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Just looking for some feedback on 6th


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For the most part the game plays pretty much the same as it did in the older editions.  The biggest change is probably the stun multiplier for KA, which is a good thing.  It used to be that the single

Long story short: the mechanics are 90% the same as 4th. From a Hero system perspective: The costs for several powers have changed The details of how several powers work have changed A c

The only 10 point skill I recall was Acrobatics, which came bundled with DCV bonuses.   The challenge is that the system covers multiple genres, and then branches in to subgenres.  What does

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2 hours ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

Part of the problem is the point levels.  With 400 points its about impossible to have both a 60-active point-restrained character and be simple.  You end up with loads of extra "well I guess she could do this too" powers just to get to 400 points.

 

Do you think the point jump from 250 to 250 in 5th or from 350 to 400 in 6th was a mistake?
Would we be better off with a lower point Champions U?

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2 minutes ago, Jhamin said:

 

Do you think the point jump from 250 to 250 in 5th or from 350 to 400 in 6th was a mistake?
Would we be better off with a lower point Champions U?

I think the idea was that players would have more competent/seasoned characters from the start. And the thing is to get to that level with the slow XP that is suggested would take a quite while to get there. I personally feel that the best would be to have 300 CP to start with and have a rule that the GM should grant higher XP with several adventures to reach 400 CP. This way you could start with basic characters and then have them grow into seasoned characters rather quickly.

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21 minutes ago, Fedifensor said:

It's a concern for both players and gamemasters.  You can't assume every Hero gamemaster knows the system backwards and forwards.  If you require that for people to buy into the system, it's going to eventually wither and die.  

 

Shrinker isn't just a villain provided by Champions Complete.  Her writeup is listed in the chapter that is literally titled Examples, and it's a horrible example.  The Champions are much better, even if I would have removed Witchcraft's VPP and mentioned in her writeup that it's something she would buy with experience.  The example villains, however, are a pretty bad selection.  I've already tackled Shrinker, but here are the others:

  • Arrowhead - OCV 12, DCV 8, with 3 Ranged Combat Levels is just going to frustrate new heroes relying on DCV to avoid being hit.  The Throwing Master pool is completely unnecessary, and there are too many specialty arrows that are unlikely to ever see use.  It's not horrible, but Champions has much better villains available that fill a similar niche and aren't a cheap ripoff of Green Arrow.
  • Black Harlequin - WAY too many complicated powers.  For example, a new GM will have to stop the game and reference at least three different areas of the rulebook to figure out what Attack Toys or Jacks does.  That's without including the VPP which has an NND that Does BODY as one of its example powers.  Killing off your new players with an attack that does BODY and bypasses normal defenses is not a good way to recruit people to the system...
  • Esper - It's ironic that the mentalist is the most streamlined design of the entire group.  About the only thing I'd drop would be the duplicate, since it has different stats without a separate character sheet.   I lament the fact that she has no personality - despite being a 6E character, she has less skills than most 4E characters (only 8 points worth), and one of them is, no kidding, "Radical Feminism".   That's just awful on multiple levels.
  • Green Dragon - A 3-point multipower that really doesn't offer much variety and could have just been bought as individual powers for the exact same price.  Two different "target falls" martial maneuvers.  7 points of weapon elements and 7 points of weapon familiarities without telling the GM how they will come in play in a superhero game where all the equipment are bought powers.  That's without getting into the horribly bad Asian villain stereotype...

4e versions:

Shrinker - 15 DCV and 9 OCV with her primary attack. 

Cheshire Cat - Yeah, lets make a villain who is a stereotype of Bipolar Disorder. 

Mindlock - 6 whole points of skills. Enjoys humiliating male heros, with a 10 PRE. Every stat has either no points spent or is at 18 for the point break. 

Green Dragon - oh wait, you covered him already. But 10 OCV, 12 DCV with his strike and 2 levels is gonna make him painful for most newbies.

Dragonfly - He is a mutant. But his wings and antenna are bought as OAF?

Ogre - Oh boy. Not a single non-combat skill. What's that, he has an incompetent crippled sister but they don't even mention her name or disability?

 

I don't think any of those are someone I would use without some modifications, if at all. But they don't mean that the ruleset is bad or that a new GM can't pick up the game from them. Could they be better? For sure. 

 

There are things I would love to change about every version of the game that I have played. But so far, 6e is doing the best from a ruleset perspective. Does it need something to make it easier for new GM's? Yes. Some nicely made modules targeted at that would be great.

 

- E

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18 hours ago, Opal said:

"you can play 6th rules with the more "general" skill groupings from the 4e era pretty easily"
I shudder to think what 6th skills must be like if 4th's extrensive skill lists, including the open-ended Professional, Knowledge, Area, & Science skills, can be thought of as 'more general." ;)

If anything, I'd like to go back to 1st edition's take on skills: just a handful of superheroing-applicable skills at 5 or 10 pts each.

 

The only 10 point skill I recall was Acrobatics, which came bundled with DCV bonuses.

 

The challenge is that the system covers multiple genres, and then branches in to subgenres.  What does Doctor Blake need in Champions?  PS: Medical Doctor should cover it.  But is that going to cover Dr. McCoy, Crusher and Bashir in Star Trek Hero?  It certainly isn't enough for a Hero game focused around medical issues - Pandemic Hero?  St. Elsewhere Hero?

 

To have a generic system, we need to account for levels of granularity.  We can do that in Hero, but we have no real guidance on various levels of granularity, much less on how to alter the system to suit the specific genre and game.

 

Looking back to Champions (skills are not the focus; use broad, non-granular skills) and Justice Inc./Danger International (skills are much more a focal point - break them down more), the system always accommodated this.  But when we  moved to 4e, the skills system became "one size for all genres". 

 

It didn't have to.

 

It could have said "where languages are a minor game issue, a simple Linguistics skill will do.  In games where they are highly relevant, the very granular Language Tree can be used.  Supers can get by with one Detective Work skill, where a police procedural game will need a more granular breakdown.

 

Maybe we need something even more granular and step-by-step for real "game focus" elements.  A Social Combat system for high court intrigue, a Medical Research and Treatment model for those tense dramas where the doctors work to identify, then treat, the ailment, or a Legal Combat system for courtroom dramas.  In some games, our very granular combat system could be reduced to "Brawling skill" - make an opposed check to determine who wins the fistfight.  Oh, you have a switchblade?  That's a +2 bonus.  Maybe our Medieval Royal Court Intrigue game features Brawling, Dueling, Swordplay and Archery.   Assassination or Poisoning could be in there as well.  If it's not a focal point, it does not need to be as granular.

 

But that works a lot better when the system is in the background, and we play games designed with the system, then when the main rules need to cover every possible permutation and combination for all possible genres, subgenres and specific games.

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1 hour ago, eepjr24 said:

I don't think any of those are someone I would use without some modifications, if at all. But they don't mean that the ruleset is bad or that a new GM can't pick up the game from them. Could they be better? For sure. 

 

There are things I would love to change about every version of the game that I have played. But so far, 6e is doing the best from a ruleset perspective. Does it need something to make it easier for new GM's? Yes. Some nicely made modules targeted at that would be great.

Regarding the cultural / sensitivity issues - the product released in 1989 shouldn't be less problematic than the flagship product of 2012.  Likewise, the rules of 2012 should be more streamlined and efficient than the rules of 1989.

 

Every ruleset appeals to different demographics.  My argument is that Champions Complete, while being a huge improvement from the 6E corebooks in terms of presentation, does not achieve the goal listed on the back of the book.  It is not "an excellent purchase for first time players".  The example villains are worse than the 4E versions.  Two of the villains that show the designers haven't learned anything about cultural issues in 30+ years.  The mechanics for the villains are problematic and not something a new GM can pick up and use quickly.  Even the archetype choices for those villains are odd - a mentalist (one of the rarest character types) is included, but no brick?  Cheshire Cat, despite a poor portrayal of mental illness, is a better villain choice than Green Dragon, who has even worse cultural issues and confusing mechanics.  Armadillo would be a better choice than Arrowhead, as he covers the Brick and Energy Projector rolls without overwhelming a new GM with choices.  There should also be more than 5 examples - there's always Pulsar, the supremely overconfident villain that most groups enjoy taking down a peg.

 

Now, for a person who has experience with HERO, Champions Complete is a decent book.  The character creation section is much better than the one in the original 6E book, and aside from one puzzling design choice involving Growth (why refer the person to a completely different section of the book for that power, but not for Density Increase or Shrinking?), it has no big issues.  However, if the goal is to get someone to play Hero who hasn't played before, it's got problems.  It also doesn't have enough material to run a game.  In contrast, the BBB had an entire Campaign Book built into it with multiple adventures.  I could quibble about the quality of the adventures included - VIPER's Nest is a much better starting campaign - but it at least gave a framework for a new GM to use.

 

I think 4E struck the best balance between playability and complexity.  That said, I've played all the versions since 3E, and my system of choice for Hero is 5E.  If I had the time and money to redesign things, I'd look at making something along the lines of a 4.5E - either 4E taking mechanical improvements from 5E, or 5E ruthlessly edited down to be more like 4E in presentation without a bloated word count.  I don't think figured characteristics are a problem other than the fact that the primary characteristic costs don't properly take them into account.  Of course, there are things we have learned over the decades that could be changed in the system if it received a revamp.  Ditch the complicated Language chart (which remains in Champions Complete), add in a workable metacurrency that is an improvement over Heroic Action Points, etc.

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Do you think the point jump from 250 to 250 in 5th or from 350 to 400 in 6th was a mistake?
Would we be better off with a lower point Champions U?

 

I think so, yes.  Rebuilding old characters from 1-4th edition over the years, it became clear that 300-325 was plenty to build a solid beginning character, and I encourage GMs to follow those guidelines more than the 400 point one.

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17 minutes ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

 

I think so, yes.  Rebuilding old characters from 1-4th edition over the years, it became clear that 300-325 was plenty to build a solid beginning character, and I encourage GMs to follow those guidelines more than the 400 point one.

I think the lower level (street level heroic to high powered heroic) benefited more from the point bumps but agree with the supers genre being a bit high for me, especially for a starting out superhero. Works well for more of the established super with a few years under their belt though.

 

- E

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12 hours ago, Jhamin said:

 

Do you think the point jump from 250 to 250 in 5th or from 350 to 400 in 6th was a mistake?

 

 

Ooh! Good question!

 

Obviously there is no correct answer, as it is an opinion poll, but I will offer you my own opinions, briefly:

 

Was it a mistake?

 

No.

 

Do I like it?

 

Also no.

 

I see the validity of it: there are more options and powers and skills-- there are more things you can spend points on than ever before.  Some of them are pretty pricey: Desolidification was once a movement power, bought in increments to a point you felt was appropriate for your character.  Now its 40 points, period.  I will spare a long discussion of all the little xhanges and how they add up and skip to why I don't think it was a bad idea.  :lol:

 

The end goal of any company is growth, and at a bare minimum, long-term survival.  The goal of gamers is more gamers: more players, more GMs, more opportunities for games, discussion, friends, etc.  Both of these require new customers for the company.  Champions /HERO has a bottomless complexity, _once you really learn the system_.

 

Experienced pkayers know how to design the "just right thing," using various modifiers to control costs and create specific game effcts relatively inexpensively by focusing on the individual aspects they want (and negotiation skills with the GM).  "Shrinking: only to reduce mass" is a build I remember approving years ago, but I no longer remember the particulars.  There was a simialr thing with density increase for the same character, but it doesn't matter for this conversation.

 

Anyway, this fine tuning- the skills and know-how to get exactly what you want and increase your cost-efficiency come with practice, and nothing but practice.

 

Upping the points makes it easier for new players to build the character they see in their heads: he can fly, so I will buy flight.  He shouts beams of solar radiation, so I will buy Blast.

 

No modifiers, no fractions, no multipowers and VPPs-- no complications at all.

 

Thus, I dont think its a bad idea.  I dobt like it because it lets us old hands really, really ramp up the power level, and in a hurry.  :lol:  however, I can let it slide simpky because eveeyone has to learn, and there really ia a lot more to spend points on these days.

 

I would have preferred to have seen a talk covering the value of higher piints for new players or simpler builds, and regulating points up or down in later campaigns as pkayers gained experience, but likely that would have added more words, so I am quite content to keep my disappointment personal, and not find fault with the book(s).    :lol:  

 

 

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On 3/17/2021 at 9:56 AM, ihollaway said:

Haven't played HERO since 3rd/4th edition era, but thinking about picking it back up.

Is it worthwhile to upgrade to 6th?  What kind of improvements have been made to the game?  How different are the mechanics?

(If there is already a Topic on this, apologies.)

 

There are alot of opinions on the various Hero Games versions so I won't add yet another. 6th adds alot of things, but by that standard, also makes it slower to learn: the two college-size books of the 6th ed Hero System is a bit much. Ultimately, I guess the question to you comes down to: do you like more complex character builds or simpler ones?

 

Btw, if you decide to go the 6th edition route, get the PDF - the binding on the 6th edition hardcovers was awful.

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The other side of 5e/6e is the power creep that started in the late 4e era.

 

For example, superheroes have to be tougher to be able to deal with agents these days. That can tend to bend character conceptions. A "Batman" type needs to be more of a mini-brick these days.

 

In a more dangerous "world", you need to build accordingly. That needs more points, whether or not that is logical.

 

Unfortunately, that just reinforces the process.

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9 hours ago, Hugh Neilson said:




The only 10 point skill I recall was Acrobatics, which came bundled with DCV bonuses.





I think Find Weakness was also a skill in 1e, and 10 pts, but yeah.

But I've sometimes thought a 5, 10, and maybe higher level of broad, consolidated skill might have worked...
 


9 hours ago, Hugh Neilson said:

To have a generic system, we need to account for levels of granularity. 
 





One thing Chapions! had done really well was handle diminishing marginal utility and allowing vastly different conceptual levels of power to coexist in a campaign or scene while retaining some relevance. That latter is Hero Doubling. The 8d Martial Kick skilled-normal superhero and the 18d EB (1000x more powerful!) Cosmic Guardian superhero can be in the same fight and both be relevant. Contrast that with the low and high-level characters in D&D or freak'n 'scale changes' in others. The former is the way being able to do one thing really well is actually worth quite a lot, but being able to do a second quite similar thing about as well really isn't worth much more - multipowers neatly addressed that (Linked addressed it much less neatly).
At least, it's always done it well with power f/x, and buying powers, characteristics, and skill levels.

Skills, though, outside of levels, I feel it kinda lost it's way. Though, things like Scholar & Scientist worked, a bit, in that direction.

Of course, with, non-granular skills and 4e-style levels, you could still get granular. if "Doctor" was any medical check, you could still have a more granular medical-drama game where relatively low-pt characters have very different talents and specialities based on their 1-pt levels with specic procedurs and 2-point levels with specific specialities, to really stretch the point on the low end.

More reasonably, though, a skill pyramid with a handful of 10 point sills covering basically everything you could ever do with skills, each 'breaking down' in to a handful 5 point skills, each encompasing a few 3 point skills, and an open-ended plethora of 2-pt skills and 1-pt familiarities, could work, prettymuch regardless of genre. In a superhero genre, high-point heros tend towards being Scientists like Dr Who and Detectives in the sense of Sherlock Holmes, whil much-lower point genres all skills are at the 1 & 2 point level. The neat bit is a given superhero might have a few 1 or 2 or 3 point skills for a specific interest here or there, but if they buy a number of them, it becomes pointless not to just buy the next-level up 3 or 5 point skill. OTOH, I'm such a fan of 5pt Hero-Doubling, I'd rather like skills to be like, your first two skills are 5pt each. For 5 more points, pick two more skills... etc... ;)

Anyway, way off topic...

...somewhat on topic, though apropos of little, I'm afraid: it's interesting that the first 4 editions of Campions! happend in less than 10 years, that 4th (& thus Hero System) lasted more than 10 years, and the next two (two-and-a-half)? have covered almost 20 years....


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For the most part the game plays pretty much the same as it did in the older editions.  The biggest change is probably the stun multiplier for KA, which is a good thing.  It used to be that the single most powerful 60 point power was the 4d6 RKA.  With a good roll it could take down just about any character.  The second thing would be the new power damage negation which I also think is a good addition.  It allows you to basically pay to be able to ignore a certain amount of damage classes.  

 

The elimination of figured characteristics is also a good thing.   Sure it cost more but it leads to better characters.  Now there is less reason to buy up certain stats just to save points.  CON is the biggest example of this.  It used to be that everyone bought up CON as high as they could to save points on the figured stats.  STR was not quite as bad but it did lead to most characters being bricks or at least having brick like stats.  It does mean that stats cost more, but you get more points so it works out to be about the same.  The only exception is that purchasing the base stats just to get the figured stats no longer works.  So some characters who exploited the cost savings of the figured stats will be less powerful.

 

Advantages and limitations have changed a little.  In general there are more options to refine how you purchase things.  For example now the advantage for an area of effect is based on how large an area it covers.  This allows you to get more powerful attacks with a smaller area.  There are more options for having an attack that works against different defenses.  Now if the defense is the same level or rareness it does not cost anything.  

 

Disadvantages have been replaced by complications.  Complications don’t give you any points, but you are required to take a certain amount of complications.   The amount of complications you need is a lot less than the maximum disadvantages used to be.  For example a standard super hero is built on 400 points and has to have 75 points in complications.  I think this allows a GM to actually use the complications more than in the previous editions.  When you had half a page of disadvantages it was hard for the GM to really use them without seeming like he was picking on the character.  To me this is one of the best things about 6th edition.  

 

As I said if you have played Hero system before it will not be that different.  The game plays pretty much like it did in earlier editions.  The biggest difference will be in character creation.  Once the characters are created they actual play will be very similar to older editions.   In short I would highly recommend going to 6th edition.  
 

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One advantage of some the builds of say Shriner is that it does show how diverse of a build can be plus show off SFX and mechanics. Now first time players? Yeah they may be to complicated.

 

Perhaps we should have a friendly contest? People write up 309 pt version of the sample characters from CC? 

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15 hours ago, Opal said:

Of course, with, non-granular skills and 4e-style levels, you could still get granular. if "Doctor" was any medical check, you could still have a more granular medical-drama game where relatively low-pt characters have very different talents and specialities based on their 1-pt levels with specic procedurs and 2-point levels with specific specialities, to really stretch the point on the low end.

 

I've considered a variation of this. The base skill would remain unchanged. As a toolkit option, the GM could decide that characters using the skill would need additional Familiarities or face a penalty. For example, in a Pulp game, the Survival skill might work in all environments. In a gritty post-apocalyptic game, a character might need a KS for each climate type or face a -3 penalty. A superhero campaign would not need additional detail for Forensic Medicine, but a police procedural would.

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An option could possibly be meta-skills, you take this and get all these bundled and assumed.  For example: Detective gets PS Detective, KS: Detective work, Deduction, Conversation, etc.  That way people can take packages of skills without having a 9 yard character sheet, and maybe give them a cost break for consistent concept and building to theme.  The problem is that if you spend 30 points on skills they aren't nearly as useful to you in most games as 30 points in, say, resistant defenses.

 

It got so bad in 5th that I was buying street detective types with an elemental control to trim the cost down a little.  Cheesy and questionable, but it made the characters more eqivalent.

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Not Hero,  but I recall a game some time back where the players could define multiple traits of their character, like "big,burly dude", "ace archer" or "detective".  If you were the "detective", you made a normal roll for anything falling under that skill set. 

 

Unless someone else had a more specific trait.  Say, Shadowing.  In that case, the Shadowing character got a normal roll, and your detective took a penalty, in Shadowing a target.

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Just getting back into Champions/Hero myself, and went out and bought a 4th Edition BBB AND a Champions Complete.  Being a fan of simpler write-ups, I seem to be leaning towards 4th...but I find the explanations provided with 6th (Complete) to be quite helpful.

IMHO, if it takes more than one sheet of paper to stat up a character, you're probably working harder than a Hollywood script writer.

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I recently picked up OSE (Old School Essentials) a Basic/Expert D7D retro-clone, part of the 'Old School Revival' of harkening back to the 'simpler' days of gaming.

 

No sooner had it been brought out than they add an 'Advanced' option ruleset...

 

Human beings are cyclic. The demograph of gamers has changed in the last couple of decades in that they are no longer hardcore wargamers or full-on Nerds (*) that come into the hobby. There are a lot more casual gamers from a mainstream non-gaming background that are keen to try out RPGs. In my experience, these players do not want complicated systems, so I would agree that something like 4E is going to be a draw.  Give them a couple of years though and the ones that are still in the hobby will probably be looking for more sophisticated/involved rules sets.

 

(* = being a Nerd I own that word with impunity).

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 In my experience, these players do not want complicated systems, so I would agree that something like 4E is going to be a draw.

 

I think its more presentation than content.  Nothing about 6th edition made Hero more complicated or difficult, it just made it more carefully detailed.  Losing figured characteristics made the math easier, and going from hexes to 2m areas is a push, because they're just hexes by another name.

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