Grade the Hero System

How do you feel about The Hero System (any variant)?

  • I love it.

    Votes: 17 17.9%
  • It's pretty good.

    Votes: 18 18.9%
  • It's alright I guess.

    Votes: 23 24.2%
  • It's pretty bad.

    Votes: 4 4.2%
  • I hate it.

    Votes: 3 3.2%
  • I've never played it.

    Votes: 27 28.4%
  • I've never even heard of it.

    Votes: 3 3.2%

Tony Vargas

Legend
The problem with Strength was that for the majority of characters, there was almost no reason not to have mechanically; 10 points of Strength gave you 2 points of PD, 5 points of Stun, and 2 points of Recovery. Altogether that was 11 character points per 10 even if you never did anything with the damage or utility functions of Strength itself.
Well, strength is terribly common in the supers genre, even characters who's powersets have nothing to do with strength are drawn with more definition than Olympic athletes. So, initially it made a lot of sense. Even in other heroic genre's it's not out of place.

And, yeah, PD is definitely something you need, and stun is nice to have, and REC, too... but in the proportion of 2 PD to 5 STN and 2 REC vs just 10 PD? Not s'much.
Well, the Stop Sign powers are a largely unavoidable problem if you were going to cover all the ground; there are things that occur in the superhero genre in specific that are okay in certain contexts, but play very poorly in others, and the number of others is not something that can be indicated exhaustively in the text. Its very, very hard in general to build a semi-open-ended power build system without some aberrational corners, because the number of intercombinations are so large.
Yep. I'm not saying it was wrong to go there, just that it does make the game technically less balanced than it might have been otherwise, its forced to rely on the GM (or player restraint) to limit abuse.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Thomas Shey

Legend
Well, strength is terribly common in the supers genre, even characters who's powersets have nothing to do with strength are drawn with more definition than Olympic athletes. So, initially it made a lot of sense. Even in other heroic genre's it's not out of place.

Yeah, but 20 Strength is a pretty high value for just "being in good shape" which could as easily be a depiction of a high end gymnast.

And, yeah, PD is definitely something you need, and stun is nice to have, and REC, too... but in the proportion of 2 PD to 5 STN and 2 REC vs just 10 PD? Not s'much.

It doesn't matter. Almost no one was not going to want at least that much (at least at the super end) in each of those. And most of the other ways to get them were to buy them straight (effectively more expensively). It actively encouraged buy high Strength on characters that shouldn't have it. It was a perverse incentive.

Yep. I'm not saying it was wrong to go there, just that it does make the game technically less balanced than it might have been otherwise, its forced to rely on the GM (or player restraint) to limit abuse.

The alternative was, in practice, to make the game not cover ground it needed to cover. There was no real third choice. At least it acknowledged that there were some areas that were, in practice, no way to balance completely while serving the function they needed to. They could have just left you completely at the mercy of figuring that out yourself.


(Generally, Hero tends to err on the side of being, if anything, too cautious to properly represent its genre if anything. You can discover this really quickly trying to build characters based around being insubstantial, for example. But super powers can be very hard to set up properly so that people don't almost accidentally fall into doing things that are tantamount to game breakers. In our M&M days, my wife once almost did one of these while putting together a new character and didn't realize the implications until I pointed it out to her).
 

Tony Vargas

Legend
It doesn't matter. Almost no one was not going to want at least that much (at least at the super end) in each of those. And most of the other ways to get them were to buy them straight (effectively more expensively).
If you want all the figured stats a primary gives you, in exactly the proportion it gives 'em to yeah, yeah, it was a nice deal, sure.
If you only wanted one of them and had no particular use for the STR, not s'much.

In the original game, you could, in theory, sell back all your figured stats from, say, CON, and get all the points you wanted. That was an issue. After that, the rule was you could only sell back 1. You can't actually take the supposed profit you're making.
It actively encouraged buy high Strength on characters that shouldn't have it. It was a perverse incentive.
A character who is tough - high PD and stun - and resilient, high REC - shouldn't be strong?
For a universal system that's trying to be more genre agnostic than Hero ever was, (I mean, it's called Hero) that might be a problem.
The alternative was, in practice, to make the game not cover ground it needed to cover. There was no real third choice.
Yes, I acknowledge that the problem Hero has with balance were not reasonably avoidable by just leaving out swaths of what characters in many genre might be able to do. I'm just saying, that the price it paid for being so wide open to building anything, is that some of that vast universe of possible build choices is either meaningless, or non-viable, or would render a lot of more reasonable choices non-viable if it were allowed unadvisedly. I'm not suggesting there's a better way to do it.
But, I do feel it undermines whinging over point shaving tricks and cost breaks.
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
If you want all the figured stats a primary gives you, in exactly the proportion it gives 'em to yeah, yeah, it was a nice deal, sure.

You didn't have to want them all exactly in proportion. Just enough. I used the example I gave because almost every super was going to want at least that much of each of them more. The only way they otherwise weren't going to just buy them straight was if someone was going to decide to invest in a massive Constitution (where you'd also get a lot of Stun and Recovery at least)--but there was a lot more diminishing returns there after a certain point. And honestly "every character wanted a massive Con too" wouldn't have been a better design trait.

I mean, its wasn't like that you couldn't toss that Strength on, and then buy up the extras you wanted above that from there. How many characters didn't want at least a +5 Stun, +2 Rec, and +2 PD over base or what other base attributes gave you? I'm not sure I ever saw so much as a one.

If you only wanted one of them and had no particular use for the STR, not s'much.

But again, how many Hero characters only wanted one of them? No extra stun, PD or REC? It wasn't like that was a huge amount for either of those. Even if you assumed someone already had a 20 Con (giving them another 2 REC and 5 STun) a 30 stun and 8 REC was hardly anything high end for a PC in almost any genre you were going to be using Hero for. You wanted it on characters you didn't even want Strength on--but it was literally cheaper to just take the Strength even if you never planned to use it.

That was fundamentally the problem with most of the figured stats; at some point they tended to trump concept because of cost effectiveness. If you wanted a 7 OCV and DCV that was universally or at least broadly useable, you didn't have to get it by buying a 20 DEX--but the only other way to do it involved buying some number of 8 point combat levels on the OCV and 5 levels on the DCV, and even one of each of those was more expensive than 9 character points it took to buy 3 more points of Dex. And it would, over accumulation, buy you initiative and some amount of extra Speed to boot.

I was really, really soggy about the removal of figured characteristics when it came up. On some level the complete disconnect bothered me. But at least with the old numbers it just really didn't work right.


In the original game, you could, in theory, sell back all your figured stats from, say, CON, and get all the points you wanted. That was an issue. After that, the rule was you could only sell back 1. You can't actually take the supposed profit you're making.

But again, it meant there was a perverse incentive to to buy up each regular attribute to where you'd get the amount of minimum yield out of it you needed, and then buy up an extra from there--even if the base attribute didn't seem to be something you should have that high. Strength and Dex were the primary offenders here, and by its nature, Strength tended to be more glaring.

A character who is tough - high PD and stun - and resilient, high REC - shouldn't be strong?

Should they? In every case in every genre? Especially as strong as the system would have them be? Again, it says something when practically ever character built for the games I saw would have benefited in cost by going to a 20 Strength. I can't recall ever seeing one that didn't want at least that +5 Stun/+2 PD/+2 REC. A fair number of people didn't do it by buying Strength, but that was a case of them resisting what the game system told them was the way to do it, and they shouldn't have had to.

For a universal system that's trying to be more genre agnostic than Hero ever was, (I mean, it's called Hero) that might be a problem.

I think the argument was that forcing that assumption, was an even bigger one.


Yes, I acknowledge that the problem Hero has with balance were not reasonably avoidable by just leaving out swaths of what characters in many genre might be able to do. I'm just saying, that the price it paid for being so wide open to building anything, is that some of that vast universe of possible build choices is either meaningless, or non-viable, or would render a lot of more reasonable choices non-viable if it were allowed unadvisedly. I'm not suggesting there's a better way to do it.
But, I do feel it undermines whinging over point shaving tricks and cost breaks.

The difference is, I think, how frequently they each come up. Abuse-land while it can occur by accident, is usually a consequence of someone poking into dark corners by accident or deliberately. The problems with figured stats and ECs on the other hand, were visible all the time. There were whole classes of characters who, if represented properly, were paying extra for simply not being able to take advantage of those.
 

Tony Vargas

Legend
The difference is, I think, how frequently they each come up. Abuse-land while it can occur by accident, is usually a consequence of someone poking into dark corners by accident or deliberately. The problems with figured stats and ECs on the other hand, were visible all the time. There were whole classes of characters who, if represented properly, were paying extra for simply not being able to take advantage of those.
There was no "problem." I only sorta get the aesthetic objection to, like having three fire-based powers having the same cost as 4 unrelated powers, it's like points should always be worth exactly the same thing, all the time. Like, somehow, having two 8d EBs must be as good as a 16d EB. It's not, it never will be, even with the gangfire rule they added.
What you buy with n points isn't always exactly as good as something else that costs n points... cost breaks are needed.

So, STR, being a brick is awesome, you have a lot covered just from investing in STR, multiple sorts of attacks, as long as the environment isnt too spartan, a modest movement power in leaping, you just need defenses (you get just enough PD to not to BOD to yourself) and some combat value... but you're just like every other brick. Enemies expect you to throw cars for an AE or throw a haymaker or a shockwave. You have an EC, the nature of your powers are almost as quicly evident, but they could be from a much wider range. You have some unrelated powers, they could be anything. You haven one big power, it's going to be over the top....


But, really, this was the run-up-to-6th discussion that put me off that edition before it even came out.
 
Last edited:


aramis erak

Legend
But, really, this was the run-up-to-6th discussion that put me off that edition before it even came out.
I was put off by their solution to the STR→PD+Stun+Rec being dropping the very sensible linkage; a more functional solution would be to increase the cost of STR.
So, let's subtract out the values of the bonuses...
Formulacost/levelfraction of 1 level of STR
PDSTR/511/5
Rec(STR/5 + CON/5)22/5
StunBODY+(STR/2)+(CON/2)11/2
Sum:(2+4+5)/10= 11/10

This is why many GMs I know have increased the cost of STR to ×2. For similar reasons, CON should go from ×2 to ×3...
Formulacost/levelfraction of 1 level of STR
EDCON/5×11/5 = 2/10
Rec(STR/5 + CON/5)×22/5 = 4/10
ENDCON×2×1/22/2 = 10/10
StunBODY+(STR/2)+(CON/2)×11/2 = 5/10
Sum:(2+4+10+5)/10= 21/10
Dex to Speed isn't so discounted.
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
I was put off by their solution to the STR→PD+Stun+Rec being dropping the very sensible linkage; a more functional solution would be to increase the cost of STR.
So, let's subtract out the values of the bonuses...
Formulacost/levelfraction of 1 level of STR
PDSTR/511/5
Rec(STR/5 + CON/5)22/5
StunBODY+(STR/2)+(CON/2)11/2
Sum:(2+4+5)/10= 11/10

This is why many GMs I know have increased the cost of STR to ×2. For similar reasons, CON should go from ×2 to ×3...
Formulacost/levelfraction of 1 level of STR
EDCON/5×11/5 = 2/10
Rec(STR/5 + CON/5)×22/5 = 4/10
ENDCON×2×1/22/2 = 10/10
StunBODY+(STR/2)+(CON/2)×11/2 = 5/10
Sum:(2+4+10+5)/10= 21/10
Dex to Speed isn't so discounted.

If I decide to run a heroic scale Hero game ever again and want connection, this is the approach I was going to take. Of course if I use 6e, I can just do it the lazy way and require you to buy the related components in proportion to how they were handled in the old days; that way it doesn't actually change any 6e costs, its just an operational requirement.
 

MuhVerisimilitude

Adventurer
It's absolutely incomprehensible. I made 3 attempts at reading the book and gave up. It's probably a good system once you've figured out how it works, though.
 


Remove ads

AD6_gamerati_skyscraper

Remove ads

Upcoming Releases

Top