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What happened to HERO?

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1 hour ago, Sketchpad said:

One of the many reasons I would've loved to see Danger International take the forefront over Dark Champions as a Modern Hero model.

 

 

Specifically, I thank you for this. 

 

"Modern HERO," "Action HERO," "Danger, Interational," _whatever_.  Anything-- and I mean absolutely _anything_ -- "Dog Turd HERO" would have better pull potential than "Dark Champions" to someone not familiar with the brand, but already "well aware" that Champions is "too mathy" or "too much work."

 

[EDIT:  It also doesn't have that cringe Edgelord thing going on with "Dark this" and "Dark that....]

Edited by Duke Bushido
Because I hit "reply" too soon

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"Action HERO" would have been a great name! The only way they could have named that supplement worse would have been if they'd have titled it, "Extreme Dark Champions."

 

I had the same problem with "Ninja HERO."  The whole ninja thing was over by the time TMNT parodied it in 1984. By the time Ninja HERO came out, it was something I actively avoided. If it'd been titled "HERO System Martial Arts," I'd probably have picked it up. But it was "Ninja HERO" and I was sick to death of Ninja stuff, so I passed it by, back when. Wish I'd have opened it up and taken a look. It wasn't until a few years ago that I finally bought that one.

 

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I think the big challenge of figuring out the mass marketing of Hero is that you have a market that prefers simplicity and ease of play, and an entrenched player base that leans towards the grognard/curmudgeon side(i.e., resistant to change, often actually demaning more options(which leads to greater complexity).  We had Fuzion, which was poorly received.  We had various attempts at "Instant Hero", "Hero Sidekick", "Hero System Basic Rules", none of which seemed to really expand the market.  Adding pre-build powers, archetypes and templates of various sorts didn't do much either, imo.  "I want a system that allows me to have any kind of character, power etc, but that I can learn completely in the first play session" is a pretty tall order.  We could simplify the math, maybe provide some basic examples.  Or we could have a bimodal system: "Basic" and "Advanced".  I have no easy answers on this.  Just spitballing.

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5 hours ago, Duke Bushido said:

We could re-release 1, 2, or 3e.

 

They meet your criteria of building what you want and learning in a single session. 

 

Yeah: instant boos and hisses. 

 

But it does meet the criteria, _and_ doesn't have that modern shapeshifter fiasco. 

It uses the same math.  It took me a few sessions to get the hang of the system.  

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7 hours ago, megaplayboy said:

It uses the same math.  It took me a few sessions to get the hang of the system.  

 

 

In all fairness, if you want to teach people basic math skills in a single game session, there is no real hope of finding _any_ solution.  I'd wait until they had five or years of elementary school, at least, then teach them the game.

 

 

[EDIT:  the moment I posted this, I realize it might be interpreted as dickish commentary on your math skills at the time you learned to play.  

 

It was _not_ intended to be.  It was intended to be a small joke about age-appropriateness of using fractions in a game]

 

Edited by Duke Bushido
Sounds bad, Bro

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2 hours ago, Duke Bushido said:

In all fairness, if you want to teach people basic math skills in a single game session, there is no real hope of finding _any_ solution.  I'd wait until they had five or years of elementary school, at least, then teach them the game.

I've never had people complain abut fractions or any other mathematical operation. 

 

What I've had people complain about is the number of different math-related things they have to keep track of. 

To-hit isn't just sum-and-tell. 

Three ways of counting damage.  At once! 

-1/4 doesn't mean 25% off. 

Get told three damage numbers, subtract different things from different ones, compare one to a threshold, remember that zero means "fall down" instead of "no effect" for another. 

Track three different "keep fighting" numbers, two of which go up as well as down and one of which goes down multiple times per turn. 

So on and so forth.  That's what I assume people who complain about math in HERO are complaining about. 

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If a new player/group is interested in superhero roleplaying, then I recommend the same path I took. Assuming substantial experience with D&D and at least a 4th grade math education, start with Champions 2nd edition. Play that for a few months. Then graduate to the Champions 4th edition BBB. Continue playing for the rest of your life.

 

However, if they are trying to find a rules-light system for playing fantasy or sci-fi, then I wouldn't recommend the Hero System at all. IMO, the Hero System is great for any genre once you've got superheroes under your belt and you really know the system inside and out and understand how to adapt it to other genres. But it ain't so great for the non-DIYers out there. And while it is theoretically possible to present the Hero System in a rules-light, genre-specific manner, there is no product line ready to take up that mantle. Champions 2nd edition is the closest thing there is in my view, but that doesn't really help a group who is into, say, fantasy rather than superheroes (which seems to be most RPGers).

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1 hour ago, Gnome BODY (important!) said:

I've never had people complain abut fractions or any other mathematical operation. 

 

What I've had people complain about is the number of different math-related things they have to keep track of. 

To-hit isn't just sum-and-tell. 

Three ways of counting damage.  At once! 

-1/4 doesn't mean 25% off. 

Get told three damage numbers, subtract different things from different ones, compare one to a threshold, remember that zero means "fall down" instead of "no effect" for another. 

Track three different "keep fighting" numbers, two of which go up as well as down and one of which goes down multiple times per turn. 

So on and so forth.  That's what I assume people who complain about math in HERO are complaining about. 

 

 

I am reasonably certain that the bulk of the membership of this board learned on early editions, and I am absolutely certain that I _cannot_ be the only person who got it in a session or two; both statistics and my natural avoidance of "math as recreation" attest to this.

 

Though the bulk of your comments above seem to be expectations of complaints featuring numerous variations of "subtraction is hard."   And you have a valid point:  anyone finding subtraction to be particularly difficult most certainly _is_ going to have a miserable time learning to play.

 

 

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Hello.  Yet another old Former military player checking in, because I am stuck at work hurrying up and waiting and a Robot Hero search sent me to this thread. 

 

It looks like I have a fairly similar history with the game as a lot of people on this thread. 

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20 hours ago, megaplayboy said:

I think the big challenge of figuring out the mass marketing of Hero is that you have a market that prefers simplicity and ease of play, and an entrenched player base that leans towards the grognard/curmudgeon side(i.e., resistant to change, often actually demaning more options(which leads to greater complexity).  We had Fuzion, which was poorly received.  We had various attempts at "Instant Hero", "Hero Sidekick", "Hero System Basic Rules", none of which seemed to really expand the market.  Adding pre-build powers, archetypes and templates of various sorts didn't do much either, imo.  "I want a system that allows me to have any kind of character, power etc, but that I can learn completely in the first play session" is a pretty tall order.  We could simplify the math, maybe provide some basic examples.  Or we could have a bimodal system: "Basic" and "Advanced".  I have no easy answers on this.  Just spitballing.

Exactly how did they promote Sidekick or 6th Basic? Yes the company produced it and then nothing.  The Powers books were just extra goodies not designed to bring in new players per se. And there is no Template Hero. Are you referring to the Ultimate books? They are an expansion of the system. The biggest hurdle I feel in 6th and 5th was making beginner characters higher points which gives them more capabilities. Those capabilities add more options which can slow down the learning curve. Btw as I says Ted before in another thread the classic heroes and villains from 4th BBB (which are also from earlier editions) can EASILY be built in 6th  and are a good starting point for learning the system. 6th is complex if you DO NOT want it to be!

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1 hour ago, Duke Bushido said:

I am reasonably certain that the bulk of the membership of this board learned on early editions, and I am absolutely certain that I _cannot_ be the only person who got it in a session or two; both statistics and my natural avoidance of "math as recreation" attest to this.

 

Though the bulk of your comments above seem to be expectations of complaints featuring numerous variations of "subtraction is hard."   And you have a valid point:  anyone finding subtraction to be particularly difficult most certainly _is_ going to have a miserable time learning to play.

I'm not saying (that people are saying) "subtraction is hard".  I'm saying "HERO has a bunch of math-stuff compared to other games, and some of that math-stuff is very unintuitive". 

 

How many more math-stuff, you ask?  Thrognar the Fighter should be simple, right?  Let's count the operations in hitting once and being hit once! 

D&D 5e:

Roll to-hit, adding your bonus to a d20.  Tell the GM your result.  (1 operation)

Roll and sum your 2d6 damage dice, add your bonus.  Tell the GM your result.  (2 operations, 3 total)

GM tells you the enemy's attack resul.  It hits your AC, ow!  (Technically another operation here, but people can do comparison so fast I'm ignoring it.  We're not computers, we don't have to do subtraction to tell which number's bigger.)

GM tells you a damage number.  Subtract it from your HP.  (1 operation, 4 total)

 

HERO:

Roll to-hit, subtracting the sum of 3d6 from your precomputed 11+OCV.  (3 operations, +1 if that handy precomputation wasn't done)

Roll your 3d6, sum it to get BODY.  Roll STUN multiplier and multiply by BODY to get STUN.  Tell the GM these numbers.  (3 operations, 6 total)

Subtract the END cost of your attack from your END.  (1 operation, 7 total)

GM tells you the enemy's attack result.  It hits your DCV, ow! 

GM tells you two damage numbers.  Subtract your rDEF from the BODY damage, then subtract the result from your BODY.  Subtract your DEF from the STUN damage, then subtract the result from your STUN.  (4 operations, 11 total)

 

Notice that HERO requires Thrognar's player to do roughly thrice the math and track thrice as many numbers (STUN, BODY, END).  There'd be even more math if Thrognar was using a Normal Attack or Knockback was in use. 

That means a new player has roughly thrice the learning to do and thrice the mental burden.  It doesn't matter that each individual step is trivial.  There's three times as many steps to do and remember! 

 

 

What math-stuff is unintuitive? 
A Knockback result of zero is unlike all other effect results of zero.  Zero anything else does nada.  Zero Knockback knocks you down.  It takes negative Knockback to have no effect. 

Advantages add in a straightforward manner.  A +1/2 Advantage increases the power's cost by 1/2 of the base cost.  But a Limitation doesn't behave that way.  A -1/2 Limitation doesn't decrease the power's cost by 1/2 of the base cost. 

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8 hours ago, Duke Bushido said:

 

 

In all fairness, if you want to teach people basic math skills in a single game session, there is no real hope of finding _any_ solution.  I'd wait until they had five or years of elementary school, at least, then teach them the game.

 

 

[EDIT:  the moment I posted this, I realize it might be interpreted as dickish commentary on your math skills at the time you learned to play.  

 

It was _not_ intended to be.  It was intended to be a small joke about age-appropriateness of using fractions in a game]

 

I did fine in calculus. :D

But most game systems don't really require the player to do ANY math(or, at most, just basic addition and subtraction), and it adds a layer of complexity to the game.  The whole system of advantages and limitations adds a layer of complexity to learning the rules.  Once I learned the system I could write up a character in 10-20 minutes...unless I had some idea for a new power or a complicated way of writing up a power.  Then it could take a couple hours.  

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1 hour ago, megaplayboy said:

I did fine in calculus. :D

 

This, I expect, is just one of the many differences between you and me.  :lol:

 

No, seriously.  I don't know what the deal was with me and math.  I am as good at it as anyone else, but I had two major hurdles on life:

 

I was in acellerates classes from third grade (skipped second) on; I was primed for algebra in fifth, and that's when math stopped making sense.  I flat did _not_ get it. 

 

Not only did I not get it, but while still taking higher and higher courses in every other subject, I retook basic algebra three times. 

 

Then one day it just kind of "clicked.". I hate to phrase it that way, but that's really the best descriptor:  I was well into the school year, staring at a test that at that point, I actually - recognized_-- and not because I knew what was going on, but because it was the same test I had taken two years prior: I mean the _exact_ same test (fresh mimie, though). 

 

I had run out of room to doodle on the first two pages and had turned to the third (I had just given up after the first page: it was like taking lessons in Swahili then being handed a test in German: I really had no damned idea what this gibberish was). 

 

The second problem on the third page (which I only noticed because there was a "0.0" in a number that I was trying to incorporate as a pair of glasses into a doodle) when suddenly I realized I knew how to find the answer. 

 

I'll level with you: I couldn't, at that time, tell you the _correct_ way to find the answer, but I knew _a_ way.... 

 

So that one I answered. 

 

And the minute I did that, every damned bit of Algebra made perfect sense.  I mean right then and there, in that tiny specific moment, I knew Algebra, after three years of it filling me with dread as the only thing I not only wasn't good at but absolutely _sucked_ at at!  I went back and (erasing doodles where I had to) answered all the problems. 

 

I will remember that test forever: when I got it back, I scored a 48.  You know: out of one-hundred.  I had gotten the answers incorrect on 8 of the problems, and only got half credit for all the others because I was using the wrong this or that or the other to achieve those answers, but that 48 was the highest grade I had made in that class in three years. 

 

From that moment on, though, I understood everything, period.  The rest of my tests were all in the high 90s and I finally got out of algebra. 

 

Calculus was a similar experience, in spite of being repeatedly told how much easier it was than algebra.   As far as learning it, it was Algebra all over again.  I'm sure this will net me nothing but disdain and insulting diagnoses from all the AMGs that people this board, but Calculus didn't snap into focus for me (and it was, in complete honesty, the exact same exoeriencw: fail it for a couple of years, then "BAM!" I went from possibly retarded to having no clue why just anybody couldn't do this--why _I_ couldn't do it even five minutes prior to that moment of clarity. 

 

For what it's worth, I have ducked trig my entire life, because I am not willing to risk that same experience all over again.   Granted, that locked me out of computer and software design, but I was shooting for medical anyway, so it's all good.  

 

So go ahead, folks: brand me.  I straight-up do not care what loss of peer standing that little story will bring.  Why not? 

 

Because it gave me patience.  It also made me realize that teaching should not be a one-size-fits-all thing.  I mean, today that's understood in every other subject: different people need different approaches: find out what works for them. 

 

But not math.  We don't do it (at least not in the US), because "math is math!  There is no other way; just throw formulas and make them regurgitate them!". I am here to tell you that this is a load of crap? 

 

Can I do math?  Yes. 

 

Can I do calculus?  Yes. 

 

Do I have trouble with them?  No. 

 

Do I enjoy it?  No.  Not at all.  And I never will, because I have too many flashbacks to failing to grasp something that was, to me, completely indistinguishable from every thing around it; too many associations to the humiliation of being publically chided for being a three time failure at a school subject-  to much distaste for how little  variation it would have taken to get it through to me the first time (I understand now why I didn't get it before, and it would have been so simple to change a sentence here, an example there) yet no consideration was ever given to anyone not in the top half of the class (personally, I think this is one of the evils wrought by standardized testing) - 

. Shirt version:

 

No.  I will _never_ enjoy doing math.  Even though it's a daily part of my job, and something every human being will do forever, I will _never_ see it as anything more than an unpleasant, horrible thing you have to endure to achieve a goal: like cleaning an infant's butt during a diaper change.

 

I expect this has a lot to do with why I teach Champions the way I do: downplay the math, and make it part of a celebration: any math done for my games is going to be done as part of something fun and enjoyable. 

 

1 hour ago, megaplayboy said:

But most game systems don't really require the player to do ANY math(or, at most, just basic addition and subtraction),

 

For the most part, that's all HERO is asking for.  You multiply what?  Twice per modified power during character generation?   Multiply a couple of small whole numbers (at least in older editions) if you want to modify a characteristic.  Figured are a bit more involved, but not much. 

 

No; I am not downplaying the amount of math involved; I am suggesting that the complexity of that math is consistently overplayed in any "Let's make this game more attractive!" conversation. 

 

1 hour ago, megaplayboy said:

Once I learned the system I could write up a character in 10-20 minutes..

 

Well that's more or less the subject at this current turn of this conversation, at least as I understand it: a system that can be grasped relatively easily.  If you don't mind saying, which edition were you learning, and how long did it take you to get a good grasp of it? 

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3 minutes ago, Duke Bushido said:

 

This, I expect, is just one of the many differences between you and me.  :lol:

 

No, seriously.  I don't know what the deal was with me and math.  I am as good at it as anyone else, but I had two major hurdles on life:

 

I was in acellerates classes from third grade (skipped second) on; I was primed for algebra in fifth, and that's when math stopped making sense.  I flat did _not_ get it. 

 

Not only did I not get it, but while still taking higher and higher courses in every other subject, I retook basic algebra three times. 

 

Then one day it just kind of "clicked.". I hate to phrase it that way, but that's really the best descriptor:  I was well into the school year, staring at a test that at that point, I actually - recognized_-- and not because I knew what was going on, but because it was the same test I had taken two years prior: I mean the _exact_ same test (fresh mimie, though). 

 

I had run out of room to doodle on the first two pages and had turned to the third (I had just given up after the first page: it was like taking lessons in Swahili then being handed a test in German: I really had no damned idea what this gibberish was). 

 

The second problem on the third page (which I only noticed because there was a "0.0" in a number that I was trying to incorporate as a pair of glasses into a doodle) when suddenly I realized I knew how to find the answer. 

 

I'll level with you: I couldn't, at that time, tell you the _correct_ way to find the answer, but I knew _a_ way.... 

 

So that one I answered. 

 

And the minute I did that, every damned bit of Algebra made perfect sense.  I mean right then and there, in that tiny specific moment, I knew Algebra, after three years of it filling me with dread as the only thing I not only wasn't good at but absolutely _sucked_ at at!  I went back and (erasing doodles where I had to) answered all the problems. 

 

I will remember that test forever: when I got it back, I scored a 48.  You know: out of one-hundred.  I had gotten the answers incorrect on 8 of the problems, and only got half credit for all the others because I was using the wrong this or that or the other to achieve those answers, but that 48 was the highest grade I had made in that class in three years. 

 

From that moment on, though, I understood everything, period.  The rest of my tests were all in the high 90s and I finally got out of algebra. 

 

Calculus was a similar experience, in spite of being repeatedly told how much easier it was than algebra.   As far as learning it, it was Algebra all over again.  I'm sure this will net me nothing but disdain and insulting diagnoses from all the AMGs that people this board, but Calculus didn't snap into focus for me (and it was, in complete honesty, the exact same exoeriencw: fail it for a couple of years, then "BAM!" I went from possibly retarded to having no clue why just anybody couldn't do this--why _I_ couldn't do it even five minutes prior to that moment of clarity. 

 

For what it's worth, I have ducked trig my entire life, because I am not willing to risk that same experience all over again.   Granted, that locked me out of computer and software design, but I was shooting for medical anyway, so it's all good.  

 

So go ahead, folks: brand me.  I straight-up do not care what loss of peer standing that little story will bring.  Why not? 

 

Because it gave me patience.  It also made me realize that teaching should not be a one-size-fits-all thing.  I mean, today that's understood in every other subject: different people need different approaches: find out what works for them. 

 

But not math.  We don't do it (at least not in the US), because "math is math!  There is no other way; just throw formulas and make them regurgitate them!". I am here to tell you that this is a load of crap? 

 

Can I do math?  Yes. 

 

Can I do calculus?  Yes. 

 

Do I have trouble with them?  No. 

 

Do I enjoy it?  No.  Not at all.  And I never will, because I have too many flashbacks to failing to grasp something that was, to me, completely indistinguishable from every thing around it; too many associations to the humiliation of being publically chided for being a three time failure at a school subject-  to much distaste for how little  variation it would have taken to get it through to me the first time (I understand now why I didn't get it before, and it would have been so simple to change a sentence here, an example there) yet no consideration was ever given to anyone not in the top half of the class (personally, I think this is one of the evils wrought by standardized testing) - 

. Shirt version:

 

No.  I will _never_ enjoy doing math.  Even though it's a daily part of my job, and something every human being will do forever, I will _never_ see it as anything more than an unpleasant, horrible thing you have to endure to achieve a goal: like cleaning an infant's butt during a diaper change.

 

I expect this has a lot to do with why I teach Champions the way I do: downplay the math, and make it part of a celebration: any math done for my games is going to be done as part of something fun and enjoyable. 

 

 

 

For the most part, that's all HERO is asking for.  You multiply what?  Twice per modified power during character generation?   Multiply a couple of small whole numbers (at least in older editions) if you want to modify a characteristic.  Figured are a bit more involved, but not much. 

 

No; I am not downplaying the amount of math involved; I am suggesting that the complexity of that math is consistently overplayed in any "Let's make this game more attractive!" conversation. 

 

 

Well that's more or less the subject at this current turn of this conversation, at least as I understand it: a system that can be grasped relatively easily.  If you don't mind saying, which edition were you learning, and how long did it take you to get a good grasp of it? 

I started with Champions 2nd edition(the box set), then got Champions II and III fairly quickly thereafter(this would have been 1984, I guess).  I got Espionage, Danger International, Justice Inc, Fantasy Hero 1st ed, and Robot Warriors before the Big Blue Book came out in 1988 or 89, at which point I was in college.  So my first campaign I ran in HS was 2nd/3rd ed, I started running 4th edition in college, and when I joined a regular group in 1992, we played 4th, tried Fuzion for a while but the group was split on it(the long time Hero players preferred Hero System, but the newer players liked the speed and simplicity of Fuzion), played 5th for a little while.  I moved to DC about 15 years ago and played one campaign with a 5th ed setup, and later ran one with 6th edition.  My general sense is that if you gloss over the complexities of character creation and focus on them learning the mechanics of skill use and combat first, it's easier to bring someone on board.  If you start out trying to create a character or recreate a comic book superhero things can get over your head pretty quickly.  Figuring out how to keep a character "within budget" was my first big challenge as a new player.  The second was figuring out how to model powers and abilities which weren't simply a 12d6 EB or 30m of flight.  

 

I think one somewhat valid complaint about Hero is that it's TOO generic.  Even the campaign universe stuff can be a little bit on the bland side.  

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4 hours ago, Solitude said:

Hello.  Yet another old Former military player checking in, because I am stuck at work hurrying up and waiting and a Robot Hero search sent me to this thread. 

 

It looks like I have a fairly similar history with the game as a lot of people on this thread. 

 

Welcome to the Hero Boards. Probably not the most appealing thread for somebody just jumping on, as it is a discussion about the current "down" trend with Hero Games right now. Still, happy to see new people pop in. 

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11 hours ago, Duke Bushido said:

I am reasonably certain that the bulk of the membership of this board learned on early editions, and I am absolutely certain that I _cannot_ be the only person who got it in a session or two; both statistics and my natural avoidance of "math as recreation" attest to this

Not sure what you mean by "early editions" but back in the days, our group startec with 4e. Out of 7 players I can confidently say that 4 of us got in in the first session and perhaps even up to 6. Playing HERO, any edition, is not hard but there certainly many moving parts.

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12 hours ago, Nolgroth said:

 

Welcome to the Hero Boards. Probably not the most appealing thread for somebody just jumping on, as it is a discussion about the current "down" trend with Hero Games right now. Still, happy to see new people pop in. 

 

I am getting back into it after a hiatus of some years

Because the game keeps coming up in the forums for the Grrl Power webcomic.

In order for the game to get a new generation of players it has to be promoted. 

 

Towards that end people who have played recent systems need to contrast what they offer with what champions offers in places where comic book fans will see the discussion. 

 

There are a whole lot of superhero webcomics and manga out there and many of them have discussion forums.

 

I know Pat Zircher's younger brother is on some of these forums from time to time, get out there and have fun discussing the comics and different games and movies on all these forums.  If it doesn't make Champions popular with young people well, at least you can read free or cheap comics and have fun.

 

I haven't perused the store much yet other than buying 4th edition in .pdf. do they offer package deals on related products from time to time? 

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I always found the application of the math in Champions/Hero System to be quite intuitive and exceptionally clever from a design standpoint. And you know, basic arithmetic is real easy with a calculator by your side. I just think that in order to get the most out of the Hero System, especially for superheroes, you have to dig into the math to fully understand how the whole game design really works, and that's just too much intellectual effort to ask of most RPGers.

 

Deep down, the Hero System is a detailed man-to-man combat simulation wargame dressed up as an RPG, and that will only ever appeal to a limited gaming audience. That's unfortunate from the perspective of anyone who wants to see the game vastly grow its player base, but that's just how the system is. You can't change that without it becoming an entirely different game.

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16 hours ago, megaplayboy said:

I think one somewhat valid complaint about Hero is that it's TOO generic.  Even the campaign universe stuff can be a little bit on the bland side.  

 

This is why I have always said each version of the game (Fred, 6th, FHC, CC, etc.) needed a complete adventure with pregen PCs that can be run right then and there with zero prep except for the GM to read through and go.  Preferably short enough and basic enough the GM only needs 30 minutes max to understand the plot/story. 

 

The purpose of the starter adventure and PCs is not to establish the new players and GMs game world, but to give a on hand, already built example of how the rules actually work.  A tangible example of how to build works for that genre.

 

IMO HERO is not hard once you realize how things work in-play.

 

In-play is the key.  HERO especially, since chargen/builds are outside of "normal" RPGs.

 

Now I never felt figuring combat mods and rolling effects were hard at all once the characters were created.  I do feel that the game could benefit from a second "in-play" character sheet that has all the build info stripped out leaving only the info needed to play.  HERO IMO is far easier to play than D&D any version and especially easier that Path(rule)finder.  It is just HERO buries the game in walls of text, most of which is not needed once the character/npc is generated.

 

Based on WotC and Chaosium's community guidelines I was formally writing up my Champs intro which I had run several times. But with the way HEROs community content program is written I cannot use GRAB or other official Champions villains.  I used it not just as an intro to HERO, but to give new players an idea of what the different values actually do in-play. 

 

Now I need to replace the villains with a all new lineup, which means I have to redo everything and run more in depth play testing. 

But it is what it is.

 

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, zslane said:

I always found the application of the math in Champions/Hero System to be quite intuitive and exceptionally clever from a design standpoint. And you know, basic arithmetic is real easy with a calculator by your side. I just think that in order to get the most out of the Hero System, especially for superheroes, you have to dig into the math to fully understand how the whole game design really works, and that's just too much intellectual effort to ask of most RPGers.

 

Deep down, the Hero System is a detailed man-to-man combat simulation wargame dressed up as an RPG, and that will only ever appeal to a limited gaming audience. That's unfortunate from the perspective of anyone who wants to see the game vastly grow its player base, but that's just how the system is. You can't change that without it becoming an entirely different game.

It can be a combat simulator if that is all you want to do with it. 

 

But I played Justice inc. For years, and I as a game master  inserted criminals and crimes drawn from real life (through the magic of various "True Crime" genre magazines which cater to those interested in forensic science and real life detective work) into my campaigns so it can be a detective simulation at the same time that it is being a Superhero Combat simulation. 

 

It isn't that the game is different,  just that the campaign can be different. 

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On 12/14/2019 at 9:43 PM, Duke Bushido said:

We could re-release 1, 2, or 3e.

 

Previous editions have been released in PDF.  

 

On 12/15/2019 at 1:52 PM, zslane said:

If a new player/group is interested in superhero roleplaying, then I recommend the same path I took. Assuming substantial experience with D&D and at least a 4th grade math education, start with Champions 2nd edition. Play that for a few months. Then graduate to the Champions 4th edition BBB. Continue playing for the rest of your life.

 

However, if they are trying to find a rules-light system for playing fantasy or sci-fi, then I wouldn't recommend the Hero System at all. IMO, the Hero System is great for any genre once you've got superheroes under your belt and you really know the system inside and out and understand how to adapt it to other genres. But it ain't so great for the non-DIYers out there. And while it is theoretically possible to present the Hero System in a rules-light, genre-specific manner, there is no product line ready to take up that mantle. Champions 2nd edition is the closest thing there is in my view, but that doesn't really help a group who is into, say, fantasy rather than superheroes (which seems to be most RPGers).

 

I agree that Hero isn't a rules-light system. However, the game could become a bit simpler or at least more streamlined. I don't see 2e as that beast, nor do I see any previous edition as a solution. IMHO, a new edition of Champions should look back at what worked, and look outward to see what's being used. Even taking the game and having better examples of how things are done would be a step in the right direction. One of the things I loved about Champions: New Millennium were the comic pages that explained some of the game mechanics. 

 

On 12/15/2019 at 3:41 PM, Duke Bushido said:

I am reasonably certain that the bulk of the membership of this board learned on early editions, and I am absolutely certain that I _cannot_ be the only person who got it in a session or two; both statistics and my natural avoidance of "math as recreation" attest to this.

 

Guilty. Started on 2e as a teenager, but my favorite edition is 4e. 

 

On 12/15/2019 at 7:13 PM, Gnome BODY (important!) said:

I'm not saying (that people are saying) "subtraction is hard".  I'm saying "HERO has a bunch of math-stuff compared to other games, and some of that math-stuff is very unintuitive". 

 

How many more math-stuff, you ask?  Thrognar the Fighter should be simple, right?  Let's count the operations in hitting once and being hit once! 

D&D 5e:

Roll to-hit, adding your bonus to a d20.  Tell the GM your result.  (1 operation)

Roll and sum your 2d6 damage dice, add your bonus.  Tell the GM your result.  (2 operations, 3 total)

GM tells you the enemy's attack resul.  It hits your AC, ow!  (Technically another operation here, but people can do comparison so fast I'm ignoring it.  We're not computers, we don't have to do subtraction to tell which number's bigger.)

GM tells you a damage number.  Subtract it from your HP.  (1 operation, 4 total)

 

HERO:

Roll to-hit, subtracting the sum of 3d6 from your precomputed 11+OCV.  (3 operations, +1 if that handy precomputation wasn't done)

Roll your 3d6, sum it to get BODY.  Roll STUN multiplier and multiply by BODY to get STUN.  Tell the GM these numbers.  (3 operations, 6 total)

Subtract the END cost of your attack from your END.  (1 operation, 7 total)

GM tells you the enemy's attack result.  It hits your DCV, ow! 

GM tells you two damage numbers.  Subtract your rDEF from the BODY damage, then subtract the result from your BODY.  Subtract your DEF from the STUN damage, then subtract the result from your STUN.  (4 operations, 11 total)

 

Notice that HERO requires Thrognar's player to do roughly thrice the math and track thrice as many numbers (STUN, BODY, END).  There'd be even more math if Thrognar was using a Normal Attack or Knockback was in use. 

That means a new player has roughly thrice the learning to do and thrice the mental burden.  It doesn't matter that each individual step is trivial.  There's three times as many steps to do and remember! 

 

 

What math-stuff is unintuitive? 
A Knockback result of zero is unlike all other effect results of zero.  Zero anything else does nada.  Zero Knockback knocks you down.  It takes negative Knockback to have no effect. 

Advantages add in a straightforward manner.  A +1/2 Advantage increases the power's cost by 1/2 of the base cost.  But a Limitation doesn't behave that way.  A -1/2 Limitation doesn't decrease the power's cost by 1/2 of the base cost. 

 

This is where streamlining is needed. While I commend the game for sticking to the same basic ideas for years, it might be time for an update with a more modern ideology. 

 

6 hours ago, zslane said:

Deep down, the Hero System is a detailed man-to-man combat simulation wargame dressed up as an RPG, and that will only ever appeal to a limited gaming audience. That's unfortunate from the perspective of anyone who wants to see the game vastly grow its player base, but that's just how the system is. You can't change that without it becoming an entirely different game.

 

I agree to an extent. I think the game was built on that concept, but has evolved a bit beyond it with some leaning toward enhancing roles. There are ways to alter the game without taking it too far out of the realm of what the system is. 

 

5 hours ago, Spence said:

 

This is why I have always said each version of the game (Fred, 6th, FHC, CC, etc.) needed a complete adventure with pregen PCs that can be run right then and there with zero prep except for the GM to read through and go.  Preferably short enough and basic enough the GM only needs 30 minutes max to understand the plot/story. 

 

The purpose of the starter adventure and PCs is not to establish the new players and GMs game world, but to give a on hand, already built example of how the rules actually work.  A tangible example of how to build works for that genre.

 

IMO HERO is not hard once you realize how things work in-play.

 

In-play is the key.  HERO especially, since chargen/builds are outside of "normal" RPGs.

 

Now I never felt figuring combat mods and rolling effects were hard at all once the characters were created.  I do feel that the game could benefit from a second "in-play" character sheet that has all the build info stripped out leaving only the info needed to play.  HERO IMO is far easier to play than D&D any version and especially easier that Path(rule)finder.  It is just HERO buries the game in walls of text, most of which is not needed once the character/npc is generated.

 

Rather than have an adventure with pre-gens, what about having an adventure that helps design a character? Sure, there would still be some pre-gen nature to it, as you'd have to have some pre-built structures. This adventure could also teach the mechanics on how to roll damage, attacks, skills, etc. And could also teach a GM how to handle Complications, mass combat, etc. Just a thought.

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15 minutes ago, Sketchpad said:

 

Previous editions have been released in PDF.  

 

Yes, but it's hard to stock shelves with them.  (and honestly, I really wish there was cash flow/ interest enough to get them to POD.  That would be awesome. :D) 

 

 

15 minutes ago, Sketchpad said:

I 8MHO, a new edition of Champions should look back at what worked, and look outward to see what's being used.

 

Hard to do that looking out thing, though: this game isn't on stores or on pu kic tables, and is barely in conventions unless one of the guys on this board is running it.  :(

 

Not only is there not much to sample from (as far as which parts of they system are actually being used and how), so we get the bet-hedging nine-book behemoth we have now. :(

 

 

15 minutes ago, Sketchpad said:

Even taking the game and having better examples of how things are done would be a step in the right direction. One of the things I loved about Champions: New Millennium were the comic pages that explained some of the game mechanics. 

 

Agreed.  Though the second printing took out a couple of pages of the intro comic (the entire combat sequence) and _all_ the color, making the comics slightly less interesting and a lot less useful.  :(

 

 

15 minutes ago, Sketchpad said:

Rather than have an adventure with pre-gens, what about having an adventure that helps design a character? Sure, there would still be some pre-gen nature to it, as you'd have to have some pre-built structures. This adventure could also teach the mechanics on how to roll damage, attacks, skills, etc. And could also teach a GM how to handle Complications, mass combat, etc. Just a thought.

 

 

Just a _thought_?! 

 

Man, this is _gold_! 

 

Right before the Hall of Heroes thing, we were hazing out a free intro adventure to see if Jason might be willing to let it be available here in the store.   (it's stalled because after three requests, I still haven't seen any write ups to work with), and that was one of the things we agreed on: a step-by-step walk through of why each powerbor ability or character was built the way it was.  Honestly, I may just finish it out with 2e write-ups just to get it done. 

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