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


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On 6/20/2019 at 3:30 PM, RDU Neil said:

As you noted, this has been discussed many times before in many different ways. I certainly have strong opinions on this. There are certain old school RPG expectations built into HERO that do not work with most modern gaming expectations.  That said, keeping this to strictly "Actual play" examples:

 

  1. Got rid of the Speed Chart and went to an initiative system... works amazingly well and I'd never go back. It removes a lot of the 'turn based war gaming' aspect, removes a level of high SPD character abuse, and generally works to keep all players "leaning in" to the game instead of tuning out when it isn't their phase.
  2. Got rid of END. Flat out, just ignored it and removed the old school, resource management through bookkeeping nightmare. It wasn't missed at all, until we wanted to play around with pushing rules and found a new use for it, but this was an advanced modification, and not something needed for basic play.
  3. Implemented a bennie system, called "Luck Chits" that changed Luck as written to be a "director stance resource" that players bought on the characters that would provide narrative control and ability to re-roll, take defensive actions, do power stunts, etc. in the hands of players. Fundamentally transformed the game and probably the most important development in making "actual play' more dramatic, fun, thematically consistent, narratively whole and just avoid the 'ugh' moments that random dice can generate.
  4. Implemented structured play group dynamics around character creation. No more individual players bringing their pet creation and trying to shoe-horn it into a game, let alone then trying to make any kind of team out of those characters. Now, every character from concept through build is vetted by the play group, and built with a shared history... often using a shared story telling session to build that shared history... before the actual play begins, or as part of the very first actual play session.

I'd say those four are the big ones in terms of changes, though there are a lot of details in the subsequent downstream effects of these.

Also, these changes were made in the context of actually keeping the core HERO functionality... using Stats and Powers and Costs as listed... just sometimes re-interpreting them. 

 

Core things that I feel really do define HERO in actual play...

  1. Paying attention to Active Points being used in any particular action, in increments of 5 for 1d6. So many quick rulings can be made if you just keep this in mind.
  2. The 3d6 Bell Curve for task resolution (simply the best mechanic ever) and the "rolling under" for success. This provides such a stable and flexible way to resolve just about anything, and to reflect levels of expertise a PC may have.
  3. OCV vs. DCV and all the combat maneuvers that drive the most unique, visceral, fun and interesting combats.
  4. Killing vs. Normal damage and resistant vs. normal defenses. (EDIT: Oh... and Stun vs. Body of course) Combat can become very nuanced with slight shifts on these axis. 

What I do realize, and this frustrates me, is that #3 and 4 are both crunchy, and counter to my general desire to simplify character build and speed up play. I was joking with my old friends at Origins that I'm 75% in the camp of "give me Nar mechanics that just help guide shared story telling!" but this conflicts with the 25% of me that wants the complex interplay of a great HERO martial arts fight that no other game can do.

 

This conflict drives me!

 

I know I am not far into the thread, but wanted to comment here that we match on 2 and disagree on 1 and partly disagree on 1. It does not feel like Hero at all to me if you get rid of the Speed Chart, especially in higher end FH or over 250 pt Champions. And while I agree that the 3d6 bell curve is the bomb, I don't find "rolling under" to necessary for the system. I use roll over for folks with a background in d20 systems since it is more familiar. The results are the same, you just subtract from 21 and roll over that instead.

 

 

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I finally got through all the posts in the thread. I will say that for people coming from roll 20 I flip the attack rolls as well as skill rolls. To them, OCV is just another number they add to their roll to see if they hit. The target number is 10+ DCV-OCV. In the roll under method we have two people with 4 OCV / 4 DVC. The roll target is 11-, with offensive skill levels increasing the number you need to roll under. In roll over it is 10+, with any skill levels just adding directly to your roll, like most players are used to.

 

I know there are people that are out there saying "How hard is this??? Roll low for hits, high for damage!", but why? If it is easier for players, it can work either way. And I find that my players prefer to have higher rolls be good no matter what they are doing. It just intrinsically makes more sense to most people, more money = better, higher rolls = better, etc. Any system that flips that model tends to confuse people (Hero is definitely not the only example here, take a look at AWG for another big one). 

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8 hours ago, eepjr24 said:

I know there are people that are out there saying "How hard is this??? Roll low for hits, high for damage!", but why? If it is easier for players, it can work either way. And I find that my players prefer to have higher rolls be good no matter what they are doing. It just intrinsically makes more sense to most people, more money = better, higher rolls = better, etc. Any system that flips that model tends to confuse people (Hero is definitely not the only example here, take a look at AWG for another big one). 

 

I appreciate the concepts you laid out, and I guess I would answer that with: because rolling low to hit (and success on all other skill rolls) and high for damage is the core mechanic of the game.  I mentioned before that Hero isn't really a starter game; rather, it is more of an intermediate skill level game, in my opinion.  Something a player graduates to.  However, RPG players are generally smarter (and/or more intuitive) than the average bear, so I don't think it would take long for new players to understand what to do, which may drive them to understand mathematically why it's being done that way. 

 

However if we desire an intrinsic real world explanation outside of it being the rules, I offer this.  A roll is basically a valuation of the external elements that could hinder the action.  A marksman likes to remove as much error as possible by manually correcting their shot for wind speed, temperature, darkness/light, speed of the target, and other factors; while a diplomat would like to ensure they are dressed appropriately, the interpreters understand the nuance of the languages and culture being used, the meeting place is correct, and the delegations are left in peace during negotiations.  Rolling low means they've managed to minimize these small factors and are instead relying on their skill and experience.  However, rolling high means something occurred that negatively impacted the shot or action (or the fates just didn't want the person to succeed).  Thus, rolling low means fewer unanticipated outside forces are in play; while rolling high means there was more background noise.  Put in another way, a low roll means fewer bad things impact the roll, and a high roll means more bad things effect the shot, skill check, etc. 

 

Now, rolling high on damage is just fun and makes intrinsic sense, as real world damage is inflicted through lots of energy.

 

This is just my point of view on it, and I appreciate the changes you've made to make the game more accessible to people who might not wish to change their habits to try a new system. :)

 

 - Chris

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7 hours ago, greysword said:

 

I appreciate the concepts you laid out, and I guess I would answer that with: because rolling low to hit (and success on all other skill rolls) and high for damage is the core mechanic of the game. 

That's the only thing in your comments that I disagree with (and disagreement is fine, it hopefully engenders careful thought). 😃 To me, a core mechanic is something that if you took it away, the outcomes in the game would change. If you remove the speed chart, if you get rid of defenses split into avoiding the hit and absorbing the damage, those are core mechanics. Counting the dice in a different manner that results in the same outcome.... not so much.

 

- E

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3 hours ago, eepjr24 said:

That's the only thing in your comments that I disagree with (and disagreement is fine, it hopefully engenders careful thought). 😃 To me, a core mechanic is something that if you took it away, the outcomes in the game would change. If you remove the speed chart, if you get rid of defenses split into avoiding the hit and absorbing the damage, those are core mechanics. Counting the dice in a different manner that results in the same outcome.... not so much.

 

- E

 

I can certainly agree with this definition.  The reason I thought of this as considered a core mechanic was due to the Success Rolls subsection under the Rolling Dice section of the Core Concepts chapter in Champions Complete (pg.8):

 

image.png.c3019dac8988f3296274a3b7167584a0.png

image.png.90e38276c0a3c7d8e6975950dee48bff.png

 

However, I agree that something that changes the game significantly if it is removed can be considered a true core mechanic of the system.

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Thats one paragraph I would absolutely change if given the chance. Roll High or Low, Success Rolls should describe "trying to reach a target success level" - All actions should have a difficulty level, which is a much more common mechanic in games than "just rolling under this number is a success". That way you don't have to describe attack rolls as "a special kind of success" - DCV just becomes a target number. Hero confuses itself by trying to be special.

 

Just about everyone can grok "I need X Number of Successes to accomplish the task" regardless of which direction you're counting.

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On 6/22/2019 at 1:12 AM, greysword said:

 🙂

No: I'm not quitinh; I'm having phone issues.  Sorry about that, Chris. 

 

To the question:

 

Let me preface this with this:

 

This is a serious question, based on my own experience.  I don't want anyone to think I'm being funny here.  That said:

 

Are you folks out there really running in to people who can't wrap their heads around the to-hit mechanic?   I admit that three of my groups have been play g for years (though I don't recall any of them having had any questions about it), but my newest group- the youth group--are essentially _children_ what with the eldest two being fourteen, but none of them have so much as batted an eye at "OCV minus DCV.  Add eleven, and roll that or less.  It's like any other skill check, except the targets have individual personal modifiers." 

 

Given the amount of discussion this subject has been given (how hard it is to grasp this mechanic) versus my own experience with teaching it, I really am wondering if I've been the luckiest man alive or if we're just refusing to give D&D players credit for basic comprehension abilities. 

 

So seriously: has teaching this mechanic proven to exceptionally difficult for you guys, or are we discussing potentials? 

 

Thanks for any answers to my curiosity. 

 

 

 

Duke

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1 hour ago, Duke Bushido said:

So seriously: has teaching this mechanic proven to exceptionally difficult for you guys, or are we discussing potentials? 

 

In my experience, the only people I've seen have actual trouble with the Hero To Hit Mechanic are 1) old Hero gamers complaining about it and 2) old gamers in general who are still thinking in terms of their favorite RPG instead of the new one they're learning.

 

Now, one thing I do run into a lot is gamers who announce what they Rolled instead of doing the math (for any roll, Attack, Skill or Characteristic Roll); and almost every time they were in a group where the GM or someone else at the table always just "Did the math for them immediately" and they simply got complacent, rather than unable to do the equations.

 

 

My personal experience is rolling larger numbers of dice for damage (in any system) is the more daunting task, I will show players how to group things in 5s, 10s, and 15s and then adding those piles up - after that it's not an issue.

 

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From experience:  In my D&D group, I've had new gamers over and over ask "What do I roll again?"  Same question with those same gamers in Champions.  

 

Experienced players are used to the answer to that being something like "Roll to hit," or "Roll Perception," or some other game mechanic, when what they're asking is, what dice do you want me to roll?  

 

Not really sure what the best way around that is, except to say something like "You're rolling to hit.  Roll 3d6, then compare that to your OCV + 11...." or "Roll 1d20, add your Arcana skill, and did you roll a 13 or higher".  

 

Further experience: two of the D&D players played in my Danger International run at GameStorm, and they both told me they were starting to get it with Hero; one of them played in a Champions game the previous evening, where I was also a player.  I can't say whether that was from repeated exposure or something else, but between the two of them that was 3-4 sessions of Hero each.  I think they both still struggle a bit with D&D, and given the amount of time it's been since GameStorm they probably would similarly struggle again with Hero, but maybe... not as much?  

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2 hours ago, Duke Bushido said:

No: I'm not quitinh; I'm having phone issues.  Sorry about that, Chris. 

 

To the question:

 

Let me preface this with this:

 

This is a serious question, based on my own experience.  I don't want anyone to think I'm being funny here.  That said:

 

Are you folks out there really running in to people who can't wrap their heads around the to-hit mechanic?   I admit that three of my groups have been play g for years (though I don't recall any of them having had any questions about it), but my newest group- the youth group--are essentially _children_ what with the eldest two being fourteen, but none of them have so much as batted an eye at "OCV minus DCV.  Add eleven, and roll that or less.  It's like any other skill check, except the targets have individual personal modifiers." 

 

Given the amount of discussion this subject has been given (how hard it is to grasp this mechanic) versus my own experience with teaching it, I really am wondering if I've been the luckiest man alive or if we're just refusing to give D&D players credit for basic comprehension abilities. 

 

So seriously: has teaching this mechanic proven to exceptionally difficult for you guys, or are we discussing potentials? 

 

Thanks for any answers to my curiosity. 

 

 

 

Duke

 

This has been a serious enough issue with a significant enough sub-section of player, so yes, this is real in my experience. Watching eyes glaze over as you start to say "Add this and then subtract this" is a thing. As ghost-angel noted, many are just fine with the concept "low to hit, high for damage" and just will say, "I rolled X" and look to the GM or table to explain if that was "low enough" but they don't care about why, nor do they want to do any calculations. Now, if the players are the type to want to learn rules because they tend to seek system mastery and want to make "good decisions" because they understand the rules... then really, I've never seen any of those people have a problem with it. The issue is that many I game with do not think like this. They would likely prefer a very rules light session of storytelling... they are more into the story, not the game... in fact some actively dislike the "game" aspect of it, but are intuitively really, really GOOD at role playing. (My wife is one of these.) 

 

In some ways, I really like gaming with these types. They make decisions based on the story and their characters personality and the situation, not based on what abilities or damage classes they can deal, or what maneuvers are optimized for the situation, or whatever. Some players like this can even be really solid tacticians, just good at making quick, intelligent interpretations of the scenario and having cool, logical ideas to address the situation... but not based on game mechanics at all. 

 

Mostly I've just learned to quickly interpret their descriptions into the most advantageous HERO terms, and say something like, "Ok, that sounds like an acrobatic roll to setup a better shot at their back... roll X... then roll Y... cool... here's what happens" and go with it.

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34 minutes ago, ScottishFox said:

Mostly my players struggle with the OCV/DCV modifiers on individual maneuvers and forgetting to assign their skill levels.

 

Heck... this happens to all of us some times, even after decades of playing. I find that just reminding people, "Are you using maneuvers to hit better or harder or to be more defensive?" and let them make that decision, while they understand that they give up something in one area to gain in another. That keeps the game flowing more quickly, rather than getting bogged down in exactly how many levels go where, etc. Some people can make that decisions really quickly. Many people can't. Either way, I also try to avoid punishing people for a decision, as it was "You chose the wrong maneuver! Now you are going to pay for it!" Try to assume they make the best decision, and whatever it is, make the result dramatic and interesting. 

 

THAT is something I blame D&D for, big time. The fact of players being conditioned to have made "wrong" decisions in character construction or playmat combat positioning or whatever. That kind of gamist play, where it really boils down to certain players trying to show off that they are "better" and have more mastery or know the lore better or whatever... I find it utter bullshit. I do realize that it fits a certain player profile, but I've long since moved away from playing with those people. 

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17 hours ago, Duke Bushido said:

Thanks, guys. 

 

So I guess I have been strangely lucky. 

 

About time for it, I suppose. :lol:

 

 

The issue came up from actual play experiences I've had, both in my own group and at Origins a few weeks ago. The old method of calculating the roll works great, and I'm sure it's the method you use: 11 + your OCV - their DCV = the roll you need. It makes sense. My offense minus their defense. Cool, got it.

 

The problems I've seen come from the way 6e has reworded the formula. I guess they decided that players shouldn't know the DCV of their opponent (which makes sense), so they reworded it this way: 11 + your OCV - your roll = the DCV you can hit. It's the same formula, worked on both sides to isolate the DCV, and every experienced player can understand why this may be a good way to look at it. But it's so oddly presented for someone whose never encountered the rules before! As if they were intentionally writing the weirdest rule possible, to make as little sense as possible. Every other way of describing it in this thread makes more sense, even the roll over versions, than what is presented as the proper method in the 6e rules. 

 

So, the real luck for you, Duke, is that you chose to stay with the 3e rules. And I know that's not luck. :winkgrin:

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The thing about the 11+OCV-DCV is it requires information on your character sheet. Writing down (11+OCV)- Roll means you only need information on your character sheet; And you don't have to do math every attack, it just becomes a singe roll which creates a target number.

 

Also - not a 6th Edition thing, been around since 5th and taught to (many) Hero Gamers since 4th.

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2 hours ago, ghost-angel said:

Also - not a 6th Edition thing, been around since 5th and taught to (many) Hero Gamers since 4th.

 

 

Yes.  And I _think_ there was an Adventurers Club article mentioning it during 3e.  Brian is likely referring to 6e "officializing" it by putting it in the rules book.  And if you're assigning skill levels or re-assinging them, you're still doing math.  It doesn't really solve any problems, except for the theoretical problems of not wanting you players to know the NPCs DCV, and even then, you'd have to have a group of players who don't notice that they hit when they roll eight or higher, but don't hit on seven or lower....

 

 

2 hours ago, Brian Stanfield said:

 

So, the real luck for you, Duke, is that you chose to stay with the 3e rules. And I know that's not luck. :winkgrin:

 

2e.  I stayed with 2e. ;)

 

Yeah, I've cribbed a few things here and there from the later editions, but mostly I play 2e (except for Fantasy HERO, which is straight up 3e).

2e.jpg

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I plan on writing up the Player's Guide for my fantasy campaign setting as simple and direct as possible stripped down to the minimum.  Then I want to put the guts of the game with the more complicated stuff in the Master Guide for the GM to use, and this is the kind of thing I've been studying on, to try to think of what is the least a player really need to know.

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8 hours ago, Duke Bushido said:

 

 

Yes.  And I _think_ there was an Adventurers Club article mentioning it during 3e.  Brian is likely referring to 6e "officializing" it by putting it in the rules book.  And if you're assigning skill levels or re-assinging them, you're still doing math.  It doesn't really solve any problems, except for the theoretical problems of not wanting you players to know the NPCs DCV, and even then, you'd have to have a group of players who don't notice that they hit when they roll eight or higher, but don't hit on seven or lower....

 

 

 

2e.  I stayed with 2e. ;)

 

Yeah, I've cribbed a few things here and there from the later editions, but mostly I play 2e (except for Fantasy HERO, which is straight up 3e).

2e.jpg

 

Are those all boxed sets?! Wow!

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1 hour ago, Brian Stanfield said:

 

Are those all boxed sets?! Wow!

 

 

Not the two loose books, but the boxes, yes.  (ignore the terry cloth tablecloth:  It's a sound-absorbing table cloth I made from two layers of bath sheets: the wife works nights, and dice-on-wood is not the easiest thing to sleep through. ;)    Unexpected bonus:  it greatly reduced the concerns over spilled coffee ruining character sheets and game books!).

 

In total, I have at last count 9 boxed sets and six loose rules books: those not pictured are at other locations, either borrowed or just staying there so I don't have to carry them back and forth.  Any time I find a boxed set for twenty bucks or under, I pick it up.  I'll pick up a loose rules book for up to ten bucks.  It might seem extravagant, seeing as how I've got a _beautiful_ scan of that book, but.....

 

The law says I can make one digital copy for every book I own.  I made copies of the scan (a total equal to the books I own, and no more: it might sound incredibly anal, but think about guys like Christopher above: he worked his butt off to put his product together.  Is it just and right that ten thousand people should get it for free?)  to loan out, but stopped doing that when one of my players let me know he found one of my scans on a pirate site.  :(  I recalled the scans as best I could, and now only loan out the books.

 

I had thought about making physical back-ups (also legal, but only one per) using my scan as the pattern, but the price of having new ones printed and shipped to me-- well, it's around ten bucks a copy.  Easier just to pick them up when I run across them.

 

And Brian:  Only two of those boxes still have the original dice, so they're not all complete.    :lol:

 

Oh: almost forgot!  One was a bootleg (box and all!) I picked up as "new in box!" from -- -well, let's say a famous and reputable online vendor of out-of-print game material.  I'm not trying to call them out because I think they were suckered, too.  It was one of the greyscale covers (easiest to bootleg) and was created from a _beautiful_ scan or a new PDF someone put a lot of work into.  At any rate, the give away was that none of the originals were printed in _TONER_!  :rofl:   The map was on white stock, and the dice were casino size.  :lol:    The Viper's Nest scenario was on too-high-quality paper, and the catalogue insert was from the wrong year (though it even included the marketing card; nice touch, that. But it wasn't on card stock: it was on regular paper).

 

The vendor was great: I called to tell them they were suckered.  They offered my a return UPS slip and a refund, on the spot.  I declined, simply because my kids didn't know it was bootleg (I bought it for them, to show them how exciting opening a new game was ;)  Yeah, I'm a sap like that....).  I told them that I simply wanted to make them aware of the problem (wrong plastic, too: the original wrappers way back when were hard and crunchy and tore so easily you might tear it on accident, like cellophane: this was modern vinyl shrink-wrap).  Ten minutes later, I got an e-mail with a gift certificate for the entire purchase and shipping price (which was, I admit, stupidly high-- but it was "never been opened, still in original wrapper," so I bought it (yes: knowing I was going to open it, but I'd likely never have another chance to open a "new" boxed set of Champions with my kids, right?)  with a message apologizing for the situation, telling me to return or keep the item as I saw fit.  (I kept it).

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