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If this helps you, thank LL.  He reminded me I still like you people, even when I need to get the hell away from you for a while.  Review of two products; the first one bleeds into the next two. 

 

 

Hope it helps

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Coincidentally enough, I had- after the western hero book- plans to do Adventurers Club, then Horror HERO (which is done, but I can't vouch for the quality: I submitted it, but someone else did the work on that one) and then the BBB (as I currently have 2 that are pretty much a collection of loose pages already). 

 

Jason cautioned me away from Adventurers Club, saying there was "something I should keep my eye out for," but I apparently misunderstood and put out the wrong eye or something.... 

 

As for the rest-- well someone did Horror HERO, and I just never found the enthusiasm to do the BBB, as by that point there was a scan for sale of both BBB and 4e HSR, so..... 

 

Looking at what I bought, _really_ wish I had found the time....   Seriously: the third video will show you what you can do with a high-rez scan l, if you want it bad enough, and print any page from the Western HERO PDF.   Oh-  anyone who bought that, shoot me an e-mail or a PM and I'll get you the covers.  I have no idea why Jason hasn't swapped in the covers on that PDF in the store.  And if you are not happy with the fi AL resolution on the contents themselves, I've still got the 1200 dpi originals.  Warning: they are fecking HUGE! 

 

 

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I'm not able to print from Western HERO at the moment (Covid-19 lockdown has meant being very frugal with stationery supplies!) but it would astonish me if any random page didn't utterly shame that fourth edition POD copy; the PDF is tremendously well done. 

 

It's amazing how the drabness of the POD cover immediately lowers expectations for the game. Of all the different Champions editions that's the most eye-catching, vibrant and alive, yet it's been made dull and static. And that's even before the eyestrain-inducing interior. 

 

Much of the problem here seems to be the source scans, but how do the larger newer books fare as print-on-demand? (i.e. something thicker than the templates book.) At the moment there are a few 6E titles such as the Bestiary I have in PDF but, due to increasing scarcity and price, not in paperback: POD is the only decently priced option, but I'm a little wary of binding and cover quality. 

 

Thanks for the reviews, Duke. You convinced me to buy the templates book as a PDF and reminded me not to take quality for granted. 

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Duke, watching that first video with your "helpers" is like watching an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000! I was laughing out loud for the better part of thirty minutes! Thanks for the review(s), and for reminding us what we should be expecting when we pay money for a product.

 

3 hours ago, BigJackBrass said:

At the moment there are a few 6E titles such as the Bestiary I have in PDF but, due to increasing scarcity and price, not in paperback: POD is the only decently priced option, but I'm a little wary of binding and cover quality. 

Big Jack, I have many of the POD books for 6e because I was out of gaming for several decades and missed getting all the books in their original form. I am very impressed with the quality of the books I got (the Equipment Guide, Skills, Grimoire, and all sorts of others). They don't suffer from the same problem as the new 4e book. They're clear and crisp and the paper quality is good and durable. The cover colors may vary a little bit, but I'm not sure the original books were even exactly the same anyway. In short, I have a shelf full of the 6e books and I couldn't tell you which are the originals that I was able to hunt down, and which are the PODs. They're worth getting. 

 

I'm really embarrassed by the 4e POD release. Duke covers it pretty much in each of his videos. I "helped" (much like the "helpers" in the first video) to clean up the Western HERO book with Duke, although he did all the work. He did such an amazing job, I can't figure out why they'd release such a piece of garbage at the 4e Champions book when Duke has offered to volunteer his time and work for them to have a clean copy of a much superior quality. It doesn't really bode well for how decisions are being made for the HERO System (a common complaint I make and won't rehash here). 

 

The 6e1 and 6e2 rulebooks were released as POD a couple of years ago, and then promptly disappeared from DTRPG because the interior text was having problems with the greyscale and whatnot. They had to re-work them to get them right, and then re-released them a while back. I was tempted to get copies of each of those books for reference copies at the game table, but after what I've seen from Duke's review here, I'm not a little bit wary of what those books look like! Essentially, they've lost sales (to my) for several of several copies of their POD books because of how amazingly bad the 4e book is! 

 

I'd think, in all good conscience, they'd have to pull that POD and rework it because as it stands now, it's horrible. It looks like something I would have done with my first MS Paint program back in 1993 on my first homemade computer! Amateurish reprints of old titles have their place I guess, but not when they look so horrible that a nostalgic collector can't even enjoy the cover, let alone read the text inside. Really, PDFs are how we can "collect" titles these days. POD from a PDF shouldn't be that complicated, but somehow they've found a way to screw it up. Computers are much more sophisticated these days, guys, and the tools they offer for producing good books are widely available to people. Expectations are much higher these days, as they should be. As with many other things, DOJ needs to wake up to the 21st Century with their business model. 

 

*Ok, quarantine-induced rant over*

 

Thanks @Duke Bushido!

 

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16 minutes ago, Brian Stanfield said:

I have a shelf full of the 6e books and I couldn't tell you which are the originals that I was able to hunt down, and which are the PODs. They're worth getting. 

 

That's really helpful. Thank you, Brian. 

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POD for anything 6e and even 5e should be fine, at least as far as the interior goes: they will be printed from original PDF documents, which scale well and have precise mathematically-defined edges to stay crisp and clear-and of course, no one includes artifacts in the brand new document. 

 

 

The only potential problem with POD for a modern book is poorly-formatted artwork.  JPG / jpeg are very old, very loss-heavy formats that people just won't get away from, but they will wreck your project.  Fortunately, if you want to print a 6e book, there is nothing remotely approaching nice artwork on the covers (I mean the blue backs, of course), so it's a non-issue u less you demand they look super-crisp.  Interior art, again, depends on how that art was stored, converted, etc. 

 

That's why this 4e reprint is such a bomb:  is a series of photos.  Scans are just pictures.  These are pictures of words, sure, but they are just pictures at the end of the day, and they were taken at too low a resolution, stored incorrectly, and- itss just gone bad from start to finish. 

 

. If you want to see what can be done with a Hugh quality scan, watch that third video. 

 

If I find some daylight after work or this weekend, I will do a test with some of the Western HERO pages.  Though if you have western HERO, I e courage you to try it for yourself. 

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In case anyone is curious ;) , the Robot Warriors PDF was a new layout by Ben Seeman after DOJ bought Hero Games.  The only parts of it that are direct scans are the character and robot sheets, and the two sample pages of hex paper.  It does not, however, include a front or back cover.  

 

Edit to add:  I found a PDF version of the robot sheet that I remade and uploaded here.  

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I myself have picked up a few of the PDFs made from 4E and earlier books. While none have the same degree of issues as the 4E Champs volume discussed here, they definitely vary in quality. For example, the original Strike Force and Justice Not Law are excellent scans, very nearly the same quality as the original printed books. Corporations and Normals Unbound have interior print and art which is rather pale and could be unpleasant for prolonged reading, but are otherwise clear. Golden Age Champions is as those last two, but the text is frequently a bit blurred, or has grey like a shadow smeared across it. Definitely the worst of what I bought.

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It's just a shame that DOJ isn't taking advantage of such a huge resource in its fans who are willing to do a lot of this work, do it well, and do it for free. A lot of the other "big game" companies (D&DPathfinder, etc.) are kept afloat in part by their fan community generated content. At least DOJ has finally accepted a twenty-year-old model with the Hall of Champions. Unfortunately, they aren't giving anyone updated and professional looking graphics to work with. I get that a lot of the art is older and "retro," and that's fine and it's working well. The community generated content is, indeed, at least partly amateur, but some of it looks amazing! There is no reason, however, why the company should itself rest on such amateurish resources as out-of-date files. There's just no excuse that the company logo looks like a 60x60 .jpg ripped from a clipart file from 1995. The newer 6e covers shouldn't look so hacked up either for being the "current" edition of the game. It all just doesn't come off as very professional, and as a consumer of games this is something that I pay attention to. DOJ doesn't even have to spend any money to get these things updated, as there is a whole line of people willing to volunteer their help!

 

Agh! I'm getting wound up again. It doesn't help that I'm retyping this after my last post timed out and got lost in the aether somewhere!

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Last video on this subject;nothing about the book; just proof that the goal they claimed--creating a new book from high quality scans-- is _not_ hard   tedious?  No doubt!  But not hard. 

 

Still the difference in the end results is determined _completely_ by how you start.   This last video proves that by taking a few really good starts, and finishing them with the crappiest materials available (pretty much the opposite of the POD approach: instead of trying to shine a turd, I ran a few diamonds through the mud, just to see (and show you guys) what would happen. 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Duke Bushido said:

Last video on this subject;nothing about the book; just proof that the goal they claimed--creating a new book from high quality scans-- is _not_ hard   tedious?  No doubt!  But not hard. 

 

Still the difference in the end results is determined _completely_ by how you start.   This last video proves that by taking a few really good starts, and finishing them with the crappiest materials available (pretty much the opposite of the POD approach: instead of trying to shine a turd, I ran a few diamonds through the mud, just to see (and show you guys) what would happen. 

 

 

These are pretty nice scans and I like the colorized pictures!

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25 minutes ago, DreadDomain said:

These are pretty nice scans and I like the colorized pictures!

 

 

Thanks, but I want to be certain to remind everyone who saw them that they are not my work; all I did was clean them up and make them printable.  

 

They have been colored-- over many, many yea-- Good God!  DECADES!!!   Crap!  I'm old!  Still!

 

I think one of the biggest appeals of Champions back in the early days wasn't the system itself-- Don't misquote me-- it was _awesome_, but I think the biggest "suck you in" thing about it was the character sheets.   No; seriously: you could picture a character in your head and you had your choice of mannequins upon which to draw it.  For years, there was _always_ a box of something to color with on our table just because _someone_ was going to show up with a character idea-- PC, NPC, hero, villain, background character-- someone was going to just _have_ to draw a character.  :lol:

 

That kind of spread-- it became part of our group culture.  I have, at last count, eleven copies of the 2e Champions book, and easily half of them have the majority of the pictures colored-- a couple of them have _all_ the pictures colored.  And I was telling the truth: it's a variety of media, ranging from colored pencils (of quality running the full spectrum) to crayons to magic markers to other inks and the one watercolor  (he brought those with him; he was taking a painting class that met the afternoons before we gamed).

 

Originally, I started out by scanning pages from a number of books in which "page X" hadn't been colored, which gave me a total of-- I think....  six pages?-- that I had scanned.  :lol:  This problem ran through almost _all_ my 1, 2, and 3e stuff......  The BBB caught most of the magic marker...    Barbarians.....

 

So I finally just scanned my original (which was coming apart already, as it was my favorite, and got the most use and abuse) and set about cleaning the colors out of all the pictures.  The reason that one particular image (which the painter then declared was "professional adventurer and alien medical prodigy Doctor Tarentela," if anyone's interested) is so large is because I'm not lying to folks when I tell them I have no artistic ability.  Even the scans I have done-- you have no _idea_ how much of that stuff was done pixel-by-pixel, changing one, zooming out, checking, going back in.....   Anyway, I found it much easier to work on a very, _very_ large image, at least at that level of attack, and so I scanned the colored images at 2400 dpi, so they'd be huge, did what I wanted to do, then reduced them down to fit back onto the image of the original scan, etc, etc, etc...  If you look, you'll see a colored image of Flare in that video, just a couple of pages after you see the one I cleaned the color out of.

 

Somewhere along the way, looking at all those sterile black-and-white images, I realized just how much I actually _missed_ the desecration of my original books, so opened the original scans again and started cleaning up their appearance a bit, but not "uncoloring" them.  As I have multiple copies of a considerable amount of the early stuff, I have many pieces where I have to choose which one I want to keep  (which frankly, has nothing to do with the talent involved, and more to do with the memories of who did it ;)  ).  I hope to one day have the time to finish the project and have it printed: my own personalized 2e book-- probably with a few house-rules hard-wired into the text, and combining the best of 2e Champs, Champs II, and Champs III  (and the vast selection of Advantages and Limitations I've collected over the years--- in color, filled with memories of people I haven't seen in as much as thirty years....

 

So that's why that image was saved so large: by the time I got all the paper distortion and other problems out of the original scan, I actually just really _liked_ that picture.    :lol:

 

 

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