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Killer Shrike

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

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6 hours ago, Killer Shrike said:

So, if this is an issue for you, then it isn't a 6e issue, it is a 5e issue. 


The problem persists in 6e, so it is a 6e issue, regardless of whether or not it was copy/pasted from a prior edition.


This would be akin to my heroes telling the king that enslaving the halflings is an embarrassing stain on his kingdom and him replying that the halflings were already enslaved when he took over and therefore it's not an issue for him nor the halflings.


Logically, that wouldn't hold water.


This isn't to bash on 6e though, I like certain aspects of it.  The presentation and the side examples especially are vastly improved.  I basically copied over the weapon, armor and encumbrance charts from 4e and started using 6e for all other aspects of the game.

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On ‎1‎/‎30‎/‎2019 at 10:12 PM, Sean Waters said:

If you just want to look different to normal sight but like yourself to other senses, that's Self Only Images, to my mind. 


I think this kind of stuff comes into its own more in mystic/horror/fantasy type games.


The most immediate example would be a demon walking about in the form of a human.  They might look and feel like a human to sight and touch but to other senses they would look like their real scaly form with mandatory chaos spiky bits.  All kinds of auras, astral forms and other things would depend on the ability of those who can see beyond the usual.  To me, Images, self only is wholly self-delusional.  🙂 



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Been following this thread for a while now. Nearly posted a few times. Wrote long posts that never got submitted because threads like this are why I left these boards for over a year and now I am back only really post in "Non-gaming" and "General roleplaying" forums. Still, here goes:


"Mechanically best" - no idea what that means and care even less.


From my point of view 6e changed loads of things in Champions that gave it its flavour; To solve problems I never experienced; Which when explained to me made me wonder if those games had a GM? Worst still, those problems were placed ahead of the real problems that Hero System suffered from, which was all about getting people to play the game.


If you spend any time in other gaming forums you will know that the "consensus" is that Hero is Complex, Hero is Slow, GURPS is better. Did we do anything to change that? We produced a big, enourmous, blue book. 😕 At a time when the market direction was for small and simple and quick and old skool. Great job!


Finally I think "The Story of COM" is very representative of where its all gone wrong imo. No new player ever had to ask what COM was. It was a dirt-cheap points sink. It provided 10 minutes of fun at the start of every campaign while we worked out who was the prettiest. Now we have "Striking Appearance" 🤔


I think we built a game that was perfect for a small group of people on this forum, which is unsellable to the general gaming public. Harsh, but I think true. At least we have some pretty covers again.


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22 minutes ago, Jagged said:


I think we built a game that was perfect for a small group of people on this forum, which is unsellable to the general gaming public. Harsh, but I think true. At least we have some pretty covers again.


I think this is true to a degree and a negative reputation that hasn't been dealt with to another degree.


Because the system is so open ended it lends itself to unnecessary complexity.


With my current Saturday group I've been easing them into the rules one by one as their comfort grows.  For the early sessions we hand-waved END tracking and several other factors for the sake of simplicity.


D&D 5e which has absolutely exploded due to its streamlined changes AND hitting the free marketing jackpot with Critical Role switching to their system isn't THAT much simpler if the GM intends to match it.

HERO presents it's primary stats, previously figured stats and combat stats in one big block.  It's a wall of text and intimidating.

D&D has almost exactly the same number of things to track, but they're dispersed and packaged more neatly not really less in number.






D&D - AC, Hit Dice, Exhaustion Levels, Spell Slots, X per short rest, X per long rest



D&D - To Hit Bonus from Stats, Proficiency Bonus, Saving Throw 1, Saving Throw 2 - 6


Where I REALLY see players struggle is in building their own custom powers.  It's like playing D&D where the spell book is a math test.

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4 hours ago, Toxxus said:


The problem persists in 6e, so it is a 6e issue, regardless of whether or not it was copy/pasted from a prior edition.


This would be akin to my heroes telling the king that enslaving the halflings is an embarrassing stain on his kingdom and him replying that the halflings were already enslaved when he took over and therefore it's not an issue for him nor the halflings.


Logically, that wouldn't hold water.


Ok, fair point.

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1 hour ago, Jagged said:

"Mechanically best" - no idea what that means and care even less.


I think I addressed this, but yeah, if you don't care about mechanical bestitude a thread about mechanical bestitude is probably not your cup of tea. 


However, you obviously do care about the game itself and its viability to attract and keep players, and you obviously feel that the company's overall direction in the 6e era was detrimental to the game's ability to remain strong in the marketplace.


It may surprise you to know that I basically agree with you on that topic (though you would likely say that you don't care if I agree with you or not, and that's your prerogative).


However, I separate how I feel about the one thing (quality of system) from how I think about the other (market positioning), and other 6e and DoJ topics as well. I can appreciate one while bemoaning another. 

I can well understand that you feel that you lack the energy or time or inclination to "debate" or discuss this sort of thing. I will point out that it is an elective activity, no one inclined you to expend the time or energy to read any of this, craft and discard drafts, click likes or dislikes, or finally post. It suggests that you have some strong feelings about the current state of the game, perhaps even bitterness, and your professed lack of caring is a defense mechanism to avoid having to admit how much you actually do care.


I too am saddened and disappointed by the state of the game. I don't think it had much to do with the 6e core rulebooks themselves, I think the problems had already been well established in the 5e era, but the company got boosted by the Cryptic deal and was able to keep going for a while. Eventually the boost wore off / was spent and the weight of it all dragged them down. I don't know that for actual, that is just my observations from the outside. 


As the reason why I started this post in the first place was to understand what's behind the vitriol of the trend towards anti-6e commentary I had noticed, when in my mind I think of "6e" as the actual rules themselves, absent other considerations, I think your post might offer a clue that some of the disgruntlement and harshitude in the mix vis-a-vis 6e is fueled or amplified by some people's unhappiness with the decline of the game in the marketplace in the 6e era rather than purely a dislike of the 6e rules themselves. So whether you care or not, I appreciate your post; it has given me a clue towards better understanding the prevailing attitudes.


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8 hours ago, Killer Shrike said:


Best at being the most consistent, comprehensive, balanced, and organized body of rules text extant for the game system in the abstract.


Also best at delivering on the self-identified design goals / intent of the game system, as described in the "Design Considerations" section of the 4e rulebook and elaborated on in the "Meta-Rules of the Hero System" section of the 5e and 6e rulebooks. 


Your approach seems to be to come at it from a more "bottom up" or applied perspective (what does it do, what is it used for, etc), which is fine of course and a pragmatic and valid approach, but that is not where I'm coming from.


Ah! Well then, yes, probably. I do think 4th->5th->6th shows a steady design progression which does make (logical, for Hero) sense to me. Even if I don't get a lot out of it personally.

It's certainly got more stuff, or potentially more stuff, and spells tons of things out.


I'd probably say it's the most mechanically rigorous and extremely explicit version of the rules. Just 'cause "best" seems so loaded. But that is for sure some semantic meandering of no real relevance.


6th definitely feels like the natural continuation of 4th.





4e was IMO a very good system with a lot of work done towards abstracting things taken from the various sources to form a cohesive system...certainly to a much higher degree than was common for the hobby at the time. I fell in love with it / had my mind blown as soon as I perused it at a book store and bought it for myself with birthday money. However, the game was indisputably a cobbled together aggregation of subsystems, and vestiges of the various predecessor games were visible (particularly superhero telltales).


Pretty much the same. Bought the ICE Hero System with the barbarian and Quantum on the cover in Jr High. Never looked back. Though it does make me look sideways (side eye) at other game systems sometimes. ;D

(Like when D&D produces some new sweet entire rules book so you can have sidekicks and I see a bunch of press articles about how cool that is for example)






5e did an excellent job of resuscitating and polishing 4e, and then 5er started to make meaningful steps to standardize, abstract, unify, genericize, and modernize the game mechanics, without losing ground on staying true to the core concepts and design goals of 4e. In turn 6e continued to progress in that direction.


And this, I think, is one of the problem(s) kinda. It's "just" progression and refinement of the same kinda idea. "Problems", I guess meaning, "reasons for reduced acceptance among existing fans", in this case.

It's not the old version, which we all liked\used\modified, so we gotta deal with changes to a working system, but then also...it's just more of the same. More essentially optional rules and systems to use or not use as desired.







I was glad to see this progression, as the toolkit or "Game Construction Set" (as 4e quaintly described it) and its underlying meta rules / design methodology are by far the most important and meaningful aspect of the game system to me. Over the decades the Hero System has proven to be the most comprehensive framework available for me to conceivably apply to any genre and at nearly any power level to model conceivably any kind of character and resolve conceivably any kinds of conflict therein, if I am willing to put in the effort to define or dial in what I want. I feel that it is the design precepts behind the Hero System that have made that possible, as much as if not more so than the rules themselves. Each edition's consecutive commitment towards distilling and refining and shaping the mechanics of the game to improve its ability to deal with disparate genres and power levels and character concepts and conflict resolutions has been the gift that keeps on giving, for me.



I def agree with all of this, except maybe the last line. And even then, like I said above, I do think 6e is a logical progression of that distilling and refining.

I guess...it seems like pouring your top shelf vodka through a Britta filter. It's more pure now, but also...it was already great.

But it IS more refined. But...in a system that was already loaded with systems to turn on and off as needed are more systems to turn on and off actually reason for a rules update? I'm sure an APG for 5er that did away with Figured Char would be possible. Or a way to decouple Dex and CV.

And...that's kinda how 6th and even 5th revised feel to me. Optional systems, that are now turned on be default, even if you don't need or want them.


Which is fine! Just turn 'em off again, right? The Hero way.








As it happens, I did in fact run games using 6e and found it to be quite good at all the same things that 5e and 4e were good at. I think 6e offers some compelling features and improvements, particularly in the realm of granularity and extra (extreme, often) clarity around rules interactions that in earlier editions relied more on GM's making spot rulings. But it is kind of like a newer year version of the car you already own...it smells better and has some updated gizmos and a better stereo which can be pretty cool and more safety features of course, better gas mileage, but it performs the same basic function as your old car without the nostalgic charm and the seat you've got worn in just right, so if the old car is still getting it done for you and you don't want a new car payment, then drive it till it dies is a viable strategy. 




Having progressed to 6e, I would find it to be a step backwards to go back to 5e or 4e, but I could do it. I would recommend trying 6e, obviously, but I also understand people for whom it isn't worth the effort or expense. What I am taken aback by is not people preferring an earlier version of the rules, but rather when people express strong negative opinions or disregard towards 6e which seems unwarranted to me personally.


I would try it if I had a new game to run and some players I thought would read the rules on their own.

I don't have strong feelings about it one way or another and, honestly, feel a bit silly posting in this thread since my honest take is: Meh.


It's a weird thing, to like\love Hero, but then be ambivalent about new\more\better rules.


I guess to some folks it feels like the upgrade is forced and also unwanted. Don't like the new car smell or whatever. So there's some "resentment" towards that. I had a gas-guzzling old truck, very comfortable. Now I've got a slick, shiny, hybrid, but it's cramped feeling and doesn't sound right and wants to help me do things I don't wanna do in the first place.


I like looking at the new fancy car in the showroom but I'll keep driving the one with a seat shaped exactly like my ass, so to speak.


ANYway....yah, 6e does seem mechanically "best", in terms of completeness and explicitness and atomization of the rules and so on. But I don't know if I consider it an improvement. But it does feel like a progression for sure.



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2 minutes ago, Killer Shrike said:

I too am saddened and disappointed by the state of the game. I don't think it had much to do with the 6e core rulebooks themselves, I think the problems had already been well established in the 5e era, but the company got boosted by the Cryptic deal and was able to keep going for a while. Eventually the boost wore off / was spent and the weight of it all dragged them down. I don't know that for actual, that is just my observations from the outside. 


I don't believe that I've ever been so disappointed in a software product in all my years as I was when Champions Online came out and preserved virtually nothing of what made Champions / Fantasy Hero great.


They essentially built a completely new game engine and kept the Champions / HERO lore and tossed out the mechanics.  Seemed exactly the opposite of what they should have done. 


Keep the amazing game system and introduce new lore.

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23 minutes ago, Toxxus said:


I don't believe that I've ever been so disappointed in a software product in all my years as I was when Champions Online came out and preserved virtually nothing of what made Champions / Fantasy Hero great.


They essentially built a completely new game engine and kept the Champions / HERO lore and tossed out the mechanics.  Seemed exactly the opposite of what they should have done. 


Keep the amazing game system and introduce new lore.


Well, that's definitely a topic for another thread. I assume you know the real story behind that? Cryptic disengaged from City of Heroes which was then owned by NCSoft and operated via "Paragon Studios" (which was seeded from Cryptic people who wanted to remain with CoH). Cryptic then started to make a new superhero game for Marvel Comics. However, late in the process the Marvel deal dried up and Cryptic was left with a superhero game with no IP. Oh crap. One of the main Cryptic guys was an old timey Champions player, and had the idea...hey there's an existing IP for a deeply developed superhero universe and it even has some analogues of Marvel characters (such as Dr. Destroyer / Doom)...maybe we can get that IP and slap it on our game engine and not go out of business. 


That's a broad summary and only mostly accurate, but you get the gist. That was not DoJ going to a video game company and saying "make a video game using our game mechanics and IP, ala Neverwinter Nights", that was a video game company who had built a video game in desperate need of some content to slap over it.


I actually liked CO, have a lifetime subscription or whatever. If I had never played CoH I likely would have enjoyed it more. As it was I got one character to max level and monkeyed around with some other characters to try out power builds. It was a fun game, but the monetization, tons of whacky item drops, and just lack of being City of Heroes prevented me from engaging. There actually were some cool Champions Universe goodies to be found if you did the missions, I will point out. I am glad that I did play through it at least once. 


However after that the only thing I used it for was to take screen shots to make Sentinels of the Multiverse cards for some characters from my own Champions campaigns of years past. 


John Wrath, <br />Elite Operative (Promo)

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On 1/29/2019 at 2:00 PM, GM Joe said:

For me and how I run the game, the changes introduced in 6e are fine: they're neither good nor bad on the whole.


I just find that, as I get older, new editions need to offer me something compelling before I'll adopt them. 6e didn't do that for me.


For those whose way of running the game meant they needed the changes, I understand why they prefer that edition. That's just not the case for me.


But for GMs interested in trying out HERO System? I always recommend Champions Complete. It's the solid 6e ruleset, but in a more reasonable package.


A very reasonable position. 

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12 hours ago, Doc Democracy said:

Christopher, you are not reading properly.  Sean said that to pass through a small hole while looking like something else to sonar, which neither Desolid or Shrinking would do, but is easily achievable via shapeshift.

And even with that atempted explanation, it makes no sense. Shape Shift the power only allows you to change your size or weight +/-10%.

Fitting through small holes is not a part of Shape Shift the power. Maybe it once was in 4E or before, but 5E and 6E it is not.


So I am utterly at a loss what "pass through a small hole" has to do in that sentence.

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On 1/29/2019 at 3:16 PM, Doc Democracy said:

OK.  There is a community here that has grown up with multiple versions of this system.  Each of us will have a golden period they remember that makes the system at that time shine in their brain, it is also, likely, the time when they had the greatest knowledge of a ruleset.  For me that was probably just prior to and after publication of the BBB.  I had a group of five players and we played multiple times per week and lived superheroes, burning through a huge number of 4th Ed published adventures.


I have played HERO much less since then but despite enjoying a number of other systems, this is the only game forum I frequent regularly.  This is the only system I think in.


I have picked up each edition as it is published, every publisher needs to update its ruleset to keep it fresh, to make it new for new audiences and to provide something for long-standing fans to buy.


HERO is distinct in that it does not have lots of black box surprises that can be added to new editions to make it new and shiny and different.  It simply seeks to achieve a better mechanical balance between the various powers and effects it provides.  Characteristics were one of the remaining black boxes, 6th Edition removed those and made more archetypes available without going through the sellback contortions that figured characteristics would require to get, for example a gymnast that was a poor combatant, and to remove the incentive for almost every player to buy raised CON and STR due to their figured characteristic value.


What drives the impression of complexity is the amount of explanation and example provided.  Champions Complete shows that the explanation can be removed to expose quite a simple system that is not hugely different from its roots, probably just more flexible and balanced.


I do think that Steve missed a trick.  The focus was on character creation, something each edition has done.  What remains almost the same as those very first poorly typeset rulebooks is the core system.  It remains a sophisticated point buy system resting upon an ancient game, I think that some of the rules could have been updated and made the core system as sophisticated as the character creation has become.


I think, mechanically, 6th is the best in character creation.  I think it is a tough call when you talk gameplay after character creation as that has not significantly changed.




I basically agree with all of this, though I will point out that the game resolution mechanics have received small, subtle tweaks over the years.


I would also point out that unlike most games where character sheets are basically a collection of set values for variables that get plugged into the algorithms of the game's resolution subsystems, Hero System character sheets have some of that quality but are also first order rules subsystems in and of themselves. 


Thus the "character creation" rules (which are part of what we might think of as the "design time" part of the system), which if we're being honest, we're really mostly talking about the build your own Powers aspect of character creation, are also game resolution rules (which are what we might think of as the "runtime" part of the system).


Ie, to resolve an Attack with a custom Power with various modifiers requires application of the various write ups for the base Powers and modifiers being used, and possibly a similar application of the various write ups for any defensive abilities being used to defend against that Attack. Each of the base Power and modifier write ups in the "character creation" book are thus a combination of a little bit of accounting information related to how much a character must pay in cp to dial in the desired effect, and a lot of information about how the Power or modifier applies during conflict resolution. 


Since the most difficult things to resolve during gameplay in a typical Hero System game are not things like who acts and in what order or how to resolve a Sacrifice Strike or Haymaker, but are instead things like "how does this wacky custom power interact with this other character's also wacky custom power?", the extra clarity in the definition of Powers and modifiers and the call outs for specific interactions between abilities (mostly sourced from voluminous FAQ entries and rules questions from players who encountered such interactions and were unclear on how to proceed) are not there to improve character creation, but are there to improve actual gameplay resolution and thus I would posit the greatly expanded examples and rules interaction content in the 6e core rule book count as improvements to the game's conflict resolution engine.


Now, the counter argument would be, if you had 5er and access to a computer at the game table, you got basically the same effect by just searching the FAQ and the "ask steve" rules sub forum...I did this for many years in fact so I know whereof I speak. However, having it collated and unified and formalized into the core rules was a welcome evolution and ultimately saved me a lot of time.

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1 hour ago, TranquiloUno said:

Pretty much the same. Bought the ICE Hero System with the barbarian and Quantum on the cover in Jr High.


Yeah, that's Hero System #500, my personal favorite game book ever published and my nomination for GOAT (greatest of all time).


Image result for Hero System #500


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On 1/29/2019 at 3:32 PM, BoloOfEarth said:

As Chris pointed out "Mechanically Best" is a matter of taste, of opinion.  Best how? 


I mean, you could say "mechanically best" means that the rules cover more detailed situations, making it less likely that the GM has to house-rule anything.  The sheer size of the 6E rules seems to imply this would indeed be the case.


Having read 6e, I can confirm the implication that it covers more situations. However, as the Hero System is a toolkit GM house-ruling and tinkering is ever present and a feature rather than a sign of a flaw; in that vein 6e also has more dials and levers a GM can spin and pull so it is also better (in the sense of more configurable) in that regard.



Or "mechanically best" might mean it's simpler to use in game play.  In which case, any additional fiddly details 6E added, which the GM and/or players would need to remember, seems to imply that 6E is not "mechanically best."


Actually, I found that 6e was slightly simpler (or at least smoother / less friction prone) to use in play after we got over the initial "new edition" bumps of re-familiarization. The main thing I noticed is that rules arguments became very rare; people came to trust and expect that the rules covered something and thus the first impulse was to look something up rather than argue about it; the detailed indexes (also a 5e feature) helped enormously in this regard, and more often than not the rules did indeed cover it (to a much greater degree than was true in earlier editions) or at least had enough coverage that an obvious conclusion could be drawn.


Now, don't get me wrong, I have no problems making rulings. I don't do it as much as I used to as I'm older and not as quick on my mental feet as I used to be, but I'm the sort of GM who is comfortable just winging it or making things up as we go for lighthearted or non-serialized sessions. I never struggled to make rulings in this or any other system, but I would much rather focus on keeping the story moving so every ruling I don't have to make during actual gameplay is welcome. 6e was a marked improvement over 5e and 4e in this area thanks to the rigorous diligence and attention to detail of the author and presumably editor(s) and playtester(s). 



Or "mechanically best" might mean that it's easier to create characters and powers.  I'd say (and yes, this is my opinion) that 6E made some things easier, and some things harder.  Which (again, IMO) means that 6E is "mechanically equal" to past editions.


The only thing that I can see 6e making harder during character creation would be if you were trying to duplicate a power that had been removed. Otherwise, not so much; it's the same as it ever was but with more control over characteristics, and more options included in the core rules that previously required ownership of a supplement to know about.


I don't exactly lack character creation experience; I've written up an absurd number of characters for the Hero System over the years. It's actually kind of depressing, to consider how many man hours of my finite existence on this planet were allocated to that task. I can't speak for others, but for my own part and from my own experience, making characters in 6e is overall easier than making characters in 5e and 4e. We're not talking about massively easier (nothing can compete with Hero Designer on that front), but an overall improvement. One of the things that contributes to this is that it is much less necessary to flip through a pile of supplements looking for an obscure modifier you recollect seeing in a genre book or sidebar example. There is still some of that, but the consolidation of such things from 5e into the core rulebook makes it a much less common occurrence. Additionally, there are subtle improvements here and there within power write ups that ease usage of them. There isn't really a killer feature or example to point to, it's more of a dusting and tidying up of the place, a Martha Stewartization of sorts. Now, some might make the "polishing the brass on the Titanic" reference here, but that would just be mean spirited.

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32 minutes ago, Ninja-Bear said:

Onething im not understanding is the hate against 5rev. The reason that there was a rev ed iirc was that 5th didn’t have any examples in it and rev added answers and clarifications from the boards 


It was an expensive book that came out maybe three years after another expensive book.  There were a few minor rules changes in it, enough that if you had original FREd but not 5er you were slightly behind.  Not enough changes to make it a 5.5 edition, but certainly at least a 5.1.

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On 1/29/2019 at 6:36 PM, Duke Bushido said:

As mentioned by someone else above, the changes break the feel of progression.  Yes: the argument can be made that "this is the next logical step."  I don't agree because it doesn't feel like a step in the game that I've always played as much as it feels like a veering off.  I wish I had a better way of expressing this, but it doesn't _feel_ like any of the changes were made to streamline play or increase enjoyment of the game; it feels like a purely gamist exercise in math.  Sure, there is value to that for a lot of people.  I'm just not one of them.  i get more joy out of playing the game than I do analyzing it and breaking it down to the ittiest parts and measuring them, then breaking down further any that might be bigger than the smallest.  6e feels like it was written by and exclusively for the the folks that derive their enjoyment of the game from that aspect.   That aspect doesn't help me play or enjoy the game, but I still pay the verbiage tax any time I want to look something up.  Don't take this for a pointless insult, because I mean it as the truth, and the vibe I get when I read it the first time and very few times I've flipped back through it:


I'm going to try to tease this apart a bit...


I've gathered that you are a pre-4e guy from other posts. I personally did not play 1e thru 3e. I do own some of the games of that era which I acquired later as a curiosity, but never played them. Of the ones I am passingly familiar with, they were definitely games, what I would today call a "boutique game" in the sense that they catered to a specific niche or subgenre. But regardless of labeling or categorization, they were definitely games first, with rules to support the playing of those games.


4e went a different direction and harvested those games to create a generic, universal, role playing system. Perhaps they realized that some other game company had kind of eaten some of their lunch, but I digress. We'll just call it a "universal" game system.


Universal game systems are not games. They are not meant to be played as a game. They have no default content or bespoke mechanics for specific special snowflakes suitable for a specific setting and nothing else. Instead, they focus on providing a framework of rules to be applied to conceivably any game in a variety of genres (perhaps all genres depending on the ambitions of the game designers). They are fundamentally aimed primarily at GM's in the more old school role as combination amateur game designers and arbitrators (as opposed to the more mainstream later trend towards GM as merely facilitators). Their "value proposition" is not "this a fun game in and of itself that you can just buy and run sessions with in our prepackaged setting using our prepackaged content". The value proposition is "you can use this framework to make and run any kind of roleplaying game you want to, and you and your players won't have to learn a different rules system every time you switch genres or settings". 


So, the purpose of the core rulebook of a universal system is not to be fun or fluffy or flavorful, its purpose is to be functional and balanced and broadly applicable. Its primary audience is not players or even casual GM's (who, really, would be better off playing a more prepackaged game) but rather propeller head GM's who specifically seek out universal systems because they place a high value on a toolkit type of system that provides them with the tools to craft the games they want to run. 


In a universal game system product line, genre books and settings and supplements are the proper home for the fun and fluffy and flavorful. 


Now, as many (including myself) have said over the years, DoJ were slow to cater to the market of GM's and players who wanted a prepackaged setting with sufficient rules to run with bundled with IP. Looked at more charitably they stuck with their core competency and were quite successful at it for a good stretch of time. DoJ turned out a staggering volume of mostly high quality products for many years. I've always been impressed with the output and overall consistency. However, sadly, excellence does not always translate into profit. There's a reason why there are fewer top quality steakhouses than there are fast food joints. Catering to the lowest common denominator tends to pay off bigger than going the other way. Alas and alack, we live in an imperfect world.



Remember when Champions: New Millennium came out?  How we all ran out and bought it and got halfway through and thought "Oh Dear God!  We had something wonderful!  Don't let this be the way it dies!"


Yes, I remember the Fuzion system. It was not a HS game, it was Champion IP on a different game system. There were actually some good ideas to be found in it, but the execution was bungled spectacularly. Apparently the kinks in the Fuzion system did get smoothed out and it is used by a number of boutique games...for some reason it took root in the anime space.



That's it.  That's the feeling I got reading it, and the feeling I get when I reference it.  It doesn't vibe "next logical step" as much as it does "here's someone else's version of it."  Kind of the American Godzilla (of which I will proudly stand as the only living fan! :lol: )


Are you grounding this in a comparison between 5e and 6e or between pre-4e and 6e?


Because, if you are coming from a 5e to 6e perspective, this just doesn't track. Most of 6e is copy and pasted from 5e and then elaborated on with FAQ entries and posts from the rules questions subforum. The actual systemic changes are few. Compared to edition shifts in most other roleplaying games, where often a new edition is nearly or entirely a new game, the shift from 5e to 6e is relatively mild.



The "Complete" books kind of drive home the next point, It's not a game anymore.  It's a system from which games can be built.


This has been the case as of the publishing of 4e, so nearly 30 years running now, and it was directly stated in the 4e rulebook that this was the game designer's intent. This is a direct quote from the 4e rulebook:


The main object of the game is for the players and the GM
to have fun. We like to think of the Hero System as a Game
Construction Set, where each GM can create his own unique
campaign world.
Perhaps it's based on a favorite novel or
movie, or a combination of several sources, or a completely
original vision. In any case, the Hero System lets you
customize it.

Designing a set of roleplaying rules is a process of making
numerous decisions. How do we represent combat? What
numbers do we use to determine your chance to hit? In
constructing these rules, we used a relatively simple set of
guidelines. We wanted to keep the mechanics simple,
encourage roleplaying, and create a flavor similar to that in
books, movies, and comics. Most important was giving the
game the "flavor" of a good action novel or a movie. When
realism conflicted with that goal, we put realism in second
place. Then we tried to reduce the rules to the simplest set
of numbers we could come up with, so that the game
mechanics wouldn't get in the way of having fun. Finally, we
tried to put in rules that would encourage storytelling on the
part of the players and the GM.

Above all, we wanted the Hero System to be flexible and
open-ended - capable of simulating any real or fictional
This flexibility means that there is potential for
"minimaxing" and distorting the rules. We could have put in
a lot more "don'ts", but that's not the way we wanted the rules
to be. We would rather let you make your own decisions
about what is permissible. If you want to allow the characters
to travel through time, it's silly for us to say "no you can't."
After all, you've paid your money for the game, so why
shouldn't you alter it any way you please? As a consequence,
we've asked for a lot of decision-making from the
Game Master. It may be difficult for you to tell your friends
that no, they can't have a character with Extra-Dimensional
Movement or Precognition. But they'll probably understand
if you explain your reasons for your decision.

This leads to the most important design idea we worked
toward: that we wanted a game that could stimulate everyone's
creativity. The HERO system is intended to be a tool
for you to use in designing your own campaign game. We
hope you'll use it that way.




The games made from the system are actually more appealing.  Yes, MHI reads pretty dry, and they all read heavily compressed, but the fact is that I can see myself enjoying those games (except MHI: the source material is so over-the-top macho it out-luchas actual Luchas).  But they don't feel like HERO.  They feel like they should say "inspired by HERO" or something like that. 


Um, yeah, it's a thing for playable-games-with-settings using a universal rules system to indicate something like "powered by Fate!" or "GURPS Wildcards" or "d20 compatible" whatever. This has been a thing nearly as long as there have been universal systems. It's exactly the same as a video game using a particular generic video game engine, like Unreal or Unity, saying so on its marketing and a loading screen.



I must add this, if only for honesty:  I came to understand more about 6e by reading CC and FHC (MHI was a bit buggy) than I did reading the two tomes of actual rules.  I've been playing this game since '81, and was lost in the rules of the latest edition.  There were a number of reasons-- the short list is 1) really, really dry.  Text book dry.  And I've been shot at for this point in the past, but the fact is that after a thirteen-hour work day, coming home after my wife has left for work, having to cook and feed myself and the kids, then knocking out house-related tasks while cycling the kids through the tub and helping with homework, then dammit, if you want me to read you, then do _not_ do everything within your power to knock me out cold.  No; it's not a mechanical issue per se; it makes it extremely difficult to learn with the mechanics actually _are_, however.  The last thing I read that dry was a microbe text back in ....  was it '88?  either way; doesn't matter. But I've read enough other stuff by Steve to know that he _can_ write lively text.  


You know you don't have to read it cover to cover, right? Just read the chapter intros and the "characters and the world" chapter, and the first few pages of the combat chapter. Then pick a character you are familiar with from entertainment or an earlier edition game and then try to make a 6e version of that character. There are lists at the beginning-ish of each relevant section of the book that you can quickly peruse, then pop over to the write ups for things that seem likely and read those snippets. You will likely have a working character pretty quickly. Make a second character in the same way; should go a little faster now. Then set up a little scenario where one of the characters you made attacks the other character you made, working thru the necessary combat rules as you go.


Some games I just skim as a scholarly exercise looking for interesting bits of game design, but if I decide to give a game a try this is what I do to learn the rudiments of the system quickly. If I like it, I'll go from there and deepen my knowledge. If I don't I move on.



The text is spread out-- way, way out.  Yes: there are many, many examples.  How many of those would we not need if the book wasn't trying to hard to reduce itself to components and sub-components, and turn power builds (like armor or Force Field) into buy this one thing, then modify the Hell out of it.  


Abstract base mechanics that you modify with pros and cons to model a particular effect is the essence of the Hero System power model and is kind of the thing it is recognized as innovating. So...you're saying you don't like what many would consider to be a fundamental feature of the game system.



Boom.  Easy-peasy.  Reducing everything to perfect equality requires the assumption that there _is_ perfect equality.  It also requires you step everything way, way back into the totally generic.  This means that anything that isn't in and of itself already totally generic can only be built; it can't be bought.  You can't buy armor: you have to build it.  It will take four modifiers and a line and a half on your character sheet.  A force field will probably cost END, so that's two whole lines.


Not sure if serious. Yes, a generic game system is generic. On purpose. 



There's more, some even related directly too mechanics, but I'm too groggy to carry on, and as I stated, I really want to give Basic a chance; venting my dislike with the current rules is not going to help me keep an open mind.  Fortunately, to chop up and address a couple of other things in your quote post, I had to start at the bottom, so the rest of this is a bit more legible. :)


So, yeah, I think you might like Basic if you did like 4e. It's a sort of spiritual successor of Hero System #500. 


But, I'm actually surprised that you are a Hero System gamer...because you seem like you'd prefer something more packaged or simplified. I don't mean that in a bad way, I mean it in a congenial there's probably a game system out there you might be happier with sort of way.


Although, maybe that game is Champions 3e and you've already found it. :)



Actually, yeah--


were _have_ you been, anyway?  Sean Waters popped back up after you left; I hope you haven't missed him.


Ya, I saw Sean related activity. Having been gone myself I didn't realize he had been gone as well. 


I've been working and raising kids and playing other games, mostly. I'm currently on a hiatus between gigs, so sort of revisiting some old stomping grounds. 



Just as an update:  I've incorporated your idea for skill advancement through allowing skill-specific EP for critical successes into two of the three games I'm running.  The control group is a well-established campaign with players I've had for years.  They seem to appreciate it-- anyone likes a little extra experience, right? :)  


Yes, I noticed your posts. I didn't have anything new to contribute so I didn't comment, but I appreciate hearing when people get value out of some of my contributions. I'm glad it is working out. My players always enjoyed it. 



The other is my youth group, which had only had a handful of sessions prior to introducing it.  As I was easing into the rules, a few at the time as they caught on, I don't think they noticed anything out of the ordinary, so not a lot of feedback there.  For what it's worth from the GM's point of view, I think it might be better suited to supers (my youth group), who are spending EP on every aspect of the game, and where really high skill levels are part of the theme.  


It's definitely more appropriate to a campaign with a cinematic or superheroic tone.



In Heroic, if there aren't a lot of skills in play (i.e., a GM who doesn't get too deeply into hair-splitting, like turning  "Biology" into "human anatomy," "immune system science," "microbiology," "physiology," and ten other houses), a character can become "super skilled" well in advance of what the GM might have hoped for.  I have curbed this a bit by awarding those bonuses at the end of the session: if you got a natural 3 during the session, you get that bonus EP.  If you got _four_ natural 3s on that same skill during the session, you get a bonus EP: one bonus EP for the skill in which the nat 3 was rolled.  If more than one, then it's the one that got the _most_ nat3s, or if tied, then the first one.  I will allow 2 bonus EP this way: one per skill per session.  if you got a nat3 in three skills, I'm sorry: only the first two get a bonus point.


Well, for heroic / more realistic campaigns I find that a Skill Maxima is useful to discourage over specialization. It has proven to work well in heroic games. I think I first encountered the idea in the Valdorian Age.  A Skill Maxima works exactly like a Characteristic Maxima; a character can buy up to the maxima at normal price, and then pays a premium to go over the maxima.


On that note, when laying out the campaign guidelines for a new campaign I use a "paradigm" chart of options with more cinematic / superheroic things on the left and more gritty / heroic things on the right. I fill it in opting for one side or the other to help dial in the setting. One of the line items is "Skill Maxima". Here is an example of one:





Not trying to drift off the subject; I just thought you might like an update from someone who has tried it.  I really like it.  I expect it will be a standard part of everything I do going forward. Thanks again. :D


You, drift off subject? Never! 🤩



I was going to (sorry; RETURN button is still out) add one last thing: the mechanics are not the only reason I went with HERO way back when, and not the only reason I stayed there.  Believe it or not, the simplicity of HERO and how quick it was to pick up and understand immediately-- that was a large part of it.  5e stabbed it a little bit, but it got better with re-5.  6e  handed the corpse of simplicity to simplicity's children and laughed.


Ok, I'll admit that I laughed a bit. Solid burn. However, I would point out that 6e is simple, to the extent that any version of the Hero System can claim that. In the same way that geometry is simple. You may have fallen in love with geometry via Euclid but find topology or differential geometry to be hopelessly embellished; never the less they are still simple in their fundamentals and extend geometry's power to handle more complex problems.

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My 6e Basic showed up today!  (And I got off work like 90 minutes early!)


Man, it is _thin_.....    I'm happier already.


Note:  I am not reading anything in this thread since my last post, and only posted this here because I mentioned that until I read  6e Basic, I don't want to respond directly to questions posed by someone who has read only Basic and CC.  Basic might give me a different outlook on it.  Realistically, I don't expect to.  For my love of the game, I really hope it does.


(though it won't get read until I can get the scanning thing back on track, so-- carry on, I guess?)






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Chris Goodwin I get your point and that was one reason I was against 6th. I just got fifthrev and lo and behold 6th was announced. However I don’t see your point articulated about the price. I just see the complaint of being “more rules” which it isn’t really true.

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On 1/29/2019 at 7:36 PM, Christopher R Taylor said:

IN any case, even if I were to accept the false argument that Comeliness never actually did anything in the game, you still handle it by saying "this doesn't seem to do anything so its optional" not "I'm deleting this and I'm in charge so you can all suck it"


I don't know, but I'd be surprised if Steve L. told anyone to suck anything. My experience has been that if anything he's polite to a fault. I've also never felt like he abused his role as primary steward of the official rules. He had to make decisions and it is rarely possible to make decisions that 100% of people are happy with. I don't agree with all of his decisions, and go a different way on certain things; I also have some critique of some of his tendencies in character design, etc...we all have our blindspots and idiosyncrasies, but if we were to take a poll to nominate the top 10 champions of the game system I would expect that his name would feature prominently on that list. 


I'm somewhat surprised by how passionately you feel about COM and its removal from the game, particularly this many years later.


Also, there's a section in the back of 6e v2 called something like "altering characteristics". You are explicitly encouraged by the rules to add whatever characteristic you want for your games; COM is thus sanctioned to live on in your games if you want it to with nary a hiccup. 

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On 1/30/2019 at 5:51 AM, Sean Waters said:

I think, on balance, my view is that, mechanically, Hero has not changed since it was first edition Champions.  It has a simple but effective mechanic that it has stuck to, despite a number of people pointing out that rolling high for good makes more sense. If we are referring to 'build mechanics'...In summary, the actual game mechanics have never really changed - what we appear to be arguing about is the build mechanics.


I consider both the runtime and design time mechanics to be, collectively, "the mechanics" of the game and thus I refer to the combination of both in my position.


I agree that the fundamentals of the engine have not changed. But the teeth on the gears have gotten a bit finer and some refinements have been made over the years.



<snip discussion of "fun">


I had a lot more fun in the 4e era. Both when playing HS games and in life in general. Similarly, my first wife was more fun, my second wife was more impressive, and my now wife is more perfect in every way just in case she reads this. I can appreciate them all for their wildly differing merits.



The build mechanics have improved in some areas, not so much in others.  They have certainly become more complicated, which can be a barrier to entry. 


So, as a kind of engineer I have a more finely tuned differentiation between "COMPLEX" and "COMPLICATED" than most people. I suspect that  most people often say "complicated" when what they actually mean is "complex". The essence of the difference is "complicated" is nearly always bad ("difficult"), but "complex" comes in two forms: needless complexity and purposeful complexity. Needless complexity benefits from being decomplected (ie being simplified, being broken down into smaller / simpler components, or being gotten rid of entirely). Purposeful complexity serves a purpose, is not necessarily difficult, and provides value to offset its existence...this is "good" complexity, the stuff that generally makes things work. 


Both complications and complexity can be a barrier to entry (and other things) but purposeful complexity tends to bear out and reward those not put off by it.


You yourself are a recurrent decomplector; for instance your desire to break Foci down into its constituent components (which I agree with in spirit) is a perfect example of an attempt to decomplect (or decompose or decouple in more established speech) something that looks to be needlessly complex.



I daresay if I went back to 4th edition now it would seem more limited, so in that way, 6e is better.


Yes, and thus from a mechanical standpoint, positive progress has been made viz delimiting the system.

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On 1/30/2019 at 6:14 AM, Doc Democracy said:

I sometimes think that we have driven detail into the system and that has caused some inflation because differences often have to be reflected in point costs for us to believe it is 'real'.  For some powers, that makes them far more costly in points when compared to more straightforward powers.  I like to use the Blast Standard.  How useful is this power compared to an equivalent amount of points spent in Blast.  Obviously this is a relatively unsophisticated comparison but it is a beginning in thinking about costs.


What do you mean by "Blast Standard"? 

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As someone who came late to the 6th edition party I can totally see the hate for the 2 tomes that make up the core books.  When I started to consider moving from 5th to 6th I was completely lost with regards to what books to even buy.  I had to ask on these forums for suggestions on what people deemed critical.  I'm glad I did because I ended up up getting some really good advice.


The single best piece of advice I was given was that all you really need to run is the "Complete" books.  I've read both Champions and Fantasy Complete cover to cover, no exaggeration.  They are really all you need to run a game, yes they are missing a setting but from a rules standpoint they are all you need.  I have the core books as PDFs only because they were unavailable to me from the site store at the time.  I open them up once and awhile, usually during character creation or after a game to look up rule I'm not familiar with...that's it.  I would never read them cover to cover unless I had them in print anyways but I would only read them cover to cover for my own personal edification not because I felt they were mandatory reading to play.


I treat them like Encyclopedias (God, I'm dating myself) in that they're good to have on hand for reference and research but I don't feel the need to read them when more concise and digestible books exist that give me what I need.  I don't hate them because they're dry or not what I think they should have been.

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5 hours ago, Killer Shrike said:


I can well understand that you feel that you lack the energy or time or inclination to "debate" or discuss this sort of thing. I will point out that it is an elective activity, no one inclined you to expend the time or energy to read any of this, craft and discard drafts, click likes or dislikes, or finally post. It suggests that you have some strong feelings about the current state of the game, perhaps even bitterness, and your professed lack of caring is a defense mechanism to avoid having to admit how much you actually do care.


This is an example of why I am not posting on this forum any more.

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On 1/30/2019 at 8:46 AM, massey said:

6th edition is inferior because it is designed by a committee, based upon a false promise, and a fundamental misunderstanding of the underlying system.  It's the product of endless tinkering without an achievable goal or a clear direction.  I'll try to flesh out what I mean by all that, but some of it is conceptual and may be rather hard to explain.


6e wasn't designed by a committee. Game designers polling their constituents as to what they would like to see in the next book does not a committee make. 


4e itself was a work of many hands. If anything 5e and 6e are far more the product of a single authorial voice than 4e. 


I draw the conclusion that you don't like committees (who does?) and have conjoined your dislike of two different things for reasons of your own. However, it is not really relevant because committee or not committee doesn't seem to be the main thing you object to, so I'll move on.



Everything up to 4th edition was led by the original designers, and there's a logic to how everything was costed.  Power X is about twice as good as Power Y, so it should cost twice as much.  There's a basic concept of balance built into it from the very beginning.  All the powers and characteristics are roughly scaled with one another.  It's not perfectly executed, but it's pretty close.  Moreover, there was a philosophy to how it was balanced.  They valued certain abilities more than others, and so those were costed higher.  These ideas were internally consistent with each other.  Combat abilities are more valuable than noncombat abilities.  Flexible powers are more valuable than those that are more limited.  Therefore these things cost more points.  If you built characters as they intended, and played the game as they intended, it had a wonderful balance.  4th edition Champions was almost perfect.  And again, it was true to its philosophy.


So, the underlying premise here is that 4e's team had a philosophy (or design goals as we might say) for what they wanted to achieve with 4e, and DoJ / Steve L did not have such a clear philosophy of what they wanted to achieve with 5e and so on.


However, they did. It's printed in the back of the book. It's also consistent and compatible with the 4e design goals. Now, you may review those goals and opine that they did not meet them, that is your prerogative. I think they did. 


Also, I don't recall the exact details, but the 5e manuscript was work for hire Steve L had been contracted to do by the original Hero System folks but they couldn't come up with the money to publish it. I have never heard that they did not want to publish it, or did not agree with its content; only that they couldn't afford to publish it. Someone with more inside information might add clarity around that. However my understanding is that 5e had the blessing of the old guard. When DoJ bought out the assets of the previous owners, they didn't sit down and write up a new rulebook, they blew the dust off the 5e manuscript and published it. Again, that's my understanding of it, I may be misinformed.


Having been around back then, actively playing 4e and then early adopting 5e, I know from experience that there was no schism or disconnect between the editions; it was a pretty seamless transition with a few characters requiring a bit of a tweak but nothing majorly discombobulated.



Now with a system as complex as Champions, you'll never get a perfect balance.  There are just too many moving bits and pieces, and a powergamer will find the most efficient builds possible, while a person who has never played before will waste points on things that may never come up.  That is unavoidable.  But later editions didn't understand that.  5th edition, 5th edition revised, 6th edition, Champions Complete, all of them have tried to tweak the system to achieve some perfect balance that just isn't possible.  And the biggest problem is, these changes didn't follow the original pricing structure of the system.  The changes were made by people with a different philosophy of how the system should work.  And those changes don't quite mesh with the underlying system.


Yes, perfect balance is a myth. The idea that point buy systems equal game balance is also a myth. Nothing is immune to min maxing. Every game system has some kind of exploit by which one character who leverages it can gain an advantage over another character who does not. 


I am quite sure that Steve L, a professional game developer with a solid resume prior to becoming attached to 5e, did and does in fact understand that perfect balance is unattainable. 


I also reject the notion that the intent of the rules changes made over the course of the DoJ era editions were done in a quixotic attempt to achieve the impossible dream of perfect game balance. I'm fairly confident that the number of windmills tilted at were few to none.


The overarching theme from 5e to 5er to 6e, the most noticeable trend, was application of official rulings and adjustments made to existing rules based upon the thousands of "ask steve" rules questions fielded from actual players of the game as well as tinfoil hat wearing maniacs like me and Sean and ghostangel and OddHat and a few other system theorists poking and prodding at the game system. 


Thus the driving factor was not a theoretical attempt to achieve the Philosopher's Stone in ruleform, it was instead a dogged determination to patch and fix and reconfigure and tinker with an eye towards responding to actual feedback from the field.


This is desirable, if your goal is to make a comprehensive universal game system. Get a lot of people to play your game and tell you how it broke under pressure, and get another group of people to deliberately try to break your game and then tell you about it so you have the option to address it or not, and to the extent possible harden the system to reduce the fails and gaps and inconsistencies.


If your goal is to make a "good enough" game system for the purpose of selling splatbooks and adventures, then it isn't as desirable, and indeed can be detrimental. Most people don't crave change, even when it ultimately benefits them. If people are happy enough with your product and are willing to live with its flaws, great.


Now, as a business strategy, it can be argued that the later has proven, over the last 40 odd years, to be the more successful strategy overall. However, to the subset of gamers who prefer abstract universal game systems suitable as an all purpose tool for whatever strikes our fancy, the DoJ approach was at least laudatory; even if one did not ultimately buy their product it could be appreciated for their strong commitment to what they were doing. 



As an example, let's go to 5th edition, written by Steve Long (somewhat prophetically named when you see the size of his manuscripts). 


I would hope that we could discuss DoJ's and their predecessors work without disrespecting the people involved. It just seems unwarranted to me.



He had his own ideas about how the Hero System should work, and he modified it. 


Yes, as would you if you became the lead designer and primary author of a game line. It's actually his job to have ideas about the game and then implement them.



Adders became much more common. 


Adders are good, IMO. I wish more things that preexisted Adders had been refactored to become Adders.



The pricing structure for some powers was changed, but not for others. 


Not sure why that is notable. If the cost of a jug of milk changes does it require the price of everything else in the store to also change?



And while some of these changes were arguably good, others were not so great. 


I'd be curious for more detail.



It was clear that he was seeing the system in a different way from the original authors, but it was a modification of their system and not one built from the ground up with his own ideas. 


And water is wet. The same is always true in any scenario where one person picks up the work of another and carries it forward. 



Long's philosophy appeared to be based around trying to make everything fit around a certain core set of game mechanics. 


Can you expound on this a bit?



Instant Change was removed as a Talent and modified to be a "My clothes only" Transform. 


Instant Change was a Power, and it was removed because it was basically an unnecessary tax upon characters, and also was almost entirely a single genre construct (superheroes). It was established that "activation of powers" could cover cosmetic changes as a sort of quality of life hand wave, and for those who liked the idea of Instant Change it was pointed out that changing a set of clothes into a different set of clothes already existed in the system in the form of a cosmetic Transform.


Seems reasonable to me. 



Shapeshift was turned into a sense-affecting power. 


Shapeshift is certainly an odd one. I understand the _logic_ behind it, but it is certainly non-intuitive. Personally, I think Steve should have renamed the power to something like Facade or maybe Guise. The word "shapeshift" literally means changing shape not altering how various senses perceive ones self. "Shapeshift" could then have been a sidebar example using Facade dialed in to produce the effect of shapeshifting. 


The main issue with "shapeshift" in the hero system, is that if one "shapeshifted" into a form with wings, one would expect to gain the ability to fly (and so on all obvious permutations of that idea), but of course in the HS you'd need to buy Flight, and so on. Thus shapeshifters often ended up with a VPP or occasionally an MP to allow them to gain abilities that one would expect to gain with shapeshift alone in most games. Further complication, if you want to use Flight to fly, what it looks like is by default SFX...you don't need a separate power to first change your shape to grow wings, you could define the activation and SFX of your Flight power to be "I 'shapeshift' to grow wings and thus can fly". 


So, with "shapeshift to gain abilities my original form lacks" off the table, that only leaves "shapeshift to deceive others into thinking I am whatever I changed my shape to look like" and you end up with a sense affecting power. The nature of how that is costed is then driven by how senses and detect are defined and priced. That gets you to 5e Shapeshift.


Does it make sense? Well, yes, from a procedural progression perspective it is clear how it the outcome was arrived at. 


Is it consistent with the larger skein of the rules? Yes, it is consistent with the axioms and precepts of the system as a whole.


Do I like it? Well...not really. It feels unsatisfying and inelegant and unintuitive. It does actually work in play for the very narrow thing that it does. I find that it works fine for projecting misinformation for sensory detection, but I struggle conceptually when it is used to accomplish things that involve actual deformation of physical structure via the Touch group. I wish the Power was little bit purer in deciding if it is really a sense affecting power or a body alteration power and stick to it. But, I don't lose any sleep over it.


Also, the overlap with Images (also a poorly named power as images are sight only and Images is not) is suspicious. At some remove, the way Shapeshift works as a defacto sense affecting power minus the Touch / physical deformation kind of seems redundant / overlapped to a degree that violates the meta rule of a power duplicating functionality of another power.


Anyway, I would agree that Shapeshift deserves an asterix as "questionable".



But one of the most glaring examples here is Damage Shield.  In 4th edition, Damage Shield was a +1/2 advantage you applied to a power.  If anybody touched you, or if you touched anybody, they were hit with that power.  When 5th edition hit, it suddenly required you to purchase the advantage Continuous (+1).  But, you didn't actually get the benefit that Continuous granted, which is that somebody hit with a Continuous power will be affected by it every single phase.  No, you had to pay a +1 advantage tax because now you've got to change your Energy Blast to a Constant power before you can apply Damage Shield.


A 10D6 Energy Blast with Damage Shield in 4th edition was 75 points.  That's the same as a 15D6 Energy Blast.  Quite expensive, but you got the benefit that you could hurt your enemy when it wasn't your phase, without an attack roll, depending on what they did.  Still might be too expensive though.  In 5th edition, you had to buy it Continuous first.  So now that power became 125 points, the same as a Twenty-five D6 Energy Blast.  No power-gamer in the world would choose a 10D6 Damage Shield over a 25D6 EB.  The two aren't remotely comparable. 

I agree that the 5e Damage Shield is borked. I seem to recall discussing it on these boards back in that timeframe. It is not efficient or practical. I think it would have been more correct to have the Damage Shield advantage itself include the desired functionality and just bump up its modifier a bit, or to define a variant option for Continuous itself that modified Continuous to express the "Damage Shield" behavior. 


I prefer a self-resetting trigger based build for a "damage shield" type of effect, personally.



Why is this a problem?  Because it's a different game philosophy stacked on top of the previous one. 


I'm unconvinced that it is a different game philosophy at all; my perception is that it is a logical continuation of the direction 4e took away from pre-4e.



While both follow the idea of "you get what you pay for", 4th edition was more focused on comparative effectiveness, whereas 5th added costs with the idea of making powers conform to a certain format. 


That's actually not true at all. If anything, DoJ era HS is much more rigorous about basing costs via comparison to the effectiveness of equivalent abilities. A lot of the discussions about "why was this costed in this way" turns into a breakdown of the costing of other things in the system which were used as interpolation. 



There are other problems as well.  The cost of Major Transform had previously been based upon the cost of RKA, the logic being if you can kill them, you might as well be able to turn them into a frog.  5th ed wisely dropped having Cumulative be a +1/2 advantage (RKA is cumulative by default), but it added requirements that you had to pay more to affect different types of targets.  Instead of "turn target into frog" the standard Transform became "turn human into frog".  To affect any target, you had to buy another advantage. 


I think you may be reading too much into the Arkelos Spell example. 


When buying Transform, a character must
specify what he can Transform targets into. Thus,
he might be able to Transform “targets into toads,”
but could not Transform “targets into cats.” The
character may purchase an Advantage to broaden
the scope of what he can Transform targets into
(see below).
The basic target of any Transform is “anything.”
If a character wants to restrict the target group,
he may take the Limited Target Limitation on the
Power (see below).



In this way, the cost structure of 5th edition became less consistent, more concerned with form than function. 


I don't feel that you've made your case on this point.



Abuse wasn't eliminated at all, the nature of the abuse just changed.


I've observed the nature of the "abuse" to be the same as it ever is...min maxing, universal to any game system.  I have observed that volume and frequency of that type of abuse to be lowered though as there are fewer loopholes and gaps to hide in and more explicit explanation of how certain things are meant to work together thus blocking more exploits of unintended interactions.



I wasn't active on the boards during the time that they were soliciting suggestions for 6th edition.  I think I had an account here but I had wandered off.  But as I understand it there was a lot of discussion about what changes people wanted to see made.  And while I like most of you guys just fine, good lord do I disagree with a lot of you over how the game system should work. 


Again I wasn't involved in any of the discussions, but when I flip through the 6th edition book, I'm reminded of the adage "too many cooks spoil the broth". 


So I infer that your belief is that the feedback given to DoJ by the posters on these boards previous to 6e being published is in some way responsible for some sort of committee effect? 


If so I can opine that it is not the case. While feedback was given, as has been done on many other books, DoJ made the decisions as to what they wanted the book to be in their own time at their own discretion. 



I see questions on the Hero System Discussion page, and many of the suggestions are overly complex and extremely point inefficient. 


Out of curiosity, which is worse for you? A write up that is complex or a write up that is point inefficient?



But some people feel like they've got to dot those "i"s and cross those "t"s. 


Not sure why this would be an issue for you.


Some people seek exactitude, others seek "good enough". Some of the exactitude seekers may also be showing off their system mastery, some may be fending off nitpicking and criticism. All of them are still attempting to contribute something to whoever asked for the build, and as always the person asking for advice is free to take something offered, or use it to inspire them in their own approach, or ignore it all.


And of course you are welcome to not click on those threads, or lurk, or contribute as you see fit. And if you do contribute you are free to offer your preferred approach to the problem with a build that favors your style of using the system which might be less exacting in rigorous application of every nuance and obscure rule as some and might be more efficient than others. You might even sway some people to your way of approaching such problems. 



6th compounds some of the mistakes of 5th edition and doesn't look back.


So, if you are reasoning from a position of "4e was nearly perfect, 5e was a step away from near perfection", then sure, 6e would then be a bigger step away from near perfection. And you are of course welcome to a position of "No, 4e is mechanically the best version of the rules". I personally don't think 4e was nearly perfect, though I love it dearly. I think it was a big step in the right direction, and 5e and 6e have taken more steps in that same direction. Maybe stumbling around a bit, but heading in the right general direction.

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