Every fantasy hero campaign needs magical treasures for the adventures to find. This series houses information on varies information on just such treasures.
Belts, Sashes & Girdles – Every adventurer wants to have wand to help them in their adventures. Here you will find over 30 items to add to your Fantasy Hero campaign. From a Belt that has many handy pockets to a Sash that increase on attractiveness or a Sash that allow one to command many, maybe a Girdle that grants the wearer vast strength.
The ZIP file includes the PDF and Hero Designer files.
The Kickstarter for Aaron Allston's Strike Force is live... and On Fire! If you haven't checked it out already, please do so. There are interesting Add Ons, ambitious stretch goals, and new artwork for your eyeballs!
...meanwhile over at Bundle of Holding: "Heads up, hero! Our fellowship of Systematic Heroes brings you TWO simultaneous offers featuring Champions, the superheroic tabletop roleplaying game from Hero Games. If you're just starting with Champions, go get our FIRST offer, the revived Champions Fifth Edition Bundle from September 2014 with the complete HERO System rulebook, the Champions genre sourcebook, and many key supplements. Then return here to get this all-new SECOND offer, the Ultimate Champions Bundle, featuring the Ultimatebooks for Fifth Edition. These comprehensive character archetype books open new horizons in superhero campaigns, fantasy, science fiction, and every genre the HERO System covers -- that is, all of them!"
More from Greg Elkins! S.I.D.s is short for Super-powered Individual Database. This is a database that various government agencies are starting to use to keep track of all the various villains and heroes. Over the last few years the number of super-powered individuals has skyrocketed.
It has become a full time job to try and keep track of them as well as update information about the, that is the purpose of this database. The database is designed to give law enforcement as much information as possible on supervillains or superheroes they may need to call for help.
This is a series of small products that will introduce new villains and heroes for you campaign.
This installment will introduce a new villain organization Psiforce that rose from the ashes of PSI. This organization has 8 members all of whom are powerful mentalist. This 53 page PDF will outline their formation and the abilities of its members.
Includes Hero Designer files & printable cardboard miniatures.
Aaron was a very prolific game designer. He produced material for a number of game systems, including Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, GURPS, and Champions. In fact, he produced some of the first supplements for Champions, such as Organization Book 1—The Circle and M.E.T.E. and Organization Book 3—The Blood and Dr McQuark. He also wrote such influential HERO System books as Lands of Mystery, Mythic Greece, and Ninja Hero.
I think what surprised me the most, was to discover that a great deal of what Aaron wrote, be it for Hero Games or Steve Jackson Games, was all part of a greater whole. Just about everything Aaron wrote—that was superhero related—was part of the Strike Force universe.
“Microfilm Madness” (found in an issue of Space Gamer)? An adventure the teenaged superhero group Avant Guard went on (as was the GURPS Supers adventure, School of Hard Knocks).
The Circle? Just the latest incarnation of a long-running mystic superhero group.
M.E.T.E.? An important part of Earth-alien relations (and home to a few PCs).
The Blood? Only one of the most influential factions in Aaron’s universe. They were responsible in whole (or in part) for the origins for a number of PCs, including Phosphene, leader of Strike Force and the PC with the most game session appearances.
Not only did Aaron mine his setting for sourcebooks, he even ran entire campaigns based around ideas he wanted to write or was asked to write. The Pulp-era lost world of Zorandar became Lands of Mystery, before writing Mythic Greece, he created his Age of Heroes campaign (and ran it for 176 episodes!), and not only ran 70 sessions of his Ninja Hero campaign, but made Yooso one of the supervillain teams of Earth-AU and ran Strike Force through the Super-Boxers adventure included in the book.
The material presented in the various sourcebooks, while complete enough, only scratches the surface of what went on. While the members of the Circle were all NPCs, the Circle wasn’t a stagnant group. They grew, evolved, and were even destroyed, eventually reforming into a new version of the Circle. M.E.T.E. evolved as well, growing larger as in game events showed a need for a competent source of alien study. For example, Orrad married Marie Dumont. Oh, and The Mighty Pinchus? He’s a Player Character, one of a number to appear in Aaron’s game development (as noted, Phosphene is another).
And speaking of the Blood, I found it every interesting how much more complex their history is—The Blood and Dr McQuark doesn’t really do them justice. For example, the Affrighter, one of my favorite Blood characters, isn’t what he seems. There are actually two of him. The one who appears in Organization Book 3 (who also appeared in Aaron’s games) and the other one. The real one. And no, I’m not going to explain that, you’ll just have to hope the revised Blood stretch goal is funded!
Oh, and how was the Circle destroyed? Due to the events of the Super Boxers adventure. And speaking of Ninja Hero, supervillain team Yooso also changed over the years. Strike Force managed to “poach” a number of members, and even fought to defend Iron Ronin from the rest of Yooso. Oh, and Kami became a member of Strike Force.
About the only thing Aaron wrote that was Hero System related that didn’t appear in the Strike Force universe was his Age of Heroes game. It was one of the few things he ran that had no connection to the large Strike Force campaign and Earth-AU (Allston Universe).
After taking a survey of publishers who license the Hero System for the purposes of releasing their own work, we've put together a schedule for the coming year. I hope you will find it informative and continue to support their work as you have in the past.
2016 Hero System Release Schedule
Monster Mash: Draklings (New Creatures for Fantasy Hero) – Greg Elkins Design, Released
S.I.D.s Report: Psiforce – Greg Elkins Design, 2016 Q1
Wondrous Treasures: Belts, Sashes & Girdles – Greg Elkins Design, 2016 Q1
Aaron Allston's Strike Force – High Rock Press, 2016 Q1 Kickstarter
Chasing a Golden Buck Version Two - Beautifulharmony Multimedia, 2016 Q1
Realm of The White Worm (Adventure) – Greg Elkins Design, 2016 Q2
Monster Mash: Phase Spider & Thornleg Spider – Greg Elkins Design, 2016 Q2
S.I.D.s Report: Shadow Coven – Greg Elkins Design, 2016 Q2
Journey to the Center of the Earth! - High Rock Press, 2016 Q2 Kickstarter
[Name-To-Be-Announced Science Fiction Setting] - Beautifulharmony Multimedia, Q3
[Name-To-Be-Announced Widening Gyre Supplement] – High Rock Press, 2016 Q3
Extinction Event Campaign Guide - Mad Ferret, 2016 Q3 Kickstarter
S.I.D.s report: Zilant Project – Greg Elkins Design, 2016 Q3
Wondrous Treasures: Staffs & Rods – Greg Elkins Design, 2016 Q3
Monster Mash: White Dragon – Greg Elkins Design, 2016 Q3
Ghosts, Ghouls, and Golems – High Rock Press, 2016 Q4 Kickstarter
Monster Mash: Gorgon & Blink Dog – Greg Elkins Design, 2016 Q4
Villany Codex Two: Arcana (Sourcebook for Champions & Fantasy Hero) – Greg Elkins Design, 2016 Q4
Wondrous Treasure: Axe, Bows & Hammers – Greg Elkins Design, 2016 Q4
[Name-To-Be-Announced Espionage Campaign] - Beautifulharmony Multimedia, 2016 Q4
Other Possible Projects from Greg Elkins Design
Tomb Of The Shadow King (Adventure for Fantasy Hero)
Dead Orc Pass, a City Campaign Book for Fantasy Hero
S.I.D.s Report: W.O.M.E.N
S.I.D.s Report: Aces of Death
S.I.D.s Report: Ms Synster
Monster Mash: Girallon-Phase Maurader
Monster Mash: Bulette – Destrachon
Monster Mash: Hellcat & Shadow Wolf
Other Possible Projects from High Rock Press
Santa Muerte: Champions Setting Guide
In my previous Designer Diary I spoke about the sheer size of the files I had been tasked to sort and read through. Now I want to talk about the sheer size of Aaron’s universe—and it was a full universe.
Initially, when Aaron started running, there was just Earth. But that quickly changed, as Phosphene, Denis Loubet’s PC, was descended from travelers from another dimension. Aaron also had two PCs who were aliens, which meant he needed to start detailing what outer space was like. And as the campaign continued, the size and scope of the universe expanded. It soon came to resemble (in my opinion) the DC Comics universe, with multiple alternate Earths.
The major alternate Earth would be Earth-Kaiser, a place where World War II continued roughly 60 years after it had started. The members of Strike Force managed to put an end to the war, breaking Germany’s hold on Europe and ending the tyranny of the Japanese empire. They ended up visiting Earth-Kaiser multiple times, exchanging technology, knowledge, and even romantic interludes.
Another major world was Ean, home of the Blood, Phosphene’s people. Strike Force spent some time there and ended up helping break the hold Azor, the patriarch of the Blood, had on the world and its people.
There was also NiceWorld, ruled by a cabal of witches and Prey World, which had no superhumans at all.
Aside from the various parallel worlds, Aaron also created a fairly comprehensive map of outer space. Since he initially never intended to publish Strike Force, he populated with an an assortment of well-known alien races. There were numerous off-shoots of humanity: Deviants, Inhumans, Titans, the New Gods, the Kree, the Kryptonians (an off-shoot of the Kree), the people of Paradise Island, and the Tamaraneans (among others). There were also Cylons, Dire Wraiths, Shi’ar, the Brood, and so on.
As you may guess from the previous paragraph, Aaron liberally borrowed from published sources. He freely used ideas from DC and Marvel Comics, as well as other publications (I came across a reference to Doc Savage and Buckaroo Banzai, for example). In fact, his rationale for creation of the various off-shoots of humanity was to use the Celestials from the Marvel Universe. He also placed the Avengers and the Defenders in his campaign (along with a number of other well-known superhero teams), as well as Doctors Fate and Strange. In fact, Aaron’s version of the Avengers might be one of the most powerful super teams ever created, with a membership at one point that consisted of Captain America, Blue Beetle, Iron Man, She-Hulk, Starfire, the Thing, Tigra, the Wasp, Wonder Man, and Wonder Woman. Curiously, this team never really over-shadowed the members of Strike Force, and once Strike Force reached a certain size (and level of power), disbanded, letting the PCs become the premier super team of Aaron’s Earth.
If you're interested in learning more about Strike Force, have a look at the new High Rock Press YouTube channel. It contains videos and interviews about the upcoming Strike Force project with Steven S. Long, Darren Watts, Ross Watson, Rod Currie, Shane Harsch, Michael Surbrook, and Jason Walters.
In 1989, I found myself admiring an RPG I had never seen before. It was what I like to call “the big blue book.” The title splashed across an awesome George Perez cover art said: Champions. It was the 4th edition of the game, and it captured me like few other games ever had. Little did I know that one of the supplements for this game, published one year earlier, would change the way I played RPGs forever.
That supplement was called Strike Force, and it was penned by a man I came to know as a friend and a very talented, creative writer: Aaron Allston. Strike Force was not just a setting book, or an enemies book, or a GM’s book. It was all three, and yet it was also something more than the sum of its parts. Strike Force was the first book that ever taught me what it was like to run a long-term RPG campaign, to seize the superhero tropes and themes and make them fit into the experience of a role-playing game. Strike Force was the first time I was taught that different players want different things out of a gaming experience – common knowledge these days, but a revelation back then.
Aaron used Strike Force as a way to introduce people to his world, to his style of gaming, to his very immersive approach to cooperative storytelling. Strike Force told me about engaging players into rich scenes that I had never seen before. I was fascinated by the idea that games like Aaron’s long-running campaign were possible, that people were actually playing this way. Long before the internet, Strike Force introduced me to the idea of a gaming community beyond my hometown, where other people were taking the ideas and techniques of roleplaying and applying them in new and exciting ways.
From the genesis of his campaign, to the unexpected challenges that Aaron overcame while running Strike Force, all the way to “top 10 ways to RUIN your campaign,” the advice in this book broadened my young mind. It would be years later that I would learn how to apply many of Aaron’s techniques –foremost amongst them, “blue-booking,”—but when I did, I was able to build an RPG campaign that has lasted ten years so far. To me, that’s the ultimate proof of Aaron’s approach: it works.
Just a couple of years ago, in 2014, Aaron Allston told me about an update to Strike Force. A new edition that he was working on. I was incredibly excited about the idea of introducing a new generation to this landmark world and the “Strike Force Method” of running superhero RPGs. Tragically, Aaron died that year… but thanks to Jason Walters and High Rock Press, we have an incredible opportunity to finish what Aaron started. I’m honored to be involved in the new version of Aaron Allston’s Strike Force, and I can’t wait to share this amazing book with all of his fans!