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Hyper-Man

The myth of Hero

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In many games, a lot of crunch in combat and a die roll or two for social interaction works fine. It's about the focus of the game. I could see games where focus is removed from combat, and a different arena needs more detailed rules. But, just lie combat boils down to a lot of rolls using OCV and DCV, we might well have a more granular breakdown of the path from start to win/loss, using the same tools we have now. Or we might have social equivalents of OCV, DCV, STUN, BOD, etc. and relegate combat to simple skill rolls.

 

 

The problem is defining "good role playing". What is my bonus for describing my attacks rather than just saying "Use my Blast". That should be pretty similar to describing my approach to an interaction challenge instead of "Use my Charm on her".

 

It is not "good role playing" for a character lacking social skills to make eloquent speeches, nor is it "good role playing" for Novice Teen Hero to be a tactical genius in play. Good role playing includes making sub-optimal decisions because that is the role. "My DCV? Well, it's 8, but I'm also Overconfident, so who cares about this loser? Use a 4." is much better role playing for that high DEF Brick with Overconfident than "DCV? Unknown opponent? Abort to Dodge and put all levels on DCV!"

 

Situational modifiers like a surprise move or giving her the flowers she really likes? Again, if it's easy and common to get +2 on that Charm roll, it should be just as easy and common to get +2 on a To Hit roll (or +2 DC on damage). Yes, even when the PLAYER knows that opponent his character has no knowledge of can lay him out with one shot.

 

And that good role playing should be rewarded, not result in a dead character or a player sitting out the next hour of play..

 

The classic example is our Lawful Good characters applying a torch to the groin of the peasant they are questioning "cuz it gots da best modifier" - screw my character's ethics or personality, all that matters is The Win.

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I just read a review of BASH in which one of the negatives listed was "Multiplication and charts may turn some players off."

 

 

Hero is dooooooooomed!!! :P

I once rolled a critical on my Rollmaster table of contents roll. Everyone died, but it took 92 tables and four days. And most people lost an eye first.

 

Except Brad. Brad's always screwed.

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The problem is defining "good role playing". What is my bonus for describing my attacks rather than just saying "Use my Blast". That should be pretty similar to describing my approach to an interaction challenge instead of "Use my Charm on her".

 

It is not "good role playing" for a character lacking social skills to make eloquent speeches, nor is it "good role playing" for Novice Teen Hero to be a tactical genius in play. Good role playing includes making sub-optimal decisions because that is the role. "My DCV? Well, it's 8, but I'm also Overconfident, so who cares about this loser? Use a 4." is much better role playing for that high DEF Brick with Overconfident than "DCV? Unknown opponent? Abort to Dodge and put all levels on DCV!"

 

Situational modifiers like a surprise move or giving her the flowers she really likes? Again, if it's easy and common to get +2 on that Charm roll, it should be just as easy and common to get +2 on a To Hit roll (or +2 DC on damage). Yes, even when the PLAYER knows that opponent his character has no knowledge of can lay him out with one shot.

 

And that good role playing should be rewarded, not result in a dead character or a player sitting out the next hour of play..

 

The classic example is our Lawful Good characters applying a torch to the groin of the peasant they are questioning "cuz it gots da best modifier" - screw my character's ethics or personality, all that matters is The Win.

I agree with a lot of this.

 

That said, overconfident is like a red flag to me. Unless it says 'suicidal overconfidence', if a player does something suicidal and confuses it for simple overconfidence, I'm going to point this out and hope they recognize the difference. If they don't, I think it is detrimental to the game for everyone to repeatedly have to cover for that bad bit of roleplaying on their part. And, unfortunately, there's a lot of players who do not recognize the distinction.

 

BUT, aside from examples like that, if players are roleplaying well, I want them to roleplay their good and bad traits, and am definitely in favor of rewarding it, because ultimately, the story we all make is far more interesting than power gaming ever is. Characters without flaws suck. NPCs without them suck just as bad.

 

I just joined a friend's game, it's D&D and it's his first time DMing. My character is a thief(haven't played D&D in twenty years, haven't played a thief in 25 years, lol). He's low Charisma, my description of him is that he is ugly, looks rather dumb, and tends to bore people. He is, however, an intelligent person. Difficult to play, but it's a fun challenge. My basis is that he does not actually lack social skills entirely, but people just tend to judge him on his looks combined with his passable social skills, but he uses this to his advantage. He will purposefully engage people in the kind of inane conversations that people tend to spend thought on how to extricate themselves from, so that they are more focused on getting away from it than on what he or his party mates are really doing.

 

I'm thinking about telling the other players that, no matter how much sense something I say may make, they can feel free to act as if I never said it. There's another party member who my character had one of the best interactions in the last game, so we're sort of on the same wavelength. I'm expecting that some games, his character will have to repeat good ideas I say as his own ideas in order to play out the whole party dynamic.

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I played in one short-lived game where the clever-but-low-PRE character would come up with some brilliant idea, everyone would ignore him, and then someone else would say "Hey, you know what we should do [whatever other character said but pretending it's my idea]" and everyone would go "Great idea!" and do that. The player running the clever-but-low-PRE character thought it was hysterical and did everything he could to set it up whenever possible, but we all felt a little sorry for his poor character.

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That said, overconfident is like a red flag to me. Unless it says 'suicidal overconfidence', if a player does something suicidal and confuses it for simple overconfidence, I'm going to point this out and hope they recognize the difference. If they don't, I think it is detrimental to the game for everyone to repeatedly have to cover for that bad bit of roleplaying on their part. And, unfortunately, there's a lot of players who do not recognize the distinction.

So what should a Strong (or even Total) overconfidence mean? I bluster a lot, but still play tactically, ignoring the complication entirely except for the occasional "HA - you cannot defeat me!" quote? There's a lot of room between "suicidal" and "just pays lip service to the complication".

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So what should a Strong (or even Total) overconfidence mean? I bluster a lot, but still play tactically, ignoring the complication entirely except for the occasional "HA - you cannot defeat me!" quote? There's a lot of room between "suicidal" and "just pays lip service to the complication".

If the GM repeatedly finds themselves fudging a whole lot of rolls to let someone survive because they repeatedly enter into obviously suicidal situations as part of their overconfidence, then it's a suicidal overconfidence. Otherwise, yes, there's a lot of room, but suicidal is suicidal. I would normally not let someone take that level, simply because it's a character who is likely to die, plus a trait that most teams will not want on their roster, plus, if I help them not die, it almost always totally screws with the game for everyone, encourages less planning(as the players who abuse overconfidence seem to often use it as an excuse to actually disregard the team actually having any say in how a battle might go), and, in general, creates a situation where that character gets a level of plot armor that others do not have.

 

I know people with a strong sense of overconfidence. They are still alive, and not generally jumping into suicidal situations every time they come up.

 

Now, I make this clear in my game. You are not allowed to have suicidal overconfidence, here's the reasons why, if you take overconfidence, I also generally want to hear what circumstances it tends to play out in. I've seen it role played well. Unfortunately, I've more often seen it played as suicidal, no matter what level they actually took of overconfidence. If someone really wants to take it to the suicidal level, and understands that they will almost certainly die, then I suppose no problem.

 

Otherwise, if their character is intelligent enough to see a situation is clearly suicidal, it is not ignoring the complication to not jump in, because they did not buy the suicidal level of the complication.

 

I've had plenty of players in the past(fortunately, never more than one at once), and seen players in other GMs' games, who, save for the GM not wanting to deal with the hassle of captured or dead characters, would be captured or killed in almost any of the sessions they are playing in. In my opinion, that strains the entire role play and the suspension of disbelief for everyone.

 

Now, I would allow it if there were something that allowed for some control, whether a friend PC who could reign them in, or some other thing. THAT I could see being a good opportunity for role play. Otherwise, it begs the question, exactly how does the player see this character as being a viable long term member of a team?

 

Players I've had who did it well generally recognized the difference between a situation that they MIGHT not be able to win, and rushing in, and a situation in which they would ALMOST CERTAINLY not win barring the most bizarre luck in the universe.

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Jackie Chan is not overconfidet, even though he did the most outrageous stunts - but only with dilligent preparation and after aquiring the skills to do them. He is confindet in what he does but I have seen a quote of him saying that he would not do bungy-jumping becaus ehe considers it too dangerous (and unnecessary).

Buster Keaton centainly had a certain level of overconfidence as had Harry Houdini - both were very very dillignet and capable but considering some of their stunts (like the falling house-front that misses Keaton by maybe an inch) the things they did were quite dangerous. You need some overconfidnece to do that.

 

I think if something is only possible if everything workd exactly as planned and you (almost) never shy away from the task even though the risk is extremely high and harm may be serious or deadly but there is still a certain possibility that you can pull it off - then you are overconfiddent.

 

If you do stuff that only work out if the stars are right and Cthulhu is still napping on - you are either stupid or suicidal or both. Thta wouldbe maybe "On the edge", "Deathwish", "Never considers any risks".

 

If you do it only if you have prepared the ins and outs twice and then made sure that the deck is stacked in your favour - that is just good planning of a person who is confident in his own abilities. No points for that.

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Overconfidence usually manifests as a willingness to engage an enemy almost regardless of how powerful they may seem. The overconfident character typically believes they are powerful or smart enough to figure out how to overcome any adversary or situation. This is a workable condition because in a well-run game, no situation (in which the PCs are expected to engage) should ever be completely suicidal/unwinnable anyway. However, if a campaign can't maintain its expected tone with such a philosophy (Hero of Cthulhu?), then the GM should probably outlaw Overconfidence (Total Commitment).

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If the GM repeatedly finds themselves fudging a whole lot of rolls to let someone survive because they repeatedly enter into obviously suicidal situations as part of their overconfidence, then it's a suicidal overconfidence. Otherwise, yes, there's a lot of room, but suicidal is suicidal. I would normally not let someone take that level, simply because it's a character who is likely to die, plus a trait that most teams will not want on their roster, plus, if I help them not die, it almost always totally screws with the game for everyone, encourages less planning(as the players who abuse overconfidence seem to often use it as an excuse to actually disregard the team actually having any say in how a battle might go), and, in general, creates a situation where that character gets a level of plot armor that others do not have.

If they get plot armor, it's no longer a complication, is it?

 

But, especially in a Supers game, "beaten" and "dead" are very different. "Firewing thinks he's tough? I got this, boys." 'HEY SPARKY! You and me, one on one - or ARE YA CHICKEN?" That game is still remembered decades later. Not because he won. Not because he asked if he could make an EGO roll to dodge in Ph 12 and drag the fight on a few more segments. Because while he tied Firewing up, the rest of the team could deal with the other threats - and because he fought with honour, Firewing respected him, and departed the scene after the knockout, causing no further harm.

 

There is no reason every PC should be a tactical genius. I slapped "Impatient, impetuous and impulsive" on a character sheet for a significant Psych some years back. The character goes with the first thought that occurs, and does not hold phases (although here again, his teammates could generally restrain him, but only if they made an effort to talk him into waiting). "Oops - that Explosion centered on the VIPER agents was big enough to catch a couple of teammates (didn't do any damage, but could have knocked a flyer back).

 

Now, I make this clear in my game. You are not allowed to have suicidal overconfidence, here's the reasons why, if you take overconfidence, I also generally want to hear what circumstances it tends to play out in. I've seen it role played well. Unfortunately, I've more often seen it played as suicidal, no matter what level they actually took of overconfidence. If someone really wants to take it to the suicidal level, and understands that they will almost certainly die, then I suppose no problem.

 

Otherwise, if their character is intelligent enough to see a situation is clearly suicidal, it is not ignoring the complication to not jump in, because they did not buy the suicidal level of the complication.

I think this is key - let's get on the same page as to what the construct means, how it may play out in game and ensure there are no misunderstandings later. Maybe that drops the Psych down a level. Maybe it means I don't allow the complication as it will mean the character is basically unplayable. But that up-front communication is critical.

 

This also comes down to game tone. If "one tactical mistake means defeat and likely death", that's a very different game than the typical Superhero source material, or a Star Trek game or, as zslane provides, a Cthulhu Hero game (where no level of tactical genius is likely to save you once combat is engaged). Such games tend to discourage role playing a character's combat reactions in favour of maximizing tactical benefits.

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Overconfidence usually manifests as a willingness to engage an enemy almost regardless of how powerful they may seem. The overconfident character typically believes they are powerful or smart enough to figure out how to overcome any adversary or situation. This is a workable condition because in a well-run game, no situation (in which the PCs are expected to engage) should ever be completely suicidal/unwinnable anyway. However, if a campaign can't maintain its expected tone with such a philosophy (Hero of Cthulhu?), then the GM should probably outlaw Overconfidence (Total Commitment).

I think the reason I disagree with the latter part is from a particular game, but could have happened in any game I run.

 

Two characters go to parlay with a dragon(Chinese dragon), as they need information that only that dragon can give. A number of people more powerful than they give them advice on what not to do for fear of angering the creature. The general tone given is that this is something beyond their power to defeat. One of them plays his guy as overconfident. He attacks in literally the least favorable conditions for surviving the encounter. The second guy steps in to back him, though he would have not done so otherwise. This goes badly for them.

 

Now, yes, I could have done a little hand waving and made the dragon do some funkiness that magically made the combat not happen. But, considering I had spent a great deal of time having people the group trusted and believed in telling them, "Okay, don't do these things, this creature can be reasoned with if you approach it in the right way, but if you don't, it's beyond dangerous," it kind of takes away the color that the creatures add to the narrative, it takes away the credibility of the NPCs who the characters had dealt with for a long time, and everyone, I mean everyone in the group would have immediately recognized the hand waving for what it was.

 

The whole group knew the two were going to die while I was struggling with the decision. Considering that this party had not lost a single member since the beginning, the narrative that everyone had contributed to was so solid in everyone's mind that they were like, "Dude, those two dudes say do this wrong and no one can help you, no one can help you."

 

Now, I did do a little hand waving. The group still had to parlay with the dragon. When they went, they were greeted by the second character, the poor bystander who was with the wrong guy at the wrong time. His last words, as the dragon's breath came upon him, where something along the lines of, "now I've seen everything". The dragon, amused by this, brought him back so that he could see how wrong he was.

 

Now, Hugh brings up a good point. Supers games don't involve quite so much death. I think the threshold is whether the overconfidence, if the scenario is played out as written, would lead to repeated capture or unconsciousness, something many players seem to hate. I am not of the school that says that anyone they might encounter should be possible for them to beat, and of those who they have actual combats with, I think some combats do not need to be clear victories for the group, in order to make the actual victories stand out. Now, generally, the ones that they might not win because they have slightly less power than who they're facing, I usually use things like the villains attempting to steal something, so the heroes perhaps are not able to stop it, but they encounter the foe, learn more about them, and later in the scenario, come out on top. So, in such a game, a player who is likely to get captured over and over is going to make coming out on top rather difficult for the group unless I hand it to them.

 

But, this is in the context of the fact that I like to run a game heavy on role play and heavy on problem solving. This sort of overconfidence seriously hampers both, because it becomes more and more a matter, for the rest of the group, of, "Yeah, glad we came up with a good approach to deal with this situation that captain look at me fouled up AGAIN." In a game run for light fun, where it's about a break from life, it's really not a big deal, especially since such games, almost as a given, are probably going to have some hand waving.

 

I probably sound like a curmudgeon at this point. Don't even get me started on the whimsical character who likes to wander off from the party to investigate dead camel entrails or some odd bird, which they totally need to role play every session, and doesn't understand that, yes, you made your stealth roll to split off from the party, they didn't notice, but you ARE still in a desert plain with nothing(save camel entrails and a bird) for miles and high visibility, so they're eventually going to notice and be like, "Hey where's...oh, never mind, he's over there."

 

Although, in fairness, when I first played Traveler, I was an obnoxious combat monster player. BUT, the GM was awesome, and he solved this problem by way of burning plasma to the chest. My next character was actually thought out in more ways than, "Thogg hit more, hurt more."

 

But, at least Thogg didn't make his GM run a split group for no reason every week. Thogg no do that. Thogg just shoot shoot shoot, stabby stabby until bad men make Thogg pudding.

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If they get plot armor, it's no longer a complication, is it?

 

But, especially in a Supers game, "beaten" and "dead" are very different. "Firewing thinks he's tough? I got this, boys." 'HEY SPARKY! You and me, one on one - or ARE YA CHICKEN?" That game is still remembered decades later. Not because he won. Not because he asked if he could make an EGO roll to dodge in Ph 12 and drag the fight on a few more segments. Because while he tied Firewing up, the rest of the team could deal with the other threats - and because he fought with honour, Firewing respected him, and departed the scene after the knockout, causing no further harm.

 

There is no reason every PC should be a tactical genius. I slapped "Impatient, impetuous and impulsive" on a character sheet for a significant Psych some years back. The character goes with the first thought that occurs, and does not hold phases (although here again, his teammates could generally restrain him, but only if they made an effort to talk him into waiting). "Oops - that Explosion centered on the VIPER agents was big enough to catch a couple of teammates (didn't do any damage, but could have knocked a flyer back).

 

And this actually brings up an interesting aspect of this. Comics being a fairly wide spectrum, one person may enjoy being in an elite group, another may be more enjoying the sort of snappy patter hijinks, another may want grimdark. I think overconfidence works best in that middle group, though the example you give above is actually solid tactically, win or lose, the opponent would be tied up for that part of the fight.

 

I must confess to having often been in groups that focused a lot on roll play and tactics. Sometimes, when playing with another group, I have to tone the latter down. I recall doing a dungeon crawl, sprawling underground cave system filled with all sorts of stuff, likely to spend weeks of game time in there. The first time the party decided to rest, one of the members said, "The chamber we're in seems like the perfect spot," and in my head, I'm like, "There's five unexplored tunnels off of this chamber, three of which are closer to our exit than where we are camped, if they come in any numbers, we'll be cut off from escape. We need to go back one chamber, only two ways into it, with a pit in the middle we could use to cut off our encampment from a direct charge from one of those two passages, tie a line across the other entrance with a bell on it to alert us, watches of two, at least one should have a significant missile weapon..."

 

We slept in the chamber with all the tunnels connected to it. I did not visibly shake when I said, "sure, yeah, let's camp here."

 

Context is king.

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Jackie Chan is not overconfidet, even though he did the most outrageous stunts - but only with dilligent preparation and after aquiring the skills to do them. He is confindet in what he does but I have seen a quote of him saying that he would not do bungy-jumping becaus ehe considers it too dangerous (and unnecessary).

Buster Keaton centainly had a certain level of overconfidence as had Harry Houdini - both were very very dillignet and capable but considering some of their stunts (like the falling house-front that misses Keaton by maybe an inch) the things they did were quite dangerous. You need some overconfidnece to do that.

 

I think if something is only possible if everything workd exactly as planned and you (almost) never shy away from the task even though the risk is extremely high and harm may be serious or deadly but there is still a certain possibility that you can pull it off - then you are overconfiddent.

 

If you do stuff that only work out if the stars are right and Cthulhu is still napping on - you are either stupid or suicidal or both. Thta wouldbe maybe "On the edge", "Deathwish", "Never considers any risks".

 

If you do it only if you have prepared the ins and outs twice and then made sure that the deck is stacked in your favour - that is just good planning of a person who is confident in his own abilities. No points for that.

I think this post here is a good solid description of it. Nice.

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Hero is a good RPG that has a huge character creation system attached that is not easy to get your head round because you need to read most of it first.  This is compounded by the 'reason from effect' philosophy: You can't just buy 'Flame Blast' and expect it to have all the bells and whistles already in place.

 

I know that the character creation system is what makes Hero distinctive, but the thing is, it is part of the game system that we only actually need when creating characters.  I know that is obvious, but both sides of the debate might take a lesson from it: Herophiles might accept hat we don't need the CC System to play Hero, Herophobes might accept that most of the clanging great rules set is something you don't need to play Hero.

 

After years of explaining to new groups that 'in Hero you can build any character you can imagine', and rapidly adding, 'subject to a cost/power balancing system', I don't even give players the choice any more, I just hand out pre-gens.  If I'm in a really sharing mood, I might ask them what sort of character they want to play and then pre-generate it for them.

 

This solves a number of problems: it removes having to explain the character generation system and it means that I know what the characters' abilities are so I can build a scenario more tailored to them.  Win Win!

 

Hero is still a pretty big system, even if you lop off the character generation system, but it needn't be complicated to understand or run: most of the bulk is optional stuff, rules clarifications, and endless repetition of the phrase 'unless the GM rules otherwise'.

 

Let's be realistic: Hero will not make it to 7th edition unless one of wins the lottery, at least not in the current familiar format.  It is a great system though, and should have a place at the table, only that table may be virtual, and hopefully not in need of reinforcement.

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Hero is a good RPG that has a huge character creation system attached that is not easy to get your head round because you need to read most of it first.  This is compounded by the 'reason from effect' philosophy: You can't just buy 'Flame Blast' and expect it to have all the bells and whistles already in place.

 

I know that the character creation system is what makes Hero distinctive, but the thing is, it is part of the game system that we only actually need when creating characters.  I know that is obvious, but both sides of the debate might take a lesson from it: Herophiles might accept hat we don't need the CC System to play Hero, Herophobes might accept that most of the clanging great rules set is something you don't need to play Hero.

 

After years of explaining to new groups that 'in Hero you can build any character you can imagine', and rapidly adding, 'subject to a cost/power balancing system', I don't even give players the choice any more, I just hand out pre-gens.  If I'm in a really sharing mood, I might ask them what sort of character they want to play and then pre-generate it for them.

 

This solves a number of problems: it removes having to explain the character generation system and it means that I know what the characters' abilities are so I can build a scenario more tailored to them.  Win Win!

 

Hero is still a pretty big system, even if you lop off the character generation system, but it needn't be complicated to understand or run: most of the bulk is optional stuff, rules clarifications, and endless repetition of the phrase 'unless the GM rules otherwise'.

 

Let's be realistic: Hero will not make it to 7th edition unless one of wins the lottery, at least not in the current familiar format.  It is a great system though, and should have a place at the table, only that table may be virtual, and hopefully not in need of reinforcement.

This is why I think, more than a new edition, games made FROM it that involve buying packages in order to make characters would be good. Most gamers like making characters, but many don't want to spend forever doing it. Get them playing Hero using characters made through package systems that don't read like aramaic, and they get the chance to get a taste.

 

Have them make characters only to discover, no, sorry, that's really not the kind of pool you want for that, and yeah, that power would be cool, but you need to put three quarters of it in this mpp, but this part, well that's a naked advantage, but it's okay, you put it outside of it, now remember to keep in mind that part of that move is over here in the pool, but the other part is over here out of it, and no no no no, that's not how you make a walkie talkie, here, let me show you the seven accepted ways to make a walkie talkie, I favor number three, as it doesn't go past two paragraphs, and, okay, just, I know you want a speaker and a headlight on your motorcycle, but let's just keep this simple...

 

It's marginally simpler than having to learn all the code for lol before you can play it, there is that. But lol has the advantage that you might not have to actually sit in the same room as the other players, savoring Thad's frito breath.

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In our late Champions campaigns we had TONS of characters who had overconfidence - and my group totally agrees that nobody played it correctly till we now see Stefan play it in Savage World of Solomon Kane (Stefan has been one of the two "surviving" members of this group who has belonged to it since 1983, so he did his fair share of "overconfident" supers before):

 

He plays a mean but loyal French fencer (with overcofidence). In yesterday's game the group tried to get to a crannog (an artificial wooden island/ fortress) in the middle of Loch Tay in Scotland to stop an immortal pictish sorceror to overrun Britain with ghosts and spirits when their boat was attacked by an undead, ghostly plesiosaur.

 

So Frenchie jumped onto the back of the beast, stabbed it with his dagger and was thrown into the lake - and he can't even swim! He made it back to the boat (sheer luck with the dice) but bought for the others a round or two which they could use to line up their attacks to kill the giant critter.

 

And when asked if he thought it a very clever idea to jump on the ghost-saur when he could not even swim the character's answer was:

"Why, I never meant to jump into the lake, I jumped on the plesiosaur. I wanted to kill the critter, not take a bath. So, swimming had never anything to do with my plan!"

 

THAT is overconfidence well played and worth all the points (and in SW bennies)!

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I think the reason I disagree with the latter part is from a particular game, but could have happened in any game I run.

 

Two characters go to parlay with a dragon(Chinese dragon), as they need information that only that dragon can give. A number of people more powerful than they give them advice on what not to do for fear of angering the creature. The general tone given is that this is something beyond their power to defeat. One of them plays his guy as overconfident. He attacks in literally the least favorable conditions for surviving the encounter. The second guy steps in to back him, though he would have not done so otherwise. This goes badly for them.

 

Now, yes, I could have done a little hand waving and made the dragon do some funkiness that magically made the combat not happen. But, considering I had spent a great deal of time having people the group trusted and believed in telling them, "Okay, don't do these things, this creature can be reasoned with if you approach it in the right way, but if you don't, it's beyond dangerous," it kind of takes away the color that the creatures add to the narrative, it takes away the credibility of the NPCs who the characters had dealt with for a long time, and everyone, I mean everyone in the group would have immediately recognized the hand waving for what it was.

 

The whole group knew the two were going to die while I was struggling with the decision. Considering that this party had not lost a single member since the beginning, the narrative that everyone had contributed to was so solid in everyone's mind that they were like, "Dude, those two dudes say do this wrong and no one can help you, no one can help you."

 

Now, I did do a little hand waving. The group still had to parlay with the dragon. When they went, they were greeted by the second character, the poor bystander who was with the wrong guy at the wrong time. His last words, as the dragon's breath came upon him, where something along the lines of, "now I've seen everything". The dragon, amused by this, brought him back so that he could see how wrong he was.

 

Now, Hugh brings up a good point. Supers games don't involve quite so much death. I think the threshold is whether the overconfidence, if the scenario is played out as written, would lead to repeated capture or unconsciousness, something many players seem to hate. I am not of the school that says that anyone they might encounter should be possible for them to beat, and of those who they have actual combats with, I think some combats do not need to be clear victories for the group, in order to make the actual victories stand out. Now, generally, the ones that they might not win because they have slightly less power than who they're facing, I usually use things like the villains attempting to steal something, so the heroes perhaps are not able to stop it, but they encounter the foe, learn more about them, and later in the scenario, come out on top. So, in such a game, a player who is likely to get captured over and over is going to make coming out on top rather difficult for the group unless I hand it to them.

 

 

 

Well, what you're seeing with your group isn't a problem with the Hero system.  It's a problem with suicidal players.  This is something that extends beyond any game system.  The player, for whatever reason, decides to do something that he knows will get his character killed.  Sometimes they're bored with the game, or bored with the character, or they've got something going on in their personal life that manifests in play.  Bob is getting a divorce, and so suddenly his character starts murdering people in a dark alleyway.  And you're like "whoa, Bob, chill out dude, this is a Muppet Babies game..."

 

Obviously genre-breaking disadvantages should not be allowed.  A Silver Age superhero probably shouldn't take "casual killer" at any level.  A guy in a monster hunter game shouldn't take "stubbornly refuses to believe in the supernatural" very common, total.  If a player creates a character whose disadvantages are going to 100% get him killed, the GM should let the player know ahead of time.  In a Call of Cthulhu game or something, that may fit perfectly fine with the setting.

 

But a player taking disadvantages that don't fit with the style of game is no different than a guy building a character whose stats and abilities don't fit within the campaign guidelines.  If you're playing a standard superhero game, and Joe comes in with a character with 3 PD and 10 Body, he's gonna die.  A GM shouldn't be expected to work around a guy who has made an effort to not fit into the campaign.

 

But GMs need to play fair too.  In a superhero setting, I'd say an overconfident character should barge into situations that he could theoretically handle if everything went right.  That doesn't mean that a 250 point martial artist will charge Dr Destroyer one-on-one.  It doesn't mean he won't dodge when an opponent shoots at him.  It probably means that he will attack that Viper squad with no backup.  "They need an 8 or less to hit me, I'll be fine!"  Some GMs seem to want to make Overconfident an automatic death sentence.  "You're overconfident, of course you'll lower your force field."  Unless you want psych lims to turn into half-page super-detailed descriptions of exactly what they mean and exactly what they don't, then you'll play fair.

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Back to the original topic, the two biggest problems with the Hero System being more popular with roleplayers are these:  1) The main rulebooks are built with people who already know how to play in mind.  Mainly they were produced with the feedback of the people on this forum, so they addressed things like the balance of figured characteristics and other things that no one outside of a longtime Hero player would have ever known about.  And the books are big and thick and ugly.  It's a phone book of a roleplaying game.  2) The settings don't provide a new player group with enough info to know what a balanced character looks like.  With a game like D&D, the balance is inherent in the character progression.  And even though things tend to fall apart at higher levels for D&D, most games don't go that long, and by that time players have a better understanding of the system.  Hero desperately needs a pick-up-and-play intro version, much like the "Champions Begins" thread suggests.

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Two characters go to parlay with a dragon(Chinese dragon), as they need information that only that dragon can give. A number of people more powerful than they give them advice on what not to do for fear of angering the creature. The general tone given is that this is something beyond their power to defeat. One of them plays his guy as overconfident. He attacks in literally the least favorable conditions for surviving the encounter. The second guy steps in to back him, though he would have not done so otherwise. This goes badly for them.

 

In my view, that player did not play the Overconfident disadvantage, he played the Lethally Stupid disadvantage. There is a vast difference. Overconfidence convinces a character that he can defeat the Chinese dragon, not that he should try (especially in a negotiation scenario). Violating parlay with a powerful dragon is not merely unwise, it is uncalled for unless the heroes are convinced they are being lured into a trap and think that a preemptive strike is their best chance of survival. Let's not confuse being stupid with being foolhardy.

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Back to the original topic, the two biggest problems with the Hero System being more popular with roleplayers are these:  1) The main rulebooks are built with people who already know how to play in mind.  Mainly they were produced with the feedback of the people on this forum, so they addressed things like the balance of figured characteristics and other things that no one outside of a longtime Hero player would have ever known about.  And the books are big and thick and ugly.  It's a phone book of a roleplaying game.  2) The settings don't provide a new player group with enough info to know what a balanced character looks like.  With a game like D&D, the balance is inherent in the character progression.  And even though things tend to fall apart at higher levels for D&D, most games don't go that long, and by that time players have a better understanding of the system.  Hero desperately needs a pick-up-and-play intro version, much like the "Champions Begins" thread suggests.

 

BTW Steve did the unlinking of Figureds pretty much on his own and little of any feedback from the boards. He just said "that's how it's going to happen in 6e"

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Back to the original topic, the two biggest problems with the Hero System being more popular with roleplayers are these:  1) The main rulebooks are built with people who already know how to play in mind.  Mainly they were produced with the feedback of the people on this forum, so they addressed things like the balance of figured characteristics and other things that no one outside of a longtime Hero player would have ever known about.  And the books are big and thick and ugly.  It's a phone book of a roleplaying game.  2) The settings don't provide a new player group with enough info to know what a balanced character looks like.  With a game like D&D, the balance is inherent in the character progression.  And even though things tend to fall apart at higher levels for D&D, most games don't go that long, and by that time players have a better understanding of the system.  Hero desperately needs a pick-up-and-play intro version, much like the "Champions Begins" thread suggests.

The books were built like every edition of the game has been presented. One nice thing since 5e was the introduction of suggested powerlevels. That was pretty new. 

 

The way the books are built to please the established fans is to beancounter out everything that appears in the books. People bitterly complain if they can't customize every piece of equipment, Weapon or Armor. Which leads to the way the heroic books are presented like they will be used as a supplement to champions and not a standalone product.

 

Settings tend to be very textbook like with little in the way of what you really need to run a game. They are all good resources for running your own version of that game world. The Genre books are even more guilty of this. Having this everything but the kitchen sink approach to a genre. Which makes for a VERY dense book that is intimidating to read let alone use to make a game.

 

I would love to see some worlds that have character gen set up in a "chose from Column A, then go and choose 4 things from column b, Choose a character type and choose stuff from column c etc.

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In my view, that player did not play the Overconfident disadvantage, he played the Lethally Stupid disadvantage. There is a vast difference. Overconfidence convinces a character that he can defeat the Chinese dragon, not that he should try (especially in a negotiation scenario). Violating parlay with a powerful dragon is not merely unwise, it is uncalled for unless the heroes are convinced they are being lured into a trap and think that a preemptive strike is their best chance of survival. Let's not confuse being stupid with being foolhardy.

Oh, I agree. The reason I see the complication as a red flag is not because I don't think the disadvantage should exist, but because way too many players role play it as something it's not.

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But GMs need to play fair too.  In a superhero setting, I'd say an overconfident character should barge into situations that he could theoretically handle if everything went right.  That doesn't mean that a 250 point martial artist will charge Dr Destroyer one-on-one.  It doesn't mean he won't dodge when an opponent shoots at him.  It probably means that he will attack that Viper squad with no backup.  "They need an 8 or less to hit me, I'll be fine!"  Some GMs seem to want to make Overconfident an automatic death sentence.  "You're overconfident, of course you'll lower your force field."  Unless you want psych lims to turn into half-page super-detailed descriptions of exactly what they mean and exactly what they don't, then you'll play fair.

This, also, I agree with. It's the fact that a significant number of people DO play it as the 250 point guy taking on Dr. Destroyer.

 

Also agree that it's not a problem with the Hero system. It's common in many games, and has more to do with specific players than anything else. But, there comes a point where playing fair to everyone else is letting the suicidal character do his schpiel one too many times and facing the consequences, imo.

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The books were built like every edition of the game has been presented. One nice thing since 5e was the introduction of suggested powerlevels. That was pretty new. 

 

The way the books are built to please the established fans is to beancounter out everything that appears in the books. People bitterly complain if they can't customize every piece of equipment, Weapon or Armor. Which leads to the way the heroic books are presented like they will be used as a supplement to champions and not a standalone product.

 

Settings tend to be very textbook like with little in the way of what you really need to run a game. They are all good resources for running your own version of that game world. The Genre books are even more guilty of this. Having this everything but the kitchen sink approach to a genre. Which makes for a VERY dense book that is intimidating to read let alone use to make a game.

 

I would love to see some worlds that have character gen set up in a "chose from Column A, then go and choose 4 things from column b, Choose a character type and choose stuff from column c etc.

I also think that, at least Champions Complete(I don't have 6th edition Hero, though I'm intending to get it next month) has some really nice sections on role play in general, types of adventures, villains(not meaning write-ups, but archetypes), etc. I mean, really good compared to a lot of games.

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Two characters go to parlay with a dragon(Chinese dragon), as they need information that only that dragon can give. A number of people more powerful than they give them advice on what not to do for fear of angering the creature. The general tone given is that this is something beyond their power to defeat. One of them plays his guy as overconfident. He attacks in literally the least favorable conditions for surviving the encounter. The second guy steps in to back him, though he would have not done so otherwise. This goes badly for them.

I am not seeing overconfidence here as much as I see "The only solution to any challenge is violence". Nothing prevents an overconfident character from parlaying.

 

But, this is in the context of the fact that I like to run a game heavy on role play and heavy on problem solving. This sort of overconfidence seriously hampers both, because it becomes more and more a matter, for the rest of the group, of, "Yeah, glad we came up with a good approach to deal with this situation that captain look at me fouled up AGAIN." In a game run for light fun, where it's about a break from life, it's really not a big deal, especially since such games, almost as a given, are probably going to have some hand waving.

A game where tactical mastery is key, and no human foible or flaw like a personality trait that causes the character fail to make the optimal tactical choice every time can be tolerated can be a good game, and it`s a lot of things. However, I would not describe it as "heavy on role play". In many games, it is about subordinating role play to tactical efficiency.

 

Thogg no do that. Thogg just shoot shoot shoot, stabby stabby until bad men make Thogg pudding.

Sounds like the kind of character who attacks a dragon we were trying to parlay with.

 

The first time the party decided to rest, one of the members said, "The chamber we're in seems like the perfect spot," and in my head, I'm like, "There's five unexplored tunnels off of this chamber, three of which are closer to our exit than where we are camped, if they come in any numbers, we'll be cut off from escape. We need to go back one chamber, only two ways into it, with a pit in the middle we could use to cut off our encampment from a direct charge from one of those two passages, tie a line across the other entrance with a bell on it to alert us, watches of two, at least one should have a significant missile weapon..."

 

We slept in the chamber with all the tunnels connected to it. I did not visibly shake when I said, "sure, yeah, let's camp here."

I recall a party deciding to rest in a giant`s lair, against one player`s protests. "We are short of spells so we have to rest – simple as that. " When attacked by giants in the middle of the night, the players bemoan the unfairness of it all, when the one who protested says "If you are robbing someone`s house, maybe it’s not too smart to stop and take a nap on his couch when you get sleepy. "

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