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OK, so the original Champions is not precisely the same game that we have in Hero System 6 Edition or Champions Complete, but I still found this to be an interesting counterpoint to the prevailing Internet wisdom that Hero is an impenetrable game only playable by people with degrees in mathematics. 

 

In the September 1981 issue of The Space Gamer, Aaron Allston reviewed Champions:

 

Screenshot_20190713_121105.jpg

 

In other, only slightly related, news I finally bought a copy of Champions 6th edition this week for the bargain sum of £22 (about $27). Patience and eBay stalking for the win! 

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You can't really call it a counterpoint without showing the supporting arguments.  The bit you highlighted is a contradiction, which is how you start and/or end a counterpoint. 

 

But really, I could say the same thing about FRED.  I read the thing (mostly) cover-to-cover and all I really had to ask the GM was what combat benchmarks I should be meeting.  The problem is that most people simply will not read that much just for a TTRPG.  And who can blame them?  The thing's a poorly laid out brick. 

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So, should 7th edition be less wordie, more clear in meaning AND well laid out?

 

I think it's big problem was it was a not a D&D book, yet forced you to buy two books to play. And the GM is expected to read both books from cover to cover and understand it (the player only really has to read book one cover to cover, which itself is a big thing).

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1 hour ago, steriaca said:

So, should 7th edition be less wordie, more clear in meaning AND well laid out?

 

I think it's big problem was it was a not a D&D book, yet forced you to buy two books to play. And the GM is expected to read both books from cover to cover and understand it (the player only really has to read book one cover to cover, which itself is a big thing).

Yes.  HERO is excessively verbose in ways that don't contribute to clarity. 

Take 6E1's writeup of Blast, since I have that open right now.  It's got the infoblock and three paragraphs of text.  It tells you what Blast does and costs thrice, restates part of the combat rules, and reminds the reader about SFX twice.  I could trivially cut it down to a slightly longer infoblock and one sentence from the first paragraph without losing information. 

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What we need in edition 6.75 or edition 7.

 

Write it so it is clear and concise.

 

Do not overload the player with options. That is what the Advance Players Guide is for.

 

Make the math simple without changing the math. If that means going with +0.25, +0.5, and +0.75 and -0.25, -0.5, and -0.75 instead of +-1/4, +-1/2 and +-3/4 then so be it.

 

Examples are good, as long as we are not drowning in them.

 

A simple version of Hero System Martial Arts build a maneuver system in the main book should be good. That way, you can save space in the Hero System Martial Art by not going on about how to build a Martial Strike or Martial Dodge, but instead how to build a Flash and such.

 

But chances are "there is not enough player interest for an edition 7". Maybe if we have a better starting rule book, we could. Champions Complete was a good start, but in didn't really bring in the new players, did it?

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1 hour ago, steriaca said:

But chances are "there is not enough player interest for an edition 7". Maybe if we have a better starting rule book, we could. Champions Complete was a good start, but in didn't really bring in the new players, did it?

 

Hero has had MANY rewrites and rulebooks.  In addition to the big core books they had the Sidekicks and Basic Rulebooks which were streamlined books of 128 or 138 pages.  Champions Complete is yet ANOTHER basic rewrite for only minor changes. 

 

The reason that hero is on basic life support and giving up the ghost fast is that it was decided in the past (4th or 5th?) to not provide any kind of campaigns or adventures.  Real gamers don't use them and similar tripe.  Sure, I still believe the 5th edition and 6th edition genre books are fantastic sources for designing worlds/campaigns.  As are the setting books.  But none of those products address the HUGE massively glaring missing part of the game.  Literally every successful RPG on the market has it, except Hero.  

 

PLAYABLE Adventures and Campaigns. 

 

Yes, I know.  The microscopically tiny remaining gamers that are even aware of Hero insist they "would never use prebuilt".  But it is 2019 and the vast majority of gamers simply do not have time to built stuff.  That is why D&D packs the house.  Many of the people I know that play it don't even like D&D.  But it is one of the only games that they can actually play, as in sit at a table and actually chunk dice. 

 

Hero has never been hard to play. 

It has never been overly hard to design characters providing the person doing it has a basic imagination.

 

What has been made into a overwhelmingly daunting task is the requirement for the GM to design everything from practically scratch.

 

Hero does not need Champions Now, Champions Later or Champions Counter Clockwise. 

What it needs is the minimum support for the existing line.

Champions Complete is the current version.

Now we need a few STARTER adventures suitable for initial build characters and at least one campaign to help new GM's with a practical and PLAYABLE example of a superworld. 

 

The myth that people do not buy or play adventures or campaigns may have been true years ago.  But they are majority of product that moves in the here and now. 

 

I feel like we are a group of old curmudgeons out in the stable hammering out horse shoes because "Dag-nab-it, them there horseless carriages will never catch on". :ugly:

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I really believe there should be an order to introducing someone to a system like HERO (or GURPS).

  1. Play a one-shot with pre-gens, keep it basic and fast.
  2. Invite someone to a regular game. Ask them conceptually what they want to play. Build a character for them. When they are ready to invest XP, you can teach them the building blocks - one thing at a time.
  3. Each session, introduce a new combat maneuver or option they haven't used previously.
  4. Lend them a set of books, so they can peruse at their own pace. Ask them to skip over stuff they find boring or too complicated to understand. Let the group explain the complicated parts.
  5. If they like gameplay, the next campaign work with them as they build a character.

I've found that games with more crunch (or potential complexity) just need to be introduced in steps.

I'm reading through 6e1 and 2 currently, and yes they can be verbose, but I like all the examples, suggestions and help. A game like HERO needs some consideration when you're building stuff. Without the right guidance you could end up with some characters or settings or adventures that are not fun to play in (too easy, too hard, too fiddly...).

 

So the point here I'm suggesting... Let the books have as much info as they need. It's highly likely that anyone getting into HERO is going to come from a fan showing them the ropes. All across the intertubes you see people requesting to be taught D&D5e. It's a simple game yet people still want the guidance. Newbs are intimidated by everything until you play once. Then (generally, in my experience), the floodgates open and many (if not most) dive in with wild abandon. 🙂 Just get them there. They want to nerd-out with you and most endeavour to learn the system.

 

I wouldn't worry so much about the presentation or the lack of adventures. If you want to help HERO do better, run a game! Encourage participation by a group. Encourage people to buy the books. Sales is one of the best ways to ensure your favorite game will continue to be supported.

 

So, for example, waiting to buy a used book on ebay at a discount is probably doing far more immediate harm than the presentation of the game. I purposefully bought by PDFs and Hardcovers directly from the store. Why? Because they don't have to pay fees to DTRPG. I bought some POD only because they were not available on the store. I paid full price for my products. The return on investment for RPGs is high (if you play them!), so I believe that publishers deserve that cash. I certainly get tons of mileage out of my games...

 

Adventures are generally a bad investment unless you have a strong stable of GMs buying books. They just sell less. I think Paizo's Adventure Paths are a great example of how a company broke this curse. The subscription model was genius for one... Also, they are super focused on a herd of GMs! The players come in and buy a book or two and play. Then a third of them decide to GM. Then you recruit them for organized play. GMs buy all the books and pick up APs they are interested. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. You generally will be able to build a player base but what you need (really) is to build a GM base.

 

I'm currently looking into a digital option to share worlds / adventures online with a subscription model. I think this will be the future of publishing adventures and settings. Not printed product, but resources GMs can use to create adventures easily, print only what they need, organize things in the manner they like best. My hope is that by catering specifically to GMs I can build a nice following of GMs who like what I'm doing; that will make the venture profitable enough to justify the time.

 

None of this works if people don't play the games, create groups and run the games, and most importantly... buy the games (and make new GMs... 🙂 )

 

Just my two cents...

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We the grognards often note the complexity of Hero is largely front-loaded to character creation, and this is true.  So why does every edition present character creation first, in all its detailed glory?  What if, just spitballing and looking at the ToC for 6e, the rulebook were restructured/reordered to present:

 

-          The Introduction, more or less as is

-          Chapter 1 - Character Creation Basics, but move Templates later, and add

o   Basics of Characteristics (the chart on V1 p 40, and no more than a quarter page on what each stat does, very basically

o   Basics of Skills, limited to the basics of skill rolls, the tables from V1 p 56, p 58 and p 61.

o   The basics of Perks, Talents and Powers, including the tables on V1 p 98, p 103 (Fringe Benefits; maybe merged with the table on p 98), p 108, and combining the Powers table on p 134 expanded with the lists in the various sections that follow, in the format of p 162-163 (with duration, target, etc.) incorporating a brief, 2 line max, description of what each one does, probably derived from the Summary Table on p 163-164.  Basic explanations of each power type (e.g “Adjustment” and “Special) and the headers (e.g. Duration and Range).  Mention Advantages, Limitations and Frameworks, but no details provided.  Stress that the use of these elements varies depending on the game itself, so the reader should not get hung up on the details at this stage.

o   The basics of Complications, stressing their game function, and the flexibility of their design (e.g first, think about your character’s challenges and flaws in non-game terms).  The table on v1, p 416 and p 418 is likely enough detail for the specific complications.

This is all the meat they need for character creation up front – a nice overview.

 

-          Chapter 2 – Sample Characters:  Now let’s put in some sample characters, maybe even all of the ones at the back.  One or two could be detailed character design discussions (like Randall irons, or the 1e Crusader and Starburst; highlight various genres and include several from one, for reasons seen below, and include some mook sheets – maybe with standard stats and a stat/equipment block for fantasy, modern day/supers, Sci Fi and the animals from V2 Ch 6.

 

-          Chapter 3 – Entering Combat:  OK, now let’s figure out how to play the game.  We are done with Volume 1 for now.  Move into V2 with a somewhat stripped-down version of Chapter 1, Entering Combat.  Discuss how the various senses, and PER rolls in general, work, but pull some details for the more detailed Character Creation sections (e.g. we don’t need the use of Adjustment Powers to affect Senses here, no toolkitting, no optional rules, mounts and vehicles get saved for later).

 

-          Chapter 4: Combat takes a lot of the current v2, ch 2, and sets out how combat works.  Strip out optional rules (e.g. encumbrance) and unusual situations (e.g. environmental situations).  Maybe this also includes combat maneuvers and martial arts maneuvers (V2, Ch 3).  Keep most of this, but relegate corner cases, and maybe some really challenging aspects (Multiple Attacks, say, but explain combined attacks) to later discussion.  Merge combat and optional maneuvers – must identify the “Optional” ones.  Depending on length, maneuvers or just Martial Arts, could get their own chapters,

 

-          Chapter 5:  Damage and its effects is largely V2, ch 4, but pull all the Optional and Other Effects stuff, other than maybe knockdown and knockback.

 

-          Chapter 6 – Other Combat Rules and Effects, gets pulled from V2, Ch 5, with some stuff relegated to “complex/advanced (like crushing damage, dragging, disguising damage).  This covers things like inability to perceive the opponent, recovery, endurance and PRE attacks.  Maybe we even relegate Pushing to an optional rule.

 

-          Chapter 7 – Equipment would cover weapons and armor, but leave out  automatons, computers, vehicles and bases.

 

-          Chapter 8 – BRING IT ON HOME – now we provide a detailed sample combat, or several, using the genre for which we have at least a couple of example heroes and one example adversary from Ch 2, and give the Bad Guy some minions from Ch 2.

 

And that becomes the Basic Rules.  To stick with the “Complete in Two Volumes” theory, Volume 2 has the Advanced and Optional rules, including:

 

-          GameMastering (v2, Chapter 9)

-          Hero System Genre by Genre (v2, Ch 😎

-          All the details we held off on for character creation, including power frameworks.  We make a real point here of identifying which sections are more important for which genres, and how they are typically used in those genres, or that is part of Genre by Genre.

-          Advanced Combat Rules, including detail pulled from the info provided in Vol 1, the optional rules, the environment rules, etc.

-          Advanced Equipment – automatons, computers, vehicles, bases.

-          V2, Ch 10 – Changing the System - the Toolkitting stuff can go in each section, or in here.

 

This would not mitigate the need for “easy play” options, like  pre-fab characters and scenarios.  Publish an Adenture Path-like structure for a couple of genres, with pre-fab characters starting from the genre’s sample characters in the main rules.  But by focusing Vol 1 on “how to play” instead of “how to build anything you could possibly imagine”, we would front load the basics, instead of front loading the complexities and advanced options.

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11 hours ago, steriaca said:

What we need in edition 6.75 or edition 7.

 

Write it so it is clear and concise.

 

If (and it might not be; I may have missed the actual thrust here) the point is to simplify or reduce the size of the rules book(s), this apparently can't happen. :(

 

While I personally (this often-overlooked term is a word that indicates I'm offering an opinion and not just trying to stir up hate and discontent that leads to a thread-derailing argument of hurt feelings and wounded pride) think that a considerable amount of the rules bloat came from a shift in attitude of the rules themselves.  Someone else on these boards stated it more concisely than I could have:  the rules have gone from "permissive" to "restrictive."  That is, once upon a time, powers and skills and such included whatever you expected them to include-- put another way, whatever you and your group / GM expected them to.   Then came the creep-in of "NO!"  Bits and pieces were slowly pulled out and teased apart and suddenly became advantages and adders and modifiers, all of which had to be explained, costed, and demonstrated.   One small example is "Change Orientation" for Teleport.  Used to be assumed, now it costs money.  A recently-discussed second option is "Rapid" for perception.  What was once just a schtick now costs points, and from that same recent discussion, it seems like it can cost a hell of a lot of them for what, if actually role-played to meet the description, would absolutely wreck everyone else's good time in addition to being totally impossible to do.   (we don't make people with flight by life support vs cold to fly higher than a kilometer or so, but we _do_ make speedsters pay for the ability to see where they're going?!  Crap; I shouldn't have said that.  Edition 7 will now include "able to survive the use of your power" as a separate element for half the powers now....)

 

Once upon a time, you assumed things like "can see where he's going" and "can fly at least 3km up because there's air for him to breathe there" were already included (and you didn't bother with math about the energy expenditures for parabolic travel versus plowing flat over the ground at a height of ten meters, nor the loss of distance traveled in the same time between the two techniques.   That'll have to wait for either 7e or APG 9 or wherever it is we decide additional complexity should go.)

 

 

11 hours ago, steriaca said:

 

Do not overload the player with options.

 

Agreed, but given the creep toward restrictive build rules -- i.e., "No; not unless you also buy this and this and this and this, (which made the 5e out-of-nowhere inclusion of "Growth Momentum" really glaring.  All other editions recognized that there was no inherent momentum in "I get bigger," and characters wanting it built it as a separate attack (or extra damage) with "Growth Momentum" as a separate attack.  I didn't mind the inclusion of it, but it seemed to weird next to new rules that were pulling stuff _out_ of "this power comes with" and turning it into "costs extra.")  it won't work.  If you are going to design a rules set that requires those options to build what the player envisions, then you are going to have to actually present those options.

 

Now it might seem that I'm being really hard on the new overall attitude of the rules, but I'm _not_.  I'm pointing out one of the main reasons that the rules _are_ so big and _why_ there are so many options presented.

 

Here's the edge you have to walk to write a set  of rules for this game:

 

Keep it short and brief.  Okay, one paragraph each for powers.  Let's be kind and say "no more than three paragraphs each for powers."   If you want to limit the size of those paragraphs to less than a page each, you'll have to include "not written by a lawyer" or possibly even specify "must be written by a mathematician  (Why is that word so hard to type?!!!)."   I can't _fully_ endorse either of those things, though:  lawyers are trained for keen and specific use of verbiage, and tend to be careful about selecting their words and ensuring that contradictions either don't exist or are well-explained (which leads to the verbosity, of course, but now we know why that's not always bad) and I don't know of anything I've read written by a mathematician (I am so done typing that word!  We're going back to AMG: amazing math guy), but if playing with numbers is your real joy, well there are likely to be great and lengthy sessions of tear-out and build-in of the various elements to seek the mythical "perfect balance" between Swimming and  Ranged Killing Attack. I can't see that _not_ ending up with more and lengthier "power does include this, but if you want any of the following sixty-two elements, you must by the appropriate advantages, so let's explain them, too."

 

 

Now I started out saying that this shift in the attitude of permissive / restrictive rules is _part_ of the bloat.

 

 

The rest of it is us.

 

You heard me:  It's us.  The players.  We _had_ the very thing we're sitting here crying about not having.  First edition was 56 pages start to finish (+10 if you add the covers and eight character sheets).  2e was eighty pages (which included a selection of villains to get off to a quick start).  3e was 96 pages (boxed set) and had _no_ character sheet (it was printed on the rear cover of the separate 40=page Campaign Book in the boxed set).

 

Third edition gained ever more rules spread through supplements, adventures, etc, all of which were specific to situations presented in those supplements and adventures and eventually even entirely new games build using Champions rules with custom tweaks for the game being presented.

 

4e, as we all know, was little more than gathering _all_ that material in one place.  All of it from all the supplements and previous editions and hammering it all into one cohesive rules set that would cover _everything_.  You would never need another rules set again, because it was all here.   The the genre books came out and totally wrecked that idea:  Here, have new characteristics!  Have new Talents and Skills!  Have new modifiers for other powers!  Have some Kung Phooey!

 

5e was lather, rinse, repeat, meaning that it had the ground work of 6e already laid in.....

 

 

So why this constant growth?

 

 

Us.  We weren't happy with what we had.  We had questions.  We had problems.  We didn't want to answer all of them ourselves.   We have this super-anal fetish to make sure we're doing our thing exactly the same way someone else is doing their thing (or vice-versa).  We might be having the time of our lives, but we're not happy until we know it's a book-legal time of our lives.  (Yes; I know every time someone mentions this inherent need to be book legal, we pay great homage to the idea that "the game is yours!  Change it how you want!"  Then we run off to some other thread to make sure it's all nice and book legal. )

 

 

There were _so many_ great points you raised, and I wanted to address so many more, but I have _got_ to get going, so if I may simply offer a poor wrap-up of what I've started  (I _am_ sorry to lurch off like this, but the pop-up says Hugh has replied, and it made me glance at the time, and I really have to be somewhere in just a few minutes):

 

 

We wanted more rules.  Some people figured out their own vehicle rules, for example.  Others didn't.  Others _wouldn't_, and demanded to know how to do that "officially."   

 

We ran into situations we weren't sure how to handle.  We wanted rules for that.  We developed the habit of building the entire world in HERO stats (what was the DEF of Granny's screen porch again?  Doesn't it take x4 BOD from fire-based attacks?)

 

We _wanted_ rules.  We asked for them.  We begged for them, and lamented the lack of new ones all through the long years of 4e when everything HERO-related stopped, and we turned to the internet and our fellow fans for new ideas.  We wanted to hard limits to help the different kinds of players work well at the same tables.  We wanted to be able to mathematically simulate (and to price in character points) every single aspect of the world we were building, and wanted it all to be precisely relevant tot he world in which we live.  Hell, I'm not claiming I'm exempt!  I _love_ building stuff in HERO terms!  

 

We just wanted lots and lots of rules.

 

 

Well now we've got them.  

 

 

Yet look at the number of "how do I...?" threads.  There are still issues that are not clear.  There are still problems.  Yes; I personally think the restrictiveness creeping into the massive rules tomes is part of that problem, but I also don't see a solution in simply doing away with it and stating "Okay, just decide that a power features all its elements automatically, and take Limitations on any of them you don't want in your build."  Honestly, either way still gives advantage to the clever or the highly-motivated.

 

Obviously simpler rules ins't the answer:  I don't think the PDFs of 1, 2, or 3e in the HERO store are selling like hotcakes.  I'm pretty sure even Sidekick isn't doing anything appreciable, nor even HERO Basic (Sidekick 6e, dammit!  :lol:  )

 

Look also at the fact that in the subsequent books, bloat wasn't just in the build rules.  It wasn't just in the breaking things rules.  It wasn't just in combat or movement.

 

There was more and more bloat in the "tell me about the world I'm going to be playing in" sections, too.   People have _always_ wanted playable-out-of-the-box worlds.  People have _always_ wanted pre-build adventures.   Given the amount of time it takes to create from whole-cloth in the new rules (much, much more to select from when you're building _anything_, after all), people need them more than ever.

 

 

But not everyone.  Not at this point.  Most of us have game worlds and game groups with long-established histories at this point.  Let's face it:  new players aren't happening as fast as the old ones are dying off. :(  There's not a big enough market to support it anymore.

 

 

So let's try this:

 

Fan-built adventures.   Post 'em here.  Co-operate and build one together.   Get with Jason and see if you can toss them into the store: a buck a piece, even.   I won't lie:  I've got three groups I have to run, and a  job  that eats up over 70 hours a week.  I'd buy even a passable adventure in a heartbeat.  As much as it shames me to say it, I've been recycling from group to group for over a year now, simply because I don't have the time to come up with new stuff like I used to.

Now I really, really have to go.  I wish I could have addressed more, but such is life.

 

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9 hours ago, Trechriron10 said:

So, for example, waiting to buy a used book on ebay at a discount is probably doing far more immediate harm than the presentation of the game

 

The only reason I've been stalking eBay for some Hero books is because the ones I want are either out of print or, as with Champions 6th edition, effectively out of print (the only physical option being a black and white print on demand paperback).  Getting any of the books in the UK these days is difficult, one more problem when it comes to expanding the player base. 

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2 hours ago, Duke Bushido said:

 

If (and it might not be; I may have missed the actual thrust here) the point is to simplify or reduce the size of the rules book(s), this apparently can't happen. :(

 

I would say the best approach to "reducing the size of the rule books" is to reduce the size of the "core rules" book.  In my breakdown above, the first book (with a bit of GM issues, like xp, and some added info on the powers, skills, etc. added in) could easily be a single book, especially if we take Pathfinder Core Rules as our measuring stick (or a combined PHB and DMG in D&D).  They'd be much bigger than old-school gaming books like the original Champions 1e and 2e - that expansion is pretty much across the board in gaming today.

 

We could likely get a single "core rules book" and "campaign books" with pre-fab powers/spells/what have you, and relevant optional rules.  Now we are definitely back into pre-4e territory.

 

2 hours ago, Duke Bushido said:

While I personally (this often-overlooked term is a word that indicates I'm offering an opinion and not just trying to stir up hate and discontent that leads to a thread-derailing argument of hurt feelings and wounded pride) think that a considerable amount of the rules bloat came from a shift in attitude of the rules themselves.  Someone else on these boards stated it more concisely than I could have:  the rules have gone from "permissive" to "restrictive."  That is, once upon a time, powers and skills and such included whatever you expected them to include-- put another way, whatever you and your group / GM expected them to.   Then came the creep-in of "NO!"  Bits and pieces were slowly pulled out and teased apart and suddenly became advantages and adders and modifiers, all of which had to be explained, costed, and demonstrated.   One small example is "Change Orientation" for Teleport.  Used to be assumed, now it costs money.  A recently-discussed second option is "Rapid" for perception.  What was once just a schtick now costs points, and from that same recent discussion, it seems like it can cost a hell of a lot of them for what, if actually role-played to meet the description, would absolutely wreck everyone else's good time in addition to being totally impossible to do.   (we don't make people with flight by life support vs cold to fly higher than a kilometer or so, but we _do_ make speedsters pay for the ability to see where they're going?!  Crap; I shouldn't have said that.  Edition 7 will now include "able to survive the use of your power" as a separate element for half the powers now....)

 

I'll flip that around.  Much of what I see in the rules is a response to "well, if that is bundled in now, how many points can I save if I take it out?"  I see it more as adding granularity than as specifically permissive or restrictive.

 

2 hours ago, Duke Bushido said:

The rest of it is us.

 

You heard me:  It's us.  The players.  We _had_ the very thing we're sitting here crying about not having.  First edition was 56 pages start to finish (+10 if you add the covers and eight character sheets).  2e was eighty pages (which included a selection of villains to get off to a quick start).  3e was 96 pages (boxed set) and had _no_ character sheet (it was printed on the rear cover of the separate 40=page Campaign Book in the boxed set).

 

Third edition gained ever more rules spread through supplements, adventures, etc, all of which were specific to situations presented in those supplements and adventures and eventually even entirely new games build using Champions rules with custom tweaks for the game being presented.

 

BINGO!  Most games just keep tacking on supplements, but Hero built "all in one set of rules" into its philosophy so that one set of rules keeps getting bigger.  But they all keep adding options, and rules, and new content for one simple reason:

 

GAMERS BUY THEM.  Not presented the way Hero does, but "more rules - more more more" means "more sales - more more more".

 

And pre-fab adventures sell in the modern gaming world.  Not sure when that changed, but it sure changed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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14 hours ago, Trechriron10 said:

I really believe there should be an order to introducing someone to a system like HERO (or GURPS).

 

~snip~

 

Just my two cents...

 

Well, you have just described exactly the business model that has led Hero from being the top of the of Superhero games list to being functionally out of print. 

 

It is not Pathfinder that has amazingly somehow found a method to sell adventures.  Every single successful RPG, and by successful I mean actually selling books, has invested in well crafted adventures/campaigns.  They are not throwing out dozens of half-baked one sessions.  No, they are putting out  one or two well crafted campaigns (6-12 chapters/adventures) a year.  D&D, Pathfinder, Call of Cthulhu, Star Trek Adventures, Star Wars and Shadowrun is just a short list of the lines currently succeeding at this.  D&D is the actual example to use.  They started with free league adventures, and then they changed to "buy and run one of our adventure books on league night".  And it took off.  The FLGS has a regularly scheduled league night and coordinates GM's, the biggest issue is enough GM's.  There are new "as in I have never played D&D ever" players every league night and they always buy the Players Handbook and at least one Adventure book. 

 

Yes, the concept of using established groups to introduce individual new players to the game is neat.  But when the established groups that play Hero are virtually extinct, it is still the same loosing strategy that was adopted in the late 90's.  

 

What Hero needs in 2019 is a new strategy aimed at "how to get new players using just the books by themselves" and "how to get Hero back into the spotlight so that it is on the FLGS shelf".

 

1) the rules are fine.  DO NOT waste effort on yet another ruleset.

2) DO add a chapter(s) to the rulebook that contain an adventure with pregens to walk new GM's and players thru the process.

3) Publish at least one starter campaign, no end of the world mega villain stuff.  Instead a local in city crime spree or revenge on the city by a local master villain/mastermind.  Something that can be resolved by a new team based on standard supers build points.  

4) Tap into the fan-base and allow them to create and sell adventures using something similar to D&D's DM's Guild and Chaosium's Miskatonic Repository.  These allow fans to publish adventures and supplementary material and charge a price of which the company gets a cut, while maintaining control by limiting where they can be sold. 

5) Establish some form of League Play.  Either a prebuilt campaign adventure like D&D does or a campaign frame released in parts like STA. 

 

The point is the current strategy (95ish till present) has failed. 

A new strategy needs to be formulated and in this case we have a plethora of successful examples to emulate.

 

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9 minutes ago, Hugh Neilson said:

BINGO!  Most games just keep tacking on supplements, but Hero built "all in one set of rules" into its philosophy so that one set of rules keeps getting bigger.  But they all keep adding options, and rules, and new content for one simple reason:

 

GAMERS BUY THEM.  Not presented the way Hero does, but "more rules - more more more" means "more sales - more more more".

 

And pre-fab adventures sell in the modern gaming world.  Not sure when that changed, but it sure changed.

 

Double, no triple BINGO!

 

 

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12 minutes ago, Spence said:

It is not Pathfinder that has amazingly somehow found a method to sell adventures.  Every single successful RPG, and by successful I mean actually selling books, has invested in well crafted adventures/campaigns.  They are not throwing out dozens of half-baked one sessions.  No, they are putting out  one or two well crafted campaigns (6-12 chapters/adventures) a year.  D&D, Pathfinder, Call of Cthulhu, Star Trek Adventures, Star Wars and Shadowrun is just a short list of the lines currently succeeding at this.  D&D is the actual example to use.  They started with free league adventures, and then they changed to "buy and run one of our adventure books on league night".  And it took off.  The FLGS has a regularly scheduled league night and coordinates GM's, the biggest issue is enough GM's.  There are new "as in I have never played D&D ever" players every league night and they always buy the Players Handbook and at least one Adventure book. 

I credit the discovery to Pathfinder as it was their 3e D&D adventures that demonstrated the market and set the standard.  Its business strength is evidenced by the volume of "me too" in other games.

 

12 minutes ago, Spence said:

What Hero needs in 2019 is a new strategy aimed at "how to get new players using just the books by themselves" and "how to get Hero back into the spotlight so that it is on the FLGS shelf".

 

1) the rules are fine.  DO NOT waste effort on yet another ruleset.

2) DO add a chapter(s) to the rulebook that contain an adventure with pregens to walk new GM's and players thru the process.

3) Publish at least one starter campaign, no end of the world mega villain stuff.  Instead a local in city crime spree or revenge on the city by a local master villain/mastermind.  Something that can be resolved by a new team based on standard supers build points.  

4) Tap into the fan-base and allow them to create and sell adventures using something similar to D&D's DM's Guild and Chaosium's Miskatonic Repository.  These allow fans to publish adventures and supplementary material and charge a price of which the company gets a cut, while maintaining control by limiting where they can be sold. 

5) Establish some form of League Play.  Either a prebuilt campaign adventure like D&D does or a campaign frame released in parts like STA. 

 

 

A rewrite of the rules would be fine, but I would start with Champions Complete and/or Fantasy Hero Complete as "the rules" at this point.

 

Rather than revise those to add a chapter on adventures with pregens, create an "adventure path/campaign" for either Supers or Fantasy, or both, and publish an introductory scenario, with pregens, online.  Whatever level CC and FHC established for "default character guidelines" should be used.  Variant guidelines are for some future campaigns, but out of the gate, stick to the standards.

 

USE these Adventure Paths to provide good examples for the pace and direction of character growth by having each chapter update the pregens and setting out expected xp benchmarks along the way.

 

 

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1 hour ago, BigJackBrass said:

 

The only reason I've been stalking eBay for some Hero books is because the ones I want are either out of print or, as with Champions 6th edition, effectively out of print (the only physical option being a black and white print on demand paperback).  Getting any of the books in the UK these days is difficult, one more problem when it comes to expanding the player base. 

 

Fair enough. Getting stuff across either big pond is too expensive. HERO needs color high quality POD. It's tad more expensive but the DTRPG high quality color hardbacks are superb.

 

Spence, I'm hearing you. I agree. How do you feel the HERO basic book does as an entry level introduction? Fantasy HERO complete?

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1 hour ago, Hugh Neilson said:

I credit the discovery to Pathfinder as it was their 3e D&D adventures that demonstrated the market and set the standard.  Its business strength is evidenced by the volume of "me too" in other games.

 

 

 

A rewrite of the rules would be fine, but I would start with Champions Complete and/or Fantasy Hero Complete as "the rules" at this point.

 

 

 

Rather than revise those to add a chapter on adventures with pregens, create an "adventure path/campaign" for either Supers or Fantasy, or both, and publish an introductory scenario, with pregens, online.  Whatever level CC and FHC established for "default character guidelines" should be used.  Variant guidelines are for some future campaigns, but out of the gate, stick to the standards.

 

 

 

USE these Adventure Paths to provide good examples for the pace and direction of character growth by having each chapter update the pregens and setting out expected xp benchmarks along the way.

 

 

 

 

~Pathfinder - Not disagreeing.  I actually buy adventure paths to convert😳

But I was never a fan of rules by the pound so I always use other games for my examples......

 

~the rest.

I've been beating this drum for a while.

Supers is different from any other genre, as in it combines so many types with powers thrown into the mix.  A campaign/adventure as a guide is critical to learn the genre as it applies to a RPG.  Especially if they are trying to learn from the books only.

 

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3 hours ago, Trechriron10 said:

 

Fair enough. Getting stuff across either big pond is too expensive. HERO needs color high quality POD. It's tad more expensive but the DTRPG high quality color hardbacks are superb.

 

Spence, I'm hearing you. I agree. How do you feel the HERO basic book does as an entry level introduction? Fantasy HERO complete?

#1 Absolutely.  Hero has far few players to afford to immediately push out a big campaign book.  That is why a DMs Guild or Miskatonic Repository type of outlet is critical to getting Hero back out into the world.

 

#2 IIRC the first half of CC and FHC is the Basic Rules with a few tweaks.  IMO CC and FHC are both two thirds ofva complete book.  CharGen and rules but no introductory adventure or team.  Hero's standard where they play hard but choke at the finish.

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21 minutes ago, assault said:

Champions Now will be a physical product. Just not "Champions" in the strict historical sense.

 

But will it be available via standard distribution?

 

Champions Complete is not available via general distribution lines and the average FLGS will not open an additional line for a single low volume sale.  I

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1 hour ago, assault said:

Champions Now will be a physical product.

 

 

Man I hope so....

 

I heard about it _way_ to late to join the kickstarter, so I'm just hoping that there will be a real, honest-to-goodness book I can buy somewhere, somehow....

 

As far as "in the historical sense," well that's hair-splitting at this moment.  There were three editions where Champions was released as a standalone game, and three where it was not (at this point).  Eventually a stand-alone version was released for the last one, sure, but not originally.  In fact, there was already a genre / sourcebook for playing "Champions" with the 6e rules before there was a stand-alone Champions, so.....

 

The fourth edition was a big departure from all that had gone before: more rules, more changes-- a total revolution on some of the most deeply-ingrained "this is what makes it my game" concepts of the game (Reduced Endurance made my eyes bug out!).  6e did the same thing, possibly deeper.

 

I think the only thing at this point that is "historically" consistent at this point is us arguing about what would have been better.....

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Duke Bushido said:

I think the only thing at this point that is "historically" consistent at this point is us arguing about what would have been better.....

 

That is a discussion all its own :shock:

 

For myself, I only bought the multiple copies of 6th Ed core as well as all the rest of the books in order to support the game.  As a preference, I play 4th or 5th because they still have the spirit of what made Champions/Hero the fun game it was.  To me the spirit of the game was sacrificed on the 6th Ed altar of mathematical purity. 😭

 

 

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6 minutes ago, Spence said:

For myself, I only bought the multiple copies of 6th Ed core as well as all the rest of the books in order to support the game.  As a preference, I play 4th or 5th because they still have the spirit of what made Champions/Hero the fun game it was.  To me the spirit of the game was sacrificed on the 6th Ed altar of mathematical purity. 😭

 

 

 

 

Agreed on all counts, Sir,  but really, that last bit (while I _totally_ agree) gets beat up and down pretty regularly in other threads.  Certainly, though, the daunting size that the rules have become-- and the overwhelming presence of math-math-math-math in both our regular discussions and in the books themselves does not lend itself to dispelling the perception that the game is more or less difficult than any other.  As Hugh and others note, however, a better layout that focused on Basic-first orientation (rather than Basic being... what?  Book 9 or something like that?) might have helped a bit.

 

Like you, I also play a much older edition, simply because the fun isn't bled out by the need for software during character creation or the overwhelming sense of "No."   

 

But as the OP was hunting ideas on changing the notions outsiders have about the game, I'm not going to go too deeply into my opinions there. ;)

 

Anybody got a spare unique villain or two they want to donate to the fan-bult adventures idea?  (my 2e write ups will likely not cut the mustard. ;)  )

 

 

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