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What happened to HERO?

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On 10/26/2019 at 9:59 PM, sentry0 said:

Unpopular Opinion: the hobby is currently in a bubble that will burst.  All the hipsters will run with their hands above their heads back to their craft breweries as they await the next trend.  Calling it now 😝

 

This will be interesting to see how it plays out.

 

I've seen a decent drop in player attendance at one store I play at and the other is holding steady.  It's certainly not the overflowing mass of new players that it was a couple of years ago.

 

I feel like adventure content - Professionally written and illustrated - is a huge missing piece for Fantasy HERO.

 

I've been running 1 or 2 Fantasy HERO tables a week for a couple years now and ALL of the players had to be lured over from D&D.  Once that was done I had to run Pathfinder or D&D content - converting on the fly to HERO - since there is so little created for Fantasy HERO.

Even back in the 80s I was primarily using D&D adventures with a mix of some home brew content

 

We played through Evermist and it was very enjoyable, but in terms of production value - it is not going to pull dollar bills out of pockets when compared to a Pathfinder or D&D 5e product.

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1 hour ago, ScottishFox said:

 

This will be interesting to see how it plays out.

 

I've seen a decent drop in player attendance at one store I play at and the other is holding steady.  It's certainly not the overflowing mass of new players that it was a couple of years ago.

 

I feel like adventure content - Professionally written and illustrated - is a huge missing piece for Fantasy HERO.

 

I've been running 1 or 2 Fantasy HERO tables a week for a couple years now and ALL of the players had to be lured over from D&D.  Once that was done I had to run Pathfinder or D&D content - converting on the fly to HERO - since there is so little created for Fantasy HERO.

Even back in the 80s I was primarily using D&D adventures with a mix of some home brew content

 

We played through Evermist and it was very enjoyable, but in terms of production value - it is not going to pull dollar bills out of pockets when compared to a Pathfinder or D&D 5e product.

 

I hear what you're saying but I've always been a DIY kind of GM.  Although I certainly appreciate a good setting book crammed with NPCs and plot seeds to use as a playground.

 

HERO is great system for DIY, I've gone on the record stating my fondness for the setting books like Turakian Age... it fits in nicely with my mentality.  Weaving in player backgrounds into the world and giving people freedom to explore their characters in a big sandbox is where it's at for me.  I also realize that not everyone appreciates this style of play and there is plenty of demand for canned modules.

 

Hopefully the Hall of Champions will provide some cool adventures for those types of GMs.

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On 12/4/2019 at 11:44 AM, Duke Bushido said:

The differences were minor, really.  If you had 2e, Champs II, and Champs II, you had 3e.

 

Thats why I never traded up. 

 

That, and at the time 3e came about, I was at a point where I was without a lot of loose money to throw at another book.  I have picked and chosen from the newe stuff I liked, (for example, I use the 3/4 e rules on adjustment powers, sort of; things get reversed a bit to be more 2e-ish); not because I liked it being cheaper or working against AP instead of CP, but because it was easier on the players. 

 

And it works; it works great! 

 

You know why?  Because all editions are not only compatible, but pretty much the same save for the increasing levels of detail, "no," and "must."

 

That makes total sense.

 

And it's a reminder to me of one of the (many) difficult things about the RPG market. Every new edition is competing not just with other games, but with all prior editions of the same game. RPGs aren't consumables, they don't stop working, and the people who buy them tend to be the sort who are just as happy fixing any issues they find as they are to pay someone else for a fix.

 

Of all the games I own that have multiple editions, there are only a few that I play or run the current edition of the game.

 

Which makes me admire D&D, especially 5e. They really hit a home run with that one, recovering from not only the stumbles of 4e, but successfully competing with all previous editions, the OSR, and Pathfinder, all of which are currently supported by new products from someone out there, to one extent or another.

 

An impressive feat.

 

But, even so, there are plenty who aren't interested in D&D 5e. I own it, but I don't play or run it.  I like the older stuff better, particularly AD&D and B/X.

 

The only D&D version I've run a campaign in within the last decade was B/X. In the end, it's my preferred edition -- and the RPG that introduced me to the hobby.

 

But, then, I'm not really a D&D guy, and haven't been since the mid-80s. If I were, I'd certainly be subject to the one thing that does tend to pressure people into adopting new versions of RPGs they like: the desire to play and run the game with people outside of their immediate circle (at conventions, online, etc.).

 

Good thing I'm mostly interested in niche games, and have folks near me who are happy to play them. 😁

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23 hours ago, ScottishFox said:

Once that was done I had to run Pathfinder or D&D content - converting on the fly to HERO - since there is so little created for Fantasy HERO.

 

Why not create your own?

 

99% of the RPG content I've ever played in (or ran myself) was created by the GM, with only rare bits and pieces taken from published modules. I always thought that was the norm, but somewhere along the way GMs became utterly dependent on published content, and it seems that without it they don't have a game to play.

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13 minutes ago, zslane said:

 

Why not create your own?

 

99% of the RPG content I've ever played in (or ran myself) was created by the GM, with only rare bits and pieces taken from published modules. I always thought that was the norm, but somewhere along the way GMs became utterly dependent on published content, and it seems that without it they don't have a game to play.

 

I made more of my own content back in the day when I didn't have to juggle game time in between family and a demanding job.

 

What I especially like to do now is take professionally created content and then modify it to suit my players.  This is far less time consuming and comes with professionally drawn maps, handouts, fleshed out and familiar worlds with their own history, etc.

 

I suspect a large chunk of the population that played Champions, Danger International, Fantasy HERO and so on have grown up and had families and don't have the same kind of free time they did back in the 80s/90s.

 

I think a stack of high quality adventures for Champions and Fantasy HERO would have sold quite well when the player base was larger.  That's a complete guess on my part of course, but I would throw money at my screen to get adventures.  Evermist, for example, is not on the same production quality level, but I bought it immediately and it was quite good.

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I'm not so sure that leaning heavily, if not entirely, on published adventures is something that only aging GMs who lack time anymore are doing. It's a much more pervasive phenomenon, I think, reaching young (new) players as well. It feels like the old DIY ethos is just gone today.

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22 hours ago, zslane said:

 

Why not create your own?

 

99% of the RPG content I've ever played in (or ran myself) was created by the GM, with only rare bits and pieces taken from published modules. I always thought that was the norm, but somewhere along the way GMs became utterly dependent on published content, and it seems that without it they don't have a game to play.

 

You have a very rare and unusual experience in roleplaying.  

I envy you.

 

22 hours ago, ScottishFox said:

 

I made more of my own content back in the day when I didn't have to juggle game time in between family and a demanding job.

 

What I especially like to do now is take professionally created content and then modify it to suit my players.  This is far less time consuming and comes with professionally drawn maps, handouts, fleshed out and familiar worlds with their own history, etc.

 

I suspect a large chunk of the population that played Champions, Danger International, Fantasy HERO and so on have grown up and had families and don't have the same kind of free time they did back in the 80s/90s.

 

I think a stack of high quality adventures for Champions and Fantasy HERO would have sold quite well when the player base was larger.  That's a complete guess on my part of course, but I would throw money at my screen to get adventures.  Evermist, for example, is not on the same production quality level, but I bought it immediately and it was quite good.

 

I entered the Navy right out of high school and my RPG time was scarce and rare except for a couple short tours.  Most of what gaming I did get in was pre-built adventures because we really didn't have the time to work up adventures.  When I did build my own it was usually AD&D where you could do a fast layout and plugins from the monster manual.

 

My most memorable gaming run was when I spent a year in Millington TN at NATTC in school.  I drew on material from that time for years later.  But I have had increasingly less time for gaming each year, not more.  I can only go by my personal experience that is shaped by my life and the people I know, but I have met many people that say they prefer to build their own stuff.  Heck, I prefer to run adventures I made.  But the vast majority of games I have played and most of the gamers I know use prebuilt material, intact or hastily modified.  Hastily because each precious hour of game prep is one less of play.  And an hour of time to actually game is extremely rare these days. 

 

Herodom is a very small niche of a niche market, and I am not referring to the rules. I am speaking to it's approach and player base. 

 

Way back in the 90's a course was decided to not publish premade adventures. 

 

When they did produce a setting, it was almost deliberately designed to be almost unusable with detail.  There is a thread about the Turakian Age where it is sagely discussed how the setting cannot be understood by reading it chapter to chapter.  You need to "study" and "research" and hope about.   It is a beautifully designed document as if it was a text book or historical record or a resource for a collegiate research project.  Perfect if you have a few years to dedicate.  But most gamers need something easier and less time intensive.

 

After stubbornly producing one concept, what we have on the Hero forums are the very small percentage of a micro percentage of gamers with the luxury and time to devote hours and days to gaming projects. 

Also, the majority of gamers here scoff at playing at the FLGS because they have firmly established long term (years) gaming groups which is not the norm.   The FLGS and gaming CONs are still the venues that generate new players and then new GM's.

 

Hero created  a self fulfilling prophesy and now people wonder why Hero is virtually extinct.

 

 

14 hours ago, zslane said:

I'm not so sure that leaning heavily, if not entirely, on published adventures is something that only aging GMs who lack time anymore are doing. It's a much more pervasive phenomenon, I think, reaching young (new) players as well. It feels like the old DIY ethos is just gone today.

 

It is not aging GM's or that the old DIY ethos are gone.  They are just as common as ever but it is a percentage game.

1% of 100 is 1.

1% of 500,000 is 5,000

I know several GM's for D&D, Call of Cthulhu, Trail of Cthulhu/GUMSHOE, and Pathfinder that build their own original adventures.

But those same GM's routinely run prebuilt adventures/settings at the FLGS for League Night if the game has one, just as a game if not. 

The ratio of GM's to players in any game is very low. 

It is much much much lower for any game community that heaps derision on anyone that "lowers themselves to using prebuilt material".  

 

Take Turakian Age, awesome setting if written to be unusable to the average gamer.

It doesn't need a re-write.  It needs a, let's call it a digest version for easy entry.  Pick one location, one small town, with one human culture and write a smaller less detailed version based on TA.  Add a CharGen section tailored to the digest, and for all that is holy, build a small no less that ten spells beginning player spell list.  Plus a GM ready adventure. 

 

As I try to build up my idea for an adventure for Hall of Champions I realize that I would not be able to create that digest, but I hope someone with the talent will. 

 

Hero already has great rules and settings.

What it needs are entry paths and publicity. 

Hall of Champions is a great start down that path. 

One day I'd love to see adventures that directly use existing Hero superheroes and supervillains.  

I hope to contribute to building some of those entry paths, though the going is much more difficult that I thought.

 

 

 

 

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On 12/6/2019 at 1:02 PM, zslane said:

 

Why not create your own?

 

Time.

 

 

Quote

99% of the RPG content I've ever played in (or ran myself) was created by the GM,

 

For the first ten years of my GMing, this was the case for me, too: I built everything.  I Grew everything.

 

Then I got a life:  a business, lots of debt for the equipment-- you fix that by keeping the equipment working-- and work, work, work.  Still, I found time to make my own stuff.  Granted, it cut my time to spend actually _playing_ down to a third of what it could have been, as I was busy building more than I was playing.

 

 

On 12/6/2019 at 9:04 PM, zslane said:

It feels like the old DIY ethos is just gone today.

 

Ethos?!

 

You keep bringing this up as if it's some special jewel in the hipster crown to kick working people in the nuts, and it's getting damned old.

 

I don't know a single HERO GM who doesn't _want_ to build his own stuff.

 

So let's move from my first ten years as a GM to the next ten.

 

Right about the time I got a fiancee and a pair of twins-- and mortgage on a more appropriate house for a wife and kids, the bottom kind of fell out of house moving.  Great thing is the bottom didn't fall out the payments on the equipment and the trucks, but they were suddenly a lot harder to sell.

 

So I went out and got a couple of jobs, as did the soon-to-be wife  So here I am, working roughly 90 hours a week.  I _want_ to keep playing.  I _want_ to keep building.  To some extent, I was able to do that, but not so much because I had time to build on something, but because I could find creative ways to keep the existing stuff fresh and interesting enough that the players were happy to adventure in the same setting for another decade.  They'd get tired of their characters, we'd retire them, and start new characters in the same environment, usually after the biggest BANG of  crescendo I could manage-- all the villains from the arc were defeated one way or another, and the heroes became legends for their deeds on "that fateful day."

 

No, it's not "the true GM ethos" of building an entire new thing.  But let's figure that I'm putting in 90 at two jobs, and the fiancé is putting in between 30 and 45 all the while going to school.  I'm taking side-jobs as well, because we've got kids, and while pears, pecans, apples, and ornamental bushes are in every nursery I check, none of them have diaper trees.  But all the while, I am finding a way to do _something_, anything!-- to keep the game alive.  We're creeping from weekly to biweekly to monthly to bi-monthly...  We could have stopped somewhere around bi-weekly, I suppose, but I kept insisting on making my own stuff.  Granted, I had to admit that all I had time for anymore was _tweaking_ my already-existing stuff, but hey-- it was _my stuff_ and that's "True GM Ethos" of some kind, right?

 

The fiancee begins to have nervous problems.  Stress?  Fear?  I'm not sure.  She pushes the wedding date back.  Half the equipment is sold, and I've manage to split the note into two pieces, completely paying off one piece with the proceeds of the sale.  Great.  But the kids are a bit older, too, and hey-- more resources have to be had, right?

 

About the end of my second GM-ing decade, fiancee takes the kids and runs to her mothers in Virginia because "I can't raise them by myself and you're always working or playing that damn game!  (which, for the last couple of years, had been a twice-a-year affair, so I felt she was unfairly targeting my hobby (one she never cared for to begin with) as a vent for her frustrations of how her husband-to-be had gone from successful business man to over-worked strong back on the whim of a market).  Then I kind of figured out that even when I wasn't playing, I was stealing an hour here and there to work on "my DIY stuff," because I was a "true GM" with "proper ethos."  

 

I let the game drop, and any time I had seventy hours or so in a row off, I was on the bike, running back and forth to see my girls.  I also had to pick up more side work, as I don't have it in me to be a deadbeat, and supported my kids and their mother as best I could.  Besides, I still had the other debts.  Still, I could squeeze in enough time to work on "my stuff" that we could still manage to get in a game or two, provided everyone met at my place.  Games had to be short, because at that time the longest "between shift" time I had (still working two jobs and side jobs) was about seven hours.  Attendance was terrible, but we still did it, and we did it with "my stuff."

 

Now I've posted on here before-- during a "what music bugs you and why" thread what the next bit of my life was, and I don't want to get into it again too deeply, because it doesn't get better.  F**k the poets: it does _NOT_ get better!  Short version is I lost my girls, and shortly thereafter their mother ended herself.  The next two years I lost everything, including me.  I spent the majority of that time drunk or talking to LEOs.  I am not proud, and it was not pretty.  I was very much living out of my saddlebags at that point.

 

Enough was enough.  I pulled myself together, with the help and support of my friends, in particular those I had been gaming with for nearly twenty years now (except the last couple: I had just been crashing on couches when the weather was too ugly for a tent, or borrowing their shower or washing machine when I didn't have money for the truck stop or the laundry mat.

 

I applied myself harder at the one job I still had, and started hustling the side work again.   Worked like Hell, and got straight.  Started to put myself through school.  Found time to game again, too.  Of course, I had "ethos," and would only play _my_ stuff.  Eventually, the focus on "my stuff" cost me the schooling, because despite what you see in the movies, there just isn't time for both, not if you've got to spend hours and hours building worlds and preparing scenarios from scratch and making sure everything pegs into place with everything else that's gone before, etc, etc....

 

About that time, I met my wife.  She was a Godsend.  I met her-- well, that's not important.  She was going back to school for a real degree (it's amazing all the things you can't do with a Liberal Arts degree, no matter where it's from) with which she could get a job doing something other than teaching liberal arts.  We dated after my screwing around in school pretty much meant "start over or get out."  I couldn't afford to start over (financially or at my age, by then), so I got out, and got me a Big Boy job again: I was right back to pushing 60-plus hours as week.  My wife and I got engaged, and bought a house.  I kept working on "my stuff" for gaming, and having a slightly better schedule, gamed every other month.  Again, there was the time thing-- the new fiancee didn't like that when I had a weekend, I'd rather spend it in my old stomping grounds than with her.  I stopped.  Period.  Cold turkey.  Too many nightmares about the time I didn't.

 

By that time, her schooling was getting more and more expensive, and I again took a second job to pay the bills and help where I could with her schooling.  She took a part-time job, wisely in a field related to her study).  Before I knew it, I was working 90 a week again.

 

That was about the time we got internet, actually, and I "got my fix" by lurking on the old Red October, and followed it until the end, then participated a small bit on the sysabend thing, and ended up here the first time.

 

The bug bit.  After nearly two years with nothing but social calls to my gaming friends, I started working on "my stuff."  And yes, K noticed when I wasn't available to help her study because I was thumbing through reference books and sketching maps.  However, she understood.  This was the _one thing_ I could still do.  We didn't even have time to ride anymore, with our work schedules the way they were.  We talked about it now and again, and I eased up a bit.

 

I came home one day and there were _four_ of the old Adventures on the dining table.  She had gone by the game store (I didn't even realize she knew it existed) and talked to the guy there about adventures for Champions, and he pointed out some "clearance" ones (the pre-4e stuff) that were four-for-ten, and she picked them up.  "I didn't want you to stop having fun with your friends, and I thought these might take some of the work off."

 

I was actually kind of _mad_ at the time, but I was also amazed.  She had taken it upon herself to do this for me; she didn't play; she would get nothing out of it but the promise that there would be a day off when I was going to be in Brunswick (we lived in Savannah at the time).

 

I didn't tell her that we played "Champions," but we didn't actually play _supers_, so the adventures weren't any good to me....

 

It did start me doing something else, though: I started looking for adventures.  Published modules, magazine articles, genre didn't matter.  I could take inspiration-- sometimes actual chunks of stuff-- from republished work, and it cut down considerably on the time I spent working on whole-cloth stuff, and increased the already-too-scant time we had together.

 

She graduated (finally!  It seems that getting a couple of masters degrees takes "a while and a pile," to quote my brother.   I'd like to say my work schedule relaxed, but by that time I was half-owner of a DC electrical shop and -- well, I guess I was only putting in sixty or so hours a week at the time, so it _did_ slack up a small bit.  :lol:

 

The best part, I found, of pre-built adventures was being able to share them with my wife as if they were stories.  That was a strange kind of fun, and bouncing ideas off each other to tweak and improve them, and work them into my existing world.

 

We got married, had kids, decided we weren't going to raise kids in Savannah, and moved to where we are now.

 

to this day, I play.  I GM, and I build a lot of my stuff.  I haven't built a whole new world in a long time; I keep tweaking the one I have, building it's history.  It seems to be a rather different type of experience to what I see posted here: build a world; play for six to twelve months,; build another world and repeat.   But just like the people I game with, my world has a real history, a tangible past that we all had a hand in shaping, and I wouldn't trade it for anything.  Seriously: someone could bring me the best damned setting book ever written, and -- well, I won't lie: I'll read it!  It's the best one ever written, after all!  :lol:  But I'm not starting a new campaign in a new setting.  

 

You know what I do have, though?  I have a group of friends with whom I can game, and some of whom I have gamed with since the 80s. I was so dedicated to the game and to that group that even when I had _nothing_ and a two-hour travel time (actually, I _still_ have that!) that we would meet up somewhere in the middle and play.  I have a couple of nothing videos on youtube.  They are all set on the hood of my beat up old workhorse, which my wife as affectionately dubbed "the Leviathan" after trying to back it up one day.  You know why?  Because it's special to me.  Not the truck itself; just the hood.  I can't tell you how many times we have all met up in Baxley or Jesup (neither town having a community center or game store) and spent four or five hours in the Huddle House parking lot, playing Champions on the hood of that damned truck, rolling dice in the lid of a shoebox (after the metal dice incident that resulted in the chips along the front edge of the hood).  No; I'm not kidding.  I've had more fun _on_ that truck than I've had _in_ it.

 

 I have introduced lots of new people to HERO over the years, and I have a youth group that was so tickled at the their first RPG experience that they have taken it upon themselves to beseech their parents for permission to bother me nearly every Sunday afternoon and we play on the picnic table in my yard.  A whole new generation of kids who have never role played, and their fond introductory memories will be playing Champions with old-assed Mr. Duke and his magical world of superheroes and dice.

 

I still build adventures, but I have less qualms about pulling in things from here and there; there have been a few times when I've straight-up run off-the-cuff conversions of complete adventures and scenarios.  I have straight-up recycled my own stuff from group to gout  or even within the same group, with enough stuff changed to not be terribly obvious.  I no longer have any qualms with it.  And if it's not proper GM ethos, then proper GM ethos can catch me on the hottest day of the year, drag me off of that black vinyl crane seat, and kiss the crack of my sweat-soaked hairy   forehead.   Yeah. That's _definitely_ what I meant.   :rolleyes:

 

 

 

 

On 12/7/2019 at 2:26 PM, Spence said:

 

You have a very rare and unusual experience in roleplaying.  

I envy you.

 

Ditto.  Sort of.  I've learned the hard way that some lofty ideal is not always....   _ideal_......

 

 

Quote

After stubbornly producing one concept, what we have on the Hero forums are the very small percentage of a micro percentage of gamers with the luxury and time to devote hours and days to gaming projects. 

 

And me, Dude.  You're going to have to add "and Duke," if everyone else here fits that description.  I'll be sixty come March, but I'm still working just under 80 a week, and i've got two teens at the house, one already in high school.  All those extra-curriculars....  so busy......

 

 

 

Quote

Also, the majority of gamers here scoff at playing at the FLGS because they have firmly established long term (years) gaming groups which is not the norm.   The FLGS and gaming CONs are still the venues that generate new players and then new GM's.

 

Do you have any idea how much I would _love_ to have a game story anywhere _near_ me?!  There's one in Savannah, but that's two hours from here.  It's not better than going to the usual place (Jason's house) in Brunswick and playing there.  At least at Jason's house I'm not surrounded by Pokemon crackheads who should, at their age, realize that you don't have to wait for it to appear in a booster pack:  you can just walk into a store and freakin' _buy_ soap.....

 

 

 

Quote

It is not aging GM's or that the old DIY ethos are gone.  They are just as common as ever but it is a percentage game.

1% of 100 is 1.

1% of 500,000 is 5,000

I know several GM's for D&D, Call of Cthulhu, Trail of Cthulhu/GUMSHOE, and Pathfinder that build their own original adventures.

But those same GM's routinely run prebuilt adventures/settings at the FLGS for League Night if the game has one, just as a game if not. 

The ratio of GM's to players in any game is very low. 

It is much much much lower for any game community that heaps derision on anyone that "lowers themselves to using prebuilt material".

 

Gotta level with you:  it doesn't do much for those who _are_ fans of the system, or who _would like_ to build their own stuff (or even used to, and still does on a much lower scale).  It brings back memories of numerous threads over the years of "they say that HERO is all math and it isn't!  Let's launch two-hundred-and-forty-six threads of number crunching to prove something is or isn't "balanced" or "they say HERO GMs / players are all arrogant dicks but it's not true!' followed by "well, you're not a real GM if you need (or just want) something to take a bit of workload off...."

 

(Where's the freakin' tilde on this keyboard?!  I want to sing that Sesame Street song!  "one of these things does not belong here....")

 

 

 

 

Quote

Take Turakian Age, awesome setting if written to be unusable to the average gamer.

It doesn't need a re-write.  It needs a, let's call it a digest version for easy entry.  Pick one location, one small town, with one human culture and write a smaller less detailed version based on TA.  Add a CharGen section tailored to the digest, and for all that is holy, build a small no less that ten spells beginning player spell list.  Plus a GM ready adventure. 

 

As I try to build up my idea for an adventure for Hall of Champions I realize that I would not be able to create that digest, but I hope someone with the talent will. 

 

Hero already has great rules and settings.

What it needs are entry paths and publicity. 

Hall of Champions is a great start down that path. 

One day I'd love to see adventures that directly use existing Hero superheroes and supervillains.  

I hope to contribute to building some of those entry paths, though the going is much more difficult that I thought.

 

 

 

I really like the Trophy / Thanks combo we've got on the rep buttons, but I wish we had a straight-up thumbs-up, because I really, really want to "thumbs up" you.  But, I mean, you know-- in a good way.   :lol:

 

 

 

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Yeah, adapting existing stuff is a great time saver...and sanity saver, if you have a busy life!

 

I've never been able to use someone else's world in detail -- I've just never found it fun to memorize the minutiae of someone else's setting. But I sure as heck will use the maps, the general overview of the place politically, and so on, then fill in with my own ideas for details.

 

Sure, it was tons of fun to sit there as a young teenager and roll up an entire sector in Traveller, one subsector at a time, and then fill in the details about the worlds and the interstellar political situation and so on, and then on top of that come up with patrons and underworld intrigue and all that stuff.

 

But once I started dating, that sort of thing went out the window. If I made my own setting, I did it piecemeal, just enough to keep ahead of things and avoid having to invent too much on the fly. But mostly I adapted existing stuff.

 

And that didn't change after I started working my way through college, got married, and got to work building a life.

 

Maybe I'll try creating from whole cloth again once I retire. Or maybe not. There so many things I've been saying, "I'll do that when I retire," that I think I'll still be pressed for time! :)

 

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I start small and build from there these days too.  I'm in the process of building an all mutant campaign world where the players are literally the first major group of mutants to exist.  There will be other mutants in the world but the vast majority of them will be ages 11-21.  The players will be able to have a profound impact on the game world and their choices will decide where the world goes and how it evolves.  The general public won't even be aware if the existence of mutants, although that will be changing very quickly.

 

I'm not planning on basing this in the CU, I don't want the baggage and want to start small.  Players will tough but near human and be vulnerable to more powerful conventional firepower like shotguns and heavy arms.  300 points with a 40 AP cap, some mandatory limitations and complications... and off we go.

 

Anyways, that's my current project.  I'm employed full time in a demanding job, married, etc.  I don't know the numbers so I won't speculate on where I am on the GM spectrum.  I think a lot of us who gamed when we were teenagers simply had no choice but to roll-your-own because money was tight.  I never abandoned that mentality.

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8 hours ago, Ninja-Bear said:

One of Matt Colville’s videos he stats that as a DM it’s fun to create a world (and do it) but realize that a lot of the info is really just for the GM’s amusement. The players typically don’t care.

 

I don't think I could agree with that. I have players that care about the world they play in, and take some stock in it. They want stories, and add to the lore of the world as we play. 

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On 12/7/2019 at 2:04 AM, zslane said:

I'm not so sure that leaning heavily, if not entirely, on published adventures is something that only aging GMs who lack time anymore are doing. It's a much more pervasive phenomenon, I think, reaching young (new) players as well. It feels like the old DIY ethos is just gone today.

I think that you have a point here.

 

Although we have a boom of 'normals' playing D&D, a lot of them are only casual roleplayers. They are people with a variety of pastimes who dip into the RPG hobby from other related interests such as console gaming, or  maybe watching 'Stranger Things'.

When we started playing D&D in the early 80's sessions would last the full 11 hours that we had the rooms at Uni and then we would go back to somebody's room on campus to discuss what had gone on.  Now, the students struggle with concentration on sessions lasting more than 3-4 hours. That, and they're tied with other pressing social engagements.

They obviously enjoy playing but its not the be all end all that it was to us. New players don't want to invest huge amounts of time and effort  in creating scenarios when they can just purchase them. Certainly this holds true in the local games clubs that I have recently visited. Whilst us older gamers may not have time to put our own stuff together due to life commitments I think that younger players are definitely more used to consuming than creating. To quote the Mandalorian; "This is The Way".

 

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I agree that there was rules bloat going from 4th-5th-6th, BUT, dear Lord, 3rd edition over 4th?!  I played Champions back in those days, and 4th is a HUGE improvement over 3rd.  One of the biggest reasons for the increasingly "lawyerly" descriptions is that the rules as written back in the day were often clear as mud.  And there were new powers in 4th because a lot of kludges were needed to cover new instances. Plus a lot of mechanics were reworked to be more workable and balanced, like: mental powers, presence attacks, martial arts, etc.

"3rd Edition Hero System" is comprised not just of Champions 1/2/3, but also Justice, Inc, Espionage and Fantasy Hero 1st Ed, IIRC.  Lots of rules and abilities different between those games, so not universal or consistent.  Less than a couple dozen skills for Champions players to buy.  End Reserves were a mess.  The vehicle rules... 

3rd Edition Hero System basically is non-existent.  And 3rd Edition Champions is an inferior product, in presentation, consistency, options and flexibility compared to 4th.  It's like comparing MS-DOS to Win95.  Yes, some people preferred MS Dos, but it was problematic for similar reasons.  

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4th Edition is my preference, but I still see why someone would want 3rd despite the rules have becoming better defined over time.

 

The advantage of 3rd was that the game was what was in the book(s) of that one game, not what you selected from the available options in a book-of-all-games.

 

It's the difference between a house system and a universal RPG. Products made with a house system can be cobbled together by GMs to make a universal RPG if they want, but each game can be played as-is by anyone. A universal RPG can't be played as-is. It needs the GM to understand it first, and to make decisions about which optional rules to include and so on.

 

Universal RPGs require more work up-front from the GM, and there's always more potential for mismatches between player expectations and GM plans regarding which bits to use, etc.

 

 

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That's true.

 

However, I think the 4e genre books, combined with setting/campaign books, were intended to give GMs "complete games" even though they didn't come in a single book. Then again, even D&Ders of that era were accustomed to have their "complete game" split between three core books and a campaign setting book or boxed set (Grayhawk, Dark Sun, Forgotten Realms, Dragonlance, etc.).

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I can understand wanting that too. However, I stop short of calling it an "advantage" that 3e has over 4e, seeing as how the (rather minor) convenience of a single book is arguably outweighed by the limited amount of campaign material that can fit into whatever remains of its 170 or so pages after all the core rules are accounted for.

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DI and JI, like Champions (3e), had 2 books.  One was the rules; the other was a separate campaign book. 

 

DI and Champions (3e) were also both available on a single paper pack that combined both books into one larger book. 

 

The second printing of JI did not do that, and simply opted for more professional art on the cover of the campaign book. 

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4 hours ago, zslane said:

I can understand wanting that too. However, I stop short of calling it an "advantage" that 3e has over 4e, seeing as how the (rather minor) convenience of a single book is arguably outweighed by the limited amount of campaign material that can fit into whatever remains of its 170 or so pages after all the core rules are accounted for.

 

My group back in the 80's got a ridiculous number of campaigns out of DI.  Modern military, modern conspiracy, a paranoid "government vs. UFOs" game, hard SF ("Near Earth Orbit", a homebrew campaign), hard SF (based on Chaosium's Ringworld RPG), squishier far future comedy SF (the prison ship "Uncle Louie"), Battletech Hero (at least five, probably more, different campaigns of this), a Twilight 2000 Hero campaign, a couple of ridiculous over-the-top military action campaigns ("Real Men", followed up by the Soviet "Real Men"), an SF game based on Aliens, a western game (with help from JI), a number of low-point PVP games ("Death Wish").  

 

Granted, some of them went one to two sessions, but probably a third of them of them went a year or more.  

 

There were a few that never happened: the Bureau 13 Hero game, an Autoduel Hero (using Autoduel Champions, but with DI), "Weekly World News: the RPG".  Probably some others that I'm forgetting.  

 

(I might point out: in not a single one of those games did anyone have any Powers.)

 

At least a dozen different Fantasy Hero campaigns, again some of which went a few sessions (one of which was my Myth Adventures based campaign), some of which went on for a year or more (the "October Game", the Bushido Hero campaign).  

 

At least three different Robot Warriors campaigns, one of which mutated from one of the above mentioned Battletech Hero campaigns, one of which was a sequel to one of them, and at least two of which went on a year or more.  

 

I would say there weren't more than half a dozen Champions campaigns throughout that time.  I don't think any of them went longer than a year.

 

Oddly, not more than one or two Justice Inc. games while I was part of the group; there may have been more before I joined.  

 

(My group back then was prolific.  A Friday night session, two Saturday sessions, one to two Sunday sessions, every week.   225+ sessions a year.  I was part of that group for about three years.  They'd been going for at least a year or two before I came along.  I was in high school, a couple of others were as well, at least half of the group were adult men.  There wasn't anything weird going on, except the table talk would get pretty foul at times; at least four were former military, and at least a couple of others including me would go on to join the military after.)  

 

Sometimes adulthood really sucks.  I'm sure I haven't had that many sessions, combined, in the 31 years since my time with that group ended.  

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31 minutes ago, Chris Goodwin said:

 

My group back in the 80's got a ridiculous number of campaigns out of DI.  Modern military, modern conspiracy, a paranoid "government vs. UFOs" game, hard SF ("Near Earth Orbit", a homebrew campaign), hard SF (based on Chaosium's Ringworld RPG), squishier far future comedy SF (the prison ship "Uncle Louie"), Battletech Hero (at least five, probably more, different campaigns of this), a Twilight 2000 Hero campaign, a couple of ridiculous over-the-top military action campaigns ("Real Men", followed up by the Soviet "Real Men"), an SF game based on Aliens, a western game (with help from JI), a number of low-point PVP games ("Death Wish").  

 

Granted, some of them went one to two sessions, but probably a third of them of them went a year or more.  

 

There were a few that never happened: the Bureau 13 Hero game, an Autoduel Hero (using Autoduel Champions, but with DI), "Weekly World News: the RPG".  Probably some others that I'm forgetting.  

 

(I might point out: in not a single one of those games did anyone have any Powers.)

 

At least a dozen different Fantasy Hero campaigns, again some of which went a few sessions (one of which was my Myth Adventures based campaign), some of which went on for a year or more (the "October Game", the Bushido Hero campaign).  

 

At least three different Robot Warriors campaigns, one of which mutated from one of the above mentioned Battletech Hero campaigns, one of which was a sequel to one of them, and at least two of which went on a year or more.  

 

I would say there weren't more than half a dozen Champions campaigns throughout that time.  I don't think any of them went longer than a year.

 

Oddly, not more than one or two Justice Inc. games while I was part of the group; there may have been more before I joined.  

 

(My group back then was prolific.  A Friday night session, two Saturday sessions, one to two Sunday sessions, every week.   225+ sessions a year.  I was part of that group for about three years.  They'd been going for at least a year or two before I came along.  I was in high school, a couple of others were as well, at least half of the group were adult men.  There wasn't anything weird going on, except the table talk would get pretty foul at times; at least four were former military, and at least a couple of others including me would go on to join the military after.)  

 

Sometimes adulthood really sucks.  I'm sure I haven't had that many sessions, combined, in the 31 years since my time with that group ended.  

Sure, people get full time jobs, move away, have night classes, and/or a wife and kids.  A session per week gets challenging.  I've had games-by-video-chat that couldn't meet once a month due to scheduling issues!  

I guess hypothetically, if one did 2 sessions per week, 50 weeks a year, for 30+ years(say, from the release of 4th ed to now), and played the same PCs, you'd have a squad of greater gods running around.  

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7 hours ago, GM Joe said:

4th Edition is my preference, but I still see why someone would want 3rd despite the rules have becoming better defined over time.

 

4th has always been my preference as well. If I were to create a new Champions edition, I would look at 4th ed as my starting point and move forward from there. There are a few things I enjoyed from earlier editions, such as the Mastermind option. But, for the most part, I really love 4th ed. 

 

59 minutes ago, Chris Goodwin said:

 

My group back in the 80's got a ridiculous number of campaigns out of DI.  Modern military, modern conspiracy, a paranoid "government vs. UFOs" game, hard SF ("Near Earth Orbit", a homebrew campaign), hard SF (based on Chaosium's Ringworld RPG), squishier far future comedy SF (the prison ship "Uncle Louie"), Battletech Hero (at least five, probably more, different campaigns of this), a Twilight 2000 Hero campaign, a couple of ridiculous over-the-top military action campaigns ("Real Men", followed up by the Soviet "Real Men"), an SF game based on Aliens, a western game (with help from JI), a number of low-point PVP games ("Death Wish").  

 

One of the many reasons I would've loved to see Danger International take the forefront over Dark Champions as a Modern Hero model. Having something like DI with modular setting guides would be most awesome.

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