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Could Rules for Hero Gaming System Be Getting To Complicated?


Gauntlet

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On 6/2/2024 at 8:22 AM, Hugh Neilson said:

The challenge for Hero is that they publish a game design system rather than games.  What we need are games "Powered by Hero System" that set the dials, provide some pre-fab abilities (for Supers, perhaps some template characters with a few embedded choices in them) and away we go.

 

Look at 5e D&D, for example.

 

You get this many points to spend on characteristics. Bundle some Hero characteristics into, say, 3-point packages and assign others (everyone gets a 3 SPD, for example), and you choose how much to invest in "Strength", "Agility", "Toughness", "Intelligence", "Wisdom" and "Presence".  The player does not need to know that "Toughness" is really CON, STUN, PD and ED bundled together, for example.

 

Pick a Race (it's just a template with a bundle of abilities for that specific race), a Background (another template with a few abilities) and a Class (another Template, this one with a few choices like Fighting Style, Spells or whatever).

 

If we assign 25 CP to "every character" abilities (a few baseline skills and proficiencies; that 3 SPD) everyone gets to raise Characteristics by 20 (60 character points, say with a hard cap of 20 for each characteristic), pick a race (maybe 25 Character Points), a Background (15 CP of abilities) and a Class (50 CP more abilities, with some choices to make) , we have a pretty 5e D&D model. Toss in some standard starting equipment for each Background and Class.

 

Provide a quickstart for standard choices for each element (e.g. to build an Elven Archer, select these Characteristics, the Elf race with these choices, this Background and the Warrior class, making these choices) and they have a quickstart similar to 5e D&D.

 

There's a decent, but likely sub-optimal and not very customized character - now start playing. If you want to be more of an optimizer and/or customizer, there are more choices in the game rules and maybe future supplements (much like D&D), or you can get the full Hero System and design new elements/redesign existing ones to your heart's content (not at all like D&D).

 

Make most of the customization optional so it's "not complicated", "just like D&D". How many D&D players actually play the non-complicated version? They'll be learning the Hero System in no time.

Narosia took this modular approach, picking up different chunks as you went though character building: races, stats, classes, etc. There were even Complications included. I thought it did pretty well as a starter setup for building a campaign and characters.

 

As I recall, it was structured to build Normal Heroes.

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On 6/3/2024 at 10:00 AM, Steve said:

Narosia took this modular approach, picking up different chunks as you went though character building: races, stats, classes, etc. There were even Complications included. I thought it did pretty well as a starter setup for building a campaign and characters.

 

As I recall, it was structured to build Normal Heroes.

 

That definitely is true, but I think the point is that we need more of it.

Edited by Gauntlet
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On 11/13/2023 at 12:00 PM, Chris Goodwin said:

You're right in that there's nothing but word of mouth out there, but that word of "mouth" is now spread electronically. 

 

I feel comfortable saying that there is no person getting into the HERO System who doesn't have access to either an experienced player -- otherwise whose mouth is the "word of" coming from? -- or the Internet in some way.  I'm happy to be proven wrong. 

I feel this is the BEST community for help, advice, feed back that I have ever had the privilege to be apart of and for the most part lurk and learn from.

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7 hours ago, Payback said:

I feel this is the BEST community for help, advice, feed back that I have ever had the privilege to be apart of and for the most part lurk and learn from.

 

I definitely have to agree, and even when someone is wrong, we have a tendency to learn from it and I very rarely see in this group people who get upset when they are wrong. Pretty much everyone takes it as a learning experience. 

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On 6/2/2024 at 5:22 PM, Hugh Neilson said:

The challenge for Hero is that they publish a game design system rather than games.  What we need are games "Powered by Hero System" that set the dials, provide some pre-fab abilities (for Supers, perhaps some template characters with a few embedded choices in them) and away we go.

 

[...]

What distinctive advantages does a "Powered by Hero System" game have compared with one built using a sensibly simpler game engine?

If you remove the high level of personalization provided by the build system which is the main strong point of the Hero System, the system.

 

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I agree that the complex stuff is front loaded with character creation, but that is the main thing about a system which can build most anything or any concept. So of course it will be more complicated then 'pick a class and these things are what you get' systems.

 

Could Hero follow the class path? Yes. Should they? I don't think so. But that is just me (and a few other people on this board).

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3 hours ago, Ermenegildo said:

What distinctive advantages does a "Powered by Hero System" game have compared with one built using a sensibly simpler game engine?

If you remove the high level of personalization provided by the build system which is the main strong point of the Hero System, the system.

 

The reality is that the customization features have not translated into sales.  The advantage would be a game playable out of the box, with the customizable elements available for those who value them, as an alternative to a GM having to build the game from scratch.

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I think having pre-built settings for use by GMs is a more useful approach.  Its not the customization that throws people away, its the Ikea store with all the parts to everything busted out of boxes and strewn all over the floor.  Technically you can make anything, but only if you have days or weeks to learn and study and toy around with it all.

 

Giving people a constructed setting, with adventures, for each genre makes getting into the system immensely easier.  Grab the campaign and go.  Learning the rules isn't that rough, we all did once.  Learning the rules, and making an entire universe, and building the characters for it, and making the adventures; that's the stopper.

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Packaging stuff so that it is ready to go isn’t terribly difficult “out of the box”. I went to a convention a few months back and signed up to play in a Champions game. We were told the setup, the GM pulled out Hero System Book of Templates I & II (this really felt good since he’d no idea I wrote them), players picked a setup, took ten minutes to tweak complications and away we went. 
 

In Heroic, like Victorian Hero, there are templates and then you have a few points to spend since it’s lower point totals. Off to the races. 
 

Having every new player learn to build a new character from scratch, a huge intellectual buy-in, then learn the game play rules (only moderate complexity), back to back, is overwhelming for many. This is especially true of newer gamers who cut teeth on things like 5E D&D. 


There are things that are packaged but I suspect many longtime Hero players don’t introduce the system that way. They don’t approach it from the position of no experience with the front loaded system. Many adamantly refuse to use anything they don’t create after a while (I’ve read the Discord posts), and likely this causes the system to not be taught with a newbie brain in mind. Experienced have the ability to overcomplicate things if they don’t come out the teaching with that in the forefront of their minds. Everything is trimmed, shaved, optimized, and complex to save two points. Which is fine but not out of the gate. 

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17 hours ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

I think having pre-built settings for use by GMs is a more useful approach.  Its not the customization that throws people away, its the Ikea store with all the parts to everything busted out of boxes and strewn all over the floor.  Technically you can make anything, but only if you have days or weeks to learn and study and toy around with it all.

 

Giving people a constructed setting, with adventures, for each genre makes getting into the system immensely easier.  Grab the campaign and go.  Learning the rules isn't that rough, we all did once.  Learning the rules, and making an entire universe, and building the characters for it, and making the adventures; that's the stopper.

 

I definitely have to agree with you. One of the major problems with the Hero system is that there aren't many pre-made adventures. There is a lot concerning the creation of different campaigns, but very little in the way of pick up a book and run the adventure, and many of the ones I have seen are not full adventures but ideas to create one. We need to start adding that to this game's repertoire. I believe that would make it much easier for new GMs and even new players. Would love to see people create more of these, even being a veteran using Hero I still would purchase them.

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To quote Hero Games Managment "Adventures Don't Sell". Which there pore bottom line says 'try selling adventures again and see if they sell'.

 

Then again, the user base for Hero is so low and new people are not coming to us there might not be any saving a whole bunch of adventures can do. Which makes it a self fulfilling prophesy. There are no new adventures because adventures don't sell. Adventures don't sell because there is no new blood coming into Hero. Adventures help the newcomers to Hero, as no new player and no new GM wants to be told 'your on your own.'

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58 minutes ago, Stanley Teriaca said:

Then again, the user base for Hero is so low and new people are not coming to us there might not be any saving a whole bunch of adventures can do. Which makes it a self fulfilling prophesy. There are no new adventures because adventures don't sell. Adventures don't sell because there is no new blood coming into Hero. Adventures help the newcomers to Hero, as no new player and no new GM wants to be told 'you’re on your own.'

What genre of adventure would you like to see, supers, fantasy, horror, etc.? Would you prefer individual standalone adventures and if so, how much are you willing to pay for what page count? If you like some one night adventures packaged together, how much would you be willing to pay for how many adventures?  Anybody please feel free to answer these questions because if adventures help you bring in your pals, I will see if I can maybe put that in my sights for upcoming stuff to put my energy into (I have already expanded and updated “Serve and Protect” from 3E to 6E as it is a great module to have the Protectors take the new kids under their wing and then become the villains. It can tug at the soul. 

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I do remember in D&D 2.0 back in the 70s and 80s there were a ton of prewritten game modules, and it was how we all learned to play the game. We pretty much always utilized them as it make things easier to have a quick game. I very much believe it was one of the things that made D&D so big.

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1 hour ago, Khymeria said:

feel

 

1 hour ago, Khymeria said:

What genre of adventure would you like to see, supers, fantasy, horror, etc.?

The answer is "yes". Or more accurately "all of the above and even more that I don't even know I wanted".

1 hour ago, Khymeria said:

 

Would you prefer individual standalone adventures and if so, how much are you willing to pay for what page count? If you like some one night adventures packaged together, how much would you be willing to pay for how many adventures?

Either if reasonably priced. About $3-$5 for a stand alone, between $8-$15 for grouping.

1 hour ago, Khymeria said:

 

 Anybody please feel free to answer these questions because if adventures help you bring in your pals, I will see if I can maybe put that in my sights for upcoming stuff to put my energy into (I have already expanded and updated “Serve and Protect” from 3E to 6E as it is a great module to have the Protectors take the new kids under their wing and then become the villains. It can tug at the soul. 

Having a new version of "Serve and Protect" would be cool.

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16 hours ago, Khymeria said:

What genre of adventure would you like to see, supers, fantasy, horror, etc.? Would you prefer individual standalone adventures and if so, how much are you willing to pay for what page count? If you like some one night adventures packaged together, how much would you be willing to pay for how many adventures?  Anybody please feel free to answer these questions because if adventures help you bring in your pals, I will see if I can maybe put that in my sights for upcoming stuff to put my energy into (I have already expanded and updated “Serve and Protect” from 3E to 6E as it is a great module to have the Protectors take the new kids under their wing and then become the villains. It can tug at the soul. 

 

It seems like what sells in the current gaming model are Adventure Paths.  While easier in the d20 "go from levels 1 to 20" model, this could also work for Hero.  [ASIDE:  between 2e and 3e D&D, leveling up became much quicker.  Does Hero need an accelerated XP to power characters up faster? Hero isn't as much the "zero to hero" model, so maybe not.]

 

A Champions AP could be an Avengers/JLA model, an X-Men homage, Street Level, Teen Heroes - pick a theme.  I'd probably try for a "Rookie powerful Supers coming together" vibe to riff off of Avengers as the first one.

 

An AP would set the dials, so it would fit the model of a game powered by the Hero system. 

Let's also remember it wasn't WOTC/Hasbro that brought D&D back to adventures. Paizo demonstrated the strength of the AP first.

Edited by Hugh Neilson
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That is the theory behind the Champions Rises project: an adventure path.  In this case its going to be more generic just beginner heroes finally defeat their big powerful nemesis.  And that would be the model that a Hero adventure path would follow, I think: finishing a story, achieving a goal, defeating an enemy.  The leveling thing is just the way for level-based systems to mark progress but I have noticed in multiple campaigns that with superheroes, people care less about getting more powerful than they do accomplishing goals or achieving something.

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1 hour ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

That is the theory behind the Champions Rises project: an adventure path.  In this case its going to be more generic just beginner heroes finally defeat their big powerful nemesis.  And that would be the model that a Hero adventure path would follow, I think: finishing a story, achieving a goal, defeating an enemy.  The leveling thing is just the way for level-based systems to mark progress but I have noticed in multiple campaigns that with superheroes, people care less about getting more powerful than they do accomplishing goals or achieving something.

 

We all should start working then...

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I generally think an "adventure book" should effectively be a plug-in mini campaign for a group.  Something to keep the players busy for 2 to 6 months.  

With regard to complexity, my only thought is that any "7th edition" should be written by new authors,  and not anyone involved in writing the last 3 editions.   

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On 6/16/2024 at 6:48 PM, Khymeria said:

I have already expanded and updated “Serve and Protect” from 3E to 6E as it is a great module to have the Protectors take the new kids under their wing and then become the villains. It can tug at the soul. 

 

Easily one of my favorite modules. I always wished Scott Heine would give us more peeks behind his campaign. ;)

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1 hour ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

He did a followup of sorts in a Haymaker adventure and some assorted related things in other articles as I recall.  I wanted Heine to rewrite Serve and protect so it gets a re release.

That would be so cool. I used it to start my campaign which is based in San Francisco, where I actually live, so it was perfect. The Protectors themselves are such a potent and interesting group, and adding in the slow twist to evil was great. I second your idea. 

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5 hours ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

He did a followup of sorts in a Haymaker adventure and some assorted related things in other articles as I recall.  I wanted Heine to rewrite Serve and protect so it gets a re release.

 

Have you reached out to him?

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If making a module for Fantasy Hero, would it be a good idea to set it up for just the base world for FH or try to set it up for a number of different published Fantasy Hero worlds?

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