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First meeting of game group to consider HERO System


sindyr
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OK, at 6:30 EST our gaming group will get together to consider using Hero System to do our upcoming supers RPG we want to do. This is what I had planned on telling them, more or less:

 

 

  • In Hero System, you buy effects, not powers. If you want a power, with all that entails, you need to buy a VPP.
  • In Hero System, there are several ways to design the effects your character has. What you choose for effects is what you get, no more and no less.
  • If we play Hero System, I am recommending that we have the following house rules:
    • A way to get unlimited range on a power for a fixed cost.
    • A way to turn a relevant dice roll to an impossibility or certainty.
    • A way to gain a *trumping* ability for power conflicts.
    • Players can redesign their characters freely in between session, as long as the core concept of their characters remain the same and as long as the redesign does not invalidate something that their character has already done. This way players do not have to stress over getting their characte design perfect before play.
    • A way to use actions points for special moments of success, vis-a-vis the house rule found here: http://web.archive.org/web/20041209182908/www.armlesstigerman.com/intro/pulp/playersguide.html

    [*]I will be also raising the posibility of treating the points much more loosely, such as a player buys teleportation, but gets the other TP effects for free. I will be explaining the downside of this as well.

    [*]I will be mentioning that Blood of Heroes/MEGS is also an amazing system, in which you can actually buy powers, not effects, and that we should consider that as well.

    [*]I will also bring up another way that Hero System is mechanics first, story second: the fact that movement is treated differently in combat from out of combat.

Is there anything else I should bring up, or any other considerations I should put out there?

 

Thanks.

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Big fat stop sign

 

Players can redesign their characters freely in between session, as long as the core concept of their characters remain the same and as long as the redesign does not invalidate something that their character has already done. This way players do not have to stress over getting their characte design perfect before play.

 

this part needs careful thought.

it encourages cranking and cheese,

but also players tend to be "getting ready to fight the last war"

 

IE if last session they got creamed by a super-mage, then

everyone buys power defense next week....

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Re: First meeting of game group to consider HERO System

 

  • In Hero System, you buy effects, not powers. If you want a power, with all that entails, you need to buy a VPP.
I don't agree with this completely. You buy powers which are definitions of game effects. You modify those base powers to get the end result that reflects the fully realized power you were seeking to build, adding the final touch of special effect to define it. Don't dive into VPP. If a "power" can be used in multiple ways, build it as a Multipower. This is easy to explain:

Well, you can by a single power that is a raw fire blast. However, if you have fine control over fire so that you can do different things with your fire generation, use a Multipower so that when you choose to exercise your fire generation it can do any one of X number of things (e.g. area blast, piercing blast, cone, wall of fire, etc.)



If we play Hero System, I am recommending that we have the following house rules:
  • A way to get unlimited range on a power for a fixed cost.
No Range Modifier is +1/2

A way to turn a relevant dice roll to an impossibility or certainty.
Luck 12d6: either state that every 6 rolled is worth +/- 3, or just say that 12d6 is enough to do exactly what you just said. Maybe require charges on it, which usable once per session (-2 lim) makes this cost 20 points.

A way to gain a *trumping* ability for power conflicts.
Not sure what that means.

Players can redesign their characters freely in between session, as long as the core concept of their characters remain the same and as long as the redesign does not invalidate something that their character has already done. This way players do not have to stress over getting their characte design perfect before play.
Always a good idea, especially as people come new to the system.

I will also bring up another way that Hero System is mechanics first, story second: the fact that movement is treated differently in combat from out of combat.

I couldn't disagree more with this. Hero System is story first, mechanics second. The detail afforded by the system has nothing to do with how it is played or what the focus of the system is. The mechanics should never trump story, especially if the story/use of power makes sense. There are many ways to "mechanically" handle that, if you want, or you just make sure the characters understand that the game is about telling a story, not about crafting the best synergy of powers to make an unstoppable super hero. Requiring all players to have a Power Skill for their character's schticks, or allowing a character to expend 1 character/experience point whenever they try a "power stunt" is a good way of handling that. Regardless, players should sit down and come up with their characters without any regard for the system before they start building their character. The system allows you to realize that character, in a clear and gameable fashion, but the system should never take precedent over the story.

 

I apologize if that was a bit preachy, but I think that approaching the game a an exercise in character mechanics diminishes the fun that the system can enable. The reason the rules are so detailed is so that you don't have to argue over how a particular situation is resolved, or how a particular power effect can be fairly introduced into the setting. At the same time, as consistent as the rules are, it is often unnecessary to ensure every situation/action is diced out 100% accurately. If you have your players' trust, you can just sit down and game.

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Re: First meeting of game group to consider HERO System

 

  • In Hero System' date=' you buy effects, not powers. If you want a power, with all that entails, you need to buy a VPP.[/quote']

    The second sentence is not quite ture. If you want a power that you can manipulate at will to have a variety of different effects THEN you need to buy a VPP. If you can define the power quite precisely then you can buy the effects directly.

    • In Hero System' date=' there are several ways to design the effects your character has. What you choose for effects is what you get, no more and no less.[/quote']

      Unless you buy the Power skill for the power which allow you to make ad hoc adjustments during play.

      • If we play Hero System, I am recommending that we have the following house rules:
        • A way to get unlimited range on a power for a fixed cost.
        • A way to turn a relevant dice roll to an impossibility or certainty.
        • A way to gain a *trumping* ability for power conflicts.
        • Players can redesign their characters freely in between session, as long as the core concept of their characters remain the same and as long as the redesign does not invalidate something that their character has already done. This way players do not have to stress over getting their characte design perfect before play.
        • A way to use actions points for special moments of success, vis-a-vis the house rule found here: http://web.archive.org/web/20041209182908/www.armlesstigerman.com/intro/pulp/playersguide.html

      Exactly what a HERO GM should be doing - defining the context in which his players will design their characters. What you want in your game is your business. :)

      • I will be also raising the posibility of treating the points much more loosely' date=' such as a player buys teleportation, but gets the other TP effects for free. I will be explaining the downside of this as well.[/quote']

        All you have to do is think about the balancing aspects of this - some 'effects' from the rulebook will have much wider flexibility than others - do you just allow the costs to remain the same? Up to you but something to consider.

        • I will be mentioning that Blood of Heroes/MEGS is also an amazing system' date=' in which you can actually buy powers, not effects, and that we should consider that as well.[/quote']

          You should look at any number of systems before settling on the one that you enjoy most. I loved playing Blood of Heroes but found some difficulties in getting what I wanted out of it. I still play the odd one-off BoH scenario cause I love to play my DC hero characters...

          • I will also bring up another way that Hero System is mechanics first' date=' story second: the fact that movement is treated differently in combat from out of combat.[/quote']

            I would dispute that. I would say that the movement system is stylised and doesn't quite work the way you might expect. Non-combat movement allows you to move faster at the expense of not being able to fight when you are doing it. Its a trade-off. Most people do not fight at a full sprint...

             

            Is there anything else I should bring up' date=' or any other considerations I should put out there?[/quote']

             

            Not that I can see....are you going to design yourself a custom character sheet? The ones in the book are good for constructing stuff but you might find a custom designed one better to get the feel you are looking fro from your game.

             

             

            Doc

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Re: First meeting of game group to consider HERO System

 

Hero System is mechanics first, story second:

 

 

Oh Really ? I didnt find that in the rulebook.

 

That idea would seem to be under the GMs control.

 

Many people seem to slip into that line of thinking, but you don't have to.

 

It seems mechanic heavy when designing characters, only at the beginning.

 

Numbers cannot make a character or a story, only people can.

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Re: First meeting of game group to consider HERO System

 

  1. I think we may have a semantic disconnect.
     
  2. The powers in the book are abstract mechanics that require an SFX definition.
     
  3. You can purchase your "powers" independently, or as a part of a framework, which will save points. There are three frameworks: multipower, elemental control, and VPP. They each have their niche. MPs are generally for arrays of like powers, such as variations of whatever FX defined attack power you are using; ECs are generally for an array of powers that have a like effect (i.e., "fire guy"), but different functions (attack, defense, movement, etc); variable power pools give maximum versatility. However, I would warn you as a newbie, that unless you know the system extremely well, VPPs can be problematic. They can slow play (unless you have a list of pre-gen powers you want to run with it), and without a little forethought and some well understood ground-rules for their use, they can be abusive. I recommend not allowing VPPs until you know the system better and have some run-time experience. I admit my design philosophy is VPP centric, but I've been running hero for close to 20 years.
     
  4. Unlimited Range: if you play you'll discover that almost no combat occurs beyond the range of the power. Since range is AP X 5 in inches (6 feet) most powers have several hundred inches of range. Most combat, due to battle map dimensions, or situational requirements, occur at less than that. The main issue with longer ranges are range penalties, but the system has an advantage to negate that. If you need more range, you can create a simple advantage to cover it, or slap megascale on it. If you do the latter, you can either require the "scalable" modifier along with megascale, or hand-wave it and say megascale powers can also be used on a local scale. The only problem this will create is that megascale area, as opposed to megascale range, will seriously throw off the Area of Effect advantage and will overpower most powers. You can always allow mega-range and not mega-area, however - its a GM Permission Required sort of thing. Another option is to create an adder. Say: unlimited range 10 Points.
     
  5. "Trumping" could be easily accomplished by having each character define their shtick and, when their shtick is in play, giving them some sort of edge. You could give them maximum effect, or you could just declare FX trump the mechanical results in such cases. You will, however, have to have some sort of resolution mechanic so that it doesn't create an absolute advantage in every case. Another option would be to have Hero Points / Trump Points that can be used in "bidding wars." I see this as being almost identical to your desire to have a hero point system in place for "special moments of success," but FX driven. The systems could probably be boiled down into one common method.
     
  6. Redesigns are good early on, especially for newbies, but I recommend giving a time limit to it. And make sure you sign off on the redesigns.
     
  7. As for treating points more loosely, your teleportation example is exactly what a VPP was intended to cover. There is an orthodox way to play it loose. For a beginner, I recommend having an FX defined VPP for the characters main power/core concept ability with a laundry list of pregen powers the character can use during run time. Only allow minor modifications in play until you and the players can generate new powers on the fly without slowing play. Also, make sure its clear: all new powers are approved by the GM. You can simulate minor on the fly effects with the Power skill. The key there is: if it becomes a regular thing it needs to be a full blown power. If it is a one-off or just a few times, its a trick via the Power Skill.
     
  8. BoH/MEGS is fun. Its just a style issue. No good or bad, there.
     
  9. I completely disagree about hero being mechanics first. You should go looking for the mechanics vs. effects threads that happened a while back. I think you will find it enlightening. While there are many hero-ites who have a "mechanics rule all" mindset, you will find a good chunk of the community believes FX rather than mechanics are what makes hero work. The mechanics are just for resolution of opposed tests, or cases where the result is in doubt. There is no reason to model everything, or roll everything. Its really the FX that give the system form. And in both the case of the mechanics and effects, they are there to give you tools, not dictate the story for you. The reason movement is treated different in combat is that in combat you have more situations where the result is in doubt and need a fair resolution. You don't need that level of granularity out of combat, where results are often less in doubt. Again - really, do go read those threads. I think they will disabuse you of this notion.

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Re: First meeting of game group to consider HERO System

 

It seems mechanic heavy when designing characters' date=' only at the beginning.[/quote']

 

To an extent that makes Sindyr correct. When playing a HERO game you have to carefully consider the mechanics before you start to play. Once playing the story comes first.

 

What we might argue about is whether, in HERO, mechanics or power descriptions come first.

 

 

Doc

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Re: First meeting of game group to consider HERO System

 

In Hero System, you buy effects, not powers. If you want a power, with all that entails, you need to buy a VPP.

 

I'm pretty sure you mean there pretty much what Doc D. said. I do agree that Multipowers or EC's are often what you want, but if you want to be able to do anything you can possibly imagine with a Power you want a VPP. You might also recomment the Power Skill for doing one-time stunts with a power.

 

A way to get unlimited range on a power for a fixed cost.

 

So you want to be able to pay, for example, 20 pts for a Power (cost pulled out of air), no matter how many points it is, for unlimited range? Would that include No Range Modifier? That appears workable, most of the time ranged powers have more range than most superheroes will ever need, anyway.

 

A way to turn a relevant dice roll to an impossibility or certainty.

 

For that I generally just waive rolls that are 18- or 2-, for games where I want to reduce dice rolling I might use 15- or 5-. Is that the kind of thing you're talking about, or do you mean buying an ability to do this?

 

A way to gain a *trumping* ability for power conflicts.

 

It may be more complicated than what you're looking for, but that can be done by buying Limitations for the Powers in question. For example, an ice power might be trumped by flame powers and so get a -1/4 Limitation. If you're talking more of a "rock-papers-scissors" trump, where fire trumps ice trumps water trumps fire type of thing, then you might consider putting a 0 Limitation on all Powers. So, Ice might get "Trumped By Fire, Trumps Water (-0)".

 

Players can redesign their characters freely in between session, as long as the core concept of their characters remain the same and as long as the redesign does not invalidate something that their character has already done. This way players do not have to stress over getting their characte design perfect before play.

 

Sounds reasonable. You might put the brakes on after the first game or few games, but the description you have is pretty much self-limiting (eventually they'll have used all their abilities).

 

A way to use actions points for special moments of success, vis-a-vis the house rule found here: http://web.archive.org/web/20041209182908/www.armlesstigerman.com/intro/pulp/playersguide.html

 

You might also look at Pulp Hero's Hero Points system. I'll have to check out the link, though, haven't looked at it.

 

I will be also raising the posibility of treating the points much more loosely, such as a player buys teleportation, but gets the other TP effects for free. I will be explaining the downside of this as well.

 

 

I will be mentioning that Blood of Heroes/MEGS is also an amazing system, in which you can actually buy powers, not effects, and that we should consider that as well.

 

Perfectly servicable system, but you do buy powers in Hero. You just build them up from scratch. You want Teleportation and a number of tricks you can pull with it, you buy the effect Teleportation, an NND attack for the Nightcrawler like thing, and whatever else you can think of, possibly put them in a Multipower, EC, or VPP if you think of a lot of them, and call that the power, Teleportation.

 

I will also bring up another way that Hero System is mechanics first, story second: the fact that movement is treated differently in combat from out of combat.

 

I'm not sure how that follows from the NCM rules, could you elaborate?

 

I suppose it is true that Hero is not as evocative for storytelling, at its heart, than some other games with a more genre-specific focus. I generally think of this as the system getting out of the way and letting me tell the story I want to, though.

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Re: First meeting of game group to consider HERO System

 

Sindyr,

 

I think, respectfully, you should not under any circumstances use the HERO system for your game. You have demonstrated that you dislike it and that the manner in which the rules are laid out does not correspond with your preferred method of interpretation.

 

In that I mean that the effects you wish to see are possible in HERO, but are both too expensive and constructed in a way in which you are not comfortable.

 

Presuming that your gaming group thinks the same way you do, I forsee nothing but frustration and discord.

 

IN short I do not believe that you will enjoy HERO. Every product is not suited for every person. I recommend the old Marvel system by TSR. If you haven't played it, it provides a different approach, much more absolutes and the power stunt system (if cost adjusted by house rules, we used /10 to all costs but you could simply give out X10 xp at the end of a session) allows you to literally "do whatever reason would allow based on the source and description of your power".

 

I would not say that the things you claim of HERO hold true, but I would not say they hold untrue. There are part truths to your opinions that many of us see as benefits, which you see as detriments. This is fair.

 

I'm fairly certain that the Marvel TSR system is unowned at this time, and thus can be downloaded freely. At least I was led to believe this when I downloaded it.

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Re: First meeting of game group to consider HERO System

 

:rofl:

 

Syndir, even if you don't go ahead with a Hero game, please, please stick around and keep posting.

 

Tell you what.

 

Tell your players this.

 

OK, we are playing a superhero game. Don't worry about the mechanics, we'll just do character creation tonight, but suffice to say, it's great.

 

Now this is a game where you get to design your own character, no random roll up at all. You can make it as simple or as detailed as you like.

 

Start off with a concept. Coupld be really simple: strong and tough, or it could be an homage to a favourite character: I want to play Spiderman, or it could be half a side of A4 (but no more, and no fair with the small writing).

 

Then we'll build the characters. You are starting off characters so, whilst you will be really powerful, you are not going to be god-like just yet. You can't afford absolute control or the ability to kick lpanets round like footballs. Give it time :)

 

So, we have to decide on the character's physical characteristics - ifwell they are quick, if they look good, if they are tough - and you probably want them to be all that but obviously some will be a bit better than others.

 

We have to decide what skills and backgrounds they have which might be related to their super abilities or might not.

 

We have to decide what problems and disadvantages their stories themes will most often throw up, like if they have people who rely on them, or they are vulnerable to kryptonite, or whatever.

 

We also have to decide what powers they have. That could be as simple as a really high strength, so they can punch through walls and flip tanks over, or the ability to throw fire or project electricity, or control minds, or fly, see into the future or whatever you like. Think about a theme for their powers. We will need to consider offensive powers, defensive powers, movement powers and utility powers.

 

You need to decide how your powers work, what effects you want and what it all looks like. Have a think about it and we'll see what we can come up with. As this is a first outing, if we have any problems with a character design then I've got no problem if you want to re-design a bit between sessions.

 

If we run into any real problems I know this great discussion board with really friendly people who could probably be persuaded to build the characters for you from your concepts.

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Re: First meeting of game group to consider HERO System

 

To an extent that makes Sindyr correct. When playing a HERO game you have to carefully consider the mechanics before you start to play. Once playing the story comes first.

 

What we might argue about is whether, in HERO, mechanics or power descriptions come first.

 

 

Doc

 

Once you know the system, I'd say it doesn't matter. Until then I'd start with description every time. :thumbup:

 

I personally believe that, so long as the GM has a good grip on the mechanics, the players hardly need to know anything about them. One of the best games I've ever been involved with the players didn't even have character sheets, just pictures of their characters an a few lines of power description. Ran for years. Great stuff.

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Re: First meeting of game group to consider HERO System

 

I think, respectfully, you should not under any circumstances use the HERO system for your game. You have demonstrated that you dislike it and that the manner in which the rules are laid out does not correspond with your preferred method of interpretation.

 

I honestly didn't see that. Notice he (?) says that MEGS is also an amazing system. I assume that it's a matter of sorting out the benefits and drawbacks of both systems. I could be wrong.

 

OK, we are playing a superhero game. Don't worry about the mechanics, we'll just do character creation tonight, but suffice to say, it's great.

 

This really is probably the best way to proceed if you've got a couple of sessions to use. Especially if you can play a session or two after the character building one. They might get excited about getting exactly the character they want in spite of any complexity, and an actual session will demonstrate that the greatest level of complexity ends at character creation.

 

I personally believe that, so long as the GM has a good grip on the mechanics, the players hardly need to know anything about them.

 

Absolutely, the last game I ran the players didn't even see the character sheets. It ended early, but because of other factors not because it wasn't going well.

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Re: First meeting of game group to consider HERO System

 

To an extent that makes Sindyr correct. When playing a HERO game you have to carefully consider the mechanics before you start to play. Once playing the story comes first.

 

One of the reasons I love HERO system as a GM is that the design work is up front. Once I have designed the game feel I want, I rarely, if ever, have to worry about mechanics because I already know how things work. It's very, very, rare indeed for player requests to flummox me, so I can concentrate on the story.

 

What we might argue about is whether' date=' in HERO, mechanics or power descriptions come first.[/quote']

 

Actually, it's either/or. Sometimes I start with a concept for a character: someone who can do X, whatever X might be. Then I create mechanics to fit. Often I start with a picture, thinking "She looks cool - I wonder what powerset would fit with that?"

 

Alternatively, I start with a mechanic, as in "I wonder if you could make a viable character whose only power was absorption?" Both ways can lead to cool characters. There is no "right way"

 

cheers, Mark

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Re: First meeting of game group to consider HERO System

 

You might also add:

 

You don't need to think 'what is the most powerful concept' I can build, sometimes it is interesting to play a flawed character, or even a character with flawed powers. If your character's powers only work while he is in shadow, that makes him vulnerable if he is under a spotlight or in pitch dark, or if his force field is really tough but transparent enough to let through laser beams, that can make for interesting role playing when you are facing off against Laser Lass. You'll need to think about dodging, cover or plain subterfuge.

 

You'll note that NOWHERE did I mention that 'Hero can build anything you can imagine (and have the points for)', because that tends to get people over-complicating even though that is true, NOR that 'limiting your powers gives you more points to play with', because I'd rather they limited their powers because it is interesting than ebcause it is efficient, even though it is true.

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Re: First meeting of game group to consider HERO System

 

Once you know the system, I'd say it doesn't matter. Until then I'd start with description every time. :thumbup:

 

I personally believe that, so long as the GM has a good grip on the mechanics, the players hardly need to know anything about them. One of the best games I've ever been involved with the players didn't even have character sheets, just pictures of their characters an a few lines of power description. Ran for years. Great stuff.

 

It's true to say that most of my players have only a very vague idea of how the mechanics of Hero work: for them I do the character design.

 

After Tuesday's game one player has said he wants to learn martial arts and wanted to know how much. I said "About 20 points" which made him gasp a bit. So much? I simply waggled a finger and said "The path to mastery is long and cannot be walked in an afternoon" - at which point he was happy. It's all in the presentation. :D

 

cheers, Mark

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Re: First meeting of game group to consider HERO System

 

It's true to say that most of my players have only a very vague idea of how the mechanics of Hero work: for them I do the character design.

 

After Tuesday's game one player has said he wants to learn martial arts and wanted to know how much. I said "About 20 points" which made him gasp a bit. So much? I simply waggled a finger and said "The path to mastery is long and cannot be walked in an afternoon" - at which point he was happy. It's all in the presentation. :D

 

cheers, Mark

 

Absolutely - which makes that first 'new player' chat so very important.:thumbup:

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Re: First meeting of game group to consider HERO System

 

Syndir,

 

I'm going to suggest something completely out of left field.

 

Use lower point totals and don't have characters purchase powers.

 

That's right - I said don't have them purchase powers.

 

Instead, have them purchase their powers as skills (EGO or CON based).

 

The skill roll X5 can be the maximum active points called on.

 

The active points /10 can be the skill roll modifier.

 

Characters who want to call on bigger powers without pens can purchase PSLs.

 

Thus, a character with a 20- power could call on a 20d6 EB with a -10 skill penalty, or a 10d6 EB with no penalty.

 

You would need the powers written up, but they would be "under the hood," as it were.

 

You would have to re-cost defenses and life support and the like accordingly, but that wouldn't be too hard. Just figure out how high the skill roll would be (minimum cost of 1) and charge accordingly.

 

Another option would be having the attack defense rolls being opposed tests with the MoS determining the amount of effect.

 

You can define the granularity of the skills as broadly as you like, either having a different skill for each variant power the character has, or making them broad enough that powers like "water manipulation" exist.

 

Another option is to have broad skills, but require the character by something akin to a weapon familiarity (renamed "power trick," of course) costing 1 point for each unique effect they can get from the power.

 

This allows for a lot of flexibility at run time, and doesn't require more than a normal amount of power building. It also allows you to avoid frameworks, which can be confusing (and easily break the system) when you are first start out and use individual power builds instead.

 

This isn't a new idea from me. Fantasy Hero has an optional suggestion for a skill based spell system, and Killer Shrike has a scalable skill based spell system on his site that looks remarkably like this.

 

I recommend you go take a look, but instead of "spells" call them powers.

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Re: First meeting of game group to consider HERO System

 

And I'm going to go in even a different direction.

 

Use pregenerated characters.

 

There are loads and loads of character writeups here on the boards and elsewhere. That will let you focus on playing the game and learning the terminology and how everything works together, plus it'll give you an idea of what a reasonably well balanced character looks like.

 

In fact, I'd recommend playing two or three different scenarios, with players running different characters from one scenario to another. That'll give each player a good variety of abilities to look at.

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Re: First meeting of game group to consider HERO System

 

excellent idea, Chris G.

 

play a starter campaign, like a month of X-Men,

someone plays Colossus, Beast, Cyclops, etc.

 

just to learn the system.

that's how people learn to play blackjack,

no money yet, and the cards face-up on the table.

 

then when everyone's comfortable, start in YOUR world.

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Re: First meeting of game group to consider HERO System

 

And I'm going to go in even a different direction.

 

Use pregenerated characters.

 

There are loads and loads of character writeups here on the boards and elsewhere. That will let you focus on playing the game and learning the terminology and how everything works together, plus it'll give you an idea of what a reasonably well balanced character looks like.

 

In fact, I'd recommend playing two or three different scenarios, with players running different characters from one scenario to another. That'll give each player a good variety of abilities to look at.

 

They could even play the... Champions.

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Re: First meeting of game group to consider HERO System

 

  • I will also bring up another way that Hero System is mechanics first, story second: the fact that movement is treated differently in combat from out of combat.

 

I want to post a clarification as I may have either miscommunicated or misunderstood the above bit.

 

From several of the threads I have come to understand (possibly incorrectly, but consistently) that most of what can be done in the scene the characters find them selves in is controlled by the effects that they have pre-purchased on their character sheet. (Although I understand that VPPs give you much more flexibility, although at a very high cost. I have also heard that Power Skill rolls can be useful for new stunts, but always with the caveat that that only works the first few times, after which you better be able to sink the CP/XP into that effect.)

 

The two examples I have used before, that seem relevant both happen to use the concept of teleport: the Packrat, who can teleport anything from his house to near him, and Blink, who can teleport anything near him anywhere else near him.

 

With either character you can't simply buy the Teleport power and call it a day. You actually have to know exactly what your character "ought" to be able to do in every possible given situation ahead of time, and prepurchase that. You can't just say to the GM I want to be able to TP *anything* from X to Y, you have to prethink out all the possible effects of every potential item you might teleport to every potential place you might use as a destination.

 

Because if you don't, or you miss one, then the Rules As Written will not permit you to do in the Story what you didn't purchase the Effect for.

 

And that's really the crux of what I was saying: unless the GM does Hand Waving or fudging, if he runs the game according the the rules and philosophies of Hero System, then what controls what a character can do is what the player has purchased.

 

That makes it very easy for a player to get into a sitaution where he thinks he *ought* to be able to use his power in a simple and rational way, that the *story* supports, but the *mechanics* do not.

 

If GM disallows that use of the power, that means the mechanics are coming first and the story is coming second.

 

So if Blink's player buys every TP related effect he can thinks of, but finds himself realizing that he can takes out the gas tank of the chase car by TPing a lit match into it - I have to say, that makes sense. Sure, the player will have to make a to-hit roll, but in STORY terms, TPing a lit match to a point behind you is no different from TPing an empty cup into the dishwasher. (And both require equal to-hit rolls)

 

What HERO says, however, if I have this right, is that even those two uses are the same thing in terms of in story use of an ability - ie, both are uses of move X to Y, in out-of-the-story terms, one of them, if the to-hit roll is made, will cause a big explosion - and I believe that means you need to use a power/effect from the Hero System that creates such an effect, instead of TP - something like RKA, w/AOE, limited by must have a lit match with you and a gas tank at destination.

 

It therefore seems fully acurate to me that inasmuch as the rules as written prevent you from doing anything other than the specific effects you have prepurchased, even in cases where the story support the use, the fact that the mechanics don't, that is a clear case of the mechanics trumping the story.

 

And the only way to prevent such a thing that I can see is to use VPPs.

 

I suppose your could turn it around and blame the player - Blink's player made the error by not choosing a VPP so when the time came, he didn't have the option he wanted.

 

The other possibility is a game in which you buy NOT the teleportation effect, but the actual in game ability to Teleport things, with all that that would entail.

 

Hopefully that clear it up a bit.

 

Been reading all the responses to my various threads, thank you very much.

 

And I will most likely contact some white knights in the near future. Thanks.

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Re: First meeting of game group to consider HERO System

 

I suppose your could turn it around and blame the player - Blink's player made the error by not choosing a VPP so when the time came, he didn't have the option he wanted.

 

The other possibility is a game in which you buy NOT the teleportation effect, but the actual in game ability to Teleport things, with all that that would entail.

 

Hopefully that clear it up a bit.

 

Been reading all the responses to my various threads, thank you very much.

 

And I will most likely contact some white knights in the near future. Thanks.

 

 

All I can say is that I have played in games very simillar to the kind of thing you are describing and have found the game experience to be annoying, frustrating and down right obnoxious.

 

Take your Teleport example:

 

How come I couldn't just Teleport all the blood out of an opponent and puddle at my feet? How would that be any different than teleporting a cup out of the cupboard and into my hand?

 

Ok, I can teleport a lit match, how about I teleport a peice of electrical cable and all the electricity in it at the moment I teleport it?

 

Hmmm... There is a table shaker full of salt over there, can I teleport only the sodium and not the chloride on top his head?

 

Can I teleport all of the bullets out of a gun?

 

I'm going to spend all day going by ATMs but avoiding their cameras, how much money do I accumulate?

 

At what point is the mechanic of the Power trumping the ability to have a functional story?

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Re: First meeting of game group to consider HERO System

 

From what it seems like you want to play this seems like a good start. I have a couple comments of course.

 

[*]In Hero System, you buy effects, not powers. If you want a power, with all that entails, you need to buy a VPP.

Talk about reasoning from effects here. You figure out what you can do with your power and you buy those effects.

 

I would avoid recommending people unfamiliar with the system go straight to a VPP. Multipower can be your friend. They are much easier to understand than VPP and easier to play with. You can add a completely new power with just a few points. I know your concern about what if I have no points but if you give everyone a secret reserve of 25 points or so and are willing to loan additional XP if they are out than this should never be a problem. Add the Power skill on top of that and you can do anything a couple of times with the power skill and if they like it they can add it to the sheet.

 

[*]In Hero System, there are several ways to design the effects your character has. What you choose for effects is what you get, no more and no less.

Not exactly true, the section on FX talks about what the GM should allow people to do based purely on SFX without worrying about having the right advantages and limitations. If I remember right the examples talk about how someone with a Sonic attack can shatter glass, gets a few extra dice or a small AOE underwater, and can't use it in space, all for free.

 

Plus again, the Power Skill can allow you to do anything appropriate.

 

[*]If we play Hero System, I am recommending that we have the following house rules:

These do what you want to do and I don't particulary want to start this particular conversation here too but I have to admit I still don't understand why the Fantasy Hero Absolute rules don't do what you want. Add in a GM-player contract of schtick preservation.

 

I've yet to play a game with action points, Pulp Hero calls them Hero Points, but it seems like an incredibly good idea.

 

[*]I will be also raising the possibility of treating the points much more loosely' date=' such as a player buys teleportation, but gets the other TP effects for free.[/quote']

 

Consider just simply giving each character a Limited VPP. Say a 50 point pool [a little lower than the campaign limits], cosmic but limited in some ways. Require any powers in the pool to take requires skill roll and maybe an additional -1/2 to -1 in limitations (extra time, concentration, activation roll, extra end). They buy power skill ou of their point allocation. The Characters get any basic effects they buy available however they want and and with this VPP for an in game cost have access to many more effects.

 

You seem to be a fan a of making characters more powerful (possibly even complete) at the start of the campaign. I'm more a fan of having characters grow into their power. My scheme lets them grow into better control. As they gain XP, the power skill can be bought up for better control, effects can come out of the VPP and straight onto the sheet, you could let them buy off the limitations on the VPP itself, or even buy up the points in the VPP as they grow stronger.

 

the fact that movement is treated differently in combat from out of combat.

 

Hmm, they're not that different. Maybe explain them something like:

"

The inches of movement you buy is how far you can move and still be ready attack, dodge attacks, and generally react to the enemy.

You can move faster than this if all you're worrying about is moving flat out. This is sprinting or head down as fast as you can flying and the like. While you're doing this you can't attack very well, try shooting a pistol accurately while sprinting, and you can't dodge as well as if you were moving slower. This is called non-combat moment but you can do it in combat if you're willing to take those risks.

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