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Tywyll

What do long term FH Characters look like

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So you start your 75+75 FH characters in a campaign that goes for awhile. How do things change 50, 75, 100 cp down the road? How do they look when they start getting magic items?

 

I'm curious because I'm trying to parse out in my mind the progression curve of a FH "Epic Fantasy" campaign (ala DNDish, with lots of monster killing and treasure finding). How do NPCs challenge PCs without constantly adding to their found treasure pile (a problem in most games that have magic items and NPCs statted the same as PCs). Like, the abstration in D&D allows for a character to at high levels surivive a battle with a big monster. But HERO feels more like no matter how tough you get, failing to dodge a 4-5d6 KA will kill your PC. So how do high level PCs go up against end game dragons and demons et al? Or do they just not? Is the power curve flatter?

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1 hour ago, Tywyll said:

So you start your 75+75 FH characters in a campaign that goes for awhile. How do things change 50, 75, 100 cp down the road? How do they look when they start getting magic items?

 

I'm curious because I'm trying to parse out in my mind the progression curve of a FH "Epic Fantasy" campaign (ala DNDish, with lots of monster killing and treasure finding). How do NPCs challenge PCs without constantly adding to their found treasure pile (a problem in most games that have magic items and NPCs statted the same as PCs). Like, the abstration in D&D allows for a character to at high levels surivive a battle with a big monster. But HERO feels more like no matter how tough you get, failing to dodge a 4-5d6 KA will kill your PC. So how do high level PCs go up against end game dragons and demons et al? Or do they just not? Is the power curve flatter?

 

I recently wrapped up War for the Crown with my Fantasy HERO group.

 

They started off as 150 pt characters and wrapped up as 350 pt characters with a LOT of magic items.  They were easily on par with 450-500 point Champions characters by the end - at least in terms of offense / defense.

In the beginning they were all around 5 OCV/DCV and doing about 2d6K or 6d6N at SPD 3.  Most characters ended at SPD 4, but a couple ended at SPD 5.

My wife's Fire Witch was hitting 14-15 OCV and doing 4d6 RKA AP or 3d6 RKA AoE AP with her most common attacks.

The Witcher based character was around 15 OCV when maxed out (levels, martial arts, magic weapon bonuses) and doing 4d6 HKA while simultaneously only 5 DCV due to armor penalties (end-game magic plate 15 rPD/rED - hardened).

The Dwarven Sapper had an array of explosives and ammo-consuming gauntlets that allowed him to boomstick punch enemies for more than 10d6N.

 

When I compared them to my last Champions campaign they overall had puny defenses (7-15 rPD armor plus 5-7 PD) but much higher CVs (14-15 OCV/DCV depending on level allocation).

 

Your concern is well justified.  A character in 8 rPD/rED field plate cannot soak repeated hits of 5d6 KA from an ancient dragon.  They're mangled after 2 hits and dead or dying after the 3rd.

The way my group dealt with dragons and major demons and other end-game threats was to avoid damage as much as possible by way of blocking, dodging and diving for cover.  Action economy is how a Fantasy HERO group typically defeats a big bad.

 

Also, end game threats are great for thematic side quests to build anticipation.  "No living creature can survive the dragon fire.  You must bring me 3 fire orchids to brew you potions that will let you live long enough to fell this beast.".

Completing a couple such quests and then facing attacks that would have been certain death without the additional preparation work will make the characters feel like their extra work is paying off and that their opponent is truly deadly.

 

I'm at work, but when I get home I'll see if I can upload my combat calculator sheet for the end of that campaign.  I basically set a starting value and then intermittently bumped it 5 points to simulate D&D tiers.

 

 

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18 hours ago, ScottishFox said:

 

I recently wrapped up War for the Crown with my Fantasy HERO group.

 

[snip]

 

I'm at work, but when I get home I'll see if I can upload my combat calculator sheet for the end of that campaign.  I basically set a starting value and then intermittently bumped it 5 points to simulate D&D tiers.

 

 

 

Thanks for that. Good to know I wasn't wrong. I was looking at the FH book with all the villains in it (Nobles, Necromancers and something I think?) and thinking, each of these characters have 2-4 magic items. If my players defeated a team of them, that's 10-12 items to split. It seems like a wild jump in power and of course has the problem of making a lot of opposition just pointless. Unlike OSR games, I don't feel like I can throw a lot of wandering encounters at the group because fights take so long to play out, I really only want to run the meaningful ones. but that's a tricky balance...you also want the players to feel awesome occasionally by steamrolling a group of goons. 

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In my current campaign the PCs combat skills improved a bit.  I have imposed specific maximums and I don't let the PC go past those.  Typically they would:

  • Melee types would improve their characteristics to reach a max campaign level
  • Ranged attackers would buy penalty skill levels vs. range mod.
  • Everyone would buy +3 PSL vs hit locations for they most favored attack/weapon of choice (speeds up combat because they always aim at the chest 😉)
  • Spell casters would improve INT, EGO, REC, and END
  • Either get martial arts or add additional maneuvers to existing martial arts
  • If appropriate turn specific combat skill levels into more general ones (i.e. +2 with swords to +2 with hand to hand)

The other area PCs change is skills.  They tend to get more of them.  Maybe get skill levels with groups/classes of skills.  Possibly buy contacts or a follower.

 

Magic items in my world tend to lean away from special weapons and armor.  A more common type of 'magic weapon' is a finely crafted steel sword that has +1 or +2 DC increase and maybe adds an addition +1 or +2 to OCV.  Also on rare occasions armor piercing or penetrating as modifiers are added.  Armor is kind of the same thing - an additional +1 to +3 PD/ED over normal armor.  Might have hardening.  Definitely lower mass.  More likely they will find potions, magic items that help with shelter, food, and light.

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 But HERO feels more like no matter how tough you get, failing to dodge a 4-5d6 KA will kill your PC. So how do high level PCs go up against end game dragons and demons et al?

 

For me this is a feature: no matter how skilled and experienced you get, you're still just people and a dragon's bite is still very dangerous.  But better spells, better armor, etc all can help make the difference between "bitten in half" and "able to still fight"

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What?  I'm still out of rep? 

 

Enjoy this I-meant-to-say-thank-you moment, Sir. 

 

We have to remember that unlike a lot of other old-timers in the RPG world, HERO has done a good job of hanging onto the war game roots of RPGs.  Part of that is that there is no invincible.  There is always a chance you can get hit, and there is always a bigger cannon.   Tactics and skill will always apply, no matter how powerful you get(unless you're playing the dragon, of course.) 

 

Like Christopher, I tend to have a deep appreciation for that, on spite of the fact that my tactics are....   Not great.... 

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I have a binder full of old Hero characters, the a Majority of them FH characters. I am busy tomorrow, Friday I will scan and upload a couple of characters as examples. What I would do is to keep everything of that character in the same sheet protector, so that progress can be compared, and I had a lower point total version of the character for convention games. Character sketches as well. ( one side was the character sheet and the other was character art. ) 

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Right.  Very good question and a worthy topic of discussion.  I don't have a whole lot to add, but in my games, I prefer to keep defenses low, and the characters wear minimal armor, because it's just not practical or realistic for adventurers to explore the countryside in plate armor, despite what a certain other well-known RPG would have you believe.  These are adventurers, not soldiers.  If you know in advance that you're marching into battle today, you put on the best armor you can acquire and stand side-by-side with your army and face the enemy army.  If you're traveling over land from one village to the next, or following the ancient map to the site of the hidden ruins, you aren't going to be wearing your armor the whole time, even when a band of brigands or a raiding party of orcs ambush you en route.  And they're not going to politely announce themselves and then wait for you to put on your armor before engaging.

 

So yeah, you might get injured, maybe even seriously.  That's what Healing is for.  As your party's experience increases, those with healing spells (or skills) get better and better at this.  Maybe the big tough shirtless barbarian of the group buys himself some Damage Reduction to reflect his epic toughness - he can still be hurt, and still might need healing, but he is more likely to survive a fight than when he started out as a 75+75.

 

But if you've got some magic armor 10 PD/10 ED, you can take a casual walk through the ranks of the orcs armed with regular swords and not take a single BODY.  That doesn't make sense to me, and it doesn't match the source material (at least that I'm familiar with).  Likewise with the wizard who can cast a 10 PD/10 ED armor spell on himself.

 

And it works both ways.  I expect players to have low defenses, and I don't throw enemies at them with defenses they can't get through.  (Except once, which was an error on my part.  I sent a "rock demon" at them, that was supposed to be a fairly weak monster, but its rock-like hide was so thick that it was very difficult for them to damage it at all.  That one combat took way longer than I had intended.  I learned my lesson.)

 

But getting back to the topic of how "epic" characters grow from starting ones, I like to visualize the epic version of a character while I'm making the starting character.  It's nice to have a plan for what that character will eventually become (one hopes).  And yes, the plan can change.  Thanks to this being HERO and not something else, a starting 75+75 character can have a pretty good array of abilities.  Think about what you'd buy for the character if he was 100+75, or 125+75, or 150+75, etc.  Buy all those little convenient things you wish you could have afforded when he started.

 

The main example that comes to mind for me is a wizard-type character of mine.  He started with a good array of useful spells, but as a much more experienced wizard, he no longer has "Detect Magic", but instead has "Sense Magic" - if you bring a magic item into his presence, or a person under some magic spell approaches him, or pretty much anything like that, he knows instantly.  Your invisibility spell will not hide you from him.  If you've been mind controlled, or cursed, or transformed, he knows, and might be able to help.  All the spells that were difficult to cast when he was younger, are much easier now - buy off the Concentration, Increased END, Extra Time, etc.  It doesn't have to be increased DCs and increased defenses.

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IME high-experience FH characters are comparable to Champions martial artists (for non spellslingers) or gadgeteers (for spellslingers).  Normal characteristic maxima prevents them from developing into exact analogues for Champions, but players make up for that by dumping points into PSLs and multipower slots.  We're talking 15- called shots against x2 BODY hit locations, and literally dozens of multipower slots that approach the flexibility of a VPP.

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I have been doing a conversion of PFRPG classes to Hero.  One thing I can tell you is that skills will take up a lot of points.  I went level 1 to 5 to 9.  Level one was very inexpensive, minimal skills.  By five there are enough skills and raises (exp stealth at 13- and you buy 4 pts to get it to 15- costs 3 + 4 = 7 pts).  Also look at talents like Deadly Blow.  One level of Combat Luck.  These add up fast!

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