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CHALLENGE: Precis HERO in 300 words or less

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19 hours ago, Trechriron10 said:

The system outlines the generic game mechanics with suggested special effects and sample powers.

This was something I was also going to suggest.  You beat me to it.  It might be worth emphasizing even more: that there aren't whole sets of separate rules for fire-powers and for lightning-powers, and for ice-powers.


4 hours ago, Hugh Neilson said:

Looking back at Champions 1e/2e, I think it was pretty comparable to other games at that time.  It did not provide a heap of NPCs or a series of adventures, but you had some guidance on character-building.  IIRC, there was a walkthrough on building one or both of Crusader and Starburst, Ogre was in there as well, and they had a sample combat.  Then there were a few more characters in the back of the book (who were tougher than Crusader and Starburst - the intent may have been that these villains could fight a team, not one on one, but I found most players built to Dragonfly/Green Dragon standard, not Crusader/Starburst).


Other games were pretty similar. 


Champions was supported.  It had the Enemies book, the Island of Dr. D., Stronghold - not a ton of support, but that was the norm back in the day.  By 2e, we got a box with Viper's Nest - a series of short scenarios.  That was the classic '80s boxed game - one (or two) rule books, a scenario book and off we go.


I could definitely see a "complete Supers game" today being Hero Rules relevant to that game, a bunch of pre-fab powers instead of the "design your own" model, guidelines on CVs, attacks, defenses, etc., a few character sheets using those pre-fabs and illustrating any customization provided for in the pre-fabs, and an adventure (probably a series of short scenarios, ideally with each illustrating some facet of the rules) using those sample characters.

And it was a complete game.  With just that one thin book, you could play.  And people did.  I did.  Why not do that again?  I know this overlaps with the other thread, but why not make a Champions booklet, the size of of one of the 1-3 edition booklets?  All we'd have to do is update the rules to be 6e compatible - so no figured characteristics, and the prices of things change in places.  But you don't have to include all the complicated powers and other options that didn't exist in 3rd edition.  So (IIRC), no Duplication, no Multiform, maybe don't bother with Background Skills, or Perks.  And maybe with the stuff that can be left out (Elemental Controls), there might even be room to add in some of the "newer" stuff.

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1e was 64 pages, and 2e was 80 pages.  You could do a lot with that space.


While I would question "you could play" out of the box, add in a Vipers' Nest and you're ready to go once the players make their characters.


We remove a lot of combat maneuvers (remember, 1e - 3e had five martial maneuvers).  Duplication and Multiform were Champions II and III additions.  Certainly, some stuff could be left out.  The reality is that Champions did pretty well at the time, although I think there was more willingness to invest some time in character creation.  Take the same space used on mechanical powers and replace it with Powers you can select and play with (maybe 8 DC, 10 DC and 12 DC costed attack powers; similar three tier defense powers, etc.), and you could have a lot of options.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 3/8/2020 at 11:05 AM, Scott Ruggels said:

...once again I will mention a 40th anniversary re-issue of Champions Second Edition, with Vipers Nest, a new adventure, dice, in a box, cows funded, in time for the summer of 2021. 


Hugh, I don't know if the cows are a good market, they're pretty much easy going, eating grass, not doing much. 


Took me awhile to figure out he meant "crowd funded"  :)

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The HERO System is a roleplaying game ruleset, intended to support any genre of play, from sci-fi to horror, from fantasy to superheroes.  It is a point based system, where players purchase the abilities they want, and characters are balanced against one another by starting with the same number of total points.  The GM determines what types of abilities are appropriate for the story (i.e., no starships in a Victorian vampire tale), but within those limits players are free to customize their characters and are not bound by artificial class restrictions.


The rules do not change from one setting to the next.  Superheroes use the same game mechanics as fantasy adventurers, though they may be built on many more points (and thus have far more power).  Skill checks are resolved with a 3D6 roll (with a lower roll being better), whereas damage or effect rolls have multiple D6s added together (rolling high being better).  The game rules are "exposed", meaning each ability will begin with a descriptive name, followed by a shorthand version of the appropriate power (Zarhan's Smiting Blast -- 3D6 Ranged Killing Attack, requires gestures and incantations).


Customization options are almost limitless.  A comprehensive system of Powers, Advantages, and Limitations, means that players and GMs can fine tune their characters and NPCs to have exactly the kinds of abilities they want.  The HERO System lends itself well to player groups who like to tinker.  While there are many pregenerated settings to choose from, the many options available means that most groups will want to change one thing or another.  There are often multiple "right ways" to accomplish something in the HERO System.  Your lightning bolt spell could use any of half a dozen different Power combinations.  You build it the way *you* want it to work.


297 words, by my count.

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