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What do you need to have in order to play the game?


Doc Shadow
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Re: What do you need to have in order to play the game?

 

Half a mo, while I check something..........

 

Yes. Refering to this post:

 

http://www.herogames.com/forums/showpost.php?p=1546556&postcount=14

 

It sounds to me like PH sells on par with the other genre books. It's the supplements which are selling well below the projections, which I expect were based on Pulp Hero's sales numbers vis-a-vis the other lines and their Genre book-to-supplement ratios.

 

If I'm reading this correctly, it seems as though the sales numbers for the PH supplements are drastically lower than expected. Lower than they should be, even factoring in the sales volume of Pulp Hero itself.

 

I think it is just a matter that Pulp fans are even more likely to want to run their own world than other fans, and just want the genre book to get them started. Heck, I wouldn't be surprised if a higher than normal percentage of Pulp Hero sales were to people that don't play HERO and just wanted it as a sourcebook for another system. :)

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Re: What do you need to have in order to play the game?

 

Half a mo, while I check something..........

 

Yes. Refering to this post:

 

http://www.herogames.com/forums/showpost.php?p=1546556&postcount=14

 

It sounds to me like PH sells on par with the other genre books. It's the supplements which are selling well below the projections, which I expect were based on Pulp Hero's sales numbers vis-a-vis the other lines and their Genre book-to-supplement ratios.

 

If I'm reading this correctly, it seems as though the sales numbers for the PH supplements are drastically lower than expected. Lower than they should be, even factoring in the sales volume of Pulp Hero itself.

 

Pulp Hero has been considered by many to be a great reference for Pulp genre gaming in general. As such, it has sold well to those who don't play Hero. I'm not so sure that the sourcebooks have gotten the same word of mouth.

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Re: What do you need to have in order to play the game?

 

In all the time you've been gaming and all the games, and game systems, you've played?

 

If so, then consider yourself quite remarkable.

 

Most GMs I've known have always used pre-published material, both settings and characters. They tweak things to suit their individual styles and campaign ideas, and add their own material to flesh things out some more; but most of them are more than willing to use the pre-published material as a starting point at least.

 

 

The last pre published setting any of our group has used was for D&D back in college. in the late 70s After that everyone made their own worlds. maybe stole a little here and there but made their own worlds.

Now we ate up the GURPS 3rd edition genre books and the ICE/HERO classic campaign series ( got most of both) but just used as inspiration. I'd probably buy adventures if published but the PDFs are fine for adventures ( which I modify like crazy anyway.)

 

Can I be remarkable too?

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Re: What do you need to have in order to play the game?

 

In all the time you've been gaming and all the games, and game systems, you've played?

 

If so, then consider yourself quite remarkable.

 

Most GMs I've known have always used pre-published material, both settings and characters. They tweak things to suit their individual styles and campaign ideas, and add their own material to flesh things out some more; but most of them are more than willing to use the pre-published material as a starting point at least.

 

This is recently. The long running Champions game that I cut my teeth on was totally original. As was my own supers game, and then I did Kazei 5. And... some of the other supers games were all original as well. I know of several Star Trek campaigns which did fairly well, as well as some attempts at Firefly. I did run Silent Mobius Zeta, but as with Star Trek, the setting existed, but the material was all developed on our own. I did play in a WOD setting using Hero, and I know of two short-lived supers campaigns that used the CU.

 

Most of the people I know want to create their world, not use someone else's.

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Re: What do you need to have in order to play the game?

 

My experience as an older gamer (well, 27 years older than I was when I started), is that I just miss when some new book comes out. I'm busy, I don't hit the gaming stores that often, and they just slip right by me. I got caught up on Hero for my 40th, just went into the local shop with a list from the website and dropped hundreds on thier stuff. The next year, I realized I hadn't picked up any Hero books in a whole year - I also had hardly read any of the one's I'd 'just' bought. But, I tried to do the same only to find that they'd stopped carrying Hero.

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Re: What do you need to have in order to play the game?

 

Next is Ninja Hero, while technically a genre book, it has probably been used more as a martial arts sourcebook by players of the other lines. Also to my knowledge it was intended to be a stand-alone book, not the start of a new line. It has no setting nor villain books.

Finally we come to Post Apocalyptic Hero. I don’t own this yet but it looks like: No setting. No people. Sales on the weak side, and with the upcoming 6E re-start, probably doomed to be another stand-alone.

So there you have it. Hero’s successes have all followed the pattern of rules/setting/people, and their failures seem to come when they deviate from it. Now I’m not saying that deviating from the formula is the only cause for a line’s weak sales, but it does seem to be a common element they all share.

 

You seem to be utterly unaware of what's actually IN the books.

 

Pulp Hero's setting is in the Pulp Hero Book .... notably the almost 200 pages of Chapters 2 and 3.

 

Post-Apocalyptic was never intended to have a line, it was a one-off. and FYI it contains eight settings in it. Granted none of them are as detailed as, say, the CU. But they are settings regardless.

 

Ninja Hero was also a one-off with no intended line. It has several settings and several villains included in it.

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Re: What do you need to have in order to play the game?

 

You seem to be utterly unaware of what's actually IN the books.

 

Pulp Hero's setting is in the Pulp Hero Book .... notably the almost 200 pages of Chapters 2 and 3.

 

Post-Apocalyptic was never intended to have a line, it was a one-off. and FYI it contains eight settings in it. Granted none of them are as detailed as, say, the CU. But they are settings regardless.

 

Ninja Hero was also a one-off with no intended line. It has several settings and several villains included in it.

 

NH has 5 capsule settings and 16 sample characters, including Wong Fei Hong, and Pretty Soldier Waitress X.

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Re: What do you need to have in order to play the game?

 

Most of the people I know want to create their world' date=' not use someone else's.[/quote']I can second that. I want to create my own settings. I just generally take an existing one and liberally modify it to my needs. I don't have the time or creative impetus to do wholesale creation anymore. Funny, when I did have the time, I had no players and no reason. Now that I have players, and thus a reason, I have no time. Talk about frustrating.
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Re: What do you need to have in order to play the game?

 

Spence, it occurs to me that about the same time the buying of modules dropped off, was when the fanbase started shrinking. Do you think that might have had something to do with it?

 

On the other hand it could have been simple oversaturation of the market. Still, I think the paradigm of rules/setting/people is the correct one for a new game. For a game that already comes with an established world that the players are familiar with, somewhat less so.

I think the modules started drying up because the player base started shrinking (since' date=' after all, modules will generally sell only to a subset of players -- i.e., GMs), not the other way around. :)[/quote']
But Derek, isn't this sort of like the comparison of, "Which came first, the chicken or the egg? I think that it is pretty much a good bet that one is dependent on the other, both contributing to the demise of the other.

 

Wouldn't you agree?:confused:

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Re: What do you need to have in order to play the game?

 

Because more people play Champions and FH. :)

 

For example, let's say Hero Games needs to sell 2000 copies of a book to make it profitable (I know nothing about actual sales numbers, so this is a complete guess).

 

If 40,000 people play Champions, then only one Champions player in 20 needs to buy a book to make it profitable. If 10,000 people play FH, then one FH player in 5 needs to buy a book. But if 4000 people play PH, then fully half of them have to buy the book.

 

It seems clear from past trends that, for the HERO System, some genres will support a busy supplement schedule (Champions), some will support a cautious supplement schedule (Fantasy HERO), and some won't support much beyond the genre book itself (all the other genres).

Sure Derek, you make a very valid point, but something you must consider...

 

Is the reason that you only have, as you put it, 4000 people who play Pulp Hero because of the "interest in the genre", or is it because (as Doc Shadow and I have discussed) because of the fact that there is no "point of reference", as it were for the players to utilize... as discussed in the model the Doc Shadow had put forth in the initial post?:confused:

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Re: What do you need to have in order to play the game?

 

You seem to be utterly unaware of what's actually IN the books.

 

Pulp Hero's setting is in the Pulp Hero Book .... notably the almost 200 pages of Chapters 2 and 3.

 

Post-Apocalyptic was never intended to have a line, it was a one-off. and FYI it contains eight settings in it. Granted none of them are as detailed as, say, the CU. But they are settings regardless.

 

Ninja Hero was also a one-off with no intended line. It has several settings and several villains included in it.

I think that the point he (Doc Shadow) is trying to make is to give the player some "jumping-off point", as it were. Lets look back to Pulp Hero's previous incarnation... shall we?

 

Did we not get Lands of Mystery for the game Justice, Inc.? It gave a perfect example of a "lost world romance" setting for a pulp-genre campaign... did it not?:confused:

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Re: What do you need to have in order to play the game?

 

Sure Derek, you make a very valid point, but something you must consider...

 

Is the reason that you only have, as you put it, 4000 people who play Pulp Hero because of the "interest in the genre", or is it because (as Doc Shadow and I have discussed) because of the fact that there is no "point of reference", as it were for the players to utilize... as discussed in the model the Doc Shadow had put forth in the initial post?:confused:

 

Given the fact that almost every Pulp RPG ever published has been a failure in terms of sales -- despite the love many hardcore gamers (including game designers) have for it -- I'd have to say it's a lack of interest in the genre. Which is a bummer, because I'm one of those hardcore gamers who loves pulp, and I've bought many of those poorly-selling pulp RPGs and supplements. :)

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Re: What do you need to have in order to play the game?

 

But Derek' date=' isn't this sort of like the comparison of, "Which came first, the [i']chicken[/i] or the egg? I think that it is pretty much a good bet that one is dependent on the other, both contributing to the demise of the other.

 

Wouldn't you agree?:confused:

 

Not really... because it was the increasing inability of modules (and I'm speaking here specifically of adventure modules) to sell that caused fewer of them to be produced. Many RPG companies took a bath on tons of unsold modules in the mid-late 1980's after the RPG market started falling off. So the modules' lack of sales caused their slowdown in production. And that lack of sales followed dropoffs in the number of RPG players in general and (especially) numbers of new RPG players in particular. It seems pretty clear that the shrinking player base caused the falloff in sales, which in turn caused the slowdown in production...

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Re: What do you need to have in order to play the game?

 

You seem to be utterly unaware of what's actually IN the books.

 

Pulp Hero's setting is in the Pulp Hero Book .... notably the almost 200 pages of Chapters 2 and 3.

 

Post-Apocalyptic was never intended to have a line, it was a one-off. and FYI it contains eight settings in it. Granted none of them are as detailed as, say, the CU. But they are settings regardless.

 

Ninja Hero was also a one-off with no intended line. It has several settings and several villains included in it.

 

And you seem utterly unaware of what a setting is.

 

Chapters two and three are not a setting. They are a history and geography lesson, designed to teach us something about an era that none of us have lived in. They are far too broad to be a setting. A setting is an in depth presentation of a game world or, more often, a specific location in a game world, done with an eye toward making this location the center of action where the game will take place and providing the players and GM with all the information needed to do this. Hudson City 1935 would have been a setting, Chapters 2 and 3 of PH were not.

 

And I had already stated that Ninja Hero was a stand alone, and admitted that I haven't read Post-Apocalyptic Hero. Not my cup of tea really. If it was always intended as a stand alone, then I supposed the micro-settings are as good as it gets.

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Re: What do you need to have in order to play the game?

 

Steve has said repeatedly said that the intended setting for PH was included in the book.

Regardless of how You define the word "Setting"

 

I'll also note that the first setting book for FH was the third book after the genre to be released. Had Grimoire I and MMM done as badly in sales as the two Pulp books I'm sure we would never have seen that one either.

 

They didn't break any formula. Pulp just doesn't sell way beyond a certain point - which is usually book one. Read around, Everyone's Pulp books are doing badly.

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Re: What do you need to have in order to play the game?

 

Another reason why I prefer my own settings -- I'm not all that impressed with any of the official pre-published settings. Turakain Age is too dry and too much of a D&D derivative. Valdorian Age has a lot to like about it, but I'd probably use it to run something set in the Hyborian Age. Alien Wars lacks any pizazz. Steve has said the idea was WWI in space, but I don't want that -- I want hover tanks and powerguns and M41-A pulse rifles. Terran Empire? I'd splice it into Traveler Hero and go from there. Tuala Morn? That's a setting with flavor! But I'd pull it out of the official DOJ timeline and turn it back Ireland. Pulp Hero? I'd splice it to Hollow Earth Expedition. The CU? I'll make my own supers world, thanks. Hudson City as the presumed setting for any sort of Cyber Hero book? Two words and 10 years of work: "Kazei 5."

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Re: What do you need to have in order to play the game?

 

I'm another one of those people that runs my own setting, and get annoyed at the bits of pre-published settings my co-GMs have brought in.

 

Since it's only been 20 years, instead of 30, though, I guess that ranks me only as "Excellent" instead of "Remarkable".

 

One thing that does occur to me is that "Pulp" by itself isn't a genre, it's a medium. calling them "pulp novels" is a nicety instead of calling them "stories printed in magazines on crappy paper."

 

Champions is a super-hero game, not necassarily a "comic book hero" game. It can be. It probably is most of the time. But the super heroic genre extends beyond comics.

 

Pulp Hero is about heroes from a particular time who were largly printed in the same medium, but technically include multiple genres. Buck Rogers is both "Pulp Hero" ans "Star Hero". Doc Savage and Green Lama are both "Champions" and "Pulp Hero". The Shadow and Black Bat are both "Dark Champions: TAS" and "Pulp Hero". Tarzan, Ka-zar, and Ki-gor are all "Pulp Hero" and... I don't know some hypothetical "Jungle Hero".

 

By its nature, Pulp Hero is more about a time and a style that can extend beyond a single genre. Indiana Jones is a Pulp Hero character who never appeared in the pulps!

 

I think that because of this, for those people playing Pulp Hero, I think the likelihood that they are using their own setting is even greater because the published setting isn't going to be as useful for every Pulp-and-something-else genre.

 

I also suspect, that because the "Pulp Era" is a period of time that was ending before 1950, and because of the poor way history is taught in the U.S. that its an era that most gamers don't have quite as much of a grasp of. I like the pulp era, but my actual exposure to pulp novels are the three Green Lama and one Black Bat story I've read (and the first eighth of one Shadow story.) In theory, I could see where it would make setting books more important, but in practice I suspect it limits the number of people who are interested in them.

 

But that's just my $0.02.

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Re: What do you need to have in order to play the game?

 

On another note. If I catch the premise of the OP - the idea that producing a Setting Book will help a line sell - is false.

 

Star Hero has 2 Setting books (I'll note only Champions has 1 setting to it's name), and the sales of it's non-genre book have been bad enough that future SH books have either been delayed, canceled or not even brought up. CyberHero is noted for being a StarHero sub-genre book (Steve has stated it would go under that line) and it was delayed so long it's now a 6E consideration only. Steve has repeatedly mentioned the research investment has made it untenable - and Cyber is one of the "classic" gamer genres.

 

That right there should tell us something.

 

Producing a Setting book is not a magic bullet to help a line out.

There is no formula to deviate from either. To paraphrase the Writers Rules:

 

"The are three rules to writing a perfect best selling novel. No one knows what they are."

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Re: What do you need to have in order to play the game?

 

On another note. If I catch the premise of the OP - the idea that producing a Setting Book will help a line sell - is false.

 

Star Hero has 2 Setting books (I'll note only Champions has 1 setting to it's name), and the sales of it's non-genre book have been bad enough that future SH books have either been delayed, canceled or not even brought up. CyberHero is noted for being a StarHero sub-genre book (Steve has stated it would go under that line) and it was delayed so long it's now a 6E consideration only. Steve has repeatedly mentioned the research investment has made it untenable - and Cyber is one of the "classic" gamer genres.

 

That right there should tell us something.

 

Producing a Setting book is not a magic bullet to help a line out.

There is no formula to deviate from either. To paraphrase the Writers Rules:

 

"The are three rules to writing a perfect best selling novel. No one knows what they are."

 

Well, to be honest, there was Worlds of Empire last year and Scourges of the Galaxy this year for Star Hero. They're doing about one Star Hero book roughly every 18-24 months.

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Re: What do you need to have in order to play the game?

 

So there you have it. Hero’s successes have all followed the pattern of rules/setting/people' date=' and their failures seem to come when they deviate from it. Now I’m not saying that deviating from the formula is the only cause for a line’s weak sales, but it does seem to be a common element they all share.[/quote']I think you just figured this wrong. HERO's successes have been in publishing 1) the main rulebook, 2) superheroic and fantasy material, 3) and books that have appeal to gamers outside of HERO (Ultimate Marital Artist, Pulp Hero, Star Hero).

 

I'm pretty sure this is the primary reason we're now discussing the 6th Ed. It will allow HERO to publish its big sellers again, with the added bonus of hopefully bringing some Champions Online players into the fold.

 

And as far as using published settings go, I think HERO is the last place you'd expect them to be successful. HERO's toolkit nature, and the ability to build anything, is the primary feature that brings people into HERO. Many of us left other systems because the games we were playing there, often in published settings, wasn't providing us what we wanted in a game. We didn't come to HERO to be unhappy in HERO's published settings. We came to HERO precisely so we could create our own settings.

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Re: What do you need to have in order to play the game?

 

Yes for a generic game system like Hero, setting books are entirely optional. If people don't like the setting books, they don't need to buy them.

 

And another thing to consider is many GMs will use genre books from other lines for setting crossovers. Like suppose a Champions character uses a Time Travel or Dimension Travel power. They could wind up in a Pulp Hero or Star Hero setting. The GM may want to have the genre books handy for such events. Buying the entire line of sourcebooks for a 1-shot in a mostly unrelated campaign setting would be kind of pointless.

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