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Hyper-Man

The myth of Hero

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Here is a nice article I found at https://rpggeek.com/thread/1651931/hidden-side-hero and https://fezflip.blogspot.com/2016/10/the-myth-of-hero.html

 

Monday, October 10, 2016 The myth of Hero
 
Excitement was in the air, that thrilling anticipation of a fresh rpg. Friends around the table ready to pass through the door of imagination. They sit ready to make bigger than life characters, explore strange worlds, defeat evil, cross and double cross. The GM pitches his world idea and players instantly snap to coming up with character concepts. Someone asks casually, “what system are we using?” The GM pauses, and reaches into his backpack, with a slight grunt he pulls two massive tomes out. Blue and gold graphics start to bring dread into hearts of the players. That internal fear confirmed when the GM says, “Let's try Hero”, as he drops the the books causing a 3.8 tablequake. Instantly fear turns to horror, the joy of the game drains to be replaced by visions of calculus and 4 hour long combats. Another game is a victim of Herophobia.
 
Hero's reputation as a monolithic impenetrable fortress of rules is well earned. The rule books are huge an imposing. The default setting, Champions, is potentially the most confusing variant of hero that you can run. The quick start rules in their Sidekick editions are good, but no book seems to provide an obvious signpost as to where to start. All of these choices are intentional for better or for worse. The giant rule books are a marketing point, including the famous rulebook can stop a bullet stunt. Champions deserves to be a flagship line because it highlights what hero does better than any other system, but getting that sweet super hero gold requires a lengthy time investment to make it work right. Hero is marketed and designed for Hero players first and foremost, and that has the side effect of keeping hero in the 'hardcore' rpg category during an age of light and story driven rpgs.
 
Hero has a lot going for it. It has a wonderfully consistent set of rules that once you understand them scales through all kinds of power levels and campaign settings. Layers of complexity can be added and removed painlessly. When people think of hero they tend to think of the full buy in version. High character point super heroes with complicated powers and multi powers. But the true selling point, and the one that puts it in a class above other generic systems is the strength of it base system. The simple bones that build into the variety of beasts it can become. My friend Chris likes to say that Hero is his go to light game. While Hero isn't a light game by the standards of modern rpg design, I know what he means. It is easy enough to apply hero to most campaign concepts, with a minimum of tweaking. For those oddball one shots it is often just as easy to throw together a few Hero characters. In games with no power, or low powers the process of making a hero character offers a lot of control while being pretty painless. At low character point levels fights move extremely quickly, letting you run very action oriented games without a lot of combat downtime.
 
Easy character generation, quick combats, but that doesn't sound like Hero. That isn't champions, but unfortunately Champions and Hero are mostly synonymous. So what hero needs is a quickstart that plays to those advantages. The allure of the quickstart is that you can hop right into a game quickly, but a hero quickstart would be generic, so suddenly there is a lot of work to build the world. So we need a stripped down quick start game with an easy to understand world tied into it. It turns out that before Hero came out the system published exactly what I described in 1984. It was called Justice inc. JI was a version of Champions with all the powers stripped out, and a really tight pulp hero game theme. All the rules needed to play, with a few little add ons for the sake of theme. A good set of resources for running pulp games. In many ways it was the perfect Hero supplement.
 
As much as I hate the Fantasy flight new Star Wars model, it might be a good line for Hero games to take. Fantasy Flight with their Star Wars rpg republishes all the core rules with some minor modifications each time they put out a major sourcebook. While this is annoying for a game where the theme changes just a little bit, it is an awesome fit for a generic system that could have wildly different settings and themes. I think a hero curious person might be more likely to buy a small tight game like JI to get a feel, then if they enjoyed it, it would be easy enough to expand into the wider game. It of course doesn’t have to be JI, a cool post apocalyptic game, some unique take or licensed fantasy game. The easiest and quickest way to learn Hero is to play with those already converted to the cult of Hero. Currently there really is no good way for new players to easily get in.
 

I recommend giving hero a shot. Especially if you are the kind of person who wants a game that is mechanically deeper than most. The mechanical depth is offset by its logical consistency. The math involved is very straight forward.  Hero just isn't as inscrutable as people make it out to be, if you are capable of splatbook surfing 200 pathfinder books to make some crazy build you should be fine playing some good old 1980 rpg technology. Long live Hero.

 

 
:)
HM

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The argument of the PF-splatbook craze (or the D20/ 3.0/3.5 splatbook craze) is IMO a valid one. If you can handle THAT you surely can handle HERO.

 

But, unfortunately, it is also the exact same reason why my group hasn't played PF or HERO for some years.

 

HERO is a great system and plays quite naturally once you have grasped the rules. I can stil create characters almost out of my head and come up with the excact costs for advantages and disadvantages (well, hand me a calculator, will ya, for the excat numbers) as far as 5th edition goes.

 

But I don't have or don't want to spend the time. Right now Savage Worlds is my cup of tea as a gm. Preparation time is almost nonexistant with the Plot Point campaigns.

 

Yes, combat can run quite quickly if you play heroic level HERO, best if it is no armor (liek Pulp) and if you don't use hit locations.

But then: Why do I  use a system that is stripped off all the details that make it different from all the other games? It rather use something else then.

And if you use the options a simple combat encounter with a bunch of orcs can take an hour or two. At the end the orcs are dead and you can continue with the adventure. Same thing takes 10-20 minutes using SW or D&D (any version of the game).

 

And since I don't play 8+ hours but maybe 4 hours per session that time is time I would rather spend adventuring. Maybe just to kill more orcs.

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Yes, combat can run quite quickly if you play heroic level HERO, best if it is no armor (liek Pulp) and if you don't use hit locations.

But then: Why do I  use a system that is stripped off all the details that make it different from all the other games? It rather use something else then.

And if you use the options a simple combat encounter with a bunch of orcs can take an hour or two. At the end the orcs are dead and you can continue with the adventure. Same thing takes 10-20 minutes using SW or D&D (any version of the game)

I don't quite follow this.  You say that combat can run quickly at Heroic level and it's best if there's no armor and you don't use hit locations ... but then you complain that it's entirely too long compared to other systems.  The reason I don't follow is because you applied hamstrings to your combat speed by stating it's best at heroic-level without both armor AND without hit locations. You also encourage combat by trying NOT to make it deadly -- which, again, slows you down.

 

If you want substantially more speed at heroic level, then play WITH hit locations AND without armor.  This will make the game less predictable (i.e. all the orcs die but several characters are wounded or potentially dead) and less combat focused ... because it's more deadly (assuming both the GM AND players take the time to utilize those hit locations).  A 5-turn combat among SPD 2 & 3 heroic characters and opponents WITH hit locations and WITHOUT armor can run in as little as 10 minutes with an experienced GM and inexperienced Hero players at the table -- with each player having substantially more granularity/specificity/control during the fight than SW or D&D provides.  If everyone at the table is an old hand with Hero, you can practically cut that in half...

 

Taking hit locations out of the equation removes risks, drags out fights, and adds outcome predictability to the table.  If you want a fast game, make it deadly (which usually shortens fights/combats) and, as a byproduct, you'll likely find your players don't have their characters go looking for fights nearly as often as they once did.  True story.

 

 

 

Thanks for sharing.  I enjoyed that article...

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Thanks for sharing the article. I posted a link to it on G+ Tabletop Roleplaying Games.

 

Toolkit RPGs are tricky things, no doubt. Lots of people reach into the toolbox and cut themselves. Unless it's a very simple toolbox...

 

As for a JI-style all-in-one, that'd be nice. Give people a nice on-ramp and maybe more would give Hero a chance.

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I don't believe in the "HERO system myth".
 

As a player, I've preferred HERO system ever since I was first exposed to it. I don't see it as being all that complex; at least compared to other tabletop RPGs. I enjoy its modularity and granularity.

 

Having run both Pathfinder and HERO as GM: 

I can honestly say combat takes about the same amount of time in both systems, even with a group of players who are essentially newbies to either/both systems. Barring differences in terminology the combat systems are actually fairly similar. The biggest difference being the existence of the Attacks of Opportunity mechanic. What usually slows down combat in either system is when players don't know what their Powers/Feats/Spells do, and having to look them up mid game.

 

Of the two systems, I more frequently end up running pathfinder for one very simple reason. Preparation Time.

In Pathfinder there are no less than 8 hardbound books filled with nothing but ready to run enemies, and a fairly decent list of prebuilt Traps, Diseases, Poisons, and other obstacles I can throw at my players. It has random encounter tables I can used to generate combat scenarios, and random loot generation tables which I can use to reward players for success; neither set of tables is complete, but they get the job done. With the material I have available, I literally don't have to do any preparation to run a game. Even if the players completely derail whatever adventure I had planned (which we all know happens more often than we'd like to admit), I can generate enough content during a "20-minute recess" to keep my players rolling along for the rest of the day. Lately I've been running two consecutive 8+ hour sessions once or twice a month. I just can't do that in HERO.

My main complaints about Pathfinder are the Attack of Opportunity system (which I hate, but is too ingrained into the mechanics to remove), and the choice glut caused by its character generation system. The basic rules of character generation in Pathfinder are fairly "simple" (compared to HERO). The issue is the sheer number of mutually exclusive choices which have to be made to make an "effective" Pathfinder character (because nobody really wants to play a weak adventurer). Discounting fluff there are literally thousands upon thousands of pages of Races, alternate racial features, Classes, alternate class features, Feat chains, Traits, Spells, and Magical Items to wade through. Remembering what a character does or doesn't have has become impossible because unlike HERO, there is no way to swiftly audit a character sheet. Any given character might require referencing literally a dozen (or more) books to find the descriptions of all of their Game Elements. In HERO, even using CC/FHC, it takes about the same amount of time to generate a character; which for me, is anywhere between 2 hours and 2 weeks. But I feel like there is a huge advantage in that I can audit a character sheet in 5 minutes. Everything that isn't written out on their sheet can generally be found in one book.

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I don't quite follow this.  You say that combat can run quickly at Heroic level and it's best if there's no armor and you don't use hit locations ... but then you complain that it's entirely too long compared to other systems.  The reason I don't follow is because you applied hamstrings to your combat speed by stating it's best at heroic-level without both armor AND without hit locations. You also encourage combat by trying NOT to make it deadly -- which, again, slows you down.

 

If you want substantially more speed at heroic level, then play WITH hit locations AND without armor.  This will make the game less predictable (i.e. all the orcs die but several characters are wounded or potentially dead) and less combat focused ... because it's more deadly (assuming both the GM AND players take the time to utilize those hit locations).  A 5-turn combat among SPD 2 & 3 heroic characters and opponents WITH hit locations and WITHOUT armor can run in as little as 10 minutes with an experienced GM and inexperienced Hero players at the table -- with each player having substantially more granularity/specificity/control during the fight than SW or D&D provides.  If everyone at the table is an old hand with Hero, you can practically cut that in half...

 

Taking hit locations out of the equation removes risks, drags out fights, and adds outcome predictability to the table.  If you want a fast game, make it deadly (which usually shortens fights/combats) and, as a byproduct, you'll likely find your players don't have their characters go looking for fights nearly as often as they once did.  True story.

 

 

We always played Hero on the heroic level with hit locations and armor.

 

So, let's see what you have to do to do commute damage:

1) Calculate your OCV after allocating Combat Levels and modifiy according to maneuvers (and no - you can't always "precalculated" it since if you want to have the advantage of flexibility then by all means you have Combat levels and you shift them)

2) Add 11, the roll 2d6 and deduct the result.

3) Reduce your END.

4) You hit! Roll for hit location

5) Roll damage

6)

a) Deduct armor from Killing attack Body-damage, then modify by location; multiply damage by STUN-multiplier and deduct resistant Defenses and PD (or ED)

B) Deduct Armor from Body damag of a normal attack, then multiply; deduct PD/ED+ Armor from Stun-damage, THEN multiply.

7) See if opponent is Stunned

8) See if opponent suffers Knockdown

9) See if Opponent is Impared of Disabled - if so: determine the results after opponent made/ failed Con-Rolls.

 

And the damage taking side also has do to quite a few things: Deducting STUN and BODY for starters.

 

This is quite more laborous and complicated than simly deducting hit points and watching the ZERO HP-line (Pathfinder) or rolling dice for hitting, rolling dice for damage and maybe rolling dice for soaking wounds (Savage Worlds).

 

So, 9 steps for a quite ordinary attack in HERO, two to three (or maybe four) steps in other systems. and kid yourself not: I and most of my group can do that without a sweat (still takes time) but we do have players (none of them dummies, one with a M.A. in Biology) who simply cannot get the whole "procedure" in their heads.

 

And - no - I don not want a "less combat focussed" game. I want heroic action and lots of it! I think it is not good advertisement and a strange way to endores a system by saying: "Hey, if you make combat scary enough, then your players will not wan to fight so much - see: Combat does not take that long after all!" - Yes, after you took it out of the game or limited it enough it does not take that much time ideeed ...

 

I have played HERO/ Champions since 1988 and it was my group's obsession for about 10 years in the 90s and still very popular till the middle of the first decade of this century. But ever more less so.

 

We don't have the time to play 8 to 10 hours (or the stamina - getting old here) and I still remember time swhen one PC in Champions was knocked to - 13 in segment 3 of a turn an dthat players was out of the game for about a freaking hour!

No biggie then - grab a comic-book and you stll have 7 hours of gaming. Nowadays that would kill 1/4 to 1/3 of gaming time!

And at the end of the session you prevented one bankrobbery and got a clue where to look for Captain Evil's lair.

Great.

 

HERO is GREAT for detail, making the characer you want and for flexibility. I also like the iconic characters of the Champions World like Dr. Destroyer, Buldozer, VIPER, DEMON, Mechanon, Black Pladin and all the others (like them even more than the original comic-book villains they are based on).

 

But for fast gaming? - Come on! That is not the selling point.

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Your nine step argument seems to oversimplify combat in other systems, and add complexity to HERO that isn't standard. For example I've never used or seen used the impairment or disability rules in any campaign I've run or played in. Rolling hit locations is no more complicated than rolling STUN Multiplier on Killing Attack Damage, most character sheets even have the hit location chart printed on them for reference. In either case it is a sub step of rolling either the Attack or Damage roll, and to save time those dice can be rolled together as long as the GM can tell them apart.

 

In Pathfinder if you make a typical attack the steps are:

1. Check to see if your action provokes an Attack of Opportunity (such as making a ranged attack while in melee range of an enemy). If it does someone else literally has to perform all of the following steps before you can finish your action, effectively doubling or even tripling the number of steps (up to 14-21 steps because their attack of opportunity could also provoke attacks of opportunity).

2. Calculate or Recalculate your attack roll bonus. Even if you have it calculated for a standard attack, things become more complicated if you have a class feature like Rage, Feats like Power Attack or Combat Expertise, an ally casts a spell, or subjects you to a beneficial spell like ability. Plus there are numerous conditions you can be subjected to that modify your roll further. Which, by the way, you have to check a book for in most cases because none of these values can be found on a character sheet unless the player makes space for them special.

3. Make the attack roll, and have the GM tell you if you hit the opponents AC.

4. Have the GM check for and roll for Concealment (which is a separate percentage chance of missing)

5. Roll Damage.

6. Check for and deduct relevant Hardness, Damage Reduction, or Energy Resistance from the Damage taken.

7. Check if the target is Knocked Out (if they have taken non-lethal damage) or Dying (if their HP goes negative).

 

If you break it down far enough you can make any game sound complicated. That doesn't make it so.

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Let's be honest and identify what we are talking about. Hero can basically be split up into two basic ingredients; Character Creation and Gameplay.

 

Gameplay is one of the fastest, easiest games I've ever run. The only time I've ever had combat bog down was when using the Terran Empire starship rules. Other than that, it has beaten every system but D&D 4 for combat speed. It even beat out Shadowrun, which is also pretty fast. I only ever play Heroic and use every single bell and whistle that Hero can offer, such as Hit Location, Bleeding, Impairing/Disabling wounds etc.

 

Character Creation is where the Myth of Hero originates and I will stand up and say that it is mostly true. It is not that we don't have a vast amount of resources to help the potential GM build his campaign or the potential player build a character. What we have is a two-fold problem.

 

Part One of that problem is that we have come to Hero and found at that we can literally fit almost any vision into the rules. Obviously there are some things that won't easily fit or that are cost prohibitive, but we can still do so much with it. That leads to every GM wanting to do things their own way. For example, let's take a look at the published fantasy settings for Hero; Turakian Age, Valdorian Age, Atlantean Age, Tuala Morn, the Last Dominion, Kamarathin and Narosia being published in some sort of official capacity while there are a few others like Western Shores that originated from a published product and took on a life of their own. How many fantasy Hero GMs use these? How many fantasy GMs look at them and wonder how can they incorporate parts of those settings into their own*.

 

The truth of the matter is that if any single one of those settings could have united the Fantasy Hero crowd, while also pulling in a new demographic, we would have seen a clamor for more of that setting. We would have seen continued support, which is paradoxically what any given product line needs and probably the last thing any established Hero GM wants. In fact, the only product line that seems to have done well has been Champions. That is/was Hero's identifying IP and it is the label by which most of the gaming community at large refers to Hero as. That is also a fair cop, because you can see how the roots of the system has effected its underlying structure (example: for every attack there is a defense and the defense is usually cheaper). That all leads to part 2.

 

Part Two is that we do have resources to help out a GM. Most of those exist within the context of Champions, but there are also a fair number of official supplements for Fantasy Hero as well. Add to those official resources such great fan works like Susano's or Killer Shrike's sites. The problem isn't necessarily that we have no resources, it's that we have no road map for the potential neophyte player or GM to follow. We plop a ton of resources upon them and leave them to their own devices. Based on the reception of most published settings and products, this is a fair response from Hero Games. So that leaves us in a place where those who know Hero, know Hero, and those who don't haven't a clue as where to begin. It is still possible to learn and create something rewarding, but it is also easier to find a game system that is not so monolithic in appearance to do so. 

 

So the Myth of Hero is real to a point. What we need to do is break it down for the person entering Hero for the first time and guide them. Show them resources like Narf's Hero in 2 Pages reference. Show them the Speed Calculator or the Compact RTF Character Sheet from the Downloads section. We almost need something like an Introduction to Hero from Hero Fans resource. Even something that can be "stickied" here in the Hero Discussion would be an enormous benefit. We can "de-mythify" Hero to the gaming community at large by providing that kind of road map

 

Just my own take on the matter.

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The incredible degree of tactical detail that goes with Champions (i.e., superhero) combat means it is going to take a while unless your group only consists of one or two players (apart from the GM). Fantasy combat will take a bit less time unless the characters are at a power level comparable with superheroes. The only way to cut down significantly on playing time (when in combat) is to reduce combat to a storytelling abstraction rather than a (war)game-within-a-(roleplaying)game. Otherwise be prepared to spend most of your night resolving major battles. It is the price you pay for playing an RPG with a richly detailed tactical wargame as its combat system.

 

But to be fair, D&D4e combat can take almost as long, especially with large questing parties. Pathfinder (and D&D3.5e for that matter) is almost as bad, and a lot of that has to do with the fact that D&D's combat mechanics became a poor man's Hero System in many ways. The Attacks of Opportunity mess is, to my mind, a muddled attempt to handle the kinds of situations that Hero's Held and Aborted actions handle far more elegantly.

 

It is interesting that the article writer believes that what the Hero System "needs", in order to gain popularity with the general RPGer, is a stripped down rules presentation and a compelling pre-made campaign setting. I've been saying this for a long time now, and a number of long-time forum members seem to agree. The sticking point, of course, is that Hero Games does not publish game books anymore, and no one is poised to take their place in producing a complete product line along the lines of what is described in "The myth of Hero".

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Thanks for sharing the article. I posted a link to it on G+ Tabletop Roleplaying Games.

 

Toolkit RPGs are tricky things, no doubt. Lots of people reach into the toolbox and cut themselves. Unless it's a very simple toolbox...

 

As for a JI-style all-in-one, that'd be nice. Give people a nice on-ramp and maybe more would give Hero a chance.

 

The following is what I posted as a response on the original rpggeek thread.  I decided to not post it here immediately so everyone could focus on the original article.

 

I agree that a Justice, Inc./Espionage!/Danger International follow up NOT named Dark Champions (HERO System 5) Complete is really needed. Modern HERO would be my choice.

 

The Monster Hunter International Roleplaying Game almost fits as a modern version of Justice Inc. except that unlike Champions Complete and Fantasy Hero Complete it only included the HERO System Sixth Edition Basic Rulebook plus a very specific setting with all the good and bad that comes along with that. The upside was a very nice quality hardcover color interior book. The downside was NPC's having abilities on that couldn't be created with just the rules included in the book (the full set of HERO System Sixth Edition, Volume 1: Character Creation and HERO System Sixth Edition, Volume 2: Combat & Adventuring or Champions Complete are needed).

 

smile.gif

HM

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I'm adding to your comments. As I am not too familiar with Savage Worlds, my comments are more limited.

 

So, let's see what you have to do to do commute damage:

1) Calculate your OCV after allocating Combat Levels and modifiy according to maneuvers (and no - you can't always "precalculated" it since if you want to have the advantage of flexibility then by all means you have Combat levels and you shift them)

 

PATHFINDER (PF): Determine your BAB, add your STR modifier, add any magical or masterwork bonuses of your weapon, add any bonuses provided by spells, magic items, etc., modify for any conditions affecting you or the target. You can't always precalculate since these things can and do change.

 

SAVAGE WORLDS (SW): I assume there is some means of determining likelihood to hit. Am I wrong?

 

2) Add 11, the roll 2d6 and deduct the result.

 

PF: Roll d20, add that combined bonus

 

SW: I assume there is a mechanic to determine whether you hit

 

3) Reduce your END.

 

PF has no END - how are you weakening Hero if you don't use END, just like in PF?

Does SW have an END system?

 

4) You hit! Roll for hit location

 

PF lacks hit locations - if you remove them from Hero and use a standard 2x STUN Multiple (or 3x to match a chest hit), what have you lost?

I assume SW similarly lacks hit locations and this extra damage variable.

 

5) Roll damage

 

PF has damage rolls. Don't forget all those modifiers like the to hit modifiers. "Did you remember the Prayer spell?" "NO - I mean 13 damage!"

I assume SW has damage rolls as well

 

6)

a) Deduct armor from Killing attack Body-damage, then modify by location; multiply damage by STUN-multiplier and deduct resistant Defenses and PD (or ED)

B) Deduct Armor from Body damag of a normal attack, then multiply; deduct PD/ED+ Armor from Stun-damage, THEN multiply.

 

PF: Does the target have Damage Reduction or Energy Resistance? Does it apply against this attack type? Does the attacker have an ability that bypasses Damage Reduction or Energy Resistance?

SW: Not conversant with the system - does nothing modify damage?

 

Again, a standard multiple reduces complexity.

 

7) See if opponent is Stunned

 

PF: See if the "death by massive damage" rules kick in. Roll saving throws.

SW: Again, not familiar enough with the system.

 

And we can just remove Stunned - what have we lost compared to SW or PF?

 

8) See if opponent suffers Knockdown

 

PF: Generally no such rule, unless my attack comes with a Bull's Rush or a Trip - some feats and some creatures do. Stop while we look up that unusual attack.

 

SW: Again, not sure

 

Again, if we take out Knockdown, what have we lost?

 

9) See if Opponent is Impared of Disabled - if so: determine the results after opponent made/ failed Con-Rolls.

 

Again, we can remove this and lose nothing compared to a system which has neither impairment nor disability rules.

 

And the damage taking side also has do to quite a few things: Deducting STUN and BODY for starters.

 

So, if we remove game elements Pathfinder and Savage Worlds lacks, what do we end up with?

 

1) Calculate your OCV after allocating Combat Levels and modifiy according to maneuvers (and no - you can't always "precalculated" it since if you want to have the advantage of flexibility then by all means you have Combat levels and you shift them)

2) Add 11, the roll 2d6 and deduct the result.

3) Reduce your END. REMOVED

4) You hit! Roll for hit location REMOVED

5) 3) Roll damage

6) Now 4)

a) Deduct armor from Killing attack Body-damage, then modify by location; multiply damage by STUN-multiplier and deduct resistant Defenses and PD (or ED)

B) Deduct Armor from Body damag of a normal attack, then multiply; deduct PD/ED+ Armor from Stun-damage, THEN multiply.

7) See if opponent is Stunned REMOVED

8) See if opponent suffers Knockdown REMOVED

9) See if Opponent is Impared of Disabled - if so: determine the results after opponent made/ failed Con-Rolls. REMOVED

 

It's now a 4 step process. We removed a lot of Hero elements, but we did not have those in PF or SW either - you wanted faster combat, so you streamlined the Hero rules and removed some of the added features. What have you lost, relative to the other two systems.

 

Now, someone wants to initiate a Grapple, or Disarm a foe. Which system takes longer to refresh your memory on how those work?

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I'm partial to Action HERO myself.

 

It had just better not be the Last product ever produced by HERO Games or it would get compared to a certain movie of a similar name. :)

 

Maybe we should combine them into Modern Action HERO.

 

:P

HM

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It had just better not be the Last product ever produced by HERO Games or it would get compared to a certain movie of a similar name. :)

 

Maybe we should combine them into Modern Action HERO.

 

:P

HM

If you put a picture of Anthony Quinn on the cover, I'd buy it even if it was the last Hero Games product.

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D&D combat is agonizingly slow, I think, especially 4E. I've never known it to be fast.

 

I can understand the "myth of HERO" phenomenon. I've been struggling with it myself, trying to get my group into the game, and having issues with various parts of the game. In fact, I even made a thread about it, but that thread seems to have vanished. I may make another, but in the meantime, here are some issues that apply to the "myth" for me.

 

Front-Loaded Character Creation

This part is never the problem for me. Yes, if you want to really get into detail, character creation and ability design are highly involved. However, this is largely front-loaded, and that's okay. I like that you can design things to whatever degree you want, and often do it better than many other systems. Now, there is some option overload, but since I largely like to use more Superheroic rules, that's not too bad.

 

Gameplay Post-Character Creation

Here is where I have the biggest trouble. Especially since all my gaming is done via PBP now. I don't like the Speed chart, overall, and I don't like trying to convert varying Speed values plus varying movement power values to try to get real-world speeds. "Can move 55 meter per phase" is basically meaningless to me. I can sit down and figure out how much distance that ultimately covers, but it doesn't register in any kind of pattern or intuitive estimation to me. Compared to saying "Can move 150 meters per turn/X MPH," where I have a much more intuitive grasp of how that works, it's more difficult. I'd like to remove Speed as a variable entirely, either by just assuming everyone is Speed 3, or finding an alternate system that preferably involves a single action/movement per turn.

 

On top of that, it feels like combat options are rather complex. This is something I have grown to dislike as a gamer over the years, combats that take too long unless specifically set up to do so. Mostly, figuring out things like DCs that might be affected by maneuvers or simply picking up a broken bottle or the like seems like more work than it ought to be. A lot of martial maneuvers seem fairly simple, modifying OCV or DCV in easy enough ways. But I've seen some examples of play bogged down with minutiae that doesn't look fun to track. If I want to have, say, a high-octane shonen hero fight, or something like Spider-Man swinging desperately through the city pursued by Electro, I want things to go fast, keep the excitement rolling. To that end, and because again PBP, I always use Standard Effect for everything.

 

A current example is that I want to run a Dragon Ball game for my friends. I have some great ideas. Few systems do it real justice, but I think HERO could. The issue is that while fights might take a while (when they're the big epic clashes), I want individual turns to be fast, and things to move quickly. It should be dynamic, fluid, and in no way clunky or slow. A game like M&M tends to offer similar things, but at an easier to manage level. Like with my movement rate example, it's far easier to say "Add 9 ranks of time (1 hour) to your movement speed rank to get MPH," and make it easier to get a "feel" for how it works. So if I have Speed 11, I can look and see that I move 4000 MPH, or about 8 miles in a single move action. Great! Now with a list of benchmarks that fit to the various ranks and measures, I really feel like I can intuit what these values mean. Or "Light speed is rank 28 movement" is great. Makes things easy, isn't a ridiculous number, gives me a feel for what I need to know.

 

The thing is, HERO does things that I really like. I love the way Aid works, and I like Endurance as a mechanic. I like that it'd be easier to build a character like Frieza, galactic tyrant capable of destroying whole planets with one finger (RKA 10d6, and it just goes up from there in the series), rather than in M&M giving him a +45 energy blast and dealing with the sort of wonky way that area attacks work in M&M. But the numbers are in general easier to manage. And I'm not sure how to reconcile the differences enough to make HERO the more attractive option for my players, at least a couple of which are predisposed against it.

 

So, for me, the "myth" is in truth less about character creation and more about the stuff that happens after. For some, like my players, it's character creation, but I think if they got a taste of it, without having the usual hearsay on the internet informing them, they'd be okay with it. At that point, it's a matter of whether or not we can make gameplay after character creation streamlined and fun.

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Last weekend at a game day, I ran a 4-hour Champions game for 6 players. Only 2 had played Hero before, and neither in over a decade. One it was her first ever RPG. 2 were kids. Not one of them had any trouble grasping the system, the combats went really quickly and everyone had a total blast.

 

The game I played after that was an epic-high-level Savage Worlds game. Normally I find SW okay for quick beer-n-pretzels games. But this one had 4-page character sheets and got completely bogged down in how this talent interacts with that weapon and so forth. Fun concept, but it was one of the most rules-heavy games I've ever played.

 

The game I played after that was a Shadows Angelus game in Hero that was so streamlined it made *my* games look rules heavy by comparison. Seriously, this was stripped down to nearly Fate-level. And you know what? It played great and everyone had a terrific time.

 

Hero is as crunchy as you want it to be.

 

So, let's see what you have to do to do commute damage:

1) Calculate your OCV after allocating Combat Levels and modifiy according to maneuvers (and no - you can't always "precalculated" it since if you want to have the advantage of flexibility then by all means you have Combat levels and you shift them)

2) Add 11, the roll 2d6 and deduct the result.

3) Reduce your END.

4) You hit! Roll for hit location

5) Roll damage

6)

a) Deduct armor from Killing attack Body-damage, then modify by location; multiply damage by STUN-multiplier and deduct resistant Defenses and PD (or ED)

B) Deduct Armor from Body damag of a normal attack, then multiply; deduct PD/ED+ Armor from Stun-damage, THEN multiply.

7) See if opponent is Stunned

8) See if opponent suffers Knockdown

9) See if Opponent is Impared of Disabled - if so: determine the results after opponent made/ failed Con-Rolls.

 

And the damage taking side also has do to quite a few things: Deducting STUN and BODY for starters.

It really seems like you're going out of your way to make combat as complicated as possible, and then complaining that it's too complicated.

 

1) For each attack/maneuver, you can precalculate OCV+11+modifiers, and list how many CSLs you have with that attack; then you just have to decide if you want to put CSLs on OCV or DCV.

2) Again, you can pre-add OCV+11+modifiers on the sheet, so this just becomes a standard attack roll like in just about any RPG.

3) Subtract END after the attack is over when the GM has moved on to the next player. Or just ensure each character has enough END to get through a typical combat and ignore END altogether.

4) Optional rule.

5) Sure

6) If you're not using Hit Location, this is simply a matter of subtracting armor, similar to most RPGs

7) Sure

8) Optional rule

9) Optional rule

...see what I mean? I mean if you like all those optional rules, that's fine. But if you're looking for a game that plays faster, all you have to do is leave some of them out and you're looking at basically 4 steps, which is certainly no worse than SW combat with its exploding dice and spending Bennies to soak damage, and all that jazz. I've played a lot of SW games and honestly I find its reputation for fast-play is greatly exaggerated.

 

But for fast gaming? - Come on! That is not the selling point.

I agree that has not been the selling point, but that's a marketing fail not a flaw of the system.

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On top of that, it feels like combat options are rather complex. This is something I have grown to dislike as a gamer over the years, combats that take too long unless specifically set up to do so. Mostly, figuring out things like DCs that might be affected by maneuvers or simply picking up a broken bottle or the like seems like more work than it ought to be. A lot of martial maneuvers seem fairly simple, modifying OCV or DCV in easy enough ways. But I've seen some examples of play bogged down with minutiae that doesn't look fun to track. If I want to have, say, a high-octane shonen hero fight, or something like Spider-Man swinging desperately through the city pursued by Electro, I want things to go fast, keep the excitement rolling. To that end, and because again PBP, I always use Standard Effect for everything.

Again, IMX it's all about making choices. If certain rules/minutia/options are more crunchy than you like, then simply say "we're not using those rules this stuff around."

 

IMO the reason Hero has the reputation it does is that it has done a terrific job of providing all kind of options you could use, but a lousy job of highlighting how simple the core mechanics are and how quickly and simply it can play, so you can then make a more informed decision about "OK, adding these options will slow combat down by "X" much..."

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There us already a Dragon Ball Z RPG. And guess what? It is a Fusion Labs project (Hero Games/and the guys behind Mekton).

 

Yeah, and I played it. I have some fond memories of it. But ultimately it breaks down, because it wasn't that great a rule system. I want to use something much more robust, like HERO, to really capture the feel I'm after.

 

Again, IMX it's all about making choices. If certain rules/minutia/options are more crunchy than you like, then simply say "we're not using those rules this stuff around."

 

IMO the reason Hero has the reputation it does is that it has done a terrific job of providing all kind of options you could use, but a lousy job of highlighting how simple the core mechanics are and how quickly and simply it can play, so you can then make a more informed decision about "OK, adding these options will slow combat down by "X" much..."

 

I forgot one more item: roll-under. I actually hate roll-under. One option I wish was in the game? An option to convert the system to roll-over.

 

But anyway, I guess I would have to get some more experience of the game in action, particularly when the Speed system is stripped away as I touched on earlier. The thing is, finding a HERO GM is very, very difficult online.

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As is finding a reasonably-priced set of hardback 6e v1 & v2 books online. :)

 

True, and while I get the need to charge for it, I wonder if Hero Games isn't shooting itself in the foot a little by not making HERO Designer free. It is, after all, a great way to help people just learning HERO learn how to build things and see it in action. At the least, I think offering it for free to anyone who buys the HERO books would be a good idea.

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Hero is as crunchy as you want it to be.

 

It really seems like you're going out of your way to make combat as complicated as possible, and then complaining that it's too complicated.

 

Systems matter. Waht is the point of playing a particular system and then strip it off all the things that define its main features - like you said in your post: HERO stripped down to FATE-level plays extremely fast and everybody had a blast.

 

I had a blast playing hide-and-seek when I was a kid and we didn't even have a rulesbook back then!

A lot of people boast that Call of Cthulhu (6th edition) has great combat rules because they never fight - and if they do the Big Baddy kills them anyway. And not finding a vital clue was no problem becaus ehand-waving solved that easily.

 

Yes, any rules system may be great if you leave out the parts that aren't.

 

Coming back to HERO:

Keeping track of END, STUN, BODY, when to act on the Speed-chart, hit-locations etc.was something that made me a HERO-player originally. BUT it is quite a lot more than you have to cope with than in other systems.

Yes, even using STUN is optional.

But I guess using dice is then optional too - why not just narrate combat by looking at the stats and deciding what is "coolest" or "blastest" for the adventure.

 

I am not here (why would or should I - I am on the board for more than a decade) to tell you to change systems, that HERO is crap or any such thing. BUT: HERO is front-loaded and combat (especially CHAMPIONS) takes a lot of time (many options with high-powered characters) and heroic combat can quickly become complicated because of ALL THE OPTIONS. Period.

 

And if basically the world tells you that they shun the system because the systems seems too complicated and that is based on their experience then it just might be that - from their perspective - there is something that makes HERO less approachable than three trillion splat-books for PF!

 

So, what is it? - Lots of other systems give you the options in a piece-meal fashion:

Here is your 1st level fighter, that is what he can do. Next stop: 2nd level - more options.

HERO: Here are two books thet make King James' Bible look like an easy read. And here are ALL THE OPTIONS. Take what you like! - People don't know what to take and are simply overwhelmed.

 

Yes, that has been addresses by Champions Complete and by Fantasy HERO Complete but still: Take a look at 4th Edition FH. Okay, no rules, BUT "Character Classes", a world, two adventures, spells. All you need. 4th Edition HERO was HERO's most popular time (5th edition had more books though) becaus eit was the most approachable rulesset YET. Take a look at 3rd Edition: Even though the rules were not unified yet, Danger International, Justice Inc. and Fantasy Hero were full rules with adventures, background etc. that could be played using less than 200 pages.

 

Whatt HERO needs is to cut down and hand the people "less for more" - GURPS is going down that road with its new kickstarter for Dungeon Fantasy.

And (like someone else said before): Stick to a setting and develop it, e.g. for Fantasy. One of TSR's downfalls (apart from the desaster with fiction) was that they didn't listen to the market and published a great many settings that could not sustain themselves.

 

I think HERO as a system does the same mistake.

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Well, my impression of 6th edition was that the complexity level had been pushed to nearly the upper bound of what you could do, and that a subsequent edition should probably go "back to basics" and strip the mechanics down to the simplest and most "core" concepts of the system, even possibly discarding or making completely optional certain mechanics that tend to lengthen combats(e.g. the Speed chart) or the character creation process. The 4th edition Hero System rules book was 214 pages. My guess is that a stripped down version could be done in maybe 30 pages...the length of a comic book.

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What HERO needs.

 

1) Strip the HERO System Rulebook 7th edition short, sweet, and concised. Remove most of the optinal things and put them into the campaign books (i.e., Champions, Star Hero, Fantasy Hero, Dark Champions, Mecha Hero, ad infinity).

 

2) Each catagory has a complete universe, and only one or at least two complete universe. They need not be unified.

 

3) Simplfie the basic character creation. Powers need not be in the basic rules.

 

The Books:

HERO System Rulebook 6ed

HERO System Powers Book

Champions (superhero setting)

Fantasy Hero (midevil fantasy setting)

Star Hero (sci-fi setting)

Mecha Hero (sci-fi anime mecha setting)

Dark Champions (modern day action hero setting)

Ninja Hero (martial arts setting in midevil Japan and China)

Against The Death Dragon (martial arts setting set in the modern world, with a big Mortal Kombat/Street Fighter tournament)

Jet Justice And The Space Patrol(pulp sci-fi setting)

Time War (sci-fi time travail setting)

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I support the idea!

 

But I would not include a Mecha setting (how popular is Mecha BTW still?) and Dark Champions definitely needs a new name. "Dark Champions" is The Punisher for me or other vigilante crimefighters and describes that genre very well. But espionage, military or modern crime-fighting/ detective adventurers aren't neccessarily "dark" (or any darker than a fantasy character). I would opt for HERO Now! or Modern HERO.

 

Pulp I do like - sci-fi pulp might be not what we are looking for since it is a sub-genre of a not very popular genre. I think Pulp Hero would do best if you had a Pulp HERO basic book and a Jet Justice Sourcebook (and other sourcebooks supporting further sub-genres like Pulp Crimefighting, Pulp Globetrotting, Pulp Horror etc.).

 

Fantasy HERO should be linked to one world. And that world needs to be something special because if I want D&D-fantasy I am going to play - guess what - D&D. Can't beat it on its own turf - so don't try.

 

Same with Star HERO - give it a setting that you can support and that is different from other sci-fi settings. Since there aren't that many sci-fi games out that are popular in the long run I find this one a hard nut to crack.

 

The Title Against the Death Dragon is pure genius! It's catchy, sounds cool and one really wants to start playing THAT GAME!

 

And that is excatly the point - make people want to PLAY THAT GAME!

I don't think that White Wolf's Word of darkness was so damn popular because people feell in love with the rules engine - they liked it because the loved the setting - and the rules supported the setting!

 

So, we have to find setting that are well supported by HERO rules. I think steriaca just found one! :yes:

 

BTW: I would include the setting specific rules with the Setting books. Yes, that means that you get the rules twice (if e littel different) if you buy Against the Death Dragon and HERO Now! but if you just want modern day death dragon arse-kicking you don't have to buy the basic rulebook, too.

 

I would call the rulebook to include all the rules the HERO Encyclopedia. The powers book should go extra because you really only need it if you wnat to do stuff on your own.

But with 7th edition - you don't! You buy Lightsleep and it costs 3 points and the power-description tells you what it does. You don't get the (how did we construct it"- block any more. If you want that take a look at the Powers Book!

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