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Old 11-30-2009, 02:07 PM   #31
Chris Goodwin
 
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Default Re: Why does HERO do supers better?

The system that does supers better is the one you know and love better. If you can make GURPS sing madrigals in the round in three part harmony while juggling flaming chainsaws, use GURPS, because trying to wrap your brain around how HERO does things differently will frustrate you. If you can make HERO sing madrigals in the round in three part harmony while juggling flaming chainsaws, use HERO, because trying to wrap your brain around how GURPS does things differently will frustrate you.
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Old 11-30-2009, 02:12 PM   #32
Chris Goodwin
 
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Default Re: Why does HERO do supers better?

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Originally Posted by Mark Skarr View Post
Hero's "balance" is actually a weakness of the system. It's much more elegant than GURPS, but it's also much less useful. The problem with the 60 AP power is that no one can be better than anyone else at anything. The dedicated Healer can't heal any more damage than anyone else. The dedicated damage-dealer can't do any more damage than the healer. And with characters being between 250 and 400 points, it only takes a small limitation on a power to get a 60 AP power down to 48 RP, or 40 RP. So, everyone can have a 12D6 Energy Blast (in our games it's a 4D6 RKA because there's no reason to have an EB in the games we're in), and everyone can have a 6D6 BODY Heal (or 4D6 if you want to do it at range). You can't be better than anyone else.
Active Point caps are suggested, but they're not hard-coded into the system. They were pretty strongly recommended in HERO 4E, but less strongly since then for the reasons you outline.
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Old 11-30-2009, 02:21 PM   #33
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Default Re: Why does HERO do supers better?

Systems don't make a game, the players and GM do. Systems CAN help (or hinder) however. Under it's Champions brand, HERO has a LOT of Supers materials. GURPS has a couple of adventures for it's 1st edition Supers, three books of pregenerated characters, a licnsed pair of of Wildcards books and one Supers Adventure book. Date of publication on all of them is early 90s or before that.

Lack of support by GURPS is one reason why you finid more Champions advocates.
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Old 11-30-2009, 03:08 PM   #34
Chris Goodwin
 
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Default Re: Why does HERO do supers better?

To the extent HERO does it better, it's probably because when Champions was originally being designed, at every step of the way the designers would ask "How is this done in the comics? How can we emulate that?" whereas when SJ was designing GURPS, he would frequently ask "How is this this done in reality? How can we emulate that?"

I've never thought that GURPS, even in the days of 3E, was all that bad at handling supers. It might take a few optional rules tweaks to get into four-color, golden/silver age theatrics, but then HERO takes a few optional rules tweaks to get into darker, more dangerous/deadly territory.
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Old 11-30-2009, 08:36 PM   #35
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Default Re: Why does HERO do supers better?

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Active Point caps are suggested, but they're not hard-coded into the system. They were pretty strongly recommended in HERO 4E, but less strongly since then for the reasons you outline.
I hear and see people say this all over the net, yet I've never encountered a group that doesn't adhere to Active Points like it's a religion. And when I bring up the idea, most active players have horror stories of when they tried it and it failed. All of the stories tend to revolve around, in my opinions, the inability of the players to exercise self-control.

Actually, they are hard-coded into the system. The game goes on about generating your active point value and how it differs from the real point value. If they weren't hard-coded into the system we wouldn't need to have all point costs listed as X/Y for Active/Real.

Active/Real is more a hard and fast rule in Hero than the -80% in GURPS. I've seen groups switch to fully multiplicitive modifiers, groups change the values of limitations and even make modifiers "flavor" and not affect the cost of the powers at all. Yet, I have yet to find a Hero group that does not fully adhere to the Active Point Limit rules.

And lets not forget VPPs, which require both Active and Real Point tweaking.
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Old 12-01-2009, 12:53 AM   #36
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Default Re: Why does HERO do supers better?

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Yet, I have yet to find a Hero group that does not fully adhere to the Active Point Limit rules.
I've been in several which didn't, though active points are often a good place to start.
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Old 12-01-2009, 06:40 AM   #37
Fred Brackin
 
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Default Re: Why does HERO do supers better?

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I've been in several which didn't, though active points are often a good place to start.
The concept wasn't even mentioned the last time we created supers in Champions but we all came out in the same ballpark anyway working from the same point budget.

The logic of where and how to spend points on certain budgets and for certain purposes is effectively hardcoded into the system. That was actually a sort of problem for our Space Hero game. Our characters all looked very similar except for their Skill lists.
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Old 12-01-2009, 09:45 AM   #38
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Default Re: Why does HERO do supers better?

I actually am inclined to deny the premise of this question. Saying that HERO does supers well is almost exactly like saying that D&D does fantasy well. That is, it's true only for values of "supers" that equal "the kind of thing you see in a Champions campaign."

D&D started out, back in the dim times, as a system for emulating fantasy battles in a wargame; the original treatment in Chainmail was clearly inspired directly by Tolkien. But when they turned it into the prototypical roleplaying game, they created a new genre, dungeon fantasy. This is not much like the way things work in actual fantasy, as is exemplified, for example, by humorous pieces about how low-level a wizard Gandalf was. Its focus is not on wonder and eucatastrophe but on lots and lots of combat scenes.

Well, in the same way, HERO is optimized for tactical superhuman combat. The design baseline is for characters to have precisely measured tactical capabilities, like units in a wargame. Character point costs track tactical utility very closely; anything that's not tactically functional has pretty minimal cost. And when you've defined a character, what they will do in the arena is fairly surprise-free; play consists of clever use of already known capabilities.

In comparison, in DC Heroes, you had the mechanism of rerolling when you got doubles, which meant that you had occasional quantitative surprises where some really huge effect came about (I think of a scene where my weather controller got doubles at a key moment and the entire battle area was covered with torrential rain), or some amazingly feat of skill was achieved. And some games have the "power stunt" mechanism where the hero uses their powers in some clever and unexpected way that they haven't paid points for (like using a Wild Talent in GURPS with skills). These are analogs of the "sensawunda" of superhero comics, where the hero may do an amazing feat by sheer heroic will and desperation, or find a radical new way to use their powers, and where the amazement of seeing these tactically unpredictable feats is part of what the genre is all about. These sorts of things have been retroengineered into later editions of Champions (the first edition really didn't support them well), at least as special option, but they aren't native to how it does things.

Now, superhuman tactical combat certainly can be entertaining. It's just not the genre of the comics or the movies. It's a specifically gaming genre historically derived from superhero adventure, as dungeon fantasy is a specifically gaming genre historically derived from Tolkienian fantasy, medieval mythology, and "creature feature" movies. And I would no more think first of using Champions to run a supers campaign than of using D&D to run a fantasy campaign . . . because what I want is to capture the feel of the source material. That's what I mean by "doing supers better."

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Old 12-01-2009, 10:34 AM   #39
Anthony
 
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Default Re: Why does HERO do supers better?

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I actually am inclined to deny the premise of this question. Saying that HERO does supers well is almost exactly like saying that D&D does fantasy well. That is, it's true only for values of "supers" that equal "the kind of thing you see in a Champions campaign."
Well, we are comparing it to GURPS, which generally speaking has all the flaws you point out for Champions and a few extra ones besides.
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Old 12-01-2009, 12:27 PM   #40
Mark Skarr
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Default Re: Why does HERO do supers better?

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Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
I actually am inclined to deny the premise of this question. Saying that HERO does supers well is almost exactly like saying that D&D does fantasy well. That is, it's true only for values of "supers" that equal "the kind of thing you see in a Champions campaign."
I'm actually disposed to agree with you. Hero/Champions isn't a role-playing game, it's a tactical-supers combat system.

However, 90% of the groups I've ever played supers with want the combat. Most of them don't want to see the day-to-day interaction of their characters, or worry about how they function in the world. In my experience, most supers players want the level of supers given by Hero.

I don't.

I'd much rather worry about the interactions of my characters. I want to explore the angst behind tough decisions and losses. I like having to explore my powers and how to best use them (Ultrapower is my favorite supers advantage, if I'm allowed to take it, all of my supers have it). I like going into situations where I don't know if my character is going to live or die.

I'd rather have the X-Men comic over Marvel Ultimate Alliance or Capcom Vs Marvel.
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