# Brian Stanfield

HERO Member

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## Reputation Activity

1. Brian Stanfield got a reaction from Doc Democracy in Brewing My House Rules for Combat - Heresy!?
Hey, this new "Dump on Duke" game is kinda fun!
2.
You know what they say:

Eighth time's the charm.....

3.
I got that edited, but evidently you were quoting while I was editing.

At any rate, it reads correctly now.

4.
So, I have a plan!
For me and my brain, the original Champions Attack equation and explanation of the Attack equation is more intuitive than that in in later editions, so I'm going to stick with the original. Thanks, all.
5.
It's worked for me for forty years.  I can't find any reason to change it.

I will have to double-check (still at work), but I think there is one on the 5e GM screen, and there were dozens when the Web Ring of Heroes was still a thing...

Jfg17:

Doc explained it perfectly:

It's just like any other 11 or less skill roll.

To simply further:

It is possible to see this as 2 skill rolls:

The attacker makes an attack roll; the Defender makes a defend roll.

Both rolls have a base value of 11 of less.

Whoever succeeds by the most wins.  If the attacker rolls a 9 and the Defender rolls a 7, then the Defender has succeeded by 5, while the attacker has succeeded by only 2.  The Defender wins, and the attack misses.

Like any other skill roll, there are modifiers.  Start with how good you are at the skill.  Suppose you have a skill with a base of 11 or less, but you've invested a few extra points to demonstrate a deeper study or better understanding that a lot of folks might have.  Your roll might be 14 or less instead of 11 or less.

Another way to look at that is to consider that you have an 11 less and a +3 bonus to you ability with that skill.  In combat, that bonus is your CV.

So in the above example, let's say the atttacker has an OCV of 8 while the Defender has a DCV of 5.

The attacker needs to roll his base 11 or less, but he gets his 8 OCV bonus.  He know has to roll a 19 or less to succeed.

The Defender, with his DCV bonus of 5, has to roll a 16 or less to successfully defend.

So the attacker rolls a 9, as before, which means he succeeded by 10.  The Defender rolls a 7, as before, and succeeds by 9.  The attacker wins, as he has won by the greatest margin.

And just like any other skill roll, there are other modifiers where appropriate: range, weather, bad footing--whatever might be appropriate.

If you've ever played a game (including HERO, in some cases) where skills are directly opposed like this, you are familiar with the problems, not the least of which is we are now rolling dice twice to resolve one thing.  Another problem is the arguments like "how did he hit me if I successfully defended?  What do you mean, 'succeeded more?'. That makes no sense!" and things like that.

So how do we resolve that?  Make one roll.

They both have a base chance of 11.  We understand that OCV is a positive modifier to that.  We understand that DCV can be considered a negative modifier (from the attacker's point of view) to that same roll.  So we know how to reduce the time wasted rolling dice: make one roll that includes both sets of modifiers.

(11 + OCV) - (Defender's DCV) = target number.  Roll that number or less.

(I don't want to confuse things, but I handle all my opposed roll situations, like Concealment VS Concealment, this exact same way.  It's fast and it's clean).
Best of all, it eliminates the problem with ties (in terms of how  much you succeeded.  If your wondering, though, ties go to the attacker) and "but I successfully defended!" by not having separate rolls for these two aspects of combat.

There is no _real_ downside, but for some reason, some people are really bothered by the fact that telling a player "you need an eight or less" tells the player something he shouldn't know.  Here's why that's not really true:  the play has no idea what his oppenents skill levels are, how many are allocated, where they are allocated, or what other situational bonuses are in play.  You might need an eight this time, even the next five times, but then you might need a thirteen, followed by a six!  You're not giving away what they claim you are giving away.  Unless, of course, the groups in question use no situational modifiers at all, ever, in which case, yea: your player might figure out his opponent's DCV.  To which I say "so what?"

I say that, because the "solution" to this "problem" is the roll-high option.  Ultimately, this is touted as hiding all the stuff that you are allegedly giving away with roll low.

The problem is that you are _still_ giving it away.  It's not calculus.  It's math like you picked up in first and second grade:

I rolled an eleven.
You hit!
I rolled a twelve.
I'm sorry, you missed.

Egad!  If only there was some way I could use this information to determine what his DCV is!

Obviously, in this case, his total DCV (that would be his DCV, plus and skill levels he has allocated to defense plus any Maneuver or situational DCV bonuses he has) exactly equals your total OCV-  which is, as I said, the _total_ of everything in play that's working toward increasing your OCV.

You still don't really know what his precise DCV is any more than he knows your precise OCV.  The best part is that you have that same conundrum with roll-under to hit: you know the total, that one time, after resolution, and have no way of knowing exactly _why_ that is the total, or if it is always that total.

Roll-over is a non-solution to a not problem.

However, it is just as valid as roll-under.  Pick the one you like and stick with it, as changing up or using both is the only _real_ problem you are going to have teaching the attack mechanic.
6. Brian Stanfield got a reaction from jfg17 in Brewing My House Rules for Combat - Heresy!?
It's best to think of it like others have suggested: Roll under a Skill (your "Attack Skill" of 11) on 3d6, with OCV acting like Skill Levels and DCV acting like penalties. Roll under that number.

In older editions of Champions the formula used to be shown as this: 11 + OCV - DCV = target roll or less. Basically it looks like a Skill Roll. The main problem is that a GM may not want you do know your opponent's DCV, so in later editions they moved things around to keep the DCV secret. I'll show my work in steps like we used to do in math class (I'm trying to remember how to do that now!), not to be condescending, just to make sure you're following (and to check that I'm actually doing it right!):
11 + OCV - DCV = 3d6 or less
+ (DCV) 11 + OCV - DCV = 3d6 + (DCV)
- (3d6) 11 + OCV = 3d6 + DCV - (3d6)
11 + OCV - 3d6 =  DCV you can hit

Another way to look at it is this: Think of 11+OCV as your Skill Roll, rolled at or under on 3d6. The margin of success ("I made my roll by 5") that you use on some Skill Rolls is equivalent to the DCV you can hit ("I can hit a DCV 5"). Again, the reason why in some games we announce how much we exceeded the roll, especially things like Perception rolls, is because there may be modifiers and stuff the GM is tracking that we don't know about. Easiest solution is to just roll and announce how much we made it by. In combat, that's the DCV we can hit.

I hope I didn't just make things worse, or ridiculous with my math. But it was only recently, after more than 30 years of playing, that someone on these forums showed me how combat is actually a Skill Roll! Seriously, it's never really stated in the rules, but as Doc says, it's the same mechanic tacitly built into it. It was a mind-bending moment for me to suddenly see it so clearly after simply missing it for so long!
7. Brian Stanfield got a reaction from jfg17 in Brewing My House Rules for Combat - Heresy!?
Just to recap: just think of an attack as a Skill roll. The degree of a Skill roll often determines how much success you have, so if you make it by a lot it is better than making it by a little. The lower you roll, the more you make the Skill roll by, and for an attack that difference is how good of an opponent you can hit. The lower the roll, the more DCV you can hit.

Keep coming back to that. Make up a couple of sample combats for your own practice. Create some environmental conditions (darkness, terrain, whatever) and use a few of the maneuvers that modify OCV and DCV, and run a few rounds of combat. It'll get you used to the basic formula plus adding modifiers and stuff as you calculate.
8.
Somewhere there is a chart for comparing OCV to DCV that when you cross-index the numbers it gives you the target number you need to roll.
9. Brian Stanfield got a reaction from Doc Democracy in Brewing My House Rules for Combat - Heresy!?
It's best to think of it like others have suggested: Roll under a Skill (your "Attack Skill" of 11) on 3d6, with OCV acting like Skill Levels and DCV acting like penalties. Roll under that number.

In older editions of Champions the formula used to be shown as this: 11 + OCV - DCV = target roll or less. Basically it looks like a Skill Roll. The main problem is that a GM may not want you do know your opponent's DCV, so in later editions they moved things around to keep the DCV secret. I'll show my work in steps like we used to do in math class (I'm trying to remember how to do that now!), not to be condescending, just to make sure you're following (and to check that I'm actually doing it right!):
11 + OCV - DCV = 3d6 or less
+ (DCV) 11 + OCV - DCV = 3d6 + (DCV)
- (3d6) 11 + OCV = 3d6 + DCV - (3d6)
11 + OCV - 3d6 =  DCV you can hit

Another way to look at it is this: Think of 11+OCV as your Skill Roll, rolled at or under on 3d6. The margin of success ("I made my roll by 5") that you use on some Skill Rolls is equivalent to the DCV you can hit ("I can hit a DCV 5"). Again, the reason why in some games we announce how much we exceeded the roll, especially things like Perception rolls, is because there may be modifiers and stuff the GM is tracking that we don't know about. Easiest solution is to just roll and announce how much we made it by. In combat, that's the DCV we can hit.

I hope I didn't just make things worse, or ridiculous with my math. But it was only recently, after more than 30 years of playing, that someone on these forums showed me how combat is actually a Skill Roll! Seriously, it's never really stated in the rules, but as Doc says, it's the same mechanic tacitly built into it. It was a mind-bending moment for me to suddenly see it so clearly after simply missing it for so long!
10. Brian Stanfield reacted to Duke Bushido in Widening Gyre
I have no idea where to put this, and "other genres" seems appropriate.

No; I'm not looking to tear it apart or ask questions about it.  I just wanted to say that I spent this afternoon reading it.  Yeah; I'm probably the last guy to buy it (that's just the way it tends to go for me    ), but I read it today-- the PDF, anyway.  I intend to read it again when the printed book shows up.

First: it took me far to long to make the connection between the Bill Keyes listed on the cover and our own Bill Keyes.   That was humorously embarrassing.

Second:  I thoroughly enjoyed it.  It was well-written, with an easy, comfortable writing style that read quickly and lightly.  I want more!      I have to say that overall, it's not my thing-- well, Steampunk is something I've enjoyed for quite some time, but the over-all tone built into the offered setting is a bit 'dark' for my tastes, or rather, to be more accurate-- a bit dark for what I like in Steampunk.  I suppose I'm a Verne at heart.

Still, I can't say enough good things about this book, over all.  Even though it tends to be a bit dark by default, it's not overtly depressing or dehumanizing, and is filled, particularly near the end, where the suggestions start coming hard and fast-- with suggestions on lightening things up.  I wasn't too keen on the baked-in presence of magic, but again-- lots of suggestions on ignoring that, and they worked well.  Oddly, I didn't mind magic as it relates to the talents of Savants.  It seemed almost appropriate there.

One thing I would liked to have seen was a bit more information on the "ancient evil beasties."  No; I don't need write-ups for a piece of background, particularly one that is expressly described as not taking direct action in the setting, ever.  But I would like to know just _why_ they are interested in humans and technology-- at least, more than the vague mentions that they are in fact interested-- and why this interest waxes and wanes across generations.  To a lesser extent, I would like to know the effects on humans of this waxing and waning.  I suppose to sum it up: is this something unique to the setting?  Is it important to the history or the future adventures of the game?  Or was this an afterthought to bring this wordbook in line with the much-unloved universal timeline dropped on us in 5e and not yet abandoned?

Still, that's rather minor, as if I chose to run with this book, I could always invent what I needed and ignore what I didn't.  And I confess that it _is_ helpful that the provided introductory adventure leaps directly to the machinations of these great evil beings and their attempt to use Savants to open a dimensional gateway.  But that also seems pretty close to direct intervention.  Still, it does provide an idea of the motives the evil and how they influence the world.  I'd just like something a bit more concrete.

However, if you haven't checked it out, I can't recommend it enough, if only for pleasure reading.  It's just really well-done, and should be considered a high-water mark for third-party products.

(What I really wish, though, was that the HERO version got the same cover as the Savage Worlds version.     )

11. Brian Stanfield got a reaction from drunkonduty in Fantasy Hero Books
I had to go look at the document, and although it doesn't come out and say it, my impression is that the combat roll is a "roll high" approach. This comes up in discussions every once in a while since many gamers are used to rolling over a target number rather than under. I think that maybe @drunkonduty applied this to his document, although you'd have to ask him. Maybe he can be enticed to comment on it . . .
12. Brian Stanfield reacted to pbemguy in Help Driving HERO
This has kind of already been said, but yeah, go through every skill and every power and think of it from a Driving angle.

Lonewolf mentioned Shadowing. Exactly. I'd recommend that the players buy skills "on foot" and skills "in car" separately.

Shadowing on foot is very different than by vehicle. Imagine a guy who is good at Shadowing on foot having to do it in a car instead, or vice versa. Like, I can see Vin Diesel ninja-ing his car under a tractor trailer to avoid being spotted in a rear view, but I can also see him tripping over a hot dog stand when trying to do this on foot. In this campaign, they could be two different skills.

I see Acrobatics working the same way: character can flip a car, do a full rotation to jump from the bridge to the underpass, but as a person can't do a somersault.

"Acting" : can duplicate another driver's style, make it look like she did the heist when the video footage is reviewed. Or she can make it look like there's something wrong with the car. "The way she's driving, I'd say she blew her engine..." Surprise!

Breakfall: Can slow down by hitting things without taking too much Body off the car.

Contortionist: "No way you can fit between those two cars...wait! Don't!!"

Demolitions: Know where to hit another car to do extra damage....maybe Find Weakness fits this better....

Tactics/Teamwork

13. Brian Stanfield got a reaction from Spence in Fantasy Hero Books
I'm right there with ya, buddy! There are too many other real problems to aggravate me lately, I don't need to go looking for more! I try never to outright disagree or flatly criticize someone's post in these forums because I much prefer the creative collaborative work that comes with at least partial agreement and concessions made to the spirit of the discussion. Sometimes I derail the discussion, as above, and take it in a direction that I mistook, but it's not done intentionally. I genuinely like the people I interact with here and prefer to foster those friendships rather than bull my way through a china shop in order to be "right" at all costs. Plus, it keeps me sane if I let the small stuff go.
14. Brian Stanfield reacted to Spence in Fantasy Hero Books
No need to apologize at all.  I was just trying to clarify what I actually meant not criticize.  In the last few months I've found my points being buried in the general spirited discussions and lost.  So I decided to clarify.  I have also stopped following threads when they depart from the subject or get too spirited, which has done wonders for my personal calm and blood pressure 😁

But I do agree with many points brought up by yourself and others.
15. Brian Stanfield reacted to DreadDomain in Fantasy Hero Books
No worries mate. Still, you make a good point. PHB has a higher number of creatures in the book but they are mainly animals (and skeletons and zombies). FHC has a smaller selection but they are more interesting, more fantastical. There are also 6 examples characters that can be used as antagonists. I supposed they could also be used as pregens as well but they are not really balanced against one another. Because "pick a pregen" makes jumping into the game much quicker.
I went back through character creation of FHC again and tried to have the mindset of someone who buys a game and wants to play a fantasy character (as opposed to "I've been playing HERO for 30 years) and man, it's bad. Character creation starts at page 17, racial, cultural and profession templates are an afterthought at page 202. During character creation you plough through the powers system (p.51) with little guidance on how to use it within the context of what it means in fantasy but then you have typical advantages and limitations packages for various types of magic at page 212 and then sample spells at page 241. Everytime I look at this book, I like it a bit less (which sadden me really).
I cannot access Fantasy HERO 1E at the moment but if my recollection serves, it was a better book for fantasy (and I am a 6E supporter).
16.
Well I went with the Necromancy idea.  They were called into a conference with the various kingdoms who were taking the brunt of the fighting.  They said that these warriors would not pick up the dead from the battles.  As they snuck around behind enemy lines they found dead soldiers laid out in large groups.  They kept going and it was cool because they didn't understand.  Then they got to the enemies lands and seen very poor people and seen the ritual of the necromancer and they kind of pooped themselves when they realized all the solders that would be summoned.

Thanks for the help I appreciate it, my group did as well.
17. Brian Stanfield reacted to DreadDomain in Fantasy Hero Books
At this stage, I believe we have an orthogonal conversion as we do not seem to be debating the same things. I even had to go back and reread what prompted this exchange  . You seem to have understood that my position was that the PHB was playable out of the box and FHC was not. This is not quite what I said (or at least meant) and my statement was that "...it makes FHC less play-ready than say, The Dark Eye, RuneQuest or Dungeons & Dragons even considering only their core/players books". My statement is not about which game is playable out of the box nor is it about which game is complete, it is about how quickly you can play a game after you bought the book.

Bill, Bob and Boris walk into a game store. They want to try a new fantasy roleplaying. Bill, will be the GM, Bob, wants to play a magician and Boris will be a burly fighter. The plan is to read and understand the rules and while Bob and Boris are creating their characters (they want to create their own), Bill will put a few critters and enemies together (he might create them of pick from a list if available) in a generic dungeon/prison/castle/maze/whatever and they will let their imagination flow. There are only 4 books in the game store and they are all games they have never heard of; PHB 5E, FHC, TDE and RQG. Which book will enable them to do it the quickest? Which option would be the slowest?

As explained above, my position is that FHC would be the slowest to lift and could also be the most difficult for Bob to get into.

That's all I am saying. No problem if you disagree (I believe you do) as you seem to imply that you cannot play a game with just the PHB. I'd like to understand what you believe is missing in the PHB tat would prevent Bill, Bob and Boris to whip a quick game?
18. Brian Stanfield reacted to Spence in Fantasy Hero Books
After reading this I was just going to ignore the thread.

And then I read this.

Also not to be argumentative, but simply wanting to clarify a simple concept.

Neither of the above posts even touch on "playable out of the box", they talk about game construction from full rule books.  These are completely different topics.

It is almost like talking about the pro's and cons of a bass boat and getting buried with comments about the benefits of owning a helicopter.

Basic concepts.
Building an RPG character is not playing an RPG.
Building an adventure and NPC/Creatures is not playing an RPG.
They are preparatory tasks that need to be performed prior to being able to actually play.
This is not a good thing or a bad thing, it just is.

D&D 5ed has had two (that I know of) introduction sets that provide everything needed to run a game for the DM and players.  Characters, Adventure, etc.  Plus guidance for the DM to run it.
FFG's Star Wars RPG has one introduction set for each of their three SW theme games (EotE, AoR and FaD).  They contain everything needed to play a game of Star Wars.
Chaosium has a Call of Cthulhu 7th intro box that has pre-generated PC's and an adventure plus guidance for new players and GM's.
Catalyst has a Shadowrun beginner box set that allows new people to play Shadowrun.
Pathfinder has one too

All of these are "playable out of the box" with little or no prep.
Are these "sets" complete rule-sets? No, but they are "playable out of the box".

D&D's core three (PHB, MM, DMG) are not "playable out of the box".
PF's main rulebook is not "playable out of the box".
Star Wars RPG core books are not "playable out of the box".
Champions Complete and Hero System 6th are not "playable out of the box".
Call of Cthulhu, Pulp Cthulhu and Down Darker Trails are not "playable out of the box".

They are all complete core rule sets designed to allow players to BUILD games.  Some are more flexible than others, but they all perform the task well.

Most games that are "playable out of the box" are designed to allow new players to actually PLAY a game and see if they like it.  Some are designed to play out multiple sessions and some even give the players a taste of limited character advancement.   But all of them have the purpose of "if you liked this and had fun, buy the full game and make your own adventures and characters".

There have been a few games that combined the complete core rules with the intro-set to present an actual full RPG that was "playable out of the box".  These are rare though.

There is a difference between "complete rule set" and "playable out of the box".  One is not better than the other, they have different purposes.

In my opinion, the Hero System (any version) would have a greater benefit from a "intro playable out of the box" game than most others.  Most other RPG's are more structured and provide completed items (NPC's, Creatures, Equipment, etc.) that allow easier entry.  Hero requires the Players to literally build everything before play, which is a steep entry.  But most of the attempts I have seen founder when too much content is jammed in.  Such as character creation and a such.  But once again that is an opinion.

But "playable out of the box" means I open the box and play.  Not, I open the box, figure out how to generate a character and then figure out how to build an adventure and then try to play.
Some people do not like Intro Boxes that are "playable out of the box" because they do not have all the rules.  But there are a lot of players out there that started playing with those intro boxes.

19.
Can't be _that_ weird.

It's how the one in my truck works.

20. Brian Stanfield reacted to DreadDomain in Fantasy Hero Books
Am I? Maybe I am since I am comparing the "Complete" FH game with only a "Players Handbook".
If you buy one of these two books to create characters right away, drop the party in a generic dungeons or locale populated by a few critters, you can do it more easily and rapidly with the PHB than with FHC. Chances are with FHC your evening will be spent creating characters, even worse if a player wants to create a spell caster.
Assuming the same level of familiarity with the systems, I would also say that the jump is easier and quicker with only the core  book of RuneQuest or The Dark Eye (or Dungeon Fantasy but the basic game is a full boxset so it might be a bit unfair).

In FHC, character creation is looser, there are more decisions to be made and it is less pick and play than the others (mind you RQG and TDE have quite a few steps in character creation but it's much more directed). Bottom line, it will take more time and effort.
For the other games, you can easily select a priest/spell-user and choose from a selection of spells. Your options to do so in FHC is very limited with only a few spells given as a example, or unlimited with the ability to build anything. Bottom line, you will be limited or it will take more time and effort.

It may come down with what we believe we need to buy a book, read it and jump straight in. It may also depends how much prep time you expect to put it before you play. Personally, I believe the PHB has everything you need to play from day one.

And there I believe the DMG is not needed to jump right in. Will you need it down the road? Maybe. Will you need it on day one? No. The same could be said for the Monster Manual. You want to play right away? You have 30 odd critters to play with. Sure, you will want more later.
At first I thought you where conveniently moving the goalpost but actually I believe we are now confusing how quickly you can play after you bought a book, with how complete a game is.

When I compare their playability out of the box, I talk about the former. It implies an ability to use the book quickly and enough material provided. FHC is not as quick to jump in (character creation) and not as complete (not enough spells).
You mention "a lot of ways" but do not give any example of the many ways FHC is better suited than PHB when it comes to jumping into the game quickly. Would you mind giving a few?

21. Brian Stanfield got a reaction from Scott Ruggels in Fantasy Hero Books
In some ways you’re comparing apples to mangos. The Players Handbook isn’t playable out of the box either. It’s devoted to just introducing character creation and basic gameplay. Even with the Dungeon Master’s Guide and the Monster Manual, you still don’t have a game to play “right out of the box.”

On the other hand, if you allow FHC to include the HS Grimoire and the HS Bestiary, then you’ve got an equivalent trilogy to D&D . . . but still no adventure to play, just like (D&D). Of course the production value is not nearly the same, but for less than half the cost you have a complete game to play.

So in a lot of ways when it comes to reading one book and jumping into a game, D&D is less well equipped to do that than FHC. What D&D does so well, though, is make their books make people want to play, and they’ve set up the support network to play it. Any beginner can go find a gameshop on Wednesday night anywhere in the country and find a D&D Encounters game. That’s really the biggest difference, and that’s the benefit of having Hasbro prop your business up until it can get traction.
22. Brian Stanfield got a reaction from Chris Goodwin in Fantasy Hero Books
In some ways you’re comparing apples to mangos. The Players Handbook isn’t playable out of the box either. It’s devoted to just introducing character creation and basic gameplay. Even with the Dungeon Master’s Guide and the Monster Manual, you still don’t have a game to play “right out of the box.”

On the other hand, if you allow FHC to include the HS Grimoire and the HS Bestiary, then you’ve got an equivalent trilogy to D&D . . . but still no adventure to play, just like (D&D). Of course the production value is not nearly the same, but for less than half the cost you have a complete game to play.

So in a lot of ways when it comes to reading one book and jumping into a game, D&D is less well equipped to do that than FHC. What D&D does so well, though, is make their books make people want to play, and they’ve set up the support network to play it. Any beginner can go find a gameshop on Wednesday night anywhere in the country and find a D&D Encounters game. That’s really the biggest difference, and that’s the benefit of having Hasbro prop your business up until it can get traction.
23. Brian Stanfield reacted to Duke Bushido in Duke's scans
Used books in the hundreds don't exist.

I mean, they _do_, but what you're seeing there are "book pirates."

No; I'm serious.  These guys run bots and crawlers and interesting algorithms; most of them have no actual stock-- seriously-- _none_.   Their bots key on searches for books, then perform their own searches, find the books, and return a pre-generated add / website entry to include a pic from where they found (if applicable) and a copy of text (usually a vague bit of descriptive text.  The better ones will have this text end on a complete sentence instead of after X amount of characters.   ).

The price is (P)x1.M, where M is the percentage of markup programmed into the bot.  If you order the book, the bot orders the book from where it found it, etc, etc, etc.

The guy "Operating" the site (I say that in quotes because most of these are fire-and-forget) not only never touches the book, he won't even know you ever ordered anything.  He just gets his money and keeps sipping margaritas.    I've been collecting books since you had to track down specialists to find them from all over the world.  I watched the pirates grow until they became their own problem

Seriously; they have become their own problem!  There are so many of them now that it's possible to find two hundred listings for the same single book-- single as in "only one copy exists and only one person owns it."  The bots are getting their info from other bots, who got it from other bots, who got it from other bots, and on and on.  It's at the point were you can spend three hundred bucks on a book, that money ends up going to eighty different people, and the only extant copy of the book in the whole chain sells for ten bucks to the first bot and ships to you!

There are signs, but honestly, there are so many people trying to stop this practice that you can find entire websites dedicated to how you can get a better idea of what's a pirate site and what isn't.  (A good hint is an RPG book with a dying audience going for hundreds of dollars.  )

24. Brian Stanfield reacted to Steve in Continued campaign ideas
Another option for Sewer City is ghouls. They could be an offshoot of humanity, mutated by exposure to something down there. They have an entire culture in Call of Cthulhu mythology you could draw from.
25. Brian Stanfield got a reaction from Ninja-Bear in "A Champions Conundrum"
I’m going to put in a quick vote for HERO System Basic Rulebook, like I always do. It’s what the “Complete” games are based on, but is genre neutral. Maybe this is more problematic for you and/or your group, but I’m using it now for a 6e version of Pulp HERO, which never got translated into 6e. It’s working great so far because all the rules are presented in a little over 100 pages so it condenses things down for newbies. But it does require a lot more prep time for the GM, especially if you create their first characters for them (which I recommend) so they can focus on learning the rules before they have to create anything themselves. But I can honestly say the first 10 pages of an introduction gives new players a great overview which is more useful than the “HERO in Two Pages” document.
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