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How much interest would there be out there for a PBP Fantasy Hero game?


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So I've recently been exposed to Play By Post (PBP) gaming, hitherto being blithely unaware. (Thanks HeroFan.) I am discovering that it has a distinct strength with regard to role playing games, and a distinct weakness. It is not simply an inferior way to game, in at least one major way, I have to my delight discovered it is superior!  PBP is quite a bit superior with regards to the investment in role play by the players. It is vastly inferior with regard to the tabletop wargame aspect. It lends itself very badly to turn by turn, initiative ranked, rolled dice combat resolution.


Despite this, I believe Hero System may work just fine anyway for such gaming, on the condition that players forgo the detailed turn resolution of combat, and allow such things to be adjudicated off screen by the GM, with the results narrated. A combat encounter might be divided into three acts with a narratively described setup, followed by players describing anything they intend to do if and when things get violent. The next post from the GM would narratively describe the consequence of the initial encounter and await any further posts from the players as to any changes they might make to their character's tactics. Resolving that off screen, the GM would narratively describe the results of that, and wait for final updates in the actions players might wish to change to. This of course would be followed by the narration of the conclusion.


The combat would be dice rolled out by the GM assuming best possible tactics on the part of the players, erring always on the side of the players. This would change the PBP gaming from taking weeks to resolve a large encounter to being maybe a day or two. The game would cease to be a fighting game and become much more a character game of story telling and character development. Characters would of course still be built with Hero System, experience would still be spent, and of course the improved stats, skills, powers, etc., factoring into any future combats the players get into. The only difference is the players wouldn't be designating exact hex placement, calling individual shots, and rolling the dice themselves slaved to a phase chart.


Outside of role playing, which can be done with any system, my own personal greatest joy with Hero System specifically is character creation and character growth. The combat resolution part of the game while fun, is really more of a means toward either furthering the role playing plot, or garnering experience points to spend, at least for me.


Experience point rewards would have much more to do with frequency and quality of written posts and the furtherance of the narrative plot, than how tough the enemies were.


Are there any Hero Gamers out there who would be interested in such play? Is there any obvious glaring problem with what I have outlined.

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Well, of course YOU are in Kaze (HeroFan).  😉 


It is going to be at the very least several days before I nail anything down at all with how I'll build the game. I would prefer to build the myth, history and geography slowly, in a manner that works 'with' player conceptions, rather than have player conceptions fit within the world I have pre-created. I would like to offer players the chance to play characters they might have a hard time playing in a less narrative game. That is not a requirement, just an opportunity. For instance, I'm attaching a character that absolutely could not be played with a normal group in a standard table top game, but 'could', perhaps, work in a narrative game such as I am suggesting.


Note this is not necessarily an NPC in the game, but she 'might' be.


Posted character can now be found on this thread; Ref: Hecate


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I would most likely use https://www.rpgcrossing.com/   That is the only PBP site I am remotely familiar with and I already have some relationship with a few people there.


I have no problem helping with character creation.  Character creation is my favorite part of Hero System. Truth though, I haven't had opportunity to play Hero in years, and I might fail myself in anticipating some issues that might arise.  The game would not likely start for at least a couple of weeks yet as I develop the world concept and such. I'll add following the text of the 'design document' I have so far, still in the incipient stage. Feel free to offer any critiques or suggestions.



A great magical war has torn the planet asunder, every civilization in the world was utterly decimated, no civilization survived. There were individual survivors however, and over the course of thousands of years, they adapted to the ruin left of their world. Some semblance of civilization has returned, with villages and towns walled against the dangers, and even the occasional city states.

Many parts of the world remain too dangerous to travel, and even in the safer areas, ancient weapons slumber. Many ruins of the old world are untouched since the war, as they lay within those areas too dangerous to travel, and who knows what lurks within, waiting to awake.

The war tore holes through dimensions in many places, and things not native to this world now are. Often they prey upon the human survivors. A few are friendly, or at least not hostile, such as the Dwarves and Elves, and there is a usually peaceful coexistence.

Magic exists in the world, but most people are understandably frightened by it, for using too much of it risks wakening ancient dormant powers.


Player Characters & Magic

The players are quite special in the world, even though they start out unknown. Fate has brought them together for who knows what purpose. Players can be reluctant heroes, they can be anti-heroes, but in the end they are heroes who will do the right thing. This is not a game of evil or villainy. 

This world is high fantasy with regard to the sorts of characters that could exist. The characters over time could well evolve to the super heroic, albeit still with a fantasy flair. Starting characters are 175 points including 50 points of matching complications. There are NO characteristic maxima, you can build Hercules if you want. (If you hit with a weapon strong enough to do 'more' than double it's listed damage, it will break. You could buy a weapon that could take the abuse, but you have to pay character points for it.) 

There is NO active point limit for starting powers and stats. However using any power with more than 60 active points risks awakening "things". The probability increases depending on how much you exceed 60 active points. (Mechanically this is a 1% chance for every 1 point of magic exceeding the threshold.) Be careful when and where you use such extreme power. Note you could buy a power that exceeds 60 but when using it declare you are 'only' using 60 and you would not risk awakening things. Note too that this threshold could change depending upon where the character is. If you are close to a rift or a dormant power, even lesser power could awaken it.

You can buy a talent called Magic Acuity that allows you to safely cast magic exceeding 60 active points. The talent costs 1 point for every 1 point of excess power. This reduces the chance of awakening things created by your magic by 1 for every point in the talent making it safer to cast power at higher levels.

Magic is bought straight up as powers, no frameworks, with as many limitations as are appropriate and thematic. Any character who spends more than 50 points in powers gains the right to apply an additional 'Custom Modifier' called 'Initiate' that is worth a -1/2 limitation on any and all their powers. This represents their effort devoted to their craft. Taking 75 points in powers changes that to 'Adept' and is worth a -1 limitation to any powers. Taking a full 100 points in powers changes that to 'Wizard' and is worth a whopping -2 limitation. Players may at their discretion use different words to describe this. It is the limitation granted by the devotion to magic that counts, not the label.

There is a brand of dangerous magic called "Hedge Magic". Hedge magic is twice as likely to awaken dormant powers, meaning the threshold is 30 points, not sixty. This is because Hedge magic works by actually invoking stray magic power of those very lingering powers. It is a very easy magic to learn, nearly anyone can use it if they devote some effort to learning how.  Any spell can be defined as Hedge magic and will gain a -1 limitation to the spell for it. This is useful for a player who wants to buy one or a few 'small' powers, but not make the size of investment necessary to reach adept or wizard levels.


More World Description

This is not quite a post-apocalyptic world in that enough time has passed for civilization to more or less re-establish itself, and for many of the world scars to have healed to some degree. The Great War however unleashed titanic magics that utterly obliterated the societies that were warring, and many remnants of the use of those magics litter the land. Gaps between worlds were sometimes torn. Numerous races hitherto unknown in the world, now live within it, some friendly, some not. Most such places are well known to locals and easily avoided. A few however are restless, an even fewer wander.

There are no large empires. Large empires tend to waken old weapons and are quickly reduced by those forces. While there are a good few quite impressive city states, most people live within walled towns and villages that tend to be independent. Most of them simply impose a land tax on those who own property inside the walls with most of the revenue collected going towards guarding the walls and the local roads. Occasionally a few towns and villages ally and create a common force that patrols the roads even more effectively. That is largely the limit to kingdom structure.

There is trade between towns, a good bit of it actually. Caravan guards however is also a thriving profession, and traders usually travel in packs. Adventuring is also a common profession, with various bounties and missions often posted in taverns. Law enforcement is often aided if not in some places almost wholly relied on with bounties, also posted in taverns. 


Crime, Punishment & Slavery

Punishments for crimes can be harsh, depending upon the communities. It is usually some sort of restitution, and if the guilty party cannot pay it, they are indentured as slaves to do so. Those they are indentured to for restitution may keep the slave themselves, rent them out often to mines and such for pay, or sell them at their discretion. 

The closest thing to a prison would be mines and the like where the indentured slaves work off their restitution. One can be indentured for failure to pay debts as well. Dead or alive bounties are rare, as a dead criminal cannot work to give restitution to their victims. Sometimes though, victims prefer revenge over restitution, so dead or alive bounties are not unknown.

There are two classes of slaves, those solely indentured who owe a sum that could be worked off, and the life indentured. Solely indentured have rights in most societies and can be legally abused only to the point necessary to compel their obedience. Life indentured are true slaves, they can be killed at the whim of their owners and they have no rights at all. Usually only murderers, bandits, and the like are made life indentured.

Children born to indentured slaves are in some places considered free and wards of the owners of their parents, but their support costs are added to the indenture. Such children can help work off the indenture for their parent. It is in most places illegal to force sex upon indentured slaves. For the life indentured, there is no such prohibition.

Stolen slaves, those who committed no crimes and were simply captured by raiders, are legal in some societies, not allowed in others. In societies where they are not legal, there is usually some bureaucracy with paperwork to trace the crimes and obligations of the indentured, and a slave without such paperwork would be freed. Things can get a lot less legal in places without such bureaucracies. 



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  • 2 weeks later...
On 5/16/2020 at 11:30 AM, Panpiper said:

Magic is bought straight up as powers, no frameworks, with as many limitations as are appropriate and thematic. Any character who spends more than 50 points in powers gains the right to apply an additional 'Custom Modifier' called 'Initiate' that is worth a -1/2 limitation on any and all their powers. This represents their effort devoted to their craft. Taking 75 points in powers changes that to 'Adept' and is worth a -1 limitation to any powers. Taking a full 100 points in powers changes that to 'Wizard' and is worth a whopping -2 limitation. Players may at their discretion use different words to describe this. It is the limitation granted by the devotion to magic that counts, not the label.


Is that 50/75/100 Active Points (before Limitations reduce the cost?) or actual CP/XP spent on a spell?


Like, if I buy 100 points of Energy Blast but only pay 30 XP to get it, is it OK if one of the Limits is Wizard?


(it's been a long time since I've played, so sorry if this is a silly question!)




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"Taking a full 100 points in powers changes that to 'Wizard' and is worth a whopping -2 limitation."


That is not 'active' points, that is character points (same thing as XP). Being a Wizard requires a large investment. Full blown Wizards would be rare in the game world. I'd be a bit disappointed if we didn't have one as a player though. Every troupe of adventurers needs a Gandalf.


I should probably append as well a caution to any and all. While I would have no rule stating someone 'must' spend character points in skills, knowledges and the like, it likely will have a deleterious impact in the XP growth of your character if you neglect that side of things too much. PbP is HIGHLY weighted towards role playing and I would be heavily abstracting any combat with player tactics and results simply narrated. XP rewards would be massively skewed towards the quality of the role play interaction rather than beating up bad guys. Skills and such will likely play a far greater role in one's ability to not just progress, but also have fun.


Real world has distracted me lately, so this is going slower than I anticipated originally.

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On 5/16/2020 at 11:30 AM, Panpiper said:

Starting characters are 175 points including 50 points of matching complications.


Does this mean we get 175 for free and can spend 225 points? Or get 125 for free and can spend 175 points?


Just curious. It's been awhile since I've talked to anyone (that I haven't taught!) about the game.





P.S. Finally managed to get the HD software running!

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 6/15/2020 at 3:11 PM, Panpiper said:

That would be 125 for free and can spend 175 points.


This is still moving very slowly. Plenty of time to mull over.


Is there contact waiting list or website/forum to look through? I'm rather new to HERO and my knowledge is limited to 5th Edition, but I'm excited to build a character and roleplay their interactions.

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Sadly I have sorta sidelined this project for now, having found myself in a few other games. There are other options however.


There is a Wildcards campaign  (variant supers) I am involved in that could use a couple more players. That one is PbP (Play by Post) for pretty much daily out of combat role play interaction and gets together every Saturday evening at 8PM EST on Roll20 for the 'fight of the week'. 


Additionally I am invested in a Fantasy Hero game a friend is putting together. That will likely be a once a week affair, and will be played using Tabletop Simulator with the Hero mod. There is currently no URL I could point you to for that, but if interested, message me and I'll put you in touch with the GM. There are a few spots available.

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