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"Fantasy Hero Complete" or "Fantasy Hero 6th Edition"


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In the HERO System 6th Edition selection in the Store, what is the difference between the "Fantasy Hero Complete" and the "Fantasy Hero 6th Edition"? One has a book 'and' a PDF of the book, which makes it quite attractive, and the other is just a PDF. However they are clearly different products. Obviously the Steven Long one is the 'official' one. If I was to choose one, which would you advise. Would both be super useful? (Money is seriously tight for me these days.) I am quite conversant with Hero and have the original 6th edition books already. I have and regularly use Hero Designer as well.

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Here's my take on those two books (I own Champions Complete, Fantasy Hero Complete, Vol 1, Vol 2, and Fantasy Hero):

 

Fantasy Hero Complete attempts to become a very concise "full system" book, in that it presents all the Hero System rules, in a deeply condensed form, along with suggestions for campaigns, spell systems, bestiaries, equipment, and some slight mentions on world-building. However, the primary focus of Fantasy Hero Complete is to present the Hero System rules in concise form, and does not go into great depth on all other related subjects. This book, however, is sufficient to become familiar with the rules and begin play with minimal fuss (world-building aside). This is a fine book for "players".

 

Fantasy Hero Complete: 194 pages of 'hero system rules', 55 pages of 'source'.

 

 

Fantasy Hero 6th Edition is a "Genre Book". It is intended to "expand the toolkit", as it were, that Hero System was designed to be. It explains the idea of Fantasy and how to apply it to the Hero System, 6th Edition. It talks about game mechanics and adaptations suitable for the genre, the various types and concepts that may be called "Fantasy", ideas and suggestions on how to build fantasy worlds: fantasy professions, fantasy spells systems, fantasy armor, weapons, and equipment, fantasy religions, fantasy races, fantasy societies, etc. It is a "fantasy world building" book that specifically deals with Hero System. It does not repeat the system rules. You can find those in Volume 1: Character Creation and Volume 2: Combat and Adventuring. You are going to need those if you actually want to learn the Hero System should you only have Fantasy Hero. This book is excellent for "GMs" and "World Builders".

[Edit: as a side note, while Fantasy Hero does a great job of providing ideas for spell systems, it does present a meager set of examples. For more complete spells systems, you ought to take a look at the Grimoire publications.]

 

Fantasy Hero, 6th Edition: 480 pages of pure 'genre/source', no repetition of system rules.

 

 

Personally, I find that Vol 1 and Vol 2 have more of a full explanation of ideas, with many examples and discourse on how things work. They are very wordy, but offer greater depth. They are my preferred source. I would use the "Complete" books as "reference sheets" for players, especially if they are new to the system, or want to take something home to bite into, without spending the money to acquire the original volumes.

 

Panpiper, if you already have Vol 1 and Vol 2, Fantasy Hero Complete will not give you anything more. You will get more out of Fantasy Hero, 6th Edition.

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Both are "official."

 

Fantasy Hero Complete is the "replacement" for 6E, since 6E went out of print and the market didn't justify another print run of color hardbacks. Additionally, some people preferred the all-in-one format of the original 3E Fantasy Hero or the 4E BBB, and a trimmed-down set of rules might appeal more to modern gamers. At least that's what I understand the reasoning to be. The actual rules are the same between 6E and FHC.

 

The Complete books are similar in concept to the old Hero System Basic Rulebook. The HSBR omitted some rules to fit it all into one book, and was criticized for omitting enough "essential" rules as to be unsatisfying to play. The Complete books retain the "complete" rules, but reduce the size by stripping explanatory text to a bare minimum, and removing almost all examples.  For example Fantasy Hero Complete contains 11 monsters, 13 spells, 5 potions, one staff, one armor, one ring, one scroll, one sword... the emphasis is on giving one how-to for each category of thing you might build, but leaving it to you to do the actual building. It doesn't present anything resembling "enough common stuff to get you started" and makes no effort to do so. Half the example monsters are weird and unique things you'd use once in a blue moon, if ever.

 

Fantasy Hero 6E is the opposite, going into great detail on virtually every aspect of fantasy campaign building. Where FHC has old school black and white line art (and not much of it), FH 6e is full color with lavish illustrations and layout. In presentation and content, it is the pinnacle of the Fantasy Hero game line, probably never to be equaled again. Of course the downside is that it is like finding something in an encylopedia. There is a lot of stuff to wade through to find the details. And it still doesn't include magic items, spells, or monsters... those are in add-on books.

 

FHC is everything you need in one minimalist package, but it's all DIY. FH6E is the ultimate plug-and-play reference, almost no DIY needed.

 

As others have noted, if you have 6E hardbacks you won't find anything new in FHC except a few examples on how to build stuff, and of course the legendary "how to build a fantasy campaign" essays. But if you have an older edition of Fantasy Hero you already have this stuff.


Personally I prefer to use FHC, just because it's smaller and easier to find stuff.  I do have a deadtree FH6E but almost never use it, because most of what's in there is not useful for my campaign, and the few things that are useful are hard to find... like a needle in a haystack.  I don't own the 6E grimoire, but the 6E bestiary is useful at least as a starting point.

 

As far as the 6E rules, I prefer very brief explanations for things like skills or powers, because as an experienced GM I can adjudicate things for myself, and actually prefer not to have to look up some official ruling. (I have a hard time ignoring official rules if they exist.) Also my 6E books were expensive and are irreplaceable, and the spines are already breaking, and I prefer to preserve them as long as possible. I keep them around for looking up picky details or options that are not really covered in FHC, but FHC covers 98% of what I actually need in play. I consider DIY a major selling point of Hero and I'm content with a stripped-down toolkit. Another really nice feature of FHC is a very complete set of reference tables, all presented together on 7 pages in an appendix. All the skills, powers, maneuvers, etc. If you know Hero 6E, these tables are all you need to look up stuff during play.

 

Hopefully this information is helpful in deciding what will be useful for you.

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The Fantasy Hero 6E PDF it is both cheaper and easier to use (than the hardcover). You can search the PDF for things, which is a real plus for books of that size. And since you already have the full game system rules, FH6e is going to give you far more useful material than Fantasy Hero Complete.

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  • 1 month later...

  

On 2/7/2021 at 5:48 AM, Panpiper said:

In the HERO System 6th Edition selection in the Store, what is the difference between the "Fantasy Hero Complete" and the "Fantasy Hero 6th Edition"? 

 

How much income has Hero Games left on the table by not having previews or even page counts listed in the store? As an ecommerce professional, I would say that the conversion rate of more casual browsers (those not knowing exactly what they want, and not part of the hardcore community) is probably reduced by 90% due to these factors. It's difficult to understand, frankly. 

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I'm absolutely glad I bought FHC, for the additional downloads it came with.  For overall fantasy completeness though, any of the full ruleset books (6e1 + 6e2 or CC/FHC) plus Fantasy Hero would be better. 

 

FHC leaves out a few non-fantasy related powers and skills (Computer Programming, FTL Travel), so it's not quite as complete a HERO System book as Champions Complete.  If completeness of ruleset is a criterion, you'll want either CC or 6e1+6e2.  

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14 hours ago, Chris Goodwin said:

I'm absolutely glad I bought FHC, for the additional downloads it came with.  For overall fantasy completeness though, any of the full ruleset books (6e1 + 6e2 or CC/FHC) plus Fantasy Hero would be better. 

 

FHC leaves out a few non-fantasy related powers and skills (Computer Programming, FTL Travel), so it's not quite as complete a HERO System book as Champions Complete.  If completeness of ruleset is a criterion, you'll want either CC or 6e1+6e2.  

But Chris FHC has Ranged Martial Arts! Which CC doesn’t. Not a game breaker and I’m glad I bought mine too. And I believe it’s still a deal at $20 at Hero Game Stores.

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If you already have the 6th edition rule books I would go skip the Fantasy Hero complete, or really any of the complete books.  From what I understand those are more designed to b standalone packages for someone who wants a complete game in one book.  The Fantasy Hero book assumes you have the regular rule books so does not waste space reprinting those.  If money is tight why pay for duplicate material when you can get more original content.  

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I see it as this. As the GM I have the full books (6e vol1&2 and Fantasy) - my players can go through this option or get the Complete book with the understanding I may using things not in their book, and will advise them as such as part of my Campaign notes.

 

"For Mystara Hero I will be using these from the Core books plus APG1.....Class and Race packages are Xxxx(pg REF).... Magic is written as....."

 

I try not to be crunchy or a rules lawyer, I just want a clean game with as little debating as possible.

 

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