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Opinions on this review of Champions?

Scott Ruggels

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It seems to be the product of a distracted and disorganized mind. Perhaps not the target audience for Hero?


"There is no base mechanic. "


I think this is the most telling comment. And it's not all the author's fault, though they didn't even bother to mention what version of the game they're playing at the point they make this statement*, so I'm sure it's at least partly their fault. But, are the base mechanics hidden under the examples in some editions? Or too far in the back? (I don't know, really. I haven't  picked up the books in a while and done an actual front to back read through.) So, there may be something in the presentation of the material to look at.


I suspect this is a case of a poor reader not being serviced by rules that are a bit heavy in presentation in some editions. Also sounds like someone raised on modern "narrative" RPGs.** (I put "narrative" in scare quotes, b/c Champions was the first game I remember that actually had rules to give players and GMs story hooks. I was amazed by this, when I first saw limitations and advantages in 3rd (or 2nd?) edition.)




*The author mentions Fred, but doesn't actually state what edition they're reviewing. The complaints about the level of detailed examples in the rules seem to be more of a 6th thing to me, though.

**Plot twist: After reading to the end, it seems like they're familiar with some older systems, but have a preference for rules light systems. Which hero kind of is, if you boil it down, but most new players don't view it that way.


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There are base mechanics in Hero and they are reasonably intuitive.

A bell curve roll to determine success is a base mechanic.

For skills that is a straight-forward bell-curve roll against a target number.

For combat, there is a formula to reach the bell-curve target number.

But, its still a bell-curve roll and modifiers affect it accordingly.

The same is true of damage and defenses.

There are base DC costs and base defense costs and consistent interactions.

And modifiers to those (and all powers) follow a consistent formula.

The AP/RP math is delightfully straight-forward and easy to use.


Is Hero simple? No. Hero is complex. 

Is Hero linear? No. Hero uses a bell curve.

Is Hero closed? No. Hero is an open eco-system.


But, for all that, it has clear and consistent "base mechanics."

Though, "mechanics" might not be the right word. It has clear and consistent mathematics.

I have been saying hero is the DOS prompt of the RPG world rather than a GUI since pre-DOJ boards.

This review is like a Windows user saying DOS isn't a core mechanic.

DOS is what Windows runs on. Its just hidden way under the hood.

In Hero there is no hood. You are staring straight at the engine that makes it go.


In fact, I would argue Hero is more consistent than many games that claim to have "core mechanics."

Why? Because the math is internally consisted and you have to engineer everything to play.

In many other games a lot of rules are hand-waving and the art of what "felt right" to the designers.

That's not, in of itself, a "Bad Thing" (TM), but it is far closer to gaming art than gaming science.

Not everyone wants to code the game they are going to play.

This reviewer is clearly such a person.

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