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Tywyll

What happened to HERO?

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My own theory -- which anyone could legitimately dispute -- is that movies and television shows are a more passive activity than role-playing games. People don't watch them to create stories and characters, but to be told stories and shown characters. There's no automatic mental connection for them to a medium that lets them take on the roles of their heroes and craft their own adventures. OTOH D&D has always been marketed as a role-playing game, and is what most people aware of the concept think of when they think RPG. And since D&D is of the fantasy genre, other genres don't occur to them as alternatives for role-playing. Obviously there are exceptions, but those exceptions are relatively small in number. Like us. ;)

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35 minutes ago, Lord Liaden said:

My own theory -- which anyone could legitimately dispute -- is that movies and television shows are a more passive activity than role-playing games. People don't watch them to create stories and characters, but to be told stories and shown characters. There's no automatic mental connection for them to a medium that lets them take on the roles of their heroes and craft their own adventures. OTOH D&D has always been marketed as a role-playing game, and is what most people aware of the concept think of when they think RPG. And since D&D is of the fantasy genre, other genres don't occur to them as alternatives for role-playing. Obviously there are exceptions, but those exceptions are relatively small in number. Like us. ;)

 

I don't dispute any of what you're saying, I just wanted to add that D&D and Pathfinder have a ton of high quality playable out-of-the-box adventures that allow the GM to focus on something other than writing an adventure.  I have personally observed this to be a major selling point for those players which I would argue is pretty close to watching TV.  It's akin to having a sandbox where players have predefined boundaries they can't cross.  There's nothing wrong with that but HERO has always been a tinkerer's system with less emphasis on providing playable modules and more about setting books and info... different approach, different market IMO.  HoC may allow players to change that by offering playable modules and allow us to cross over into mass appeal, we'll have to wait and see but I am keeping my fingers crossed.

 

My own observation is that the whole playstyle is different for those games;

  • listen at the door 
  • check for traps
  • pick the lock
  • fight 
  • collect loot/grab anything not nailed down
  • ???
  • Profit (mainly for Wizards/Paizo :))

I'm playing through Storm King's Thunder with my main group and it's pretty much this but you have a larger sandbox than usual.

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Not playing a first level thief in an OSR game. I tried to pick the lock. Not with a 25% chance. I’m not a burglar but a bumbler!


P.s. I also use the suggestion whereas the DM (my son) rolls for Detect Traps and Disarm Traps and Hide. And he narrates what happens. The idea is that if you were looking for traps (and failed the roll) your character would think that there is no hidden traps.

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35 minutes ago, Greywind said:

Obviously a party without a barbarian, sentry0.

 

  • Rogue tries to listen at door
  • Barbarian kicks in the door
  • Melee ensues

 

It's true, no barbarian in the group. 

 

The funny thing about this group is that they always split up in dungeons... it would drive my crazy as a GM.  There's also a healthy mix of murder-hoboism at the table... ah well.

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Champions isn’t on store shelves because Champions is not supplied to stores through any of the remaining distribution companies. Moreover, Champions has no advertising and marketing budget, and so it has no vehicle for getting the general RPG customer base excited to try/play the game. Consequently, stores have no incentive to put it on shelves.

 

Creating a good RPG takes money. Making that RPG popular also takes money. Guess what Hero Games as none of?

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22 hours ago, zslane said:

Champions isn’t on store shelves because Champions is not supplied to stores through any of the remaining distribution companies. Moreover, Champions has no advertising and marketing budget, and so it has no vehicle for getting the general RPG customer base excited to try/play the game. Consequently, stores have no incentive to put it on shelves.

 

Creating a good RPG takes money. Making that RPG popular also takes money. Guess what Hero Games as none of?

This begs the question: how much money?

I know that Steve Long's Kickstarter for Mythic Hero needed around 30-40k...and was unable to hit that number.  But assuming 10-15k as a baseline per product, 100k per year could generate 6 books.  250k and maybe you get one book a month.  Half a million gets you an output similar to peak Hero System days.  A million a year gets you into major player territory, back into game stores everywhere, maybe even a few bookstores.  

But even 50k a year would keep the system going.  

There are potential funding models besides the HoC idea--Kickstarter or Patreon are the first that come to mind.  You'd need about 1000 patrons at $5 a month to have a de minimis funding level.  10k at $10 each per month would get you to top-tier non-D&D game company status, imo.  

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2 hours ago, megaplayboy said:

There are potential funding models besides the HoC idea--Kickstarter or Patreon are the first that come to mind.  You'd need about 1000 patrons at $5 a month to have a de minimis funding level.  10k at $10 each per month would get you to top-tier non-D&D game company status, imo.  

 

I've often wondered aloud about why Hero doesn't run a Patreon similar to what Evil Hat did with FATE. (Last I heard, they were at least breaking even.) I'd certainly be willing to pay $5/month for a Hero product, even with minimalist production values. Lack of material? No obvious interest from the fan base? They ran the numbers privately and decided it wouldn't work? Only DoJ knows.

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If a company is using crowd funding to keep a product line going, then it isn't a serious player in its industry. The economics of publishing may be changing (with digital media slowly displacing traditional print media), but you must still look to the market leaders to see what it takes to be successful. Right now, D&D and Pathfinder are the market leaders in table top RPGs. They aren't using Kickstarter to produce, market, and distribute their core product lines. Doing what they do takes lots of money. Doing something other than what they do makes you, at best, a boutique RPG publisher who lives and dives by secondary financing schemes and the continued interest and willing support of your existing, (relatively) minuscule fan base.

 

"But the Hero System doesn't have to be as big and popular as D&D to stay alive," the beat down Hero faithful will opine. Sure, but unless a major effort is made to change the game's fortunes, and doing so with the kind of effort and resources that are poured into D&D, I guarantee you that the Hero System will continue the downward trajectory it has experienced the last ten years or so, until it isn't really alive anymore at all. I've been saying this for a long time, and I am usually told I'm way off on this, but history seems to be proving me right, little by little, every year.

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On 11/30/2019 at 1:14 PM, zslane said:

If a company is using crowd funding to keep a product line going, then it isn't a serious player in its industry.

 

That's not entirely true. There are plenty of companies, both old and new, that run regular crowdfunding to produce their material. In many cases, this ensures that you have an audience for a game, as well as offering perks and bonuses as rewards to those that help. Many companies, such as Free League, Green Ronin, Modiphius, and Monte Cook Games, have done such a thing. 

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If I'm not terribly mistaken, Steven Jackson Games has done crowd funding on a few things: weird dice and other oddities.

 

Seeing as how I can still find Green Ronin stuff and SJG stuff in the shops, I'm going to consider them at least _serious_ players, if not wildly successful.

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SJG is currently funding a new edition of Car Wars, which has been wildly successful. We'll see the final version in stores once the game is completed. The same can be said about the Torg Eternity Cyberpapcy books, or the Cypher System rulebooks. In addition, Paizo did use some crowdsourcing  recently with their newer Kingmaker stuff (in fact, they even tapped the D&D 5e market with it). 

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I made up a play aid to make old school Car Wars run a lot faster.  In a six player game, with four noobs and two rusty old farts, we got through a complete arena duel in about two and a half hours.  It shocked me how well that made it go. 

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26 minutes ago, Chris Goodwin said:

I made up a play aid to make old school Car Wars run a lot faster.  In a six player game, with four noobs and two rusty old farts, we got through a complete arena duel in about two and a half hours.  It shocked me how well that made it go. 

 

 

So....

 

you wanna share that, or _what_?  :D

 

 

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11 hours ago, Duke Bushido said:

Well, looks like I missed again....  :(

 

They ran a Kickstarter to bring back all of their Pocketbox Games of the 80s. :)

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/sjgames/pocket-box-games-of-the-eighties/description

 

I'll bet you'll be able to get what you want once the Kickstarter orders are filled in a few months.

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18 hours ago, Duke Bushido said:

If I'm not terribly mistaken, Steven Jackson Games has done crowd funding on a few things: weird dice and other oddities.

 

You're not mistaken -- SJG uses crowdfunding quite often, and they do a pretty good job of it. For GURPS specifically, they used it to produce all-in-one boxed set for playing in the dungeon-delving space (Dungeon Fantasy RPG) and a follow-on to it. They've also used it for The Fantasy Trip and many of their other properties, including products for their very popular Munchkin game. Stuff intended for mainstream distribution after Kickstarter fulfillment is put up by their Steve Jackson Games account, while stuff that will just be produced for the Kickstarter (with any remaining stock sold through their website) is posted under their Warehouse 23 account.

 

Outside of crowdfunding, it helps that they have a stable of evergreen tabletop games like Munchkin and Zombie Dice. They can afford to make relatively little money on games like GURPS and still produce one well-crafted, substantial PDF for it per month.

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Anyone else notice the announcement that Chaosium is going to be making an OGL and SRD for the system that powers their popular games, such as Call of Cthulhu and RuneQuest -- Basic Roleplaying (BRP)?

https://basicroleplaying.org/topic/10565-new-version/?do=findComment&comment=162231

 

I think that's pretty darned exciting. I'm glad that a good number of companies over the years have chosen to do that. It's opened up a lot of possibilities.

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On 12/1/2019 at 7:38 PM, Duke Bushido said:

 

 

So....

 

you wanna share that, or _what_?  :D

 

 

 

Here is a version that another person on the SJ Games boards made (link goes to the BoardGameGeek page for the file).  Pretty similar to mine, and it gives you the gist.  Here is a pic of a card from my set.  My son is on my computer at the moment so I can't get to the full file.  

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On 11/28/2019 at 3:29 PM, Duke Bushido said:

 

As humorous and heart warming as that is, I admit to having a "perfect" version od Champions that is pretty much 2e with excerpts of Champs II and III, my own vehicle / giant robo rules, and a small "discussion entry" of new powers from later editions that is essentially 'how to do this with 2e rules."

 

Given that there is currently this.   "Champions Now" project and of course a floundering current edition, I doubt I could even get it into the Hall of Champions. 

 

I suppose it will forever remain my private "I hope to make a Lulu book" dream... 

 

 

Having never played before 3rd edition, do you mind me asking what it was about 2nd that was better than 4th and beyond?

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