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Sketchpad last won the day on December 23 2005

Sketchpad had the most liked content!


About Sketchpad

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    Sketchpad Studio Supremor
  • Birthday 02/06/1971

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    The Bitter Cold of Echo Station, Hoth.
  • Interests
    RPGs, Comic Books, Drawing, Horror and Science Fiction Movies, Board Games, Cats, Graphic Design. Not in that order.
  • Biography
    I was born in the coldness of Upstate NY, where I now reside with my wife, two daughters and cat.
  • Occupation
    Freelance Illustrator & Writer; Creator at Sketchpad Studios

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  1. As a side note, I REALLY dig your character sheet format! That's really nice looking.
  2. Oh I realize it can be streamlined. It won't be, however. Not anytime soon. There are several ways to keep the integrity of the system, yet still streamline how things work and make it appeal to the current market. But that's another discussion all together. In many ways, Mutants & Masterminds has learned from Hero, and Hero could learn a few things from it. And stepping back too far also isn't the solution. Looking at it from a modern perspective, there's more of a need to go forward and make some changes than jump back to a time we all fondly remember. Nostalgia only sells so much. 5th Ed D&D builds on the nostalgia, but also brings the game forward into a new age. Hero needs to do something similar.
  3. It's unfortunate that Hero couldn't be streamlined.
  4. The BBB was great for its time. Many books appeared in a similar fashion back in the late 80s and early 90s. But the bar has been risen from a few companies, and not all of them use the techniques you've noted. Keep in mind, however, that most of your books out these days are being sold on two markets: physical and digital. [WARNING - Design Geek Rant] Speaking primarily as a digital publisher, I've found that having a solid typeface like Arial around 10-11 points makes a simple compromise between the two formats. I've found books from Green Ronin to be clean for the most part and easy to read. That said, there is something eloquent about Paizo's books.I like how they organize their stat blocks, and some of the borders they use around their pages. But the textures they use on some of their pages can make the text difficult. What's worse is when someone tries to do the same thing on a black and white product. The times I've seen this, the designer either hasn't made the white of the "readable section" opaque enough, or the text isn't bled correctly on the page. In any case, it makes it hard to read. Another company that I recommend for their design is Modiphius. Their Conan line is gorgeous! The stat blocks are easy to read, and the books just look great. Unfortunately their STA line suffers a bit for folks that don't like white text on black backgrounds. But it does emulate some of the Trek style nicely. [End Design Geek Rant] I've stated this before. Hero books should look less like text books and more like game books. This requires a few things to complete, however. First, its time to update the stat block. Sure it's nice to keep using a familiar stat block from the 80s, but it's time for a face-lift that is cleaner. I remember when I was starting out as a designer and I begged Dave Mattingly to let me re-do the stat blocks in Unkindness. Man, did I ever learn a lesson there. Second, lean into color more. 6th ed was nice because of the color, but it needs to be a standard these days. Most game books have at least some subtle color elements on glossy paper, and almost all modern PDFs are in color. Lastly, decrease the book sizes a bit. This goes back to the text book appearance. The main books should be a good size, but not necessarily "bullet stopping" in nature. Heck, a nice Champions Hero Guide and Champions Masters Guide would be great, but make them the around same size as the PHB and DMG. Need more powers? That's what a powers book is for. Need bad guys? Enemies. Wash, rinse, add some detergent, and repeat.
  5. I should also note, this is one of the reasons why I have issues with Hero books. I've found them to be getting less like game books and more like text books. Look at the competition and see their layout, the color images, and the fancy structure of the book.
  6. I use InDesign in both my day job and for my company work regularly. As far as I know, it's the standard in most publication companies. I've been using it since 2.0 up to present day, and will continue to use it due to how useful it is. There are free layout programs, and inexpensive, non-subscription based programs (Affinity for example). I've tried a bunch and found them lacking. I've used Quark and really dislike it. It's been a decade or two, however, and things may have changed. But InDesign works with native Adobe formats, can create a good layout for a book, and I find is easier to use.
  7. Ooo... I get to be rare AND mysterious. My wife will never be able to live with my ego now.
  8. I agree with this, Chris. I believe we should have books that have implied settings in them, but also vague enough that someone wanting to worldbuild could easily take the setting out. Rather than a generic "Fantasy Hero" book, how about a book called "Mana Realms" that contains a chunk of the Hero rules that have been catered to a fantasy tone with setting info toward the back? I think Hero could get that recognition, and for a time I think they they had it with Champions. But that was some time ago. Yes, worldbuilders may not need a setting, but it's handy to have some setting info to see how things are built and get some inspiration from. I also agree that not everyone has time to work on a setting, or to make their own adventures.
  9. As a fan of Cypher and having ran it a few times, it has as much similar to Hero as D&D does. Could you use Hero to emulate Cypher? Yup, just like you could with D&D. But Cypher uses a different resolution system, it has players making all of the rolls, difficulties are assigned in stages of 3, etc. One of the reasons Monte can do that is name recognition. He also worked on 2e and 3e D&D for quite some time, and built a reputation from Malhavoc Press, which, IIRC, originally co-produced Ptolus. Most of his books are Kickstarted, and make some serious money, allowing him to have a real art and design budget. I would love to see Hero have this kind of budget, but I believe it would also require some serious design changes that may make some long term fans unhappy. Stat blocks should change a bit and become a bit more organic, fonts may have to change in style and size, and book organization may be a bit different depending on the designer. On the other hand, art should emulate the genre, and the books should have a unified look that carries through a genre (fantasy books should have a similar branding that's different from supers, for example). Raising the graphic standards of the books would be a bit pricey, but the books would veer away from looking like a Word document and more in-line with what's on the market. Additionally, resources like design files, could be shared with the Hall of Heroes contributors like so many other companies do. I don't think that that dumping vehicles/bases and the like is necessary. Instead, I think they need to be simplified and streamlined. In a book about zombies, it would be nice to have base rules to represent fortifications, or vehicles to use and modify in hopes of escaping an infested area. The power sections could also be simplified, having only what was needed rather than a bunch of listings that weren't needed. Again, in the case of a zombie game, give the basics of powers needed to create the zombie horrors you need, plus maybe a few powers that heroes might access (psychic/magic/etc.), but leave the rest as Talents that PCs can access.
  10. But they did read the 4th ed rules. Hence why they bought their own books to read and use. For me, 4th ed was my favorite version of Champions/Hero. It did what I wanted it to. 5th ed inflated things a bit, and 6th ed attempted to streamline 5th ed in some ways. There were options in the 1-3 ed versions I enjoyed, particularly the Mastermind rules, but I preferred the 4th ed rules. Agree or disagree as you will, but it's unlikely to change my opinion.
  11. I learned the game on 2nd, but really played mostly 3rd and 4th. That said, yes, I did teach them how to play Champions 4th ed. I used the BBB and many of them bought their own copy. I ran two groups simultaneously using the 4th ed rules. Not once did I step backwards while running the game beyond converting a character from pre-4th to 4th.
  12. I think there are plenty of people who have learned using 4e, 5e or even 6e. Many of my players in the 90s were 4e players and only 4e players. They didn't know of the game's existence before they started playing. The same could be said about my current group. However, that said, players were also exposed to the game as part of a setting I designed. So some powers were off limits, and house rules were explained throughout the game as needed. So, in some ways, it ran much like the "Powered by" philosophy. I agree with this to extent as well. 4e Champions had some semblance of a setting within it. Sure, you needed Champions Universe and other books to enhance that setting if you didn't want to put a bunch of work in, but there was some Champions in the Champions book. And I believe Champions: New Millennium was also an attempt to make such a game with setting built in. If a 7th ed of Hero ever occurred, I believe that going back to that design philosophy may work. It could be. But I believe that there needs to be less restrictions on a product to allow for House Rules and making a game using the Hero System.
  13. 4th Edition Champions had some of the best covers of the game IMHO. I don't think photoreal covers will draw in any more people than having comic book artists on a cover.
  14. 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.
  15. Yes and no. Having made more than a few e-docs, having to go through a doc after it's designed and hyperlink every little keyword to various parts would be a PITA for most. Is it worth it? Maybe. If you're planning on having both print and PDF projects could lead to extra time that can't be afforded, as you'd have to have separate files for each. Having a hyperlinked Index and ToC would be a better way to go about it IMPO. It's much easier to implement and wouldn't take so much time. And yes, I've shopped online and in hard copy catalogs. The difference here is a system that would emulate online shopping would be more like a wiki-based book that would live online. But that's a whole other topic.
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