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Brian Stanfield

What makes a complete game "complete"?

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58 minutes ago, PhilFleischmann said:

* Pre-generated characters for the players.  You don't need to explain all the chargen rules, or even talk about point costs at all.  Just a character sheet of all the things about the character that aren't necessarily part of any other character.

* Rules that cover all the things that the characters can do.  You don't need all the rules governing each power and skill and talent, or how any of them are built..  Character A has a 8d6 Armor Piecing Blast, so you explain that when you hit, you roll eight dice for damage, and the target only gets to subtract half his defenses.

* Rules of general combat that apply to everyone in the game (including NPCs).

* Rules of non-combat stuff that apply to everyone in the game (including NPCs).  Everyman skills and such.

* In case players are not familiar with what role-playing is, maybe some explanation of that.  "You are a person, and you can do whatever a person can do.  You get to decide.  You aren't limited to a set of predefined moves like in a video game.

* An adventure module to play, complete with enemies or whatever other NPCs are involved.  And any other rules for the setting.

* Maybe one or more additional adventure modules, with different kinds of adventures.  In one, you foil a supervillain and his henchmen trying to rob a bank.  In another, there is no villain, and you simply must rescue innocent civilians from a burning apartment building.  In a third, a series of crimes has already been committed, and you need to figure out whodunit and bring them to justice.  etc.

 

Just out of curiosity, in what order would you ideally present these things? I've often toyed with the idea of saving the chargen for last, after the players know how the rules work. Unfortunately, I keep coming back to the plain fact that you can't learn how the game works without also knowing how characters are built, or at least what the stuff on the character sheets means. 

 

Maybe a game could start with the 10 page game summary from HERO Basic's introduction, and then move into the rules, before returning to character generation. I'm not satisfied with this, but it seems like something could be tried. 

 

For example, I absolutely hate the layout of Fantasy HERO Complete. Really, it's not very different from anything else. But when the chargen stuff is presented in the first chapter, but templates are presented at the end of the book, with equipment lists somewhere in the middle, it becomes a horrible mess! I was totally thrilled to try to teach Fantasy HERO to my friend (again, that's the link I posted above), but when he opened the book he was immediately lost. I mean, I lost him in like 20 minutes, and that's only because he was being polite. I couldn't give him a good reason for why the character generation stuff didn't include all the other things scattered throughout the book. And really, that horrible presentation made it very difficult for me to tell him where everything he needed was, or even what the rationale was for their being presented that way. I mean, I get it, as an experienced HERO person there has always been a certain order of presentation, but it seems like it needs to be updated.

 

Really, heck, in PDF format the game books need to cross-link all the relevant material, perhaps even presented as sidebars full of links to other parts of the books. If HERO were to fully commit to electronic formats, the books could become like rules wikis. DOJ could really make its mark in the new game economy if it fully committed to this sort of innovation.

 

Or is it really all that innovative? I don't even know what's out there . . . .

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22 minutes ago, Gnome BODY (important!) said:

Holy multi-post Batman, this guy is on a rampage! 

 

Ok, rampage over . . . for today at least! I'm off to bed. I hope y'all have tons to comment on for tomorrow. I have lots of time to kill at the office!

 

Oh! And holy cow! I just tipped the 1,000 post mark! I feel like a grown-up now!

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14 minutes ago, Brian Stanfield said:

Just out of curiosity, in what order would you ideally present these things?

I don't know.  But I'm pretty sure it wouldn't be in the order I presented them.

 

You might present a base character first - the default, generic guy with all 10's in his characteristics (except SPD and the others that don't start at 10).  And talk about what this character can do.  He can Run at a certain speed.  He can punch for a certain amount of damage.  He rolls 3d6 to determine if his punch hits hit target.  He can pick up a rock and throw it as a range attack.  He can use some other object of opportunity as a weapon.  He can dodge, block, dive for cover, etc.  He can Haymaker, he can Push.  He can hold his phase or his attack action half-phase.  He can see, hear, smell, taste, and touch.  He can make presence attacks.  He is assumed to be a "normal" person within the setting, so he has a job and a life and a background, and therefore, he has some default everyman background skills.  And whatever default non-background skills he should have.  And how he uses those skills.  Anything else?  He can decide what to do from moment to moment, just like any other free-willed person.

 

Then say, "But your character isn't like this ordinary person.  Your character is a HERO!"  And you can have ability scores higher than 10, and you can have additional powers, and skills, etc.  And all these things are worth a certain number of points, so that you and your other players are all equally powerful heroes (otherwise it wouldn't be fair).  And the GM decides how many points you have to spend, and you can buy whatever you like, as long as you can afford it.  And you can take Complications that will make your characters more distinctive, while also giving you more points to spend.

 

28 minutes ago, Brian Stanfield said:

Really, heck, in PDF format the game books need to cross-link all the relevant material, perhaps even presented as sidebars full of links to other parts of the books. If HERO were to fully commit to electronic formats, the books could become like rules wikis. DOJ could really make its mark in the new game economy if it fully committed to this sort of innovation.

 

Or is it really all that innovative? I don't even know what's out there . . . .

This.  Electronic, clickable links.  How many people into RPGs, or who want to get into RPGs, don't have some kind of computer that can open a PDF on?  I don't know how innovative it is, but it really should be done this way.  Who uses a hardcopy encyclopedia anymore?

 

And the whole "What is role-playing?  What is a role-playing game?" thing should not be part of the rule book/PDF at all, but should be available for free download/viewing on the website of EVERY RPG publisher. (And no, it doesn't have to be the exact same one for each.)

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4 hours ago, PhilFleischmann said:

And the whole "What is role-playing?  What is a role-playing game?" thing should not be part of the rule book/PDF at all, but should be available for free download/viewing on the website of EVERY RPG publisher. (And no, it doesn't have to be the exact same one for each.)

 

I absolutely agree.  It is now a waste of paper and ink.  A box at the start with a link to internet text and a video of people playing the game would be MUCH more valuable.

 

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3 minutes ago, Doc Democracy said:

I absolutely agree.  It is now a waste of paper and ink.  A box at the start with a link to internet text and a video of people playing the game would be MUCH more valuable.

I disagree.  You can get a lot of useful information from them.  Not about what role-playing is, of course, but about what the designer's philosophies are.  For example, I learned that from PARANOIA's non-example of play. 

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

I disagree.  You can get a lot of useful information from them.  Not about what role-playing is, of course, but about what the designer's philosophies are.  For example, I learned that from PARANOIA's non-example of play. 

You disagree that it is a waste of paper or that the same (or enhanced text) with video would be much more useful?

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6 hours ago, PhilFleischmann said:

And the whole "What is role-playing?  What is a role-playing game?" thing should not be part of the rule book/PDF at all, but should be available for free download/viewing on the website of EVERY RPG publisher. (And no, it doesn't have to be the exact same one for each.)

 

2 hours ago, Doc Democracy said:

I absolutely agree.  It is now a waste of paper and ink.  A box at the start with a link to internet text and a video of people playing the game would be MUCH more valuable.

 

It depends on the product you're looking at. For an introduction book, like you might see in a starter set or something like Sidekick, I think having that "What Is Role-Playing" section is necessary. But for a main book, maybe what would be better is an introductory adventure sample, either in narrative or in solo format. A quick walk-through on what to expect from the game that a cursory eye could look at. This could also serve as the preview to a PDF, or a separate download. Alternatively, a "What Is Champions" section or "The Hero System in X Pages" might be a better take on the this section. 

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7 hours ago, Brian Stanfield said:

Really, heck, in PDF format the game books need to cross-link all the relevant material, perhaps even presented as sidebars full of links to other parts of the books. If HERO were to fully commit to electronic formats, the books could become like rules wikis. DOJ could really make its mark in the new game economy if it fully committed to this sort of innovation.

 

While a great idea in theory, it can turn into a design a logistical nightmare for those working on it, particularly for a tome like Hero's been in the past few editions. Is it possible? Sure. But it might also slow things a bit more than needed.

 

6 hours ago, PhilFleischmann said:

This.  Electronic, clickable links.  How many people into RPGs, or who want to get into RPGs, don't have some kind of computer that can open a PDF on?  I don't know how innovative it is, but it really should be done this way.  Who uses a hardcopy encyclopedia anymore?

 

Hi, my name is Sketchpad and I still use print products, as well as electronic ones. 

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7 hours ago, Brian Stanfield said:

Just out of curiosity, in what order would you ideally present these things? I've often toyed with the idea of saving the chargen for last, after the players know how the rules work. Unfortunately, I keep coming back to the plain fact that you can't learn how the game works without also knowing how characters are built, or at least what the stuff on the character sheets means. 

 

For example, I absolutely hate the layout of Fantasy HERO Complete. Really, it's not very different from anything else. But when the chargen stuff is presented in the first chapter, but templates are presented at the end of the book, with equipment lists somewhere in the middle, it becomes a horrible mess! I was totally thrilled to try to teach Fantasy HERO to my friend (again, that's the link I posted above), but when he opened the book he was immediately lost. I mean, I lost him in like 20 minutes, and that's only because he was being polite. I couldn't give him a good reason for why the character generation stuff didn't include all the other things scattered throughout the book. And really, that horrible presentation made it very difficult for me to tell him where everything he needed was, or even what the rationale was for their being presented that way. I mean, I get it, as an experienced HERO person there has always been a certain order of presentation, but it seems like it needs to be updated.

 

Don't even get me started on the layout of Hero System books. Character Generation should be toward the front of the book, but not the start of the book, and be complete in its own chapter. Give the players everything they need in one section, followed by rules on Equipment and Vehicles. Honestly, if put together properly, the first part of a rulebook could be separated to create a Player's Guide that could be marketed  on its own.  

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20 hours ago, Duke Bushido said:

I'm willing to download and print stuff on my own dime; that's not a problem.  Buying software and then having to turn around--if the bulk of the conversations in the HERO Designer forums are any indication--learn Java and build export templates and match this and thats? 

 

I mostly agree with this and I am a software engineer.  Just not the right kind of software engineer.

 

Learn completely new languages to create my own export format or edit how existing templates are built?  To play a game?!  Unlikely.

 

I have, however, taken Tasha's Ultimate export format and edited the color scheme more to my liking.  I may eventually get to editing it further to create a "player friendly" version of the sheets which hides base & costs columns to cut down on the wall of numbers.

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15 hours ago, Brian Stanfield said:

A whole product line! I think we all know that's not going to happen, but it would be, as you say, ideal.

 

It's not just "ideal", it is absolutely necessary. Until it happens, we will continue to see the HERO System fade further into obscurity year after year, just as it has done for the past decade. This discussion continues to reappear every six months precisely because there is no perceivable hope for a "complete game", i.e., complete product line, in the system's future.

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7 hours ago, Sketchpad said:

While a great idea in theory, it can turn into a design a logistical nightmare for those working on it, particularly for a tome like Hero's been in the past few editions. Is it possible? Sure. But it might also slow things a bit more than needed.

As opposed to the design and logistical nightmare that it is now?  In an active-linked PDF, you almost don't need to worry about the order information is presented in, because you can link directly to another section of the rules when you need to.  Electronic formats allow you to solve those logistical problems.  Hard copy does not.  If a particular rule makes reference to one other rule, then you can put those rules next to each other.  If a rule makes references to multiple other rules, you can't put them all next to each other on a piece of paper, but you can link them together in an electronic format.

 

Y'ever shop online?  Y'ever shop out of a big hard copy catalog?

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21 minutes ago, zslane said:

 

It's not just "ideal", it is absolutely necessary. Until it happens, we will continue to see the HERO System fade further into obscurity year after year, just as it has done for the past decade. This discussion continues to reappear every six months precisely because there is no perceivable hope for a "complete game", i.e., complete product line, in the system's future.

 

You got that right! I guess that's why I keep trying to make it a live issue. For now I'm fiddling with some of the conceptual problems, but really I'd like to find a sort of formula that could work for the future. It's not like I'm going to win the lottery and buy HERO from DOJ, but I"m hoping with some thought and a good presentation, we could come up with something other than a complete hack like Champions Now became. I like Ron Edwards's initial impulse to update the game for a more "indie" crowd, but I can't really understand why DOJ would let their intellectual property simply be broken apart and redone in completely foreign terms. It is not the answer for the HERO System and DOJ. 

 

I saw a couple of years ago that High Rock Press was going to redo Danger International, but it just sort of disappeared off the slate as the character creation cards took all of their attention and effort. It seems like it could become a new model for a new style of presentation, if someone really put more effort into it than was given Fantasy HERO Complete

 

Or maybe I just need to win the lottery . . .

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17 hours ago, Brian Stanfield said:

Let me recalibrate my original post: I'm not necessarily talking about a beginner's set or anything like that. That is an old discussion that led to many of my questions here:

...

I'm more thinking about what is the proper alignment, or realignment, of the product line to facilitate complete games that can stand alone for a complete game experience, at least until the players are ready to create their own content to play. Although I brought up the issue of minimizing the page count, it was primarily based on some complaints that have repeatedly come up in other discussions. 

 

I just want to head off the HERO Basic ideas before they take over!

 

When I say starter set I'm also not referring to a beginner's set.  The D&D Starter Kit happens to use the D&D 5th edition Basic Rules, but when I played through it we used the full D&D 5e ruleset.  

 

The existing Fantasy Hero Complete "starter set" (electronic supplemental material) uses the full Fantasy Hero Complete rules.  There's no reason there can't be "complete game" sets that include everything but the rules; I'm fine if "complete game" includes the rulebook, even the full toolkit, as a separate book or books.  

 

16 hours ago, Brian Stanfield said:

Let's get away from the starter box ideas, at least for now (believe me, I sympathize because this has always been a pet idea of mine; see the link above for the thread I started). I'm thinking more along the lines of what I know is one of your favorites, Danger International. One book was all I needed, and I was off and running. Can we reproduce that anymore? 

 

Good question.  Danger International is self contained and limited.  It assumes not just genre but a particular play style (i.e. no powers, agent-level, gritty).  In theory, yes, we could reproduce that, as long as we're assuming a genre and play style.  No, it's not the toolkit -- and that's a feature, not a bug.  

 

Everything about the full HERO System toolkit ecosystem assumes everything is wide open, and that GMs and players will have full access to it.  It's kind of hard to reconcile that with a pregenerated world, power sets, power systems (magic systems, psionics, etc.), source material (monsters, villains, spells, gadgets, etc.).  Believe me, I've been told a number of times that what I want is "dumbing down" the system -- no, I don't.  I want something that I can open up and be playing in an hour.  

 

There's no reason a complete game has to dumb anything down.  "Starter set" doesn't have to mean for beginners!   Pregenerated source material doesn't have to be "dumb".  

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 Well Hero Tried that with MHI.

What we need to look at, is analyze it like an Air crash Investigation Team, and figure out why that one went wrong? Was it internal (as in the presentation by Hero), or was it external? (The author, or the popularity, or lack therof?)\

 

Learn from mistakes,, don't sweep them under the rug and forget them.

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13 hours ago, Doc Democracy said:

 

I absolutely agree.  It is now a waste of paper and ink.  A box at the start with a link to internet text and a video of people playing the game would be MUCH more valuable.

 

 

Personally, I've never been a fan of "you've bought our product! You've started reading it! Now go to THIS website!" drives.

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2 hours ago, Scott Ruggels said:

 Well Hero Tried that with MHI.

What we need to look at, is analyze it like an Air crash Investigation Team, and figure out why that one went wrong? Was it internal (as in the presentation by Hero), or was it external? (The author, or the popularity, or lack therof?)\

 

Learn from mistakes,, don't sweep them under the rug and forget them.

 

Agree 100% (again).

 

I really feel that MHI was the right way to go, it just didn't find traction with new players. I believe that had mostly to do with the setting, which failed to excite a broad RPG audience, and the lack of effective marketing/advertising for it.

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PS238 was another example.

 

You wouldn't have heard of it unless you were following Hero Games here, or the licensed setting.

 

And the licensed setting was obscure.

 

It was a very cool product, but it didn't sell and wasn't supported.

 

Champions Now is likely to go the same way. It's quite likely to find an Indy niche, but there's little money in that.

 

It could be supported, by fan works, but doing that clashes with the vision driving it. A shame, since in many ways it would be easier to support, having less of the baggage that comes with Hero.

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6 hours ago, PhilFleischmann said:

 Y'ever shop out of a big hard copy catalog?

 

For the staggering majority of my life, yes.  Still do, really, but the catalogue are more "flyers.". And being able to skip back and forth and link hop until your lost doesn't change the fact that compared to the weight, feel, and ease-of-use of a well-laid-out book, trying to flip open a PDF to just the right data and thumb to what you need to know, reading PDF sucks. 

 

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4 hours ago, Greywind said:

 

Personally, I've never been a fan of "you've bought our product! You've started reading it! Now go to THIS website!" drives.

 

 

Damned skippy.   Invariably it feels like you've like a root-canal, accessed via the colon. Seriously:  there are very, very few *ahem* "marketing strategies* that pi$$ me off faster or more deeply than that horse-snuckles. I bought it.  Why do I not have the whole thing?  Why do I now need a computer?  And the internet?  (which, last I checked, runs me about 50 bucks a month when I have it on- I tend to turn it off over the summer because Hell; that's money, and the kids don't have homework, so....) 

 

So I get to pay full price for your incomplete product then rent the rest of for fifty bucks a month?  Up _yours_, Buddy, high, hard, and hellish. 

 

 

 

My kids ask me why I still plug along with a PS2 when they keep trying to get me excited about their 4.  I tell them the truth:  when I buy a game, I buy the whole entire game, all at once.  And I own it, forever, without regard for internet connection or the whims of some streaming service. 

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23 hours ago, PhilFleischmann said:

For a "complete" game, you need:

 

* Pre-generated characters for the players.  You don't need to explain all the chargen rules, or even talk about point costs at all.  Just a character sheet of all the things about the character that aren't necessarily part of any other character.

 

To me, the game is not complete if I cannot make my own characters, nor are pregens required to make it complete.  However, the "pregen as sample character" makes a lot of sense in general, and even more in Hero specifically. 

 

Of greater relevance, a "complete game" without those pregens needs to have something more than "here's a few hundred pages of build parts - make a character".  You can present characteristics, skills and perks like we do now.  But not Powers.  You need something more akin to "Talents", pre-made special abilities with their price clearly labeled, and their mechanical components NOT provided.  Put them online or in an appendix, but the players don't need that game design - they just need the game we used them to design.

 

23 hours ago, PhilFleischmann said:

* Rules that cover all the things that the characters can do.  You don't need all the rules governing each power and skill and talent, or how any of them are built..  Character A has a 8d6 Armor Piecing Blast, so you explain that when you hit, you roll eight dice for damage, and the target only gets to subtract half his defenses.

 

Or you could allow characters to buy Blasts or AP Blasts.  Put the price down.  Maybe that is "Blast, 5 points per 1d6" and "Armor Piercing Blast, 7.5 points per 1d6".  Or maybe it is builds "Waves of Cold - the character emanates a field of frigidity from his hands in a triangle 12 meters to a side, with one point in any hex adjacent to the character, moving away from him.  All within the cone take 6d6 normal damage, versus energy defense" with a fixed price; "Frostbolt - the character fires off a ray of cold, rolling OCV vs DCV to strike a single target.  If he hits, the target takes 12d6 of normal damage, versus energy defense" - cost is 60 points.  "Ice Slivers - the character projects a burst of sharp ice rolling OCV vs DCV to strike a single target.  If he hits, the target takes 8d6 of armor pierceing damage, versus energy defense".

 

Can you tinker with the builds?  Sure - but AFTER you learn the basic rules of the game.  Maybe our game has no powers with Penetrating or Autofire - then we don't include those mechanics.  In Hero, you can do that - but not in our game.

 

The key is that the abilities are presented in bite-size chunks, actual abilities, not spaghetti code ability design mechanics.

 

23 hours ago, PhilFleischmann said:

* Rules of general combat that apply to everyone in the game (including NPCs).

* Rules of non-combat stuff that apply to everyone in the game (including NPCs).  Everyman skills and such.

* In case players are not familiar with what role-playing is, maybe some explanation of that.  "You are a person, and you can do whatever a person can do.  You get to decide.  You aren't limited to a set of predefined moves like in a video game.

 

All of this. 

 

23 hours ago, PhilFleischmann said:

 

* An adventure module to play, complete with enemies or whatever other NPCs are involved.  And any other rules for the setting.

 

* Maybe one or more additional adventure modules, with different kinds of adventures.  In one, you foil a supervillain and his henchmen trying to rob a bank.  In another, there is no villain, and you simply must rescue innocent civilians from a burning apartment building.  In a third, a series of crimes has already been committed, and you need to figure out whodunit and bring them to justice.  etc.

 

Not, IMO, 100% essential, but at least 90%.  They are not nearly as likely to play it if someone has to build the adventure from scratch.  Maybe, however, the adventure(s) get sold separately but at least some small sample scenarios would ideally be included.  Maybe they are enough to earn 10 xp, after which you write your own, or buy Book 1 of an Adventure Path, or separate adventure modules.

 

23 hours ago, PhilFleischmann said:

The author of such a "complete" game can do all the pre-play math for the players, and not even bother showing it to the players.  (Obviously, the players will have to add up their own dice,  subtract damage from their STUN/BODY, track their own END, etc., during play, themselves.)

 

This. Is. Crucial. 

 

We are not giving them tools to design a game.  We used those tools (Hero System) to build the game they will play.

 

23 hours ago, PhilFleischmann said:

You do not need a setting.  No, you don't.

 

Well, you sort of do.  You need enough "setting" to place the adventures in, and let the players build a backstory in.  What you don't need is an atlas and a complete world.  You need enough pieces for the characters to exist, and those first adventures to happen.  And no more!

 

23 hours ago, PhilFleischmann said:

Once the players get through this.  You can delve into the details of how their characters are built, and how each of their powers are built, and how other kinds of powers could be built.  And you can let them use all these rules to build their own characters.

 

And then you can tell them that these adventures they've been having all take place in this larger world, where various stuff is going on that they might be interested in.

 

Well, now we are getting the product line. 

 

You can buy supplements with new powers and/or ways to alter existing powers.  You can move to full Hero system design.  But you DON'T have to - you can just keep playing with what you have.

 

You can make your own adventures, and settings, and what have you.  Or you can buy adventure books, setting books, enemies books, etc.

 

22 hours ago, Brian Stanfield said:

 

So, looking at Danger International, one of the "complete games" of yesteryear, actually takes on all of those sub-genres in one game. Perhaps it's too generic for any one of them, but as the book is presented they all pretty much blend together seamlessly. The whole book has pretty much a consistent feel throughout, although it may lack some of the super-spy qualities of James Bond or Mission: Impossible. I'm not sure that there would need to be separate games for each, although perhaps supplements centered around the core game that tease out each sub-genre would work. Sort of the opposite of what the genre books do now. As I said earlier, I'm just spitballing here, but I think Action HERO is a great place to start because there is a gap in the product line these days, and it also is the simplest (i.e. most "real life") rendition of the game without all the Powers and Modifiers to muck up the presentation.

 

I think you need to restrict the "complete game" to one genre/subgenre to present something they can play, not a toolbox from which they can build something to play.  That also allows some greater depth in the (sub)genre chosen as we don't need a little bit of many (sub)genres.

 

But Danger International would be a great starting point.

 

5 hours ago, Chris Goodwin said:

No, it's not the toolkit -- and that's a feature, not a bug. 

 

This.

 

This this this this this this this.

 

THIS!!!

 

5 hours ago, Chris Goodwin said:

Everything about the full HERO System toolkit ecosystem assumes everything is wide open, and that GMs and players will have full access to it. 

 

And that is great - if they WANT to build their own game, with everything wide open.  But many do not.  For them, we provide what they want:

 

6 hours ago, Chris Goodwin said:

 a pregenerated world, power sets, power systems (magic systems, psionics, etc.), source material (monsters, villains, spells, gadgets, etc.). 

 

We use the system to build the game so they can play it.  Yes, we removed a ton of options.  They don't want them - they want bounded options spelled out for them.  If you don't, use the system and build the game you and your group want.  But that's not what a lot of the market wants.  So let them have what they want too - or someone else will, and that someone else will get their gaming dollars.

 

How many supplements do D&D and similar games have?  They want options, and lots of them.  But they want the pre-built.  So give them what they want!

 

2 hours ago, zslane said:

I really feel that MHI was the right way to go, it just didn't find traction with new players. I believe that had mostly to do with the setting, which failed to excite a broad RPG audience, and the lack of effective marketing/advertising for it.

 

15 minutes ago, assault said:

PS238 was another example.

 

Both fine examples and maybe good templates for how much to include, and how much to leave out.

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2 minutes ago, Hugh Neilson said:

 

And that is great - if they WANT to build their own game, with everything wide open.  But many do not.  For them, we provide what they want:

 

 

We use the system to build the game so they can play it.  Yes, we removed a ton of options.  They don't want them - they want bounded options spelled out for them.  If you don't, use the system and build the game you and your group want.  But that's not what a lot of the market wants.  So let them have what they want too - or someone else will, and that someone else will get their gaming dollars.

 

And further, the toolkit doesn't stop working just because you have a big pile of prebuilt stuff.  Once you and your group are familiar and happy with the system, pull out that toolkit!  Build out further!  

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Absolutely - you don't have to wait for a splatbook to publish a feat - you can get the design system and build the abiity YOU want right now, or tweak an existing build just so (a cone of ice splinters, for example, or I want a Cold Sphere to emanate in all directions).  You decide how much, or how little, of the game design you want to take on.

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