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I am new to the Hero world.  I am wondering what Hero Designer is.  Does this have all of the books and basically a character generator?  I don't want to take the deep dive and buy it.  Is there an example of it some where I can see it?

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It is a quality piece of software and definitely (more than) worth its $25 asking price IMO if you are either a GM or the type of player who likes just making characters for fun.    It has w

Hero System has been my favorite pastime for several decades, just to put the following into context. That said, I consider Hero Designer to be the best $25. I have ever spent in my life. No exagerati

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Hero Designer is character generation software.  And that's it.  It has all the core rules for character generation but that's it. (See GB(i)'s post for clarification.  This statement could've been really, really confusing and I didn't notice that until just now)

 

The Downloads/Store section should give you some screenshots of the HD interface and some of the user uploaded export templates usually have the preview screen shots as well.

 

Again, I believe Hero Designer is worth the investment if you're planning on running a game.

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Some folk love it and find it invaluable, I still love building characters by scribbling on bits of paper. 

 

I advise getting used to rules first, once done the programme is very useful for managing and maintaining PC and NPCs.

 

If you have any facility with IT it is also great at producing different character sheets to print off.

 

I have it but don't use it as much as I think I should. 🙂

 

Doc

 

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The necessity of it is up to you.

 

I'm going on thirty-nine years of pencil-and-paper character design.  I think twice I've considered HERO Designer, but it only takes a stroll through a few pages of the HD-centric portion of this board to convince me that I have no business even attempting to use it.  :lol:

 

 

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On 6/26/2020 at 1:08 PM, Gnome BODY (important!) said:

HERO Designer does not have rules in a manner that's accessible to the user.  It enforces character creation rules, but doesn't explain them nor does it have any other rules for user reference.  You will need to purchase the rules separately. 

 

To amplify a bit.  All the creation/build rules are built into HD.  When you select an item you will get a short info block on it, but it is not arranged or presented in a manner that it can replace the rulebook. 

 

It supports both 6th and 5th edition and most of the buildable content from the various supplements can be acquired by buying add on  "packs".  Some of these will be very useful if you decide to use HD.  I am away from my books and on my smartphone so I am working from my old man's brain. But for Fantasy Hero the equipment and martial arts book packs are almost essential. 

 

 

 

3 hours ago, Doc Democracy said:

Some folk love it and find it invaluable, I still love building characters by scribbling on bits of paper. 

 

I advise getting used to rules first, once done the programme is very useful for managing and maintaining PC and NPCs.

 

If you have any facility with IT it is also great at producing different character sheets to print off.

 

I have it but don't use it as much as I think I should. 🙂

 

Doc

 

 

I myself usually build with paper and pencil followed by entering everything into HD to check my math and give me a clean easy to update copy. 

 

The program refers to all outputs such as character sheets as "export formats". From what I have been told, they are easy to make if you are a programmer type.  If you are not, like me, there are dozens of them for free download on the Hero website.

 

I haven't used it much lately, but when I was running a game it was invaluable for the ease and speed to create and maintain all the npc's.

 

I have or have used multiple character building software packages and in my personal opinion, HD is hands down the best dedicated build program out there.  It includes the ability to make changes, or custom powers/skills/etc.

 

But as was mentioned, it is not a replacement for the book. 

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On 6/26/2020 at 1:45 PM, mallet said:

It also doesn't have all the spells and gear. It is the way to make the spells and gear, etc... but you have to manually do it or buy add on packs that have those things already pre-made and install it into the program. 

The DLC for it is worth investing in if you're running a game in a specific genre. Want spells?  There are multiple DLCs that offer spells. Likewise for superpowers if you want to go into Champions territory. 

 

That said, it is also "the tool to make the tools" when it comes to HERO in general.

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Just now, Gandalf970 said:

Thanks Ninja-Bear, I am going to pick this up as well.  

Ok what might throw you off is the HSMA breaks down abilities by sub genre. There’s five of them: Realistic, Cinematic, Wuxia, Anime video game. Now that being said, don’t let those terms bother you. If you like a technique and it’s video game by all means use it. 
 

Did anyone tell you that HD does come with a PDF on how to use it? Cause it does.

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Just now, Ninja-Bear said:

Ok what might throw you off is the HSMA breaks down abilities by sub genre. There’s five of them: Realistic, Cinematic, Wuxia, Anime video game. Now that being said, don’t let those terms bother you. If you like a technique and it’s video game by all means use it. 
 

Did anyone tell you that HD does come with a PDF on how to use it? Cause it does.

Great information, thanks.  I am reading the pdf as we speak.  It is deep, but I am weeding my way through it.

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Good! If you do get a pack when you load it up on the screen, you then have to click on the tab for Prefabs. Example if you are on the martial arts page and you loaded Kung Fu it won’t show until you click the prefab tab. Also if you have several things open and try open another prefab it may not come open. I just unload all the prefabs then load the one you want. Btw ninjitsu was messed up. I manually fixed myself! (Proud cause I need my kids for anything tech these days.)

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I'm trying to remember where I got my weapons prefabs. The lovely thing is that once you pick something from a prefab and it's in your character file, you can play around with it to your heart's content. That is one of the chief joys of Hero -- finding the new wrinkles that will make that weapon or spell your own.

 

One thing I wonder about is adding pre-fabs of your own once you have a change you like that you want to call upon when making other characters (like if you have a unique weapon that's really cool and effective, and want to equip a battalion with it).

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IMO HD is very valuable for building characters once you have the character concept in mind and you know the general rules for building a character (i.e. see books).  If you go to the download section you will find a wide variety of packages, templates and prefabs that are freely available to use w/ HD.  I am betting many of us grabbed the weapon and armor prefabs (there are a few to choose from).

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It is a quality piece of software and definitely (more than) worth its $25 asking price IMO if you are either a GM or the type of player who likes just making characters for fun. 

 

It has what I consider to be a very mild learning curve (but I'm probably not the best gauge for that). It is a literal tabula rasa when first opened with no character selected...

 

image.png.4ae490cc0991ac393aa43f5c02977b60.png

 

You get started by either selecting an existing character sheet from disk (if you have downloaded one, for instance) or by making a new character selected from the types of characters HD has the character creation rules for...such as 6e standard superheroic or heroic, or a vehicle, base, etc...

 

image.png.bfd65e63fc611e0c726269cecbfcd852.png

 

Once you've picked the type of character, you are presented with a tabbed interface and you basically go from tab to tab filling in the parts of your character...

 

Note: I changed my preferences to have the tabs go down the right side, so your UI would look slightly different out of the box (if i recall correctly they default to run across the top), but it should be equally as obvious what the tabs are regardless.

 

image.thumb.png.b41f6693fdf86e66baf93d872c5b36df.png

 

ProTip: I would recommend saving your progress frequently as you go (Ctrl+S), as you should for any long form content development.

 

When you want to see a character sheet for the character, using the "Current Character" menu option select an Export Template and Preview the character sheet.

image.thumb.png.4ec6c9d80978c0d83182a50671e37648.png

 

There are lots of export templates, targeting different options such as html (viewed / printed using your browser of choice), plain text, rtf, etc. Some come w/ HD and a lot more are available in the downloads section of this site, catering to different levels of verbosity, style preferences, and so on. When you are getting started, I would recommend a default HTML template and you can get more discerning later when you have a better idea of what you want. 

 

Personally, I use custom html templates nearly exclusively, but do sometimes output other formats when i have a particular reason to.

 

After you have the basics down (make a standard character), HD offers a plethora of other features if you want or need to get fancier. You can turn a "character" into a template from which you can make future characters...for instance imagine you made a "Goblin" character representing a baseline gobbo for your setting...you could make it into a template from which you could later create a new specific named goblin and add on to the baseline...you could go further and have layers of templates that stack one upon the next, such as a baseline gobbo template, a gobbo champion template built on top of that, and a gobbo chief template built on top of that, layering up the abilities from one to the next. I think the utility of this is fairly obvious in settings where you have lots of stock characters which are mostly defined by what they are plus some individualization, such as most fantasy settings. 

 

You can also make or use prefabs, the term used by the app for lists of pre-made abilities, gear, etc, which can be loaded up and used conveniently within the tabs for skills, talents, powers, equipment to quickly whip up characters without having to copy and paste common effects (such as your campaign's definition of a long sword or basic fireball spell, etc) from one to next.

 

Pro Tip: heavy use of prefabs can put memory pressure on the app, so I suggest loading up the ones you need when you need them.

 

image.png.cc9511d137f12ba6ef7cebffcbd0625d.png

 

One of my favorite features is the ability to define and reuse custom campaign settings that can be applied to all characters in a given campaign. This is hugely convenient and offers a lot of flexibility and is worth checking out if you get that far. I use this feature very heavily; one of the first things I do when setting up a new campaign is go into HD and make a campaign ruleset and then bang out a few baseline characters for that campaign (such as average person, average PC, average "thug" opposition, etc) as part of the dialing in process.

 

image.thumb.png.1a10b2ee646e59f343b61570b5d61992.png

 

And so on...the summary is HD is basically an industrial grade power tool for Hero System character creation and management (an aspect of HD that doesn't get talked about as much but which is in my opinion its most significant value add), and like many power tools it does have its sharp edges and beginners traps, but it richly rewards time spent learning its nuances.

 

 

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My user preferences menu:

 

image.png.32e2157e36ca283800c895c35e30f225.png

 

I no longer remember what the defaults are, but I recommend upping the max RAM allowed to the app using the conveniently provided slider if you are in the habit of keeping a bunch of characters open (such as all of the PC's of your campaign and the current crop of NPC's / bad guys) and have them auto-load on HD start.

 

 

 

 

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On 6/27/2020 at 4:32 PM, Michael Hopcroft said:

That said, it is also "the tool to make the tools" when it comes to HERO in general.

This is the whole strength of Hero. If you're just gonna run straight fantasy, play Burning Wheel. If you're running straight sci-fi space opera, run Traveler. If you want to run both at some point, in your own carefully built settings, Hero is for you. Hero is really a system for GMs that normally homebrew everything. It's the mechanics for designing your own mechanics.

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7 minutes ago, Shoug said:

This is the whole strength of Hero. If you're just gonna run straight fantasy, play Burning Wheel. If you're running straight sci-fi space opera, run Traveler. If you want to run both at some point, in your own carefully built settings, Hero is for you. Hero is really a system for GMs that normally homebrew everything. It's the mechanics for designing your own mechanics.

It is also for players who want to create the character in their head but games other games send you down some pretty narrow paths of what you can and can't do.

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2 hours ago, Shoug said:

This is the whole strength of Hero. If you're just gonna run straight fantasy, play Burning Wheel. If you're running straight sci-fi space opera, run Traveler. If you want to run both at some point, in your own carefully built settings, Hero is for you. 

 

Or if you want to play a fantasy game but don't want to learn a whole new system.  

 

2 hours ago, Shoug said:

Hero is really a system for GMs that normally homebrew everything. It's the mechanics for designing your own mechanics.

 

It doesn't have to be.  I say this over and over again, but it doesn't have to be!  

 

If all we present is the "homebrew everything" approach, which we've done for 31 years, we're going to find ourselves losing people, which we've been doing for at least 21 years.  

 

And no, "dumbing it down" isn't the only alternative to "homebrew everything".  There's a massive excluded middle.  

 

And not wanting to homebrew everything isn't a result of video games giving people the attention spans of overcaffeinated squirrels.  It's a result of growing up and having more responsibilities and less time.  

 

(Shoug, I'm not trying to imply you've said any of the above, but those are all objections I've seen raised when I've tried to say: we don't need to homebrew everything!)

 

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