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What I would do with a hypothetical Seventh Edition is avoid it like the plague.   By this point the rules have been combed through, deconstructed, revised, game-balanced, clarified, optioni

Gnomes.  I blame house gnomes, its their idea of a joke.

I don't see why we need to cede the "lower end" to GURPS.  I'm telling you, with the right set of options -- all of which already exist in the 4e, 5e, and 6e core rulebooks  -- we can handle gritty, n

I always liked the idea of OGLing the rules.  One could argue that the success of D&D is at least in part to the magnificent PR stunt that was OGL.  We need an online SRD to go along with it and a genuine effort on the part of DoJ to support fan made content as vigorously as Wizards do.  That means creating channels to distribute and possibly peer review fan made content.

 

I personally would love to have the ability to embed an SRD into the HERO System Mobile app without risking legal retribution.  It would open up a lot of possibilities for developers like me, granted this is a selfish request but I think it's worth risking looking selfish this time.

 

I feel like there needs to be zero or as low as possible barriers for entry for players, GMs and game designers to get into HERO.  Right now, the perceived barrier is high because if the 2 tomes and lack of a baseline setting in either.  It's intimidating, but at least the * Complete series of books makes it better.

 

On the topic of settings I also feel it's imperative to take an opinionated stance that this system is about supers at it's core.  Don't get me wrong, I love the systems ability to scale up or down and to suit the genre but this game was made for supers and does supers so well that it would foolish to not use this as the selling point.  To put it another way, make the Champions setting the default setting that ships with the rules.  

 

In summation: OGL the core rules (just enough to cover the basics) and publish them online for free, make an SRD, create and sell a Champions core book, create APG and the tomes and sell those marketing the APGs to players and the tomes to GMs. 

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12 hours ago, Lord Liaden said:

 

I do agree about the extraordinary Jackie Chan. But if you look at the bloopers he includes at the end of most of his movies, you see how many takes he flubbed those "borderline unbelievable" moves before he managed to execute each of them perfectly. And those were rehearsed choreography, not spontaneous in the midst of a real battle.

 

Isn't that the "cinematic reality" we are working to simulate?

 

11 hours ago, assault said:

 

The original characteristic values were derived from the economics of the point system. They had no real meaning outside that.

 

The lower heroic values are a combination of the lower point totals and the NCM ceilings.

 

Quite right.  In Champions 1e (including early Enemies books), we knew that a normal human had a 10 DEX, and (from the character writeups) Supers started at 18-20, 23 was pretty typical, 26 was a bit faster, and 30 - 35 was about as agile as our Supers got.

 

But we had no benchmark for "above average human", "the peak of human agility" or crossing the border to Legendary" and "Superhuman".  It was only when the "normal human" games came along that we started to get conceptual values for that.

 

If 1e had dropped every DEX score by 9-10, every CV by 3 and every SPD by 2, characters would have felt pretty similar in comparison to one another, agents would have been less of a joke, there would have been less need for Reduced END and more value to REC (as PS 12 would roll around more often) and we would have had more points to spend on other stuff.  We would have looked at that 12 point SPD chart even more oddly when SPD capped out at 5 or so, too. 

 

But once 1e set the stage, and a decision was made (at each later edition) to maximize backwards compatibility, we were more or less stuck.

 

11 hours ago, assault said:

Prior to 6th edition, "lower(ing) DEX for Supers" meant enforcing the use of mechanically inferior builds. It wasn't attempted because it would have been ignored.

 

6th edition changed the economics to a degree, but not entirely, and I suspect not quite in the direction the "lower DEX" enthusiasts imagine. It's still the case, however, that lower DEX is a measure that needs to be enforced. It doesn't happen as a logical outcome of the system. It is, frankly, sub-optimal.

In a lower DEX setting, it becomes optimal to select character concepts that can justify the highest levels of DEX available, in order to gain an edge on the lumbering slowpokes.

 

In other words, it unbalances the system, favouring some character concepts over others.

 

To me, 6e could fix that quite easily.  Pre-6e, it was impossible to have competitive CVs at a reasonable point expenditure without Legendary DEX.  You could do it if you dropped CVs by 3 across the board, but that would be a significant change.

 

6e?  I buy CV instead.  Where we want CV as a baseline can be segregated entirely from DEX.  A high DEF character with an 8 DEX?  Why not?  DEX means acting first (but if we have equal SPD, that is only really an advantage once) and good Agility skills - not really something our Brick or Blaster characters are typically known for.  As long as you can take that first hit (or Abort to avoid it), low DEX is not that big a deal for many characters.

 

9 hours ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

It makes sense that superpowered people should, on the whole, be pretty good in all their stats just by being well-trained athletic individuals with superior physique.  Even a mentalist who has to fight crime is gonna stay in shape.

 

But what is "pretty good"?  Even if we moved to a "DEX is normal human unless concept calls out for something else" would see an 8 be a very slow Super (much like an 8 in d20 is a dump stat, not an average).  I would expect non-agile Supers to be in the area of 13 DEX (a bit better than average) and a lot would be in the 18 range.  But that's a lot lower than they are now.

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Cross posting from another thread...

 

And therein lies the problem.  I'm fine with multiple ways of achieving the same, or similar, mechanical effect, but only when they carry the same, or at least similar, costs.  Paying 20% more to get the same effect another way is already excessive, and that's paying 6 points instead of 5.

 

This, to me, suggests revisiting:

 

 - the relative costs of CV, damage and combat skill levels;

 - the relative costs of characteristics (especially DEX, PRE, INT and EGO) and other ways of getting their mechanics (skill levels, lightning reflexes, PRE attacks and defense, PER rolls).

 

Those are the Big Two - there are likely some niche items.

 

Moving from a "default is NO - carefully consider because it could unbalance" to a "default is YES - but watch out for possible unbalances like..." would also be on my wish list.

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I tend to build my superheroes on a sort of scale.

Bricks are 13-18 DEX, they can be agile and athletic but not as much as others.

Egoists are 11-15, they rely on EGO more than DEX and rarely need the other

Energy Projectors are usually 18-23, they're fast and agile and have to move to stay safe

Martial Artists are even higher, 21-25 because they need it even more and have good reason to be exceptionally agile and dexterous.

Speedsters range the highest, 23-27.  Anything more is kind of a waste.

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19 minutes ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

I tend to build my superheroes on a sort of scale.

Bricks are 13-18 DEX, they can be agile and athletic but not as much as others.

Egoists are 11-15, they rely on EGO more than DEX and rarely need the other

Energy Projectors are usually 18-23, they're fast and agile and have to move to stay safe

Martial Artists are even higher, 21-25 because they need it even more and have good reason to be exceptionally agile and dexterous.

Speedsters range the highest, 23-27.  Anything more is kind of a waste.

 

And if the writers of 1st to 6th edition had had this philosophy, we wouldn't have this current argument. Unfortunately the decision was made to have very wide gaps between supers and normals in all the physical stats. It did establish supers as superior, but left the skilled normal heroes in a conundrum between concept and viability.

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12 hours ago, Spence said:

 

So........  put a 7th Edition cover on the 4th Edition rules?  :sneaky:

 

No, 3rd.  :D   

 

Maybe two "incomplete" versions.  Champions and Hero?  Champions Incomplete would have a cut-down skill system, but a full set of Powers, and combat options optimized for supers.  Everything you need for supers, but not much more.  Hero Incomplete would have the full set of Skills, assume Normal Characteristic Maxima, and the advanced combat options (Hit Locations, Impairing/Disabling, Bleeding, etc.) with maybe a cut down set of Powers optimized for fantasy.  Follow that up with encyclopedic references: equivalents of 6e1 and 6e2, Ultimate-type books (maybe for Skills, Powers (with a focus on building "power systems" -- magic, psionics, tech including high, low, and alternate such as steampunk), maybe a book of profession and race templates suitable for modern, fantasy, and SF).  Make "final" versions of the genre books with little to no game mechanics, then put all of the game mechanical parts (characters, power builds, NPCs, and so on) into separate supplemental volumes.  

 

3 hours ago, sentry0 said:

I always liked the idea of OGLing the rules.  One could argue that the success of D&D is at least in part to the magnificent PR stunt that was OGL.  We need an online SRD to go along with it and a genuine effort on the part of DoJ to support fan made content as vigorously as Wizards do.  That means creating channels to distribute and possibly peer review fan made content.

 

 

Agreed 100%.  I've been hoping for years that the HERO System would go OGL, and we really, really do need a content partner system like DrivethruRPG does with Wizards of the Coast, White Wolf, and others.  

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3 hours ago, Hugh Neilson said:

Isn't that the "cinematic reality" we are working to simulate?

 

2 minutes ago, Lord Liaden said:

Exactly so. Because it is a cinematic reality, it's a logical disconnect to try to align it too closely to what's practical or even possible in our mundane reality.

 

I don't see why we need to cede the "lower end" to GURPS.  I'm telling you, with the right set of options -- all of which already exist in the 4e, 5e, and 6e core rulebooks  -- we can handle gritty, non-cinematic stuff just fine.  I've played in many a campaign that did.  

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I remain convinced the proper approach to Hero is a stripped down simple basic rules set with all the main elements presented in a fun way for players, and a full set of more complete rules with the bells and whistles for the GM.  At its core, Hero is still the same simple game as in the first editions, it just has more options.  Two books ala PH/DMG with differing levels of complexity and you present a game that's easy to learn and play but can have much greater options and deeper exploration if you choose.

 

A 7th edition which deals with some minor issues in 6th and is presented in this manner would be much more broadly appealing, I think.  Particularly if combined with an effort to publicize using podcasters and "influencers" in the market.

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4 hours ago, Chris Goodwin said:

 

 

I don't see why we need to cede the "lower end" to GURPS.  I'm telling you, with the right set of options -- all of which already exist in the 4e, 5e, and 6e core rulebooks  -- we can handle gritty, non-cinematic stuff just fine.  I've played in many a campaign that did.  

 

But the currently published rules give almost no guidance on how to use those options and that needs to change. I am becoming increasingly convinced that any hypothetical new edition needs to focus on GM tools.

 

The two books should be more like this

 

1- A stripped down character creation book. Put in all the rules for building characters and the basic environment rules and combat rules and stop there. That's all the players need.

2-  A GM book that has all the rules of the players book prefaced with how to build each type of campaign, what optional rules to use, and an explanation of why the stop signs and caution signs are there on some powers and modifiers. Give all the metarules and design philosophy upfront. The typical large Hero tome  should be mainly for the GM.

 

Later books can have settings that don't include the rules but do state the options and typical build of the setting, starting with Champions. Enemies style books will require a more consistent build philosophy when designing the official adversaries, the spectrum from Bulldozer to Doctor Destroyer is just too wide. If anything was going for radical change, this would be the place. Dump all the legacy villains and start fresh( Us old farts will add in the ones we want anyway)

 

 

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5 hours ago, Lord Liaden said:

 

Exactly so. Because it is a cinematic reality, it's a logical disconnect to try to align it too closely to what's practical or even possible in our mundane reality.

 

In that cinematic reality, we tend to have one fellow with Legendary agility, and a lot of others who do not.  Giving our Cinematic Jackie Chan a 29 DEX is much less impressive when every other character in his story has a 23 - 29 DEX than when most are normal folk (8 - 13), with some being more agile (maybe up to 18) and only the rare few possess anything approaching him (20 - 23, say).

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It could be done with 4e, 5e or 6e, and it was, at least to a large extent, 1e through 3e.

 

Make ACTUAL GAMES that use the Hero System as their engine.  Take that system, with its array of dials and switches and possible ranges of ability, and publish a game that uses the system - that sets the dials and the switches to create the feel desired for the specific game, and presents only those aspects of the rules which are needed to run that game.

 

Perhaps we want a Fantasy game.  It will be Heroic.  So we set our starting characters at 175 points, and 50 points of complications.  Done.  NO OTHER OPTIONS.  You can choose to use different CP, but our game does not.

 

What should their characteristics be?  Perhaps we state outright that no PC can have stats higher than a 20 in any primary characteristic, that few would ever have less than an 8, and that most would have half their characteristics (at most) above 15, and no more than 1 or 2 above 18.   Maybe some races are 3 points higher in one stat and 2 points lower in two others (or what have you).  The point is that we MAKE A DECISION and that is how this game is played.

 

Similarly, we set standards for the secondary stats like defenses and SPD.

 

Maybe we impose greater restrictions - characters cannot have more than 15 in any Primary and similarly set caps for each secondary.  They may then take a single Race template, and up to two Profession templates.  Elves are Agile (+3 DEX), Rogues are Agile (+3 DEX) and Acrobats are Agile (+3 DEX), so an Elf who is both a Rogue and an Acrobat, and buys 15 DEX as a base, can have a 24 DEX.  But none of these templates are especially Hardy, so the best CON he may have is a 15 (maybe some races or professions even have a reduced characteristic).  Maybe you can have as many Professions as you can pay for.

 

We set Skills, and perhaps a starting character may buy only base skills (no extra bonuses), so if you did not invest in DEX, your best agility skill will be 11-.  Some may be in Professions, and maybe we allow for up to X skill levels (or maybe starting characters only get skill levels from Races and Professions).  Perhaps we rename or remove some skills, and set parameters on others.

 

Let's add some Perks and Talents which might be part of those templates, or could be acquired separately.

 

Now, we probably want some Powers, but perhaps we do not call them this.  Maybe we have Extraordinary Abilities, Supernatural Abilities and Spells.  Maybe we have more than one kind of spell.  Perhaps you can only buy pre-fabs (in fixed amounts, or variable amounts - e.g. you decide how many d6 your FlameBolt will do, but a Mystic Shield is always 4 rPD, 6 rED).  Maybe you need specific professions to purchase from certain lists.  We also define our magic system here.

 

Now, if all Wizard Spells require a Wizard Staff, Gestures and Incantations, we don't need to say that in every wizard spell - we just apply those limitations.   Maybe the occasional Wizard Spell can be cast without an Incantation (price it that way, and specify that it is one of those rare exceptions).  Perhaps very skilled casters can overcome these limits (powers built with naked advantages).  No need to spell out the builds.  They could always go in an appendix, or online, but that's not essential.

 

Ditto complications - maybe we remove some we dislike for this game (e.g., no Hunteds; the PCs will make their enemies as they go).

 

We provide the core rules - but maybe there is no Radar in our magical realm (so we leave that sense group out).  Perhaps Blindsense is common, so we write that up using Detect and include it. 

 

We include the combat maneuvers we want, and exclude those we don't.  Perhaps our game will use velocity-based DCV, so we include those rules, and vehicles and mounts, so those rules stay.  No Bases though - PC's don't get to buy a castle.  Maybe we'll include them in a later supplement.  Include those combat rules we wish to use - maybe some maneuvers are not in our game.  Maybe there are no martial arts - simulate them with skill levels, Limited bonuses to CVs and/or DCs, etc.

 

Now, toggle the switches - either we will use wounding or we leave it out.  Same choices for hit locations, Impairing, Disabling, Knockdown/back, Bleeding, Critical Hits - at the extreme, maybe we implement the "ignore STUN" option.  Maybe we include Interposing. 

 

Perhaps we decide characters never recover in combat (reprice Recovery as it is for BOD only, or remove it entirely; a few minutes' rest restores all STUN and END, but running out in combat means you are out).  Maybe we remove END.  Unless we use Long-Term End, we remove those rules as well.  We choose the model of Pushing to be used, and that is the only model in the game.

 

Some environmental effects, like radiation and zero gravity, are not intended for our game, so we leave them out.  Others reflect only those elements relevant - we don't need lasers or electrical outlets, but we have lightning bolts and flaming oil and torches.

 

Maybe we exclude underwater for another supplement, or perhaps we deliberately leave out things like pressure, the bends, etc. - those don't happen in this magical world.

 

Clearly, we will need weapons, armor and maybe rules for magical gear.

 

The point, of course, is that this is not "A system to build any game you want" or even "a system to design your own fantasy game".

 

It is ONE Fantasy game, powered by the Hero System.  You want to do some customizing?  Well, pick up the full system rules and customize to your heart's content.  But our game will stick with the rule book, and any supplements we may decide to publish later.

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On 9/19/2019 at 3:38 PM, mallet said:

 
Peter Parker in the new movies never trained or studied Acrobatics but he is naturally able to do all of that because of his "high DEX" in the movies. This isn't how HERO System works currently. In the current HERO System rules Peter Parker would only have the "untrained" Acrobatics skill giving him a 4- or 5- to even attempt Acrobatics stuff (if allowed at all) unless the GM used alternate rules.

 

If it were the case that there were a rule stating "Only characters who have been formally trained in Acrobatics may take the Acrobatics Skill" then you'd have a point.

 

But when you say "In the current HERO System rules Peter Parker would only have the "untrained" Acrobatics skill" you are simply mistaken. There is no rule stating "Peter Parker can't have the Acrobatics Skill." Nor does having that skill signify "training" necessarily. Having the Skill means you can do acrobatics. Maybe you can do acrobatics because you are an olympic gymnast or a circus acrobat. Or maybe you can do acrobatics because you were bitten by a radioactive spider.

 

Lucius Alexander

 

Maybe I have Breakfall because I've fallen off a palindromedary so often.

 

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57 minutes ago, Hugh Neilson said:

It is ONE Fantasy game, powered by the Hero System.  You want to do some customizing?  Well, pick up the full system rules and customize to your heart's content.  But our game will stick with the rule book, and any supplements we may decide to publish later.

 

I can only "like" your post once, sadly.  Agreed, all of it. 

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1- A stripped down character creation book. Put in all the rules for building characters and the basic environment rules and combat rules and stop there. That's all the players need.

2-  A GM book that has all the rules of the players book prefaced with how to build each type of campaign, what optional rules to use, and an explanation of why the stop signs and caution signs are there on some powers and modifiers. Give all the metarules and design philosophy upfront. The typical large Hero tome  should be mainly for the GM.

 

Make ACTUAL GAMES that use the Hero System as their engine.  Take that system, with its array of dials and switches and possible ranges of ability, and publish a game that uses the system - that sets the dials and the switches to create the feel desired for the specific game, and presents only those aspects of the rules which are needed to run that game.

 

 

This is the approach I'm taking in the current project I'm working on, on a small scale (two parts to one book).  I came to this based on multiple discussions we've had here on this board on the topic and I think its the right way forward with the game.  Its not completely unique, there are Fantasy Hero settings and Monster Hunters Inc were produced as separate stand alone "powered by Hero" games.  Heroic stuff is often easier because you don't need to publish the powers section at all in most cases.  If I'm playing a noir detective game, nobody needs to know how to build a Flash power with limitations and advantages except the GM.

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On September 20, 2019 at 4:07 PM, Christopher R Taylor said:

I remain convinced the proper approach to Hero is a stripped down simple basic rules set with all the main elements presented in a fun way for players, and a full set of more complete rules with the bells and whistles for the GM.  At its core, Hero is still the same simple game as in the first editions, it just has more options.  Two books ala PH/DMG with differing levels of complexity and you present a game that's easy to learn and play but can have much greater options and deeper exploration if you choose.

 

 

Effectively, we had that in 5, re5, and 6: Sidekick then the rules.  Didn't seem to bring the waves of new players we've all been hoping for.  :(

 

 

On September 20, 2019 at 4:07 PM, Christopher R Taylor said:

A 7th edition which deals with some minor issues in 6th and is presented in this manner would be much more broadly appealing, I think.  Particularly if combined with an effort to publicize using podcasters and "influencers" in the market.

 

 

I'm not a naysayer by nature, but I don't see the point anymore.

 

We had 5-- "to address and correct problems with 4, and introduce stuff that players really wanted to see," etc, etc.

 

Was it what?  Eighteen months?-- we had Re-Five.   And it wasn't too many months before Steve mentioned the need for a 6 and shortly after that the SETAC was formed, etc, etc, etc--

 

to solve all the problems and quibbles a quirks of the Second Coming of 5.

 

So....   5, as evidenced by the existence of a successor, failed.  

 

5 revised also failed.

 

6, by nature of this very discussion and others like it-- with it's broad sweeping changes and tearing down of a couple of long-held traditions-- failed.

 

And at this point, I can't see it not failing no matter how many tens of thousands of pages are written.

 

It's not the fault of the game:  Hugh and Duke and Christopher and Brian and Ed ---   we all want something different out of the game.  There is no way in Hell anyone is going to write a rule book that gives each and every player exactly what he wants.   Hell, life itself has _way_ fewer rules, and even that can't make us all happy.

 

 

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Effectively, we had that in 5, re5, and 6: Sidekick then the rules.  Didn't seem to bring the waves of new players we've all been hoping for.

 

That's not the way it was presented.  You got a big black book as the official rules, then Champions, and Fantasy Hero (huge).  The Sidekick was a later product, and was sold as "hero light" instead of "here's the rules for the players."

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When Fifth Edition came out, it sold. It sold very well. There seemed to be a lot of pent-up demand. The first few years of the DOJ era of Hero were profitable ones for the company, and a joy for us players, seeing new product coming out every couple of months.

 

All of us who love the game would be delighted to see it return to its glory days, or even in the same ballpark. At this point that looks very unlikely. Lots of reasons have been put forward for the system's decline in audience: a shrinking market for tabletop RPGs; changes in new gamers' tastes and expectations; DOJ's publication and marketing strategies. But nothing lasts forever, so maybe Hero's day is just past. Maybe it will survive only through those of us who love this type of game, and those we can find who discover they share that love. It may experience a renaissance one day as gaming tastes swing back; or it may not.

 

Even if that's the case, it's been a helluva run. :)

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2 hours ago, Duke Bushido said:

6, by nature of this very discussion and others like it-- with it's broad sweeping changes and tearing down of a couple of long-held traditions-- failed.

 

I would not consider 6th to be a broad, sweeping change, although I would agree it tore down a couple of long-held traditions.

 

Compare 3e, 4e, 5e and 6e Hero.  Then compare 2e, 3e, 4e and 5e Dungeons and Dragons.  The latter made broad, sweeping changes.

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I would argue that Fourth Edition was a sweeping change to Hero System, consolidating elements from its diverse genre-specific predecessor games, and changing and adding to many of their mechanics to attempt to be truly universal. Fifth was essentially a refinement and clarification of Fourth. Sixth altered more things, but is still the same game in most ways.

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Compare the changes from 3e Hero and 4e Hero to the changes between 2e and 3e D&D.  I do not believe any edition has made broad, sweeping changes.  I would consider 6e made the greatest changes, most notably in removing COM and Figureds and changing the costs of many characteristics. In 1e, 2e, 3e, it was always pretty easy to import elements from other genre books, but I would agree one set of rules across the board was the next broadest change.

 

But they have really been the same game with some tweaks from 1e to 6e, as compared to many other games where a new edition could fairly be described as a new game in familiar packaging.

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Rather than try to argue what changes would count as "broad" or "sweeping," I just want to leave this survey of rules and mechanics from 3E Champions and other pre-4E Hero games from the perspective of 5E, admirably compiled by our own Chris Goodwin. (Thanks, Chris!) :hail:  Readers can decide how substantive they are for themselves.

hero3tohero4.html

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