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What makes a complete game "complete"?


Brian Stanfield
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3 hours ago, PhilFleischmann said:

So you think it *does* take a year of study to learn the Hero System?  

 

Man I don't know what goes with you; I really don't.   No one- I mean _no one_ is this obtuse without deliberately trying to be.   

 

Every time Brian or anyone else says "system mastery," you go out of your way, even if it requires some quirky sentence structure, to put "learn the system" into his mouth.  Every time.

 

So let's break it down:

 

A six year old can learn math. 

A six year old is not doing my taxes or calculate my fuel load and orbital holding pattern for a manned trip to Mars. 

 

One of two things is at play here:

 

Either you think we are dumb enough to confuse "knowing a few words" with being fluent in Spanish, 

 

Or you think we're dumb enough to believe that you don't know the difference.  As Brian said above, there is a point at which you cross a line into insulting--   no. 

 

That's not right.  There is a point at which anyone can cross a line into insulting.  Generally it's unintentional, and caused by getting wrapped up in the moment or frustrated by an inability to express oneself effectively on previous attempts.  That line is easy to spot, because all we really have to do is look for your house:  it's like you just _live_ there. 

 

All who don't do as Phil are lazy;  all who don't do as Phil are too dumb to learn a thing.  All who don't do as Phil are sad, hopeless little people.....

 

Whi the heck is Phil and why is it so important to him to have both an audience and a target for his feelings of inadequacy? 

 

I sincerely apologized to you for blowing up some time back, because I completely accept that I can come on extremely strong (yes; with apologies to those who might be bothered by it, there are extroverts on the internet) and cause offense by accident.  I have apologized here many times, because I have done it many times.  The difference is intention: I respect the people I choose to socialize with:  I can't tell you how many times I have bumped heads with Hugh over some silly detail, and I could expand that list likely to most everyone on this board. 

 

But at no time did I ever not understand that there are real people  behind every post, and at no time did I ever stop loving those people for who they are, each one, individually.  And most certainly at no time have I considered repeatedly lobbing back-handed insults to them every time I disagree with them.  I have followed most of your threads, looking for the good part of your participation; I have sought council from others here on what to look for in your material to get a handle on what might be crassness and what is probably "just Phil.". And every time I read through something you're active in, it just becomes insults and belittlings to those who disagree--usually in such a way so as to express the idea that thinking as Phil demonstrates some natural intellectual gifts not destined for mere mortals--

 

I don't get it.  I don't get you; I don't know you; I don't know what meds you might have skipped. 

 

I am willing to _try_ to know you, and to try to work with you, but, _Dude_, the constant barrage of insult and belittlement has really got to stop, please. 

 

I am asking that as someone who appreciates the input of everyone here, and who prefers an environment of kinship and cooperation as opposed to an environment of elitist egalitarianism.  If I enjoyed that sort of crowd, I'd have stayed in med school. 

 

Thank you for the time you took to read this. 

 

 

Duke 

 

So to move this along

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2 hours ago, Doc Democracy said:

 

This year thing may have come from me.  I bought Champions in 1982 at the behest of my friends who wanted to play superheroes.

 

I read it again and again.  It was at least a year before I felt competent to run a game.

 

So while I did not study for a year, I was reading it and trying to get it in my head for a full year.  Even that small book caused me to hesitate and delay.  I was 16, prime time for buying and playing new games. I had run both D&D and Runequest games by that time.

 

Doc

 

 

 

Thanks Doc, but it was definitely me. But my experience is exactly like yours, except it's with 6e. I had a great experience with the 2e/3e game, and picked it up really quickly, but someone else was the GM. I didn't see the game again until 6e, and you can imagine how my head exploded! I didn't even know the game still existed, to be honest, and was so happy it had survived, albeit on life support.

 

So I came into 6e even after it was out of print, and worked for a year to find reasonably priced 6e paper copies. In the meantime I read the PDFs many times. And some of the other books too, including Fantasy HERO (my favorite). I wanted to run a FH campaign, but there was no way I felt ready for that! So yes, I've been studying the rules for a few years now. No, they aren't all that different, but there are just so many rules additions. But also plenty of explanations, which I'm always appreciative of.

 

When Fantasy HERO Complete came out, I was convinced that it was the answer to my prayers. I learned that, unfortunately, it's not really "complete," if complete mean "ready to run." I convinced my old gaming buddy (from D&D) to sit down and play it with me. And then I discovered just what a buzz saw the rules are for new eyes. I started a discussion about this problem, and realized I wasn't alone. We couldn't even agree on which setting to use, and then on power levels and all that sort of stuff. He had no idea what that all entailed anyway. But when character creation was really the first stumbling block, I realized that the presentation wasn't the best. This is a long story, covered in what I linked, so I won't rehash it all here. This is why I started this thread. 

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2 hours ago, Duke Bushido said:

*snip*

I would to address an Idea put forth by many people in this and other threads that the Powers section is a stumbling block and that it is or is not necessary for this game or that game. 

 

Rename it.  Simplify it and rename it.  Simplification is the key: go back to 4e or further and make it work in thirty pages or less.  It did once before.  All the rules are now is hyper-specification to answer edge cases and Fringe questions and for that segment of folks that want Conformation that they are playing it like everyone else or that they are playing it "right." 

 

*snip*

 

My suggestion is to both simplify it and rename it.  Call it "elements." These are the element from which you can pick and choose to build items and gear for your game.  You don't _have_ to use any of it; you don't have to use any more of it than you want to achieve your goal.  Elements and Element Modifiers. 

 

I know where you stand on the wall of text with the Powers in later editions, so I'm not going to try to argue that with you. Really, there is no argument, but I really do love all the examples and edge cases in the 6e rules because they are great teaching tools.

 

Anyway, my goal isn't to rewrite or simplify the Powers section. It's all been done already -- choose your edition. My goal is to present a game (a non-supers game) where all these decisions have already been made. Sure I can present the Powers, even in simplified form, and say "go make your weapons." I'd rather do all that work for a new player instead, and simply let them choose from a list of pre-built stuff. The reason I chose a modern espionage-type genre is because there is absolutely no need for Powers in that genre, at least to begin. If they want to fiddle with stuff and add new things, they can get the toolbox and learn all the details that allow the to infinitely modify their game. 

 

But I don't feel the need to give them the source code in order to create a program. I'll give them the program, ready to go, and offer them the opportunity for the source code later. Or Spanish, or whatever analogy you prefer.  🤔

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1 hour ago, Brian Stanfield said:

 

I know where you stand on the wall of text with the Powers in later editions, so I'm not going to try to argue that with you. Really, there is no argument, but I really do love all the examples and edge cases in the 6e rules because they are great teaching tools.

 

Anyway, my goal isn't to rewrite or simplify the Powers section. It's all been done already -- choose your edition. My goal is to present a game (a non-supers game) where all these decisions have already been made. Sure I can present the Powers, even in simplified form, and say "go make your weapons." I'd rather do all that work for a new player instead, and simply let them choose from a list of pre-built stuff. The reason I chose a modern espionage-type genre is because there is absolutely no need for Powers in that genre, at least to begin. If they want to fiddle with stuff and add new things, they can get the toolbox and learn all the details that allow the to infinitely modify their game. 

 

But I don't feel the need to give them the source code in order to create a program. I'll give them the program, ready to go, and offer them the opportunity for the source code later. Or Spanish, or whatever analogy you prefer.  🤔

 

 

My apologies, Brian:  I was on a phone on a break at work, and didn't take (or really have) the time to clarify that:

 

I agree with you as far as presenting a list of prebuilt "appropriate stuff" to use in your games relative to your "complete" game.  I am _totally_ with that, as it's worked for years and years and years for _every_ non-universal game _ever_, and even in some universal books (GURPS 3e, anyone?  Each genre book had lengthy lists of appropriate gear and weaponry, prices, etc.  Really nice stuff.)

 

My thoughts on the light version of Powers-- the Elements-- were in regard to what seems to be the biggest amount of push-back you are receiving:  that it is somehow necessary to include some version of the Powers in every book so that people can make their new stuff.  Personally, I didn't have a universal system in Traveller or in Vampire or in Macho Women with Guns or in, or in, or in, or in, etc-- yet we never really had a problem looking at what was there in print and tweaking it here and there to make "new stuff" with absolutely _no_ underlying system.  But I figured "You know, there's got to be a happy medium in here somewhere."  So in with the rules book and the campaign book and the map (or two or seven) and a few dice, I figured we toss in a thirty-page booklet titles "expanding your world" or something along that line, to include the Elements section and "how to make new stuff," and perhaps a well-written discussion of managing a continuing campaign.  Totally optional, totally separate, totally ignorable for those who would rather just keep burning through modules.

 

All that would have been Hell to type with a pair of thumbs. ;)

 

 

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Duke, one aspect of Brian's plan which I really like is that it is not a "modified version" of the rules.  It presents only those rules required to run the game, so it does not need a lot of Powers/Advantages/Limitations mechanics, just how the ones used to make things in the game work.  A gun can simply be described as a 2d6-1 Killing Attack, with clips of 8 bullets and an optional sight which adds +1 OCV and reduces range penalties by 2.  None of the costing is needed.  Assuming we don't pay CP for weapons, no point costs are needed at all.

 

Maybe we have an ability like "Double Tap" - the character can fire two shots from any handgun as a single attack action, at a single target.  If the attack roll hits, both shots strike the target.  X CP. 

 

The reader does not need to know that is a Naked Advantage 2 shot Autofire usable on any pistol, 0 END, and +2 OCV only to offset the -2 autofire penalty when firing two shots.  They only need to know that the character spending those CP can shoot 2 bullets at once from a handgun.

 

I don't like presenting an abbreviated and renamed version of the Powers section.  That will make it more challenging for these gamers to transition to the full Hero system should they wish to do so.

 

To me, these "powered by Hero" games are a lot like the pre-4e "each game is separate", but eliminates the "source code is just a little different for each one" issue which 4e resolved.  However, they also remove the source code, so the players just play the game, with no need to design it.

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Sure; I get that.

 

My suggestion was intended to bridge the gap between "let's do something complete" and "what about the Powers section?  People need that to continue their game and fill it with stuff."

 

That's all.

 

I'm with Brian:  I found the complete games much more enjoyable than an undefined system.  Certainly I love my world building, but I don't always have time to do it, and sometimes I just want to play in this little area right here, you know? ;)

 

 

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10 hours ago, Hugh Neilson said:

Let's restate that - you have been too lazy to learn a new system, or many new systems, which might be better than Hero.  You are, instead, happy with the system you have found.

Yes, that's exactly my point.  What game system do you propose that is better than Hero?  What are your arguments and sales pitches as to why it's better than Hero?

 

10 hours ago, Hugh Neilson said:

You have not , from your comments, eagerly invested the time and effort into a different system.  What qualifies you to say that this investment in a different system may, indeed, have been worth it?

I have, in fact, eagerly invested time and effort into other systems - by no means all of them.  And no, I am not qualified to say it was worth it, because I don't believe it was worth it.  I *do* believe it is worth it for Hero.

 

In case it wasn't clear:  I believe that the Hero System is indeed better than the D&D/d20 system, and as I understand it, so does everyone here.  We've discussed the reasons why on many different threads on this very website.  I also believe Hero is better than GURPS.  Anyone remember Villains & Vigilantes?  Well, I think Hero is better than V&V, too.  There are some other RPG systems I am familiar with, and I think Hero is better than any of them.  If you know of one that is better than Hero, I'd like to know about it, and what makes it better.

 

And BTW, even without GMing a game, or even playing extensively, in a particular system, you can still learn what the system is about and how it works.  And you can see if it seems to be what you like or what you want.  What I want is the freedom that Hero gives me that other systems don't.

 

10 hours ago, Hugh Neilson said:

Is it a year of devoting, say, eight hours a week (a very long game session at this stage of my life) enough to really learn the system?

I'd say it's far more than enough.  A high school student spends about that much time learning trigonometry - about five hours a week in a classroom, and the rest studying/doing homework outside of the classroom.  And it's only for nine months.  And trigonometry is far more difficult than the Hero System.

 

And in case it wasn't clear:  Learning the system does not require memorizing the 6e tomes, nor even reading every word in the 6e tomes.  You learn how Characteristics work and are purchased, you learn how Skills work and are purchased, you learn how Powers work and are purchased, et al., and you learn how the combat system works.  You don't need everything in the tomes to "begin to design a game that others may want to play."

 

11 hours ago, Hugh Neilson said:

We have no stats, of course, but I would be curious how many gamers learned Hero through the 5e or 6e Tome of Game Design, compared to how many trace that learning back to a 4e or prior game created with a "single game" book - and I will include Champions 4e, as it was still presented as the Hero Supers Game.  "Learning with the tomes" means no player in the group had Hero knowledge before from an actual Hero game.

 

I'd bet it is not many.  The system has survived because new players learn from old players as much or more than reading the rules.

I would assume most new players who started with 5e or 6e learned from friends who were already playing, either from that edition or an earlier one.  These are not solitaire games we're talking about.  You don't have to be locked in solitary confinement with the tomes to learn the system.  The most important resource in playing (and learning) RPGs is other people.  This makes it much easier to learn, so that it never takes "a year of solid study".

 

11 hours ago, Hugh Neilson said:

I think that there is a lot of scope between old 1e D&D classes lacking any real customization and the full "design it yourself from the ground up" system design model.  I will also note that most threads discussing builds and games encourage the GM to set limits, such that players do not have that "complete freedom" you describe.

There's a huge difference between the GM setting limits and the system setting limits.  Yes, the players have to conform to the GM's setting and genre and rules being used, or else find a different GM.  If the GM decides, "There are no elves in this world," then you can't be an elf.  But the GM has total freedom to make that call, or any other he wants.

 

11 hours ago, Hugh Neilson said:

And I think there are a lot of gamers who may wish to have much or all of the design work done for them, but would still value the ability to pick and choose their characters' abilities, at creation and as they advance, the balance Hero provides and the system under which a Hero game runs.  That can be demonstrated by a game Powered by Hero, such as Brian envisions.

 

Some of those gamers might even value, or come to value, the ability to customize abilities to a greater extent with a mechanical basis behind that customization, or even to create their own game from whole cloth.  They may find Action Hero their gateway into that broader Hero universe.  Other may be quite content to play in Brian's sandbox, and await the next things he adds in an Action Hero supplement.

Agreed.  That's all perfectly fine.

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10 hours ago, Duke Bushido said:

Man I don't know what goes with you; I really don't.

Well, you could try reading the posts.  I promise it won't take "a year of solid study".

 

10 hours ago, Duke Bushido said:

No one- I mean _no one_ is this obtuse without deliberately trying to be.

There's a simple solution to that:  Stop deliberately trying to be obtuse.

 

Brian's exact words were: "..who is going to invest a year of solid study to get the system mastery that it would take to even begin to design a game that others may want to play?"

 

Do you really think it takes a year of solid study to gain sufficient mastery of the Hero System to begin to design a game that others may want to play?  Yes or no?

 

What exactly do you think is the difference between "learning the system enough to begin playing/GMing/designing" and "mastering the system enough to begin playing/GMing/designing'?  Does either of these take a year of solid study?

 

So, for better or worse, I said, "It does not take a year of solid study to learn the system."  You may think this was an inaccurate paraphrase of Brian's statement, but regardless, Hugh responded to my statement, "I disagree."  What exactly is so difficult to understand about that?

 

10 hours ago, Duke Bushido said:

I sincerely apologized to you for blowing up some time back,

Well, now you can do it again.  I was going to respond individually to each of your insults in your post, but that would seem to be a waste of my time.

 

Your post seems to indicate that you either didn't read my posts, or didn't understand them.

 

When I said:

On 2/28/2020 at 2:11 PM, PhilFleischmann said:

Laziness and whining are huge parts of the human condition.  (Myself included.)

You seem to have read that as "All of you are lazy whiners, and I'm not."

 

And when I said:

On 2/28/2020 at 2:11 PM, PhilFleischmann said:

Nothing I said is an attack on anyone here.  We've al already done the work to learn the Hero system

 

and:

On 2/28/2020 at 10:48 PM, PhilFleischmann said:

You've already put in the work to learn the Hero System, and you come here and discuss it and contribute to it.  That's the opposite of lazy and whining.

You seem to have read that as, well, I don't even know.

 

You changed "Myself included" to "Myself excluded"; and "...opposite of lazy and whining" to "...lazy and whining"; but you insult me for changing "mastery" to "learning".

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23 minutes ago, PhilFleischmann said:

In case it wasn't clear:  I believe that the Hero System is indeed better than the D&D/d20 system, and as I understand it, so does everyone here.  We've discussed the reasons why on many different threads on this very website.  I also believe Hero is better than GURPS.  Anyone remember Villains & Vigilantes?  Well, I think Hero is better than V&V, too.  There are some other RPG systems I am familiar with, and I think Hero is better than any of them.  If you know of one that is better than Hero, I'd like to know about it, and what makes it better.

I'm going to focus on games with strong rules systems, because that's HERO's competition.  There's no point in getting in a spitting match over FATE versus HERO, they're different strokes intended for different folks. 

And on that note, I'm going to clarify in advance that I think the idea of "best RPG" is silly.  A system is a tool.  You don't point to a hammer and say it's the best tool ever and try to use it to cut a 2x4 in half.  That's a saw's job, and even a mediocre saw will do a better job than a great hammer.  HERO's a great tool for a great many things, but I'm going to point out where I think there's much better tools for certain jobs. 

 

First of all, I'm so happy to fulfill my mandatory volunteer duty by informing you that "best RPG" isn't silly at all!  Because PARANOIA is factually the best role-playing game of all time, unless the Computer says otherwise!  This is because the rules [THIS INFORMATION NOT AVAILABLE AT YOUR SECURITY CLEARANCE] which is great!  Anyone who disagrees is a commie mutant traitor!! 

Tone is critical.  Tone-of-book sets tone-of-game.  The GM can reverse it, but HERO reads like a lawyer wrote it in a desert.  If I'm introducing players to a genre I want the rulebook to seize them by the hand and drag them in without me having to provide a tone primer or show an hour of TV. 

I feel Honor+Intrigue is better than HERO can hope to be at swashbuckling action.  It's fast but keeps enough choice and mechanical weight to have punchy decisions that support and reward emulating the patterns of the genre it focuses on.  Of course, I'd never think of using H+I for anything much beyond "Melee-centric Action Movie".  But if I'm doing swashbuckle I'm not reaching for HERO.  The same is true of a lot of niche-genre-emulators.  HERO's great for supers.  HERO spreads that greatness to some supers-adjacent genres.  But HERO has a very particular numbers-and-tactics feel to it that is anathema to some genres.  On top of that, many genres want certain narratives that HERO just doesn't do without some heavy tweaking, like the position-as-health common to many swashbuckling fights. 

On a similar note, HERO's basic conflict resolution mechanism is sorta boring.  There's a lot of little fun bits and choices involved in "reduce enemy STUN before enemy reduces your STUN" but it really does come down to my-turn-your-turn and dueling subtractions.  To say nothing of the social lack-of-system and clumsy binary skill resolution.  If I want to zero in on one thing, there's systems that do those things better.  Exalted 3e has a beautiful social system, any social-focused game I ran would likely be based in that if I hadn't outright stolen the social system to plug into another system (uh, again).  And if I want combat itself to be the focus I'm heading for Nechronica.  Absolutely no hesitation, the combination of interrupt-friendly every-turn-is-your-turn initiative and visceral don't-get-hit combat that manages to also be getting-hit-is-ok is a work of bloody art. 

 

HERO's strength is that it's rarely a bad choice.  But it's also outclassed by at least one thing in many aspects.  So when those aspects are what's important, HERO isn't "best". 

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2 hours ago, Gnome BODY (important!) said:

HERO's strength is that it's rarely a bad choice.  But it's also outclassed by at least one thing in many aspects.  So when those aspects are what's important, HERO isn't "best". 

 

I think this is important to understand.  HERO, with a decent GM who has the time and inclination will often be a great choice for a genre, especially if the group already know the basics.

 

It will rarely be the best choice for a genre where someone has crafted a game to deliver that specific genre. It will almost never be a good choice out of the box.  HERO is the cautious partner looking for commitment before getting to second base.  Many Indies now are the smoking hot person at the club that takes you home with the promise of the night of your life. 

 

Obviously some of those don't deliver on anything beyond anticipation. And with RPGs you probably don't have to worry about catching something that will stay with you for the rest of your life, or the risk of an ongoing financial commitment (though as I write this, the potential is there... 😄 ).

 

What we need is enough folk that see what the potential might be if you take your time and get past second base...

 

Doc

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Here’s what frustrating with some of the logic in this thread.

 

Hero 6th/Completes are too complex to learn. 
Why yes if you try to learn everything at once-of course. However you DON’T HAVE TO! 
 

Second Edition is easier to learn. So let’s toolkit Hero 6th et al so it plays similar to 2e (yes there are something’s that won’t play exactly-no big deal). Oh no we can’t do that cause somehow that’s confusing. Or my favorite, now you’re creating a “lite” version. Yet let’s suggest a reprint of 2ed. Also creating a game which drastically reduces the Hero system for a genre game isn’t rule “lite” but is somehow going to draw more people in the wider world of Hero? Nothing wrong with just enjoying Action Hero for Action Hero sake but if you think that might bring new players to other genres and going to help them learn the system? Only in a small part.
 

Hero you can’t play of the box. True and there’s no support. True so let’s reprint 2ed which you can’t play out of the box -unless it has a sample adventure (that I’m not sure of).  But let’s still not support 6e et al. 

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4 hours ago, PhilFleischmann said:

Yes, that's exactly my point.  What game system do you propose that is better than Hero?  What are your arguments and sales pitches as to why it's better than Hero?

 

I don't know.  I am too lazy to put in the effort to find out.  That is the point you seen to consciously ignore.  I

 

4 hours ago, PhilFleischmann said:

In case it wasn't clear:  I believe that the Hero System is indeed better than the D&D/d20 system, and as I understand it, so does everyone here.

 

Let me disabuse you of that.  I have lost count of how many times I have seen "how do I move X from d20 to Hero because I really like it and Hero doesn't do it well".  One example is the attack of opportunity.  No, you cannot just walk past the two armed guards to attack the King.   Not held actions - this is an extra action because you left yourself open.  Not "pay a whole pile of points for a triggered action" - you can't just walk past an alert, armed person in the heat of combat.  In many of those discussions, I really want to note that no system can ever do D&D better than D&D can, so if you really want to play D&D, play D&D.

 

Can I make an array of more versatile, less constrained characters in Hero than in D&D or Pathfinder?  You bet.  Can I quicking skim over an Adventure Path intro, make a character in an evening and be ready to play a Hero Fantasy game the next day, with a GM who has invested a week or so of prep into reading the first volume of the AP and skimming the rest?  Hell, no.  That's why my gaming for the past several years has been mostly Pathfinder, not Hero.

 

4 hours ago, PhilFleischmann said:

 I also believe Hero is better than GURPS.  Anyone remember Villains & Vigilantes?  Well, I think Hero is better than V&V, too.  There are some other RPG systems I am familiar with, and I think Hero is better than any of them.  If you know of one that is better than Hero, I'd like to know about it, and what makes it better.

 

I can't speak to GURPS and I never fully grasped the V&V combat system.  I fell into Champions before really playing any V&V.  Mutants and Masterminds 1e read like a revised version of Hero.  The Damage Save was elegant, and removes some of the PITA elements of Hero "grindy combat" for a pretty comic booky feel.  The cost is greater impact of random chance, simply because it is a d20.  M&M is not as deep as Hero, but we played a few games, and it captures super-heroes pretty well.  For all that we played it for a while, I do not think any of us approached system mastery.

 

There are a lot of games out there.  I am not prepared to invest my time to really learn a brand-new one in the hopes it will pan out.  I am OK with the games I know, and the potential return of a better game is too high risk for me to invest that extra time. That does not mean there are not games out there which, if I did invest the time, would be "better" in some way than what I currently play.

4 hours ago, PhilFleischmann said:

I'd say it's far more than enough.  A high school student spends about that much time learning trigonometry - about five hours a week in a classroom, and the rest studying/doing homework outside of the classroom.  And it's only for nine months.  And trigonometry is far more difficult than the Hero System.

 

At the end of that year, I would not say he has mastered trigonometry.  And trigonometry is only one branch of mathematics.

 

4 hours ago, PhilFleischmann said:

And in case it wasn't clear:  Learning the system does not require memorizing the 6e tomes, nor even reading every word in the 6e tomes.  You learn how Characteristics work and are purchased, you learn how Skills work and are purchased, you learn how Powers work and are purchased, et al., and you learn how the combat system works.  You don't need everything in the tomes to "begin to design a game that others may want to play."

 

If you do  not understand the math behind the system, then it is very easy to make errors in even simple character design, much less the structure adopted for a specific game.  One simple example, coming from a discussion of a draft character recently - do you understand the impact of having defenses + CON < average damage from a campaign standard attack?  That one choice changes the combat dynamic in epic fashion. 

 

If you do not already understand the system, you do not know which sections are crucial to basic gameplay and which are not.  In order to make that determination, you either need to read that section, and understand how it interacts with the rest of the game, or you need to see it in play.  Perhaps you think "oh, this whole Presence Attack thing is just a cutesy roll-play mechanic. I can ignore that - get to the game".  Then you get to play with the fellow who invests in a 60 PRE and some bonus dice for specific types of PRE attacks.

 

You cannot design the game without setting the dials.  You cannot make informed decisions on how to set the dials unless you understand the options.  After the fifth consecutive Called Shot to the Head (love those 8 Penalty Skill Levels) in a Fantasy Hero game, maybe you start to figure out some of the mechanical issues within Hit Locations, for example.

 

4 hours ago, PhilFleischmann said:

I would assume most new players who started with 5e or 6e learned from friends who were already playing, either from that edition or an earlier one.  These are not solitaire games we're talking about.  You don't have to be locked in solitary confinement with the tomes to learn the system.  The most important resource in playing (and learning) RPGs is other people.  This makes it much easier to learn, so that it never takes "a year of solid study".

 

So you are a Gaming Creationist who does not stop to think "where did the first Hero Gamers come from?"  If we want NEW gamers to play Hero, they need to be able to pick up the books, read them and teach themselves to play.  Returning to your High School trigonometry example, they should not need a teacher who spends 5 hours a week in class with them going over how the rules work, reviewing their homework assignments to see how that learning is coming along and filling in the gaps.  Because they don't have to repeat Hero to graduate - if they find it too tough to learn for the perceived return, the consequences of dropping out are not really severe.

 

I'm going back to that recent character post, where the poster (who notes he has played since the '90s) described a sample combat.  In Phase 12 XXX happens.  Then in Phase 10, ... 

 

WHAT?  You don't count down?  Yet apparently his group has read the rules to say that you do.  Learning from another gamer means learning their biases and their errors.

 

4 hours ago, PhilFleischmann said:

Well, you could try reading the posts.  I promise it won't take "a year of solid study".

 

You could try re-reading your posts.  If you succeed in doing so objectively, you might figure out why you are not getting the reactions you may be hoping for.  Or maybe they are exactly the reactions you want.  Like Duke, I am starting to wonder.

 

4 hours ago, PhilFleischmann said:

There's a simple solution to that:  Stop deliberately trying to be obtuse.

 

Sounds like a great plan. Please implement it and stop deliberately trying to be obtuse.

 

4 hours ago, PhilFleischmann said:

Brian's exact words were: "..who is going to invest a year of solid study to get the system mastery that it would take to even begin to design a game that others may want to play?"

 

Do you really think it takes a year of solid study to gain sufficient mastery of the Hero System to begin to design a game that others may want to play?  Yes or no?

 

Assuming limited leisure time, a desire to understand the ramifications of the system sufficiently to make informed choices, and starting with some experience in other systems, but learning Hero from the rule books?  Absolutely.  One only has to look at the many posters over the years who come here and ask questions as they seek to learn and better understand the rules so they can make their own games. 

 

4 hours ago, PhilFleischmann said:

What exactly do you think is the difference between "learning the system enough to begin playing/GMing/designing" and "mastering the system enough to begin playing/GMing/designing'?  Does either of these take a year of solid study?

 

The latter is gaining a sufficient understanding of the system to make informed choices on setting the dials, setting standards and limits for character creation, choosing which options are in, and which are out, and articulating those choices for players so that the game delivers the desired game experience.

 

The former is learning just enough to dive in and hope that the game plays like you wanted to.  Which it undoubtedly will not, because you did not understand the rules well enough to evaluate the consequences of your choices.

 

In D&D, we have built-in safety rails.  We don't have the possibility that a starting character will have +23 to hit, or an armor class of 37, because they invested massive points in those resources.  There's no chance they think a +2 DEX bonus and a shield makes them very well defended, or building a character that averages 25 damage per hit.  So if we just dive in, and look up unfamiliar rules as we go, it will be slow going as we learn the ropes, but we can still play a pretty balanced game.

 

In Hero, the possibility of a 13 OCV swordsman, a 14 DCV Rogue, or a Barbarian with 23 STR, a Greatsword and a pile of martial maneuvers, DCs and skill levels doing 4d6 KA damage are much easier for a player to build - without realizing how unbalanced that character is.  "Well, the book said I could have Martial Arts and Martial DCs and Deadly Blow - I followed all the rules in the 3 Tomes (6e v1 and 2 AND Fantasy Hero).  Why is the game not playing right?"

 

You or I would not make that mistake.  You and I have each invested what, 30 years (wow I feel old...) in mastering this system.  As a result, I don't think we can really appreciate how daunting the current system (not the one we learned from and built on for decades, the current system in all its two-volume, no specific genre, every possible option glory and splendour) can be to a newcomer.  And when we are dismissive of that challenge, it's the same as when that new player shows up, doesn't fully understand the rules, gets crapped on by the other players ("how can you not KNOW how the hit you took from a penetrating killing attack works?  Dumbass!"), runs a wholly ineffective character, gets no help from anyone else at the table and - to everyone's shock and dismay - does not come back for more next week.  Doesn't he realize how much FUN we were having?  What an IDIOT!

 

4 hours ago, PhilFleischmann said:

Well, now you can do it again.  I was going to respond individually to each of your insults in your post, but that would seem to be a waste of my time.

 

Pretty sure I am wasting mine too.  If you don't see the issue, then go back and re-read your posts.  If you still do not see the issue, it is either because you have no ability to objectively assess your own posting style, or because you are setting out to belittle anyone who does not share your 30 years of Hero experience, your view that it is the Greatest System Ever Designed, your time available to devote to it and your personal views on how RPGs are supposed to work.

 

4 hours ago, PhilFleischmann said:

Your post seems to indicate that you either didn't read my posts, or didn't understand them.

 

Yours seem to indicate an incapability to grasp exactly how the tone of your posts comes across when one reads the words without knowing any further details of the thoughts behind them.  It may well be that we "just don't understand", but you clearly do not understand the issue that I think most or all reading your posts perceive.  Either that means you are the problem or that half a dozen or more other posters are the problem.  I know which one I think is more likely, but I expect you will reach the opposite conclusion.

 

Maybe I will actually possess the self-discipline to not bother responding to these issues after this post, and only reply to anything that is useful or insightful to the actual discussion at hand.  It is clear that most of those posting on this thread perceive the clear "barrier to entry" for new GMs and players which is created by the current state of the rules, and are interested in assessing approaches which might mitigate that, and provide a better entry point to learn the Hero System in bite-size chunks (like one trig lesson at a time, wisely structured so each builds on the concepts learned earlier).  That's the discussion worth having.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Ninja-Bear said:

Here’s what frustrating with some of the logic in this thread.

 

Hero 6th/Completes are too complex to learn. 
Why yes if you try to learn everything at once-of course. However you DON’T HAVE TO! 
 

Second Edition is easier to learn. So let’s toolkit Hero 6th et al so it plays similar to 2e (yes there are something’s that won’t play exactly-no big deal). Oh no we can’t do that cause somehow that’s confusing.

 

Let's be clear:  There is no "2e Hero System".  There was 1e Champions, 2e Champions (and some other games), 3e Champions (and some other games) and then 4e Hero System (which was initially bundled with Champions source and genre material as "Champions 4e") which became Hero System 5e and 6e.

 

Brian's Action Hero proposal is probably the closest thing we could ever have to a proposed revision to play like "2e Hero System", as it proposes a 6e version of the very first, 2e, non-Champions Hero System game.  Prior to 4e, Hero published a series of different games using common core mechanics, often modified for the specific game (Danger International had new skills and different Martial Arts, I believe; Justice Inc. presented "weird talents" as pre-built abilities, not a do it yourself powers system to build your own, and Fantasy Hero added some powers and removed others for their Spell system.

 

Prior to 4e, the products were independent games first, system second.  Fantasy Hero presented a magic system, not a "choose your own magic system" textbook with half a dozen examples, none with enough detail to play a game with out of the box.  The first Fantasy Hero allowed you to build a wizard similar to D&D - choose your school(s) of magic and buy spells.  Some were even "higher level" spells in that you needed x points of other spells from that school before you could buy this one.

 

There is precious little difference between "here is a game with all the dials pre-set to emulate 2e" and "toolkitting 6e to play like 2e".

 

The difference between learning 6e and 2e falls largely on the GM.  2e did not say "maybe you have knockback or perhaps knockdown or you could have nothing" and "perhaps you want some or all of hit locations, and impairing/disabling wounds, and bleeding rules, and shock from injuries" and so on.  It had Knockback (no other options, although I suppose you could just ignore those rules) and there were no hit locations, critical hits, impairing, disabling, bleeding, shock...  With all the dials set, the GM can build Ogre, some thugs and a little old lady, the players can build Starburst and Crusader, we draw the bank on the battlemat and we're ready to play.

 

But Starburst's player did not have to ask "Um...multipower is a Yield Sign - can we have those in this game?  Is mine OK?"  That dial was already set.

 

1 hour ago, Ninja-Bear said:

Or my favorite, now you’re creating a “lite” version. Yet let’s suggest a reprint of 2ed. Also creating a game which drastically reduces the Hero system for a genre game isn’t rule “lite” but is somehow going to draw more people in the wider world of Hero? Nothing wrong with just enjoying Action Hero for Action Hero sake but if you think that might bring new players to other genres and going to help them learn the system? Only in a small part.

 

Hero you can’t play of the box. True and there’s no support. True so let’s reprint 2ed which you can’t play out of the box -unless it has a sample adventure (that I’m not sure of).  But let’s still not support 6e et al. 

 

There was a ton of support for 5e.  Genre books, sub-genre books, sample power books, setting books, what have you.  How did that work out?  Back in the 1e - 4e days, Hero was a major player in the RPG field.  And it produced games powered by a system, not a system you could use to build your own games.  Was it just a coincidence that the shift from "games with common mechanics" to "mechanics you can use to build a game" correlated with diminished interest and sales?

 

I think Action Hero may bring some players into the full Hero system.  Maybe it will pave the way for other Hero-Powered games (just like Mutants and Masterminds got a boost out of the gate because it was d20, and you already know how to play d20, so here are the tweaks we made - even though its rules differ radically in many respects from d20, it had that starting point of familiarity).  And maybe it will get some subset of players - the ones that really want to tinker with the system, or even build their own game ("well, it's kind of an Action Hero homebrew, in a post-apocalypse setting, with mutants and stuff").

 

To me, Hero would be better served using its IP to produce things people want to buy (or licensing its IP to people who want to produce those things) than fading away, or clinging to a model which the marketplace has not embraced.

 

Oh, and IIRC, 2e had Viper's Nest, so it was most definitely playable out of the box.  1e had a sample of combat in a bank against Ogre, and a few villains, but no specific scenarios.  A sample multi-part adventure which tells the GM "here are the rules we're focusing on learning and using in this part" would be ideal.  For Action Hero, maybe that includes a brawl, a gunfight, some investigation and interaction...depending on what else goes in, maybe a car chase; a combat scene in an unusual environment.  Pick a cool, well-known action movie scene and file off the serial numbers.

 

1 hour ago, Doc Democracy said:

 

I think this is important to understand.  HERO, with a decent GM who has the time and inclination will often be a great choice for a genre, especially if the group already know the basics.

 

It will rarely be the best choice for a genre where someone has crafted a game to deliver that specific genre. It will almost never be a good choice out of the box.

 

This - exactly this.  Hero can simulate almost anything, but a game focused on specifically simulating one genre can easily have mechanics much more suited to emulating that genre, at the cost of less ability to emulate others.

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34 minutes ago, Hugh Neilson said:

 

Shouldn't you be using a cricket, rugby, soccer football (the round-ball one without all the padded clothes) or golf analogy?

 

There is no similar analogy that covers sport and sex...Meatloaf has made that very well known (even if we are slightly vague on how far first and second base actually represents...

 

🙂

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2 hours ago, Ninja-Bear said:

Here’s what frustrating with some of the logic in this thread.

 

Hero 6th/Completes are too complex to learn. 
Why yes if you try to learn everything at once-of course. However you DON’T HAVE TO! 
 

Second Edition is easier to learn. So let’s toolkit Hero 6th et al so it plays similar to 2e (yes there are something’s that won’t play exactly-no big deal). Oh no we can’t do that cause somehow that’s confusing. Or my favorite, now you’re creating a “lite” version. Yet let’s suggest a reprint of 2ed. Also creating a game which drastically reduces the Hero system for a genre game isn’t rule “lite” but is somehow going to draw more people in the wider world of Hero? Nothing wrong with just enjoying Action Hero for Action Hero sake but if you think that might bring new players to other genres and going to help them learn the system? Only in a small part.
 

Hero you can’t play of the box. True and there’s no support. True so let’s reprint 2ed which you can’t play out of the box -unless it has a sample adventure (that I’m not sure of).  But let’s still not support 6e et al. 

 

You are completely correct: there are a wide array of suggestions and ideas being thrown around in here, and they aren't driving for the same goal, and some of them seem quite contradictory.

 

I can't speak for anyone other than me, of course, but if it helps you to get a handle on at least on opinion, I offer this one, clearly stated:

 

My goal is not driving people to the HERO System, at least not as such.  In truth, I don't get give a rat's roll-y red rump if anyone playing a new game is _ever_ interested in buying the Encyclopedia Heroica.  It's out there; it's a thing that exists; it's interesting and filled with knowledge.  I don't think it's necessary to know it-- or to even want to know it-- to use it.

 

My goal is driving people to use it....  _sort of_.  Obviously, Champions / HERO is my favorite "game structure."  I say "structure" as opposed to system to reinforce the "games built on HERO" idea people have been tossing around.  _That_ I support.  

 

I would like to see essentially self-contained games planted on HERO running gear.  I do not think that said running gear needs to be the entire HERO System as it exists today.  I also tend to think that specifically _not_ using all of it can improve the quality and ease of use for new players.  I think tweaking it specifically-- modifying it, customizing it-- whatever!-- for any specific small game is not only "not a bad thing," but a _good_ thing, as-- once again: actually _showing_ flexibility goes much, much further than _talking about_ flexibility.  Actually bending a few rules will do more than decades of lip service saying "it's okay to bend some rules."  I think if we want to attract newer people more accustomed to newer, more flexible, more "rules light" games, then we need to show them that the stick can be taken completely out of HERO System's ass any time they want it to be.  _I_ don't like HAPs, but if that's what people like in games today, then show them that HERO can do that, too.

 

I want to see people playing HERO-derived _games_.  I want to see people buying things from HERO.  I want to see HERO thriving again, with an income and a budget and new immediately-useful products again.  I don't care if it's Vol. 1 and 2 or if it's the long-lost 2e Privateer or the "ride the wave" Espionage! of that same era.  (between you and me, Espionage should have been the one to lose out between the two: it wasn't appealing enough on it's own merits, and it was leaping into an already-flooded "let's be spies" market of the day.  Privateer, I think, would have stood a better chance.  :(    ).

 

 

I also do _not_ think that this idea-- these "not the entire HERO System" games is the bad idea that others think it is:  these games do not _deny_ the HERO System; they do not downplay it.   They show it off.  The demonstrate that the system is as complex or as simple as you decide.  We can _say_ that all day long.  Games like this would _prove_ it.  Despite popular opinion, I believe that publishing games like this will _not_ be detrimental to the HERO System in any way.  I may be way off base here, but the majority of what remains of HERO fandom all came from smaller, lesser games.  It was those games that locked us in and made us fans for life.  It was those games that made us track down more and more and more HERO material, picking and choosing what we wanted to use and discarding what we didn't as we went along.  I just cannot accept that this is suddenly never going to be the case ever again.  I think smaller, tighter games with narrower focus will generate more interest amongst potential new players than will throwing dictionaries at them.  And I think that there are more people who might try a smaller game-- the lesser investment of time and finance reduces some of the entry barrier, and the tighter focus can afford specific appeal.  Some of those folks are bound to work their way up the ladder, and if they don't, well so what?  

 

They are buying and enjoying HERO products. 

 

 

That's my goal.

 

 

40 minutes ago, Doc Democracy said:

 

There is no similar analogy that covers sport and sex...

🙂

 

 

Until I heard that spoken, I had no idea just how happy I was about it.   :lol:

 

 

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Okay.

 

Moderator Warning in Effect

First, I apologize for not interjecting in this sooner. I'm so used to patrolling the NGD that I neglected this area.

Folks, I realize that sometimes we feel baited, provoked and more. But please, try not to take that bait. I've said it before, but it is better to just walk away if you can't ignore. For that matter ,if you finds someone particularly patronizing or condescending, I believe you can still set a poster to be ignored. I'll double check on that to be sure.

 

But while I feel like I slipped here not responding decisively or quickly enough before it escalated, I have to put my foot down now. Don't make me lock this thread. SImon and I are reviewing things and more action maybe taken against specific people, but this is general warning for the majority: Let's keep it cool.

 

Thank you for your time to read this. 

 

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6 hours ago, Ninja-Bear said:

Here’s what frustrating with some of the logic in this thread.

Hi Ninja-Bear, 

There's a lot of stuff packed into your post. I don't want to misunderstand or misconstrue your points, so if I do let me know. It seems like much of what you write is rhetorical summaries of what's been said in a variety of posts. I'm going to take them up in smaller chunks.

 

6 hours ago, Ninja-Bear said:

Hero 6th/Completes are too complex to learn. 
Why yes if you try to learn everything at once-of course. However you DON’T HAVE TO! 

This is true if you have a GM and a group to learn with. Otherwise, you kinda do have to learn everything at once in order to begin to figure out how to set everything to play a game of some sort. My point: HERO System is generic and universal, so anyone picking up the 6e rules has to make a ton of decisions to even begin the process of figuring out which rules to apply and which to ignore. HERO is great for that type of flexibility, but it's only useful for people who already know the rules fairly well. The Completes aren't necessarily too hard to learn, but they still don't give a newbie many quidelines on how to make their setting, magic/Powers, DC caps, etc. These come from experience, which a rule book just cannot give.

 

7 hours ago, Ninja-Bear said:

Second Edition is easier to learn. So let’s toolkit Hero 6th et al so it plays similar to 2e (yes there are something’s that won’t play exactly-no big deal). Oh no we can’t do that cause somehow that’s confusing. . . . Yet let’s suggest a reprint of 2ed. 

I think mosts of us here learned the game in 1e or 2e, and yes it is indeed easier. The games that I frequently cite are 3e games. I'm not looking to reprint anything here. I'm looking to reboot the 3e games that I (and I'm thinking we) loved. I don't want to present them as if they were 2e (actually, 3e) games. You're right: that is really confusing. Instead, I want to update them to 6e, but with all the fat trimmed off so the games are trim, and offer all of the missing elements that today's rulebooks/toolkits/genre books don't include: setting and adventures/campaign ideas baked into the rules as they are presented. By now you're familiar with what I mean: don't present all the rules and then suggest that they can be tweaked to maybe play in a modern action genre. Instead, present the rules as that genre requires. For example, I don't need to present all the Focus limitations on Powers when all we are talking about are guns. I'll just present guns and a brief description of what they do. If you drop it, or are disarmed, we don't need to debate the nature of the Focus, if it fits in with this particular kind of disarm, and all the other various and sundry arguments we see on the Forums all the time. This trimmed down approach will work in any genre, but I simply suggested this one in particular based on the fact that plans for a reboot of Danger International seem to have fizzled. I got my hopes up, and I'd like to see it work. I could pick any genre, I just happened to pick this one.

 

7 hours ago, Ninja-Bear said:

Or my favorite, now you’re creating a “lite” version. . . . Also creating a game which drastically reduces the Hero system for a genre game isn’t rule “lite” but is somehow going to draw more people in the wider world of Hero? . . . .
 

Hero you can’t play of the box. True and there’s no support. True so let’s reprint 2ed which you can’t play out of the box -unless it has a sample adventure (that I’m not sure of).  But let’s still not support 6e et al. 

Yeah, I've given up on the "lite" version of the rules. Admittedly, I was biased because I learned to play GURPS through their 32 page rules-lite PDF. It seemed like a great idea, but I don't think it works in the generic and universal HERO System because of the need for the Powers and Modifiers in the core rules. GURPS assumes you'll have their genre guides for whatever you want to play, and probably a GM to shepherd you. HERO doesn't assume this, so doesn't try to present a HERO Lite booklet. Probably for the best. Trying to reduce the rules yet still presenting them as generic and universal is just the wrong approach (I think).

 

The support for 6e is what I'm trying to emphasize here. There's plenty of supporting material already out there for 6e: so many settings and genre books and other resource books that I can't count them all off the top of my head. It's the wrong kind of support. It's the same model as 5e, which didn't exactly kill in the marketplace either.

 

So what kind of support does 6e need? That's what my inquiry is about. I think a one-book game is a great idea, a game "built with the HERO System," as all the 3e games used to say. Except this time it'll be advertised as "built with HERO System 6e." The supporting material is already out there: genre books, new rules, skills and equipment and all sorts of stuff. I'd love for people to be drawn to them, but not be required to have them in order to play. By now I think my position on this is clear. 

 

Maybe 6e needs better setting books, as I suggested earlier, as an alternative to one-book games. Maybe each setting book would take the place of a one-book game by falling back on a genre book (such as Fantasy HERO) and the toolbox to cover all the possibilities, and then dialing everything in for a very specific kind of approach to the genre. I'm good with that as an approach too, but it hasn't been done either. So I'm with you: we need better support for 6e, but it needs to be better than splatting out another setting, or villains book, or Advanced Players Guide III. Those have all been done, and they don't sell to anyone other than us who already love the game.

 

7 hours ago, Ninja-Bear said:

Nothing wrong with just enjoying Action Hero for Action Hero sake but if you think that might bring new players to other genres and going to help them learn the system? Only in a small part.

 

7 hours ago, Ninja-Bear said:

Brain Stanfield if you get Action Hero up and running great! I’m not personally against the project. I don’t think it will that useful as a gateway in Hero at large. 

As for being a useful approach to drawing in new players to learn the system, or acting as a gateway to HERO System at large, all I can say is that what DOJ is doing now isn't achieving that. Something new must be tried if it's not going to die out with our rapidly aging generation. I don't know what the demographics are for HERO System, but I don't think it's trending downward in the age bracket. I'm all for other people coming up with something better. More power to whoever does it. But it cannot be more of the same. That's already been done for the past 20 years, and it's dying out. More of the same will just leave more inventory to liquidate when DOJ finally goes bankrupt. 

 

I don't think my approach is the inevitable savior for the HERO System. But I am familiar with what's working in the marketplace outside of D&D. I can tell you that FLGSs are running away from Pathfinder because it is releasing everything on PDF. I've been in GAMA trade meetings where they point out that game specifically as the quickest and easiest way to both clear the shelves for inventory that actually sells, and for finding material that actually supports FLGSs. That model won't work in gameshops for much longer. What does seem to work bypasses the FLGSs altogether. As I mentioned above, Powered by the Apocalypse is an ideal model, and it is immensely popular. There are something like 15 or more games based on that system, and they all are inexpensive to produce, have great fanbases, and have great showings at conventions and such because they are quick and easy to learn.

 

Seems like something DOJ could be copying if they really want to promote HERO System as the toolbox that lets people build their own games. Offer a handful of games, such as Action HERO, as examples of what can be done. Draw people in with some convention presence, and maybe some clever advertising (this was touched on waaaay upthread). But we won't know if "we" don't try. No reason it can't be a group effort, at least for the brainstorming part of the effort, which is of course the point of my original post.

 

Thanks for the feedback. I hope I understood your points correctly.

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5 hours ago, Duke Bushido said:

My goal is not driving people to the HERO System, at least not as such.  In truth, I don't get give a rat's roll-y red rump if anyone playing a new game is _ever_ interested in buying the Encyclopedia Heroica.  It's out there; it's a thing that exists; it's interesting and filled with knowledge.  I don't think it's necessary to know it-- or to even want to know it-- to use it.

 

My goal is driving people to use it

 

This.

 

This this this this this.

 

THIS!!!

 

As Brian notes above, I doubt many of us learned Hero at or after 4e.  If anyone wants to chime in and tell me they learned it later, please do.

 

Please also tell me whether you learned it from an existing player/group, because I would really like to see anyone tell me they learned Hero from the 4e or later rule books.  Is there even ONE of us who did?

 

We learned playing Champions, or Espionage! or Justice Inc. or Danger International or maybe even Fantasy Hero.

 

We learned playing a Game Powered by Hero, not using the Hero system to design our own game.  Maybe we picked talents from Justice Inc. or spells from Fantasy Hero, or maybe we built spells or powers from the (much slimmer) Powers rules of the day.  But we did not buy a set of game design rules, set out to design our own game and run that.  We bought a game to play Superheroes, or Spies, or Pulp Characters or Fantasy Characters.  That's the characters we created, and the game we started playing.  And maybe, somewhere along the line, we (like the creators of Champions) thought "wait a minute - I could run OTHER games/genres using these rules - it's got a solid system behind it". 

 

But it wasn't the system that brought us in - it was a GAME.

 

To me, Action Hero! hearkens back to that.  Here's a game.  If you decide to buy support material, or other Hero Games, or the whole Hero system, or devote the rest of your gaming life to all things Hero, never again allowing some other system to cast a shadow on your gaming table, great.  And if all you do is play Action Hero!, maybe even interspersing it with other games, using other systems, that's great too.  Because either of those extremes is using the Hero System.  And either one keeps Hero alive, maybe even growing or thriving. 

 

Hero System doesn't need to be defended from Action Hero! - Action Hero! as Brian describes it (in any of the  various permutations and combinations he's pondered out loud on these Boards) is a game designed, constructed and played using the Hero System - that's the whole point of the Hero System.

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5 hours ago, Duke Bushido said:

I would like to see essentially self-contained games planted on HERO running gear.  I do not think that said running gear needs to be the entire HERO System as it exists today.  I also tend to think that specifically _not_ using all of it can improve the quality and ease of use for new players.

 

Does any game actually use the entire Hero system?  It is a series of many options. I see few Champions games use hit locations, impairing and disabling rules or bleeding rules.

 

Not a lot of non-Supers games use Knocbback,  Every game has to pick knockback, knockdown or neither.

 

For those who learned Hero from other gamers, did you learn the whole thing all at once, or the rules used in the game you were playing at the time?

 

Action Hero!, with only the rules for the dial settings it selects, and only the abilities it uses, will be a Hero System Game, just like anyone's home game that uses some options, ignores others, allows some constructs and disallows others.  Just like every other game designed using the Hero system, including the ones we play around our own gaming tables.

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40 minutes ago, Brian Stanfield said:

The support for 6e is what I'm trying to emphasize here. There's plenty of supporting material already out there for 6e: so many settings and genre books and other resource books that I can't count them all off the top of my head. It's the wrong kind of support. It's the same model as 5e, which didn't exactly kill in the marketplace either.

 

So what kind of support does 6e need? That's what my inquiry is about. I think a one-book game is a great idea, a game "built with the HERO System," as all the 3e games used to say. Except this time it'll be advertised as "built with HERO System 6e." The supporting material is already out there: genre books, new rules, skills and equipment and all sorts of stuff. I'd love for people to be drawn to them, but not be required to have them in order to play. By now I think my position on this is clear.

 

As I ruminate on this, I think we have it backwards.  Hero System 6e does not need support.  It IS support.

 

The problem is that we have all this support - a huge array of rules options, a ton of settings, and character books, and prebuilds and all that stuff, for a huge array of genres.

 

But somewhere along the line, we forgot one key thing - the GAME that all of this material is designed to SUPPORT.

 

Hero is not a game - it is a system with which games can be designed.  It needs the game(s) it is supposed to be supporting - for some reason, we forgot to publish any since some time in the 4e days.  4th Edition Fantasy Hero was a game.  Somewhere between then and 5e, Hero/DoJ stopped making games.

 

 

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50 minutes ago, Hugh Neilson said:

As I ruminate on this, I think we have it backwards.  Hero System 6e does not need support.  It IS support.

Thanks for summarizing and articulating the point I was meandering towards. This is exactly what I've been trying to say. 

 

The thing that's held me back for so long in teaching and playing any 6e HERO System games is that I was too busy imaging what I could do with all the material that's available rather than actually getting down to business and doing something with it. I never did settle on any complete magic system for Fantasy HERO, but I sure did devour all the sample systems in the genre book! At least Fantasy HERO Complete has the good sense to settle on one magic system. I just wish the book was organized a little better. Anyway, there's plenty of supporting material out there for 6e, just not the applications of it. 

 

I suspect the Hall of Champions is one way to try to alleviate this. Plenty of applications there. But I suspect it's more of a gold mine for us experienced players, and isn't of much use to people just picking up the game. I may be wrong. At least having adventures available is a good start. But I'd rather see one-book games make a comeback, each with their own adventures included, and perhaps advertisements for more in the Hall of Champions. Remember how all the old 3e books advertised each other? One book showed all the other books available, and lots of people got those books to add to the one book they had, and then could home-brew their own versions. Now, one book, for example Action HERO!, could advertise the toolbox and all the other books like the skills, equipment, and martial arts books so people could home-brew their own modifications. People love to be able to reskin their phones to their personal tastes, but I doubt they'd be so keen on it if they had to create their first interface for their phones. So lets provide that first game, and then show all the ways it can be reskinned to suit people's tastes?

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