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What would you like to see HERO games produce next?

What would you like to see HERO games produce next?  

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  1. 1. What would you like to see HERO games produce next

    • Reprint some of the existing books (like the two core books, UMA, etc)
    • A Genre Book (like Star Hero, Fantasy Hero, etc.)
    • Adventure Modules (Invaders From Below)
    • Organization book (Viper or Destroyer)
    • Enemies Book (Champions Villains Volume One: Master Villains)
    • Settings Book (Like Strikeforce)
    • Paper Accessories (like Paper Heroes, or Map posters)
    • Miniatures (like Standard pewter, Heroclix, or the paintable plastic minis from D&D and Pathfinder)
    • Dice
    • Champions the Movie/TV series/Streaming series (yeah, right)

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  • Poll closed on 11/08/2018 at 07:59 AM

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Assault - again the problem with PS238 I believe wasn’t so much that it was geared for kids was that there was no real support for it. I wouldn’t have known about PS238 unless I looked it up. I don’t recall anyone asking questions for it either would there have been more if there was a separate forum? I don’t know? 

 

As an aside- do you have PS238? Is it kid friendly or is it mature dealing with kid protagonists? A big difference. How restricted was the PS238 to the comic?

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In no particular order:

In theory PS238 could be used to play games unrelated to the comic and/or its setting, but this wasn't supported in the text. The setting isn't highly developed outside the school setting in any case. There's good stuff there, but its fragmentary.

 

The characters are kids, but it's not a game for kids in the sense of, for example, Hero Kids.

 

Mechanically, it's still the (5e) Hero System, although the Sidekick version.

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You know, suggestions of directions for Hero Games to take are always worth raising and discussing; but at this point I kind of shake my head when people take a position of, "if Hero would just do X everything would be better." The company tried a lot of different Xs over the years, as have third-party publishers. Don't forget that for a time Hero was quite successful. DOJ took a practical, business-based approach to publishing Hero products, and that paid off for years. But the nature of the gaming hobby has changed with the times. No tabletop games that don't resemble D&D are doing boffo business these days, and even D&D holds only a fraction of the market it once had. If there's one magic formula for success it remains elusive. It may be that the heyday of games like Hero is over, whatever tactic is tried.

 

But even if that's true, the system isn't ashes now. New product has continued to be published, albeit slowly and mostly under license. Books are still being sold here and elsewhere. The current lull is not comparable to the glaciation before Fifth Edition was published. And things may look up again one day. But we aren't here because the people who own Hero now are too dumb to read the right tea-leaves.

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I have to disagree with your assessment LL. Though I don’t think anyone (in this thread anyawys) suggested a silver bullet., did give suggestions as consumers on how perhaps Hero can part with more of our money. 

 

As to be be in the ashes, I try not to be gloom and doom as some on these boards but if Hero isn’t in the ashes, it’s just an ember in the ashes. Darren Watts  stated that since Golden Age Hero didn’t sell well, he wasn’t going to write up a Silver Age book. And Jason Waters states that the one reason that Champions Now is being written was to lure both old and new players to Hero.

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I didn’t click miniatures however I believe that there is some appeal there. My youngest and I were at the FLGS and he bought a Reaper Red Mantis Assassin for under $3. Andnon the way home, we came up with a basic character -Super Hero for him.

 

I like Reaper’ Bones First I don’t mind that they are less detailed. I ain’t that great of a painter to begin with and they are cheap.

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I backed Champions Now and I hope it brings a renaissance. I appreciate that Jason & co. have been doing what they can to keep the game alive, including innovative ideas like the Character Creation Cards (which I also backed).

 

Still, one can't help but be a little depressed about the state of tabletop RPGs and specifically our favorite RPG. Since 4e, HERO System has truly been the ultimate gamer's toolkit, doing things that other games can only dream of. But the small percentage of folks who look beyond D&D these days tend to want something simpler, not something more complex. And they mostly seem to want something focused, not general. In other words, they want a meal, not a well-stocked professional kitchen and a giant cookbook. Heck, they don't even want GURPS' giant buffet.

 

Even so, I remain hopeful because the only constant is change. Some day, folks may come back around to seeing RPG toolkits as a good value for their entertainment time and money. And hopefully HERO System will manage to hang on until then...

 

 

 

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My impression is that RPGs have actually made something of a comeback in overall popularity. Unfortunately D&D and Pathfinder hold most of the market, leaving what is left to a massive crowd of smaller games.

 

HERO is just one of the latter. It's niche within a niche. While it could theoretically grab a larger share of the market, it's a small, highly fragmented market.

 

As an artistic venture that's fine. As a business model, not so fine.

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Yeah, that's about it as far as I can tell as well.

 

Steve Jackson games is pretty transparent as privately-held businesses go, and they've indicated repeatedly that the RPG market is almost entirely D&D and its clones. They've also repeatedly indicated that getting any tabletop game on game store shelves for more than the first few months of its life is only possible if it is a massive, massive hit. Long tails are almost entirely a thing of the past. The average game store isn't interested in carrying back-stock that sells in dribs and drabs. They want to stock something, have it sell through, and then replace it with the next new thing.

 

Why? It's largely driven by what the gamers with a high monthly spend want: something new every month that they can learn quickly and play with their friends, then move on to the next new experience. They have far more money than time, and it doesn't make sense for them to spend their limited gaming hours learning something complicated...even if it will eventually pay off in not having to learn anything new for a long time, as would be the case with a toolkit RPG.

 

As SJGames said in their latest Stakeholders Report, "The current market is more a periodicals business than one that encourages growing and nurturing single games."

 

Like the HERO crew, the folks at SJ Games keep trying different things, including the Discworld RPG (a built-from-GURPS, single-book RPG using a licensed property) and the Dungeon Fantasy RPG (a boxed RPG, built from GURPS, with a ton of value that did very well in Kickstarter). Neither product was successful for the company. Now they're trying with The Fantasy Trip, which Steve Jackson recently regained his rights to. We'll see how it goes for that simple RPG. The Kickstarter did very well, but it's the long term that matters. Will it be something that disappears from shelves a few months after it's released, or will it be something that they can continue to support for the long term?  Time will tell.

 

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20 hours ago, Duke Bushido said:

Agreed, but do you think there might be something to wanting to pump an MI-like rulebook for an uodated Justice Inc?  As Chris mentioned, JI or its replacements DI or Espionage were _great_ primers to the system and didn't need a lot of setting fluff, being more or less either modern day or ingrained in the public consciousness. 

 

I'm disappointed because High Rock Press (Jason Walters' press that does most of the third party HERO stuff) planned to re-do Danger International a couple of years ago. This all changed when Michael Satran died, as Jason wants to publish Michael's stuff sooner rather than later. The idea seems to have just died on the vine, or at least get indefinitely tabled.

 

I loved, loved, LOVED DI, and read the hell out of that book. It still stands as the version of the game that had me hooked, more than Champions and Fantasy Hero. It is a great example of a standalone game with no supplemental material required. Add a few maps, some adventure threads, and you have a good start for learning the game! I wish more people would do these projects on their own and just offer them up for production. I suspect Jason would at least listen.

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20 hours ago, Scott Ruggels said:

 There was a PDF discussed in the Fantasy Hero forum, "The Fantasy Hero Primer" which was 28 pages that presented a reasonably good introduction to the rules with  three sample characters.. it was slim and the players I sent it to, expressed interest. Something like that with a simple card stock cover  would be easier to do. (I would volunteer to do some of the cover art for a small fee, so we DON"T have the generic cover, like generic beans at the store.

 

I started that thread a couple of years ago, being new to the forums and not knowing all the ins and outs of the ensuing arguments for and against this sort of project. People have some very firm beliefs about this stuff, and it shows up in lots of ways in many of the threads. I think it's a healthy discussion to have, but few people actually act on it. Xotl actually ran with the idea and created a really nice document. It's at least one approach that could be useful.

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37 minutes ago, Brian Stanfield said:

 

 

I loved, loved, LOVED DI, and read the hell out of that book. It still stands as the version of the game that had me hooked, more than Champions and Fantasy Hero. It is a great example of a standalone game with no supplemental material required. Add a few maps, some adventure threads, and you have a good start for learning the game! I wish more people would do these projects on their own and just offer them up for production. I suspect Jason would at least listen.

 

I played a lot of DI as well. Loved the system. With a savvy; knowledgeable GM ( who was also a veteran), the experience was sublime. 

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5 hours ago, Scott Ruggels said:

Do it as art, not a business. (at least what I am attempting to do.)

 

That seems like a good approach.

 

Another one that works is nostalgia and/or collectors' objects. The ten-ton-book/giant-box-of-stuff type products seem to do well as one-time, Kickstarter projects often enough.

 

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7 hours ago, Scott Ruggels said:

I just need to find a Hero usable VTT solution, for non programmers.

 

If you find something, please tell me.  Right now, I can only think of a mix of things.

 

1.  roll20 for the VTT.  It has 3 'stats' (red, blue, green bars) that can be easily kept track of in the token.  I figure Body, Stun, Endurance.  I have not tried their built in character sheet.  Only a free member.  Not sure if possible.  Willing to try alternatives.

2. Hero Combat Manager for the GM.  Already bought.

3.  A HTML export template for Hero Designer that can be loaded into a browser.  It could look like a normal character sheet, but have enough javascript/HTML5 to roll all of the skills and most of the combat rolls for you.  Something like some of the built in character sheets for PCGen (pathfinder/d&d character generator).  I have not looked over the export template area nor do I have the expertise to create one.  The only export templates I created are based off of others and are a freaking Frankenstein.  They worked for us, but were ugly.

 

 

 

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I didn’t click miniatures however I believe that there is some appeal there. My youngest and I were at the FLGS and he bought a Reaper Red Mantis Assassin for under $3. Andnon the way home, we came up with a basic character -Super Hero for him.

 

I like Reaper’ Bones First I don’t mind that they are less detailed. I ain’t that great of a painter to begin with and they are cheap.

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GM Joe a few thoughts. Ok Discworld is a licensee however how well known is it to the general public? Am I missing something cause I only ever hear about on these threads sometimes.  And it could be me. Then the Dungeon box set. Ok again I don’t recall seeing where I live -though to be fair we really only have one true game store that’s local and they don’t have a wide selection of stuff. I do wonder about Kickstarters though. It seems (and of course more speculative) that Kickstarters here if they get enough to fund the project, that’s all they do. Does anyone know of a case where it’s Kickstarted and is still successful aftwards?.

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Yeah, Discworld is more of a thing in the UK than in the US, for sure. Other recent GURPS hardcovers were supplements instead of full games: GURPS Zombies, GURPS Mars Attacks (another questionable licensed property). Neither seems to have sold very well. Their 16 to 32 page PDFs on smaller topics sell well enough to keep producing one per month, but it appears that at this time the only physical GURPS products it's worth producing are the formerly out-of-print softcovers and hardcovers which they're making available via POD. Sadly, the market for their long-running GURPS magazine, Pyramid, also seems to have dried up, as the run of the current, PDF-only volume, will end in December, leaving GURPS fans with just the monthly PDF supplement release.

 

Regarding the Dungeon Fantasy RPG, your point is pretty much the conclusion they came to. SJ Games keeps trying different things with their various properties, and one of the things they tried for GURPS was a Kickstarter for a box set of a simplified version of the game, honed to the most popular RPG genre. Lots of folks say, "If only my favorite RPG was available in a box set" it would be more popular. Well, they tried it. The Kickstarter was successful, but the preorder retail response to the new product was not as great as they'd hoped, so they cut their factory order by 30% (meaning, they ordered enough for all the backers, plus a few months' worth more).

 

SJ Games is very supportive of their distributors and retailers (with Munchkin being most of their sales and profits, physical stores are a big part of their strategy and success), but those folks just weren't very interested. Since that meant a lot of the original order would have sat in SJ Games' warehouse for years, selling a few a month through online channels, they cut the order significantly and called it a day.

 

The really sad thing is, they did a lot to prime the pump for that game in traditional channels. They produced a little form you could turn in at your FLGS, ordering a boxed set. They advertised on popular gaming websites. They had a Kickstarter tier for retailers. And of course they showed the distributors and big retailers the product at trade shows, etc.

 

It seems to have been a first class effort at producing a modern boxed RPG set, but it ultimately failed.

 

That's not to say it couldn't be done better by someone else, but if an experienced company with strong distribution and retail relationships and long experience producing boxed product couldn't do it, the bar for making this sort of product a real success seems to be higher than many fans of old-school games like GURPS (and HERO) seem to assume.

 

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7 hours ago, GM Joe said:

Yeah, Discworld is more of a thing in the UK than in the US, for sure. Other recent GURPS hardcovers were supplements instead of full games: GURPS Zombies, GURPS Mars Attacks (another questionable licensed property). Neither seems to have sold very well. Their 16 to 32 page PDFs on smaller topics sell well enough to keep producing one per month, but it appears that at this time the only physical GURPS products it's worth producing are the formerly out-of-print softcovers and hardcovers which they're making available via POD. Sadly, the market for their long-running GURPS magazine, Pyramid, also seems to have dried up, as the run of the current, PDF-only volume, will end in December, leaving GURPS fans with just the monthly PDF supplement release.

 

Regarding the Dungeon Fantasy RPG, your point is pretty much the conclusion they came to. SJ Games keeps trying different things with their various properties, and one of the things they tried for GURPS was a Kickstarter for a box set of a simplified version of the game, honed to the most popular RPG genre. Lots of folks say, "If only my favorite RPG was available in a box set" it would be more popular. Well, they tried it. The Kickstarter was successful, but the preorder retail response to the new product was not as great as they'd hoped, so they cut their factory order by 30% (meaning, they ordered enough for all the backers, plus a few months' worth more).

 

SJ Games is very supportive of their distributors and retailers (with Munchkin being most of their sales and profits, physical stores are a big part of their strategy and success), but those folks just weren't very interested. Since that meant a lot of the original order would have sat in SJ Games' warehouse for years, selling a few a month through online channels, they cut the order significantly and called it a day.

 

The really sad thing is, they did a lot to prime the pump for that game in traditional channels. They produced a little form you could turn in at your FLGS, ordering a boxed set. They advertised on popular gaming websites. They had a Kickstarter tier for retailers. And of course they showed the distributors and big retailers the product at trade shows, etc.

 

It seems to have been a first class effort at producing a modern boxed RPG set, but it ultimately failed.

 

That's not to say it couldn't be done better by someone else, but if an experienced company with strong distribution and retail relationships and long experience producing boxed product couldn't do it, the bar for making this sort of product a real success seems to be higher than many fans of old-school games like GURPS (and HERO) seem to assume.

 

 

Most game stores make a lot of their money through comics and cards/tournaments for games like Magic and Yu-Gi-Oh. But both comics and Magic cards/tournaments are going digital which is making it very difficult to keep a LGS in business. Most owners don't have extra money anymore to spend on having an inventory of non-D&D roleplaying games which they might or might not be able to sell.

 

If we could come up something similar to Adventurers League to play HERO in LGS's, we could probably get those LGS's to stock HERO products on their shelves. But HERO doesn't have any money to support such a venture and there's no way to convince HERO players across the country to converge upon LGS's across the country once a week to play, and incidentally spend money in the store,  even if you could find the LGS's who would be willing to provide the space.

 

 

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14 hours ago, Norm said:

 

If you find something, please tell me.  Right now, I can only think of a mix of things.

 

1.  roll20 for the VTT.  It has 3 'stats' (red, blue, green bars) that can be easily kept track of in the token.  I figure Body, Stun, Endurance.  I have not tried their built in character sheet.  Only a free member.  Not sure if possible.  Willing to try alternatives.

2. Hero Combat Manager for the GM.  Already bought.

3.  A HTML export template for Hero Designer that can be loaded into a browser.  It could look like a normal character sheet, but have enough javascript/HTML5 to roll all of the skills and most of the combat rolls for you.  Something like some of the built in character sheets for PCGen (pathfinder/d&d character generator).  I have not looked over the export template area nor do I have the expertise to create one.  The only export templates I created are based off of others and are a freaking Frankenstein.  They worked for us, but were ugly.

 

 If I found out, something good, I will start a new topic in "Hero System Discussion". There is a Test game on Roll20.net that I am a member o0f, but I don't know how to make it work, other than as a player, and it also uses an external way to track the speed chart (I am assuming Hero Combat Manager).  I would like to clone the tools, but as a free member  I don't think I can. Having to pay for roll20 on a disability income might be a bit of a challenge.  But if I find anything I will promote it.  I think Roll20  or similar may be the best way to get Hero out among younger players, rather than stores.

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