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SSB_Kal_El

Starting point values / AP limits?

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Hello, all. I've been GMing a group for the past 2 years playing 5th edition D&D but we've decided to jump over to 6e Hero. I have never run Hero before and I am trying to decide between running the game with heroic 225 pts and a 40 AP limit or superheroic with 400 pts and a 60 AP limit. We are reimagining the players' characters in Hero so I'm not looking for conversions like what's on Killer Shrike's site, I'm more curious about maintaining a similar feel in terms of power level as well as manageable combat times.
 

We played from 3rd level to 12th level but started running into the normal problems that occur with high level D&D characters. The player running the Fighter wanted to use his strength to toss enemies around and utilize improvised weapons but those actions aren't well supported by the rules. The Wizard player felt she had analysis paralysis every turn as she consulted all her prepared spells each turn before acting. The Rogue wants to have some fire magic but the multiclassing rules left him feeling underpowered in exchange for having more flexibility. For my part, after about level 8 it was hard to challenge all four characters because at 2.5 hours per session, we generally have time for about 4 encounters, including 2-3 talky scenes, 1 puzzle or skill type challenge, and 1 fight. With access to 8 encounters worth of resources for a single battle, the PCs could walk over most monster manual monsters, and the ones they couldn't usually were written up with attacks that could one shot a character on a lucky roll. So for the past year I have had to homebrew all the opposition anyway. We tried switching to Mutants and Masterminds a few months ago but the players felt like it was bit too vague/abstract. The tone of the campaign is lighthearted pulpy noir, sort of fantasy Godfather meets Ducktales with a dash of Lord of Light.
 

At level 12, the characters already feel like fantasy super heroes. If I go with the 400 pt superheroic option, how long should I expect combat to take with 4 players and appropriate opposition? Alternatively, if I choose the heroic option, will the characters feel "fragile", always close to dying? 

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I've gone down this road with two groups now.

 

3 hours ago, SSB_Kal_El said:

If I go with the 400 pt superheroic option, how long should I expect combat to take with 4 players and appropriate opposition?

 

This is highly variable, but once everyone knows their maneuvers and numbers (OCV, DCV, Damage, etc.) then it is just slightly longer than a D&D round.  Primarily because hit locations introduce an extra roll and a little math.

Although, I've found that D&D 5e fights tend to take much longer in T3-T4 due to ever increasing hit point totals.  In HERO the fights take about the same amount of time at all levels as long as offense & defense are scaling with villain offense & defense.

 

3 hours ago, SSB_Kal_El said:

Alternatively, if I choose the heroic option, will the characters feel "fragile", always close to dying? 

 

Short answer:  Yes.   HERO system characters (super & heroic) do not generally scale their BODY scores much.  In D&D you can start with 10 hp and be well over 100 later in your career.

A D&D 5e fighter can leap from a 300 foot cliff, take 70 HP of damage and walk off in relatively good health at higher levels.  A Fantasy HERO character that takes that drop is probably unconscious and somewhere between dead instantly and severely injured.

 

My players quite enjoyed that at the end of their careers they could blow through a troup of bandits like golden gods and still get hurt enough by a lucky long bow shot that they couldn't ignore the threat any armed opponent represented.

 

Also, congrats on bringing another group to HERO.  D&D 5e public play is a great place to meet players and bring them to the D6 Side.  :)

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There is a thread below that discusses what long term Fantasy Hero characters look like and you might want to look at that. But the TL:DR of it is that the characters become more skilled , and more competent, and more flexible, rather than superheroic. 

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Thanks, folks. Based on these answers, I think we'll go with the 400 pt superheroic option. We'll do some practice combats first to get everyone (especially me) comfortable with their options each round. I'm sure I will be back to ask more questions.

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Welcome to Hero!

 

You're definitely on the right track with trying to create the characters based on their feel and not trying to completely reproduce the original characters. That's the road to hardwork and disappointment. As far as level of play, you're going to want to stick with Heroic, methinks. Start with what feels like a reasonable amount of CP to build the characters (225, why not?). But don't be completely wedded to that number. You might find that the characters are adequately represented, but they might also not be. In that case, bump it up a bit. (Conversely, if you *really* trust your players, tell them to build their characters and don't really pay attention to the end cost of the character.) There are a ton of dials that you can turn and switches you can flip in Hero, so don't be afraid to test some out as a group and make a collective decision on them.

 

You are also going to need to figure out how to make magic work for you. If your wizard has spell analysis paralysis then be careful with the method you choose. Variable Power Pools that can be changed on the fly are awesome and powerful, but if you think choosing from a list of spells slows you down, this can be worse.

 

As was said, combat doesn't change pace much as you get to higher levels. But there are some things you can do to speed it up a little. You can ignore hit location for now (but it does add a fun new dimension to combat.) Make a chart with everyone's speed that shows what phases they act on and has their major combat stats. I put mine in a plastic report sleeve so I can write in the bad guys and notes as the combat goes along with a dry-erase marker. Then I just erase it when I'm done.

 

You didn't say which books you have, but I do recommend getting the Fantasy Hero genre book if all you have is the core book(s).

 

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Quote

We are reimagining the players' characters in Hero so I'm not looking for conversions like what's on Killer Shrike's site, I'm more curious about maintaining a similar feel in terms of power level as well as manageable combat times.

 

Just to clarify, the fantasy content on my site is not _just_ conversions. In fact, the conversion content is a small fraction of the material. And, even within the area of conversions, there is more than one way to "convert" from one game system to another, including a full reboot...which I talked about in this document:

 

http://www.killershrike.com/FantasyHERO/SystemConversionStyles.aspx

 

The "Reboot conversion", which sounds like the approach you are taking, says this:

 

Reboot Conversion
Another approach to conversion is to basically leave the old system behind and just use the mechanics of the new game system as is, reinterpreting characters in the new system and simply ignoring anything from the old game that doesn't match up. The setting and background information from the old game is retained, but the mechanics are junked or at best used as inspiration for expressing ideas in the new systems terms.
PROS
This method offers a lot of advantages. It is by far the simplest means of conversion since you really aren't bothering to do an actual conversion. This means it is also the quickest way to convert. Since you're not tweaking around with the new system's mechanics you are also unlikely to run into major rules issues.
CONS
However, there are some downsides to this method as well. There will be some (or even many) elements of the original game that simply do not translate into the new system without some conversion effort, and thus are left behind.
This can have a huge effect on the general "feel" of the setting going forward. In some cases this all works out, with the setting mutating in a fashion that is agreeable to the GM and players, but in others it can cause the people involved to lose interest in the game as the elements that they liked about the original setting are lost.
Similarly, the archetypes that were rooted in the old game's mechanics may find themselves eclipsed by new archetypes that stem from the mechanics of the new game, which can also take the setting in new directions. Players whose liking of the old game was largely based upon a fondness for a particular sort of character will definitely be disgruntled if their favored character type fades away or turns out to be disadvantaged in the new system.
HOW CAN YOU USE THIS SITE TO DO THIS KIND OF CONVERSION?
If this style of conversion is your preference, good news! Much of the content in the conversion resources will still be useful to you since they merely demonstrate how to use the HERO System to model concepts from the original game. But, more significantly all of the generic High Fantasy HERO content provided by the site is immediately useful to you as a buffet line / cafeteria style resource for you to cherry pick from.

 

So, to be clear, it isn't a big deal to me either way if you are uninterested in using the material, but if you are passing on it due to an incorrect preconception of what the material is then you might be excluding some resources that could help you.

 

Quote

At level 12, the characters already feel like fantasy super heroes. If I go with the 400 pt superheroic option...

 

I provided some content for "campaign paradigms" for fantasy...the root document is here:

 

http://www.killershrike.com/FantasyHERO/HighFantasyHERO/campaignParadigms.aspx

 

One of the types I covered was "Super Fantasy", aka "Capes & Plate". The main takeaway is mechanically it's the same as running a Champions game, the only difference is setting and SFX.

 

http://www.killershrike.com/FantasyHERO/HighFantasyHERO/Paradigms/SuperFantasy.aspx

 

Quote

how long should I expect combat to take with 4 players and appropriate opposition?

 

I wrote up a document for GM's coming from a class & level type of game into the Hero System on differences in how to present opposition to characters in a points based game. It's here:

 

http://www.killershrike.com/FantasyHERO/Conversion3e/Conversion3eOpposition.aspx

 

The main takeaway I have for you is to stop thinking about "appropriate opposition" or similar "level based encounter" meta considerations. Instead, populate the scenario with things that make sense per internal consistency, and pay attention to action economy, relative combat values, total DC in attacks, and average defenses. 

 

Having said that, Hero System combats tend to take a while. The combat system is very granular and tactically oriented. If you are running 2.5 hour long sessions and expect to have four "encounters" or lets say story beats to put a little distance away from D&D semantics...including at least one combat, then you are going to be challenged to use the Hero System. 

 

You could speed that up by just keeping opposing forces defenses a bit subpar and various GMing techniques, but all in all be aware that a decent Hero System combat between four PC's and evenly matched opponents can easily take 2.5 hours or more all by itself.

 

Quote

Alternatively, if I choose the heroic option, will the characters feel "fragile", always close to dying? 

 

Depends on how "heroic" vs "realistic" you go. If you go whole hog, with all or many of the lethality and injury options toggled on, then yeah the PC's will be in constant danger of getting killed or maimed. If you stick to straight heroic with maybe Hit Locations and Encumbrance turned on, then the PC's are not particularly fragile but can unexpectedly die to a head or vitals shot. Personally, I prefer to run the Hero System at the "cinematic" heroic level, particularly under 6e rules. I'm currently running a face to face heroic urban fantasy campaign, discussed in the open on this forum under the "clubs" section. You can check out the PC's and a lot of the enemies they have faced thus far here if you are interested. Though it is set in a modern setting, it is an urban fantasy and is only superficially different from a fantasy game...imagine swords and bows and chainmail instead of guns and kevlar and its the same thing.

https://www.herogames.com/forums/forum/89-topics/

 

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I'm sorry Killer Shrike, I chose my words poorly. I have been reading your site on and off for months trying to get a feel for which numbers go together or how much damage you benchmarked a fireball as for example. I have probably read the whole thing more than once, so thank you for providing such a wealth of material. I was just trying to make sure all the replies to my initial question weren't just directing me back to your site. Sorry about that.

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On 12/15/2019 at 3:27 AM, theinfn8 said:

Make a chart with everyone's speed that shows what phases they act on and has their major combat stats. I put mine in a plastic report sleeve so I can write in the bad guys and notes as the combat goes along with a dry-erase marker. Then I just erase it when I'm done.

 

 

This is genius! Why have I never thought of this? I am absolutely stealing it. Thanks!

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On 12/15/2019 at 12:27 AM, theinfn8 said:

Welcome to Hero!

 

You're definitely on the right track with trying to create the characters based on their feel and not trying to completely reproduce the original characters. That's the road to hardwork and disappointment. As far as level of play, you're going to want to stick with Heroic, methinks. Start with what feels like a reasonable amount of CP to build the characters (225, why not?). But don't be completely wedded to that number. You might find that the characters are adequately represented, but they might also not be. In that case, bump it up a bit. (Conversely, if you *really* trust your players, tell them to build their characters and don't really pay attention to the end cost of the character.) There are a ton of dials that you can turn and switches you can flip in Hero, so don't be afraid to test some out as a group and make a collective decision on them.

 

You are also going to need to figure out how to make magic work for you. If your wizard has spell analysis paralysis then be careful with the method you choose. Variable Power Pools that can be changed on the fly are awesome and powerful, but if you think choosing from a list of spells slows you down, this can be worse.

 

As was said, combat doesn't change pace much as you get to higher levels. But there are some things you can do to speed it up a little. You can ignore hit location for now (but it does add a fun new dimension to combat.) Make a chart with everyone's speed that shows what phases they act on and has their major combat stats. I put mine in a plastic report sleeve so I can write in the bad guys and notes as the combat goes along with a dry-erase marker. Then I just erase it when I'm done.

 

You didn't say which books you have, but I do recommend getting the Fantasy Hero genre book if all you have is the core book(s).

 


I ended up building everyone's characters, then we had one test run, tweaked the characters then resumed our campaign. We've had about 4 sessions with a cadence of buildup session then fight session that seems to be working for everyone. I totally did the plastic speed chart thing and it makes combat flow very quickly, thanks for that!

 

In case anyone else stumbles across this in the future in terms of my original question about AP limits, I ended up going with the defaults (60 AP attacks/ about 8-12 resistant defences / points for equipment) from the champions setting book and basing the characters off of the champions book templates. My villains for now are also drawing from the champions math. I just reflavored the viper agents as magically enhanced shock troops of the evil empire. For the spell casters, we are currently using a regular multipower with fixed slots, until the players get comfortable with the character points part of the game math.

 

Everyone's having a good time with the new ruleset. All the players' minds were blown when the bad guy wizard haymakered a fireball and I described it as spending extra time to gather magical energy. The real "whoa" moment was telling them that they could do that too.

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