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Impromptu Hero -- Old-School Adventures With Indie Style

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Here's something I've been trying to get to a readable state for feedback. It's a complete change from my usual style, but I ended up liking it anyway. This is the first part, but it's more than long enough for one post already.

 

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Impromptu Hero

 

Introduction

 

This is an attempt to re-create the fun features (as I see them) of old-school D&D without regard to the (in my opinion misguided) mechanics. I found I wanted a game with the "build a character in ten minutes, run with little to no preparation" style of many simpler Indy-game systems so I could run quick games with my kids at the dinner table. Unfortunately, I also wanted to play Hero, which doesn't usually lend itself to that style of play. Reasonable people would run something designed for quick play, like Savage Worlds or Fate. I was unreasonable, though. This is the result.

 

Old-school D&D-style dungeon crawling lends itself to minimal GM preparation, so I chose that genre. I try to implement the key things I think are fun: generic, all-encompassing fantasy world, characters sketched with simple, bold lines, and zero-to-hero advancement with an enormous range of abilities coexisting in the same world. Though it's not as crucial, I also add advancement in sizeable, discrete chunks (i.e. leveling up is a significant event).

 

I expect Hero, played this way, to be a far better D&D than D&D itself is. Playtesting will show whether it works out that way.

 

Character Concept

 

A character concept has four parts: Class (or Specialty), Race, Background, and alignment. Each is described by a word, phrase, or sentence. You can spend points on anything that is justified by at least one of those descriptions, and not on anything else except improving everyman skills. In play they also constitute character disadvantages. Alignment is specifically a psychological limitation (see below). For the others, if an action would conflict with your class, race, or background, figure out how strong the conflict is (use the psychological complication table) to see how easily you can go against it, if at all.

 

Some player's descriptions of their concept will inevitably be broader or narrower than another's. The game is balanced by the hero point cost, not the concept descriptions, so this shouldn't be a big deal. However, other players or the GM should probably call BS on overly broad specialties that don't seem to imply any concrete limitations. A character's class is his specialty or current profession now that he's an adventurer--what he's especially good at. Try to make it iconic and instantly recognizable. You can describe a role like "Fighter," "knight-errant," "dunedain," or even (for a slightly different genre) "wuxia," name a well-known fantasy character as a pattern such as "like robin-hood" or "grey mouser" or a descriptive sentence in simple, iconic terms such as "a rider from the wind-blown steppe, lance and bow in hand."

 

Race is the usual fantasy meaning. It can be a standard fantasy race like human, elf, dwarf, and so on, something from a book, movie, or TV show familiar to both the player and the GM work, or just a concise description. In the questionable-but-beloved tradition of humans being the all-purpose race in old-style games, you can assume that "human" is a null choice that generally will neither limit you nor justify buying anything special.

 

Background is personal history--where the character came from, who they were and what they did before becoming an adventurer.

 

Alignment is the set of ethics or beliefs that a character acts on (not simply intellectual beliefs that don't affect behavior). It won't justify purchasing abilities as often as the others (though "my devout priest would clearly have KS: scripture" is certainly valid). Instead, treat it as a 15-point psychological limitation, so that the lower the frequency with which it affects the play the stronger the intensity must be (i.e. you can take it as Uncommon/Total, Common/Strong, or Very Common/Moderate, depending on what makes sense to you and the GM for your particular alignment).

 

If the different parts of your concept conflict, generally Race should trump the others when there is something a race *can't* do, perhaps because of physiology. Hobbits can't be immensely strong even if they're fighters. Similarly, the others should trump background when it is something the character could have learned or adapted to after leaving home; background is about what the character *was*, whereas the others are about what the character *is*.

 

Finishing The Character

 

Now spend 10 points on things related to your concept (or save them). You'll need to sell back some characteristics in order to get usable starting abilities in the things that matter to your concept. (In original D&D you rolled for stats and some would undoubtedly be below 10, and low stats were the only written character disadvantages you had.) Have fun exploring a lower characteristic regime than you've probably ever experienced before in Hero--you start as a zero, not a hero, remember?

 

You can have the everyman skills in Fantasy Hero for free; but they're all on an 8- familarity; first-level characters don't get decent rolls. I recommend treating familarities as -3 on a characteristic-based roll rather than as a flat 8-. However, you can buy them up later even if they don't specifically fit your character concept. On the other hand, you can't have any everyman skill that conflicts with your concept, and you can't buy it later based on it being an everyman skill.

 

In keeping with the quick and simple goal, explicit disads have been replaced by the Character Concept system, though nothing stops the GM from adding them back in. Keeping the total number low would probably be a good idea, maybe 25 points or so--zeroes haven't been around long enough to acquire a lot of disads, and writing up a long list takes time.

 

Levels and Experience

 

Lvl 0: 0 pts

Lvl 0.5: 5 pts

Beginning character (lvl 1): 10 pts

Level 2: 20 pts

Level 3: 40 pts

... (20 pts per level after the first)

 

The players receive 10 XP when a significant goal is reached--something that is achievable with reasonably good play in one or two sessions. If it was not achieved but progress was made, that's worth five points. You don't get XP based on the monsters you kill and the loot you swipe; there is incentive enough to kill things and take their stuff already.

 

XP only becomes spendable in complete level units. That is, it takes 10 banked xp to advance from level 1 to level 2, and 20 banked points for each succeeding level. At that point, those points may be spent (or saved, if you wish), but not any acquired after the latest level advance.

 

You can buy up characteristics after character generation if improving them fits your concept--this mimics the general property of original D&D that abilities increase with level regardless of characteristic values. On the other hand, you can't buy up characteristics that aren't connected to your concept--those low characteristics are a kind of character disadvantage and shouldn't be bought off without good reason.

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I hope you continue to work thru and document this concept.  I could easily see it as a way to walk into a gaming store during 'game night' and see if anyone wanted to play a pickup game of Fantasy Hero based on the concepts you have outlined.

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I hope you continue to work thru and document this concept.  I could easily see it as a way to walk into a gaming store during 'game night' and see if anyone wanted to play a pickup game of Fantasy Hero based on the concepts you have outlined.

Thanks! That's exactly what I hope it is useful for. It's probably still more fiddly than a system designed from scratch for streamlined chargen, but I was trying to go as far as could be done in hero. It went further than I expected when I started.

 

Another advantage is that the starting points ended up so low that characters can't afford to be anything but simple, so the players don't have much to learn but the very basics of hero. I thought that was nice for playing a pick-up game like you say, or just making for a gentle introduction.

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Here is part II, which gives some clues as to how I imagined such games and such characters would be played. I'm not sure there aren't better ways, so that is as open to critique as anything else.

 

Also, note how often the word "option" appears. You don't *have* to deviate from hero as usually played if you don't want to simplify that much.

 

Oh, and thanks to a brilliant suggestion by pruttm, the game now has a much better name.

 

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HEROes Of The Dinner Table, pt II

 

Combat Simplification Options

 

Eliminate the battlemat. Sketch the playing field in approximately move sized areas (eight hexes is most convenient for range computations, though it doesn't exactly match a typical full move). Everyone in an area can melee normally with no range penalties. It takes a full move to change areas, and ranged combat between ajacent areas is at -2 (since it's in the neighborhood of eight hexes). Extrapolate longer ranges assuming each area is about eight hexes across; -4 to shoot across one area, -5 (half way) across two, and -6 across three, and so on. (These are just the standard Hero range rules, in eight-hex increments.)

 

Don't track end (except for magic, racial abilities, pushing, and other powers that cost end). End management isn't a big feature of fantasy literature, and you can do without it if it slows things down. Don't let people sell it to zero, just leave it as-is.

 

Don't track stun either--if you take more than your con in stun in one hit you're stunned, but otherwise it's not cumulative (if you do this, eliminate the stat, don't let everyone sell it to zero for more points). This penalizes normal damage weapons, but most fantasy weapons are killing damage anyway.

 

Eliminate energy as a separate attack category; all ordinary physical damage goes against a single defensive characteristic (PD or just DEF). You may want to charge two points for increasing it however.

 

Flavor Customization Options

 

Use the "arcane defense" optional characteristic from Fantasy Hero and apply all magical damage against it regardless of type, so that it functions as a kind of magic resistance. FH recommends it also cost at least two points per point of increase, which is nicely symmetric with a combined DEF costing two points as well.

 

Make magic always work against mental CV (which we re-interpret as "Magic CV), so that mental DCV is also a kind of magic resistance. Working against MDCV is a +1/4 advantage, but you can houserule this away for simplicity. If you also use the "arcane defense" rule then non-magic users get a bit of defense against things they normally would not have, so it should balance out well enough.

 

Monsters

 

You probably won't be able to use any existing Hero monster write-ups for one simple reason: they're balanced for normal Fantasy Hero characters built on 150 pts or more. Instead, decide what "level" the monster is (i.e. go look in your old D&D monster manual) and write it up in hero on the same number of points a PC would have at that level. This conversion probably has little correspondence to D&D, but it will track PC level and enormously weaken low-level opponents like orcs and goblins to fit a zero-to-hero game. It's even better if any differences resulting from such a crude translation keep your players on their toes.

 

Magic

 

There are dozens of hero magic systems in Fantasy Hero and dozens more on the web, and there isn't space for an entire magic system in this document in its current form. Pick one you like and convince the GM. My own preference is for one of the improvised magic systems--to me, spell lists don't fit with the make-it-up-as-you-go ethos and free-form magic is part of what makes Hero a "better D&D than D&D." VPPs work except they require some bookkeeping ("wait, I need to recalculate my pool") that is in my opinion neither particularly genre nor particularly fun, but suit yourself.

 

If you want a more D&D flavor and feel that Vancian magic is an important part of the setting, you might use the Prepared Casting variant of Killer Shrike's Vancian Magic system. You could use his spell lists, or if your wizard player is adept with the hero system you could let him develop his own spell list as the game progresses. Or try this: simply use the D&D spell lists. When a player wants to use a spell he hasn't before (or when he finds it, if you dole them out), make him do a quick write-up and then tweak for balance (of course it eventually goes in the campaign folder). From then on that is the writeup you use for that spell in that game. Depending on how adept the player is with Hero, he can convert new spells in between games or when everyone else is taking a break and getting Cheetos. I suspect (but did not verify) that many of Killer Shrike's Vancian spells are probably based on D&D spells, so you might be able to find a writeup for a lot of the D&D spells even if you're not using his spell lists in toto.

 

GMing

 

During chargen, the idea is to get playing quickly. When in doubt, allow the players to defer choices until after play begins if they wish. It can be fun to develop characters in-play rather than beforehand, particularly for children. Discovery during play works especially well for minor non-combat skills based on background, race, or class.

 

Don't hesitate to make minor background or hobby skills free if they're not going to be decisive in play (non-combat skills are less decisive anyway if you're running dungeon crawls). This also constitutes an implicit reward for a good concept. As long as it's even-handed, there is no balance problem with being generous.

 

Make it up as you go along. Instead of building a game world, bring an empty game folder. As you make up stuff, note down significant choices. If you draw a map on the battlemat, sketch it afterwards in the after-battle lull and put it in the folder. Write down the name of the king you just made up, and so on.

 

Even better, make the players do the work whenever possible. When a player creates a new race, have them write down what it lets a character buy and what it forbids, and put that in the campaign folder. Any other characters of that race use the same description. In short, the player's choices fill out the world as you go. The kind of players that suit this sort of game will begin to cooperate with your laziness and intentionally help out--it's fun to be able to help create the world.

 

Since all this is simply an unusual use of the standard hero rules, you can mix and match in any proportion, or use it to transition to a "normal game. For example you could treat this as a strange chargen method. Play this way until "8th level," at which point a character has 180 points. Then award experience on the normal schedule. The kinds of characters you'll end up with will be different, though, unless you eventually let the players buy up whatever they sold off initially in order to survive.

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I did something sort of like this once before. 

I've attached some of the files I used to this reply just in case they might be of some help or inspiration for what you are working on.

 

When I did the "leveling" style of character development in my fantasy campaign it worked out quite well and my players seemed to enjoy it (they were all big time D&D fans and this was my way of bringing them into the Hero System fold). 

 

The one thing I did with experience points (that might work better for you) is that I separated "xp" from character points. I gave out "xp" in a way similar to D&D (a certain amount for each monster defeated, each trap beaten, each session finished, etc...) and then once the players had received enough "xp" they advanced a level and were given "x number of character points" to spend on their characters and their character maximums would raise a certain amount. This isn't really any different from what you have planned, but psychologically I found that the players were happier and more excited to get "1800 xp" for finishing an adventure, rather then "5 cp" to spend on their character. It also allowed for more granularity in giving xp, since it wasn't directly linked to a certain amount of character points. Anyways, I've attached the first few levels worth of "levels" in a pdf below, so take a look if you are interested. 

 

Edit: As an aside, I also noticed that by strongly controlling the cp give and stat and active point maximums "by level" the characters ended up developing very well rounded characters and remained quite balanced for the length of the campaign, which made it quite fun for everyone and prevented the "spellcasters" from out stripping the other characters in power later on on the campaign which can sometimes happen without very strict supervision. 

FH Character Sheet - Blank.pdf

Level Progression List (1-6).pdf

FH - Spell book - blank.pdf

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I did something sort of like this once before. 

I've attached some of the files I used to this reply just in case they might be of some help or inspiration for what you are working on.

Thanks! That's very interesting. To start with, I see your idea of the number of hero CPs to a level is similar to mine (mostly 15 instead of 20, but on the other hand you didn't start them brutally low as I did), which is a much-needed reality check that I'm at least in the ballpark.

 

When I did the "leveling" style of character development in my fantasy campaign it worked out quite well and my players seemed to enjoy it (they were all big time D&D fans and this was my way of bringing them into the Hero System fold).

That was one thing I thought such a conversion would be good for. Until I started this I hadn't thought through the fact that in addition to learning fundamentally different rules, there is a second hurdle we put in the path of playing Hero which isn't necessary: very different assumptions and play style. What I realized could be done, and I think you did, was bring in D&D assumptions so that their preconceptions about what the whole game is about are still mostly valid. That means they only have one initial hurdle to cross, and that must be much easier. Of course you could lead them across the second one later, but that can be done gradually in-play if that's where you want to go. And in any game a good GM can always run the game in "say what you want to do, I'll tell you what to roll" mode, the barrier could actually be made extremely low.

 

I gave out "xp" in a way similar to D&D (a certain amount for each monster defeated, each trap beaten, each session finished, etc...) and then once the players had received enough "xp" they advanced a level and were given "x number of character points" to spend on their characters and their character maximums would raise a certain amount.

This is a very clever notion that never occurred to me. Again, lowering the conceptual barrier still further so they only have the mechanical barrier between them and play.

 

I've attached the first few levels worth of "levels" in a pdf below, so take a look if you are interested.

Absolutely, I'd be happy to have any material you have for that campaign to mine ideas from. It would be an excellent suggestion to make as one way to handle experience in an appropriately "D&D" fashion, and I can see that this would be part of the fun for people used to D&D. They're already conditioned to salivate on that stimulus, as it were. :D

 

I think I wouldn't do it that way personally, but for a couple of reasons that won't apply to all games and all GMs. First, my kids aren't yet conditioned to that (though the older one got more interested when he realized it was like a certain computer game which uses a D&D like experience system). Second is philosophical. I don't actually like to give out XP for killing things and taking their stuff. That style of play is fun but if you're past a certain age eventually gets old. Of course, old-school D&D could be and was played very differently, but the experience system reinforced the notion that roleplaying isn't about anything more. Being who I am, even if I start with a good old dungeon crawl I'll move in the direction of other things as time goes on, and knowing that I'd like to start from the beginning with the idea that experience is for learning and achieving goals beyond killing things and taking their stuff. I think even my nine-year-old already gets that, kind of, and the younger one will learn it as well.

 

But if I were running a game for people who were already used to XP for killing monsters and acquiring treasure, I might just do it exactly your way as a gateway drug and see if I couldn't move in other directions later. I dunno.

 

Edit: As an aside, I also noticed that by strongly controlling the cp give and stat and active point maximums "by level" the characters ended up developing very well rounded characters and remained quite balanced for the length of the campaign, which made it quite fun for everyone and prevented the "spellcasters" from out stripping the other characters in power later on on the campaign which can sometimes happen without very strict supervision.

I definitely hate the "linear fighters, quadratic wizards" effect and have no intention of importing *that*.

 

It's true, what I wrote doesn't attempt to keep balance and could easily get very out of whack. A serious game might need to do exactly what you say. Though I'm kind of curious about the kind of characters we'd end up with if I didn't impose any controls at all--I think we'd end up with characters that I've never seen exercising the rules in regimes that probably aren't well tested. It would be an interesting experiment, but of course part of doing an experiment is it might all blow up.

 

Thanks so much for all that, the next draft will have to incorporate some of your key ideas for sure.

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I'm slowly editing a new version to bring in some of mallet's excellent ideas, but I wanted to post some character built to those guidelines to show what a "first level" character looks like.  The first one is the first character I ever built, to the specifications of my nine-year-old son Eric.  Eric has some RPG experience (mostly with his Champions character built by normal 5e rules except I had his powers manifest and grow in play), and it shows, but I still think it is interesting to see how a child works with the guidelines I gave.  He wrote his concept himself on paper except for the "alignment", which I think needed more explanation from me.  The character's name is currently "John," though he may change that.
 

 

Class: Like Ioz but a little less good at swordfighting, but sneakier (doesn't sail)

Ioz is a character in the Pirates Of Dark Water cartoon series which we both have seen; some systems would call him something like "Corsair," essentially a fighter/thief in D&D terms.  It's interesting that Eric downplayed combat, with the justification that his character has been avoiding combat and hasn't needed to learn.  He's also specifying that John isn't a Corsair, so really he's just using Ioz for the overall feel and the range of skills, but not as a template to imitate.

 

Race: half human, quarter elf, quarter dwarf.

Actually, he didn't write that, he drew me a pie chart. :D  I'm not quite sure where he wants to go with this, but it would justify some interesting side abilities at a modest level (a bit of magic for example, like the Grey Mouser).

 

Background:

  • Ran away at age of 12
  • Stole magical jewel, but did not know it was magic or how to operate it
  • Kept it as a valuable item
  • Learned to live as a thief
  • Stole a sword before journey
  • Only 2 DEX for swordfighting doesn't usually have to :)

He gave me much more than the word or sentence I asked for, which of course is no problem at all. I think the journey is the beginning of the campaign.  The "2 DEX for swordfighting" doesn't actually make sense in the Hero system, but he's communicating perfectly well that the character is not a skilled fighter.  Obviously he's also established some possessions that I plan to turn into plot hooks in due time.

 

He didn't write down an alignment, so I just pointed out that stealing was a bad thing to do and he'd have to think about why his character would do that.  We talked about it, and what he gave me was this:

 

Alignment: steal to survive, but will help those in trouble.

So basically a nine-year-old with a bit of help can write a better psych lim than just "chaotic good." :D

 

Based on this, I filled in the character sheet (this is 6e).  I did skills first because his signature abilities are all skills, and so the characteristics would have to adjust in order to accomodate whatever skills seem necessary.  For this game you get the everyman skills from FH, but with all of them except the PS on an 8-.  First-level characters don't get good rolls.  This meant that he had to pay the difference and buy up some of the everyman skills.  The final result, including the skill rolls from the stats I haven't bought yet, is:

 

12- Shadowing

12- Sleight of Hand

11- PS: thief

12- Security Systems

12- Stealth

12- Concealment

8-   Acting

12- Climbing

8-   Conversation

9-   Deduction

8-   AK: Wythford

4pts Language: Common

9-  Paramedics

8-  Persuasion

The 9- skills are there because I'm treating a 1-point skill as -3, not as a flat 8-.  Notice: no weapon familarity!  He was insistent enough that his character hadn't learned to fight that after I warned him that it could be a problem, I quit talking and built to his concept rather than trying to apply an editorial hand.

 

Str: 8

Dex: 13

Con: 10

Int: 13

Ego: 10

Pre: 8

OCV: 3

DCV: 3

OMCV: 0

DMCV: 3

Spd: 2

PD: 2

ED: 2

Rec: 4

End: 20

Body: 10

Stun: 20

My logic is probably transparent: his primary abilities are Dex and Int skills, so I had to get those rolls up.  To pay for that, I needed to drop some other stats.  I imagine every non-magical character is going to want to buy back their OMCV, but I kept the DMCV because I'm going to base all spells on MCV as discussed in the writeup.  I needed more points to pay for the skills, so I also dropped Str with the justification that he's a teenager now but still not at his full growth, and dropped Pre back because he didn't talk about any Pre-based skills.

 

I did all this by hand, so there could be any number of errors in there, but otherwise that character balances at 10 points.

 

And that's a HERO of the Dinner Table.  I'm falling asleep, so I hope that didn't need more proofreading because it isn't getting it.

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I've attached some of the files I used to this reply just in case they might be of some help or inspiration for what you are working on.

 

If you have more materials, I would love to see them. I love both ideas a lot and would like to experiment with concepts.

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Actually, the ideas are so close I think they're alternative ways to do the same thing.  If mallet wanted to contribute it could basically include both approaches.  In fact, my guess is that at least some of the differences are that he's emulating a later version of D&D than I am (one that doesn't start you as absolutely helpless as the original did).  Guidelines for different D&D eras, as it were.

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Funny that you should post this now: I'm just back from a holiday, and offered to run an impromptu game for my buddies. I wanted to use Hero, since that's what I am most comfortable with as a GM, but given that we had one - and only one - evening, I also wanted something that would let them put characters together in a vey short period of time. I took an afternoon and very quickly "reskinned" Hero to do exactly that and the game went off without a hitch. It took the players about 15-20 minutes to make characters, and all concerned seem to feel that the game was great success. 

 

Luckily, I still have my notes on some scraps of paper, so I can post the exact conversions I used if anyone is interested but the concept is really simple. Instead of asking the players to define the characters in great detail I gave them few sheets of notes, letting them define their characters in loose detail, by distributing 12 Xp among:

 

4 "characteristics" - Toughness, Quickness, Combat and Smartness

A career (this was for a Japanese Sengoku Jidai game, so these were samurai, warrior-monk or ninja)

Feats

 

The way this worked was that each "characteristic" cost 1 Xp, but was actually a 10-point package - for example, Toughness was +3 STR, +3 CON, +1 BOD, +2 STUN, while Quickness was just +1 SPD.

Likewise each career was a package, ranging from 1 Xp (Warrior monk) to 3 Xp (Ninja) containing 10-30 points of skills and talents

Finally the feats were simply powers such as "unarmed combat" (+3d6 HA) or "Fast runner" (+3" running, +2" leaping) broken down into 10 point chunks and charged at 1-3 Xp.

 

As stated, using this approach, the players put their characters together in about 20 minutes, and we kicked the game into action. Although two of them had little or no Hero system experience, they got right into it, and we were able to play an impromptu scenario where the PCs were dispatched to find out why important reinforcements for the army were late and ended up fighting a delaying action against overwhelming forces. I didn't bother to convert NPCs, because for them I could just use stand Hero system characters and we were easily able to cover a range of activities - scouting, information gathering, building stuff and then 3 large to medium scale combats.

 

cheers, Mark

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This is a very interesting approach--effectively creating meta-stats from package deals that encapsulate and hide the underlying hero quantities.  I suspect a lot of things could be done with that, and I don't see it used much.  I also like the fact that you did a different genre.  My effort was tied to a very specific genre/setting, and I suspect a lot of it doesn't generalize--much of the simplification comes from the very low point total, which only works for zero-to-hero games.  Yours is more general, and also orthogonal to mine so you could do both or either.  I wonder how it would feel to implement the six D&D stats that way (say D&D Strength is Hero STR plus OCV, for example), and then not expose the underlying hero stats in any other way during chargen?

 

I'd definitely like to see the notes--or better yet, a write-up.  In fact, I'd like to see all of them collected together showing alternative ways of accomplishing similar things.  I changed the name of my version, so "Impromptu Hero" is still available as a title for the whole collection.

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OK, here's the "reskinning" I did. Bear in mind that this is an example, rather than a finished version: the whole thing is something I whipped up in a couple of hours over beers, after impulsively saying "Heck, I'll run a game!" :)

 

Characteristics: 1 Xp per point, max 3 Xp on any statistic:

Toughness: +3 STR, +3 CON, +1 BOD, +2 STUN

Quickness: +1 SPD

Combat: +1 OCV, +1 DCV

Smartness: +4 INT, +2 PER (all senses)

 

Career:

Samurai (3 Xp) +1 with all combat, Perk: Samurai (right to mete out low justice), FAM : Common melee weapons, Common missile weapons, Riding, High Society and KS/PS: Heraldry, classical literature, calligraphy.

Ninja (3 Xp) FAM : Common melee weapons, Common misile weapons, common martial arts weapons, Garrote, Blowgun, Fumiki Bari. Acrobatics, Breakfall, Climbing, Concealment, Disguise, Stealth, Security Systems.

Warrior Monk: (2 Xp) FAM : Common Melee weapons. Perk: Priest (right to shelter and perform ceremonies). KS: Buddhism or Shintoism (11-) Martial arts (+3d6 HA)

 

"Feats"

Cost 1 Xp

Skilled combatant: +1 with all combat - can take up to 3 times.

Disarm: +4 OCV with Disarm, +4 STR (only for disarm)

Grapple: +4 OCV with grapple, +4 STR (only for grapple)

Evasive: +2 DCV

Archer: +5 range skill levels with Bow

Arrow-cutting: 4 DC damage negation (only vs missiles, requires weapon of opportunity)

 

Cost 2 Xp

Dirty Trick (throwing dirt or sand, etc): +4d6 Flash

Iron Will: 50% damage reduction physical, resistant, requires an Ego roll

Lightning Strike: Naked advantage, autofire for attacks of up to 8 DC

 

etc - I haven't listed all of these, I made up a list of about 20 feats! But this gives you the idea. Also, I did not provide the players with mechanics, just a general description. Iron Will, for example was described as "potentially shrug off some damage from an attack". Lightning strike was described as "attack multiple adjacent opponents at a penalty"

 

The idea was to get the players to focus on what they wanted to do: I handled the mechanics myself directly. Since the game was a simple one, without magic, it was pretty straightforward - I made a short 1 page summary of the feats listing the general mechanics for my own use. With a bit more preparation you could fairly easily "simplify" Hero system for your own game, emphasizing the bits you wanted, without changing any of the mechanics. 

 

cheers, Mark

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That looks like a great approach.  I'd definitely like to have it written up somewhere, and I think a future version of HEROes of the Dinner Table will have to have the option to re-skin in terms of the basic D&D quantities.

 

We now have three different approaches documented in this thread, and there must be others out there. Are any of you guys interested in compiling these approaches into a single shared writeup? I could create a google doc Instead of an openoffice document so that different authors could have their own "chapters" to describe their impromptu system.  At some appropriate point we could upload a static version to the downloads section of the website.

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