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Brian Stanfield

Dare I ask . . . how much HERO do we need?

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Guys, this isn't a discussion about which edition is best. That's a different thread. Please go argue on that one.

 

My question is edition-neutral. It doesn't matter which edition you're using, my question is still the same: how much can you simplify the rules (primarily for teaching purposes) without losing the game itself? This is also not a discussion about what can be borrowed and inserted into HERO games from other systems. If you go back an look at the original post, I'm only using a rules-lite game as an instructive tool, not as the end goal of this discussion.

 

So let me restate: if I can learn another roleplaying game in one evening, or learn and play it in one 4 hour game session at a convention, what can I take from that experience in order to simplify HERO enough to teach to beginners?

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4 hours ago, Brian Stanfield said:

My question is edition-neutral. It doesn't matter which edition you're using, my question is still the same: how much can you simplify the rules (primarily for teaching purposes) without losing the game itself?

 

 

4 hours ago, Brian Stanfield said:

 

So let me restate: if I can learn another roleplaying game in one evening, or learn and play it in one 4 hour game session at a convention, what can I take from that experience in order to simplify HERO enough to teach to beginners?

 

I would say, run a Danger International scenario, or some other modern game's scenario converted to Hero, using the edition of your choice.  Pare everything down to Danger International levels of detail and Stuff.  Agent-level characters, lower power level, primarily skills-based, heavily curated list of Talents, gear for no point cost, no Powers, a lot fewer moving parts.  That's essentially what I did at GameStorm earlier this year, except I used actual Danger International.  The two players who'd been in my aborted Champions game "got" it in a way they didn't seem to previously.  Don't be afraid to use the heroic level gritty rules.  Come with a number of pregenerated characters; modern scenarios leave lots of room for specialists who don't fit into fantasy style character class niches, which will help them as well.  

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4 hours ago, Brian Stanfield said:

Guys, this isn't a discussion about which edition is best. That's a different thread. Please go argue on that one.

 

My question is edition-neutral. It doesn't matter which edition you're using, my question is still the same: how much can you simplify the rules (primarily for teaching purposes) without losing the game itself? This is also not a discussion about what can be borrowed and inserted into HERO games from other systems. If you go back an look at the original post, I'm only using a rules-lite game as an instructive tool, not as the end goal of this discussion.

 

So let me restate: if I can learn another roleplaying game in one evening, or learn and play it in one 4 hour game session at a convention, what can I take from that experience in order to simplify HERO enough to teach to beginners?

 

It's an interesting question and kinda what I was wondering about in the Sell me on Hero thread.

Because how much we need (and still keeping it Hero) is kinda about that, right?

 

Defining characteristics of Hero for me would be things like: Endless point-buy options based on the various Powers and....maybe hex-based combats with a lot of standard combat options?

 

3d roll low doesn't seem super Hero-y to me. Or particularly important to the system (I know other folks do not agree with this).

Point-based builds don't seem super Hero-y to me. In that there are plenty of other systems doing that.

 

Flexible character creation often seems like a red herring to me. In theory it's infinitely flexible but in practice, in actual games, it generally isn't, and often isn't relevant even then.

If we're playing Fantasy Hero and I wanna play a guy with a sword\Aragorn\generic warrior dude then I'm probs just gonna buy some very standard stuff and not try to talk the GM in to letting me have a Cosmic VPP (Only for Sword Tricks) and creating my own specialized intricate martial maneuvers or whatever.

 

So, particularly in terms of just teaching the mechanics of task and combat resolution, it would come down to Core Mechanic (3d roll low, not unique to Hero but the basis of learning the game and doing stuff in it) and probably all the default combat options (except I don't think those are particularly worth teaching right off the bat because new folks won't have a frame to relate the OCV\DCV stuff to).

 

Stun\Bod and Normal\Killing are pretty distinctly Hero as well. And often quite confusing for new folks. Probably worth time spending time on during teaching sessions but considering you can do away with Stun in Fantasy Hero maybe it's not the most Hero of Hero bits to include right off.

I mean why does damage need to be so crunchy, right? Can't we just PLAY already? ;)

 

I dunno, it's hard to answer because for me the crunch is a part of the appeal but also the crunch is what makes it hard and intimidating to new folks. The more crunch gets peeled off the more it's Hero Lite or something.

 

 

 

 

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9 hours ago, Brian Stanfield said:

Guys, this isn't a discussion about which edition is best. 

 

I totally got that.  It's the reason I prefaced my potentially digression-causing comments with a large "this isn't for digression" note. 

 

 

Quote

 

My question is edition-neutral. It doesn't matter which edition you're using, my question is still the same: how much can you simplify the rules (primarily for teaching purposes) without losing the game itself? 

 

I got that, too.   That's what I offered:  my own suggestion is drawn from what I actually do:  I use an edition that, given the built-in compatibility, is very much pared down: it's seventy-two bare-bones pages. 

 

Playing heroic non-fantasy makes it even smaller, though you can't completely eliminate the powers, as you need them to build equipment.  However, if the GM is prebuilding the equipment, then sure: pull out twenty pages of powers and pare it down to not much over fifty pages of bare-bones HERO system rules.   Pull out two pages of world building, and your almost dead on fifty pages.  

I like Basic and the Sidekicks for the same reason: bare bones, quick read, easy reference to thumb through during the learning process. 

 

 

You could write a custom document, but I never have (at least not yet) simply because I have lots of copies of seriously-pared-down HERO. 

 

Want go further, you pull out the miniatures rules as well, though I find that seeing the minis in place and interacting with them seems to help new players pick up combat a little faster.  That might just be my imagination, however. 

 

Again: I was simply answering the question of "how low can you go" with the example I have found works best for me.  :)

 

I genuinely wasnt trying to derail this into edition wars, simply because there too stinking many threads on that already. 

 

 

 

Quote

hat can I take from that experience in order to simplify HERO enough to teach to beginners?

 

 

Possibly Basic (pull out material as suggested above: and martial arts.  Pull that out.  "I hit him" and "I kick his friend" are sufficient at first), but I don't know if it's a four hours and play book: it's kind of a slog to read, as there is a lot of referencing backwards and forwards in it. 

 

The sidekicks are a bit much for that as well, being twice the size of a basic, but they are a bit easier to read. 

 

Or use an older, rules-lighter edition. 

 

Or write a custom document. 

 

I may have to get around to trying that (again). 

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1 hour ago, Duke Bushido said:

I genuinely want trying to derail this into edition wars, simply because there too stinking many threads on that already. 

No worries. I woke up a bit grumpy and found some posts in a couple of forums to be off point and less than helpful. Not yours so much, but it wasn’t a bad idea to perhaps restate my question in more concise form. I have a tendency to lose my point in the midst of rambling. :think:

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6 hours ago, Brian Stanfield said:

how much can you simplify the rules (primarily for teaching purposes) without losing the game itself?

 

I think there are two elements to this question when it comes to Hero;

 

How much can you simplify so someone can play a character they have in front of them? (i.e. the Con Game)

How much can you simplify character creation and world building?

 

Showing someone how skills work, how modifiers effect things, and how combat works is very different (in any game system) from showing them how to create a character or campaign.

 

For example, you could remove Combat Maneuvers from the system, and utilize a system of Combat Skill Levels only to simulate various shifts in how martial combat works in play. Most of the rest is flavor text. Even the free maneuvers and basic maneuvers, like Multi Attack could be drastically simplified to "take more than one attack action and you incur a -2 to every attack action per extra action taken" - this isn't even an uncommon aspect in gaming.

 

But, if you want to simplify the creation process, that isn't as easy - but I don't think it's out of reach.

 

Doing something like removing Endurance completely as both a stat and a consideration in character builds can greatly affect how someone approaches their build and the game.

 

Someone could do something like remove the Speed Chart, but keep Speed - as a number of dice you roll in the Initiative Phase; Body on the Dice = Actions per Turn. Going round robin until people start to run out of Actions to use, keeps DEX basically the same. Would this simplify things for new gamers? Maybe, it's not entirely foreign idea and prevents the standard back-and-forth most systems create.

 

Now, what any one of us might remove and still be what we consider a "Hero System Game" may vary quite a bit. But as I said before, as long as you keep the core tenant of separating Mechanics from Special Effects you can still capture the essence of what Hero is. Regardless of what other unique, and recognizable, elements the system has over others.

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By the way, is it just me, or does the 6e combat roll description seem completely bass ackwards? 

  • 11 + OCV - DCV = your target roll or under.  This seems intuitively obvious as long as you know what OCV and DCV mean. You roll the dice to see if you hit. Simple.
  • 11 + OCV - your dice roll = the DCV you can hit, or less, is exactly the same formula but I’ve found it’s almost impossible to explain to someone new to the system. You roll the dice to. . . do what? Take away from my OCV? Why do I want to do that? What is my target number I’m trying to hit?
  • Hell, I’m confusing myself just writing this out! I can write out the two formulae and show them to be equivalent, but one is clearly more intuitive than the other.
  • I can appreciate that the second version (the 6e version) doesn’t reveal the target’s DCV, and for advanced players it may be meaningful to hide the DCV. But in all reality, I don’t care if the players know the DCV because a clever player will figure it out in a couple of rolls anyway. In fact, I want new players to know the DCV so they can u detest and how the combat rolls work. 

Has has anyone come up with a better way to teach the combat rolls?

 

Also, have you come up with a good way to keep track of the OCV/DCV modifiers for maneuvers and such from phase to phase? New players forget the modifiers on their CVs after their phase. When they get attacked they forget to subtract their DCV, or halve it, or whatever. Or they forget they are on the ground after a fall or something, which modifies their CV. I had this idea of using a card with OCV and DCV printed on it, and use colored dice to remind them of the modifiers, but this might be a bit too fiddly. Any good hints on how to keep track of this?

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2 hours ago, Duke Bushido said:

You could write a custom document, but I never have (at least not yet) simply because I have lots of copies of seriously-pared-down HERO. 

I forgot to mention this: in my most recent group, I gave everyone a folder at the first game session which contains:

  • A pre-gen character that I built based on session zero and our group discussion of the characters they want to play.
  • The “HERO in two pages” document. It’s really a pretty concise summary of the game mechanics.
  • I also gave each player the introduction to the 6e HERO System Basic Rulebook that I printed out from the PDF. It’s a little more detailed than the 2-page document, but in 10 pages covers the character sheet and the game mechanics in a little more detail. If they feel adventurous, they can read this for more depth. They aren’t required to read this, but I encourage them to at least look it through. Ten pages, Duke! Beat that!

I also have a bunch of playing aids, mostly from the downloads section of hero games.com, and I laminated them all so that they can mark on them and stuff. Seriously, the laminator is a game changer for a GM!!! And it’s so cheap nowadays that it’s insane not to get one. I don’t own any stock in any laminator companies, but you should all go to Amazon right now and order one! 

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2 hours ago, TranquiloUno said:

It's an interesting question and kinda what I was wondering about in the Sell me on Hero thread.

Because how much we need (and still keeping it Hero) is kinda about that, right?

Yup, it's part of what got me thinking, and the other thread on what can be borrowed from other games. 

 

So the point buy system is what originally sold me on Champions, and then Fantasy HERO when it came out. It was the first time I'd ever seen anything like it. It may be old-school now, but I still have an affection for it. It still is a novel idea for my friends who only play D&D, which, with it's renaissance has brought a lot of new gamers into the fold who have never heard of something like HERO System. It's crunchy, as you say, but it's also what attracted me to it in the first place, so I won't cut that out. But I do give my new players pre-gens so they don't have to figure it all out right away. They'll be anxious to make their own characters soon enough.

 

The 3d6, roll under mechanic has always seemed a bit odd to me. We're all used to rolling high to succeed. Nat 20 is deep in the psyche of D&D players. But what I learned to love about the roll under mechanic is that higher target numbers are good, and modifiers are added to the target numbers, not the dice roll, so it is easy to understand what the target is, and what you need to roll under. I hate games that modify the die roll because it gets confusing (and maybe that's just something left over from the '80s; maybe nobody modifies the die roll anymore, but it at least used to be a thing, a very confusing thing). Anyway, once you get used to it, it makes a lot of sense. It's not uniquely HERO, but HERO was one of the innovators of the mechanic, so that stays too (at least for me).

 

HERO System Basic Rulebook for 6e gives a stripped down list of combat maneuvers, so it's simpler while still maintaining a lot of options to make it seem open-ended enough for new players to identify what they want to do. I'll introduce new maneuvers in eventually (Yes, @Duke Bushido, even martial arts maneuvers because my players are martial artists and it makes them feel like they're doing something cool [even if it's only an illusion: the maneuvers aren't really all that different from each other, but it makes them feel cool and let's face it, that's what really counts!]).

 

I can see why you'd say that the character creation is a bit of a red herring, if I understand your meaning. In reality, I spent a lot of time making characters for my players so they didn't have to figure stuff out just yet, but most of what I put on their sheets won't come into play very often. I love the idea of building anything you can imagine, but in game play this often doesn't look as varied as you'd think it would. They're all basically choosing from the same handful of maneuvers in a heroic campaign, so whether it's a knife, a bow, a sword, a gun, or a fist, it really all kinda resolves about the same. With no armor in a Pulp HERO campaign there's even less to figure out in terms of damage and hit locations. However, the character creation is where the players can really invest in their characters, and the process of building them, even if it's a bit over-emphasized in HERO, is still fun for them.

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On a podcast about animation, and working within it, there was a discussion about Learning Styles, and the differences. The example was starting talking about "The Animators Survival Kit"by Richard Williams,on how valuable it was as an animation reference, and text book.  But one of the two presenters then used that to jump off to extol the virtues of "The Illusion of Life" by the Senior Disney Animators, Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston. The other presenter acknowledges it was an important book, but could not get through it, and considered it a slog, and learned nothing, and then proceeded to exclaim the benefits of YouTube tutorials. The first presenter said that talking tutorials were in one ear, and out the other for him, and they surprised each other in how different their learning styles are. They mentioned a third style, but I forget at this time what it was.  People learn in different ways, and I think that needs to be taken into account."

 

In the times I taught people Hero, which admittedly were few, I would first go over the basics verbally, and then I would paperclip  Hints and References to the outside of my GM Screen. A Page for the night's speed chart (one the combat started),  a sheet with how to calculate what DCV you hit with your roll. I would also not conceal DCV's of the villains at first. I think having Laminated reference cards is a great idea, as well as having character sheets in sheet protectors, so you can mark the sheets the same way you can mark the hex mat. Miniatures are very important for new players to understand the spacial relationships and the context of their actions. 

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5 minutes ago, Scott Ruggels said:

On a podcast about animation, and working within it, there was a discussion about Learning Styles, and the differences.

That's a good reminder! Thanks for that.

 

On a different note, I literally just took a book off of my game shelf two minutes ago and found your illustrations in it! Teenagers from Outer Space, if you remember that far back. I was actually going for my copy of Toon after playing that at Origins last week, and TOS was right next to it so I flipped through it and your name popped right out at me! Totally crazy serendipity!

 

What else have you done?

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1 hour ago, Brian Stanfield said:

By the way, is it just me, or does the 6e combat roll description seem completely bass ackwards?

 

Yes. It's backwards, and kind of dumb.

 

I tell new players how to calculate their Attack Skill: 11 + OCV, write that down. This is your Attack Skill, everything else can be added afterwards if you like, or before if you like.

 

Example: OCV of 7 is an Attack Skill of 18-.

If you have are performing a Martial Maneuver that gives -1 OCV, and have three Skill Levels, and will apply two of them to attacking that's a +2 OCV; you can add them up, a net +1. And add it to your result. Your Attack Skill never changes, so if you roll a 10 you hit a 9 Or Less DCV (18-10+1 = 9); It's much simpler and they always have the same Attack Roll just written down like they do with their Skill List.

 

It's about an order of magnitude easier to describe the OCV/DCV/Attack Roll interaction as a Skill Challenge than it is with the presented formula in the book.

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34 minutes ago, Brian Stanfield said:

That's a good reminder! Thanks for that.

 

On a different note, I literally just took a book off of my game shelf two minutes ago and found your illustrations in it! Teenagers from Outer Space, if you remember that far back. I was actually going for my copy of Toon after playing that at Origins last week, and TOS was right next to it so I flipped through it and your name popped right out at me! Totally crazy serendipity!

 

What else have you done?

Where do I start. I have done art for R. Talsorian Games’ TFOS, Cyberpunk 2020 and it’s supplements;

Hero Games for Fantasy Hero, Danger International, and several Champions supplements(4e-5e); Tri-Tac System’s FTL 2448, Bureau 13, and various supplements; plus a few D20 supplements. Lots of game art in there but I also did comic book work for Antarctic Press, Radio Comix, and Graph-X-Press. 

 

Then I went into Video Game production.....

 

But I Digress. 

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53 minutes ago, Brian Stanfield said:

Yup, it's part of what got me thinking, and the other thread on what can be borrowed from other games. 

 

So the point buy system is what originally sold me on Champions, and then Fantasy HERO when it came out. It was the first time I'd ever seen anything like it. It may be old-school now, but I still have an affection for it. It still is a novel idea for my friends who only play D&D, which, with it's renaissance has brought a lot of new gamers into the fold who have never heard of something like HERO System. It's crunchy, as you say, but it's also what attracted me to it in the first place, so I won't cut that out. But I do give my new players pre-gens so they don't have to figure it all out right away. They'll be anxious to make their own characters soon enough.

 

 

This seems like the biggest dichotomy between "new" and "old" gamers. We like crunch and wanted to learn it. System mastery and rules exploits were more like points of pride. And the sheer joy of not being tied to a class\level or a clan or an OCC or whatever the heck else they liked to call them was huge.

New folks seem to be more of a, "rules get in the way", sort of bent, in addition to the narrative focus.

I feel more like Scott Ruggels, I think, the rules exist to give the various tactical (and other) scenarios structure and you're engaging (as players and as characters) with the scenario.

It's not that fighting\combat was the point of the game but more so that it wasn't looked at as a distraction from the "real" game (ie, the story).

 

That's my probably my bias talking though. ;)

 

Back on topic: Pregens are the main thing for teaching. I think. Just a nice clean and balanced example for folks to look at and start to decipher.

 

With the hope being that once they realize you can adjust, like, ALLLLLL of those bits on your sheet they'll get the Hero bug and want to dive right in.

 

 

53 minutes ago, Brian Stanfield said:



 

The 3d6, roll under mechanic has always seemed a bit odd to me. We're all used to rolling high to succeed. Nat 20 is deep in the psyche of D&D players. But what I learned to love about the roll under mechanic is that higher target numbers are good, and modifiers are added to the target numbers, not the dice roll, so it is easy to understand what the target is, and what you need to roll under. I hate games that modify the die roll because it gets confusing (and maybe that's just something left over from the '80s; maybe nobody modifies the die roll anymore, but it at least used to be a thing, a very confusing thing). Anyway, once you get used to it, it makes a lot of sense. It's not uniquely HERO, but HERO was one of the innovators of the mechanic, so that stays too (at least for me).

 

It certainly seems fine to me. Every game needs a core mechanic (probably) and 3d roll low is one, so...good enough.

 

 

53 minutes ago, Brian Stanfield said:

 



 

HERO System Basic Rulebook for 6e gives a stripped down list of combat maneuvers, so it's simpler while still maintaining a lot of options to make it seem open-ended enough for new players to identify what they want to do. I'll introduce new maneuvers in eventually (Yes, @Duke Bushido, even martial arts maneuvers because my players are martial artists and it makes them feel like they're doing something cool [even if it's only an illusion: the maneuvers aren't really all that different from each other, but it makes them feel cool and let's face it, that's what really counts!]). 

 

I can see why you'd say that the character creation is a bit of a red herring, if I understand your meaning. In reality, I spent a lot of time making characters for my players so they didn't have to figure stuff out just yet, but most of what I put on their sheets won't come into play very often. I love the idea of building anything you can imagine, but in game play this often doesn't look as varied as you'd think it would. They're all basically choosing from the same handful of maneuvers in a heroic campaign, so whether it's a knife, a bow, a sword, a gun, or a fist, it really all kinda resolves about the same. With no armor in a Pulp HERO campaign there's even less to figure out in terms of damage and hit locations. However, the character creation is where the players can really invest in their characters, and the process of building them, even if it's a bit over-emphasized in HERO, is still fun for them. 

 

Yes, mostly I feel the unlimited flexibility\build your own stuff gets presented up front as being good and valuable. And...it is.

But I think it's a distraction from learning the game part of the game and until you learn the game part of the game the character building stuff kinda exists in a vacuum.

What's Power Defense? Do I want it? Do I need it? Should I have it for this game?

Is this attack "good"? Is it "too powerful"?

All of that stuff is, I think, hard to grok for new folks because it's...well, Hero.

Good\bad\powerful are all relative.

But you can't really teach folks by saying, "it could be" and "it depends on the game\setting\scenario" over and over.

 

Pregens that are working balanced examples get around most of that. Which is why I suspect essentially every single thread I've seen about introducing folks to Hero suggests that, eh? ;)

 

Mostly I just mean I think players have a certain limited amount of attention span to give stuff and if most of that attention span is taken up by looking at an insanely overwhelming character creation\powers section until they give up then it'll be hard to get them to reenage on the system aspects.

 

Of course this is all generally speaking and IMO and all of that. Gamers are still gamers and do still like learning games and rules and playing them.

 

It's just funny to me that chargen (the point-build system mechanics) is the heart of Hero but when teaching folks the system I think it should be strongly deemphasized to prevent brainlock.

 

Pregens.

3d roll under.

Many default tactical options that aren't just the player trying to connive the GM in to giving them a situational bonus ;)

Probably Stun\Bod and Normal\Killing.

I'd say I'm in the Speed Chart = Hero camp as well.

 

Those all seem core Hero to me and are the elements that can be well separated from the chargen stuff.

 

And I think ghost-angel's point about Special Effects and Mechanics being separate is also true but I don't think it's....particularly playable as an aspect of the system. Like it's very central to Hero but also not really something you can teach as part of the system without getting a bit lost.

Maybe he's got examples and I'm missing something there tho.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Brian Stanfield said:

Also, have you come up with a good way to keep track of the OCV/DCV modifiers for maneuvers and such from phase to phase? New players forget the modifiers on their CVs after their phase. When they get attacked they forget to subtract their DCV, or halve it, or whatever. Or they forget they are on the ground after a fall or something, which modifies their CV. I had this idea of using a card with OCV and DCV printed on it, and use colored dice to remind them of the modifiers, but this might be a bit too fiddly. Any good hints on how to keep track of this?

 

1 hour ago, Brian Stanfield said:

I also have a bunch of playing aids, mostly from the downloads section of hero games.com, and I laminated them all so that they can mark on them and stuff. Seriously, the laminator is a game changer for a GM!!! And it’s so cheap nowadays that it’s insane not to get one. I don’t own any stock in any laminator companies, but you should all go to Amazon right now and order one! 

 

Tying these two thoughts together, what about a laminated card divided into halves by a line down the middle, with one half labeled "OCV" and the other half "DCV", and then each player could write down their current modifiers in the appropriate section?  When they reach their next phase and their modifiers change, they can erase and rewrite.  Eventually the players would (hopefully) get better at keeping this information in their heads and no longer need the card, but it might help out in the beginning.

 

That said, I have to ask: what sort of laminated playing aids have you put into use? (Inquiring minds want to know ;))

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2 hours ago, Brian Stanfield said:

By the way, is it just me, or does the 6e combat roll description seem completely bass ackwards? 

  • 11 + OCV - DCV = your target roll or under.  This seems intuitively obvious as long as you know what OCV and DCV mean. You roll the dice to see if you hit. Simple.
  • 11 + OCV - your dice roll = the DCV you can hit, or less, is exactly the same formula but I’ve found it’s almost impossible to explain to someone new to the system. You roll the dice to. . . do what? Take away from my OCV? Why do I want to do that? What is my target number I’m trying to hit?

 

 

This used to come up a lot when this board was busier-- at least as far back as BBB discussions on the old Red October board, and if often got heated as to which was the "best" way, and how one of them ensured that "you always roll high, and pattern recognition is a really important thing in teaching new players and young puppies and on and on.

 

Personally?

 

Well there's a quote in my tag line space at the the bottom.  It's been there for years, and is the only thing I have _ever_ quoted from the internet, and I think it sums it up with a simplicity that is almost elegant.  :D

 

 

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11 minutes ago, Duke Bushido said:

This used to come up a lot when this board was busier-- at least as far back as BBB discussions on the old Red October board, and if often got heated as to which was the "best" way, and how one of them ensured that "you always roll high, and pattern recognition is a really important thing in teaching new players and young puppies and on and on.

 

Personally?

 

Well there's a quote in my tag line space at the the bottom.  It's been there for years, and is the only thing I have _ever_ quoted from the internet, and I think it sums it up with a simplicity that is almost elegant.  :D

It's not like converting HERO to a roll-over system is hard. The only real risk is confusing experienced players or people who read the books and didn't get that your houserule is a houserule. 

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3 hours ago, Brian Stanfield said:

t in 10 pages covers the character sheet and the game mechanics in a little more detail. Ten pages, Duke! Beat that!

 

:rofl:  :rofl:   I don't think I can beat ten pages. :lol:     But I will ask you this:

 

Given nothing but those ten pages, can you learn to build a character and play the game? ;)

 

If we take the suggestion of pre-gen characters (which I'm a big fan of, and keep a few handy in case of new players.  My entire youth group started with pre-gens:  a dice-off to see who picks from the stack of (at that time) about eighteen characters, and eventually we had a team), will that ten pages teach them what they need to know to play the game?

 

If the answer to either of these (especially that first one!  :shock:  ) is "Yes," then I need to print out two or three copies myself!

 

Though I suspect I could safely bet against eating my graham cracker hat (really the best kind to wager with, just in case ;)  ) that it doesn't really teach them the game much more than HERO in Two Pages does.  In which case, I stand by my decision to use the older edition as the best primer. :lol:

 

As for Martial Arts-- like Scott, I tend to consider that almost as a different game: something you include to create a specific mood for a specific campaign or something.  I don't knock it-- seriously; I don't-- I just don't _use_ it because we realized years ago that it was literally little pre-builds for shuffling Skill Levels and extra damage dice around, but for points on each pre-made combination.  We simulate it quite fine with "regular" combat maneuvers, shifted skill levels, a couple added damage dice, and an occasional 'power requires skill roll' or Floating  sorry-- "Naked" advantage.

Sometimes we yell "HAI---YAAH" loudly in a shrill voice, just to make sure our opponents know it's martial arts and not pre-build skill level allocations.  The best part is that each of our (rare) martial artist has _dozens_ and _dozens_ of maneuvers at his disposal, since they are....   well, there's no way around it:  the mechanic is shuffling skill levels and and extra damage.  The _maneuver_ part?  It's just special effects.  Sometimes our "martial artist" will have lots of fun with it, yelling out a hundred different "maneuver" names in a night. :rofl:  As you say: it makes him feel like he's doing something special, and I endorse that.  My recommendation to gut it from "introductory rules" is based on the idea that it's one less thing to have to try to grasp right away, particularly as it's pretty easy to get the same effect using the rules you're interested in them picking up on quickly.  Rework the character later, if you want to.

 

 

 

3 hours ago, Brian Stanfield said:

I also have a bunch of playing aids, mostly from the downloads section of hero games.com, and I laminated them all so that they can mark on them and stuff Seriously, the laminator is a game changer for a GM!!! And it’s so cheap nowadays that it’s insane not to get one. I don’t own any stock in any laminator companies, but you should all go to Amazon right now and order one! 

I wanted to split that a bit more, but my return button's acting up again...   So here goes:  I suspect those playing aids (which I endorse, whole-heartedly) might have a lot to do with how much of the game a player can pick up "with just ten pages." ;)      As for the laminator:  Yes; you are absolutely right.  At my last job, they stopped letting me anywhere _near_ it. :lol:  Though I still have a passion for the old-school mostly-transparent ConTac paper from days of yore....

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29 minutes ago, Gnome BODY (important!) said:

It's not like converting HERO to a roll-over system is hard. The only real risk is confusing experienced players or people who read the books and didn't get that your houserule is a houserule. 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              No; I agree: it's not hard.  It's not one bit harder than understanding a roll-under system.  It was the "it's necessary" and "it's more appropriate" arguments that were driving me ( and many others) nuts.

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7 hours ago, Duke Bushido said:

Playing heroic non-fantasy makes it even smaller, though you can't completely eliminate the powers, as you need them to build equipment.

 

I'd quibble with this a bit.  Danger International doesn't touch on the powers at all; it explains what Killing and Normal damage are, and gives lists of weapons, just not in terms of the "Killing Attack (Ranged)" or "Energy Blast" Powers.  You don't need any kind of Enhanced Senses to explain how a radio or night-vision goggles work; drugs and poisons are explained in terms of damaging Characteristics other than Body and Stun.  And so on.  

 

DI, along with Justice Inc. and Robot Warriors, includes two pages or so of "gadget rules" which talk about using the Champions Power build rules to build gadgetry, but those are by no means mandatory.  And I was never in any group that used them.  

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21 minutes ago, Chris Goodwin said:

 

I'd quibble with this a bit.  Danger International doesn't touch on the powers at all; it explains what Killing and Normal damage are, and gives lists of weapons,

 

 

I accept your quibble, and do not argue with it.  I would, in fact, use it to support the "GM builds the equipment" comment I mentioned above:  at some point, someone built those weapons in HERO terms.  Now I'm not saying that they priced them all out with active and real points and focus rules, or anything else, but they were built in this case by a faceless GM.  Most likely Steve Peterson, when he created those weapons for the Champions example weapons chart.

 

So I _think_  (seriously: can't ever be sure; but I _think_) we're in agreement that you can pull out the Powers section as well, so long as the GM is familiar enough with it to build any new gadgets not already given in the material at hand (or who's comfortable enough with the system to simply say "this does that" and know that he's within the parameters of his game, of course).

 

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4 hours ago, Scott Ruggels said:

Where do I start. I have done art for R. Talsorian Games’ TFOS, Cyberpunk 2020 and it’s supplements;

Hero Games for Fantasy Hero, Danger International, and several Champions supplements(4e-5e); Tri-Tac System’s FTL 2448, Bureau 13, and various supplements; plus a few D20 supplements. Lots of game art in there but I also did comic book work for Antarctic Press, Radio Comix, and Graph-X-Press. 

 

Then I went into Video Game production.....

 

But I Digress. 

You know what’s funny? I have a really good friend that I’ve known for many years, and he teaches art at the college where I teach. I’ve always loved his work, and when I was toying with the idea of doing a Fantasy HERO Lite booklet a couple years ago I asked him if he could do a few illustrations to fill the white spaces. He said sure, no problem, he’s done a lot of odd jobs for a lot of game companies. 

 

Huh? I didn’t realize that! Which ones? It turns out he did a lot of work for TSR and Wizards of the Coast, including D&D, and more importantly he did some of the earliest Magic: the Gathering cards! He still gets flown all over the world to do card signings! How did I know this guy for almost twenty years and never know this?!

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4 hours ago, Scott Ruggels said:

Where do I start. I have done art for R. Talsorian Games’ TFOS, Cyberpunk 2020 and it’s supplements;

Hero Games for Fantasy Hero, Danger International, and several Champions supplements(4e-5e); Tri-Tac System’s FTL 2448, Bureau 13, and various supplements; plus a few D20 supplements. Lots of game art in there but I also did comic book work for Antarctic Press, Radio Comix, and Graph-X-Press. 

 

Then I went into Video Game production.....

 

But I Digress. 

And one more thing: I don’t even have to look at the Cyberpunk books to know which illustrations you did. I can already tell just by looking at the Teenagers from Outer Space book. You know, there are a couple of illustrations in those books that I’ve always had in the back of my mind, but could never remember where they cam from! Great stuff! They really stuck with me. 

 

This is convinces me even more why HERO needs to put out superior art with its publications, because it really does affect the way we remember the books and how we engage them aesthetically.

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