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Killer Shrike

HS 6e is mechanically the best version of the rules; dissenting views welcome

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3 hours ago, Killer Shrike said:

Can the toolkit nature of the Hero System be applied to extend the core game system's coverage for Social conflict and / or to more strongly integrate Social conflict with Physical and Mental conflict?

  • Yes, of course. The Hero System is first and foremost a toolkit that is intended to be used by a GM to craft a game setting or campaign that contains exactly what they want. A GM desiring more Social options can easily add them for a given campaign. A GM desiring a more mechanistic resolution for political intrigue can easily dial that in as they see fit.  

 

 

I totally agree that Hero allows you to "add on" social mechanics, and that its core resolution mechanic gives guidance to building your own social mechanics, but I state that Hero really doesn't have these already built in. 

 

But... and I've said this before... one of the aspects of Hero as a toolkit is that it allows for "bolt-on" mechanics. I very easily changed Luck to be a bennie/chit style Nar mechanic that enhances the Hero task resolution system, but it seperate from it. I think any real focus on Social mechanics could/should take this approach, where it uses some core stats, but interprets them differently, or provides a different set of bespoke outcomes unique to social interactions... just like maneuvers have things like "target falls" or "knockback." 

 

To your points on complexity being hard to model, I agree... which is why I enjoy taking a Narrative approach to social conflicts/interactions, not a Simulationist. That may be where you balk (or not, I don't know) and goes to my point of Social skills having very different types of mechanics, because you can never simulate perfectly what social interactions are like with mechanics, but you can allow for director stance and metagame moments where you focus on Intent and Outcome, not task resolution. Task resolution is "Did I say the words clearly and with great gusto?"  Intent and Outcome are "I want to shock the person into realizing what they stand to lose... so did that happen?" Hero, as built, in no way incorporates Intent and Outcome in its mechanics.

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29 minutes ago, RDU Neil said:

 

I totally agree that Hero allows you to "add on" social mechanics, and that its core resolution mechanic gives guidance to building your own social mechanics, but I state that Hero really doesn't have these already built in. 

 

I state that it has _some_ but admit it is a underdeveloped part of the system. We're basically in agreement, just a matter of degree.

 

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But... and I've said this before... one of the aspects of Hero as a toolkit is that it allows for "bolt-on" mechanics. I very easily changed Luck to be a bennie/chit style Nar mechanic that enhances the Hero task resolution system, but it seperate from it. I think any real focus on Social mechanics could/should take this approach, where it uses some core stats, but interprets them differently, or provides a different set of bespoke outcomes unique to social interactions... just like maneuvers have things like "target falls" or "knockback." 

 

At one point there was a thread along these lines. I put forth some sample Mental Combat maneuvers, there was some talk of Social Combat maneuvers as well but I don't recollect if anything came of that.

 

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To your points on complexity being hard to model, I agree... which is why I enjoy taking a Narrative approach to social conflicts/interactions, not a Simulationist. That may be where you balk (or not, I don't know)

 

Nope, I'm more of a Narrative-Simulationist as well, or "fiction first" as the phrase goes. I used to be more Simulation-Narrativist and in my early days of gaming I was Gamist-Narrativist. I was always interested in the interactive story aspect of roleplaying, but my relationship with rules and how much weight to give them at the expense of a good story changed over the years from "win first" to "system first" to "story first". Where I'm at now, purely gamist mechanics (rules for the sake of rules) are of no interest to me, simulationist mechanics are useful to the extent they provide verisimilitude and support the continuity of the emerging story, and not useful to the extent that they interrupt the flow of scenes. 

 

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and goes to my point of Social skills having very different types of mechanics, because you can never simulate perfectly what social interactions are like with mechanics, but you can allow for director stance and metagame moments where you focus on Intent and Outcome, not task resolution. Task resolution is "Did I say the words clearly and with great gusto?"  Intent and Outcome are "I want to shock the person into realizing what they stand to lose... so did that happen?"

 

I grok where you're going with this and am compatible with it.

 

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Hero, as built, in no way incorporates Intent and Outcome in its mechanics.

 

I would argue that this is part of the social contract at the table between the players (including the GM). It's a meta consideration. No matter the game system, if I sit down at a table with players comfortable with this style of directorial or story plotting we can quickly fall into a rhythm of what is the purpose of this scene, what are our protagonists trying to accomplish, how are the antagonists preventing them from doing that, what is an interesting outcome, and so on. We may or may not need to verbalize it, but we each understand and are playing to the meta level of enjoying the game as a form of storytelling or what it would look like as a movie or tv show (depending on the outlook of the player).  

 

Other players, not so much. For them an rpg is just a game, not all that different from a board game, played by taking actions, rolling dice, and winning. Others are somewhere in between. I adapt my gamemastering to the level of the players in the group. I tend to avoid gamist players because I just don't get any satisfaction from playing roleplaying games in that way and thus don't like bending my style to accommodate their preferences. I actually play board games and card games and wargames, and computer games, and so on, and I kind of enjoy each for the things that differentiate them. When I want to enjoy the sorts of things that boardgames or wargames specialize in, I play one of those games. When I play an rpg I want to focus on the things that differentiate it from more traditional games. I don't look down my nose at gamist players; once upon time I was one. I just prefer a more nuanced style of rpg experience.

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9 hours ago, Killer Shrike said:

I would argue that this is part of the social contract at the table between the players (including the GM). It's a meta consideration.

 

Totally agree with this as stated... but I believe certain mechanics (and maybe they are meta-mechanics, I think most Nar mechanics are meta-mechanics) help guide and facilitate that social contract and those considerations. Any mechanic used badly can come across as clunky and break verisimilitude/immersion to the extent that things become "un-fun". They can also help people who don't grok Nar thematic storyellling or really the social contract in general, in how to interact appropriately.

 

I've seen Gamists who "get it" when you give them a mechanic to master. They realize what "winning" means in the game now. They get their reward for being good at the game in a different way than, say, D&D, but they get it. Simulationists start to see how they can use the Nar mechanic to shape the events/story/world the way "it ought to be" to appropriately simulate the genre/feel/expectation of the game.

 

It's not perfect. Sometimes it doesn't work. Same could be said for all games.

 

Hero, from its inception, was a simulationist based game... designed to simulate Bronze-age, Marvel-esque style superhero adventures. To get back to your original post/purpose, the reason I'd argue 4th Ed was better than 6th mechanically, is that it was the perfect blend of the original simulationist creation, and the generalized "universal action adventure" build system. 

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On 2/6/2019 at 11:19 AM, Killer Shrike said:

 

My intent is not to bicker, but to discuss. Most of the people responding in this thread are also discoursing in a friendly and reasonable way. It's been surprisingly flame free thus far. Some people tend to get emotional when people don't agree with them, but those of us who show up on a discussion forum presumably have some tolerance towards discussing things in an open forum and understand that perfect unanimity is a rare thing.

 

I hope you don't feel like I'm bickering with you now, but rather am engaging you in friendly conversation.

 

Good to know. All this thread is asking of you is, if you feel like it, to make a statement as to whether you think the mechanics of 3e are better than 6e and if so why. That's all. It isn't challenging you to change your mind or to say that you are wrong to prefer 3e. It is just asking for a little bit of comparative analysis for purposes of discussion.

 

I think I've never made any secret of the fact that I prefer 3e.  "Better" or "best" implies a value judgement (subjective), but it also wants to know, better for what purpose?  

 

In my entirely subjective opinion, for instance, Champions 3rd edition is a better superhero RPG than Champions under any of the HERO System versions that came out later, but any of the later editions are perfectly serviceable superhero systems. 

 

In my entirely subjective opinion, superhero games under Hero are different from "agent level" or "talented normal" or "heroic level" games (whatever you want to call them), qualitatively different enough that they're better off with separate games.  Every time I've played a non-superheroic game under any "HERO System edition" it's felt to me exactly like Champions at a lower power level.  I've tried to run games, and in spite of me verbally telling the players what the parameters are, and having those parameters in writing in the form of character creation guidelines, they have flat out ignored them in favor of handing in 150 point superheroes.  So I don't run games anymore.  When I've played in other games, the other players are all essentially playing 150 point superheroes. 

 

Fantasy Hero 1st edition is not a low powered superhero game; it's a fantasy game.  Danger International is not a low powered superhero game; it's a game of gritty modern action.  Justice Inc. is a pulp novel game, with pulp heroes that are just starting out, not a cinematic action blockbuster game that happens to take place in the 1930's (Brendan Fraser in The Mummy).  In my entirely subjective opinion, HERO System, any edition, is a superhero game with buried options to let your superheroes carry guns or swords or laser pistols, not a fantasy game or a modern military and espionage game.  It turns every genre into an action blockbuster film.  Justice Inc. is not Pulp Hero; Danger International is not Dark Champions; Fantasy Hero 1st edition is not the Fantasy Hero that happens under 4th, 5th or 6th editions.  

 

I've got a lot going on right at the moment, but I do want to talk about this more.  I've got more to say, and I need to gather my thoughts about it.  

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4 hours ago, RDU Neil said:

 

Hero, from its inception, was a simulationist based game... designed to simulate Bronze-age, Marvel-esque style superhero adventures. To get back to your original post/purpose, the reason I'd argue 4th Ed was better than 6th mechanically, is that it was the perfect blend of the original simulationist creation, and the generalized "universal action adventure" build system. 

 

Champions, from its inception, was a superhero roleplaying game designed to simulate 1960s-1980s era, Marvel-esque style superhero adventures.  The Hero System was designed to be a single system that can handle anything you'd see in an action film.  

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1 minute ago, Chris Goodwin said:

 

Champions, from its inception, was a superhero roleplaying game designed to simulate 1960s-1980s era, Marvel-esque style superhero adventures.  The Hero System was designed to be a single system that can handle anything you'd see in an action film.  

 

Yes... correct... Champions and Hero are still synonymous in my brain, if wrongly. Champions was what was first created... Fantasy Hero, DI, Justice Inc. were all permutations on that original rule set... and only THEN did they try to systematize the whole thing. The entire concept of the Speed Chart as a simulation of a multi-panel comic page shows that the mechanics were, first and foremost, designed to simulate comic book combats. The fact that the overall combat task resolution system was applicable to nearly all action adventure combat was an evolution.

 

(And, to this day, the vestiges of defined combat actions much better fit a simlulation of comic superhero fights than military gunfights or close quarters weapon combat, etc. You need a lot more additional detail and maneuvers and modifiers to get granular, which was not the original intent of the rules.)  

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44 minutes ago, Cassandra said:

How can the 6th Edition be the best when you can't pay 5 points to look like Lynda Carter?

 

There's been a pretty thorough evisceration of COM if you skim through the posts.

 

You can look like Lynda Carter for free just by writing in your characters description "Looks like Lynda Carter". You may also, if you wish, include a picture on your character sheet that depicts your character. I shouldn't assume you mean wonder woman era as I don't want to be thought ageist so here are a couple of options...

 

Image result for Lynda Carterimage.png.c6bb2ebb32136b5ec461a8a0dbf7789f.png

 

If you want that to actually do anything in the game (which COM pretty much didn't), you can buy Striking Appearance, or make a custom ability, or buy interaction skill(s), or any other ability you think the sfx of your Lynda Carterish appearance justifies.

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Just now, Jagged said:

Totally missed that.

I'm not sure if you are serious or being funny. If you're serious, there are numerous posts that discuss COM and the angst some people feel over its removal and the confusion of those who don't miss it as it didn't do anything going around in circles. If you're being funny, then I guess I see what you did there. 

 

Related image

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4 minutes ago, Killer Shrike said:

I'm not sure if you are serious or being funny. If you're serious, there are numerous posts that discuss COM and the angst some people feel over its removal and the confusion of those who don't miss it as it didn't do anything going around in circles. If you're being funny, then I guess I see what you did there. 

 

 

So "going round in circles" or  a "thorough evisceration of COM" ? Can't be both can it?

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4 minutes ago, Jagged said:

So "going round in circles" or  a "thorough evisceration of COM" ? Can't be both can it?

Are you just looking to be unpleasant, or are you here to engage in a legitimate discussion?

 

There are numerous posts in this thread where COM, what it did or did not do, why it was removed, alternatives up to including the section of the rulebook that explicitly invites a GM to add any Characteristics they want for their own campaigns were duly presented by myself and others. 

 

The people that are pro-COM have yet, thus far, to respond with anything more substantial than "but just because it didn't do much of anything wasn't a good reason to get rid of it!"

 

If you feel strongly enough about COM to drop in and $#!^-post about it now, maybe you feel strongly enough to put forth why you think it should not have been removed and why it is so essential to the game. 

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1 minute ago, Killer Shrike said:

 are you here to engage in a legitimate discussion?

 

Tried that earlier, but you told me what I thought,so that was the end of that.

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In my entirely subjective opinion, for instance, Champions 3rd edition is a better superhero RPG than Champions under any of the HERO System versions that came out later, but any of the later editions are perfectly serviceable superhero systems. 

 

In my entirely subjective opinion, superhero games under Hero are different from "agent level" or "talented normal" or "heroic level" games (whatever you want to call them), qualitatively different enough that they're better off with separate games.  Every time I've played a non-superheroic game under any "HERO System edition" it's felt to me exactly like Champions at a lower power level.  I've tried to run games, and in spite of me verbally telling the players what the parameters are, and having those parameters in writing in the form of character creation guidelines, they have flat out ignored them in favor of handing in 150 point superheroes.  So I don't run games anymore.  When I've played in other games, the other players are all essentially playing 150 point superheroes. 

 

That's interesting. When you say "150 point superheroes" what do you mean? They had super powers? 

 

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It turns every genre into an action blockbuster film.    

 

The default tone of the Hero System is "cinematic". Options are presented to adjust that up or down.

 

Out of curiosity, when using the Hero System for various genres do you just run it as is with all the default settings, or do you use any of the various options to adjust the tone of the game?

 

I would imagine that if, say, a pulp game were run with the default settings of the game system the feel would be a bit off. 

 

I ran into something similar the first time we did a street level modern supernatural monster hunting sort of game with the Hero System back in 4th edition. The game was a lot of fun, but definitely a little more over the top than we had envisioned when we started out. That's when I started to delve into applying the various combat options and paying more attention to campaign settings for future campaigns, and it made all the difference in dialing the tone up or down.

 

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I've got a lot going on right at the moment, but I do want to talk about this more.  I've got more to say, and I need to gather my thoughts about it.  

 

Cool, I'm eager for your 3e perspective when you've got the time.

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1 hour ago, Killer Shrike said:

 

 

That's interesting. When you say "150 point superheroes" what do you mean? They had super powers? 

 

Not just that they have super powers.  It's that they're referred to by superheroic archetypes.  I don't see "I'm building a warrior type" as much as "I'm building a brick" or "I'm building a martial artist" even in the heroic genres.  The first thing people start with is what powers their characters have.  Most characters have martial arts.  Characters are built to the campaigns damage and defense caps.  Every character has a Multipower.  

 

Tactical options come down to which Power a character should use.  

 

If I even hint that you can play a heroic level game without Powers, the response is shock and disbelief, even refusal to consider the game!  How dare I take away the very heart of the HERO System, the thing it's best known for, its Power system!  

 

Right now, I can look in the heroic genre boards, and in the first page of each see a half-dozen threads requesting Power builds.  One person asks in Fantasy Hero how to build a backstab power for their thief/rogue.  You don't -- even in 5th and 6th, and I double checked both editions -- need a Power build for that; just sneak up on your target outside of combat, and take him by surprise out of combat, for half Hit Location penalties and double Stun.  But someone looks at Powers, and thinks they need a build...  Another one requests essentially a sword-based Multipower.  

 

I want to stress: this is not wrongfun.  Play how you want.  But it's not the playstyle I'm looking for, which is gone.  Lost to the mists of time, I suppose.

 

 

1 hour ago, Killer Shrike said:

 

The default tone of the Hero System is "cinematic". Options are presented to adjust that up or down.

 

If by "Hero System"  you mean "...beginning with 4th edition" then I'll agree with you.  Before then, the Hero System didn't have a default tone.  The Hero System was a number of different games, each with its own tone.  What we now see as options, switches to be flipped or not -- things like Knockback, Hit Locations, Impairing/Disabling Wounds, Bleeding rules, weren't a set of flippable options.  Champions used Knockback; Fantasy Hero and Danger International had Hit Locations, Impairing/Disabling, and Bleeding; a GM could import the "heroic" combat options into Champions, or Knockback into the others, if they wanted, but the default for a game was the options presented in the game.  

 

1 hour ago, Killer Shrike said:

Out of curiosity, when using the Hero System for various genres do you just run it as is with all the default settings, or do you use any of the various options to adjust the tone of the game?

 

Since 5th edition came out, I've run HERO System games twice.  One of those was Champions; I used the Champions options as I saw them.  One of those was a one-shot Fantasy Hero in which I wasn't really looking at the options as much as I was demoing the game.  

 

I tried running a number of games under 4th edition.  I would set up the various options that I wanted; I would tell the players verbally what they were, and follow up with written guidelines that matched what I told them verbally.  Players would ignore them in favor of their 150 point superheroes.  I stopped running games for that group.  

 

Since, let's say, 1993, I've probably played in fewer game sessions, as either a player or GM, with all Hero Games products than I did from 1985-1992.  I think I played in two Fantasy Hero sessions under 5th edition (in which I played a character that I thought was a ranger when I was building him, but ended up being a speedster in play), and one under 6th, which was another demo (and in that 6th edition game my heavy fighter was a brick with a movement trick built as Teleportation and a no-range Area of Effect attack).  I didn't even think about it until just now, but I've been in, as a player or GM, in a total of five sessions in 5th and 6th editions.  Not five campaigns; five individual game sessions.  

 

 

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39 minutes ago, Chris Goodwin said:

It's that they're referred to by superheroic archetypes.  I don't see "I'm building a warrior type" as much as "I'm building a brick" or "I'm building a martial artist" even in the heroic genres. 

The literal exact same thing happens when a MMORPG player tries D&D, or a D&Der tries Champions, or etc etc.  People who learn classification schema use classification schema because it massively decreases the mental load involved.  Don't try to fight a war with terminology, you'll lose. 

Do fight a war with dumbdonkey players who won't read, though. 

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4 hours ago, Cassandra said:

How can the 6th Edition be the best when you can't pay 5 points to look like Lynda Carter?

 

You don't have to PAY points to look like Lynda Carter. You can take that as Complications.

 

Distinctive Features:  Looks like Lynda Carter (Easily Concealed; Noticed and Recognizable; Detectable By Commonly-Used Senses) -5

Hunted:  Fans of Lynda Carter Frequently (Less Pow; Mildly Punish -pester for autographs, etc) -5

Social Complication:  Mistaken Identity - Looks like Lynda Carter Frequently, Minor -10

 

Lucius Alexander

 

Looks like a palindromedary

 

 

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12 hours ago, Chris Goodwin said:

Not just that they have super powers.  It's that they're referred to by superheroic archetypes.  I don't see "I'm building a warrior type" as much as "I'm building a brick" or "I'm building a martial artist" even in the heroic genres.  The first thing people start with is what powers their characters have.  Most characters have martial arts. 

 

There's a lot there to parse. But I notice a sub-theme of literalism or semantic anchoring.

 

For instance, I infer that in your mind the term "Powers" is synonymous with "superhero powers" and thus any game effect constructed using powers which includes guns and swords and so on are thus "super powers". That may not be what you mean, but that's the vibe I'm picking up by reading between the lines. Please clarify if I'm off base.

 

An archetype is a generalization. Genres tend to have archetypes of some kind, driven by the types of characters that tend to be found in and be successful or accepted in that genre. They are entirely relative, and also largely without meaning as anything other than a kind of shorthand.

 

For instance, if I were to look at fantasy, the obvious common archetypes are fighter, rogue, arcanist, divinist, naturalist. Sometimes psychic or some other wild card is included, depending on the source material. It can be useful to look at a witch, a wizard, a warlock, and a warmage and refer to them as "arcanists" and make some generalizations about them, and so on. But it doesn't mean much beyond any underlying mechanical considerations asserted by the game system being used. It's just a "suitcase" term.

 

If someone makes a fighter in a fantasy campaign and their notable trait relative to the other characters in the campaign is they are unusually strong and tough, then it is akin to the "brick" archetype of supers, and they might serve a similar role within their group (they do the stuff appropriate for the biggest and toughest member of the group to do). But this is superficial. Typically a fantasy fighter, though strong and tough relative to the norms of their genre, are not generally played as over the top as a superhero brick such as Hulk or Thing or Colossus would be. Similarly, a arcanist character might have a fire theme going on in their spell selection, and it might be easy to think of them as a "Fire Blaster", but would not necessarily be played like the Human Torch or pyro per the conventions of the genre.

 

If the players in your game approached their fantasy characters in that way, applying superhero tropes onto their fantasy campaign, that was a choice of the players rather than the system making them do that. 

 

Similarly, I've noticed a trend that some people think martial arts is synonymous with Asian style martial arts such as karate, kung fu, etc, and have such a strong anchoring of this in their mind, that the term "martial art" used in any other context is inextricable from that conceptualization. Martial art is a general term, it has no cultural or genre specific anchoring built into it. It is entirely appropriate for a swordsman character to purchase a martial art.

 

Taking that further, martial arts as used in the Hero System are really just purchasable combat maneuvers. The are plug ins for the combat system, expanding the list of default maneuvers. There is no archetype gating on this; any player who finds the default maneuvers to be insufficient to the task of describing how their character moves in combat is welcome to buy some maneuvers. There are those who have the preconception "only a formally archetypal martial artist should have martial maneuvers!", I've encountered them. This is self-limitation of the person who thinks this way. The Hero System is freeform and does not enforce class, level, career, or archetype restrictions on purpose, as a feature.

 

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Characters are built to the campaigns damage and defense caps. 

 

Agreed. That is a common problem of players...the campaign maximum is interpreted as also being the campaign minimum. 

 

I will point out it is just as common for superheros. So you can't really cite it as a problem with non-superheros as a reason why you prefer superheroes. This is a flaw with the practice of caps in general.

 

It's actually why I stopped using caps; they don't fulfill their intended purpose very well, and have a unpleasant distorting effect on character builds. Instead I provided sample characters to allow players measuring sticks and allow them to infer the powerlevel of the campaign, and gave players feedback when I wanted them to dial their character's abilities up or down ("a bit too much damage on that particular ability...either dial it down a few notches or limit its usage so you can't spam it"; or "I'm concerned that your character is a bit to fragile; maybe buff your survivability a bit", etc). If it was particularly off the mark, I'd just work directly with the player to tweak their character to bring them into line with the campaign. 

 

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Every character has a Multipower.  

 

That has not been my experience, but even if it were true, there would have to be something fundamentally wrong with Multipowers for this to be a problem.

 

It seems to be that you are suggesting that Multipower is somehow "superheroic" and that any character having a Multipower is thus superheroic.

 

There is nothing intrinsically superheroic about the Multipower framework. It is just an accounting gimmick allowing a pool of points to be set aside for an array of powers that can't all be used at the same time. It is applicable towards a wide variety of multi-function abilities where not all of the functions possible are usable at any given moment. 

 

For instance, a Shield is a pretty useful piece of gear, and though it is possible to just define one mechanically as CSL's for Block (or whatever you prefer), it is also possible to define more functions such as a shield bash and say "my character can do either one or the other but not both at the same time" and thus put them into a Multipower which is one of the ways the rules allows that statement to be made true mechanically.

 

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Tactical options come down to which Power a character should use.  

 

That has never been my experience in heroic level play. If a character has some kind of exceptional ability built using a power, they might use it or not, but most tactical resolutions occur using combat maneuvers and weapons.

 

If you do mean "guns and swords, etc, are defined using killing attack and thus are powers and using them in combat is really using a power", then that is technically true as the Hero System uses "powers" to define game effects. That does not make them "super powers ala a superhero" it just means "the game abstracts mechanical effects such as killing attacks in this way, regardless of sfx".

 

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If I even hint that you can play a heroic level game without Powers, the response is shock and disbelief, even refusal to consider the game!  How dare I take away the very heart of the HERO System, the thing it's best known for, its Power system!  

 

Maybe you need better players? I'd play in that game if you offered a compelling setting.

 

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Right now, I can look in the heroic genre boards, and in the first page of each see a half-dozen threads requesting Power builds.  One person asks in Fantasy Hero how to build a backstab power for their thief/rogue.  You don't -- even in 5th and 6th, and I double checked both editions -- need a Power build for that; just sneak up on your target outside of combat, and take him by surprise out of combat, for half Hit Location penalties and double Stun.  But someone looks at Powers, and thinks they need a build... 

 

Yes, a "backstab" is literally walking or sneaking up to someone and inserting a sharp pointed object into their back, which the rules handle quite well.

 

If people are asking for a Backstab type effect beyond that, they are really saying "I want my character to be exceptionally good at this". Maybe they haven't read the combat and adventuring section or actually played the game and don't realize the system handles that kind of thing out of the box, or maybe they just want a signature ability. Either way, what of it? If someone points out "hey, this is how the system already supports what you want without spending points on it" and they didn't realize that, then they learned something. If on the other hand they indicate "I know that, but I want a one-shot ability because that's the kind of character I want to play" then that is their prerogative and they are utilizing the system to define the character they want to play which is what the game system is supposed to be good at. Seems win win to me.

 

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Another one requests essentially a sword-based Multipower.  

 

And again, if someone wants to represent their sword as a MP, so what? Are there other ways to do it? Yes. Is it necessary? No. Can it be done that way and be fun? Yes.

 

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I want to stress: this is not wrongfun.  Play how you want. 

 

Ah, good. If this had been higher up the post it would have saved me some typing. Disregard the previous "if they have fun who cares" comments. We're in agreement in this area.

 

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But it's not the playstyle I'm looking for, which is gone.  Lost to the mists of time, I suppose.

 

I understand, and I feel your nostalgic regret. Great games of past years and the fun times had with them with people of that timeframe are forever in the rear view. But, the upcoming Champions Now thing might lift your spirits; it's 3e based, -ish. 

 

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If by "Hero System"  you mean "...beginning with 4th edition" then I'll agree with you.  Before then, the Hero System didn't have a default tone.  The Hero System was a number of different games, each with its own tone.  What we now see as options, switches to be flipped or not -- things like Knockback, Hit Locations, Impairing/Disabling Wounds, Bleeding rules, weren't a set of flippable options.  Champions used Knockback; Fantasy Hero and Danger International had Hit Locations, Impairing/Disabling, and Bleeding; a GM could import the "heroic" combat options into Champions, or Knockback into the others, if they wanted, but the default for a game was the options presented in the game.  

 

Technically there was no such thing as the "Hero System" until 4e.

 

Champions 1-3, and the other pre-4e boutique games were used to create the Hero System, and thus there is a strong familial relationship and in casual conversation one might reasonably mean in a general sense "the Hero System itself as a formal concept plus the array of games that were used to make it", and obviously when marketing the product the publishers chose to honor / capitalize on the lineage by opting to brand it "4th Edition" instead of "1st Edition".

 

But the "Hero System" as a true game system unto itself began with 4e. 

 

As far as not liking the presence of options to adjust things, I don't really understand how that would be a bad thing for people. But, I'm a gearhead. I like configurable things. Rather than "I have to fiddle with options to get what I want" I think "I'm enabled to configure options to get what I want". A lot of it comes down to predisposition and outlook. 

 

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I tried running a number of games under 4th edition.  I would set up the various options that I wanted; I would tell the players verbally what they were, and follow up with written guidelines that matched what I told them verbally.  Players would ignore them in favor of their 150 point superheroes.  I stopped running games for that group.  

 

Hmm. Seems like a running theme; player engagement. Any game is bad with bad players, or if the GM and players aren't on the same wavelength.

 

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Since, let's say, 1993, I've probably played in fewer game sessions, as either a player or GM, with all Hero Games products than I did from 1985-1992.  I think I played in two Fantasy Hero sessions under 5th edition (in which I played a character that I thought was a ranger when I was building him, but ended up being a speedster in play), 

 

If you mean "they were more mobile or took more actions than most other characters and were therefore similar to a speedster in a superhero game in that way", ok. But they weren't literally a Flash-like speedster were they, capable of speed tricks like a comic book superhero?"

 

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and one under 6th, which was another demo (and in that 6th edition game my heavy fighter was a brick with a movement trick built as Teleportation and a no-range Area of Effect attack). 

 

This archetypal shifting just seems to be how you conceptualize things, to me. There's no harm in it, per se, but if you think of non-superhero character in superhero terms it is almost certainly going to affect your outlook and expectations, how you portray the character, how you receive how other players are portraying their character, and so on. It seems to me like it would be a barrier to engaging with a non-superhero campaign / setting. Some cognitive dissonance perhaps?

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25 minutes ago, Killer Shrike said:

Technically there was no such thing as the "Hero System" until 4e.

 

Champions 1-3, and the other pre-4e boutique games were used to create the Hero System, and thus there is a strong familial relationship and in casual conversation one might reasonably mean in a general sense "the Hero System itself as a formal concept plus the array of games that were used to make it", and obviously when marketing the product the publishers chose to honor / capitalize on the lineage by opting to brand it "4th Edition" instead of "1st Edition" but the "Hero System" as a true game system unto itself began with 4e. 

 

The first mention of "Hero System" is in Adventurer's Club, volume 1, issue 1, Fall 1983, page 3.  Someone writes in to ask why Espionage uses the same system as Champions, and that's where it's first called the Hero System.  Justice Inc. (1984) is the first game explicitly noted as "done using the Hero System".  Until 4th edition, Hero System was Hero Games' house system.  4th edition was the first time "Hero System" meant the unified, universal system.  It was officially capitalized starting with 5th edition as "HERO System".  

 

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3 hours ago, Chris Goodwin said:

The first mention of "Hero System" is in Adventurer's Club, volume 1, issue 1, Fall 1983, page 3.  Someone writes in to ask why Espionage uses the same system as Champions, and that's where it's first called the Hero System.  Justice Inc. (1984) is the first game explicitly noted as "done using the Hero System".  Until 4th edition, Hero System was Hero Games' house system.  4th edition was the first time "Hero System" meant the unified, universal system.  It was officially capitalized starting with 5th edition as "HERO System".  

 

Thanks for putting that together; I've not seen the pre-4e history explained in that way before. I got involved with the Hero System in 1990, when 4e was released, so tidbits like this of the earlier works are interesting to me. I actually own a copy of Justice Inc and Lands of Mystery and a few Champions III and Fantasy Hero books, now that I think about it, but they're in storage so not easily reached. I've never seen a copy of Adventurer's Club in person, much less v1 #1. But I'll take your word for it, you seem trustworthy. :)

 

My understanding is and has been for rolling up on 30 years now that it is conventionally agreed that 4e Hero System Rulebook #500 was the first publishing of the Hero System as a standalone rules system, and that earlier games were similar and semi-compatible but different enough that they are generally and more precisely referred to by their proper names such as "Champions", Justice Inc, etc.

 

Even the wikipedia entry for the Hero System indicates this to be the case...

 

image.thumb.png.9d1c753b866f4babd26dcbc20964fd53.png

 

It would be interesting to put together a timeline of screen shots and document the evolution of the system pictorially.

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Chris Goodwin I’m kinda shocked that a man as intelligent as you are   would somehow think because you had campaign guidelines written out that somehow magically that would make your players play the game you envisioned.  And doubley so that somehow that is a reflection on the rule set.

 

GM: Ok we’re going to play a typical Fantasy game.

 

Player: ok I want a cyborg.

 

GM: I said Fantasy no SCi-Fi

 

Player: I want a cyborg

 

GM: No

 

Player: DND is horrible system.

 

At least that’s hiw I understood your player complaint.

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