same game. A PC build on 400 points based on Batman can stand with a PC built on 400 points based on Superman. 400 points is 400 points. But that means you cannot actually bring the Comic as written to the RPG Table. Even though I have always liked Batman (the Detective version) I never liked Justice League because it had too many ultimate power characters. It is also the reason why I do not allow a player to build their favorite character concept for their first PC. I explain that we are going to run some throw away PC's first to get a feel for how the game plays. This has always worked best for my games. But as they say, your mileage may vary...😉
  5. I completely agree with your general point. But just wanted to point out the statement (in bold above) as being somewhat in error. In my supers games, the Hero or Heroes being knocked out, captured or temporarily disabled happens all the time. It is a supers game and that is one of the tropes. The trick to it is that it cannot be arbitrary. The event has to be "plausible" within the game world. Some of the greatest sessions we ever played were ones where the team escaped the "Death Trap". Without the ability to temporarily stymie the Heroes (knocked out, temporarily disable, etc.) the villain cannot escape and you never get the recurring arch-villain. The reoccurring nemesis is extremely difficult if you ascribe to the concept that players will refuse to play or tolerate a game that includes those events. I see this concept floated all the time on Supers related boards. And then just laugh because the only players I ever had this issue were murder-hobos and munchkins. It isn't issue of the game and plot, it is the need for better players. But I agree 100% that no material based on a source that is completely controlled by a writer or writing team (books, comics, movies) can be 100% transferred to an RPG. To do so invites the one thing that will set off players, RAILROADING!!! AARARGGGHHHHHH.. If they aren't already crying it since that is one of the catch all whines of the poor gamer these days.
  6. I almost snorted my drink out of my nose. Well said and cuts to the heart of what the issue is with Hero.
  7. Spence

    What Have You Watched Recently?

    I had season one on the DVR. Made it through E5 or maybe it was E6. Finally deleted it to make room.
  8. A very good point. I am a cranky old f....er...fart and don't deal with kids often so they are not really on my radar. But I know a lot of those who do.
  9. To be fair, pretty much all the successful and popular games do the same. D&D5th, Modiphius has 5 or 6 RPG's, Savage World and Chaosium is on the way back though without the miniatures. And there are many others. But you actually left out one of the key factors on why their games are exploding in popularity. The ability for anyone to create an adventure or supplement without need of a specific contract. All the currently successful games have some version of an OGL or a "here are the guidelines and you can sell your creation as long as you meet them". D&D 5th has their "DM Guild" for example. They also realize that the concept of "GM's only like to run their own settings adventures and will not buy pre-built settings and adventures" is utterly false. The true statement is "GM's really prefer to run their own settings adventures but usually wind up using pre-built settings and adventures, except a lucky few." D&D 5th and Pathfinder adventure books are constantly selling. And not just those from WotC or Paizo, but the 3rd party adventures are also in demand. The D&D 5th adventure books sell out every week, and I don't mean just the new one, but my FLGS finds it hard to any of them in stock. I personally like home-brews far more than bought adventures, but due to little pesky things like real life I have run and played far more bought material in the last ten years than anything created by me or a friend. While I fully acknowledge I am not privy to company details, in a general sense this is what I would do. 1) Release a Quickstart. Basic rules, pregenerated PC's and a small adventure. Notice there is no mention of character generation. This is the biggest mental block/blindspot of Hero and Hero fandom. Character creation rules are not playing the game. Yes they are a great part of the Hero system. But they are NOT playing the game. A Champions Quickstart, a Fantasy Quickstart and so on. Something that will showcase the game for people that have never played and walk a "I have never GM'd before" GM through the scenario for the "I have never played an RPG before" players. The D&D 5th and the PF both have starter boxes that show polished versions. 2) Release a setting book around a city. Hero already has them, but they need to be paired down from the "super information overload" versions that Hero became famous for. The existing books are WAY over detailed. Also, you must have a map. An actual usable city map that you can see and read the names of the streets. For modern settings like Champions the Hudson City color map is perfect and always gets compliments. I would love to use Vibora Bay, but never had time to build the map that does not exist. For Fantasy just look at WotC/Paizo and their cities for inspiration. 3) Start with one well written multi-scenario adventure per supported line a year (similar to Adventure Paths, Plot Points, etc.) with a minimum of 6 parts. More and bigger as time goes on. 4) Unleash the fandom with a version of OGL or similar that allows them to create and sell PDF adventures. Looking at WotC D&D 5th OGL and DM Guild differences are a perfect set up. Reserve larger and hard-copy products for traditional licenses. But an RPG gets popular when people PLAY it and have fun. Get the game out there. 5) Reformat the product to appear like it was published after the 1800's. The rules are good. There is no need for yet another tweak. But there is absolutely nothing that will make it leap off the shelf. The cover was OK, but the old school black and white textbook look prompts 99% of current gamers to put it back on the shelf. In the end the target audience is not the people on this forum, it is the gamer that is not a Hero player. The Herophile that is on the "I only play my original material and all the current fantasy settings are lame" program is not going to do anything for Hero, once they buy the one rulebook and they are done. It is time to attract the mainstream tabletop gamer that routinely plays pre-generated adventures because they have pesky things like jobs or families and such with the associated lack of spare time. Simple adventures such as a series of robberies by a small group of super-thieves. Simple, teaches the system and can be literally dropped into any kind of campaign or game. Ensure the villains are also "generic" enough to fit into any game. Leave the "cool" and "unique" weirdness to the GM's out there that are inspired. A simple fantasy adventure where the PC track down goblins that have been raiding local villages. In the end the target audience is not the majority of the people on this forum. That majority have already bought the rulebook and have pontificated for years about how they will never buy anything again. After all they do not buy pre-built "insert product of choice" because real GM's don't buy pre-built products. So once they have the rulebook, what is left? So they are a wash. Time to get the players and GM's that are constantly buying those same evil pre-built adventures week in and week out. It is time to realize that it is 2019 and that the conclusions reached in the late 90's early 2000's are 20 years out of date. For proof? WotC, Paizo, Pelgrane, Chaosium, Modiphius, Troll Lord and Evil Hat just to scratch the surface. Settings and Adventures. Settings and Adventures.
  10. Spence

    Superhero vs Fantasy

    I am with you on this. I am always on the look for good usable maps, but they are few and far between. Hero had several products that had great map "concepts". I say "concepts" because they were all sized to fit on a standard page and cannot be enlarged to a usable size. Even the PDFs are low rez. Champions Battlegrounds, Fantasy Battlegrounds and Thrilling Places all had great locations. The Mall in CB would be awesome if it wasn't so tiny. I wish they had a Hi Rez map pack. The map of Hudson City (https://www.herogames.com/forums/store/product/275-hudson-city-map-pdf/) is the reason why I have used HC as my main campaign city for years. For pretty much any genre that requires a city. It is done in the modern city map style that has all the major streets and such, but leaves the details to you. I even modified a version for the 30's by removing all the Interstates and replacing them with rail. Great map. I would love to see a map for Vibora Bay. Any map. But modern maps are as rare as ships are. Pretty much every seafaring product is fairly lame, with very little effort to do any research. We're not looking for 100% historical accuracy in a fantasy game. But come on! Every D&D/Pathfinder game has an 1800's Frigates or the Black Pearl swanning around with Longships. Anyway, back on topic, a decent modern map is hard to come by.
  11. Spence

    What Have You Watched Recently?

    Decided to watch some "new" movies over the holidays. Watched: Peppermint The Predator The Hitman's Bodyguard The House with a Clock in Its Walls Venom They were OK with Peppermint and The Hitman's Bodyguard being the best of those listed IMO. None were great and I definitely am glad I didn't see them full price in a theater. But they were all rent-worthy.
  12. Spence

    AD&D (1st Edition) Conversion - The Thread

    Ah.... Well I do admit I am BBS challenged
  13. Spence

    AD&D (1st Edition) Conversion - The Thread

    I think this should be aimed at Rapier, since this is actually his thread. My post was in response to his mentioning a lack of response in post #2. I have been reading, but don't really have anything to contribute at this time.
  14. Spence

    AD&D (1st Edition) Conversion - The Thread

    I'd be glad to bounce ideas about magic systems in general. Not on this thread as you are talking an AD&D conversion and I don't want to derail.