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Speed in Fantasy HERO

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On 3/30/2019 at 12:30 PM, Christopher R Taylor said:

 

Based upon my experience of playing Hero since 1982, I disagree with everything you said here.

 

Speed is strong, but the perceived value of speed is even stronger.

 

I had one of my teams encounter a big bad and his team of mercenaries.  The enemy bard did an AoE Aid Speed 1pt and the entire party focus fired him down as though the big bad and the healer were no threat at all.

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The key power of higher speed is in acting on other phases which most characters do not.  If you look at the speed chart, many phases are like "greatest hits" and get a lot of action.  Everyone moves on 12, of course -- or, at least they used to until 6th edition (which makes for a really weird anomaly in the progression of turns.  With this system speed 1 gets effectively 2 actions in the first 12 segments -- a turn -- then nothing for another 11 segments.  So its phase 0 (everyone acts), then 7, then... 7 next turn.  Anyway...

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But look at the chart and you see some outliers.  Phase 6 for example has tons of action.  4 and 8 are the next most active phases.  So if you can move before those phases or you use saved phases tactically that can be a very useful advantage.

 

Until speed 7, nobody moves on phase 7 (ignoring speed 1 which is basically meaningless to the discussion because its so slow).  That's a scary phase, and it means someone is really really fast.  And Speed 7 is the first speed that moves on phase 11.  Further, look at speed 7 again; its the first speed where you get back-to-back phases of action.  Its like getting free held phases.  Frankly 7 is powerful enough for speedsters to dominate fights without needing to go any faster.

 

Honestly the more you study this chart, the more the genius shows.  It was probably not intentional but it worked out really well.  Mathematically they are split up across the turn as evenly as possible (and 12 gives the best number of possible even divisions).  But for the first few steps (the range most often encountered in Heroic games) the differences are most elegant.  From speed 3 to 5, each higher speed moves a segment before the previous speed in almost every phase.  So you have a slight edge showing greater training but not absurdly fast like phase 6 or something.

 

 

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Nope, SPD 1 has always moved on segment 7.  

 

What they did in 5th and 6th editions was physically flipped the Speed Chart by 90 degrees (edit) and mirrored (or, technically, mirror flipped along an axis going from the top-left to bottom-right corners).  Up through 4th edition, you found your SPD on the top and looked down to find your Phases.  Now you find your SPD on the left and look across for your Phases, the way you'd expect.  

 

Nothing has changed about which SPD moves on what Phases.

 

Edited to add the chart from 3rd edition.

Screenshot_2019-04-03-13-03-55~2.png

Edited by Chris Goodwin

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I've always assumed it was because SPD 1 is so slow that they don't get to act right away when combat starts; given that they start on Segment 7 of the next turn, literally everyone else has gone at least twice before SPD 7 gets to go once.  

 

Also, combat didn't officially start on Segment 12 until someone wrote in to Adventurer's Club and asked a question about it.  I think it was never actually specified in 1st edition, and it could be that they always started on 12 in-house at Hero Games and forgot to mention it.  I remember in 1989 playing with a group who thought I was nuts when I insisted that combat did in fact start on 12, and even pointed out several books where it said that.  They all started it on segment 1.  

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Thank you for all of the replies so far. These are really useful considerations.

 

22 hours ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

But look at the chart and you see some outliers.  Phase 6 for example has tons of action.  4 and 8 are the next most active phases.  So if you can move before those phases or you use saved phases tactically that can be a very useful advantage.

 

I hadn't thought about that. So some characters might buy extra DEX to get an advantage in the same segments, but you could get a similar advantage by buying extra speed, without spending points on DEX.

 

17 hours ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

I always start combat either on phase 0 (NOT 12, so you don't get an instant recovery) or roll a d12 to see when it starts to make things more interesting and unpredictable.

 

Oh, that's interesting. For some reason there is something very appealing about rolling for initiative in D&D, instead of the static, but consistent start of HERO, but I suppose it only really works if you have differing speeds.

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22 hours ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

I always start combat either on phase 0 (NOT 12, so you don't get an instant recovery) or roll a d12 to see when it starts to make things more interesting and unpredictable.

 

7 hours ago, Ninja-Bear said:

We usually start Post segment 12. Everyone gets an action but no one takes a recovery. However I like the D12 idea.

 

For me it depends on what is happening.  

It can be Phase 12, Post 12, a D12 to randomize or I pick a starting phase based on PC's.

 

For example. 

 

Heroes and Villains are aware of each other and ready.  Phase 12

Heroes and Villains have been in action and are aware of each other but do not have the spare time to recover, Post Phase 12.

Heroes and Villains run into each other unexpectedly and neither side is prepared, D12 roll.

One team surprises the other.  I select a starting phase that allows the "winners" to each act on one phase before the "losers".  If there is too much phase overlap to work, I have the winning side each take one action ending in 12, then everyone gets post-12 recovery and normal rotation goes into effect.

 

A note that this is not "surprise" as in the rule book which I do still use.  It is just a way to enter the scene and starting phase.

A Squad of soldiers ambushes an enemy squad.  The attackers get the "surprise" bonuses but also get off one round of fire before the victims get to respond.  

 

 

 

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On 4/3/2019 at 5:33 PM, Christopher R Taylor said:

Until speed 7, nobody moves on phase 7 (ignoring speed 1 which is basically meaningless to the discussion because its so slow).  That's a scary phase, and it means someone is really really fast.  And Phase 7 is the first speed that moves on phase 11.  Further, look at speed 7 again; its the first speed where you get back-to-back phases of action.  Its like getting free held phases.  Frankly 7 is powerful enough for speedsters to dominate fights without needing to go any faster.

 

This was obviously bothering the back of my brain, I had to find the thread and come back to it, despite having read it days ago without comment.

 

The first thing, on re-reading, is that the terminology used is probably not as strict as I remember it being, thus it is not as "wrong" as I thought.  However, I have started so I will finish.

 

Everything Christopher has said is true, though I do think there are caveats.  In some instances in the quoted text there is some flexibility in the use of phase and segment.  Segments are fixed points, phases are more fuzzy.

 

My players finally got the idea that you do not HAVE to act on the first segment in your phase, that there may even be advantages in delaying.  So, "speed 7...the first speed where you get back-to-back phases of action".  In strict terms all speeds get back-to-back phases of action.  Speed 7 is the first speed where two phases of action happen in back-to-back segments of the speed chart.  

 

Speed 6 allows you to act on segments 3 and 4, or segments 5 and 6.  That needs the player to delay is action in one of his phases to accomplish that.  SPD 7 allows the player to act on segments 6 and 7 with no such delays.  In fact. SPD 7 would allow a player to act in three consecutive segments (5, 6 and 7) which no lesser SPD could manage.

 

So yes, I think SPD 7 is a threshold that really ups the game of a character, I just had to make sure I went through it with the right terminology!! 

 


Doc

 

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In my Nyonia campaign I have different Min/Max characteristics for the various races.  I also talk to players about character concept including fighting concepts.  In the current campaign there are four characters who have varying degrees of skill as fighters:

  • Big viking type - Very strong/tough, extra running, is really good with his battleaxe and has specialized type of martial arts.  He has one maneuver that he is very proficient with.  But he can never have a DEX higher than 15 and a SPD higher than 3.
  • Fencer - formally trained sword fighter, former pirate, who fights with two swords.  She has the min. strength needed for her weapons (she can't buy any more STR, CON, BODY) but she has a high DEX 18 or 20 and a 4 SPD
  • Warrior Priest - Very strong/tough, extra running.  He is good with a wide variety of weapons and is pretty amazing on horseback.  He has spells to boast his strength (any time he wants) and deadly blow against specific enemies.  He can't buy a higher DEX or SPD.  I am also not going to allow him to buy any martial arts.
  • Bard - See fencer but with lower DEX and 3 SPD.  When he first started he could keep from getting beat up by ruffians, but he saved XP to learn martial arts from the fencer and now he can not only hold his own but do some damage when he hits.

There is a race of bipedal cats in my world who have a very high starting  and max DEX/SPD but their strength and CON are limited.  I have a race of people who are like hobbits who have a very high DEX/SPD, low STR, limited running, but can basically disappear if you take your eyes off of them for a moment.  And last but not least something like a dwarven race (physical size, STR of Tolkien dwarves w/out beards who fight with swords), they could best be described as walking fireplugs (tough as nails, strong, slow as a slug).

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>What do you use it for?

 

In normal games, in my experience, almost all characters are 3. What I do is:

 

1. Double the turn length.

2. Double the number of actions, so 2 SPD has 4.

3. Insert  .5, that is 2.5 (which will have 5 SPD) and 3.5 (which will have an 7 SPD)

4. Give a post-6 recovery.

 

Basically double the number in a 24 second turn.

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