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Looking For Input On Potential New Fantasy Product


Jason S.Walters
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Re: Looking For Input On Potential New Fantasy Product

 

The last I heard, Hero Games holds the rights to all material published in Digital Hero that isn't Champions-related. If that's the case, we have a few adventures that would just need updating to 6E, and maybe a bit of layout touchup.

 

YOUR HOROSCOPE FOR: VIRGO: Your Fantasy Hero party must save a maiden from the belly of a terrible wyrm! At least, that might be the quest…. DH 14, PAGE 23

 

LEFTOVER HERO: This secret map contains the location of a colony of brain-eating Migdalars, that didn’t fit into Fantasy Hero Battlegrounds. DH 21, PAGE 42

 

THE TREASURE OF THENIN: The journal of Thenin Bookwright holds the secret of a buried treasure, one that is guarded by a most unusual demon… DH 43, PAGE 48

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Re: Looking For Input On Potential New Fantasy Product

 

Paizo is a special case' date=' though. They cater to the D&D fanbase, largest in the hobby. They can churn out generic adventures relatively quickly and cheaply, because of the uniformity of the game; and they have enough potential buyers that they can turn a profit doing so.[/quote']

People (including WotC) said you couldn't make money on D&D modules... but Paizo did, stole a bunch of the 3.X D&D audience that might have gone to 4e, and continues to do so.

 

The Savage Worlds plot point (and linear) settings are essentially adventure paths and make money. The core book is sold for $10 and while I know there is some profit in it (Shane said as much) the main profit has to come from the other books (mainly deadlands I'm sure).

 

Hellfrost is one of the most popular settings for SW (created by 3rd party) and consists mainly of setting books and adventures and is profitable (had a successful arabian knights kickstarter recently). And they aren't tapping the largest fanbase.... what they are providing is a quick start to playing the fantasy game people expect using savage worlds.

 

But yeah, I'll give you that it can't be easy to make them profitable if you aren't the big dog (D&D) but Savage Worlds shows me that it must be possible.

 

I've posted elsewhere that while modules may not be hugely profitable' date=' they are nonetheless critical for creating a fan base. I love Hero but I don't have time to write up new adventures for every session--and I'm really, really familiar with Hero. Hell, I didn't have time for that [i']before[/i] I had a family and mortgage; I'd say 90% of my Fantasy Hero games were straight converted D&D modules (which is incredibly sad). We need playgroups to be able to pick up a module and go. We also need modules to show newish players how it's done. If Hero targets the subset of players that have enough RPG experience and free time to pick up a 400-page RPG, learn it, and then make adventures and campaigns out of thin air, the customer base will be limited.

This is also true and I expect it is getting more true as time passes. The RPG market is aging and many people don't have time to do their own custom games anymore (and even the younger new players don't either). So when you have a choice between something you can just pick up and play and something else where you are given a toolkit where you have to make everything yourself people often choose the easier path.

 

Lately I've not had enough time to even convert adventures so I just go with the system that gives me adventures premade. That has been either Savage Worlds when I want something other than a fantasy experience or Pathfinder for the fantasy experience.

 

Still inside many gamers is a tinkerer that wants to make their own stuff and often feels stifled by games like D&D where there isn't a core system to make their own stuff (you just wing it). Its what drew me to Fantasy Hero in the first place... but I had more time to tinker 25 years ago.

 

I'd love to see a Dungeon Hero "adventure path" that just requires the core book and the adventure path. If I had time (and a bit more skill ;) ), I'd make adventures myself.

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Re: Looking For Input On Potential New Fantasy Product

 

I also fit in the category of little to no time for making adventures and normally run D&D adventures or savage worlds adventures and convert them. Printing off the Hero equivalent or the encounters and running the story from the other guys sheets/booklets.

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Re: Looking For Input On Potential New Fantasy Product

 

Right now I have one of those ideas that is wishful thinking:

 

My first taste of RPGs came in the form of these single player Star Wars adventure books from Scholastic Books. They were basically the same idea as Lone Wolf or Fighting Fantasy but for kids (and Star Wars).

 

When I first really got into RPGs, I believe it was AEG (maybe others) who published adventures in pamphlet form.

 

When I buy groceries, I spot Archie comics in digest size to my side all the time. Archie comics do good business to this day as an impulse buy to my knowledge.

 

So, the idea:

A series of cheap, digest-sized, single player adventures for kids sold as impulse buys. Character information is contained on M:TG-sized cards and every book comes with a pack of new cards with different abilities for different characters.

 

On the back of the book, kids (and their parents) are told that all they need to play are 3 6-sided dice, a pencil, some scratch paper, and the book. It's "Champions Adventures!" or "Fantasy Hero Adventures!" or the like. Not Champions Complete, but you're darn tooting it's advertised at the end of every book.

 

 

Like I said, wishful thinking...

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  • 3 weeks later...

Re: Looking For Input On Potential New Fantasy Product

 

With regards to the original post, I would say option #1. I have recently come back to the hero system after being gone since 1st Edition Champions. I am mainly interested in bringing my gaming group on board, who have never played. It would be a lot easier for me to get this group of "fantasy junkies" bought on if there was just one book for them. Currently, I am planning on using Basic Rule Book, Fantasy Hero, Martial Arts, Equipment Guide, Skills, Bestiary, and the Grimoire. But I would love to tell my players to just get Fantasy Complete.

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Re: Looking For Input On Potential New Fantasy Product

 

To more strongly illustrate my point, the reason the system was renamed to Hero from Champions was to make the game more of a universal game system. By making Fantasy Hero a sub-sect of Champions, you are doing a whole lot of backtracking. Fantasy Hero needs to stand on its own if you want the Hero System to be more then a super hero game.

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I like the idea of combining the FH rules with a fantasy campaign. Maybe that way you could do a [Campaign Name] Complete and [Campaign Name] Bestiary (and eventually a series of spell books, adventures, gazetteer, etc if sales were strong). I'd say the same thing about the other genres as well.

 

I may be in the minority, but I think Paizo has the right idea in the way they're making stuff for Pathfinder. Great looking books combined with decent rules structure and a horde of support. Honestly, I'd love to see this with Champions and all the genres, but, realistically I know that's probably not an option. But then that's only my opinion and YMMV.

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I think the best way to both condense and offer new material to appeal to both new and established players at the same time would be to include starter setting material (campaign setting, adventure w pre-made characters, spell lists, etc) with a truly slimmed down appendix-exiled crunchy pages with rules for how they were build in the back. Maybe pull heavily from Fantasy Hero Battlegrounds, and convert it all to 6th edition? Or Valdorian Age? That was golden!

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I know Jason has mentioned drawing from Champions Battlegrounds for introductory adventures. While those are meant to be fairly generic, they do employ pseudo-D&D conventions that lend themselves best to Hero Games's Turakian Age setting. I was thinking that a small section of that world could be chosen as a suitable geographic location for those adventures, with a later gazeteer-style book expanding the entire region, with maps and NPCs. If successful that could lead into a series of gazeteers detailing the rest of the world. The Turakian Age sourcebook is already organized by region anyway.

 

(I have my own thoughts as to the most practical locations to start with, but I didn't think it appropriate to discuss that here and now.)

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What Fantasy HERO needs is it's own Campaign Setting. Something to inspire the creative juices of Gamers. Something that will draw in NEW Gamers. And something as well supported as Champions. The importance of Cover and Interior Art cannot over looked. Some kind of Support for Gamers to run Games with NEW Gamers. Fantasy Hero Battlegrounds/Adventures with PLAYABLE Battle Maps. It means HERO Fans that we need to support HERO Games by introducing NEW Gamers to HERO System and Fantasy HERO.

 

 

Fantasy Hero

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fantasy_Hero

 

Campaign Setting

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Campaign_setting

 

List of Campaign Settings

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_campaign_settings

 

IMOHO

 

QM

 

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I think doing a version similar to Champions Complete would be superb. I have many friends who would want to pick up the game, and would be likely to purchase that sort of text to open the doors. If they have to buy the Champions Complete first, and then a Fantasy text, I know the $ and set-up would be a deterrent.

 

Of course, I do see the point made above, that a rehash of material for someone who just purchased CComplete would be annoying for said buyer. However, I feel that having only the one tome to drag around is a plus.

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What Fantasy HERO needs is it's own Campaign Setting. Something to inspire the creative juices of Gamers. Something that will draw in NEW Gamers. And something as well supported as Champions. The importance of Cover and Interior Art cannot over looked. Some kind of Support for Gamers to run Games with NEW Gamers. Fantasy Hero Battlegrounds/Adventures with PLAYABLE Battle Maps. It means HERO Fans that we need to support HERO Games by introducing NEW Gamers to HERO System and Fantasy HERO.

 

I agree to a point...but the best way to get people to play a new game is to GET THEM TO PLAY A NEW GAME. What that means is going into environments where the gamers are and letting them get hands-on with the system. You've got to find good people to run games using the system at the various gaming conventions and even at local gaming stores that provide gaming tables.

 

I went to Gen-Con in Indianapolis a few years ago, really hoping to get an opportunity to play in a couple of HERO system games with people who really knew and loved the system and could explain the ins and outs to me, so I could take that knowledge back to my gaming group and get my group started with the system. Unfortunately, I only found 1 reference to HERO game, and that was for the first night of the convention (Thursday night), which I was unable to attend because I had to work and could only come up on the weekend (Friday night through Sunday). Outside of that one game, there was HERO was represented by a booth selling the books. There may have been other HERO games being run/played there...but, I wasn't able to find them.

 

The point of all this is that if you want more people to play the game, you need to take advantage of every opportunity to enable people to play the game. I'd almost say the best scenario would be 3-person teams to run the game: 1 GM and two "plant" players who understand the mechanics, role-play well, and are willing to help explain the system to neophytes to help "get the mechanics out of the way". (Assuming the game would be run for 6 to 8 total players.)

 

Another interesting idea for gaming conventions: Create a bunch of pre-generated characters, print them out (no dups), and just give them away to anyone who wants them (or have them included in the typical bag o' goodies)...Then have a couple of people at the convention ready to run some sort of "pick-up" games for HERO in the various gaming rooms. Since character creation tends to be the most time-consuming part of the system -- particularly for new players -- you've eliminated that hurdle to getting started with the game. There will be challenges to this approach (consistency of power level, what type of adventure to run, whether the characters are supers, fantasy, sci-fi, etc.); but not necessarily insurmountable. Another option would be to do more of a tradeable card thing...do a higher-quality card run with a depiction of the character, a basic stat-block, etc; but have each card map to a full character sheet that the people running the "pick-up" games would be able to provide. The cards could be tradeable (collect the complete set!) and would help generate interest in the system...

 

...but, I'm just thinking out loud at this point...

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Pegasus, those are all really good ideas but (mostly) they do not tackle the specific topic of what should go into a Fantasy Hero Complete product. The card concept is very clever, but Hero has and will continue to be stymied with a limited print budget. Fancy things like boxed sets, trading cards and similar are probably way beyond the scope of Hero Games' ability to produce. Maybe some day in the future, enough interest in Hero will be around to warrant the extras. I just don't see it happening soon.

 

Hurm, then again there is the idea of crowd funding. If Hero had an interest in going that way, Kickstarter would be one avenue for resources. Assuming that such a product could actually get the greenlight, the next question is how big are the cards? Hero character sheets have a lot of data. Just trying to pack that onto a collectible playing card would be challenging itself. Adding fancy art would diminish the already precious real estate. Perhaps a half-sheet sized card, double sided? I bet I could fit a character sheet onto that. It wouldn't have the maneuvers and other "fluff" but it could very well hold all the stats, background info and an image.

 

Well it's an interesting topic diversion if nothing else. :)

 

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As far as fantasy world settings go, Hero Games already has four very distinct ones in print. The biggest complaint about them is that they're very broad, but rather scarce on details. My own feeling is that any introductory Fantasy HERO book should include a general overview of a default "official" world (whichever one is ultimately chosen), with a relatively small, more detailed specific location within that world which beginning player-characters can use as their home base. Any adventures included should be runable in proximity to that location. Subsequent books can detail further regions of the setting reflecting an expanding campaign.

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The ultimate consideration, of course, is what will attract new customers. And that's important. Champions Complete seems to have considerable appeal to the new Hero player who wants everything he needs to play in one volume. So I would consider a single book with everything to be more marketable in this environment.

 

The problem with that is the magic. Setting a single standard way to do magic, and then telling the players "you can build your own magic system once you're comfortable with the rules" might confuse the new players.

 

Plus you should ideally continue to sell the BIG FH and SH books to the dedicated players who want all that crunch and flexibility.

 

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What Fantasy HERO needs is it's own Campaign Setting. Something to inspire the creative juices of Gamers. Something that will draw in NEW Gamers. And something as well supported as Champions. The importance of Cover and Interior Art cannot over looked. Some kind of Support for Gamers to run Games with NEW Gamers. Fantasy Hero Battlegrounds/Adventures with PLAYABLE Battle Maps. It means HERO Fans that we need to support HERO Games by introducing NEW Gamers to HERO System and Fantasy HERO.

 

I agree to a point...but the best way to get people to play a new game is to GET THEM TO PLAY A NEW GAME. What that means is going into environments where the gamers are and letting them get hands-on with the system. You've got to find good people to run games using the system at the various gaming conventions and even at local gaming stores that provide gaming tables.

 

I went to Gen-Con in Indianapolis a few years ago, really hoping to get an opportunity to play in a couple of HERO system games with people who really knew and loved the system and could explain the ins and outs to me, so I could take that knowledge back to my gaming group and get my group started with the system. Unfortunately, I only found 1 reference to HERO game, and that was for the first night of the convention (Thursday night), which I was unable to attend because I had to work and could only come up on the weekend (Friday night through Sunday). Outside of that one game, there was HERO was represented by a booth selling the books. There may have been other HERO games being run/played there...but, I wasn't able to find them.

 

The point of all this is that if you want more people to play the game, you need to take advantage of every opportunity to enable people to play the game. I'd almost say the best scenario would be 3-person teams to run the game: 1 GM and two "plant" players who understand the mechanics, role-play well, and are willing to help explain the system to neophytes to help "get the mechanics out of the way". (Assuming the game would be run for 6 to 8 total players.)

 

Another interesting idea for gaming conventions: Create a bunch of pre-generated characters, print them out (no dups), and just give them away to anyone who wants them (or have them included in the typical bag o' goodies)...Then have a couple of people at the convention ready to run some sort of "pick-up" games for HERO in the various gaming rooms. Since character creation tends to be the most time-consuming part of the system -- particularly for new players -- you've eliminated that hurdle to getting started with the game. There will be challenges to this approach (consistency of power level, what type of adventure to run, whether the characters are supers, fantasy, sci-fi, etc.); but not necessarily insurmountable. Another option would be to do more of a tradeable card thing...do a higher-quality card run with a depiction of the character, a basic stat-block, etc; but have each card map to a full character sheet that the people running the "pick-up" games would be able to provide. The cards could be tradeable (collect the complete set!) and would help generate interest in the system...

 

...but, I'm just thinking out loud at this point...

You really need to see what Darren does: not only does he print out his character sheets (and they're of KISS from "Phantom of the Park") in color, he lets you keep them. I have a copy of Gene Simmons around here somewhere...
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I think we can and should look for ways to optimize simplicity AND freedom AND variety.

 

For example, I don't think I've broached this idea but it's one I worked on long ago to fit several kinds of magick into a small space:

 

Define several "schools" or "arcana," that (in mechanical terms) are defined mostly by Limitations. You can have the exact same set of Limitations in Hero terms represent more than one way to do magick. Example: Bards require an instrument (OAF) and song (Incantations) and maybe a roll on a Play (Instrument) Skill. Wizards require a staff (OAF) and spoken spell (Incantations) and maybe a Lore roll (KS: Magic type.) Do not mention Limitations by name, just specify for each school what they need.

 

Either make sure each arcanum/school/discipine/whatever they're called, has the same value in Limitations, or organize them into a few categories (Total Limitations -5, -3, -2, maybe)

 

Write up a list of spells that are, in mechanical terms, defined by Powers and Advantages, and perhaps some Limitations. For example, Fireball would be a Blast with Explosion. Again, neither the Power nor the Advantage have to be mentioned by name in the write-up. Save space by writing up, say, Dragon Fire as a No Range Blast with Area Effect: Cone, and then Cone of Cold as "Works just like Dragon Fire, but uses cold instead of fire to do damage."

 

Each spell would have either a set cost, or a few set costs depending on what category of mage you are. The new player doesn't have to do any math beyond adding and subtracting points.

 

Point out that "You can invent your own magical traditions by defining how they cast spells, figuring out from that which category they would belong to, and charging for spells accordingly." Also encourage creativity by suggesting that new spells can be added by changing "special effects" - a spell defined as a fiery blast could be a rain of stony missiles or a swarm of demonic insects if that fits a given spellcaster's schtick better.

 

Lucius Alexander

 

Summon Palindromdary

 

 

 

 

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Interesting, Lucius. What you're describing sounds a lot like the "spell college" approach from the Fourth Edition version of Fantasy Hero. Each college had standard Limitations with distinctive, uniform and defined Special Effects, which distinguished spells from different colleges which were mechanically very similar. I personally liked that approach as it gave each college a unique flavor.

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The ultimate consideration' date=' of course, is what will attract new customers. And that's important. [i']Champions Complete[/i] seems to have considerable appeal to the new Hero player who wants everything he needs to play in one volume. So I would consider a single book with everything to be more marketable in this environment. The problem with that is the magic. Setting a single standard way to do magic, and then telling the players "you can build your own magic system once you're comfortable with the rules" might confuse the new players. Plus you should ideally continue to sell the BIG FH and SH books to the dedicated players who want all that crunch and flexibility.

 

When you get right down to it, almost every other fantasy game provides its own pre-packaged magic system, with little if any guidance to players on how to build new spells, let alone design their own magic system. IMHO Fantasy HERO providing one already built to go with an official default setting, but leaving the design-your-own option on the table for when they have more experience with HERO, sounds like a good strategy to draw in new players, and then keep them.

 

 

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I think we can and should look for ways to optimize simplicity AND freedom AND variety.

 

For example, I don't think I've broached this idea but it's one I worked on long ago to fit several kinds of magick into a small space:

 

Define several "schools" or "arcana," that (in mechanical terms) are defined mostly by Limitations. You can have the exact same set of Limitations in Hero terms represent more than one way to do magick. Example: Bards require an instrument (OAF) and song (Incantations) and maybe a roll on a Play (Instrument) Skill. Wizards require a staff (OAF) and spoken spell (Incantations) and maybe a Lore roll (KS: Magic type.) Do not mention Limitations by name, just specify for each school what they need.

 

Either make sure each arcanum/school/discipine/whatever they're called, has the same value in Limitations, or organize them into a few categories (Total Limitations -5, -3, -2, maybe)

 

Write up a list of spells that are, in mechanical terms, defined by Powers and Advantages, and perhaps some Limitations. For example, Fireball would be a Blast with Explosion. Again, neither the Power nor the Advantage have to be mentioned by name in the write-up. Save space by writing up, say, Dragon Fire as a No Range Blast with Area Effect: Cone, and then Cone of Cold as "Works just like Dragon Fire, but uses cold instead of fire to do damage."

 

Each spell would have either a set cost, or a few set costs depending on what category of mage you are. The new player doesn't have to do any math beyond adding and subtracting points.

 

Point out that "You can invent your own magical traditions by defining how they cast spells, figuring out from that which category they would belong to, and charging for spells accordingly." Also encourage creativity by suggesting that new spells can be added by changing "special effects" - a spell defined as a fiery blast could be a rain of stony missiles or a swarm of demonic insects if that fits a given spellcaster's schtick better.

 

Lucius Alexander

 

Summon Palindromdary

 

 

 

You could also define spheres that a particular arcana belongs to, and which ones are restricted to it. For example, the Bardic Conservatory could have the Mind and Spirit spheres but cannot have Elements sphere. The Hermetic College can have Primal (the sphere of magic itself) and Knowledge, but cannot have Spirit. Each spell would then be given a sphere or two it falls into: fireball would be Elements and Scrying would be Knowledge and Correspondences.

 

Of course, I could be accused of stealing the idea from Mage: The Ascension...

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