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Simpler Characters for Hero System

GM Joe

GMing Since 1982
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Like a lot of people in the hobby, I enjoy reading RPGs. I often learn something from them, whether the RPG was successful or not, and regardless of how old the game is.

I was re-reading Champions 2nd Edition the other day, and came across this passage (emphasis mine):

Not every hero will have the same powers as every other hero. One character may want to group his powers so that only one is available at a time, another might want his powers to be totally invisible. The various ways that powers can be changed or grouped are called Power Modifiers. Effective beginning characters can easily be built without any of the Power Modifiers. Experienced players, though, may wish to use the Power Modifiers to more exactly represent their character conceptions in game terms.
That's when I had a eureka moment. Maybe this was a way to help more folks learn HERO System!

Some of the most common complaints about HERO System are that character creation is too complex, that it involves too much math, and that people who aren't as experienced with HERO System character creation are at a disadvantage because they can't be as efficient with their character points as someone who knows all the ins-and-outs. And a big source of most of those issues is the Power Modifiers.

So why not do as Champions 2e implies and encourage people to eliminate Power Modifiers from play when introducing new people to the system, or when a group is picking the game up for the first time? Characteristics, Skills, Perks, Talents, and unmodified Powers (along with a Complication or three, if desired) provide plenty of opportunities to customize a character -- while leaving out a big chunk of complexity. Sure, any character with a given Power will have the same mechanical effect when using it, but so what? With Special Effects they can certainly have different narrative effects. And once the system is understood by everyone, adding a few Power Modifiers to differentiate won't be a big problem.

Just a thought for anyone who may be interested...
 

MarkAHart

Registered User
Validated User
That's a very good suggestion. Helping new players by easing them through the layers of HERO is one of the best ways to go.
 

GM Joe

GMing Since 1982
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Validated User
MarkAHart;bt35 said:
That's a very good suggestion. Helping new players by easing them through the layers of HERO is one of the best ways to go.
Thanks! If we can get more folks over the HERO hump, the world would be a better place. Or at least a place where we can find more people to play HERO with. :)
 

Majestic

The Truth is Out There
Validated User
Interesting, and this dovetails with what I've been thinking regarding the exact same topic with the new version of V&V (Hero/Champion's rival back in the 80s). The new V&V system has a ton of Modifiers, which I'm anticipating will be intimidating to new folks. But I started thinking that just building characters with "plain", ordinary superpowers might be the way to go, until one learns the system better, and thus has a better feel for how to adjust the various knobs and dials. I realize that it's a completely different game system, but your 'eureka moment' helps solidify for me a thought I've been pondering the past few weeks, so thanks! :)
 

GM Joe

GMing Since 1982
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Majestic;bt38 said:
Interesting, and this dovetails with what I've been thinking regarding the exact same topic with the new version of V&V (Hero/Champion's rival back in the 80s). The new V&V system has a ton of Modifiers, which I'm anticipating will be intimidating to new folks. But I started thinking that just building characters with "plain", ordinary superpowers might be the way to go, until one learns the system better, and thus has a better feel for how to adjust the various knobs and dials. I realize that it's a completely different game system, but your 'eureka moment' helps solidify for me a thought I've been pondering the past few weeks, so thanks! :)
Great minds think alike. :) Please let us know how it goes!
 

LuciusAlexander

PalindromedaryRider
Validated User
Maybe even better - run a low fantasy or pulp or action adventure game and don't let player characters have Powers at all.

You can make very impressive characters with Skills, Martial Arts, and Talents.

Lucius Alexander

I can make a very impressive tagline with a palindromedary, sometimes. This one, admittedly, is lackluster.
 

rakehell

Registered User
Validated User
It was my understanding that the latest version (6e?) just plain eliminated Elemental Control, which is a good start if true.
 

Armitage

Registered User
Validated User
rakehell;bt41 said:
It was my understanding that the latest version (6e?) just plain eliminated Elemental Control, which is a good start if true.
Yes, there's now a Limitation called Unified Power (-1/4) which can be applied to all powers that are part of one larger power. The example in the book is a character who can transform into living flame, giving him a fire blast, flight, and a protective energy field. All three powers have the Unified Power Limitation because they're all part of a single power, turning into flame.
A Drain or Suppress that targets one of the powers with the Limitation automatically affects all powers with the Limitation, since they're a single power.
 
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