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Looking at things differently

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Before I start, I should apologise, this is likely to be long and rambling. I am visiting my wife's mother, so I often lie in bed in the morning, delaying getting up and thinking.


Today my thinking is about HERO (recently it has all been about Baldurs Gate!).


HERO is a detail game and we build characters to have game effect.  It is seen as a difficult game because there is so much detail and new folk find it difficult to make effective characters.


I have been wondering whether that is because we start with everyman stuff and begin adding to it.


What if we started with a Hero?


If the focus was on game effect, then your standard hero would go, for example, five times a round, hit 60% of the time doing, on average, 15 STUN through defences and moves 20m.


You define your schtick, your attacks are because you are Strong, or because you have eye beams etc etc


You could then add "upgrades".  The first half dozen are "free", you could hit more people at once, move faster, have more actions, improve your defences, extend your attacks (versus different defences, more effective versus heavy armour, etc). You could add movement, add senses, add various things.


If you want more upgrades, you make compromises.  These can either be limiting the effectiveness of existing powers or taking on complications.


I wonder, perversely, if this focus on effectiveness would bring more attention to the powers rather than the mechanics. It would mean the players would have a big signpost to a standard that they deviate from rather than a base level they need to build from.


It would lend itself to big books of upgrades! 🙂 I can imagine the Ultimate Speedster book having lists of upgrades and compromises.


Obviously, those upgrades and compromises would all be coated and built (for the GM) rather than being black boxes like other games.


That's it.  An idea for a new way to play the build a character.  No other changes. And focussed on new players not existing experts...



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How different would this be from the Mutants and Masterminds approach (emulated a bit, I think, in Champions Complete) of providing template characters.


The main difference I perceive would be taking this one step further to package up "upgrades" and "compromises" as pre-fab packages, rather than making the player hunt around for +2d6 Blast or -1 SPD.


I think this would be another example of a "game powered by Hero", as it requires setting campaign defaults, maximums and even minimums (assuming each upgrade and compromise can be taken only once, or only X times).  Games, not just a game design system, are needed to attract new players and GMs.

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I will have a go.  I think the key issue, like Hugh says, is that it demands a generic campaign setting with a lot of dials set to begin with.


I might see if I could mock up what the default would look like, the "everyHERO" baseline.  Then provide a finalised version.


The more I think about it, the more I think we would need several starting points - Brick, Mentalist, Martial Artist, Energy Projector etc.


I would need to sit down and deliver possibly 250 point "everyHERO" templates.


I need to find the time.  Wish I was retired!

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This gets back to something that we've discussed before, a unified standard for the Hero Universe.


It would require all official Hero products to be examined and modified by a common editorial standard. There can and will be variation but there would need to be a consensus on levels of play like High and Low Fantasy, Heroic Adventuring (Westerns, Espionage, Black Ops, etc.), Beginning, Standard, High Power and Galactic Supers/ Magic campaigns and the spectrum of Martial Arts. And these editors would need real control over the ranges of what is allowed to be labelled as each.


Not a change of the game per se but a change in editorial direction. You can still have Dr. Destroyer and the Geodesics in the same universe, but they would not appear in the same product.

Edited by Grailknight
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