Jump to content
jdrakeh

Best 4e books? Alternately, best 5e books for use w/ 4e?

Recommended Posts

As I've mentioned previously, I've come into a lot of Hero 4e books (and one 5e book). Currently I own, or am awaiting the arrival of:

 

Hero 4e core (×2)

Cyber Hero

Fantasy Hero 

Fantasy Hero Companion

Fantasy Hero Companion II

Hero System Bestiary

Horror Hero

Ninja Hero

Pulp Hero

 

What other 4e books or 5e books are must haves? I'm considering picking up Star Hero for the sake of being complete (it's my least favorite genre book, really) and, possibly, Tuala Morn. What else should I take a look at?

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dark Champions (5E) is great for modern action films.  If you want the work done for you then the Grimoires (5E) and Equipment Guide (5E) are very handy.  For 4E stuff, Western Hero is a personal favourite of mine.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, Ryhope Wood said:

Dark Champions (5E) is great for modern action films.  If you want the work done for you then the Grimoires (5E) and Equipment Guide (5E) are very handy.  For 4E stuff, Western Hero is a personal favourite of mine.

Thank you for the suggestions! I think I may even have a source for Western Hero locally!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's in Jason's hands right now.  He said he plans to release it in the HERO store and-- was it Drive Thru?  One other site.  I can check my e-mail and get back to you.   But no; I'm not sure when.  I know he dropped a hit that he was currently working on something else, so it's possible he got busy and didn't put Western up right away.

 

Personally, I'm a bit anxious to buy an official copy. :)

 

    For what it's worth, he might not want to release it as it is and may be tinkering with it.  I included the covers as separate bits, but I did _not_ put the covers onto the bulk of the "book."  I didn't want to create load time annoyances for folks using phones and cheap tablets at the gaming table. ;)    They will _have_ the covers, but they won't have to wade through the covers just to look something up in the book.    It's possible Jason didn't like that and is doing further work to the files; I really don't know.   :(

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As I've been asked to hold off on the Adventurers Club project, 

 

I think my next project is going to be to tear down and scan an _actual_ 1e Enemies book.  The one in the store is a 2e book in a 1e wrapper.   Then maybe a 1e Champions rules book.  That one won't take much: the one in the store is great (I could use that scan to print a book in better condition than my copy of 1e  :lol:   ), but it's got 2e character sheets in it.  :/

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, jdrakeh said:

As I've mentioned previously, I've come into a lot of Hero 4e books (and one 5e book). Currently I own, or am awaiting the arrival of:

 

Hero 4e core (×2)

Cyber Hero

Fantasy Hero 

Fantasy Hero Companion

Fantasy Hero Companion II

Hero System Bestiary

Horror Hero

Ninja Hero

Pulp Hero

 

Excellent haul! :D  I'm quite excited for you.

 

I also have to level with you:  Cyber HERO is-- if you're a fan of the genre during the era in which it was written-- kind of a disappointment.  It always felt like there was a _lot_ left behind on the author's notepads somewhere.  :(   I can't validate this, but I have heard a couple of times that there was a proposed "Companion" to expand the material, but it never happened owing to the unfortunate death of the  / one of the authors.  :(

 

But if you _are_ a fan of the genre, I'm going to recommend a Hero Plus book to you:  Kazei 5.  You really have to wear your anime-filtering glasses when you read it, and (wow, this is probably going to be unpopular) I never felt it was strong enough to stand on it's own (the 6e version is about number 30 in my "read next" line, and may or may not be better; I don't know), but if you can filter out the cat girls / Japanophile stuff, it really is a _solid_ companion to Cyber HERO.

 

Let me clarify:  this isn't just a fan work or some little nothing like I might stamp out!  The author (Surbrook) is a professional game book writer and an _excellent_ researcher.  He just has a large "Asia is the bestest" steak that comes to light in his Asia-centric works.  It's not glaring (i'm not calling him a weaboo or anything like that; we're all fans of something, after all.  My own "bestest" is adjectives.  Adjectives are the bestest!  :lol: ).  At any rate, it's a solid work, and feels right at home blended into Cyber HERO.  Another recommended source is the original Talisorian games (before the re-named rerelease) CyberPunk 2013.  The second edition was re-named CyberPunk 2020 (same rules, really), and while it delved a bit deeper into play and the environment, it chose to use the artwork from the European release of 2013, and it really lost a _lot_ of the feel of American CyberPunk in doing so.  :(  I don't know much about European CyberPunk (Japanese CyberPunk, excellently mastered in the horribly-managed 80s cartoon series "Bubblegum Crisis," is very much like American CyberPunk, only without the social pretense of "upbeat enthusiasm" and a bit less "quiet desperation," and a crap load more actual robots.  Can't recommend the 80s series (at least, what actually made it into the public) enough.  The 90s (early Oughts?) remake was lovingly done by someone who really liked the original, but it really misses the mark on "feel."  I'm guessing it was done by someone who didn't actually remember the 80s.

 

That being said, there used to be a _wealth_ of websites for fans of CyberHERO (back during the days of web rings and the Circle of Heroes), some of which _may_ survive in some form today (the ones I've looked for are either dead or Facebook pages).  The Wayback Machine is your friend. ;)

 

 

 

 

Quote

What other 4e books or 5e books are must haves? I'm considering picking up Star Hero for the sake of being complete (it's my least favorite genre book, really) and, possibly, Tuala Morn.

 

Personally, I think Tuala Morn is awesome, and is hands-down one of the best things to come out of 5e.  I know that Turakian Age features an awesome campaign setting and lots of political intrigue and a well-understood and known world, and Tuala Morn doesn't, and honestly, that's why I like Tuala Morn better.   I didn't build a rope-climbing, axe-swinging, scroll-wielding, wilderness survivor keen to find the stolen sacred statuettes that ensure the prosperity of his village through bountiful harvests for a thousand years to come for him to instead just go sit in the Senate and listen to debates about the situation between the Republic and the Trade Federation.

 

Now to give Steve his due, _unlike_ Lucas, Steve's writing demonstrates that he most definitely _does_ know how a government works; he knows how more than one government works, and he knows how to add some fictionalized bits to replace the more boring realistic bits:  Turakian Age _ain't_ a bad thing.  I just like Tuala Morn much, much more.

 

 

Oh: and while it's my second-favorite sourcebook (right after Western HERO), in the interest of honesty I have to point out that Star HERO was a 3e book.  It borrowed heavily from Robot Warriors, modified into equipment and vehicle creation.  I didn't care a lot for that aspect of it, but it worked.  It also had the advantage of being a 3e book: it was the last complete playable stand-alone game under the HERO banner.  (Man, I wish Super Agents had gotten that touch!).  I don't say that to give you a history lesson, but to point out that there's not a _lot_ of advice on running the genre or building a universe.  Instead, there are rules on running that game and it gives you a universe.  Keep that in mind.  Still, I've had lots of fun with it.  :D

 

 

 

Quote

What else should I take a look at?

 

Depends on the sorts of adventures you'd like to run.  Given the core of roleplaying gamers are into Fantasy, definitely FH, and honestly, I'd recommend all three editions 3-5.  I haven't read (in spite of owning) FH 6e yet, as too many people have told me it wasn't different enough from 5e to bother with, but I am sort of a completionist in that regard, and I'll get to it anyway.  :lol:   Eventually.

 

For Pulp, Fantasy, or Sci-Fi, I really suggest an old 3e book called "Lands of Mystery."  While it actually is an adventure and actually presents a world, there's also a lot of nice advice for creating a world in which to adventure.  It's from a "game play" point of view as opposed to a science point of view, so the focus is on keeping things enjoyable, physics be damned, and it's a quick read.  I haven't read the 5e Hidden Lands yet (#2 on my list), but I'm hoping it's an expansion of this work.

 

At any rate, I'd recommend all the genre books from 5e, same as I do from 4e.  _However_, they are written for the most part by Steve.  There is _nothing_ wrong with that, as the man does some fantastic research, and he can crank out some words.  

 

Which actually leads to the problem....  In his enthusiasm to provide you with _all_ the knowledge and _all_ the options, these massive books also put a lot of work on _you_, as he makes no preferences, and instead leaves you with a couple hundred options.  Putting them together into something cohesive?  That's on _you_, Buddy.  Still, the information is fun to read, and nice to have.

 

I also recommend the GURPS 3e and 4e genre books, as they tend to be high-water marks in the industry.

 

 

After that, I'd suggest the Ultimates books, all of them.  They have the same problem as the 5e genre books, though:  you are presented so many ways to do so many things that ultimately, you may end up more perplexed than before you started.  But let me tell you, they _do_ bring out the inspiration!

 

 

 

9 hours ago, Ryhope Wood said:

Dark Champions (5E) is great for modern action films.  If you want the work done for you then the Grimoires (5E) and Equipment Guide (5E) are very handy.  For 4E stuff, Western Hero is a personal favourite of mine.

 

If you have the 5e rules, you really don't need Dark Champions.  The 5e rules are rather like all the ideas of Dark Champions leaked out and stained the core rule book.  Stained lovingly, if you must, because I don't intend that to be insulting in any way.  I didn't like Dark Champions for a lot of reasons (and I'm in the minority) not the least of which was the record level of min-maxing characters with builds such as "Desolid: only versus Damage"  (My paraphrasing; not an actual build presented that I remember).  This supplement was written by Steve, who would later go on to write the entire 5e book and the vast majority of the supplements.  As you would expect, he brought his ideas forward and-- well, this isn't about a review of the new rules.  Let's just say "I didn't like the feel the first time; expanding it didn't help."

 

As others have noted, this can be used as the basis of modern Heroic-level campaigns.  All you have to do is remove all references to crazed homicidial mania   the heroes presented and the overall "crushing" of the theme, and put that into the CyberPunk Book.  After that, it's pretty much, as suggested, "Action HERO."  In 4e, anyway.  As 5e attempts to rip out all the rules from everywhere and put them into one book (and then present "rules options" in the genre books anyway, in spite of itself) in a sort of "let's re-do what 4e did" methodology (which wasn't a bad thing, mind you!), the 5e "Dark Champions" is pretty much just the theme of lunatics and gun nuts gutting drug pushers while the bad guys vivisect prostitutes and catholic school students while somehow remaining "above the law."  The Good Guys smash their kneecaps and light fire to their genitals while filling their abdomens with incendiary rounds because burnt pork smells awesome.  Yep.  That's got "heroic action" written all over it.  What can I say?  It was a product of it's angsty "we're so totally in love with vigilantes and antiheroes right now!" times.

 

Yes:  Dark Champions has not only a lot of heroic-level rules, but it's also the biggest taste of "what's to come" in terms of the rules.  Can't argue that.  However, if you've got all the other genre books, you'll see that a lot of Dark Champions' rules mods came from.  DC does make a nice "all in one place" presentation, as it includes all but the most genre-specific stuff from the other volumes.

 

9 hours ago, jdrakeh said:

Thank you for the suggestions! I think I may even have a source for Western Hero locally!

 

Good deal.  It's been my personal favorite sourcebook for many, many years simply because it is precisely what I want to see in a sourcebook, and laid out in a very appealing way.   Sure, it's mostly for "Westerns" in terms of the campaign and adventure suggestions, etc, but when you get right down to it: there are a lot of gun battles in ancient Philadelphia even today, and a lot of frontiers in Star HERO, so my copy has seen _lots_ of use.

 

 

4 hours ago, Dr. MID-Nite said:

Honestly, I've gotten a huge amount of use out of Champions in 3D.

 

 

That's number 4 on my "read next" list, actually.  I got the PDF in the BOH a while back; I'm half-heartedly looking for a print copy.  I've never owned that book (not into the alternate dimensions thing), and I really prefer reading books to staring at lighted screens.  Someone else a while back recommended it as worthwhile, so I figured I'd give it a shot.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

While I'm thinking about it, are there any truly outstanding Hero System fan sites I should take a look at? I recall Killer Shrike having a pretty good site. Any others? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wait, Lucha Libre Hero? Really?

 

That's awesome. And not just because I've always wanted a story where a Luchadore beats up Bane and takes his mask for shaming the spirit of Lucha (he uses guns, and both uses and sells drugs) and that's why Nolanverse Bane has that goofy fang-face instead of looking like the comics and animated versions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are some 3rd edition books like Danger International and Western Hero I think should be redone for 6th.  Yes, Dark Champions kind of covers DI, but DI was specifically about spies and mercenaries with a specific flair of James Bond kind of approach, and I think its a niche that is still unfilled.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
23 hours ago, dialNforNinja said:

Wait, Lucha Libre Hero? Really?

 

Yep! This is a real thing! It has stats for all manner of supernatural beasties, too (notably werewolves, vampires, and "Franquestein" (the monster). It looks like it will be a lot of fun (and, as mentioned, it's a self-contained game). 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 7/14/2019 at 11:05 AM, Christopher R Taylor said:

There are some 3rd edition books like Danger International and Western Hero I think should be redone for 6th.  Yes, Dark Champions kind of covers DI, but DI was specifically about spies and mercenaries with a specific flair of James Bond kind of approach, and I think its a niche that is still unfilled.

 

A couple 0f years ago High Rock Press had posted that it was planning a new edition of Danger International, but nothing has come of it so far. I was really looking forward to it.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It wouldn't be horribly hard to do other than researching the world politics and espionage stuff.  Gadgets and techniques have come a long ways, but the rest pretty much writes its self.

 

Western Hero DOES write its self, all that's needed is a better bestiary and more adventure ideas, maybe a campaign setting.  And maps, lots of maps.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I almost feel guilty for mentioning this again, but the best received fantasy game I ever ran started off as a Western (having just gotten Western HERO ;)) and drifted into an occult horror/fantasy almost on accident.  We were all sort of disappointed it had to end.  :lol:  but the fact was it was starting to get repetitive and familiar, and we all agreed we would prefer to remember it as a big hit than watch it M.A.S.H itself into a sad and tired thing.... 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...