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What type of setting should Hero Games develop as its “signature setting”?  

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  1. 1. What type of setting should a Hero games develop as its “signature setting”

    • Spy/Espionage
      1
    • Fantasy
      4
    • Superhero
      19
    • Dark Champions/Street level
      1
    • Pulp
      1
    • Science fiction
      2
    • Historical (please specify time period)
      0
    • Other (please specify)
      1


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I’ve often thought that what Hero really needs is a great signature setting. For many gamers a significantly interesting setting is enough to get them to try a system they might otherwise avoid and Hero lacks such a setting. You only have to look at the success of Palladium Books to understand how a great setting can draw people in despite a rules system many of those people tolerate at best. So what would your choice be if you could pick one setting ( not based on an existing setting or IP) for Hero games to develop as its “signature setting”?

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Yeah, you're speaking my language here. I agree that the Hero System needs a signature setting that is so compelling that people will learn and play the system just to play in that setting. IMO the best example of this approach is White Wolf's World of Darkness. Nobody cared about the Storytelling System, but everyone was willing to learn and use it just to play in that setting.

 

Historically, the Hero System's signature setting was the Champions setting, which tried to ride the line between a concrete signature setting and a loose collection of  heroes, villains, and organizations that could be dropped into anyone's campaign. Unfortunately, the IP for that now resides elsewhere, and I'm not even sure that the superhero genre holds enough commercial potential in the tabletop RPG market to make it worth pursuing again.

 

I would like to see a signature sci-fi setting for the Hero System, something less generic and by-the-numbers than Terran Empire.

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It would be really nice if someone could come up with a definition of a "compelling" setting that's guaranteed to be compelling to more than a fraction of the gaming public. "Unique" doesn't cut it; there have been many unique settings which have fallen by the wayside due to lack of broad interest. Ultimately it's a crap shoot, like crafting a hit movie or television series, or a hit song. You can't do it on demand. White Wolf's World of Darkness, and Palladium's Rifts, happened to be the right thing at the right time. Every setting that DOJ-era Hero Games has published -- four for fantasy, two for sci-fi, one for modern-day adventure, and of course a big one for supers -- was made with passion and care. I'm sure they all thought they were creating things that were cool and fun to play in. Yet here we are.

 

Suggestions and discussion can be fun and may even turn out to be helpful; but no one here is going to come up with a guaranteed magic-bullet hit just because we decide we want to, unless a lot of luck is involved. Even if we did, Hero Games is in no position financially to publish it and support it.

 

Having now fulfilled my mission of being a killjoy, I will slink off and let the fun discussion continue. :P

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19 minutes ago, Lord Liaden said:

You can't do it on demand.

 

I absolutely agree with you. But the need remains.

 

As the old saying goes, "If you try, there's no guarantee you will succeed; but if you don't try, it is absolutely guaranteed that you won't succeed."

 

So regardless of how hard it may be to produce a compelling campaign setting (like the World of Darkness turned out to be), attempts must be made or else one will never happen. I do believe that having talented, creative minds behind those attempts will substantially increase the chances of success, so if I was going to put together a checklist of things to round up in an effort to produce such a setting, that's where I'd start (after finding an abundant funding source, of course).

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I posted this on a similar thread a few months back, but it applies here, so here is a re-post:

 

Quote

 

If you are trying to come up with a new setting, and looking to draw in younger or new players players it might be good to look at what is currently popular to them on TV. In that regard first look might be at all the CW series:

 

-A bunch of DC hero shows (Flash, green arrow, etc..)

-Supernatural (15+ seasons!)

-Riverdale

-The 100 (7+ seasons)

 

Lets cut The DC hero shows as that is hardly a "new" genre or setting. Might as well use Champions.

Lets cut Riverdale as it is primarily a relationship series (although parts of it could be used)

 

So that leaves Supernatural and The 100.

 

Next lets looks at Netflix series:

 

-Umbrella Academy

-The Marvel series

-Sabrina teenage witch

 

Umbrella Academy and the Marvel shows are again super hero universes, so again lets cut those. 

 

That leaves Sabrina.

 

Other popular series from other channels:

 

-Game of Thrones

-Walking Dead and Fear The Walking Dead

-Numerous Cops shows

-Numerous Spy/special forces shows

 

So lets cut the cop and spy shows as those don't really have a special setting/genre that would probably translate to an RPG.

 

That leave Game of Thrones - a fantasy genre heavy with politics and a slight approaching apocalypse vibe (with the advancing white walkers.

And Walking Dead series, which are post-apocalypse

 

So over all we are let with two or three possible genres:

 

Urban Horror (Supernatural, Sabrina) - good, but a bit done to death so would need an original take on it to make it work as it has to fit into the "regular" world. 

 

Post-Apocalypse (Walking Dead, The 100) - Easier to develop a setting for this type of game as there is a lot more freedom in the world building.

 

Fantasy (Game of Thrones) - Lots of competition in Fantasy settings, so maybe not the best choice. 

 

So in this analysis I would say a Post-Apocalypse setting is probably the best choice for a new game/setting if you wanted to create one. 

 

One that involves not only survival and re-building the world, but if you could add in some relationship drama, different groups and politics. Then you only need to decide how much of society has collapsed, if things are different in different parts of the campaign world, and what the apocalypse was caused by (aliens, zombies, nuclear war, magic, supernatural monsters (Cthulhu, vampires, etc...) and go from there. 

 

 

I would add to this that potentially most of the geography and nations of the world have changed, so the players don't know "what is over the next horizon". This kind of mystery has always been popular in Fantasy Games. Sure, you might have a general map, but the map might no longer be correct because of wold events, and the slow speed of communication means that big political or power changes might have happened in the time between the map was made and the way things are when the players get there. 

 

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I've always maintained that the Champions Universe is Hero's signature setting, and when the role-playing game market was different -- i.e. there was enough of a player base for games other than the very few juggernauts like D&D and World of Darkness who dominate today -- Champions was quite successful and profitable. It has decades of name recognition and an existing fan base. The CU is similar enough to the Big Two comics publishers, DC and Marvel, for people familiar with the supers genre to feel comfortable; but has lots of distinctive elements, and in some areas is even broader and deeper than the Big Two. FWIW I find it quite compelling, in fact it's my favorite supers universe. It also made the transition to video games in Champions Online, and although that never set the world on fire it continues today, after other high-profile super MMORPGs have died.

 

With all of that, though, Hero Games still couldn't keep Champions above water when the RPG market turned. We could discuss to what degree that was due to external circumstances, and what role the company's decisions played. In fact we have discussed that before, at length. :rolleyes:

 

Bottom line, I believe Hero Games doesn't need another signature setting. It already has a proven one; what it needs is a way to inject new life into it. That, of course, is a different discussion.

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Hero Games doesn't own the IP to the Champions Universe anymore, do they? I thought they sold that off to Cryptic a long time ago. If so, then from a legal point of view, they don't really "have" it anymore. But that's sort of besides the point, I think, because even though historically it may be their signature setting, it has zero traction in the broader RPG marketplace. Moreover, I don't think a superhero setting is likely to ever gain much traction, despite the enormous popularity of superheroes on the big screen. As a TTRPG genre it's always going to be incredibly niche and, basically, overlooked.

 

That's why I think that a signature setting in a new genre is needed. Something with broader appeal, like sci-fi (but please, not fantasy...that's space is just too crowded).

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What do you guys think about licensed settings?

 

MHI seems semi-popular.

 

Signature settings are cool and valuable but I think for Hero what's more needed is cool shit with specific examples of how you can toolkit Hero to do vastly different stuff.

Like all those GURPS conversion of the WW stuff back in the day.

 

GoT in Hero.

 

Or the Draegeran books or the Malazan books or whatever else. Or The Expanse, or Altered Carbon, or The Umbrella Society, or Sabrina the Teenage Witch, or you know, any semi-known existing IP. Thieves World. Rifts Hero (I only suggest this because the Savage Worlds conversion of Rifts appears extremely popular (in as much as it can be)).

Amber Hero. Lord of Light Hero. Black Company Hero. Farscape Hero. Stargate Hero.

 

I think specific sci-fi and fantasy settings would have more name recognition and honestly, to me at least, be more interesting in terms of adapting Hero to reflect the specific flavors of those fantasy worlds.

It would allow, I think, for differing presentations of the base rules.

 

One of the issues I find with getting folks to play Hero is the ridiculously huge and open-ended books that even with copious examples can be mind-numbingly generalized.

Fantasy Hero 5th Edition is a huge book and presents a lot of cool options and examples but it doesn't present ONE example.

It *could* be like X, or it *could* be like Y, or even Z, but be aware of Q and R and S if you're going to do W.

 

I think it would be beneficial to have less, "Look at this world of endless possibilities!!!", and more, "Here's a working, balanced, populated, functioning game world, with specific mechanics and background.", in general.

 

Anyway. I think a licensed setting would be very helpful.

Fantasy Hero and Hero System are very...non-inspiring on the shelves.

Even "GURPS" is intriguing enough to pick up just to figure out wtf GURPS stands for.

 

Malazan Books of the Fallen: The RPG? I would pick that up immediately. And if I saw, "A Hero System Game" on the cover after picking it up I would buy it immediately.

 

 

Question would be which cool IP out there doesn't already have licensed RPGs associated with it.

 

Any good suggestions for that?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, mallet said:

I posted this on a similar thread a few months back, but it applies here, so here is a re-post:

 

 

I would add to this that potentially most of the geography and nations of the world have changed, so the players don't know "what is over the next horizon". This kind of mystery has always been popular in Fantasy Games. Sure, you might have a general map, but the map might no longer be correct because of wold events, and the slow speed of communication means that big political or power changes might have happened in the time between the map was made and the way things are when the players get there. 

 

 

Yes. All of this! :)

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1 hour ago, TranquiloUno said:

What do you guys think about licensed settings?

 

MHI seems semi-popular.

 

Signature settings are cool and valuable but I think for Hero what's more needed is cool shit with specific examples of how you can toolkit Hero to do vastly different stuff.

Like all those GURPS conversion of the WW stuff back in the day.

 

GoT in Hero.

 

Or the Draegeran books or the Malazan books or whatever else. Or The Expanse, or Altered Carbon, or The Umbrella Society, or Sabrina the Teenage Witch, or you know, any semi-known existing IP. Thieves World. Rifts Hero (I only suggest this because the Savage Worlds conversion of Rifts appears extremely popular (in as much as it can be)).

Amber Hero. Lord of Light Hero. Black Company Hero. Farscape Hero. Stargate Hero.

 

I think specific sci-fi and fantasy settings would have more name recognition and honestly, to me at least, be more interesting in terms of adapting Hero to reflect the specific flavors of those fantasy worlds.

It would allow, I think, for differing presentations of the base rules.

 

One of the issues I find with getting folks to play Hero is the ridiculously huge and open-ended books that even with copious examples can be mind-numbingly generalized.

Fantasy Hero 5th Edition is a huge book and presents a lot of cool options and examples but it doesn't present ONE example.

It *could* be like X, or it *could* be like Y, or even Z, but be aware of Q and R and S if you're going to do W.

 

I think it would be beneficial to have less, "Look at this world of endless possibilities!!!", and more, "Here's a working, balanced, populated, functioning game world, with specific mechanics and background.", in general.

 

Anyway. I think a licensed setting would be very helpful.

Fantasy Hero and Hero System are very...non-inspiring on the shelves.

Even "GURPS" is intriguing enough to pick up just to figure out wtf GURPS stands for.

 

Malazan Books of the Fallen: The RPG? I would pick that up immediately. And if I saw, "A Hero System Game" on the cover after picking it up I would buy it immediately.

 

 

Question would be which cool IP out there doesn't already have licensed RPGs associated with it.

 

Any good suggestions for that?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The problem with existing IP is the money it cost to license it. A secondary problem is spending time and money to develop product you can’t use one the license lapses. 

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1 minute ago, Diamond Spear said:

The problem with existing IP is the money it cost to license it. A secondary problem is spending time and money to develop product you can’t use one the license lapses. 

 

Those certainly could be issues. I have no idea how much Jim Butcher or Glenn Cook (or their publishers) charged for the Dresden Files and Black Company RPGs.

 

I assume TMNT was cheaper for Palladium to license before the cartoon\IP exploded.

Or even how the MHI licensing was worked out with DOJ.

But since MHI is in fact an existing product from existing IP...

Though I see there is a Kickstarter for a Savage Worlds conversion of MHI so maybe MHeroI isn't long for this world?

 

But also....bought TMNT 'cause I loved the comics and I've looked at and considered buying the other two for the same reasons, even though they use non-Hero (and thus crappy\sub-optimal) systems.

 

On the one hand, yah, sure, it'll cost money, probably, but on the other hand...if it sells product, which builds brand recognition, which helps sell future product, etc, etc.

 

The not being able to use the product developed seems like less of an issue. Palladium has continue to publish After the Bomb materials when they lost the TMNT license and it was no longer TMNT: After the Bomb.

 

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Licensed settings are expensive if the setting is super popular already (like Game of Thrones). And even then it is a total gamble as to whether or not RPGers will line up in droves to play in that setting. There is substantially less financial risk in developing your own setting, and you also end up with much greater creative and logistical control over your product line. And the chances for long-term success are probably about the same.

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Sure.

 

Again: I think licensed IP would, naturally, have more name recognition. If DOJ can find an author or IP owner that would want to be involved maybe that would be good.

 

A Signature setting all their own would be fine too. Or...*another* Signature setting I guess given the existing ones. But what would make it better\different\interesting compared to the current ones?

 

OP does mention no existing IP though so I'll hush up. :)

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The original thread wherein Steve Long announced that Cryptic was buying the rights to the Champions Universe is here.  

 

Some highlights from posts by Steve to the thread: 

 

From Cryptic's press release:

 

Quote

Cryptic Studios also announced today that it has acquired the Champions intellectual property (IP) from Hero Games. First published in 1981, the Champions role-playing game is one of the first RPGs to forgo the traditional dice-rolling system of character generation in favor of a point-based system. Cryptic Studios has licensed back to Hero Games the rights to produce Champions RPG books, and the sixth edition of the HERO System and Champions, set to release in 2009, will include rules on how to recreate Champions Online characters and scenarios.

 

From Steve directly:

 

Quote

1. What’s happened here is that Cryptic has bought the Champions and Dark Champions intellectual property — the characters, setting, history, events, and so on.

 

...

 

4. Under the terms of our agreement, Cryptic has licensed back to DOJ the right to produce Champions RPG supplements, though it has the right to approve those supplements. As part of the deal we get to use their artwork. This makes at least a few color books possible going forward, though when we implement a change like that has not yet been decided.

 

And in a later post on the thread from Steve: 

 

Quote

Cryptic has no interest in licensing an IP or answering to anyone else, and I don't blame them one bit. They want to own whatever they're working on outright and in full to avoid all the hassles that come from not doing so. It's totally logical.

 

Licensing it back to us was a mandatory part of the deal, though. We certainly wouldn't have sold them the IP outright with no ability to produce RPGs for it -- or at least not for the same amount of money. Thus it works out well for both of us.

 

In short: Hero Games can produce all of the Champions they want, as long as they get approval from Cryptic.  

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Following up my own posting.  Steve says here

 

Quote

... One of the major provisions of the deal for us was that Cryptic licensed back to us, for free, the perpetual right to produce roleplaying game supplements for Champions, including the use of Cryptic's art. That was an important point for us, since we couldn't afford to lose the ongoing revenue from the Champions RPG. And access to free high-quality art would give us the opportunity to do something Hero Games had never been able to do in its nearly thirty-year history: publish full-colour books.

 

Boldface mine.

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Thank you, Chris, for so pertinently going to the source. :)

 

Hero Games produced several books for Fifth and Sixth Edition Champions after Cryptic Studios purchased the IP, including 2017's Golden Age Champions. Aside from incorporating any modifications to the setting that Cryptic themselves instituted, Hero Games appears to have been free to publish whatever Champions materials they want. I've also noticed that in recent years, Cryptic and its own current corporate owners, Perfect World Entertainment, don't seem to even pay attention to what's happening in the tabletop setting any more.

 

AFAICT the only issues preventing more being done with the Champions Universe are financial. But I hope that working on a little addition of my own to the setting in my "copious spare time" (as Steve Long puts it), will make it economical to publish in some form in the not-too-distant future.

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7 hours ago, TranquiloUno said:

Question would be which cool IP out there doesn't already have licensed RPGs associated with it.

 

Any good suggestions for that?

 

 

 

The problem of HERO not having money with which to license a setting has already been mentioned.

 

But I'd like to point out there's a huge difference between a cool setting and an already popular setting. There's a lot of cool settings which aren't particularly popular already.

 

Joel Rosenberg passed away in 2011 and his fantasy Guardians of the Flame series is for all practical purposes at this point abandoned. It is a very cool setting.

 

One of the greatest wizards of the world challenged the head of the Mage's Guild for supremacy. Their battle caused widespread devastation (incidentally inconveniencing the most powerful religious sect in the world) and the challenger was forced to flee the dimension in a one way trip.

 

He ended up on Earth, where time moves more slowly, and spent time licking his wounds and coming up with a plan which might allow him to return and get revenge. He eventually managed to use his remaining power to subtly manipulate events on his homeworld to prepare things. At the same time, he became accustomed to life on Earth where he had relatively little access to magical power compared to his homeworld.

 

He decided would have to send pawns ahead to open a gate for his return. To get those pawns accustomed to the setting of his home world, he posed as a GM and had them adventure in a RPG with his homeworld as the setting.

 

The RPG group was eventually shoved through without warning into the wizard's homeworld with what turned out to be inadequate instructions on what to do. The group ended up at odds with the Mage's Guild, the Slaver's Guild, several local governments large and small, and not on particularly good terms with that large religious sect.

 

When the gateway turned out to not work quite like the wizard thought it was going to, the group ended up being forced to stay in that world of their RPG campaign. And they decided that sucked to be stuck there in a fantasy world as their real life without indoor plumbing, toilet paper, civil rights, personal safety, etc. And they decided that they needed to do something about it.

 

They ended up establishing their own Home as an independent political entity in a fairly remote area and essentially declared war on the Slaver's Guild because slavery is Wrong (with a capital W). They decided to combine their knowledge of the modern world engineering and technology to bootstrap their fantasy world forward as far as they could take it.

====

 

The setting for play would be a world where Slaver caravans are under threat of attack from Home raiders. Slavers are having to hire excessive numbers of guards (and on occasion a wizard) to protect themselves and their cargo. Slaves freed by raiders have the choice of trying to return to their homes or being escorted to Home and becoming part of their growing community.

 

New technology and better steel weapons are trickling out of Home (the closer you are to Home and the better relations you have with them, the more likely you are to have access to the best). Limited numbers of single shot primitive firearms are available to Home raiders but sword and spear (and magic when it is available) still hold sway. The secret to making gunpowder is a closely guarded secret which the growing number of Engineers keep guarded in what they call The Batcave.

 

Surrounding nations are baffled by the new political entity which is governed by something called "democracy". The nations which are regularly raided by the Slaver's Guild tend to like Home. Nations which normally sell off their young to the Slaver's Guild in order to make ends meet during lean years aren't quite sure whether they like Home or not. Nations which thought they might someday like to expand into the area which Home has claimed are not happy about Home at all. During raids, Home only goes after the Slaver's Guild. If Home went after slave owners themselves, every political power would be against them.

 

New players entering the setting could either be natives of the world or new people from Earth which the wizard has sent through to fulfill some sort of mission. Time on the fantasy world moves much more rapidly than on Earth so the wizard despite his best efforts can't keep close track of events. And he can't communicate with any pawns once they've passed over. They might come with (incomplete) information which isn't available to anyone else but they aren't going to show up with wizard-provided technology/magic and comlinks to him.

 

The original people the wizard sent through are highly resentful of him and his manipulations ruining their lives (even though most of them, over time, adjusted quite well). Part of their desire to change the world is to give the wizard a giant middle finger.

 

Players who the wizard has sent through from Earth in the past have been "translated" into their RPG character. So a person who played a fighter would become a fighter, the thief becomes a thief, the cleric a cleric, a mage becomes a mage.

 

=====

 

I may not have done a good job of describing it but that is a very cool setting whether to play in or to GM.

 

It's also a property which could probably be picked up from his estate very inexpensively (as inexpensively as intellectual properties go, not inexpensive like a box of Pop-Tarts).

 

But would that setting help sell your game?

 

I don't know if I understand enough of why people buy games in the first place to be able to answer that question.

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The problem with developing the Champions setting is that theoretically, you're just enhancing the value of something you don't own.  I'm sure Cryptic would be perfectly happy if Hero Games poured a bunch of time and money into the Champions setting and made it really popular again.  That would make them more money.

 

Now, I don't know the terms of the sales agreement, but it may be possible to separate Champions the game from Champions the setting.  The company could possibly decide to create a new setting from scratch, something that they would own.  Of course that means leaving behind Dr Destroyer, VIPER, and a lot of the other pieces of the Champions history.  It might even mean leaving behind the idea of a team named "The Champions".  That would all be determined by the conditions of the sales agreement between them and Cryptic (which, obviously, I don't have and haven't read).

 

I think you could still create a well done Marvel/DC combo universe, but who knows how well that would do in the modern RPG environment.

 

--

 

I see a few possible avenues if Hero Games really wanted to get back in the game.  All of these, of course, would require a significant investment.

 

1.  Find a well known IP that is somewhat stagnant at the moment, but that might have some appeal to fans, and that you can get for cheap.  (Is anybody doing anything with the Texas Chainsaw Massacre at the moment?)

 

2.  Try and guess the next big thing.  Get an IP that hasn't hit yet and hope it blows up big.  (Find some Young Adult book series that hasn't had its movie deal yet)

 

3.  Pick a genre that appears to be underserved, and do a generic version of it.  (All Flesh Must Be Eaten did this with zombies -- can you find the next zombie craze?)

 

 

With all of these, I think you need to be willing to run a bare bones version of the Hero System.  Use only the most needed parts, ditch the rest, and produce a slick book in color that's customized for your setting.  If you're not willing to do that, don't waste your time.

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3 hours ago, massey said:

The problem with developing the Champions setting is that theoretically, you're just enhancing the value of something you don't own.  I'm sure Cryptic would be perfectly happy if Hero Games poured a bunch of time and money into the Champions setting and made it really popular again.  That would make them more money.

 

From the point of view of what Hero Games might want to do, I don't really see the problem with that. As you say, Cryptic would have no reason to keep Hero from developing the CU, and every reason to want them to.

 

There was one more element of the deal I remember Steve Long mentioning. If for any reason Cryptic were to financially collapse and dissolve, the license for the Champions IP would automatically revert back to Hero Games.

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13 hours ago, Lord Liaden said:

 

From the point of view of what Hero Games might want to do, I don't really see the problem with that. As you say, Cryptic would have no reason to keep Hero from developing the CU, and every reason to want them to.

 

There was one more element of the deal I remember Steve Long mentioning. If for any reason Cryptic were to financially collapse and dissolve, the license for the Champions IP would automatically revert back to Hero Games.

 

If you own the property, theoretically you could sell it again.

 

It probably doesn't make much difference if you're talking about making a few PDFs and putting together a Kickstarter to hopefully get a print run of your next game supplement.  When you're scraping by, it doesn't matter.  But if you're talking about hitting it big (like White Wolf did), you've got the book sales but you no longer have the IP behind it.  Realistically it probably isn't that important, but when you're looking to invest money it sucks to know you've got a hard cap on how much you could earn from it.

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Well, you either have a really compelling "signature" setting, or alternatively you can offer a plethora of original campaign settings(I think 3rd party writers have come up with a half dozen sci fi settings for Star Hero, e.g.).  The only downside to that approach is that you need to follow up those settings with another half dozen(or more) campaign supplements to keep the settings alive and fresh.  I'd like to see more original superhero, fantasy and modern settings.  

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    I voted for the Superhero setting but I’ve always believed that Hero Games strongest selling point was it’s flexibility.  Before GURPS,  before the D&D d20 system before any of them was HERO!

   The first group/Superteam I ever played with was comprised of a Druidic mage, an Astro Boy homage, a martial artist Monk, the team was lead by a female super-agent, and myself doing a Greatest American Hero ripoff.

    I was amazed that people could bring their fondest dreams to life no matter what they were.  That is a signature for a game. That is a motto for a company.

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14 hours ago, massey said:

 

If you own the property, theoretically you could sell it again.

 

 

In a way, they did. Cryptic Studios was bought by Perfect World Entertainment, which purchase included the Champions IP. That didn't affect Hero's licensing agreement. To be honest, I'm not sure Perfect World could sell Champions separately from the other IP they hold, without voiding the original agreement with Hero. Steve Long being a lawyer, probably thought of that contingency.

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On 5/21/2019 at 7:49 PM, Tjack said:

    I voted for the Superhero setting but I’ve always believed that Hero Games strongest selling point was it’s flexibility.  Before GURPS,  before the D&D d20 system before any of them was HERO!

   The first group/Superteam I ever played with was comprised of a Druidic mage, an Astro Boy homage, a martial artist Monk, the team was lead by a female super-agent, and myself doing a Greatest American Hero ripoff.

    I was amazed that people could bring their fondest dreams to life no matter what they were.  That is a signature for a game. That is a motto for a company.

 

And it really was the company's motto, for a long time. But looking at more recent RPGs, the trend seems to be away from toolkit systems, and toward prebuilt material tied to a particular genre, style of play, and often setting. Stuff that gamers can start playing right away out of the box.

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