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Brian Stanfield

HERO Member
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About Brian Stanfield

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    Fool Pitier
  • Birthday 08/02/1971

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    : Southern Illinois

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  1. I’ll look forward to hearing from you. I wish I was even remotely nearby; I’d play for sure. I thought about using Danger International for an introduction because it’s tight, concise, and my absolute favorite version of the game. But I really want to use 6e rules, and I don’t want to create confusion about the figured characteristics and stuff like that. I’ll just strip down the 6e to the basics and try that. Let me me know how the con game goes. This will give me some good ideas, I’m sure.
  2. One quick and easy explanation, from the GM’s point of view, is because the mountain doesn’t fight back whereas the VIPER agent does. I realize this just kicks the can down the road for a future standoff between GM and players, but this seems to be the point where the rules invoke game balance and dramatic sense as determining factors in the GM’s decision. It’s just a moment of drama, not to be reflected in normal rules and power builds.
  3. Now I’m imagining a secret link to buy heroine that leads directly to the DEA . . . .
  4. Well, that image really is worth 1,000 of my inefficient words.
  5. The way I’m seeing it (and it’s totally likely I’m wrong) is if you imagine a game of Jenga, but instead of gently sliding out one stick you flick out all three sticks in one level, causing a gap in the stack for a split second before the top of the stack drops down to fill the void. Imagine it done so quickly that, like a table cloth swiped from under some dishes, everything returns to its original position unjostled, only one rank of Jenga sticks shorter. Now, Imagine this as the mountain, with a space shuttle hurtling through the gap before the mountaintop settles down onto the rest of the mountain.
  6. Sorry, I didn't mean to spin completely out of control. My intention was to look at how the eras differ in terms of the disadvantages Bond appears to have, not so you could stat Bond himself, but to maybe consider what disads are appropriate for whichever flavor of espionage you go with. The standard disadvantages in an Archer campaign would clearly be different than in a Connery campaign. But I saw "Bond" and went completely out of my mind! I think it's still worth considering, however, the nature of the "watched" and the "hunted" in each case. I think I lost my own point in all of my words: Bond himself was watched and/or hunted differently in different eras. As Dame Judi Dench said in Casino Royale, "Christ, I miss the Cold War." Just $.02 buried under a mountain of nonsense.
  7. Wouldn’t it be hilarious if the link was redirected to the HERO store instead?!
  8. So, I've been a member of the forums here for three years now and have really enjoyed the interactions with other HEROphiles. I started playing in the '80s with Champions 2e, moving to 3e, and all the other games at the time, including Justice, Inc., Fantasy Hero, and my personal favorite, Danger InternationalI. I played these games and loved them, mostly as a player but occasionally as a GM (and that was very rarely). And then I took a 30 year hiatus. I got back into gaming a few years ago, and discovered that HERO was not a system, and was in it's 6th edition! I missed the later 3e innovations, and 4e & 5e altogether. I had some serious catching up to do! I've gotten as many of the books and PDFs for 6e as I could get, and a good portion of the 5e books as well, and I've been learning the rules as best I can for the past three years. I'm on the forums daily, reading other people's insights and advice, and occasionally offering my own (for whatever it may be worth). But here's my confession: I've never GMed a 6e game! I don't have group to play with . . . yet. I say that because I'm getting some friends together to try to teach them the HERO System for the first time. None of them have ever even heard of it, so I'm starting from scratch here. So I need some advice on how best to teach them the 6e game when I'm barely even competent enough myself to play it! Here's a bit of background info to frame the situation: I'm not sure what sort of genre they want to do. They'd probably be interested in a supers game, but that seems like it's drinking from a firehose to learn the rules that way. I'd like to start with a hero-level game to get them familiar with the rules. They may like a modern espionage game (since most of them are too young to remember the Cold War). I'd love to play a Pulp HERO game, but I'm not sure they'd be into it. They'd probably enjoy a Fantasy HERO game as well, but I'm kinda burned out on fantasy right now. I'm positive they'd love to play a martial arts game, but that again would be drinking from the firehose! So, my leading question is this: what do you think is the best genre for teaching the 6e rules? After figuring out which genre to play (and it's going to be up to us as a group, certainly, but I'd try to sway them based on the wisdom of these forums), there are all sorts of other questions. Is it best to start with pre-gen characters, as is my inclination for teaching the game? It seems like the best solution, at least for a few game sessions, so they don't have to themselves figure out all the rules before they even play their first game. This makes sense for all the genres, but especially a supers genre in which all the powers are in play. It's just too complex, it seems to me. What's your experience with this? When, then, is the best time to introduce them to the character generation part of the game? I'd have to sit with everyone, probably as a group, to lead them through the process. Is it better to give them a quick overview of the process and let them mull the rules over at home, or to lead them through a long and probably boring "session 0" to shepherd them through the process? Again, what's your experience in this important part of teaching the rules? Now the nuts and bolts: which parts of the rules are the most important to teach first? I've tried a few different ways with some people, and I can't find a good way to explain it all efficiently. There's so much going on. My plan is to hand out the "HERO In Two Pages" document as a precursor to session 0, but then when it comes to game time what's the best way, in your experience, to teach the overview of the game? My inclination is to go through the character sheet and explain the parts, such as the characteristics and skills and such. But without a combat to run through, it's all a hypothetical exercise to them. Do we just jump into a combat and then I explain what the CVs and DEFs are, etc.? Or do I try to explain it all up front? I suppose the 2-page primer will do a lot of that for me and that I'm worrying to much, but that's what I do: worry. As for actually playing the game, what is a good way to soft-start the rules, in your experience? What's the best way to start playing? Do I start with some simple skill-based activities (this is obvious if it's a heroic-level game), making sure everyone has some sort of skill to use? And then move into a combat? I've seen this suggested before, and it seems prudent. But again, I'd like to get some of your experience with this process. This is the part that scares me the most: what's the best way to introduce combat? So much has changed since my 2e days. The basics are still the same, but there are so many more maneuvers now, and so many intricacies involving the maneuvers that I just can't keep it all straight in my head just yet. I've read, re-read, and re-re-read the rules many times, and I have a good feel for them, but certainly not a mastery. I'd have to look up so much of it to begin with, just to be sure. But I don't want to bore everyone by checking on the rules all the time. Nothing is worse than stopping a game to look up the rules. What do you suggest, based on your experience. I'm going to create some handouts for the players. Other than the 2-page primer, and their character sheets, what do you think is worth handing out to the players? A complete list of maneuvers is possible. But I was thinking of limiting the number of maneuvers available to them at first. Does this seem like a good idea? Just start with the basics that I'm familiar with, limit them to those few things, and then grow from there? What else do I need to hand them? This is especially obvious if I do a Fantasy HERO game where I have to probably create pre-gen spells and races and such. But what else is worth giving to newbies as handouts? I don't want to overload them on information, but I don't want them to feel totally lost either. What have you tried in your games? Have you tried teaching 6e using 3e games? I've considered beginning with one of the 3e games for teaching the rules, but I'm inclined against that because the character creation process is so different than in 6e. Even working with pre-gens, I'd have to explain why certain formulae exist on their character sheets, etc. Why teach a set of rules only to then tell them that the rules they need to know for 6e are different? This doesn't necessarily seem like a good idea to me. Have you tried this approach? Does it work? What else am I missing? What am I forgetting? I barely remember what it was like to learn the game the first time, but I remember being overwhelmed when we started with character creation for Champions. Yikes! Talk about overload! But I was a kid and I got over it in a couple of days because the rule book was only a pamphlet compared to the rules now. What can you offer me as advice, based on your experiences (both positive and negative lessons are welcome). What am I not even seeing as potential problems? Ok, now that I've completely outed myself, let the advice begin. I hope that you are willing to help, because I know that you all have plenty to offer in terms of advice. But please, as I've emphasized in my questions, let it be based on your own experience, tested over time (either successfully or unsuccessfully: both are valuable). Let's try to avoid hypothetical debates over what's missing in the game or why it's losing popularity because it's so hard to learn, etc. etc. I've been part of these discussions, and while they're lots of fun, this isn't the time for it. I'm in need of real help that you know will work base on what you've done at your own gaming sessions. Let me introduce this caveat, just so nobody else has to: I realize that this is all very highly contextual, and that Your Mileage May Vary, and all that sort of stuff. So just jump in and let me have it. Tell me what works for you, and I'll sort out the details for myself. Every little did-bit, no matter how random it is, will be a help to me. I want people to love the HERO System like I do, so I want to make this as pleasant an experience as possible. Thanks in advance for your help!
  9. That’s incredibly funny, because even though I identified Commando as the reference, in my mind I was picturing Predator for some reason!
  10. I wish I was around to enjoy this game with you. Good luck! It has a lot of great possibilities. By the way, check out this other forum going on about a James Bond sort of espionage setting: Your ideas may cross over a bit.
  11. Sorry to get things off topic. Let me come back around to the point. Bond-style espionage is intended to be fantastic and a little bit campy, but as you point out, it's not all the same. If you decide how over-the-top you're willing to go, it will inform your disads. Let me put it in terms of my own personal preference of Bonds: Daniel Craig: other than Sean Connery, he's my favorite Bond. But he's more grim, dark, and the films are a bit more "realistic" in terms of the espionage game. The politics are real in the Craig films, so the disads will be a bit more constraining. Despite there not being a cold war to spice things up, he is being watched by MI-6 all the time (implanted homing beacons, nonotech blood, etc.). This would be Hunted, all the time, easy to find, with extensive influence, but only watched = 25 points. He may not be hunted, but he'll also be watched by SPECTRE at the very least (also more powerful than PC, extensive influence, frequently, but only watched = 15). He'll also have a reputation (frequently, extreme, but only to a small group = 10), and a psych. lim. of overconfidence (common, strong = 15). He should probably also have a code of professional conduct that he's expected to uphold, while also having the psych. lim. of breaking the rules, or disrespecting authority. Something like that. This is on one extreme of the Bond pole. Sean Connery: my favorite Bond, and the standard by which everyone else is judged. He'll also be watched, but less efficiently seeing as how he was always flying around to random places without even checking in, so the disad. would probably only be 15 points at most. But he'd be hunted by both SPECTRE and SMERSH, who are doing more than watching him, so their disads. would be worth more, maybe 20 each. Connery's Bond is overconfident, has no regard for authority, is a notorious womanizer, and an inveterate gambler, each worth probably 10 points apiece. Archer: my next favorite. I'm so glad you brought him up. This would be the other extreme of very campy, very lighthearted, very funny spy games. Archer has all sorts of built-in disadvantages since he works for his mother. He's watched (15), has strong ties to his professional workplace (psych. lim. of maybe 10), has a "complicated" relationship with his employer/mother (I don't even know how to value this one), and he's arrogant and overconfident to the point that he always gets into trouble (very common, strong = 20). I don't know if anyone is actually hunting him, but he'd have at least some kind of reputation (at least 10 points). I guess the CIA are watching him (maybe 10 points). But this sort of campaign would be much less serious, and far more hilarious to run, so you can pretty much pick the most ridiculous disads. that you can think of. Speech impediments, compulsive need to get the last word in an argument, inveterate know-it-all . . . they sky's the limit in this sort of campaign. I'd play it in a heartbeat! Timothy Dalton: I guess there's a reason nobody remembers him (sorta like that big beach-bum Bond George Lazenby from On Her Majesty's Secret Service). He's kind of a boring Bond. He's monogamous (a trait that was explicitly noted in the age of AIDS), the cold war was ending so there were no great bad guys hunting him, he didn't have any real character flaws that made him distinctive. He was a squeaky clean, sterilized Bond. Sort of a politically correct Bond, I guess. There's not much in the way of disads. here, not like Connery or Archer. But I did actually like his portrayal of Bond despite how I've depicted him. But he was hired as Bond when who I was really rooting for was . . . Pierce Brosnan: I loved Remington Steele, and when the show ended there were rumors of him becoming the new Bond and I was thrilled. But his wife was ill and his life sorta fell apart for a while, so he wasn't cast as Bond for another ten years. When he was, he was caught in a tough spot: the world sorta outgrew Bond. Roger Moore turned him into a characature (more on that in a bit), and Dalton overcorrected the role into a boring, bland version of Bond. Brosnan had to reinvent Bond, but with no real adversaries to define him as well as Connery at the height of the cold war. Brosnan has all the style and suave of Connery, but he suffers from the same problem as Dalton's Bond: no more cold war. He has professional standards he's expected to follow, but he didn't seem as rebellious as the earlier Bonds. He's watched by his employers, but never too seriously. He's overconfident, and maybe a little more loose with the women, but these won't be worth as much. They were never as strong as Connery, who seems to have set a pretty high bar for being the most flawed and also the most interesting of the Bonds. Brosnan was already pretty old for the role (about 10 years too old after his delay), and he outgrew it almost as soon as he began the role. And the stories kinda sucked anyway. He nearly killed the whole Bond enterprise because the strength of his personality was not enough to overcome really bad plots. Speaking of which . . . Roger Moore (aka Disco Bond): in my opinion, the absolute worst of the Bonds. He was good in The Saint, but he just couldn't carry the Bond role in a way that I respected. It may not be all his fault, but he's a big part of it. I guess the producers got tired of a Bond who was too close to the books, and they wanted to start making things fun, campy, and more "up to date" with the '70s audience. Hence the Disco Bond, complete with his bell-bottomed tuxedos, his ridiculous pompadour, his annoying smirk, and the almost forgivable wink as he delivered his horrible (and I mean horrible) one-liners. He turned into a charicature of Bond. It may have been the writing, and not completely his fault, but they surely seemed to be writing to his personality, which just came off as smarmy to me. I can't say enough bad about Roger Moore. A spy movie shouldn't have goofy sound effects like slide-whistles when he jumps a ramp, for example. It's impossible to take this seriously. It's like the Bond audience was expected to be 15-year-old, sex starved boys. Because boy, did Moore's Bond have women. This would be his biggest disadvantage. I'm not sure he was watched at all from the context of the films. He was just supplied with bigger, fancier, more absurd equipment and went on his merry way. I guess he would be hunted as well, but it never seemed very dangerous or threatening. This Bond was all style and glitz, with none of the darkness that is inherent in the spy world. Roger Moore almost killed Bond, especially when they ran out of Ian Fleming novels and had to come up with their own stories. The '80s were just a cruel age for Disco Bond, who seemed somehow too contemporary in the '70s but too outdated only a few years later in the early '80s. I just can't get my head around Moore's version of Bond. So I would encourage you to not go this rout. If you want a campy, funny Bond, go the Archer route. Half-measures are no good for a fun campaign. Go all out crazy, or keep it classy and constrained like Connery or Craig. Whew. That's a mouthful. I don't know if it helps, but it is at least one way to evaluate the different Bonds and what their disadvantages might look like. Must more constraining for Connery, who played Bond close to the vest, and much less so with the free-for-all of Moore's Bond. Archer would be a great campaign just for it's own insanity! But shows like The Saint, or The Man From UNCLE, or Mission Impossible (the movies set a new bar for serious spycraft worth investigating) may be good examples for where you could take an espionage game.
  12. Funny, nobody ever wants to be Timothy Dalton Bond . . . .
  13. Does this work for you? https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/201568/Here-Be-Dragons-5e
  14. As someone who only recently got into 6th edition rules (after a 30 year break!), let me offer some advice on the books: Don't bother with the hardcover copies of 6th edition. 6e1 is almost impossible to find at a reasonable price, and if you do find one under $100 the binding is so dang fragile that it will break after you open it several times. You definitely don't want to use it as your physical reference. 6e2 is still available at the store here at HERO, at the original price, so is probably worth the price, but the binding is also going to be ridiculously fragile. If you don't mind not having the full-color books, you can get them in paperback, reasonably priced and printed on demand, at DriveThruRPG with a full color (well, blue and yellow) cover and black-and-white interior. They are well done, and are more durable than the hardcover books with the fragile spines. I'd definitely have a copy (or several) of the Basic Rulebook, as I mentioned above. It's a good introduction, and it is easy to flip through to find the rule you're looking for. It won't have some of the more complex rules, but you aren't worried about them right now anyway, right? Just focus on getting the basics under your belt. I can't emphasize this enough! I've read through the two big volumes cover to cover, and it's a slog! I've read the Basic Rulebook several times, and it's much quicker and more concise, and makes for an easier overview of the rules (stuff like understanding normal and killing damage, damage classes, hexes=2 meters, range modifiers, all the things you are asking about). If you're into fantasy, then get Fantasy HERO Complete. It's essentially the Basic Rulebook with genre information added to it. It will show you how to apply HERO System to a genre you are interested in, so may be very useful for you. If you're genre-neutral or undecided, Champions Complete is going to cover a little bit more of the modern rules situations you may need. Neither of these books is necessary, if you have the other rulebooks, but they can help you figure out how to apply the Powers rules to different genres (magic, special abilities, building weapons or firearms, etc.). Once you have these core rulebooks, there are so many others to start looking at. They are all available at DriveThruRPG. The Grimoire is an entire book of magic; the Martial Arts book may actually be more up your alley with lots of ways to build fighting systems, including contemporary military campaigns; likewise, the Equipment Guide will be incredibly useful for your non-supers campaigns (you won't have to figure out how to build all your firearms, for example); the Skills book is useful for heroic-level campaigns where players will not be using Powers as much as they will have lots of varied Skills; the Advanced Players Guide 1 & 2 are not immediately needed for you, but are full of interesting applications of the rules in non-standard ways. Anyway, all these books are available when you're ready for them. You can also get the PDFs here at the HERO store if that's all you need, plus you'd be supporting HERO directly. If you're looking for more direction in the modern settings other than super heroes, get old used copies of Danger International and Justice, Inc. They are from 3rd edition, but they have such great material for the genres that they may come in handy. They are by no means necessary, and while they can be converted to 6th edition, that whole process will only confuse you. But as genre books they work great. Once you get this stuff under your belt, you'll find that a lot of the 5e books will be very useful as well, and by then you'll be ready to start converting older editions to 6e. But for now don't worry about any of this. I'm just pointing to all the tantalizing possibilities in the future . . . . Also, keep this in mind: there is rarely only one way to build something. You'll find that there are many, many ways to create what you want, so don't worry about "the right way to do things." HERO System is really just a toolbox to help you build things the way you want. Keep asking questions in the forums so you don't have to reinvent the wheel. And don't be surprised when a single question yields a dozen contradictory solutions! Pick the one you like best and run with it. I hope this helps somewhat. I had to go through what you are right now, and had to figure all this stuff out on my own.
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