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What sort of books would you like see published for Hero System?


phoenix240
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What exactly would have changed from 5th edition to 6th edition in a vehicle book?

To be honest, very little. I doubt they would have changed any of the combat values, and few vehicles possess unusual powers... So besides formatting changes (X" to X​m and the like) it would mostly just have been minor changes in the total values of an indeterminate percentage of vehicles.

 

However, If the ​Hero System Vehicle​ would have been more or less identical to ​Ultimate Vehicle, they should have knocked it out right away, and they would have been able to do so easily. So the fact that so little changed doesn't excuse the basic lack of professionalism inherent in referencing a sourcebook that doesn't yet (and we now know wouldn't ever) exist. In fact it makes it all the more unacceptable. We know it certainly wasn't for fear of (or distain for) Copy & Pasting, because a significant portion of Fantasy Hero​ 6th Edition was literally ripped straight from the pages of the 5th Edition version without any revision whatsoever, and I'm sure it wasn't the only example where this was the case.

Certainly they should have published Hero System Vehicle before they published sourcebooks such as Fantasy Hero or Star Hero​ which reference it's existence. Because that is just basic logic, and salesmanship. I can't tell you how disappointed I am when I go perusing through Fantasy or ​Star Hero​ and find a reference to something cool they promise is in another book that Hero Games never published. Its like a kick in the teeth to be told my only​ solution it to go convert the closest out-of-date material from the previous edition's vehicle sourcebook. It would be like a developer for Pathfinder telling you to bust out your 3rd Edition Players Handbook for determining starting gold and for buying equipment because they forgot to and now were never going to include that material in their core rules line...

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Yeah I can understand that.  I suspect that with 6th edition and the Champions Online MMOG, Hero was supposed to be greeting a new golden age of quality materials, printing, high profile recognition, and popularity.  The fact that it all fell to pieces probably kicked the heart out of the entire company, morale-wise.  Certainly all the money is gone.

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I'm just trying to envision how you couldn't use 5th edition Ultimate Vehicle without any changes in your 6th edition game.  I mean a change in formatting doesn't really make any difference; would the costs be changed at all?

 

That is in fact what I do, and I assume everyone else does as well. But it doesn't change the fact that the 6e Vehicles book is referenced by other 6e books, and here we are many years later and it still doesn't exist (and is likely never to exist). It's just a less than ideal situation. And the question was, which books would you like to see published, and this is a logical one to choose.

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That is in fact what I do, and I assume everyone else does as well. But it doesn't change the fact that the 6e Vehicles book is referenced by other 6e books, and here we are many years later and it still doesn't exist (and is likely never to exist). It's just a less than ideal situation. And the question was, which books would you like to see published, and this is a logical one to choose.

 

I get that.  I don't think it was a lack of professionalism that caused the 6e Vehicles book to not get published as much as it was good intentions running up against the economic downturn finally catching up with the company and forcing them to lay off almost everyone, including the co-owners.  

 

The Ultimate Vehicle is as compatible with 6e as probably any 5e book is.  Which is to say, the vehicle writeups are certainly usable, though they won't be point-balanced with 6e.  Yes, I agree that it's not the HERO System Vehicles book that was intended to be part of the 6e core library, but I think the current state of Hero Games and DOJ is not what anyone involved would have expected as of 2009.  

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for me a lot of the stuff for 6th ed was 90% a rehash of 5th ed and not worth having to rebuy unless I found a deal online
I would have been a lot more likely to buy 6th ed rehash if more stuff either 1-4th ed was brought up to 6th ed standard or original new stuff

To be honest, very little. I doubt they would have changed any of the combat values, and few vehicles possess unusual powers... So besides formatting changes (X" to X​m and the like) it would mostly just have been minor changes in the total values of an indeterminate percentage of vehicles.

 

However, If the ​Hero System Vehicle​ would have been more or less identical to ​Ultimate Vehicle, they should have knocked it out right away, and they would have been able to do so easily. So the fact that so little changed doesn't excuse the basic lack of professionalism inherent in referencing a sourcebook that doesn't yet (and we now know wouldn't ever) exist. In fact it makes it all the more unacceptable. We know it certainly wasn't for fear of (or distain for) Copy & Pasting, because a significant portion of Fantasy Hero​ 6th Edition was literally ripped straight from the pages of the 5th Edition version without any revision whatsoever, and I'm sure it wasn't the only example where this was the case.

Certainly they should have published Hero System Vehicle before they published sourcebooks such as Fantasy Hero or Star Hero​ which reference it's existence. Because that is just basic logic, and salesmanship. I can't tell you how disappointed I am when I go perusing through Fantasy or ​Star Hero​ and find a reference to something cool they promise is in another book that Hero Games never published. Its like a kick in the teeth to be told my only​ solution it to go convert the closest out-of-date material from the previous edition's vehicle sourcebook. It would be like a developer for Pathfinder telling you to bust out your 3rd Edition Players Handbook for determining starting gold and for buying equipment because they forgot to and now were never going to include that material in their core rules line...

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I get that.  I don't think it was a lack of professionalism that caused the 6e Vehicles book to not get published as much as it was good intentions running up against the economic downturn finally catching up with the company and forcing them to lay off almost everyone, including the co-owners.  

What I meant wasn't that failing to publish it in an of itself displayed a lack of professionalism. Sometimes products you had every intention of publishing never make it to publication despite your best intentions and professional efforts.

What displayed a lack of professionalism was publishing books that made reference to another book that they hadn't yet published. It was just totally backwards thinking, inexcusable, and in hind-sight comes across as arrogant (especially so considering that Hero Games failed to publish it​). If ​Fantasy HeroStar Hero, and other supplements really had to reference this book called Hero System Vehicle​, than common sense dictates that ​Hero System Vehicle​ should have already been published by the time the consumer picks up their shiny new copy of Fantasy/Star Hero (or that they be published simultaneously)​. The consumer's expectation being that they'll either own it already, or that they need only go pick it up/order it online. In that sense the newer books act as advertisement for older books the consumer may have missed, generating sales for the company.

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The intent was that HERO System Vehicles was supposed to be the final book in the 6e "core library" and was supposed to come out in 2011; the references to it were in the other books precisely because it was supposed to be part of the core library.  And it didn't happen.  The intent was there, to my knowledge; in fact I think HERO System Vehicles was announced, but the economy threw a lot of monkey wrenches into a lot of plans.  

 

I agree that it sucks, but I'm not sure unprofessional is the word I'd use.  Unfortunate, more likely.

 

Edit:  To clarify, HERO System Vehicles was supposed to be the final book in a planned set, and the references to it in the other books were in there because of that.  

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Unfortunate is a good word. The economic downturn was pretty horrific, especially to small press games like Hero. Equally unfortunate was the decision, on Hero Games part, to just give up. E-publishing is a much less desirable alternative to traditional methods, but it was something that may have kept Hero Games a little healthier than it currently is.

 

Of course, this is "Monday morning quarterbacking" at its finest.

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The intent was that HERO System Vehicles was supposed to be the final book in the 6e "core library" and was supposed to come out in 2011; the references to it were in the other books precisely because it was supposed to be part of the core library.  

I understand the intent, however I find the principle behind it inexcusable. It is foolish to publish a document that assumes the existence of documents you intend to publish in the future; precisely because no one is truly in control of their future. Any given publication might be your last, and the publication you think is your last might be the one that saves the company.

If I had been given a choice between Hero System Vehicle and say Fantasy Hero (July 2010) or the Advanced Players Guide II (August 2011), I'd have taken Hero System Vehicle... To be fair though, I don't really use either of the APGs, and I actually prefer my 5th edition copy of Fantasy Hero to the 6th edition version.

 

Regardless, we got what we got, and I can gripe about it all day long but that won't change it...

If wishes were fishes, I'd cast a net for a PDF edition of Hero System Vehicle​, and FHC compatible versions of the Iron Kingdoms* campaign setting sourcebooks and a nice series adventures to do with it.

*The Iron Kingdoms is one of my favorite settings, and the rules for the IK Wargame (and likely the RPG too) have a few noteworthy similarities to Hero.

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I may as well wish for CC/FHC-compatible new editions of ICE's Shadow World, Cyberspace, and the old Campaign Classics titles. And more Campaign Classics! That'd be nice.

 

And then there's CC/FHC-compatible Horror Hero, Cyber Hero, and Western Hero. How about Super Agents? I'd like that as well.

 

Let's just say, go back through the 3e and 4e library and publish new editions of the stuff that never got a new edition, and keep it about the same size as the old one (don't supah-size it 5e/6e style).

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Those are all good wishes!*

*Bearing in mind that this is a "wishlist" thread, not a "is it practical to publish X​" thread.

 

Really the best ways I can think of to avoid 'supersizing' are to exclude the massive example excerpts Steve Long was (in)famous for, and fewer optional rules. However I kind of feel like Genre books generally deserve their larger page counts. Each of the genre books I've read (​Champions, Dark Champions, Fantasy Hero, Star Hero...) contained tons of invaluable research and advice, much of it relevant to any game engine capable of simulating multiple genres. We could cut some of the page count down by removing the excerpts from cinema and literature, but they give a lot of flavor to an otherwise somewhat dry read.

 

Other Wishlist items:

"Harry Potter" Hero as an urban fantasy campaign/setting with the students at Hogwarts as its cast.

"Avatar: The Last Airbender/The Legend of Korra" Hero as a high fantasy campaign/setting featuring a party of warriors and benders.

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Oooh..yeah, licensed properties would be good!

 

An all-encompassing Disney license would bring Marvel and Star Wars, but also all the animated features and other properties. "Disney HERO," with a ruleset that's "fun for the whole family," perhaps? Heavy use of simple Templates, lots of pre-built characters from the movies and/or animated features, maybe a universal conflict resolution mechanic that's simple and dramatic, etc. Take a cue from Robot Warriors, and make a simple and fun game that's perfectly crafted to its purpose...and which could serve as a stepping-stone to the wider world of the HERO System. Take the 4e quote, "[HERO System] gives you the rules for creating a roleplaying game set anywhere in space and time" at face value. Use that sucker to create an awesome HERO RPG that will hook 'em young. :)

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Right now, I'd like to see Hero publish anything on a regular basis. If you want specific product ideas...

  • Fantasy Hero Companion(s) - Full settings (including magic systems with grimoires, character archetypes/templates, world descriptions, and unique creatures)
  • An alternate supers setting (avoiding the Champions IP). Let's put a new spin on superhero tropes. Recent origin? Powers are common? Something else?
  • Hero System Almanac - A magazine-style anthology of various Hero-related material.
  • Vorkosigan Hero - a license for Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga
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Yeah Harry Potter is probably outside the realm of possibility, although maybe Mrs Rowling could show mercy on a struggling small business and not require millions up front for the license.

 

As I understand it (and bear in mind I'm not a lawyer so I might be wrong), technically speaking as long as you don't use proper names and trademarked terms in the advertising, there isn't much that they can do to stop you.

For example "Wizarding World Hero" can use all the aesthetic elements of Harry Potter without being an infringement. Up to and including a lakeside castle-academy with a monster-loving half-giant groundskeeper and constantly shifting halls, a large monster-filled forest on the edge of the grounds, four houses the students get sorted into according to personality via a magic item, a magic system that (generally) requires an incantation and a wand to cast spells (OAF and Incantations for everyone!), a school sport like soccer but on broom sticks, etc. Hell, you can probably even get away with the Headmaster being a wizened old gay man with a long white beard and a pet phoenix, and having a student who was scarred by the magic of a dark wizard and is now famous for being the only victim to survive that wizard's assault.

None of these ideas are copywrite/trademark infringements because neither copywrite nor trademark law actually protect concepts, the former only protects against selling copies of specific iterations of a written work under your own name (and a campaign book set in the wizarding world is guaranteed to be more than the required 60% different from the text of any given Harry Potter story), and the latter only protects against the use of specific, Identifying terms which have been registered in advance ("Harry Potter", "Ron Weasley", "Indiana Jones", etc).

 

All you have to do is get somebody to make art in the same style as the hard-bound editions, and people will recognize what it is a pastiche of, and those looking for "Harry Potter the TTRPG" will buy it up and drop in the obvious names (or not as they prefer).

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As I understand it (and bear in mind I'm not a lawyer so I might be wrong), technically speaking as long as you don't use proper names and trademarked terms in the advertising, there isn't much that they can do to stop you.

 

 

While technically under the law that's correct, a dedicated, well-funded legal team can get around that and crush the little guy.  Disney does it regularly with anything remotely resembling anything they put out.  Whether Rowling, who is richer than Croesus at this point, would do so is a matter of some speculation.  Having those faces and names in the book would be a much bigger selling point, though.

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All you have to do is get somebody to make art in the same style as the hard-bound editions, and people will recognize what it is a pastiche of, and those looking for "Harry Potter the TTRPG" will buy it up and drop in the obvious names (or not as they prefer).

 

IP issues aside, I'm not sure that I'd want something that was an exact clone of an existing fictional setting. I'd rather use the premise behind that setting ("secret magical school") and use it as inspiration for something original.

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Generally I agree, but there is a segment of the consumer base that would buy the books 'just to see how they built Voldemort' or some such.

Really though the various Genre Books provide more than enough advise for how to go about simulating a broad concept or genre of fiction in your home-brewed campaign. What I feel like the consumer base needs is some detail to sink their teeth into. Something that shows what the various elements of a finished, ready-to-play Campaign are supposed to look like; so that people with the time/energy to do so have something to compare their own campaigns to, and people who don't have something they can play today.

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