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Brian Stanfield

What makes a complete game "complete"?

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4 minutes ago, zslane said:

 

I would agree that the 4e HSR expresses a complete set of game mechanics. But it isn't a complete game in and of itself because the reader still has to do all the work of creating a setting, creating a crisis or adventure hook, creating all the antagonists, creatures, people and places, etc. For those rare few left today with the time, experience, and talent for all that world-building, they only need the mechanics/toolkit. They don't need the HERO System to provide them with an actual game to play; they are essentially going to create that themselves. But most first-timers today aren't going to do that. The brand needs to recognize that fact and do a lot of that work for them, freeing the players up to merely tweak and adjust to taste and then get on with the business of playing out the quests/missions/etc.

 

Yup, and Hall of Champions just isn't going to cut it either. It's a great idea, but it really ought to include adventures as it's focus. And it is not going to allow for any new games coming out. My idea for Adventure HERO wouldn't be allowed, I don't believe. I think I'd need to find another publisher to do it, since DOJ just can't foster new games anymore. 

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7 minutes ago, Brian Stanfield said:

 

MHI is a good example of what I'm talking about: it's a complete game where all the decisions have been made, the setting has been written, and it is very clear to all involved what the game is about. I'm not exactly sure if you're offering it as a counterpoint because I'm not sure where you're getting 600 pages from. If you scroll back a bit you'll see my breakdown of the two books I just mentioned, and they are each well under 300 pages. Just about the same as MHI

 

 

I'm not trying to be argumentative, but you're being a bit vague. Champions is a genre book, and as DukeBushido pointed out on the first page of this thread, there are a dozen setting books. Again, I'm not sure which you're talking about. There are zero decisions made in Champions, except for the genre itself, but even that is wide open with no real decisions made. Each setting book makes some decisions, but not very many. Usually only a history is given and some backstory, but not much in terms of what is expected of the PCs. There's way too much for the GM to decide before session 0 even begins. 

 

Similarly, Fantasy HERO is extremely vague, without even a standard magic system offered. Fantasy HERO Complete is better, but it doesn't offer a setting, so there is still the need for the GM to make a whole lot of decisions and do a whole lot of work to even be able to play. The settings for 6e may be workable, but they tend to be information overload for anyone learning them. Go look at the Turakian Age thread for an example of what I mean.

 

Again, I agree that MHI is a better example of what I'm discussing in this thread. What you are bringing up probably fits better in a different discussion.


MHI is 1 book and no support

and at 60$ a bit steep as an entry level game
Hero system basic was 20$ when in print and can be used with any genre the GM just has to make a few easy choices
If I say the game is Heroic and you can use any of the 3 choices Stat based,skill based or powers based(all are 175 pts)
you are part of a group that hunts monsters for profit and have to keep it under raps as best you can
pretty much all equipment is in HSB
now to make zombies for the 1st encounter
30 body and x5 vulnerability to head shots
hand wave turning ,get bit you have to either cauterize the wound say 3 body with in 1 turn or chop off the limb in 2(min 1/2 current body ,a saw takes 2 phases and will do exactly what is needed , machete will need to roll, so you might kill or make a friend dying

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24 minutes ago, zslane said:

 

I would agree that the 4e HSR expresses a complete set of game mechanics. But it isn't a complete game in and of itself because the reader still has to do all the work 

 

 

As it turned out, it wasn't even the complete 4e rules.  :lol:   The genre books that followed did the same thing that all the HERO adventures and supplements had done before-- they added new "core rules" and options-- Skills, Talents, etc:  the very thing that 4e was supposed to solve in the first place by pulling everything from all that had gone before.

 

One of the things 5e did was-- well, just what 4e did:  pulled all that scattered stuff and put it into one place.

 

I haven't read enough 5e stuff to know, but I _am_ a bit curious:  did any of the supplemental material for 5e "do it all over again" as well?

 

We've got two APGs and periodic hints at the need for a third that suggest even 6e is continuing this tradition. :D

 

 

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26 minutes ago, Brian Stanfield said:

Like I said, I don't want to rehash the edition wars thread. But if 3e was the first time they started marketing the "HERO System," (copyright 1984), 

 

You are correct with the copyright, but Hero Games was using the term "HERO System" as early as 2e to advertise "Espionage!"  (punctuation still mandatory) and the failed-to-materialize "Privateer" games.  There are instances of it in adds in the Adventurers Club, Space Gamer, and Dragon.  When I have time, I intend to do a logo rip from one of the adds, as it's the best-looking "HERO System" logo, in my opinion, and I thought it might look nice on character sheets.  :)

 

I can't find any proof of it, but I think Privateer may have been finally quashed forever during the I.C.E. Age, when Iron Crown released "Pirates" with dual compatibility (ha!  Apparently this meant "dual stat blocks, because little else was translated from Role Master to HERO) for Role master and Fantasy HERO (Fantasy HERO 1e for those who categorize like Chris does; Fantasy HERO 3e for those who categorize as I do:  based on which edition of the Champions rules currently being used to run the game)

 

 

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20 minutes ago, Duke Bushido said:

 

 

As it turned out, it wasn't even the complete 4e rules.  :lol:   The genre books that followed did the same thing that all the HERO adventures and supplements had done before-- they added new "core rules" and options-- Skills, Talents, etc:  the very thing that 4e was supposed to solve in the first place by pulling everything from all that had gone before.

 

One of the things 5e did was-- well, just what 4e did:  pulled all that scattered stuff and put it into one place.

 

I haven't read enough 5e stuff to know, but I _am_ a bit curious:  did any of the supplemental material for 5e "do it all over again" as well?

 

We've got two APGs and periodic hints at the need for a third that suggest even 6e is continuing this tradition. :D

 

 

was stuff left out or was new stuff created after 4th ed came out?
now I know 6th ed APG's where done with stuff left out of 6th ed but was also never in 5th ed or FREd as Steve Long said that before 6th ed was printed

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7 minutes ago, Beast said:

was stuff left out or was new stuff created after 4th ed came out?

 

 

More stuff was created.  Some of the adventures have things in them, and all the genre books have new rules, skills, and periodically talents-- Horror HERO even launches into a massive justification for additional thematically-appropriate Characteristics (ala Sanity-- C'Thulu, anyone?), but let's face it: a lot of us had already been doing that for years by then.  Most famously were the HERO System Almanacs 1 and 2-- 1 moreso than 2, which were the then-modern equivalent to Champions II and Champions III:  Here's some new stuff we thought you might like to toss into your games.

 

Lightning Reflexes came from Western HERO, eh-- it doesn't matter.  It all got wrapped up into 5e, so if you've read that....

 

What I was curious about was if 5e had done the same thing:  "it's all right here in this one book!"  Then start pumping out books with "incidental" new stuff.  :lol:

 

 

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14 hours ago, Brian Stanfield said:

 

These are all good points, but easily presented in simple form, just like weapons are. Give the damage, and any odd effects relevant to it. For example, a smoke grenade would have a thrown range based on STR, an 8m circular range of -3 to sight PER for 3 turns. Everything else would be extraneous. Several varieties could be included, just like a list of standard favorite movie firearms, and a short list of different ammunition, etc. These lists could get long, of course, but we don't need to include rules for building them, just the final product without all the information crammed in. Even 10 pages of lists is not really a design flaw, or all that annoying for the reader. These were always the things that made me feel like I was playing a game with lots of possibilities, but without the analysis paralysis of the entire tool box. I have plenty of evidence of my players asking me for lists of weapons and equipment before they even think of doing anything else in character creation. I started an entire thread in the Fantasy HERO forum on this issue when a friend of mine just quit the game because the equipment lists were virtually hidden, and there were no spell lists! So, several pages in the Resource Guide part of the book seems like a great idea.

 

Emphasis added.  Hero fans tend to "it all has to be there".  The key to a Game Powered by Hero" is not that things like the builds and every option do not have to be there.    It is that the have to not be there.  This is a game, not a system with which you can design a game. 

 

We, the game designer, decide not to include animal handling skills, animal stats, etc. and a player wants an attack falcon?  Just like every other game, you either suck it up (not in the rules), whine to the designers that we need an "animals" sourcebook to cover this stuff, or make your own.  Unlike other games, you have the option to buy the game designer's toolkit and build it in accordance with the game system's rules and assumptions.

 

13 hours ago, Brian Stanfield said:

 

Yeah, that's pretty much why I'm avoiding Champions and Fantasy HERO in this particular thread. I think those vary too much by setting, and so there can't possibly be one single "complete" book in the sense that I'm talking about here. The biggest problem for Fantasy HERO 6e, for example, is that is was a genre book that offered so many options, and opened so many possibilities, that there was no single game presented but rather a toolbox for building a dozen fantasy games! Champions may be even more varied. These require very, very experienced GMs to make the decisions and trim the rules down to one game. 

 

Could we make a Fantasy or Supers game?  Sure.  But it has to be a game.  It would not have a box of mechanics - go build your own magic system/spells/superpowers.  It would have one or more pre-designed magic systems.  That's how magic works in this game.  Maybe EVERYONE who casts spells needs a wand, or a familiar, or cannot be in contact with metal - because that is how magic works in this game.

 

Superpowers might be fixed, or variable in power.  Maybe we use the USPD model and they come in different power levels, but not "buy 1d6 for x points", or maybe they are fully scalable.  Maybe some superpowers don't exist in our game - say, no mental powers.  Perhaps the only source of powers is an x-gene.  Nope, no aliens or "bitten by a radioactive kangarooo" or empowered by ancient mythological deities.  That is not part of this game.

 

But Action Hero is as good a choice as any, and doesn't need as much "pregenerated X list".

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1 hour ago, Ninja-Bear said:

Yes Duke they had new stuff that is OPTIONAL but is there so you could play the genre closer to what you might envision the Game  that the core books may lack. 

 

Absolutely right, as usual.  :)

 

My comments (forgive the lack of clarity, please: by popular-yet-kindly-gentle suggestion, I have been attempting to formulate shorter replies.  Unfortunately, it leads to omissions that reduce clarity.  I'll get better, I hope) were more an observation that what "extra stuff" in one edition becomes "core rules" in the next, which beget even more "optional rules", etc. 

 

And you know what I play.  :lol: clearly I have no problem ignoring extra rules.  

 

:lol:

 

 

 

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On 2/18/2020 at 8:26 AM, Hugh Neilson said:

We, the game designer, decide not to include animal handling skills, animal stats, etc. and a player wants an attack falcon?  Just like every other game, you either suck it up (not in the rules), whine to the designers that we need an "animals" sourcebook to cover this stuff, or make your own.  Unlike other games, you have the option to buy the game designer's toolkit and build it in accordance with the game system's rules and assumptions.

 

The ideal I have in mind is to use a game like this as an incentive for players to want to buy the toolkit and fiddle with it themselves. This is basically what we did back in the '80s (right, @Duke Bushido?) and is not a new concept, or even a difficult one to grasp. We can go to the HERO store, for example, and buy HERO Designer, but for people who are really curious, they have the option to buy the source code for HD and fiddle with it themselves. Same concept: HERO System is the source code and programming language. The game is the consumer-side interface.

 

On 2/18/2020 at 8:26 AM, Hugh Neilson said:

Superpowers might be fixed, or variable in power.  Maybe we use the USPD model and they come in different power levels, but not "buy 1d6 for x points", or maybe they are fully scalable.  Maybe some superpowers don't exist in our game - say, no mental powers.  Perhaps the only source of powers is an x-gene.  Nope, no aliens or "bitten by a radioactive kangarooo" or empowered by ancient mythological deities.  That is not part of this game.

 

I may have to create an entire game with nothing but heroes bitten by kangaroos. . . .

 

The supers genre is a bit more complex to figure out, at least for me. People have so many ideas of what they want to do, it seems a hard sell to create a game with only some of the powers included. I know that's not exactly what you mean, but by the time you create several kind of Blast options (AoE, NND, Indirect, or whatever variations), you may as well simply use the entire Powers list and expect people to figure it out. I think maybe this is the PhD of HERO System gaming. I think this is peculiar only to the supers genre though. 

 

I think it fits really well for Fantasy HERO though, with specific spell lists and such. People are already "trained" to use spell lists, magical items lists, special skill lists, and stuff like that from D&D or whatever else game they came from. 

 

In each case though, if this were to be the model for supers or fantasy, I think maybe they'd have to start with a setting in order to explain and understand the "settings" for the Powers in the game. We don't have to reveal the builds, but we do have to explain why wizards can't use armor, or why there are two spell systems (arcane and divine, for instance), or whatever else. These decisions imply a setting, and half the setting work is already done by the time these decisions are made. Again, I think it works less well for supers, but maybe it's still workable. 

 

Can you imagine if a new setting book came out for Champions that made these sort of decisions? Do you think it would work, at least as a starting point for new gamers? Experienced HERO players may not like a more setting-limited approach, but non-HERO people may. Since Champions was the first game I learned after a few years of D&D, I'm used to its wide open approach. I'd be a bit disappointed if I could only select from pre-defined powers lists. In fact, this is why I never picked up other supers games, because they seemed to be too limited. I can't tell if others would feel the same.

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14 minutes ago, Brian Stanfield said:

 

The ideal I have in mind is to use a game like this as an incentive for players to want to buy the toolkit and fiddle with it themselves. This is basically what we did back in the '80s (right, @Duke Bushido?) and is not a new concept, or even a difficult one to grasp. We can go to the HERO store, for example, and buy HERO Designer, but for people who are really curious, they have the option to buy the source code for HD and fiddle with it themselves. Same concept: HERO System is the source code and programming language. The game is the consumer-side interface.

 

 

I may have to create an entire game with nothing but heroes bitten by kangaroos. . . .

 

The supers genre is a bit more complex to figure out, at least for me. People have so many ideas of what they want to do, it seems a hard sell to create a game with only some of the powers included. I know that's not exactly what you mean, but by the time you create several kind of Blast options (AoE, NND, Indirect, or whatever variations), you may as well simply use the entire Powers list and expect people to figure it out. I think maybe this is the PhD of HERO System gaming. I think this is peculiar only to the supers genre though. 

 

I think it fits really well for Fantasy HERO though, with specific spell lists and such. People are already "trained" to use spell lists, magical items lists, special skill lists, and stuff like that from D&D or whatever else game they came from. 

 

In each case though, if this were to be the model for supers or fantasy, I think maybe they'd have to start with a setting in order to explain and understand the "settings" for the Powers in the game. We don't have to reveal the builds, but we do have to explain why wizards can't use armor, or why there are two spell systems (arcane and divine, for instance), or whatever else. These decisions imply a setting, and half the setting work is already done by the time these decisions are made. Again, I think it works less well for supers, but maybe it's still workable. 

 

Can you imagine if a new setting book came out for Champions that made these sort of decisions? Do you think it would work, at least as a starting point for new gamers? Experienced HERO players may not like a more setting-limited approach, but non-HERO people may. Since Champions was the first game I learned after a few years of D&D, I'm used to its wide open approach. I'd be a bit disappointed if I could only select from pre-defined powers lists. In fact, this is why I never picked up other supers games, because they seemed to be too limited. I can't tell if others would feel the same.

now for a fantasy game look at the books you will need
1 FCH(there will be stuff not covered that will need building)

2 HSG (Grimiore)
3 HSMA (fighting styles armed and unarmed)
4 HSMI (Magic Items)
5 HSB (Beastiary)
6 at least 1 setting book(Tula Morn, Turkainain age,.... )

 

that is a lot to cover and be cookie cutter(and the point of Hero System is to not be cookie cutter)

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2 hours ago, Brian Stanfield said:

Can you imagine if a new setting book came out for Champions that made these sort of decisions? Do you think it would work, at least as a starting point for new gamers? Experienced HERO players may not like a more setting-limited approach, but non-HERO people may. Since Champions was the first game I learned after a few years of D&D, I'm used to its wide open approach. I'd be a bit disappointed if I could only select from pre-defined powers lists. In fact, this is why I never picked up other supers games, because they seemed to be too limited. I can't tell if others would feel the same.

 

Emphasis added.  New gamers (and experienced gamers) are picking up other Supers games, so this clearly is a model that can sell.  If they want to create more, then there is the Toolkit available.

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On 2/17/2020 at 9:22 PM, Brian Stanfield said:

Yup, and Hall of Champions just isn't going to cut it either. It's a great idea, but it really ought to include adventures as it's focus. And it is not going to allow for any new games coming out. My idea for Adventure HERO wouldn't be allowed, I don't believe. I think I'd need to find another publisher to do it, since DOJ just can't foster new games anymore. 

 

Having adventures as a focus is dependent on what the individual companies utilizing the license would like to make, right? If you created "Adventure HERO" as a setting for Hero, it might be allowed. I'm sure someone can clear this up better than me (or maybe Jason Walters could), but I believe the license allows you to create a new setting, which would include new packages, critters, etc. But no, it wouldn't allow you to recreate or republish the rules unless you went for a deeper license with Hero. Whether or not that's a possibility or not would be for others to answer.

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Here's a start for you, Brian:

 

MOVEMENT:  character may move 24" per Turn. Divide his desired movement for that Turn by his twice his Reaction score (SPD as we know it now).  He may move up to that number in Hexes per Action, and he gets 2 Actions per Reaction Phase.   There is no preset order, meaning he may Attack and then Move, if he wishes.

 

By default, his initial 24" are Considered to be ground Movement.  The Character may buy additional hexes of Movement for X pts per additional hex.  The character must define the type of movement at the time it is bought:

 

Ground Movement, Water Movement, Flying (select Air or Space; Space allows a default "Air movement only to achieve spaceflight), Teleporting, or Moving through solid matter. 

 

 

There; you're off to a grand start: you are using the HERO system and have preset some dials: all movement costs the same.  There is no FTL, (at least not as a power; it may exist externaly as a story-enabler, but that's it) and no Extra Dimensional movement.  There's a bit of your setting already in place: there is only one dimension.  Adventures don't occur too far beyond earth orbit.  

 

You've eliminated the hassles of Teleport:  no hard fast rules for locations, etc: if you can see it or know exactly where it's at and it's within you're range, then you can teleport to it: no locations to buy and distribute; none of the screwing around with momentum and facing and all that crap: you decide, and you decide it every time.  Much better that way in terms of understanding the rules for it and eliminates who knows how many fights about the "right way to build a teleport." 

 

You've set a dial with "move through matter." it says you can move through solid matter, and it's back to being a movement power like it was years ago, only without the ratio and math and defense, etc: you can move X hexes per Action on any of your Reaction Phases (Two Actions per Reaction Phase).  It is clearly spelled out as moving through matter, a. Movement power, and thus can't be used for "Desolidification: only versus damage" builds.  If you want a character to be immune via desolid, do it with defenses, and use "it goes right through me" as your SFX.  Better still, we don't have to sicker around with "affects desolid" or "affects solid" or declare what happens when two desolid meet, of what sorts of SFX should work anyway because we have to pick a couple of them. 

 

Did a bullet do enough damage to hurt through your "desolid" defenses?  Fine.  That's the way it works in this game: perhaps the air pressure of the bullet across its tiny cone tip bruised some of your molecules, or the super-intense heat of the bullet itself shocked your nervous system-- whatever.  The switch is thrown: desolid is movement and not invulnerable to X. 

 

Even  better, (man, look how many dials you set with just that tiny section on movement!  I'm impressed, Sir!   :D   .), you will never run into this ultra-hilarious problem:

 

"Pyromancer sizes you up, his fingers flexing and stretching like an old west gunfighter.  The spray nozzles on the backs of his gauntlets belch four short, jet-engine-loud roaring balls of fire toward the ground on either side of him, instantly dissappating and leaving only the soot-scorched concrete and dizzying chemical smell to testify to their passing.  His breathing sounds metallic, almost mechanical through his respirator, and all you see in his goggles is your reflections, illuminated by the tower of living fire behind him.  There is no doubt that he is sizing in you up, waiting to see which of you will move first..." 

 

"Oh, I'm not worried.  I have that desoldification versus fire because my dad was a fire demon and my mother was an asbestos Real Doll, so I'm just immune.  I activate my desolid versus fire and wait." 

 

"Your nonchalance tells him all he needs to know-- in an instant, almost faster than you can register the movement he has lunged forward, twin jets of flame creating overlapping cones of dry flesh-searing death!"  (rolls dice) as he hits you with 14D6 of Area Affect white-hot affects-desolid fury, already lunging to the side in anticipation of your counter-attack....   "The scent of grilled pork assails your nostrils as your nerve endings scream in agony.  You take (counts damage) --"

 

"Wait!  It's fire!  I'm immune!" 

 

"No; you're not. "

 

"But I bought Desolid, only versus fire, light, and heat-based attacks." 

 

"And he has 'Affects Desolid.'"

 

"But I'm immune!"

 

"No; you're Desolid."

 

"But I was using Desolid to model immunity...." 

 

"Well that was stupid." 

 

"But I'm immune...."

 

 

 

And it goes on like that for _so many_ 4e creations, and probably 5 as well; who knows?

 

But you flipped the hell out of that switch, and now it's a non-starter: Desolid does t defend, so we don't need affects desolid. 

 

 

Moving on:

 

Ranged attack

 

Ranged attack: Cone:

 

Ranged attack Explosion. 

 

You're done.  Set your pricing per die for each, decide if cone is going to have any range or if it's going to start right in front of the character; Player decides at time of purchase if Attack is Indirect or not indirect (no price difference), and you're done. 

 

Price characteristics in blocks-- what is it, is it still 3 points of INT and Ego for the next plus-one on each roll?  Sell them in blocks of three.  Sell STR in blocks of 5

 

(im not keen on that, but consider this alternative: do away with some of the stats: INT goes away and becomes a 9or less roll, +1 for three points.  That's your base chance to perform INT-based skills.   Do the same with DEX.  Replace Con-stunning with a Con Roll (modified by damage, maybe?  It's youy dial; twist it how you want) and you don't need Con anymore: make a saving through. 

 

Simplify defenses:

 

He shot me with a gun!

 

What's your Def? 

 

He shot me with a lightning! 

 

What's your Def? 

 

Eliminate hardened and armor piercing and any other Def mods but one- no; it doesn't have to be Killing, but I'd recommend it just because it's pretty dadgum common in the HERO System everything. 

 

Screw martial arts:

 

Make a list of...  I don't know: fifty combat maneuvers.  Thats it, period.  Pick any 5 or 6 (or X points worth) and call it a martial Art. You don't need to rewrite Martial Hero to get a fun, playable amount of stuff In there. 

 

Alternatively, create a list of thirty free-to-all combat maneuvers.  Make martial arts a damage adder to those maneuvers.  Or create a list of maneuver elements, and the Skill: martial arts that let's you pick up to ever-how-many-you-made-your-roll-by elements that you can add to your combat Maneuver chart (one at a time) during this combat, unless you roll a 3 or something. 

 

Simplifying hero - that is, picking the switches and such you want to set in stone for a single game isn't hard; really it's not.  It just takes the want-to, the time (that's were I lose out), and the strength of character to ignore everyone telling you what you can't do in your own game.  ;)

 

Gotta run.  Just got home and I have to feed the kids. 

 

Later! 

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