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Duke Bushido

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  1. Like
    Duke Bushido got a reaction from Christopher R Taylor in Top Secret [TSR]   
    So publish a small setting book featuring angsty pouch-riddled gun nuts and call _that_ Dark Champions.
     
    Or ditch the name completely.  Given the last couple of decades of both and emo culture and sparkling vampires and the increasing occurrence of actual gun nuts...
     
    Dark this and Dark that...
     
    The name is more _embarrassing_ than it is enticing at this point.  Anymore, I pull my hat down low and look away from the cashier just to buy "Dark" chocolate....
     
     
     
  2. Like
    Duke Bushido reacted to Jhamin in Champions Membership over time   
    He died in the narrative parts of "Underworld Enemies" for 4th edition.  It was an enemies book but in universe the various characters were supposed to be entries in Crusader's files.  There was an experienced Dark Champions version of Crusader along with Crusade the 90s anti-hero that killed him so he could replace him (which was treated as a BAD thing) and a 1 page adventure overview where the PCs get pulled into these events.  Thing of it is, that whole plot-line became "old cannon" with the release of 5th edition.
     
    As Lord Liaden says, there is a different character going by the name "Crusader" in later books (I think New Millennium and 5th edition each had one).  I feel like later books felt free to take what they liked from pre-5th edition material but didn't feel bound too it, and would often ignore things if there were new ideas the later authors wanted to explore.
     
    From what I can tell:
    - 4th edition encompassed pretty much everything published up until that time, with some retcons and revisionism thrown in like a good comic book universe.  There was a fair amount of overlap and redundancy when multiple books re-invented the wheel.  (Like PRIMUS/SAT/UNTIL all being the skilled agents that the government sent to stop supercrime)
    - 5th Edition was a moderately hard reboot of the Champions Universe.  We got a new Champions team and numerous characters published that has been fixtures of the Champions Universe in 1st-4th edition more or less vanished.  Those who remained were rebooted themselves, usually starting their careers much later.  On the upside, the 5/6ed universe(s) are pretty internally consistent, so you can have a lot of fun hooking plots onto various threads. 
              *Lots of characters that had full writups in older supplements were sort of in a "grey zone" unless they were mentioned in a 5th edition product.  In practice lots of folks used older books freely (I know I did) but lots of characters never officially made it forward.  The CyberKnights (for example) were a fixture in my games but never made it into the 5th/6thed universe
    - 6th Edition was a "soft" reboot.  A lot of the 5th edition continuity remained, and you could generally rely on 5th edition lore being intact, but new re-writes of various characters often tweaked details.
     
     
  3. Like
    Duke Bushido reacted to Sicarius in Talents   
    Ya! Exactly what I was thinking. 🤔
  4. Thanks
    Duke Bushido reacted to tiger in Grimoire Arcanium   
    The proofs are in the mail now, should get them this week. If everything checks out it will be released in mid February.
     
  5. Haha
    Duke Bushido got a reaction from megaplayboy in Funny Pics II: The Revenge   
  6. Like
    Duke Bushido got a reaction from Spence in Talents   
    How?
     
    No; I'm not picking at you or calling you out.  I am asking you to hold that thought a moment.  How did it lead to confusion?  Remember that this was a Hero Games product released during the 3e of Champions.  There was no "Hero System" available to anyone who didn't pull it out of all the games that HERO had already published, and there were a lot of us who didn't know Hero Games was anything more than Champions.  Seriously:   Espionage was a 2e game.  I learned of it's existence sometime around the year 2010.  I finally picked up a copy about five years ago.  I saw a copy of Justice Inc sometime in the nineties, but it wasn't until the late 'teens that I owned it.  Same with a lot of stuff, actually.
     
    I _did_ know Fantasy HERO existed, and owned it within a couple of years of seeing it advertised in Different Worlds, but even by that point, we were playing a Fantasy and a Sci-Fi game with Champions.   Bah-- digression!
     
    At any rate: the original Fantasy Hero was a self-contained game.  There was nothing to confuse the spells with; there was nothing else in that book.  People playing Traveller were not likely to confuse a laser carbine with D&D's Magic Missile.  Knowing something about Champions didn't make Fantasy HERO some kind of trick.  Certainly it was easy for most of us to see the similarities (if I remember right, the "hero system" (such as it was) was bragged on a bit in the text itself.  But I can't see that it lead to confusion.  Until 4e came out, I owned exactly four "hero system" books: Champions (2e), Champions II, Champions III, and Fantasy HERO.  Well, I owned the Island of Doctor Destroyer (first one), but had lost it somewhere along the way.  I have it again now  (all three of them, actually, but I'd really like to have them all in paper:  when can we get yours in paper, Christopher?    )
     
    Game stores weren't really a common thing throughout most of the country.  At that point in my life, I'd have to have heard about a gaming store, then gone to all the trouble to track it down (there wasn't an internet), and discovered that it was four hours from where I lived  (for what it's worth, eventually there was one within two hours of my home, but that was the nineties, and ten years later, it was gone).  That's how most of us were, across the country.  If you weren't in a relatively dense urban area, you lucked into gaming materials or, if you got _really_ lucky, your local grocery store accidentally got a copy or two of Dragon magazine and you'd comb through the adds looking for those "Send SASE to this address for our catalogue!" notices. (man have I played some really great and some really crappy games that way.     Expendables, Starships and Spacemen-- the list goes on and on.)  That's actually how I managed to snag Champs 2 and 3 and the Island of Dr. D (first one).
     
    Anyway:  getting back to your comment-- specifically the part I added the bold to:
     
    What else is there?  I stress that this-- the feeling-- this _is_ the point of any game.  Well, any RPG.   I have a couple of people who play in my HERO-driven space opera who play together in a D&D game under a different guy, but don't play in my FH game.   They've never played Champions (not into supers), and have tried my FH games, and their comments are "it doesn't really feel like magic, though."   Why not?   Because it's kinda like we do in the Frontier's Edge game (my space opera).  
     
    Now to be clear, the only thing either of them knows about the game mechanics is how Skills work, how combat works, and-- well, generally what you'd expect a casual player to pick up and know after playing for six years but never actually having read a rule book.  In short: they're complaint _isn't_ that we're using the same powers constructs under new names or that the worlds are the same or that the underlying mechanic for my magic missile is the same as for my laser carbine---   their complaint is based only on what they know, and all they know is the roll to hit, calculate and apply damage, make a skill check, apply skill levels, record your END, and track your recoveries.
     
    Their complaint is entirely that the game feels the same because the system is the same.  I won't lie to you or kid myself:  everyone here has heard me make similar complaints about d20 games over the years: Dungeons and Mutants, Starships and Dragons, etc.  And TSR does a way better job of burying the system than Hero does.  Hero _stresses_ the System, for Pete's sake.  They brag on the similarities.
     
    There's not much you can do about that _except_ add as much flavor as you can.  You want your fantasy to _feel_ like fantasy.  if renaming something adds to that, then it seems that it is adding that feel.  It can really only add "confusion" if you are pushing against that feel or don't really want that feel to start with.  You don't name your Fantasy wizard Obi Wan; you name you sci-fi wizard Obi Wan, and name your fantasy guy Arkelos.  The difference is the feel.   That's the _only_ difference there is in HERO: how you make the game feel.
     
    I can describe a vast, unexplored continent and all of its mysterious creatures and their incredible abilities.  Is it a land of hidden magics, peopled with impossible races whose ancient mysticisms hold sway over the sun itself?  Or is it Continent IV in the northwest quadrant of the recently-discovered eight planet orbiting Pygon II?   Are the characters the last of king's Holy Defenders, leading and guiding the remnants of his people to sanctuary after the loss of the kingdom and the king himself during the demonic uprising?  Or are they intergalactic scouts, each hoping to make a fortune with the discovery of precious ores on faraway planets?  There's a guy in the party with a secret.  Is he the man who accidentally raised the Demon Lord?  Or is he the leader of the failed revolution of the Satellite Colonies three star systems back?
     
    Everything I describe on that land-- and the land itself-- is exactly the same, and the only difference is how you make the setting _feel_.  "Energy Blast" and "Magic Blast" are identical in mechanic, especially if you're using the same system.  All you can do is _everything_ you can do to push the feel of one over the other.
     
     
     
     
     
    I fail to see how that is not important.   In fact, since these games are nothing but transitory works of imagination, I fail to see who that is not the _most important_ part of the the game itself.  Well, yours, and everyone with whom you play.
     
  7. Like
    Duke Bushido reacted to Spence in Talents   
    I don't disagree with this, but that wasn't what I meant by "baked in". 
    Most RPGs use classes or occupations.  Pick one and immediately you have a set of abilities that give a starting shape or purpose.  Yes they have varying degrees of customization, but Fighters are Fighters, Priests are Priests.  Within the game, the available classes/occupations are generally balanced against each other.  If the game has both Priests and Magi, it will usually have spell lists that differ enough to make each one have a unique capabilities. 
     
    Fantasy Hero does have example templates for many of the possible types of characters.  Just as it has many example of spells. 
    What is doesn't do is establish a defined set that are balanced among themselves for play in a game as is.   Great for people that understand Hero and just use them for guides as they build their own world and game.
    Useless if not an actual obstacle for someone learning the system by themselves and trying to figure out just what is balanced.  
     
     
  8. Like
    Duke Bushido reacted to Hugh Neilson in Talents   
    I agree with the reply above - this is  not renaming the Powers.  The Powers are the mechanic we use to build a specific ability.  Just calling that ability a magical spell, a talent or a superpower is transitioning the system mechanics into an actual game, adding flavour to the mechanics.  Naming the specific superpower, spell or talent is further adding flavour to the underlying mechanic. 
     
    In my view, from Hero v1.0 to Hero v3.0, Hero published games which were constructed using the Hero System Mechanics, but that actual System was left in the background.  Starting with Hero 4.0, the System came to the forefront and was published first, then used to build games.  Except very few games were actually built by Hero.  At that time in the overall evolution of RPGs, publishers were discovering that adventures were poor sellers compared to splatbooks.  In Hero, we had the build tools, so splatbooks were simply application of the system to create specific abilities.
     
    As we moved into 5e and 6e, we got even further away from ever using Hero to actually build and publish a game.  Nothing prevents it in principal.  As a familiar genre, let's pick Fantasy. 
     
    Present the combat rules - only the dials, tweaks and optional rules to be used in this specific game.  Now we need Character Building Rules.
     
    Characteristics don't change much from game to game, but caps might.  Perhaps every character gets "x" CP to spend on characteristics, and only on characteristics.  Maybe this is even maintained as they gain xp - you can only use a portion of xp, maybe at defined points in character advancement, to increase your characteristics.
     
    Now, what other abilities do our characters have?  Well, one of the often-identified issues with Hero is analysis paralysis - the huge array of choices is tough for that newbie.  So let's narrow this based on the type of characters we want in our specific game.  The type of character you choose brings certain abilities.  We'll call those Templates for lack of a better term.  Let's have two types, a Background template (my character might be an Elf, a Dwarf, or come from various regions with, say, Egyptian, Celtic, Greco-Roman, Norse, whatever flavour).  Maybe they even get some different characteristics or other abilities direct from that background.  Our second Template will be Occupation - your training and role in the campaign.
     
    Next we turn to Skills.  Again, maybe only a certain portion of your CP (at creation and as you gain xp) can be directed to skills.  Maybe this even depends on the type of character you have chosen, and perhaps the skills you can choose even depend on which character type you choose.  Let's call these character types Templates, for lack of a better word.   Or maybe each type has defined "skill sets" and gets an automatic skill level or two that applies specifically to those skills - Mage Skills, for example, or Priest Skills, Warrior Skills, etc.  Maybe we'll include some Perks in there.
     
    Next, we turn to Powers (including frameworks as that's just a mechanic for buying powers).  We know that Powers can reach out and bring in Characteristics, Skills and even Perks.  As the broadest build mechanics, they have the broadest use.  Maybe they create Warrior Tricks (and/or we use Martial Arts for this purpose).  Perhaps we create Spells (both Arcane and Divine), and mechanics for purchasing them, separate for each Template (although multiple Templates might use the same mechanics, perhaps with different spells available).  Some SuperSkills for roguish characters, perhaps, or maybe special abilities for specific Templates, like Dwarven racial abilities, or  special abilities for the Psychic Template, the Touched by the Divine template or the Alchemist template.  But we don't give them unlimited choices - we design the spells and abilities available and, at various points in the character's xp climb, they get to pick new abilities, older ones get upgraded, etc.  Some might use a VPP which allows them to learn new abilities to choose from, and their development grows the number and power of those abilities they can have in use at any one time.
     
    Complications might be divided up so that some come with certain Template choices (all Dwarfs are Avaricious, for example, and all Alchemists are Watched by their Guild), while others are free selection for all characters.
     
    OK, what have we designed here?
     
    Rename Templates "Race" and "Class", and I think you can see my background design model.  But we don't publish the system mechanics.  They know that a Lightning Bolt does as much as 10d6 Normal Damage in a Line beginning at the spellcaster.  They don't know it's a Xd6 Blast, Line Area, No Range.  Maybe it does an extra 50% damage against targets in metal armor.  They don't need to know that's an extra 5d6 Line Area, no Range, only vs targets in metal armor.  Maybe we make that data available somewhere (an appendix; an online document; whatever - depends how much we want the game to sell the system).
     
    But we can make a game using Hero without explaining the design mechanics behind it.  We have just chosen not to do so, at least  not very often, since 3e.
     
     
    It made the pricing consistent with the underlying system.  To the extent we agree with the choices made, like the pricing of Powers, Advantages and Limitations.  We have plenty of discussion on what a given limitation is actually worth.  And other games, with any system in the background and not published, have huge online discussions about "broken" and "useless" options.  Did it make Talents unnecessary?  As a separate mechanic, yes.  As a component of a Pulp game?  Not so much.
     
     
    Here I am going to disagree 100%.  Talents were created for Justice Inc. They were not special cases which couldn't be appropriately constructed with the Powers rules.  Justice Inc. did not have powers.  They were unusual abilities that the Pulp characters in this specific game could possess.  They were, I expect, designed at least in part based on existing mechanics in the Champions games, but not as obviously or explicitly as Spells in the early Fantasy Hero games.  They were a named use of a system mechanic.  Were there any "OHR" (original Hero rules; 1st to 3rd Ed when Hero published games, not game systems) games which had both the Powers rules and Talents?
     
    Instant Change from Transform?  Sure.  Transform Clothes.  They Heal Back either from a specific condition ("the user of the power withdraws it and they change back") or they Heal naturally (but clothes have  no REC score, so that will literally take forever), or they change back in 10 years' time automatically (but they probably get Instant Changed back before then or get damaged or destroyed).
     
    EDIT:  Or we just accept that whether clothes heal or not is pretty much irrelevant to the game, and should have no cost.  It is therefore, for this specific power, handwaved a +0 Advantage or -0 Limitation.  Oh look - we have a mechanic for that too!
     
     
    Sure.  How many shelves will it take to run a D&D/Pathfinder campaign?  Let's see, at a minimum, I need the core rules (1-2 volumes; Player's Handbook and DMs Guide for D&D) and a Monster Book.   But if I want more character races and classes and options, I need more books.  And if I want more monsters, I need more books.  If I want to flesh out that very bare-bones setting, I need more books.  And then we need Adventure Modules and Adventure Paths if I want to have someone else do that heavy lifting for me.  The only reason Pathfinder exists is that WotC figured out that adventures don't sell, so they stopped publishing them.  Enter Paizo, who thinks they can package adventures that sell.  And they did.  But then WotC decided they wanted that market back, so let's move D&D up an Edition, and Paizo developed Pathfinder to keep selling adventures.
     
    If my Fantasy game above doesn't have the system behind it, then I can sell new spellbooks, Character Template books and Monster books.  Adventures were always an option - we just had to choose to make them.  But by the time Paizo proved adventures were a viable market (and I think the market grew as gamers aged and didn't have the time to devote to creating their own any more), Hero lacked the resources to engage in that kind of publishing effort - and the Hero market was a lot smaller than the d20 market.
     
     
    And we come full circle.  There is no reason we can't have both - the games designed using Hero system, but presented without it, and the full-blown system in the background.  d20 has a greater system in the background.  First level damaging spells generally do 1d4 per level or two levels, and cap at 5d4.  Third level spells do 1d6 per level and cap out at 10d6.  And so on.  But they don't harp on it.  And they have specific SFX built into the milieu, so they know how much "only vs fire" is worth.  But we don't get to buy the design manual, just get an occasional peek behind the curtain, or intuit bits of it.
     
    Web of Living Stone works great.  It's an Earth Magic spell for Entangle with whatever modifiers you want to slap on it.  And our Fantasy Game can certainly have Web of Living Stone, 3d6 Entangle, 6 Defense, which allows the caster to cause the earth to rise up and encase any or all selected targets within 10 meters of the caster.  The player does not need to know how that was constructed, or what changes you would make for it to be 6d6, 3 Defense, affect one target, automatically hit everyone in the radius, cover an area further away from the caster, etc.  Or that The Grove will Restrain You is not exactly the same construct other than using "only in treed areas" instead of "only on natural ground".
     
    The issue is that, in 4e to 6e, the full mechanics have always been presented to everyone, and players have had unlimited choice in what abilities they will select, unless fettered by the GM.   But if Hero went back to publishing actual games, not presenting the full system design mechanics, that could easily be changed.  We could easily have a little "Powered by HERO" logo on the back cover, just like those "d20 System" logos and no one would have to know.
     
  9. Like
    Duke Bushido got a reaction from Hugh Neilson in Talents   
    Okay, and a few quick things I wanted to touch on (if no one objects) that I didn't even want to try to do on a phone on break at work. 
     
     
    That's helpful, sure.  But that's not all that happened when the existing Talents were broken down that way.   First, the flavor of "Talents" was removed-- more on that later.
     
    Second, --well, obviously the pricing was changed to match the various powers, etc, and just because I hadn't planned on bringing that up, and there is no need to detail that one, let me also lump into Second the valid complaint made by someone else (I couldn't find it again, or I'd have quoted it for proper attribution; I apologize) that it made Talents....  completely unnecessary.  
     
    Third: It stopped them from being actual Talents.  Christopher- -and think one other person, but again: I couldn't find it-- mentioned in regard to problematic Power builds that didn't really replicate the Talent that you could "just handwave" the differences.
     
    That's what Talents _were_.  They were special cases-- often cases of a single unique ability that _didn't_ quite fit into Power or Skill mechanics, and just as often things that were binary as opposed to graduated:  there weren't a lot of talents that you could by additional damage classes for, or extra effect for.  And now there aren't.  I can build Instant Change as T-form, blah-blah-blah.  But T-form let's me by additional dice.  There's also the "heal back" mechanic.  So now we just handwave that I won't heal back-- eliminate a mechanic from a unique power in spite of having worked some serious contortions to make it fit a power mechanic, then ultimately just gave up, beat it with a hammer until we got it lodged in the hole it doesn't quite pass through, and called it good enough.  So...  we gave up a unique mechanic:  I changed instantly-- and swapped it for the "more precise" build that requires handwaving.  Oh-- my Power Defense should require that I buy additional dice of Instant Change, shouldn't it?  Nah; handwave it.  Much better.
     
    The accolades for these changes-- well, there are always going to be folks who like a change and folks who don't, so there's no point in arguing that.     However, the accolades that come specifically from those who have always proclaimed that precise mechanics are the heart and soul of the System...  those are a bit confusing with regard to some of the Talents build from Powers.
     
    All that said, you are quite right:  Seeing them built that way?  It can help a new GM when trying to determine what a Talent might be worth or where he thinks it should be costed.  However, it overlooks both utility of the final build and the fact that Talents existed to _solve_ the Handwaving "problem."  There are many here who have voiced a serious disdain for handwaving, after all, yet the system was changed to create...  more of it?   
     
    In the past, the general rule of thumb (at least for myself and the very few other GMs I know personally; I have never discussed this beyond that circle because-- well, because I had no intention of doing it that way anyhow, so it didn't matter at all to me) was to first try to find a power build.  If a precise power build couldn't be determined-- say there was some handwaving required-- Boom.  It was a Talent, and the mechanic for that Talent was "it makes X happen."  So you don't have "T-form, self-only, only to change Y (costume, form, shape-- whatever).   Other players start thinking "Hey, I've got T-form!  I should be able to do that, too!"   Well, there's a bit of handwaving that makes that happen--  "well why can't we wave that hand for me, too?!  I've got like nine dice of T-form! I paid way, way more!  I should be able to do it, too!"
     
    Before:  "Well, I've got Instant Change, so poof; I'm a waswolf."  Man, I wish _I_ had instant Change.  Maybe I should have bought so much T-form....
     
    (Yes; I know: Instant Change is a Power or something and not a Talent, but that just hit me, and I've done too much typing to redo it all.     Insert whatever "it was a Talent and now it's a power but requires some unique leeway to make it work right" build here, okay?   )
     
    Showing one or two, an perhaps even "building" those examples from the ground up, noting things like "well, in the end, there's really not a lot of utility to Bump of Direction: just because you know which way is North doesn't mean that you know which corridor will get you there", etc-- let's just say its three points.  That sort of thing.  I think that would have been far more helpful, help control the Points Creep that each edition seems to add, _and_ preserved the idea _and the feel_ that Talents are truly unique things, and not just re-labeled Powers.  I mean, a lot of us already relabel powers anyway:  who has more than four characters whose sheets actually say "Energy Blast: ED" or "Blast: PD"?   Now who has character sheets that say things like "Voltaic Shock" or "Gout of Flames" or "Acid Blast" or "Big Ol' Gun"?  Congratulations.  By the new standards, those are now Talents, every single one of them.  Or there are no such things as Talents.  Take your pick.
     
    On the plus side, it has legitimized a _lot_ of handwaving that some of us have been doing over the years for certain Power Builds simply by being a long, long list of Power Builds with handwaving.  So....  break even?  if "feel" isn't at all important to you, I mean?
     
     
     
    No arguments here.  In fact, I think you'll find that there are lot of us here who have been saying the same thing.
     
     
     
    And that hits the nail on the head, right there:  Very limited utility; how often does it come up?  Certainly not enough to by Detect plus Images: Audio  Hey, if you need frikkin' _Images_ to make light, then you should need _Images_ to make sound, right?  Of course, sound carries in a wide cone-- well, a radius, really, so buy a _lot_ of AoE for that...  So...  fifty points?  Fifty four?  Who cares?!  It's damned near a plot point instead of a build anyway, so _really_, what's it actually _worth_?
     
    The other side of the coin is "if the player bought it, the GM is obliged to give him his value for it."  Well, since that schtick will get old in roughly two consecutive adventures or less, I'm wiling to be it's one of those things eventually just gets pushed off the table (making it another part of the system that you don't actually use).  As a point or two for a Talent, I can work it into an adventure a couple of times; sure.  As a Power build?  To get utility for points spent?  Nah.  Not going to build every third session around your singing voice, but thanks for asking.
     
     
     
    Man, I don't even want to get started on the Grimoires.  We've got spells and variant spells and cantrips and such we've been using for years-- Crap!  I need to get back on that!  Sorry, Chris--!  Things got busy and it dropped off my radar....
     
    Anyway:  Yes.  I like that, at least as of 5e Fantasy HERO, there were guidelines of "here is how a spell is built; have fun with it"  (I have yet to read FH 6e cover-to-cover.  I've skimmed it a few times, but Dude, that's a serious block of time when you're busy adulting....)   The official Grimoires are clearly written for people who are extremely experienced with the system, and an absolute hot mess for beginners wanting to learn.  And because of the layout, they are also a bit difficult to use a reference material.  Rather than special effect, grouping by -- what do we call it?  "Base Power?"  That would have been _much_ more helpful as a reference.  I am putting a lot of hope into Greg's Grimoire, and hope to get the POD soon.  As soon as I can figure out where I need to buy it and how I need to buy it to get the paper dolls, anyway.
     
     
     
     
    Well, it does have Normal Characteristic Maxima-- I'm _not_ saying "that's a guideline," mind you: it's the closest thing we have to a guideline regarding Heroic Level _anything_, and we have to extrapolate from that:  if a really good sword roll can one-shot kill a guy, and his normal PD is-- wait!  A normal guy doesn't have rPD, so I have to do 21 Body to straight up murder him-- no; wait-- bleeding rules!  Most one-hit kills in adventure literature are mortal wounds so they can gasp or say something then die a phase or two later....  so...  11 Body...   an HKA is going to average 3.5 per die, so 3.5 or 4dice-- no!  Str Bonus, dammit! I forgot that!  It can only double, though....   how often does a normal strength character get a one-hit kill on an opponent...?  Okay, so 10 STR would add...   half a die?  Okay, so we're at 3 dice for the sword....
     
    You see where I'm going, of course.  And you have to do that with _everything_ if you're using the System!  It's maddening!  Well, I suppose you don't.  You could by the system, the genre book, the weapons book (a large bulk of which features not-fantasy weapons, so that's fun if you're looking just to play fantasy).  You'll need to pick up at least one of the setting books, too....    Even then, you're not really going to have a guideline as such for character building.  You may (or may not) get some prebuilt weapons or spell ideas, though.  
     
    You can see the problem:  if you want an off-the-shelf fantasy game, you're going to need an entire shelf to store it on.  Oh, crap!  Adventures!  Campaigns!   There are "seeds" through most of the modern stuff, but let's face it:  "Seeds" boil down to "put in that same level of work, add some basic cartography, and point your efforts in this general direction," and as such, for the new-to-HERO GM, are nowhere near as helpful as we try to convince ourselves they are.  I believe there are a few PDF adventures (haven't looked in a long, long time) and some of the HoC stuff may include adventures; I don't know.  As it is, you can't use the seeds unless you are already very experienced _or_ have some guidelines, and are willing to put in the work to build the world (or buy the world) in which the adventure (that you will also have to build and populate) takes place.
     
     
     
     
     
     
    You have clearly not been playing UNO with the right people.  It's an absolute tactical assault when we get together, with loads of political intrigue as alliances are forged and dropped repeatedly-- and in some cases, outright purchased with bribes and promises...  There's really nothing like leaving a guy or two with twenty cards in his hand when you slap that last card on the table.... 
     
     
     
    This was you, right?
     
    Tireless: Reduced Endurance 1⁄2 on Strength, Leaping, and Running
    10 Planted: Knockback Resistance 10m
    38 Tough: Resistant Protection 15 PD, 10 ED 10 Tough: Power Defense 10
    8 Tough: Life Support Extended Breathing (1 END/5min)
     
     
    That's from you (truly excellent) 6e revamp of the Island of Doctor Destroyer.
     
    Those are renamed powers.
     
     
    Renaming the powers though, that's a relative term.  I mentioned that I know two people who started with Fantasy HERO (original edition).  For them, the HERO System is "renamed Spell Components." 
     
    It's all about perspective.  It's also the drawback to "accessing the code" for the program you're running.    Either it's hidden, or it isn't.  If you prefer it hidden, you either need to not be a GM or stay away from the HERO System, because the GM is all up in it.  
     
    However, the powers alone are not the only place from which the "magical feel" is drawn:  There is the magic system you will build as well.  Most of us, I think, put a lot of work into making sure it's not just "I use a power and mark off the Endurance," but something that feels as though the character is drawing from some external well of energy or truly manipulating the very fabric of reality.  You have to rename _everything_: the Powers, the Advantages, the Adders, the Limitations-- not just rename them, but how do they _look_?  How do they _feel_?  I mentioned just a couple of days ago that rather than "Extra Time," I use things like "Ritual" or "Complex Arrangements" or "Righteous Prayer" or whatever.  It's _all_ Extra Time, ultimately, but _not to the players_.     Knowing that it's Extra Time-- well, that's the GM's curse, and the price you pay to run a HERO-driven game.
     
    At least, it is _now_.  Now that it's a generic system with genre books and a have-at-it attitude.  I _wish_ I could tell you that it doesn't _really_ sap some of the feel-- some of the fun-- from the GM, but I can't.  However, Powers or Spells, I will always prefer "Web of Living Stone" to "Entangle."
     
    Still, that doesn't mean it has to affect the players the same way.  Honestly, I think this is why so many of us make the use of magic skill-based: just to move that little bit away from "I attack him with my Energy Blast!"  It doesn't necessarily mean that as the GMs we don't know that Brushain the Sorcerer isn't just attacking him with his Energy Blast, but it still makes it easier for us to sell it to the players.  No reason _they_ can't have fun, right?   
     
     
     
     
     
  10. Like
    Duke Bushido got a reaction from Spence in Talents   
    Okay, and a few quick things I wanted to touch on (if no one objects) that I didn't even want to try to do on a phone on break at work. 
     
     
    That's helpful, sure.  But that's not all that happened when the existing Talents were broken down that way.   First, the flavor of "Talents" was removed-- more on that later.
     
    Second, --well, obviously the pricing was changed to match the various powers, etc, and just because I hadn't planned on bringing that up, and there is no need to detail that one, let me also lump into Second the valid complaint made by someone else (I couldn't find it again, or I'd have quoted it for proper attribution; I apologize) that it made Talents....  completely unnecessary.  
     
    Third: It stopped them from being actual Talents.  Christopher- -and think one other person, but again: I couldn't find it-- mentioned in regard to problematic Power builds that didn't really replicate the Talent that you could "just handwave" the differences.
     
    That's what Talents _were_.  They were special cases-- often cases of a single unique ability that _didn't_ quite fit into Power or Skill mechanics, and just as often things that were binary as opposed to graduated:  there weren't a lot of talents that you could by additional damage classes for, or extra effect for.  And now there aren't.  I can build Instant Change as T-form, blah-blah-blah.  But T-form let's me by additional dice.  There's also the "heal back" mechanic.  So now we just handwave that I won't heal back-- eliminate a mechanic from a unique power in spite of having worked some serious contortions to make it fit a power mechanic, then ultimately just gave up, beat it with a hammer until we got it lodged in the hole it doesn't quite pass through, and called it good enough.  So...  we gave up a unique mechanic:  I changed instantly-- and swapped it for the "more precise" build that requires handwaving.  Oh-- my Power Defense should require that I buy additional dice of Instant Change, shouldn't it?  Nah; handwave it.  Much better.
     
    The accolades for these changes-- well, there are always going to be folks who like a change and folks who don't, so there's no point in arguing that.     However, the accolades that come specifically from those who have always proclaimed that precise mechanics are the heart and soul of the System...  those are a bit confusing with regard to some of the Talents build from Powers.
     
    All that said, you are quite right:  Seeing them built that way?  It can help a new GM when trying to determine what a Talent might be worth or where he thinks it should be costed.  However, it overlooks both utility of the final build and the fact that Talents existed to _solve_ the Handwaving "problem."  There are many here who have voiced a serious disdain for handwaving, after all, yet the system was changed to create...  more of it?   
     
    In the past, the general rule of thumb (at least for myself and the very few other GMs I know personally; I have never discussed this beyond that circle because-- well, because I had no intention of doing it that way anyhow, so it didn't matter at all to me) was to first try to find a power build.  If a precise power build couldn't be determined-- say there was some handwaving required-- Boom.  It was a Talent, and the mechanic for that Talent was "it makes X happen."  So you don't have "T-form, self-only, only to change Y (costume, form, shape-- whatever).   Other players start thinking "Hey, I've got T-form!  I should be able to do that, too!"   Well, there's a bit of handwaving that makes that happen--  "well why can't we wave that hand for me, too?!  I've got like nine dice of T-form! I paid way, way more!  I should be able to do it, too!"
     
    Before:  "Well, I've got Instant Change, so poof; I'm a waswolf."  Man, I wish _I_ had instant Change.  Maybe I should have bought so much T-form....
     
    (Yes; I know: Instant Change is a Power or something and not a Talent, but that just hit me, and I've done too much typing to redo it all.     Insert whatever "it was a Talent and now it's a power but requires some unique leeway to make it work right" build here, okay?   )
     
    Showing one or two, an perhaps even "building" those examples from the ground up, noting things like "well, in the end, there's really not a lot of utility to Bump of Direction: just because you know which way is North doesn't mean that you know which corridor will get you there", etc-- let's just say its three points.  That sort of thing.  I think that would have been far more helpful, help control the Points Creep that each edition seems to add, _and_ preserved the idea _and the feel_ that Talents are truly unique things, and not just re-labeled Powers.  I mean, a lot of us already relabel powers anyway:  who has more than four characters whose sheets actually say "Energy Blast: ED" or "Blast: PD"?   Now who has character sheets that say things like "Voltaic Shock" or "Gout of Flames" or "Acid Blast" or "Big Ol' Gun"?  Congratulations.  By the new standards, those are now Talents, every single one of them.  Or there are no such things as Talents.  Take your pick.
     
    On the plus side, it has legitimized a _lot_ of handwaving that some of us have been doing over the years for certain Power Builds simply by being a long, long list of Power Builds with handwaving.  So....  break even?  if "feel" isn't at all important to you, I mean?
     
     
     
    No arguments here.  In fact, I think you'll find that there are lot of us here who have been saying the same thing.
     
     
     
    And that hits the nail on the head, right there:  Very limited utility; how often does it come up?  Certainly not enough to by Detect plus Images: Audio  Hey, if you need frikkin' _Images_ to make light, then you should need _Images_ to make sound, right?  Of course, sound carries in a wide cone-- well, a radius, really, so buy a _lot_ of AoE for that...  So...  fifty points?  Fifty four?  Who cares?!  It's damned near a plot point instead of a build anyway, so _really_, what's it actually _worth_?
     
    The other side of the coin is "if the player bought it, the GM is obliged to give him his value for it."  Well, since that schtick will get old in roughly two consecutive adventures or less, I'm wiling to be it's one of those things eventually just gets pushed off the table (making it another part of the system that you don't actually use).  As a point or two for a Talent, I can work it into an adventure a couple of times; sure.  As a Power build?  To get utility for points spent?  Nah.  Not going to build every third session around your singing voice, but thanks for asking.
     
     
     
    Man, I don't even want to get started on the Grimoires.  We've got spells and variant spells and cantrips and such we've been using for years-- Crap!  I need to get back on that!  Sorry, Chris--!  Things got busy and it dropped off my radar....
     
    Anyway:  Yes.  I like that, at least as of 5e Fantasy HERO, there were guidelines of "here is how a spell is built; have fun with it"  (I have yet to read FH 6e cover-to-cover.  I've skimmed it a few times, but Dude, that's a serious block of time when you're busy adulting....)   The official Grimoires are clearly written for people who are extremely experienced with the system, and an absolute hot mess for beginners wanting to learn.  And because of the layout, they are also a bit difficult to use a reference material.  Rather than special effect, grouping by -- what do we call it?  "Base Power?"  That would have been _much_ more helpful as a reference.  I am putting a lot of hope into Greg's Grimoire, and hope to get the POD soon.  As soon as I can figure out where I need to buy it and how I need to buy it to get the paper dolls, anyway.
     
     
     
     
    Well, it does have Normal Characteristic Maxima-- I'm _not_ saying "that's a guideline," mind you: it's the closest thing we have to a guideline regarding Heroic Level _anything_, and we have to extrapolate from that:  if a really good sword roll can one-shot kill a guy, and his normal PD is-- wait!  A normal guy doesn't have rPD, so I have to do 21 Body to straight up murder him-- no; wait-- bleeding rules!  Most one-hit kills in adventure literature are mortal wounds so they can gasp or say something then die a phase or two later....  so...  11 Body...   an HKA is going to average 3.5 per die, so 3.5 or 4dice-- no!  Str Bonus, dammit! I forgot that!  It can only double, though....   how often does a normal strength character get a one-hit kill on an opponent...?  Okay, so 10 STR would add...   half a die?  Okay, so we're at 3 dice for the sword....
     
    You see where I'm going, of course.  And you have to do that with _everything_ if you're using the System!  It's maddening!  Well, I suppose you don't.  You could by the system, the genre book, the weapons book (a large bulk of which features not-fantasy weapons, so that's fun if you're looking just to play fantasy).  You'll need to pick up at least one of the setting books, too....    Even then, you're not really going to have a guideline as such for character building.  You may (or may not) get some prebuilt weapons or spell ideas, though.  
     
    You can see the problem:  if you want an off-the-shelf fantasy game, you're going to need an entire shelf to store it on.  Oh, crap!  Adventures!  Campaigns!   There are "seeds" through most of the modern stuff, but let's face it:  "Seeds" boil down to "put in that same level of work, add some basic cartography, and point your efforts in this general direction," and as such, for the new-to-HERO GM, are nowhere near as helpful as we try to convince ourselves they are.  I believe there are a few PDF adventures (haven't looked in a long, long time) and some of the HoC stuff may include adventures; I don't know.  As it is, you can't use the seeds unless you are already very experienced _or_ have some guidelines, and are willing to put in the work to build the world (or buy the world) in which the adventure (that you will also have to build and populate) takes place.
     
     
     
     
     
     
    You have clearly not been playing UNO with the right people.  It's an absolute tactical assault when we get together, with loads of political intrigue as alliances are forged and dropped repeatedly-- and in some cases, outright purchased with bribes and promises...  There's really nothing like leaving a guy or two with twenty cards in his hand when you slap that last card on the table.... 
     
     
     
    This was you, right?
     
    Tireless: Reduced Endurance 1⁄2 on Strength, Leaping, and Running
    10 Planted: Knockback Resistance 10m
    38 Tough: Resistant Protection 15 PD, 10 ED 10 Tough: Power Defense 10
    8 Tough: Life Support Extended Breathing (1 END/5min)
     
     
    That's from you (truly excellent) 6e revamp of the Island of Doctor Destroyer.
     
    Those are renamed powers.
     
     
    Renaming the powers though, that's a relative term.  I mentioned that I know two people who started with Fantasy HERO (original edition).  For them, the HERO System is "renamed Spell Components." 
     
    It's all about perspective.  It's also the drawback to "accessing the code" for the program you're running.    Either it's hidden, or it isn't.  If you prefer it hidden, you either need to not be a GM or stay away from the HERO System, because the GM is all up in it.  
     
    However, the powers alone are not the only place from which the "magical feel" is drawn:  There is the magic system you will build as well.  Most of us, I think, put a lot of work into making sure it's not just "I use a power and mark off the Endurance," but something that feels as though the character is drawing from some external well of energy or truly manipulating the very fabric of reality.  You have to rename _everything_: the Powers, the Advantages, the Adders, the Limitations-- not just rename them, but how do they _look_?  How do they _feel_?  I mentioned just a couple of days ago that rather than "Extra Time," I use things like "Ritual" or "Complex Arrangements" or "Righteous Prayer" or whatever.  It's _all_ Extra Time, ultimately, but _not to the players_.     Knowing that it's Extra Time-- well, that's the GM's curse, and the price you pay to run a HERO-driven game.
     
    At least, it is _now_.  Now that it's a generic system with genre books and a have-at-it attitude.  I _wish_ I could tell you that it doesn't _really_ sap some of the feel-- some of the fun-- from the GM, but I can't.  However, Powers or Spells, I will always prefer "Web of Living Stone" to "Entangle."
     
    Still, that doesn't mean it has to affect the players the same way.  Honestly, I think this is why so many of us make the use of magic skill-based: just to move that little bit away from "I attack him with my Energy Blast!"  It doesn't necessarily mean that as the GMs we don't know that Brushain the Sorcerer isn't just attacking him with his Energy Blast, but it still makes it easier for us to sell it to the players.  No reason _they_ can't have fun, right?   
     
     
     
     
     
  11. Haha
    Duke Bushido reacted to archer in Question   
    Yeah, I've learned to not Google "Adult Fantasy" when I'm looking for literature which isn't "Juvenile Fantasy".
  12. Thanks
    Duke Bushido reacted to Lord Liaden in Champions Universe reference help   
    With respect, I would dispute Seeker being an "original" concept. As an aggregate he's unique, but IMO he's an aggregate of cliches. I also strongly suspect that him being Australian from the Outback (Crocodile Dundee), and a martial artist (legions of movie versions since Bruce Lee), came first, and the ninja mentor was rationalized afterward. Because nothing says "ninja" like a bare-chested white-skinned man in blousey white pants who likes to swing from chandeliers.
  13. Haha
    Duke Bushido reacted to archer in Jokes   
    Joke Noir:
     
    I was working on a case. It had to be a case, because I couldn't afford a desk.
    Then I saw her through the window. This tall blond lady. She must have been tall because I was on the third floor.
    She rolled her deep blue eyes at me. I picked them up and rolled them back.
    We kissed. She screamed. I took the cigarette from my mouth and kissed her again.
    There was a tap at the door. I thought “funny place to put a tap” so I turned it, and to my surprise, the door opened.
    There stood a redhead. Nothing more, just a red head. Then up the stairs strode a brunette, she took my hand. I asked for it back.
    She told me of a friend who was dying, so I decided to go and see him. We took the lift to the ground floor. It was rather heavy, but we got there eventually.
    I said to the porter, “Call me a taxi.” So he said “Sir, you’re a taxi.” The taxi pulled up with a jerk. The jerk got out and we got in.
    We arrived at the dying man’s house, where I discovered he had swallowed a chicken bone. I said “does it hurt?” and he said “only when I laugh.” So I told him a joke and he died laughing.
  14. Haha
    Duke Bushido reacted to Cygnia in Funny Pics II: The Revenge   
  15. Like
    Duke Bushido reacted to shadowcat1313 in A ship-building system?   
    on a sorta related note... Bundle of Holding is offering two collections of the little black books right now
    https://bundleofholding.com/presents/LBB1-2020
  16. Like
    Duke Bushido reacted to shadowcat1313 in A ship-building system?   
    just to clarify one thing from that quote, the re-issue of Traveller Hero is just the PDFs on CD. but I didnt know that was going to happen even at that point
  17. Like
    Duke Bushido reacted to Sicarius in Talents   
    We used to play the hell out of the original 3 book set of D&D with Grayhawk and Blackmoor added in.   Also 3 LBB Traveller, Metamorphosis Alpha and Stormbringer 1ed.  Great times. Even with AD&D although one of my staple players detested it as nothing but unnecessary rules bloat.  He played yet would have gladly stayed with the white box version.
     
    So your right. We had tons of fun and just winged it half the time with these 'guidelines'.  That's really what OD&D amounted to. The others were a bit more of a system.  
     
    It seems to me Champions Complete and FHC are enough to do the same if one wanted but are subsets of Hero for those who want maximum umph.
     
    Game companies need to produce because it's a relatively small market.  Once the base has bought X 1st ed and sales decline on X adventures and X supplements you either go out of business, drop the line and move on to something completely different or reimagine the line with  X 2nd ed.  This is usually X 1st ed with rules changes and material from all the X supplements baked in.  Usually presented as bigger and better. 
     
    3 decades later......Melee is Gurps 4th ed, Champions is Hero 6th ed, D&D is 3.5.  Some love it, some go the OSR route and play Swords avd Sorcery White Box. 
     
    Personally, I like the variety but admit that if all I had was D&D White Box I would likely play more and contemplate less. 
     
    And save money. 
     
    I don't think options have hurt Hero, I think electronic video games, the loss of literacy and decline of social get togethers in the physical realm have done more damage. And let's not forget after 50 yrs of P&P RPGS, ebay resales and reprints on RPGnow there is a shit ton to choose from. 
     
    Hero is really NOT for the causal group. 
     
  18. Like
    Duke Bushido reacted to Christopher R Taylor in Talents   
    Honestly that is a real concern for me with my Jolrhos stuff.  I want to present a full campaign, without the rules on the assumption that everyone has FHC to start with.  But its gonna be like 6 big books total to get everything.  I mean you get all that and you're set with a full fantasy world and campaign with everything you need to build anything, plus a half dozen adventures in print but... that's a lot of money to expect people to invest in, too.  I try to keep the cost down, but there's a limit to how low I can price stuff, especially the print.
     
    Once I get it all out, maybe I'll do a Jolrhos Lite thing, one book with the very basics stripped way down, and the rules.   But Hero changed how they allow rules reprints, I don't think you can do them solo, it has to be an official Hero product.  Like Western Hero, where its one book for everything
  19. Haha
    Duke Bushido reacted to Cancer in In other news...   
    Electric eels use pack tactics
     
    ... Better GM'ing through science
  20. Like
    Duke Bushido reacted to Jim Thomson in Community Content Program: Hall of Champions   
    Red Cobra has arrived!  Is no one safe?!
     
    You can pick up a copy over at: www.drivethrurpg.com/product/343476/Red-Cobra
     
    In the meantime, here's the premise.
     
    A notorious Cold War supervillain from the 1980s, who came to seem a little ridiculous after Communism fell, the Red Cobra hasn't been seen since 1992.  She led bank robberies and armored car hijackings all across America, in an effort to soften the country up for the Soviets.  Or that's what she said about herself, anyway.  She was a champion gloater and monologist, in love with the sound of her own voice and she was completely open about her motives.  She was here to weaken America, to shake its faith in its own superiority and destroy its morale.  To rob its banks and loot its treasures, in preparation for the glorious red dawn of Communism.
     
    After the Iron Curtain fell, she continued her reign of crime.  She stopped talking about Marxism and now claimed to vaguely represent "terrorism."  Ten years later, that would have been a successful shtick.  But the early '90s weren't really the golden age of terrorism.  She looked silly and dated and soon retired from the supervillain game.  They never caught her. 
     
    Now she is writing a tell-all book about her days as a supervillain.  This is a foolhardy move.  Old foes and former allies will be coming out of the woodwork to kill her before the book sees print.
     
    Enter the Player Characters.  Can the stop the ensuing chaos before the streets of their city run red?
  21. Like
    Duke Bushido reacted to Spence in Talents   
    I stand corrected...
  22. Like
    Duke Bushido reacted to Sicarius in Talents   
    Its a big man that owns up.  Cheers to you, sir! 😉
  23. Thanks
    Duke Bushido reacted to HeroGM in Talents   
    I think it had to do with lawyerism personally.
  24. Like
    Duke Bushido got a reaction from Lawnmower Boy in How do superhumans launder money?   
    Well, according to this Nigerian Prince that used to e-mail me all the time, Google Play cards are _the_ ticket.....
     
     
     
  25. Haha
    Duke Bushido reacted to Cygnia in Funny Pics II: The Revenge   
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