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Old 11-20-2009, 08:22 AM   #1
The Final Door
 
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Default Why does HERO do supers better?

I had this thread some time ago, and just stumbled onto this one on RPGnet. I have become pretty interested in HERO system lately, but after reading another statement about HERO beating GURPS at supers-level, I pulled out my old GURPS Supers: Mixed Doubles and got all nostalgic.

To the point: I think GURPS handles supers kinda well. There is an X-men'ish grounding to it, but powers are still cool, and collateral damage is easy and fun to include. Since I found that many in here are familiar with HERO, please tell me, what is it that people feel makes HERO system better at super-levels?

This is not an affront to anything. I am considering buying into HERO 6th, but want to understand the differences between it and good ol' GURPS. I will be grateful for any enlightenment :)
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Old 11-20-2009, 09:40 AM   #2
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Default Re: Why does HERO do supers better?

I've never played GURPS, I don't know anyone who runs it. I've bought several GURPS sourcebooks for the research material, but that's pretty much it for my GURPS knowledge.

So, I can't help with the differences between the two systems. I can say that I suspect part of the preference for Hero in supers gaming is that the system was originally designed for supers. Cinematic gameplay is the default, and cinematic matches up with supers quite well.
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Old 11-20-2009, 10:34 AM   #3
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Default Re: Why does HERO do supers better?

I haven't played Heroes since it was printed as the big Champions book. However, I think GURPS does heroes better but Heroes makes it easier to define the character up front.

GURPS makes you calculate everything during character creation. Heroes makes you calculate lots of things during combat and it slows combat down a lot but GURPS looks harder when you start trying to make the character.
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Old 11-20-2009, 10:34 AM   #4
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Default Re: Why does HERO do supers better?

Depends how you quantify "better". In a granularized, rock-em-sock-em supers game Hero does a better job at mimicking the whoopin' you get in a comic book. In my opinion GURPS just does a better job if you want some realistic consequences to having the ability to punch a tank. Edit: and by 'punch a tank' I mean that you can do it and damage the tank or not worry about hurting your hand.

To sum up: For comic stuff, Hero. For a game that will more closely generate what would happen in real life, GURPS.
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Old 11-20-2009, 11:08 AM   #5
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Default Re: Why does HERO do supers better?

In the past during the third edition era GURPS Supers was considered inferior to Heroes/Champions. Not that it stopped me from playing in and running several very fun Supers games. It's just that GURPS didn't scale up to to full blown 4 color level of the comics very well. Now that 4th edition is out I consider them pretty much equal for Supers action. I can do a lot more of the 4 color comic action in GURPS now than I could before.
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Old 11-20-2009, 11:22 AM   #6
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Default Re: Why does HERO do supers better?

There are a couple of reasons, but the big ones are probably:
  • Different way of handling equipment. In a Champions game, carrying around a LAW is fairly expensive in character design terms, and isn't notably more effective than super attacks. In GURPS, it is fairly cheap to be able to carry the item and it's the equivalent of a very large attack.
  • Different ways of handling scaling. In GURPS, if a superman-type punches a batman-type, the batman-type turns into a cloud of red mist. In Hero, the batman-type is pretty unhappy, but probably still alive.
  • Different philosophy towards balance. GURPS tends to make exotic advantages expensive, because most of them can be abused on the right build. Hero makes exotic advantages fairly cheap and relies more on the GM to police abusers.
Note that GURPS 4e is much better than 3e at handling supers.
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Old 11-20-2009, 01:20 PM   #7
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Default Re: Why does HERO do supers better?

One reason is that Hero lacks the granularity of GURPS. Its area of focus is the Super Hero genre. It doesnít do gritty very well (honestly, it doesnít do it any better than D20 Modern). If youíre not interested in playing characters with amazing powers and abilities, youíd do better to find a different system.

An M1911A1, M-16 and M-60 all do, almost, the same amount of damage (2D6-1, 2D6, 2D6+1, all killing). So, itís easy to feel like youíre doing a lot with only a few dice. However, thatís not what Hero is about.

Hero, much more so than GURPS, is a TANSTAAFL (There ainít no such thing as a free lunch) system. If you didnít buy the ability, you donít have it. It doesnít matter how logical or appropriate the ability is, if you didnít pay for it, you donít have it.

Brandi, who has a flaming aura, is easy for her opponents to see, but because she did not buy Illusion, her flames cast no usable light to see with. Since she did not buy a linked power that casts light, her power does not cast any that she, or her companions, can use.

Many Hero players Iíve dealt with say that this is fitting in the Super Hero Genre because you donít see heroes using their abilities in strange and unusual ways very often. And when they do, theyíre Pushing their powers. Okay, Iíd buy that if Heroís rules for pushing powers was anything more than an insignificant after-thought.

Hero ďdoes supers betterĒ because thatís its specific niche. Sure, you can play other things with it, but itís really not designed for it. Having played a large number of different genres in both Hero and GURPS, I can say that Hero doesnít do many of them nearly as well as GURPS.
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Old 11-20-2009, 01:26 PM   #8
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Default Re: Why does HERO do supers better?

In the days of Fourth Edition Hero/Third Edition GURPS (which is the period when I was comparing the games most frequently), it was a lot easier to build a world-shaking super in HERO on a typical player point budget. You could build Superman in 3E GURPS, but only with an obscene amount of points -- and yes, the realism of the GURPS section meant that somone with Superman's strength would turn Batman or Daredevil into goo with one punch.

That doesn't seem to be as much of an issue with 4E GURPS, which has much-improved rules for handling powerful beings (and some interesting options for keeping supers alive in unlikely circumstances). And it still avoids what I consider the worst feature of Superheroic HERO: charging points for mundane equipment. I know the argument behind that, but I was never convinced by it.

So yes -- long-winded way of saying I agree with Anthony. :)

EDIT: And as for Mark's well-considered comment -- well, there's a reason I still mostly refer to HERO as "Champions" in casual conversation. ;)
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Old 11-20-2009, 02:31 PM   #9
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Default Re: Why does HERO do supers better?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rocket Man View Post
And it still avoids what I consider the worst feature of Superheroic HERO: charging points for mundane equipment. I know the argument behind that, but I was never convinced by it.
In the end, there's a genre convention that superheroes don't just head to the hardware store and gear up. Charging points for equipment is certainly one way to enforce this genre convention, but it's somewhat unattractive. The only other solution I've seen, however, is in games like Feng Shui, where equipment is for the most part flavor text.
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Old 11-20-2009, 02:59 PM   #10
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Default Re: Why does HERO do supers better?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony View Post
The only other solution I've seen, however, is in games like Feng Shui, where equipment is for the most part flavor text.

Feng Shui always seemed interesting to me, but this is just an odd idea! How on earth can a RPG have equipment mainly as flavor text? :-o
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