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%

aramis erak

Legend
I was disappointed. Every table I played HERO in- on either side of the screen- the GM had the final say on whether or not something qualified for being in an EC. Eliminating it kinda cut off an avenue of creativity that I thought really added to the game.
EC was so much easier conceptually than the MP Slots and the VPPs... I may have given my players too much leeway with it, but I'd do so again.
 

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DrunkonDuty

he/him
I found MP slots easy to wrap my head around. "Imagine," I told myself, "it's just like phasers with Stun and Kill settings." Not that ECs are hard either. Now VPPs took me more time...
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
I was disappointed. Every table I played HERO in- on either side of the screen- the GM had the final say on whether or not something qualified for being in an EC. Eliminating it kinda cut off an avenue of creativity that I thought really added to the game.

I don't see why. All it did was channel you into things that might not fit the character to make sure you got the savings. If you don't need the savings (and in 6e you don't) you just do it the way you picture it.
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
I found MP slots easy to wrap my head around. "Imagine," I told myself, "it's just like phasers with Stun and Kill settings." Not that ECs are hard either. Now VPPs took me more time...

The first multipowers were designed as a first-order approximation of characters who clearly had a wide range of effects they could produce that would obviously be prohibitively expensive if bought separately (oh, and those who had a pool of power they could distribute to do multiple things). A weapon was one of the earliest, but ironically it wasn't phaser--it was a Sandman Gun from Logan's Run.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Supporter
I don't see why. All it did was channel you into things that might not fit the character to make sure you got the savings. If you don't need the savings (and in 6e you don't) you just do it the way you picture it.
ECs were much better at modeling things like Racial/Species/familial/Cursed/Blessed type “package deals” than the other frameworks.

If, for instance, all “vampires” in your campaign had classic Dracula-esque powers & vulnerabilities, an EC was a great way to standardize them. Ditto “Elves”, “Werewolves”, “Proxima Centaurians”, “Members of the Donnenberg Family”, and so forth.

Part of the reason is that those powers, talents, attribute or talent bonuses would be “always on” and typical of all members of a group, as opposed to being consciously and voluntarily selected for at the time of use. An EC essentially lets you reset the baseline assumptions about _________ away from the standard adult human (10s in all primary attributes, no particular advantages with skills, no talents, no powers, no vulnerabilities or disadvantages).
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
ECs were much better at modeling things like Racial/Species/familial/Cursed/Blessed type “package deals” than the other frameworks.

Yeah, but there's no more need to give those a cost break than, in the end of the day, there were with other package deals. That only makes sense if there's a downside to them that will discourage people from doing them (they originally were for elemental package deals where there was such a downside as compared to taking part of it as a MP).

If, for instance, all “vampires” in your campaign had classic Dracula-esque powers & vulnerabilities, an EC was a great way to standardize them. Ditto “Elves”, “Werewolves”, “Proxima Centaurians”, “Members of the Donnenberg Family”, and so forth.

Part of the reason is that those powers, talents, attribute or talent bonuses would be “always on” and typical of all members of a group, as opposed to being consciously and voluntarily selected for at the time of use. An EC essentially lets you reset the baseline assumptions about _________ away from the standard adult human (10s in all primary attributes, no particular advantages with skills, no talents, no powers, no vulnerabilities or disadvantages).

There was nothing intrinsic in ECs that did that as a default though, and you can still make constructs like that. You just don't get a cost break for it (barring the "these are all one power and can be dispelled as such" which has a Limitation for it).
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Supporter
Yeah, but there's no more need to give those a cost break than, in the end of the day, there were with other package deals. That only makes sense if there's a downside to them that will discourage people from doing them (they originally were for elemental package deals where there was such a downside as compared to taking part of it as a MP).



There was nothing intrinsic in ECs that did that as a default though, and you can still make constructs like that. You just don't get a cost break for it (barring the "these are all one power and can be dispelled as such" which has a Limitation for it).
The reason to give a cost break- at least in terms of modeling non-human species- is to help maintain balance with the default. A basic elf shouldn’t start off with (say) a 30 point campaign point limitation disadvantage compared to humans just to be an elf.

More generally, EVERY power framework gives some kind of price break. You don’t pay 60 points for every 60 point power slot in a Multipower, for example. You don’t pay full price for everything in a VPP.
 

Tony Vargas

Legend
Yeah, but there's no more need to give those a cost break than, in the end of the day, there were with other package deals. That only makes sense if there's a downside to them that will discourage people from doing them (they originally were for elemental package deals where there was such a downside as compared to taking part of it as a MP).
Cost breaks also recognize the redundancy in some power frameworks, or how comparatively common they are (and thus enemies are unlikely to be unprepared for them). Tremendous strength, for instance, is only to be expected in anything from ancient myth through to modern supers. Buying multiple attacks of similar power is absurdly ineffectual compared to one big one, so MPs. Even before they were made vulnerable to adjustment powers, ECs tended to be predictable or/and redundant, too, though not so much as STR or MPs...

...at least, that's how it seemed to me. There were always a lot of ways to waste points in Champions, as well as ways to shave a few, and obvious (later stop-sign) tricks that could fake something major for too low a cost if not carefully monitored by the GM. The philosophy that the most expensive way to buy something was the only legitimate way - and vice versa - were thus flawed from the get-go. There's a reasonable range of ways to buy stuff that are both meaningful and viable and don't invalidate eachother. (Ultimately, that means Hero is a pretty poorly balanced system, since there are obviously-broken options that get the stop sign, and myriad possible options that 'waste' too many points to be viable. The balanceable sub-set, though, is still pretty expansive.)
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
The reason to give a cost break- at least in terms of modeling non-human species- is to help maintain balance with the default. A basic elf shouldn’t start off with (say) a 30 point campaign point limitation disadvantage compared to humans just to be an elf.

If you believe they should pay for what they get, I don't think that follows.

More generally, EVERY power framework gives some kind of price break. You don’t pay 60 points for every 60 point power slot in a Multipower, for example. You don’t pay full price for everything in a VPP.

In their cases because they're covering a basic conceptual problems; powers you can all use at once are more useful than powers you can only use in alternation. If you didn't give a cost break on the typical array of attacks, you'd never, ever see them. That was a big part of why they were done in the first place. It could have been constructed as a Limitation on successive attacks or movement powers or the like, but that would have been even more messy than frameworks were.

The problem with ECs is that they rewarding a player for having a power set that the GM liked more than anything else; they didn't even have to include (and frequently didn't) anything but powers that were always potentially usable at once (which wasn't true with the proto-type ECs).
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
Cost breaks also recognize the redundancy in some power frameworks, or how comparatively common they are (and thus enemies are unlikely to be unprepared for them). Tremendous strength, for instance, is only to be expected in anything from ancient myth through to modern supers. Buying multiple attacks of similar power is absurdly ineffectual compared to one big one, so MPs. Even before they were made vulnerable to adjustment powers, ECs tended to be predictable or/and redundant, too, though not so much as STR or MPs...

In fact, it was vanishingly rare after a certain period to see ECs with redundant powers; that's why you'd see a lot of people with an EC and a multipower.

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. And almost everyone wanted PD, Stun and Recovery


...at least, that's how it seemed to me. There were always a lot of ways to waste points in Champions, as well as ways to shave a few, and obvious (later stop-sign) tricks that could fake something major for too low a cost if not carefully monitored by the GM. The philosophy that the most expensive way to buy something was the only legitimate way - and vice versa - were thus flawed from the get-go. There's a reasonable range of ways to buy stuff that are both meaningful and viable and don't invalidate eachother. (Ultimately, that means Hero is a pretty poorly balanced system, since there are obviously-broken options that get the stop sign, and myriad possible options that 'waste' too many points to be viable. The balanceable sub-set, though, is still pretty expansive.)

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.
 

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