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The Greatest American Hero


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I am really dating myself here.

 

There was a television show in the ealry 1980's on ABC about a man that was given a "spandex superhero" suit by aliens. It has many powers: Flight, speed, great strength, etc.

 

However, the guy lost the instruction booklet so wasn't able to completely use the suit.

 

Has anyone ever tried to make this up or do something like it for HERO?

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Re: The Greatest American Hero

 

Originally posted by Herolover

I am really dating myself here.

 

There was a television show in the ealry 1980's on ABC about a man that was given a "spandex superhero" suit by aliens. It has many powers: Flight, speed, great strength, etc.

 

However, the guy lost the instruction booklet so wasn't able to completely use the suit.

 

Has anyone ever tried to make this up or do something like it for HERO?

Just buy all the powers IIF (its not obvious that the suit is providing the power), and RSR: Int Roll or something along those lines. It maps out nicely to the -1 version of NCC which is activate but not control without being quite as random or GM-taxing.
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Originally posted by Herolover

Thanks for the info, but I am not really worried about making it up. That would be really easy to do as you point out. I am wondering if anyone has already made him up or if anyone has gamed anything along that lines.

Ah. No, not actually. Few players seem to like highly random characters.
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Man, I really liked that show! (I think the theme song was even topped the Pop charts for a while.)

 

I have never played this character, but I have always thought that it would be great role-playing. The character, obviously, is not that powerful, and at the start at least, his powers were pretty erratic, but it has a lot of humour potential. (I guess I wouldn't recommend him for a Dark Champions campaign.)

 

And how about that Agent of his?! What a character! He always cracked me up - he was so, so over the top! He'd make a GREAT sidekick!

 

Just my opinion. I will really be amazed if it turns out that no one has run this guy at some point or another.

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Dude, more grey hairs are poping out of my head, I feel so old now. That show was great, right up there with Misfits of Science.

 

I don't know anybody myself that has played that character or even one like it, most people in my group think activation rolls are a sign of a weak character and would rather play a NPC Punky Brewster.

 

And as for the heros FBI sidekick (if memory serves) remeber when he started eating dog biscuts all the time. Loved it!

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I just had another thought. Isn't it just SOOOO Eighties that the suit was difficult to operate and that you were screwed without the instruction manual? You know what that is? That is poor customer service. That's what that is.

 

I mean, the suit really should have an intuitive user interface, and it should have online, context-sensitive help available. (Maybe it could have a 'demo-mode' like Jackie Chan's suit in The Tuxedo.) The instruction manual should have been provided in PDF format, and anyway, the aliens should have checked back in with our hero after a few months to see how he was getting along. For that matter, how about a toll-free customer service number, a web site or even just an FAQ sheet?

 

This is obviously an expensive piece of hardware, so the manufacturer should really be willing to go the extra mile to make sure that the end user is getting everything out of it that they can. What about an extended maintenance agreement or periodic service checks? What about periodic updates or patches for the control software?

 

Finally, if you've got a piece of combat hardware like this which is difficult and non-intuitive to use, with many, many functions, the end user is liable to get killed in actual combat while he is trying to decide what to do.

 

If a company provided a product like this today, with that kind of support, they would be out of business (or bought out) within a year. These aliens might be very sophisticated technologically, but they obviously did not understand business.

 

You know, now that I think about it, our hero might have been equally screwed even if he'd managed to hang on to the manual. I mean, think back to the Eighties and what instruction manuals were like back then. An instruction manual was an afterthought - something the developer would throw together once he got the software to work - if he had time. And do you remember those manuals for Japanese products? Boy, could you tell that the writer was not a native English-speaker. At least those guys were human, though! Imagine trying to wade through an alien instruction manual!

 

I think if I were running this character today, I would probably spend most of my time bitching about the suit.:mad:

 

(Still and all I think it would be a great role-playing opportunity.)

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Re: The Greatest American Hero

 

Originally posted by Herolover

I am really dating myself here.

 

Hey now, I though tthis was one of those "don't ask, don't tell boards".

 

 

I remember the guy's name was Ralph Hinckley, but they had to change it to Hanley right after the Reagan asassination attempt. I used to watch it as straight action-adventure when I was like four years old.

 

Later on, when I saw it in reruns, I "got" it. Very funny show for its time. My favorite single scene was one where Ralph was attempting to use his retrocognition ability to see what had happened to a kidnapped teenage girl. In order to do this, he needed an article of her clothing. In this case, he was given a frilly nightie she had worn shortly before her abduction. Camera pans up to him, sitting on her bed, wearing the nightie over his costume, rubbing it against his cheek. Everyone else does spit take. Very funny, guess you had to be there.

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Originally posted by CarlSagan

The instruction manual should have been provided in PDF format, and anyway, the aliens should have checked back in with our hero after a few months to see how he was getting along.

Actually, the aliens did check back after a few months, and they issued him a new manual (no charge!). As soon as they left, he started reading it to see what he could do. "Wow, I can shrink?" So he zapped down to micro size. A "giant" ant startled him and he dropped the book and jumped away, growing back to normal size. But the manual didn't, and he couldn't remember how to shrink again.

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My favorite episodes (after the original kids in his class graduated the show really started to stink) were the ones where he met the first guy to have the alien suit and his sidekick. In this one it was revealed that the power of the suit eventually corrupted the original hero and they decided that Ralph having lost the manual was the only thing that might save him from the same fate. The other one was when the FBI character had a run in with a biker gang and git his ass handed to him, but then went and got his old bike out of storage and went after them. The FBI guy was tough and I always liked the interaction with the supporting cast. And yes, I know the lyrics to the theme song . . .

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Originally posted by CarlSagan

You know, now that I think about it, our hero might have been equally screwed even if he'd managed to hang on to the manual. I mean, think back to the Eighties and what instruction manuals were like back then.

Yeah - just like today's manuals (when they exist) plus instructions for use, a wiring diagram, parts list, and kernel dump. It wasn't until 1995 that obfuscated help files started replacing manuals and you had to wait for a third party to reverse-engineer the damn contraption and write a real manual.:P :p
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This is off topic, but someone mentioned one of my great pet peeves and I just can't let it pass.

 

I HATE help files. I foundly remember instruction manuals and hate that they have been replaced by help files. Few help files have ever really helped.

 

What they call instruction manuals now are just glorified installation methods, product requirements, and product specifications.

 

I now return you to your originally scheduled forum discussion.

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Originally posted by Herolover

I HATE help files. I foundly remember instruction manuals and hate that they have been replaced by help files. Few help files have ever really helped.

 

I feel your pain. All I can say is that we all know the good help applications (and the helpful manuals) and we remember how we felt about those. Likewise, we all remember the bad help files and how those made us feel.

 

I know I will get a lot of flame for saying this, but probably the best overall product documentation is done by Microsoft. Hey, maybe Microsoft is run by aliens!

 

Getting back to the topic at hand, I like that idea that the aliens wanted Ralph to lose the manual to keep him humble. Who were some of the other supporting characters? Ralph had a girlfriend, too, didn't he? I was a teenager when the show was on, and all I can remember is that she was pretty hot. :D

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Originally posted by CarlSagan

I feel your pain. All I can say is that we all know the good help applications (and the helpful manuals) and we remember how we felt about those. Likewise, we all remember the bad help files and how those made us feel.

 

I know I will get a lot of flame for saying this, but probably the best overall product documentation is done by Microsoft. Hey, maybe Microsoft is run by aliens!

 

Getting back to the topic at hand, I like that idea that the aliens wanted Ralph to lose the manual to keep him humble. Who were some of the other supporting characters? Ralph had a girlfriend, too, didn't he? I was a teenager when the show was on, and all I can remember is that she was pretty hot. :D

 

Ralph did indeed have a girlfriend in the show (played by Connie

Selleca), who IIRC was a lawyer of some sort, and eventually became

Mrs. Greatest American Hero towards the end of the series.

As to the students, I believe that Michael Pare was the "bad boy"

of the class, and that one of the female students was originally

on "Welcome Back Kotter" (I think her nickname on WBK was

"Hotsie Totsie").

 

Space Cadet :cool:

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Back on the original topic, "Did anyone ever play a character like this?"

 

I did!:)

Sort of.:eek:

(Pardon my lengthy post about my beloved character.;))

Rex Random, the most ordinary, meticulous, unexciting guy in the world, works in a lab.

His job is diagnostic testing, because he loves performing the same tests, over and over, and then comparing the results.

The Government captures a shapechanging alien.

They need to run some tests immediately, and Rex is the only one who knows how to operate the experimental bioscanner.

Due to an incredible series of coincidences, a huge power surge is sent through the scanner, just as the alien is strapped down, bathing Rex in a blast of unknown energies.

 

Rex is transformed into: Captain Chaotic!

 

Captain Chaotic has some enhanced Characteristics, and a big Multipower.

Every Turn a power is picked from the Multipower by the Random roll of a die, and that is the power he has for that Turn.

And, the list of powers was chosen at Random!

 

He could have a bunch of Flight, or Armor, or Regeneration, Telekineses, Teleportation, all kinds of stuff.

He never knows what until "Post Segment 12", and he just has to figure out how to work with whatever power he ends up with to get the job done.

 

Really fun to play.

 

He even has a battlecry:"Random Powers On!"

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