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What happened to HERO?

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43 minutes ago, TranquiloUno said:

I have also certainly bought any number of RPGs over the years sheerly based on cover and interior art. 

 

As have I.  :lol:

 

It's funny; until you mentioned it, I never really gave it much thought, but looking back, I realize more and more that the biggest two reasons I did not move into third edition were the art  (the cover art was fine: I have a deep love of William's work, but the _colors_?  Ugh!  A nightmare in pastel!  And that horrific pink for the back cover add?!  Gag!) and the new layout.  I just didn't like the "headers in bubbles" and the new fonts, etc.  It had too much of an "I want to be a text book" look, and it was too different in layout from both the previous two iterations and other games on the market at the time.  It wasn't the small changes to the game that bothered me; it was the changes to the _look_ of the game that actively turned me off to it.   :lol:

 

When Vampire hit the shelves, my brother David and I jumped in quickly.  Why?  The _look_ of the game.  That was all it took for us to pick up the book (one copy each, same trip to the FLGS) and read it.  The inside was pretty sweet too, as it was, at that time, my first "politics is the point" game.  (I will tell you up front:  That crap wears off some kind of fast).

 

 

43 minutes ago, TranquiloUno said:

 

I think any pile of words can be a functional game system. I don't think people buy RPGs because of the words.

 

While I agree with you in spirit, I feel that there are likely some people out there who are swayed by cover arts, blurbs, intro pages-- sometimes the style just _catches_.  I've read more than one crappy book because the first couple of pages were tasty, tasty bait.... 

 

 

43 minutes ago, TranquiloUno said:

 

I think the book has to spark something in the person. Blue and yellow don't spark nuthin' for me.

 

Agreed on both counts!  

 

43 minutes ago, TranquiloUno said:

 

Dr. D vs Seeker made me want to play that game without ever reading it.

 

Didn't / don't like either character, but that cover was _glorious_!  Undoubtably the high-water mark of HERO covers!

 

 

43 minutes ago, TranquiloUno said:

 

I remember loads of Classic Enemies based on their art.

 

I recall starting (but never finishing) a project to photoshop all the Williams-drawn characters down to their basic mannequins (obviously this was a much earlier Enemies book) to use on character portraits.  NO SHAME!   :D

 

 

 

43 minutes ago, TranquiloUno said:

I remember buying Champions in 3d based almost solely on the cover art.

 

 

See?  That's how we know even art is tricky.  While I own it now, I remember _not_ buying it new based solely on the cover art.

 

 

43 minutes ago, TranquiloUno said:

Shadowrun? Battletech? Bought 'em for the art.

 

 

Ditto.  Never even _read_ Battletech.  In fact, I gave it to a friend about twelve years ago who had lost his (someone cut his saddlebags and made off with them, not realizing they had nothing but his work jacket and some gaming stuff in them).  Even then, as well-thumbed as it was, I had never read it.

 

43 minutes ago, TranquiloUno said:

Talislanta? Barely remember the system. Loooooove the art and the world and still wanna play that game solely based on the art.

 

 

I really enjoyed my time playing Talislanta.  And thanks to our resident Lore Master, Lord Liaden, I have discovered that a lot of the old stuff is available for free, legally, from the ... author?  Publisher?  I don't remember now...  But it's out there, for free, if you're into PDF.

 

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M&M3e Hero's Handbook 231 pages with great full color art that screams SUPERHEROES and every page has color.

Champions Complete 240 pages.  Good cover, but text book black and white broken by the occasional line drawing.

 

Side by side HH looks to be half the thickness of CC.

HH has glossy pages with superheroic color art.

CC has a print paper-ish black and white 1980's grammar textbook vibe.

 

HH projects superhero comics.

CC....well.....

 

I have both and think Champs beats M&M hands down rules'wise.  But M&M sells while the sole copy of CC I saw on the shelf gathered dust until I bought it 50% off. 

 

I used to be one of the "art doesn't matter" crowd, then I actually started paying attention and have revised by position.  I was wrong, art is a key ingredient in selling a product.  

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On 10/30/2019 at 8:10 AM, Fedifensor said:

It appears to be a combination of factors, as others have mentioned: 

  • There is nothing in the core book where you can print out pregens and run through a starter adventure, like many other RPGs do.

 

Fantasy Hero Complete in fact includes, electronically at least, 18 sample PCs (in PDF, RTF, and HDC formats!), a starter adventure (the Val of Stalla), 24 monsters, the Kingdom of Grishun setting, and five maps (kingdom, city, town, countryside, and dungeon).  So we pretty much have the Fantasy Hero starter set!  The only thing it doesn't include is the dice.  $20 for book + PDF, $10 for PDF only; both of those include the adventure, setting, PCs, monsters, etc.

 

We pretty much have the Fantasy Hero starter set! 

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20 hours ago, Duke Bushido said:

 

As have I.  :lol:

 

It's funny; until you mentioned it, I never really gave it much thought, but looking back, I realize more and more that the biggest two reasons I did not move into third edition were the art  (the cover art was fine: I have a deep love of William's work, but the _colors_?  Ugh!  A nightmare in pastel!  And that horrific pink for the back cover add?!  Gag!) and the new layout.  I just didn't like the "headers in bubbles" and the new fonts, etc.  It had too much of an "I want to be a text book" look, and it was too different in layout from both the previous two iterations and other games on the market at the time.  It wasn't the small changes to the game that bothered me; it was the changes to the _look_ of the game that actively turned me off to it.   :lol:

 

When Vampire hit the shelves, my brother David and I jumped in quickly.  Why?  The _look_ of the game.  That was all it took for us to pick up the book (one copy each, same trip to the FLGS) and read it.  The inside was pretty sweet too, as it was, at that time, my first "politics is the point" game.  (I will tell you up front:  That crap wears off some kind of fast).

 

I've been thinking about that too recently while rereading the classics. VtM had, obvs, terrible cover art, but was still striking in it's way. But the interiors were really a sweet and stylistic departure from the TSR style that seemed standard before WoD\WW showed up.

 

Ars Magica is another one where the look, the art, and the system are all nicely congruent.

 

 

 

20 hours ago, Duke Bushido said:

 

 

 

While I agree with you in spirit, I feel that there are likely some people out there who are swayed by cover arts, blurbs, intro pages-- sometimes the style just _catches_.  I've read more than one crappy book because the first couple of pages were tasty, tasty bait.... 

 

 

Yes, that's a bit strong to say that any pile of words can be a worthwhile game system. And for sure *if the cover can get you to pick up the book* then I think cover blurbs and intros and all the rest (interior art!) can have a chance to go to work on a potential buyer.

But I do think the nice cover art matters in getting folks to take a closer look.

 

20 hours ago, Duke Bushido said:

 

 

 

Agreed on both counts!  

 

 

Didn't / don't like either character, but that cover was _glorious_!  Undoubtably the high-water mark of HERO covers!

 

 

Ha! Same. I mean I like Dr. D's appearance and design (not so for Seeker) but I don't particularly care for either character. But they did make me want to buy the book.

Same for the Hero System #500 cover from the ICE days.

 

20 hours ago, Duke Bushido said:

 

Ditto.  Never even _read_ Battletech.  In fact, I gave it to a friend about twelve years ago who had lost his (someone cut his saddlebags and made off with them, not realizing they had nothing but his work jacket and some gaming stuff in them).  Even then, as well-thumbed as it was, I had never read it.

 

 

 

I really enjoyed my time playing Talislanta.  And thanks to our resident Lore Master, Lord Liaden, I have discovered that a lot of the old stuff is available for free, legally, from the ... author?  Publisher?  I don't remember now...  But it's out there, for free, if you're into PDF.

 

 

 

Author made Tal available directly. Great stuff! I've downloaded copies on to multiple computers in fact.

 

Also Skyrealms of Jorune, Underground, Mekton, CP2020 (true, I was going to buy all the cyberpunk things regardless but those Chromebooks sure made it easier), some of the GURPS supps.

 

 

Heh. As fans we should just Kickstarter a collection of money to reprint FHC\CC or another slim Hero product but with loads of art dripping off every page. ;D

 

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23 hours ago, Spence said:

M&M3e Hero's Handbook 231 pages with great full color art that screams SUPERHEROES and every page has color.

Champions Complete 240 pages.  Good cover, but text book black and white broken by the occasional line drawing.

 

Side by side HH looks to be half the thickness of CC.

HH has glossy pages with superheroic color art.

CC has a print paper-ish black and white 1980's grammar textbook vibe.

 

HH projects superhero comics.

CC....well.....

 

I have both and think Champs beats M&M hands down rules'wise.  But M&M sells while the sole copy of CC I saw on the shelf gathered dust until I bought it 50% off. 

 

I used to be one of the "art doesn't matter" crowd, then I actually started paying attention and have revised by position.  I was wrong, art is a key ingredient in selling a product.  

My question is can you start a scenario out of the gate with the M&M HH? Or does it take work similar to CC?

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40 minutes ago, Ninja-Bear said:

My question is can you start a scenario out of the gate with the M&M HH? Or does it take work similar to CC?

It's got 17 pregen characters split across 15 archetypes and a quick-creation section where you or the dice make a handful of decisions and get your own version of 20 different archetypes.  It then has two different adventures for those characters, or any other characters of about the same power. 

For all its other sins, M&M does a very good job of letting people go from book to game quickly and easily. 

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On 10/29/2019 at 8:22 AM, GM Joe said:

For quick start of play in Heroic campaigns, I like using Templates. I provide Archetype Templates (Characteristics), Occupational Templates, and (if appropriate) Species Templates. Most offer some player choice as to the specific traits. Mix and match one Template of each type and make your choices within those Templates to make your unique hero.

 

As far as random supers, there was that random chargen system offered in Champions III... :)

We already have sample Templates in 6ed. The Champions source book. The problems...one there is the Champions source book and the Champions Universe source book and they are not the same thing...two it is deep into the back of the book...and three, they didn't include them in Champions Complete.

 

A source book of simple and easily modifiable templates would be welcomed.

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Man, the catch 22 of Hero. We NEED great comic book style FULL COLOR ARTWORK to help sell the game to guys who pick up graphic novels. But there is no way to actually AFFORD a great artist to do them.

 

I hope we can have full color great artwork for Dome City. Even if we are going for a more MCU movies look to it. It is my senerio, after all. I hope that it does well.

 

Prehaps our "cover" could be a fake poster, as it was a movie.

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I'm assuming we are not just doing Champions for this thing. Lets do more than Champions, Fantasy Hero, Star Hero, Pulp Hero with this. Lets try some Ninja Hero, Movie Serial Hero, Anime Hero, Meddling Kids Hero, etc.

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I think Fantasy Hero could benefit from a random character creation block style system like in the 5th edition Champions book. Granted, this might either mean casters just have X points of magic or you stick with a defined magic system, but still. 

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10 hours ago, steriaca said:

We already have sample Templates in 6ed. The Champions source book. The problems...one there is the Champions source book and the Champions Universe source book and they are not the same thing...two it is deep into the back of the book...and three, they didn't include them in Champions Complete.

 

A source book of simple and easily modifiable templates would be welcomed.

 

Yeah, CC just misses it. There's a decent amount of stuff in there to help folks get started, but not quite enough.

 

I'm a proponent of keeping page/word count down, but I think it would have been good to at least provide a FHC-like PDF support pack with CC that had a good selection of templates and other materials to help folks get started.

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13 hours ago, Ninja-Bear said:

My question is can you start a scenario out of the gate with the M&M HH? Or does it take work similar to CC?

 

I've never had an issue with either game, to be honest. The Deluxe version of the M&M HH has a few adventures, villains, and archetypes in it, so you can easily begin a game in a matter of minutes. 

 

13 hours ago, Lord Liaden said:

What did you think of the 6E Champions genre book? That has full-color art throughout the book. Cover ain't bad for superheroes, either.

Champscover1280x1024.jpg

 

It was okay, but I think something needs to be done with the Hero statblock. Particularly with Champions characters. There's a dynamic that's missing IMHO.

 

12 hours ago, steriaca said:

We already have sample Templates in 6ed. The Champions source book. The problems...one there is the Champions source book and the Champions Universe source book and they are not the same thing...two it is deep into the back of the book...and three, they didn't include them in Champions Complete.

 

A source book of simple and easily modifiable templates would be welcomed.

 

This is where I think M&M shines, and where Hero could learn a few things. The archetypes in M&M books act as a template, or as a quick-start character. Full art, ideas on customization, and even some info on backgrounds. Plus, they list some for villains as well, so you could easily use one when you need a bad guy in a pinch. 

 

On 10/30/2019 at 3:42 PM, Deadman said:

I really thought that with the IP getting bought by Cryptic (and them sharing their art) there would be a big push to get great art out there but it didn't come to pass.  Instead they stuck with the basic blue cover for most of the books. 

 

I get that people don't buy an RPG for the art but it does get interest going.  Look at Mutants and Masterminds, they were able to get a large following based on good looking products.  I'm not a fan of the system but the art was good.  I am a big fan of the Dark Champions genre and honestly I was very upset with the art that they chose to put in the 5e book Predators.  It was embarrassing for me to show the players.

 

I would be interested to find out how many copies of the BBB sold with the George Perez cover vs. Fred with the black cover.  I would think that there is a correlation.  The art won't do you a lot of good without a good game but Hero is a great game that should be far more successful than it is.

 

I'm kind of glad that we didn't get full CO art. Some of the designs were "meh" for me. Never cared for their Defender, nor did I like their version of Grond. Speaking as a graphic designer, the art and layout of a game can make or break it for me. When 4th ed came out, I jumped at it as I was running Hero before that, and I'm a big Perez fan. To this day, I wish that they would release that cover as a poster. ;)

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5 hours ago, steriaca said:

Ok. Now is the question of the hour: how can we get good art into our products quickly and cheaply. Heromachine can only do so much.

 

Pay an artist and graphic designer to do the work. You can use portfolios like Storn offers through LPJ Design, but when you want something customized, hire someone to work on it. Make your books look good and spit polished. Get someone on board as an editor and have them fine tooth the text. MS Word/Publisher only do so good. Invest in your products like you'd want people to invest in them. When I started making my own books, I asked myself what I would like as a patron and started working on that vision. 

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19 hours ago, steriaca said:

We already have sample Templates in 6ed. The Champions source book. The problems...one there is the Champions source book and the Champions Universe source book and they are not the same thing...two it is deep into the back of the book...and three, they didn't include them in Champions Complete.

 

A source book of simple and easily modifiable templates would be welcomed.

 

7 hours ago, Sketchpad said:

This is where I think M&M shines, and where Hero could learn a few things. The archetypes in M&M books act as a template, or as a quick-start character. Full art, ideas on customization, and even some info on backgrounds. Plus, they list some for villains as well, so you could easily use one when you need a bad guy in a pinch. 

 

Would a deck of cards (or two) work?  

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22 hours ago, Ninja-Bear said:

My question is can you start a scenario out of the gate with the M&M HH? Or does it take work similar to CC?

No, the basic HH ( 232 pg version) doesn't.  But the Deluxe HH (320pages) has a Quick Character Generator and two complete starter adventures.

 

They also put out the Emerald City setting book that contains a complete starter campaign.

 

from the description:

The 112-page adventure Emerald City Knights, a complete introductory story arc that takes the heroes from the origins of super-powers in the city to a world-spanning threat that has been hidden there throughout history!

 

All in glorious glossy color! :snicker:

 

 

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On 10/27/2019 at 3:53 PM, zslane said:

Still, good morale, while helpful, isn't the resource most desperately needed here. It probably doesn't even rank in the top ten... ;)

I disagree. Never underestimate what a few highly motivated people can get done when they decide to. If we will decide to is a separate issue. I can say with almost absolute certainty that in some way shape or form HERO will continue to exist so long as people play RPG's because of the morale of the people here and a bunch of quiet individuals out there that understand why the D&D crowd doesn't know what they are missing. Not that D&D can't be fun, I have had fun playing some of the most terrible RPG systems ever! I don't know if it will be a financially successful or popular endeavor but people will be using HERO or one of its iterations for a long time. 

 

Ours is a social hobby and the players and more importantly GM's have to advocate for HERO. They don't know what they don't know. We have the Community system coming to hopefully create some cool On-Ramps for HERO which should be one of our primary objectives as a group along with hosting games. I found out there was a mini-convention in town last weekend and it was very easy to drum up interest in a possible game.

 

 

On 10/30/2019 at 6:59 PM, TranquiloUno said:

But pretty pictures are always pretty.

 

Art sells product.

I agree with the art or Color issue but maybe we can turn it into an asset. Slap a sticker on the front that says : "Pretty, Misleading Picture Here". Make the fact that it DOESN'T try to sell you on the color a strong point. Maybe we need better art in a rules book. I don't know. 

 

Not that I have anything against art for RPG's in general. Not a single one of us can say we haven't looked at some stunning picture over and over and played imaginary scenes in our heads. I tell people that poo-poo Splash and Color to think of it as foreplay for gaming. It's Viagra for our imaginations. Art is dry tinder for our minds. It brings back all those fantasies from staring at an amazing image. We get the benefit of all that time imagining when we play, albeit with differences, because we share our imaginations with the others so our world becomes an amalgam of each person that participates. 

 

However, we live in an age where we have nearly unlimited Splash at the press of a few buttons so I personally do not pay much attention to Color outside of the actual playing and planning part. I use it to spark my idea machine, it doesn't help me understand or appreciate the rules any better.

 

I wanted a universal system not a specific game world so I got exactly what I wanted.

 

I do believe we need some great splash for the Campaign Worlds though. It helps people "be" in the world, especially those with less vivid or active imaginations. 

 

I would rather have someone buy a HERO product because of a "stupid reason" than not get to know the system.

 

 

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Honestly, being a system based on comic books, graphic novels, and maybe manga, I would like artwork which speaks to memories of great comic books in Champions. For Western Hero, I expect nice pulp covers like trashy western novels or maybe like posters in western movies. Same for Star Hero.

 

You get the idea. Does this mean we need to publish our adventure as a comic book? Heck no. But since we are more or less emulating Marver and DC, lets make art which looks like it can come from a cover of one of there comics (it doesn't have to be from "now"...it can emulate any of the ages of comics if we wish).

 

In fact, for a series of short adventures in the "not quite Champions Universe", a cover mimicking a comic book would be cool.

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13 hours ago, zslane said:

Back in 2nd edition days, we used the Enemies books as examples of possible character builds.

I believe that these builds are the best for helping brand new GM/Players.  I could see free PDF with say 6 characters built like these so a new group could grab them and run a sample scenario.  A scenario I imagine would be against Agents (built as Notable). One run through and everyone should get a feel for the basics of combat and perhaps skills too.  I would have some paragraphs explaining that these build are purposefully built simple has to allow people to grasp the mechanics of the game and then encourage them as they feel comfortable to experiment with adding more points and various builds to a character.

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