Hero redux

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Toadmaster

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For those who love or loathe (but were still intrigued by) the HERO system what did it get right, what was wrong?

If you were going to produce a HERO clone, what would you definitely want to include / exclude. Think broader than just Champions and don't just point at M&M as "HERO done right" if that is your belief at least point out what makes it HERO done right.
 

James Gillen

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This raises the question: Why do you need a HERO clone?
That in turn raises the question: Which edition of HERO? Clearly most of us think of 6th as the edition where everything went wrong, but I know a couple people who swear by it. My personal issue is whether it would be easy for people to run characters in all variety of games. It's not as easy as it seems; for example, to run Fantasy spellcasters who play like casters as opposed to superheroes requires piling on limitations that the GM has to define.
This also means that if M&M is "HERO done right" it suffers from the issue of being even more geared towards supers than HERO is (although Warriors & Wizards was a pretty good book).

JG
 

Toadmaster

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Although there are differences between editions, most of the core mechanics don't really change that much over the editions. Point values change, there is some re-interpretation / adjustment of rules, power frameworks etc, alterations of how points are spent (figureds in 1-5 vs straight points in 6E), skills added / deleted and of course the grand daddy of all 6E debates Comeliness.

My request to not focusing on Champions is basically to avoid the M&M vs Champions debate which I don't think really applies beyond supers, and distracts from the system as a whole. There is good debate for HERO as a house system (3rd ed FH, DI, JI, Champions) vs a generic (4E onward), but Supers has a lot of issues specific to that genre that don't really apply to others.

Now some of what makes M&M better for some may very well carry over to other genres as well, and will be limited to supers in other areas.


As far as "needing a clone" sure there isn't a need, we have the bulk of editions / supplements available pdf / print on demand now, and most dedicated players have a stack of dead tree books. What I'm primarily interested in is specific aspects that turned people off or the parts that are untouchable by fans. I see a lot of comments that DoJ listens too much to the grognards, but specifics are thin on actual changes, the most common (it needs to be easier is too vague to be useful.
As far as the "grognards" go, I don't believe there is a group fitting that description. Every fan has their dream changes and their mole hills that they will die on. Some may even agree with some issues of almost fans.


Since I don't believe there will ever be a 7th edition, I went with HERO clone, replace with new edition if you prefer. I'm just curious where people would go if they were presented with the chance to remake the game in their ideal version. What would stay the more or less the same and what would change. To make things easier start with your preferred edition, no need to assume 6E as the base if that is not your base.



Personally I'm more of a 3E / 4E hybrid guy myself. I was a big fan of the generic rule book (4E) when it came out, but over time I've gravitated towards the perspective that a house system with slight rule variations by genre was a more sound approach. 4E made some changes meant to work the same across genres that worked but in some cases removed some flavor and / or added complexity. As I'd be starting with 3E / 4E the changes made in 6E would be sent off to live with Highlander 2.
:hehe:



Speed could see some major redesign, it was a cool idea but is more complex than it needs to be for most games. I've only seen a handful of characters exceed Speed 9 and I think only one that was Speed 12. Outside of Supers, Speed 4 is fast and a much simpler actions system would likely suffice for most, and it would greatly simplify an aspect of the game that causes issues for many.

I'd divorce Powers from the core rules and set them aside as advanced toolkit rules. They are critical to the game so they need to stay but their presentation is an obstacle for new comers to the game, and those who prefer a simpler game. Instead each genre would then have core pre-built powers, spells and abilities. Those who prefer to build their own could of course do so, but I'd change the presentation so build your own wasn't the default.

Regarding powers I like the advantage / limitation aspect, but I'm definitely open to making changes. The math involved is not truly difficult but it seems to raise the hackles of many. I'm sure there must be a way to present it in an easier way without changing things drastically.

I'll think of more if this thread gains any life.
 

James Gillen

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Some ideas that have already been proposed:
Roll high
Don't have all kinds of sub-skills for Gambling, Animal Handling, etc., unless you want to make them specializations

I do agree that Power creation should be secondary to character creation but that's why there should be a set of "core rules" for the GM and genre books for the issue mentioned earlier - if you want Fantasy spellcasters, there are ways to generate them quickly, if you're running a "realistic" game (what Hero called Dark Champions) you need firearms and equipment rules, etc.

JG
 

Chris Brady

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M&M 3e is Supers games done right TO ME. No one else, nor will I hold ANYONE to the same expectations.

You do you, Boo. If you have fun with Hero, then I'm sincerely happy for you!

But if you want to try M&M 3e? I'll do my damnedest to make sure it's as fun for you as possible. But it'll still be up to you to decide if it's as better, as good, or worse.
 

James Gillen

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As I've said before, I preferred 2nd Edition M&M to 3rd. The fact that so many effects were based on Affliction meant that it felt like a sort of narrative game where what your power was didn't matter as much as how you described what it did.

JG
 

David Johansen

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HERO is perfect but that's the problem. You can cram anything into its pardigm but it all comes out looking like HERO when you do. GURPS suffers the same problem but on a lesser scale because GURPS isn't perfect.

HERO never seems to do vehicles very well. The thing where you multiply the points you put into a vehicle is part of the problem but driver speed and movement also cause issues. But that's okay because you should just build vehicles as a power anyway.

Personally second edition Champions was best. It's still pretty clean and short at this point but it's also cleaned up a bit.
 

Chris Brady

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HERO never seems to do vehicles very well. The thing where you multiply the points you put into a vehicle is part of the problem but driver speed and movement also cause issues. But that's okay because you should just build vehicles as a power anyway.
Even when the players are facing tanks or the like?
 

David Johansen

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Well, it depends on how you see points and vehicles and scenery. Because it's certainly possible to just treat the tanks as scenery objects and not build them fully. The problem with the vehicle rules where you get, I think it was five points per point invested, but the thing is that's also the problem, vehicles are too good. All told I think the Batmobile works better as a character in its own right. Your milage will vary but as a character in its own right the Batmobile has its own Speed characteristic and doesn't go faster with a faster driver.

Admittedly I skipped over 4 - 5 and only had the basic book for 6. There may be a better patch.
 

robertsconley

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For those who love or loathe (but were still intrigued by) the HERO system what did it get right, what was wrong?
It has the same problem as GURPS, it biggest flaw that it grew into being presented as a toolkit RPG and that was the default. Working with a toolkit RPG is a niche taste.

Now Hero Games tried to fix it with their complete series but it wasn't enough.

If you were going to produce a HERO clone, what would you definitely want to include / exclude. Think broader than just Champions and don't just point at M&M as "HERO done right" if that is your belief at least point out what makes it HERO done right.
I wouldn't not change the system from how it stood with 5e. I would however alter the presentation a lot. Keep the toolkit book as a secondary product and use it to produce a standalone RPG better than Champions Complete. Or rather Fantasy Hero as that where my interest lies.
 

robertsconley

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So folks know I am preparing for Hero 5e campaign. I showed it to a couple of players who never played and they were like "we have to play this."
 

robertsconley

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Even when the players are facing tanks or the like?
A tank is not different than a character. It got stats and you handle it combat per the rules. I am not sure what David is talking about but in 5e Vehicles have a speed characteristic like PCs do. If you are driving a vehicle then you take the lower of your speed or your vehicle speed. If you have a higher speed, it explained that the vehicle isn't responsive enough.

There some other wrinkles but basically amount to how to resolve the difference in characteristics when you start controlling a vehicle.
 

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I never got to play Hero, though, I’ve used it for references a lot in the past when researching effects for my own effect-based system. But I haven’t read it in ages so I don’t remember the specifics or all the issues I had with it. Some of the stuff that comes to mind includes the following:

Excessive Use of Acronyms: And related to this, excessive use of long phases as names of abilities or add-ons (adders? whatever they’re called) for effects, that then get reduced to acronyms throughout the ENTIRE manual, like this is the military. So I don’t know WTF they’re talking about half the time cuz they keep using one of literary dozens of hard to remember acronyms to refer to stuff over and over again.

And some these are unnecessary, like Offensive + Combat + Value (OCV) or Defensive + Combat + Value (DCV). Why not just call it Attack and Defense? Was it really that hard to think that one up, instead of using an entire phrase that NOBODY would ever use in normal conversation (who would say Defensive Combat Value?) only to later reduce it to an acronym and never use that phrase ever again for the rest of the book?

And granted, ALL RPGs use technical terms they sometimes abbreviate, like Hit Points (HP), but Hero uses DOZENS of long-ass phrases for every other thing and they all sound stupid and get reduced to a string of letters I can’t decipher later on.

Inflated Attribute Values: Every attribute in the game has huge values that then get divided by 5 to determine the actual value you would use in actual game play. Don’t like ‘em, and don’t care if your Strength value gets multiplied to determine your carry capacity, so every point counts (don’t recall if this was the case in Hero, but other games do this). Other attributes shouldn’t get inflated cuz you wanna get anal about carry capacities, and if an attribute value isn’t used it shouldn’t exist. If “stat value dividend by 5” is the only thing that gets used then that should be the only number that exists in the first place.

Odd Phased Combat: I like phased combat that replaces “initiative” with order of actions based on logical blocks, like “ranged attacks first, movement second, melee third, etc.”, or something like that. But phased combat in Hero essentially breaks combat into 12 mini rounds inside a bigger round, where only certain characters may act depending on their Speed value, or something, on top of using initiative. It’s way too complicated and micromanages every step a character makes, which is unnecessary. I already don’t like combat rounds broken down by Initiative order, I don’t need to make it worse by counting down the segments when characters may act and treat those like mini rounds as well.

I prefer simpler combat where everyone gets their one action (in addition to basic movement and such), and we resolve those actions, then move on to the next round. And if characters have multiple actions then we treat those like edge cases, either resolved on the character’s turn or at the end of the round after everyone else with just one action has taken action. Rather than breaking the entire round into multiple mimi round dealing with odd multiple actions, where everyone acts more than once, but at a different pace. It’s so convoluted it’s stupid.
 

Toadmaster

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It has the same problem as GURPS, it biggest flaw that it grew into being presented as a toolkit RPG and that was the default. Working with a toolkit RPG is a niche taste.

Now Hero Games tried to fix it with their complete series but it wasn't enough.

I wouldn't not change the system from how it stood with 5e. I would however alter the presentation a lot. Keep the toolkit book as a secondary product and use it to produce a standalone RPG better than Champions Complete. Or rather Fantasy Hero as that where my interest lies.

With the exception of Champions which has basically always been a tool kit game, I would agree with you. 3E HERO as a house system was far easier to learn, the most difficult aspect being Fantasy HERO if you chose to run a spell caster and had to build your spells from a simplified powers system.


I never got to play Hero, though, I’ve used it for references a lot in the past when researching effects for my own effect-based system. But I haven’t read it in ages so I don’t remember the specifics or all the issues I had with it. Some of the stuff that comes to mind includes the following:

Excessive Use of Acronyms: And related to this, excessive use of long phases as names of abilities or add-ons (adders? whatever they’re called) for effects, that then get reduced to acronyms throughout the ENTIRE manual, like this is the military. So I don’t know WTF they’re talking about half the time cuz they keep using one of literary dozens of hard to remember acronyms to refer to stuff over and over again.

And some these are unnecessary, like Offensive + Combat + Value (OCV) or Defensive + Combat + Value (DCV). Why not just call it Attack and Defense? Was it really that hard to think that one up, instead of using an entire phrase that NOBODY would ever use in normal conversation (who would say Defensive Combat Value?) only to later reduce it to an acronym and never use that phrase ever again for the rest of the book?

And granted, ALL RPGs use technical terms they sometimes abbreviate, like Hit Points (HP), but Hero uses DOZENS of long-ass phrases for every other thing and they all sound stupid and get reduced to a string of letters I can’t decipher later on.

Inflated Attribute Values: Every attribute in the game has huge values that then get divided by 5 to determine the actual value you would use in actual game play. Don’t like ‘em, and don’t care if your Strength value gets multiplied to determine your carry capacity, so every point counts (don’t recall if this was the case in Hero, but other games do this). Other attributes shouldn’t get inflated cuz you wanna get anal about carry capacities, and if an attribute value isn’t used it shouldn’t exist. If “stat value dividend by 5” is the only thing that gets used then that should be the only number that exists in the first place.

Odd Phased Combat: I like phased combat that replaces “initiative” with order of actions based on logical blocks, like “ranged attacks first, movement second, melee third, etc.”, or something like that. But phased combat in Hero essentially breaks combat into 12 mini rounds inside a bigger round, where only certain characters may act depending on their Speed value, or something, on top of using initiative. It’s way too complicated and micromanages every step a character makes, which is unnecessary. I already don’t like combat rounds broken down by Initiative order, I don’t need to make it worse by counting down the segments when characters may act and treat those like mini rounds as well.

I prefer simpler combat where everyone gets their one action (in addition to basic movement and such), and we resolve those actions, then move on to the next round. And if characters have multiple actions then we treat those like edge cases, either resolved on the character’s turn or at the end of the round after everyone else with just one action has taken action. Rather than breaking the entire round into multiple mimi round dealing with odd multiple actions, where everyone acts more than once, but at a different pace. It’s so convoluted it’s stupid.


I never found the acronyms much of an issue as HERO has a good character sheet with most of the important ones printed on it. When you get into the powers system though I can see where they could easily become an issue with NNDs, AP, EBs KAs, ECs, MPs, VPPs, OAFs etc.


Attributes are not all /5, some have uses at /3 others at /2, some at /10 and some at 1-1 (Body, Stun and Endurance for example).


Speed is one of the rare areas where it seems most would agree could be much simpler. I get it in the case of Supers where you could have a character like the Flash, but I think there are very few cases where simply providing action points would not be satisfactory and much less cumbersome. In defence of Speed it does allow for some tactical choices, but again that is largely limited to characters with exceptionally high speeds which in my experience are rare.
While I'm used to the idea after nearly 40 years of playing HERO, I completely understand the confusion segments and rounds causes, and despite familiarty have managed to become confused between the application of the two on numerous occasions.
 

robertsconley

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With the exception of Champions which has basically always been a tool kit game, I would agree with you. 3E HERO as a house system was far easier to learn, the most difficult aspect being Fantasy HERO if you chose to run a spell caster and had to build your spells from a simplified powers system.
I noticed the the earlier editions of the toolkit system like GURPS and Hero System are more approachable than the later editions. My opinion it not so much the core mechanics. Hero and GURPS are pretty the same as they were when they were first released. It is the damn list of stuff that grows out of control. And makes it harder for a novice to pick up a later edition.
 

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I feel like HERO is simple if you A) go back to 3rd> where some effects were free. An example my character FlameHead shoots a 10d6 EB described as fire. Setting things on fire with it is free as long as the character isn't constantly burning things for some secondary effect reason. I might be wrong but it seems like in 4th+ you'd buy that effect or it couldn't do it. That vastly complicates chargen.
B) It should take more advantage of templating for initial chargen. They started that with Champions III. Obviously excessive use of this a bad idea but suggesting that new characters begin here for the starter adventure with the knowledge they can shift points around and refine the character later would speed up getting started.
 

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I never found the acronyms much of an issue as HERO has a good character sheet with most of the important ones printed on it. When you get into the powers system though I can see where they could easily become an issue with NNDs, AP, EBs KAs, ECs, MPs, VPPs, OAFs etc.
IDK, from a beginner POV reading the book and trying to learn the system while still not familiar with all these terms, the acronyms—even the basic ones, like OCV, OMCV, DCV, DMCV, etc.—just overextended and complicated the process. And the wordiness and organization of the books didn’t help (I started with 5e hardbound and later got Champions Complete PDF), but the acronyms where the icing on the cake. I kept flipping back and forwards trying to figure out what all this meant, and a lot of material had references with page numbers to other chapters as well, dozens if not hundreds of pages away, making it very confusing to read.

Attributes are not all /5, some have uses at /3 others at /2, some at /10 and some at 1-1 (Body, Stun and Endurance for example).

Yeah, but how necessary is it to inflate all attributes just to handle those uses instead of making the /5 the default value and multiply or modify it when necessary to get the rest? From what I could tell /5 is the only consistently applicable use and the one for task resolution. I’m not sure counting every individual Body point is necessary as opposed to getting them in chunks of 5.

The /3 value might be a bit more complicated, but if I recall correctly that’s for the combat values, and you could just handle combat using the same mechanic as for task resolution, like most skill-based games do. Granted, I’m biased in favor of unified mechanics, so there’s that.

I’m not sure what stuff used /2 or /10.

Though, I should mention that the thing that attracted me to Hero was the powers/effect system, and mostly as a reference for those. The core system itself never did it for me and I found it to be over complicated. But the effects component was more extensive than Marvel Super Heroes (FASERIP), which was what I had been using as inspiration for my own effect-based system at the time. So I farmed Hero for ideas for anything that may not have been covered by FASERIP’s power system.
 

Toadmaster

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IDK, from a beginner POV reading the book and trying to learn the system while still not familiar with all these terms, the acronyms—even the basic ones, like OCV, OMCV, DCV, DMCV, etc.—just overextended and complicated the process. And the wordiness and organization of the books didn’t help (I started with 5e hardbound and later got Champions Complete PDF), but the acronyms where the icing on the cake. I kept flipping back and forwards trying to figure out what all this meant, and a lot of material had references with page numbers to other chapters as well, dozens if not hundreds of pages away, making it very confusing to read.



Yeah, but how necessary is it to inflate all attributes just to handle those uses instead of making the /5 the default value and multiply or modify it when necessary to get the rest? From what I could tell /5 is the only consistently applicable use and the one for task resolution. I’m not sure counting every individual Body point is necessary as opposed to getting them in chunks of 5.

The /3 value might be a bit more complicated, but if I recall correctly that’s for the combat values, and you could just handle combat using the same mechanic as for task resolution, like most skill-based games do. Granted, I’m biased in favor of unified mechanics, so there’s that.

I’m not sure what stuff used /2 or /10.

Though, I should mention that the thing that attracted me to Hero was the powers/effect system, and mostly as a reference for those. The core system itself never did it for me and I found it to be over complicated. But the effects component was more extensive than Marvel Super Heroes (FASERIP), which was what I had been using as inspiration for my own effect-based system at the time. So I farmed Hero for ideas for anything that may not have been covered by FASERIP’s power system.


Yeah, 5E was a lot wordier, and added sub-acronyms to the acronyms. After I posted I started to wonder if you might be talking about 5E or 6E.

As far as stats, Stat rolls are /5, combat values are EGO or DEX / 3, Stun is Body + (STR /2) + (CON / 2), END is CON x 2, SPD is DEX / 10. This helps to avoid perfect break points, there is almost always the for a few less or a few more points decision. There is also the stat vs stat, for example having a STR or DEX one point higher than another's can provide an advantage.

Yes you could cut the stats down, but that results in a significantly different balance. A lot of HERO players really like this balancing dance. It is understandable that there are also those who don't enjoy that aspect of the game.
 

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Maths, acronyms and character creation as a whole were issues for me. Coming from D&D to 3rd Edition Champions (still the sweet spot for me) was crunchy enough but a few years later the bullet stopping 5e killed off any interest I had. Too many options, too much to read. DC Heroes 2nd edition on with base costs and factor costs for powers is about as crunchy as I want for point buy. All the twiddly bits like Armour Piercing and measurements in inches (that really screwed with my brain until I re-read the rules and each inch = 5 foot or whatever it was. It's been a while) and whatever just piled more WTF sauce on the recipe when I (as a 13 year old DM) tried to sell it to the group.

As an example I did a quick google on a write up of Spiderman for 400 CPs.

Peter Parker
Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man, Spidey, Webhead, Webslinger, Wall-crawler

VAL CHA Cost Roll Notes
45 STR 5 18- HTH Damage 9d6 END [2]
23 DEX 26 14-
20 CON 10 13-
13 INT 3 12- PER Roll 12-
13 EGO 3 12-
10 PRE 0 11- PRE Attack: 2d6
8 OCV 25
8 DCV 25
3 OMCV 0
3 DMCV 0
4 SPD 20 Phases: 3, 6, 9, 12
11 PD 9 11/20 PD (0/9 rPD)
9 ED 7 9/18 ED (0/9 rED)
10 REC 6
40 END 4
12 BODY 2
40 STUN 10

Movement Cost Meters Notes
RUNNING 0 12m/24m END [1]
SWIMMING 0 4m/8m END [1]
LEAPING 0 28m 28m forward, 14m upward
FLIGHT 30m/60m
SWINGING 60m/120m

Characteristics Total: 155

Cost Powers
Does Whatever A Spider Can!
37 1) Spider Strength part 1: +30 STR, Reduced Endurance (1/2 END; +1/4) (37 Active Points) - END=1
15 2) Spider Strength part 2: Leaping +24m (28m forward, 14m upward), Combat Acceleration/Deceleration (+ Add Modifiers to Base Characteristic; +1/4) (15 Active Points) - END=1
7 3) Spider Reflexes part 1: +3 DCV (15 Active Points); Requires A Roll (PER roll; Must be made each Phase/use; Spidey Sense (Danger Sense); -1)
[Notes: Requires A Roll by default takes a -1 penalty to whatever roll is used for every 10 Active Points of the Power it is applied to (6e1 page 391). A -1 penalty or a final 15- Roll in this instance.]
18 4) Spider Reflexes part 2: Combat Luck (9 PD/9 ED)
[Notes: From 6e1 page 447: Hardened (+1/4), Impenetrable (+1/4) (40 Active Points); Luck Based (encompasses all the restrictions described in the text; -3/4), Nonpersistent (-1/4)]
0 5) Spidey Reflexes part 3: Roll With A Punch (Custom Adder)
[Notes: Optional Free Maneuver From Champions Complete page 154. (½ Phase; -2 OCV; -2 DCV)
Allows a character to take less damage from a HTH attack. This Maneuver is unique because a character may perform it after the opponent’s Attack Roll succeeds (but before he rolls damage). The Rolling character attempts an Attack Roll against the attacker’s OCV (like Block). If successful, he takes only half the STUN and BODY that the attack would have normally done (after defenses). However, the attacker rolls one less die for Knockback. A character can only Roll With A Punch to reduce the effects of a single attack.]
25 6) Spidey Sense!: Danger Sense (self only, any danger, Function as a Sense) (31 Active Points); Conditional Power Suppressed by Bug Spray (-1/4) 16-
4 7) Spider Toughness: Regeneration (1 BODY per Day) - END=0
10 8) Spider Wall Crawling: Clinging (normal STR) - END=0

84 Web Shooters (worn on each wrist): Variable Power Pool, 42 base + 60 control cost, No Skill Roll Required (+1), Powers Can Be Changed As A Zero-Phase Action (+1); all slots Persistent (+1/4), Reduced Endurance (0 END; +1/2) (154 Active Points); Limited Power Power loses about half of its effectiveness (-1); all slots Unified Power (Web Shooters; -1/4), 2 clips of 1 Continuing Fuel Charge lasting 20 Minutes (Increased Reloading Time: 2 Full Phases; Web Fluid; -1/4), Gestures (Must be able to squeeze palm trigger to use.; -1/4), IIF (2 Webshooters, 1 on each Arm) (Quantity = 2 (from 6e2 page 181) +5 Real points; -1/4)
[Notes: (x2 number of items)
Each VPP (2 Web Shooters are worn using the Equipment Doubling Rules) Slot has some form of the Range Based on Strength modifier. This means they effectively still cost the wearer END to use though the exact amount is up to the Player and GM to agree on. The slots only appear to have 105 Active Points due to the application of Reduced End and Persistent (They are all 60 Active Points if removed from the VPP) These VPP Only Modifiers are only being used to allow the application of the Continuous Charge Modifier to represent the limited amount of Web Fluid carried. I think this is a much easier method to track than traditional Charges or a separate End Reserve.]
0 1) Web Wall: Barrier 8 PD/7 ED, 9 BODY (up to 8m long, 8m tall, and 1/2m thick), Opaque Sight Group (105 Active Points); Cannot Englobe (-1/4), Range Based On Strength (-1/4) Real Cost: 42 - END=0
0 2) Web Cocooning: Entangle 4d6, 6 PD/5 ED (Stops A Given Sense Normal Sight), Entangle And Character Both Take Damage (+1/4) (105 Active Points); Range Based On Strength (-1/4), Can Be Deflected (-1/4) Real Cost: 42 - END=0
0 3) Thrown Web Balls: Blast 8d6, Reduced Negation (1), Autofire (3 shots; +1/4), Constant (+1/2) (105 Active Points); Range Based On Strength (-1/4), Beam (-1/4) Real Cost: 42
[Notes: Constant was only included to meet requirement to fit into the VPP due to using a Continuing Charge instead of traditional Charges or End Reserve to describe the limited amount of Web fluid carried. I would otherwise treat the Constant Advantage as Penetrating in this case (BODY rolled is the minimum STUN damage).] - END=0
0 4) Web Rope v1: Telekinesis (40 STR) (105 Active Points); OAF (Web Line; -1), Affects Whole Object (-1/4), Range Based On Strength (-1/4) Real Cost: 32 - END=0
0 5) Web Rope v2: Stretching 60m (105 Active Points); OAF (Web Line; -1), Cannot Do Damage (-1/2), Always Direct (-1/4) Real Cost: 30 - END=0
0 6) Web Rope v3: Swinging 60m, Combat Acceleration/Deceleration (+1/4), No Gravity Penalty (+1/2), Noncombat Acceleration/Deceleration (+1) (105 Active Points); OAF (Web Line; -1) Real Cost: 38 - END=0
0 7) Web Rope & Web Ballooning: Flight 30m, Range Based On STR (+1/4), Usable As Attack (+1 1/2), Grantor pays the END whenever the power is used, Grantor controls the power totally (105 Active Points); Limited Power Only for Swinging or Gliding (-1) Real Cost: 35
[Notes: Not only does this slot represent Swinging and Gliding. It also covers Stretching by way of Usable As Attack. This was the only way Ranged Based on Strength (as an Advantage in this instance) could be applied to this slot.] - END=0

Powers Total: 200

Cost Martial Arts
Spidey-Fu
5 1) Flying Dodge: 1/2 Phase, -- OCV, +4 DCV, Dodge All Attacks, Abort; FMove
4 2) Martial Escape: 1/2 Phase, +0 OCV, +0 DCV, 60 STR vs. Grabs
4 3) Martial Strike: 1/2 Phase, +0 OCV, +2 DCV, 11d6 Strike

Martial Arts Total: 13

Cost Skills
Everyman
0 1) AK: New York City 8-
0 2) Acting 8-
0 3) Climbing 8-
0 4) Conversation 8-
0 5) PS: Character's job, hobby, or the like (Photography) 11-
0 6) Language: English (idiomatic; Everyman, literate)
0 7) Paramedics 8-
0 8) Persuasion 8-
0 9) Shadowing 8-
0 10) TF: Everyman, Small Motorized Ground Vehicles

3 Acrobatics 14-
3 Breakfall 14-
3 Concealment 12-
1 Contortionist 8-
2 Deduction 10-
1 Inventor 8-
3 Scientist
1 1) Science Skill: Biology 11- (2 Active Points)
1 2) Science Skill: Chemistry 11- (2 Active Points)
1 3) Science Skill: Engineering 11- (2 Active Points)
1 4) Science Skill: Physics 11- (2 Active Points)
3 Stealth 14-

Skills Total: 23

Cost Perks
1 Fringe Benefit: Press Pass
1 Positive Reputation: It's Spider-Man! (A medium-sized group) 11-, +1/+1d6

Perks Total: 2

Cost Talents
3 Ambidexterity (no Off Hand penalty)
4 Double Jointed

Talents Total: 7

Value Complications
20 Dependent NPC: Aunt May Infrequently (Incompetent; Unaware of character's adventuring career/Secret ID)
10 Dependent NPC: Mary Jane Infrequently (Normal)
10 Hunted: Rogues Gallery Infrequently (As Pow; Harshly Punish)
5 Negative Reputation: Public Menace - Thanks to J. Jonah Jameson, Infrequently
20 Psychological Complication: With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility (Common; Total)
10 Social Complication: Secret Identity Peter Parker/Spider-Man Infrequently, Major

Complications Points: 75

Base Points: 400
Experience: 0
Experience Unspent: 0
Total Character Cost: 400

Compare that to marvel superheroes version (original game):

spiderman-msh.jpg


For Champions to be a must play for me:

Faster character creation
less stats
less acronyms
less options
probably roll high rather than roll low and maybe with a wild die (roll triple add another D6. If that is the same, add another die and so on).
 

Chris Brady

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I'm kinda with J Jenx although I get twitchy when I see 'less options', but I can understand the sentiment behind it. Even with 4th (My first experience with HERO), I was always a bit overwhelmed by all the names and acronyms thrown at my ugly mug.
 

Jenx

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On the plus side with Champions I liked (again 3rd Edition):

END/having to pay for what you do. No more sprinting marathons at max speed as per other games.
The art/layout/feel
The support. Seriously, they churned stuff out for this
Easy basic mechanic (roll 3D6 as low as you can. It meant my supposed 'loaded' D6 were kept in the dice bag. The character creation of D&D would grind to a halt with everyone on strike until my 'Blessed+1/+4 when cheating D6s' came out. My D20 was known as a PC killer with 20 coming up way too often)
Old School feel. Bank Robberies, cackling villains, innocent bystanders and so on. I associate those with 3e. Later editions I associate with spiky hair, pouches, and horrible Rob Liefield art because that's what comics were about in the 90s it seemed.

Does it do anything better than other supers games? No, and that's the problem for me. There are faster easier ways of making characters and less book keeping out there which means I'll probably never run Champions again (and will actively avoid 5e. Bought, read most of it, played some, chewed through the whole experience like I'd swallowed a bag of gravel.) but *might* play a loose clone of it.
 

Gabriel

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OCV/DCV doesn't bother me. Those make perfect sense to the way my mind works. Plus, I think they're explained the same place they're introduced. I haven't had any issue with those two.

The stuff that bugs me is stuff like OIHID. I think that one in particular gave me a fit. It was just dropped in somewhere without explanation or context. What the hell does OIHID mean? It was obviously a limitation, but searching the limitations didn't seem to reveal it's meaning. I think I eventually found it in the glossary. There are a few others that are in that same category.

As for the phased combat, maybe it's because I come from a background with Star Fleet Battles and Palladium, but the phased combat is actually the main draw of the combat system for me.
 

Dumarest

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Only In Heroic IDentity

That one and HITM* took some getting used to and even now I have to stop for a second.

The constant use of initialisms** (not acronyms) is off-putting.

* Hole In The Middle
** The difference between an acronym and initialism is that the abbreviation formed with initialisms is not pronounced as a word, rather you say the individual letters, such as FBI. (NASA is an acronym.)
 

Oculus Orbus

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I always felt that Hero was better suited to "normals" genres (action/adventure, cops, westerns, etc) than superheroes. Basically, the more grounded in reality, the better, at least where the PCs are concerned. That's my roundabout way of saying I prefer Danger International to Champions.

I hate Champions.
 

Toadmaster

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Yeah, 5E was a lot wordier, and added sub-acronyms to the acronyms. After I posted I started to wonder if you might be talking about 5E or 6E.

As far as stats, Stat rolls are /5, combat values are EGO or DEX / 3, Stun is Body + (STR /2) + (CON / 2), END is CON x 2, SPD is DEX / 10. This helps to avoid perfect break points, there is almost always the for a few less or a few more points decision. There is also the stat vs stat, for example having a STR or DEX one point higher than another's can provide an advantage.

Yes you could cut the stats down, but that results in a significantly different balance. A lot of HERO players really like this balancing dance. It is understandable that there are also those who don't enjoy that aspect of the game.

Quoting myself as it was late and I wanted to expand on your idea about reducing stats to 1/5 the current value. I actually think there is some merit to the idea it would significantly simplify the game, it just isn't quite as simple as diving by 5.

Personally the stats as they are pre-6E is a major attraction to HERO for me, I like the choices it requires a player to make. The allocation of points to stats vs power / skills, and the balance between adding to the base of the figured stats through higher core stats or buying up the figureds directly (cheaper to raise one, but with less general benefit). Admittedly that requires a pretty heavy buy in to the game, and could definitely discourage a more casual player.

It would pretty much break compatibility with HERO as it currently is, but I am now kind of intrigued with the idea of an "EZ-HERO" with a smaller stat block (not sure which stats I'd be willing to sacrifice but 14 stats is a lot more than most) and a compressed value scale.


Maths, acronyms and character creation as a whole were issues for me. Coming from D&D to 3rd Edition Champions (still the sweet spot for me) was crunchy enough but a few years later the bullet stopping 5e killed off any interest I had. Too many options, too much to read. DC Heroes 2nd edition on with base costs and factor costs for powers is about as crunchy as I want for point buy. All the twiddly bits like Armour Piercing and measurements in inches (that really screwed with my brain until I re-read the rules and each inch = 5 foot or whatever it was. It's been a while) and whatever just piled more WTF sauce on the recipe when I (as a 13 year old DM) tried to sell it to the group.

As an example I did a quick google on a write up of Spiderman for 400 CPs.

[Spiderman deleted for conciseness]

For Champions to be a must play for me:

Faster character creation
less stats
less acronyms
less options
probably roll high rather than roll low and maybe with a wild die (roll triple add another D6. If that is the same, add another die and so on).

As I've mentioned my ideal HERO would be a 3E / 4E hybrid. I like 5E but I came to it having extensive experience with 1E-4E. I picked up Champions in the early 80s, and played a fair bit of it. With the introduction of Fantasy HERO in '83 / '84 it and the other non-supers 3E games, HERO pretty much became my default system through the 80s, when 4E came along in '90 we moved to that still borrowing some from the earlier games. When I look at 5E from the perspective of a brand new player, I don't know if I would have the fortitude to learn the game. 6E to me only made things more opaque. I had to look up some of Visionstorms acronym examples, 5E added a 5 page glossary of terms, Danger International doesn't even have a glossary of terms (and I don't feel it was lacking for one).

One thing that seems to have begun under 4E and escalated in the later editions was the feeling that everything had to be ensconced in the rules. Through 3E there was a fair bit of hand wavium assumed. Bunch's example of setting fires with a power is a good one, if it made sense and wasn't abused, it was fair game. If it became a regular thing the player did a GM was within their rights make them pay for it. The growing inflexibility and precisly spelling things out became quite clear to me in 5E and was a major reason for my not going forward into 6E. At some point a GM needs to GM, and not rely on the rules spelling out exactly how to handle a situation.

I always felt that Hero was better suited to "normals" genres (action/adventure, cops, westerns, etc) than superheroes. Basically, the more grounded in reality, the better, at least where the PCs are concerned. That's my roundabout way of saying I prefer Danger International to Champions.

I hate Champions.

I don't hate Champions, but supers are not really my thing. I have primarily used HERO for heroic level games, 3E Fantasy HERO, Danger International and Justice Inc are well worn from use. Western Hero for 4E works very well for games set in the wild (and mundane) west. I prefer my western adventures be more grounded in the real old west, but I'm sure HERO would be a fine choice for a supernatural and / or steam punk flavored weird west as well if that is more your speed.
 

Spellslinging Sellsword

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I picked up the Fantasy Hero bundles from Bundle of Holding while they were available. It included the Hero Sidekick 5E rule book which seemed to be an effort to have a slimmer version of the rules. That + the other books looked interesting from what I read, but it did seem like more work on the GM than the Dungeon Fantasy RPG for GURPS which I also own. Ultimately, I decided to use Mythras.
 

Oculus Orbus

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I'll admit to a certain amount of burnout where Champions is concerned. Like you, I played a ton of it back in the early days and that, combined with certain... distasteful styles of gameplay that seem to have sprung up from it really soured the game for me. Mostly, it was the idea that players were just creating and playing a list of kewl powerz and loophole-exploiting math (Champions is where I first heard the term "rules rape") that killed it.

When all you have is a few weapons and a handful of skills, it seems to me that the system allows for a pretty nice roleplaying experience and not...well, not the Spider-Man example above.

Also, combat is SO much faster.
 

Gabriel

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I like both of those Spidey write ups. Sometimes I'm in the mood for the explicit detail of the Hero write up, and other times I'm in the mood for the more freewheeling inference of the MSH write up. I will say that when you're unfamiliar with what you're doing, and don't have a firm handle on the rules, it's much easier to go from zero to the MSH write up than zero to the Hero write up. (At least for me.)

I think a problem Hero/Champions has is one of presentation. Hero 5 and 6 pretty much toss you into the deep end of the pool and expect you to swim. They just throw everything at you at once and say "figure it out." Most everyone says the earlier editions were better, but they also say they're basically the same rules. The big difference is there was less there, so less to learn (drown in).

Champions/Hero could benefit from what a lot of old FASA games used to do. They used to introduce you to the game in stages. The Star Trek Starship Combat Games and Top Gun were like this. They had a Cadet section where you were introduced to the basic rules. Then there was an Advanced section where you were introduced to a few more rules. Then there was an Expert section where more stuff was added. You learned in stages and you played as you learned. Battletech also used to do something like this. Also, the 80s TSR games did similar things. Champions could really benefit from an approach like this showing that you don't have to learn all of it at once.
 

Gabriel

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Hey, in 5e (or FREd) is there any way to buy up Base CV? I see it's Dex/3 and can be modified by Combat Skill Levels as either OCV/DCV on a situational basis, but is there any way to buy up the original figured value?
 

Toadmaster

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Hey, in 5e (or FREd) is there any way to buy up Base CV? I see it's Dex/3 and can be modified by Combat Skill Levels as either OCV/DCV on a situational basis, but is there any way to buy up the original figured value?

Not that I can think of, that is what skill levels are for. To add 1 to CV would cost 9 points (3 points of Dex), a level in all combat is 8 points, one specific type of combat (melee or ranged) is 5 points, specific weapon group (swords and knives, axes etc) 3 points, specific weapon (broad sword) or move (kick) 2 points.

Buying your Dex up by 3 (9 points) gains you +1 CV. and takes you 1/3 of the way to another point of speed. On the other hand If your opponent puts those 9 points into 3 levels with swords, he has a +2 advantage over you when using a sword, but nothing when using an axe.

Personally this is the dance with the rules balance that I enjoy, there is no one right answer, everything is a trade off. Admittedly I'm sure this turns some off.
 

Toadmaster

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On further reflection thinking a little out of the box.

If you were wanting to make your OCV and DCV different instead of being equal, I suppose you could buy a 5 point skill level in offense (OCV) or defense (DCV) only. A little unusual but from a point cost it seems fair.

Alternately you could buy Dex "only for OCV / DCV" call it a +1 lim again making the cost 5 points (actually a little less if you bought multiple CV worth).

The easiest would just be to ask the GM to let you shift some of your CV raising one and lowering the other.

Not sure but I think 6E just let people buy CV disconnected from their stats (which if true adds to my noodle frosting with 6E and its decoupled stats).
 

Trippy

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Probably done ad nauseam, but issues for me are:

1) In most recent edition, Champions Complete, the layout and general presentation is totally lackluster. Some may say this is superficial, but if you compare it to its competitors it is significant and, beyond this, it is meant to be a game based on a very visual medium (comics), so its not really good enough. The previous 6th Edition Hero System books and Champions core book were fine in this regard, but off putting because of the collective page volume. The 242 pages of Champions Complete is clearly more concise, but goes too far in my view. What they should have done is make a bigger 300-400 page book (pretty typical in RPG terms), but laid it out better, included more colorful artwork and possibly a few more examples of rules, and made it a deluxe hardback to be proud of.

1a) Those people who claim Champions is clearly written, clearly haven’t read many other RPGs. For the uninitiated, it really isn’t. There are way too many stipulations involved in what should be straightforward rule explanations, too much assumed knowledge over certain concepts, too many acronyms, and a lot of it takes several readings to make sense of it.

2) There are too many skills. I get that the game is based on Effect-based Powers, and this aspect of character generation can be necessarily involved as part of the appeal of the game. However, the system doesn’t require a long skill list as well. Most actions can be stipulated by the Characteristic scores alone. It would be better served with a heavily shortened skill list - akin to the 12 or so broad skills that you get in D&D5E, say, with an option towards specialties. Currently, there are loads of over specialised skills, such as Breakfall or Contortionist. Some are non-skills, really, just circumstantial rules. Strip them out. Get rid of Talents too, by properly integrating them as minor Powers. There is an argument for Perks (resources), but having a more singular list of options all within the Power section of character generation would make the game more accessible.

3) Character generation could be simpler, for the uninitiated, but I do note there are some alternative options already there. The semi-random, card based system is a good addition, although they could also make a cheaper option by making up some random tables (are there any that exist already?). Customizable templates are also a good alternative, and there are probably hundreds of pregens out there I guess, if you look. Again, I do appreciate that, for many, the appeal of the game lies in the tight design control that you get with the points based generation, but alternative methods can’t be a bad thing.

4) Similar to other sub-systems, there are way too many stipulations and specific rules to apply in the combat rules. Cut out a load of maneuvers and the game automatically feels simpler. Make it more abstract - assume the attack roll can be interpreted by outcome, rather than stipulated by specific rules - or at least, provide the option of making it more abstract.

5) The most contentious thing for me is that the core mechanic would be better if it was roll high - with 10+ the basic target, after applied mods - rather than roll low. It would cut out half the math issues of the game.


I will say that, rules issues aside, a lot of the historical essays and setting stuff is well written and compelling. Golden Age Champions is a great read - but the system itself I couldn’t ever sell to my group as it stands. That’s the issue.
 
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Toadmaster

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2) There are too many skills. I get that the game is based on Effect-based Powers, and this aspect of character generation can be necessarily involved as part of the appeal of the game. However, the system doesn’t require a long skill list as well. Most actions can be stipulated by the Characteristic scores alone. It would be better served with a heavily shortened skill list - akin to the 12 or so broad skills that you get in D&D5E, say, with an option towards specialties. Currently, there are loads of over specialised skills, such as Breakfall or Contortionist. Some are non-skills, really, just circumstantial rules. Strip them out. Get rid of Talents too, by properly integrating them as minor Powers. There is an argument for Perks (resources), but having a more singular list of options all within the Power section of character generation would make the game more accessible.

As with so much of the system, the skills list just grew and grew. 1E only had about 1/2 dozen skills, 3E and 4E about 50, 5E a little over 70.

I find the Knowledge skill system is often under utilized, and a lot of the named skills are basically just KS, but the skill description is used to provide an opportunity to add some special rules related to the skill.

I love the way the knowledge and professional skill system works, where how specific you make the skill, the greater value of a success. Taking the KS general construction will give a person the basic knowledge of using tools, and they could probably install a water heater, or fix broken window, but adding the PS turns them into a professional, gives the knowledge of the related laws, codes, and such as well possibly providing minor perks like access to "contractor only suppliers and such.

This system can also be expanded or contracted as appropriate to each individual player group, so a group into skills can get way into the weeds with a doctor having a dozen related KS and PS, and one not interested in that level of detail can cover the same skills with a single PS Doctor. It is actually a very elegant system.
 

Trippy

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It is actually a very elegant system.
To somebody who has grown up with the game through multiple editions, perhaps it is. To the uninitiated, it isn’t. The skill list can be heavily pruned and it wouldn’t affect the fundamental system. As it stands, the game provides too many ‘options’ which are illusory options - with all the available powers, is it really necessary to have a Contortionist of Breakfall skill? Other games get by without them.
 

James Gillen

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To somebody who has grown up with the game through multiple editions, perhaps it is. To the uninitiated, it isn’t. The skill list can be heavily pruned and it wouldn’t affect the fundamental system. As it stands, the game provides too many ‘options’ which are illusory options - with all the available powers, is it really necessary to have a Contortionist of Breakfall skill? Other games get by without them.

That depends on if you're going to be using powers to simulate Contortonist or Breakfall as a "Super-Skill." But then you said you didn't want things too complicated. ;)

jg
 

Toadmaster

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To somebody who has grown up with the game through multiple editions, perhaps it is. To the uninitiated, it isn’t. The skill list can be heavily pruned and it wouldn’t affect the fundamental system. As it stands, the game provides too many ‘options’ which are illusory options - with all the available powers, is it really necessary to have a Contortionist of Breakfall skill? Other games get by without them.

I was specifically referring to the knowledge / professional skill portion only with the elegant comment. It is extremely flexible and simple. Just about any INT based skill could and probably should have been handled as a knowledge skill which would significantly trim the skill list. As it stands the KS / PS can easily be disregarded as being for fluff skills only which is unfortunate.


I believe at one point the breakfall and contortionist skills were covered by an acrobatics skill.
 
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