Once Upon a Time…
I mentioned in several posts here that I was in the process of porting my fantasy campaign from DnD4e to Hero System 6th Edition. A couple of the players took up the job to make the PCs (making Hero PCs is no small task).
I had a few hours to review the PCs, and though I had some misgivings, I decided to run the PCs mostly as-is and see how things shook out around the table.
Although I had sent out guide lines (basically taken directly from the book), that is only the tip of the iceberg of the ground rules that need to be set in a system as flexible as Hero:
- Assumptions about the frequency of things like penetrating and armor piercing attacks
- Assumptions about resistant and the frequency of hardened defenses.
- The existence of power modification powers and power defense.
Because this was considered at the higher end of the “heroic” power level (as Hero System defines it), the PCs had points to spare to improve their effectiveness in ways I had not anticipated. Since I don’t have a mastery of the system, the first session was (and each subsequent would be) a cakewalk.
In fact, the first comment I got from the players after the session was that the PCs were very powerful.
Time for Another Change
I spent much time over the past three weeks with both the Hero Designer and the GURPS Character Assistant. After several attempts at building a few of the PCs in both systems, I decided to switch the system for the campaign to GURPS.
I know the system very well, and can come up with challenging combat encounters with very little preparation. I know how everything works and I won’t have to reference the rules book very much at all during the game.
The other thing I noticed was some player frustration with the initiative system in Hero. Personally, I’m a big fan of it. If you’re not familiar with it, here’s a brief description:
A turn is divided into 12 segments. Each PC has a speed score. This score tells you how many times you can act in a turn — eg. a PC with a speed of 4 gets to act 4 times per turn, as opposed to a PC w/ a speed of 3, who only acts on 3 segments.
Additionally, there’s a speed chart so segments on which a PC acts are distributed proportionately throughout the turn.
(if you’ve ever played Starfleet Battles, you are familiar with the impulse chart — the speed chart in Hero is similar, just smaller).
I’m a huge fan of Hero’s proportional initiative system. I think it gives faster characters a more realistic advantage than simply being allowed to go first every turn, which is an advantage when combat begins, that advantage lessens with every turn.
The problem is, most systems use initiative systems where PCs act once per turn — and players are used to being able to act once per turn. This, quite understandably, caused some confusion and frustration — especially from the players with low speed scores.
I’ve used the Hero initiative system in convention games and one-shots, and haven’t had a problem — but in all those cases, the party consisted of six of fewer players. When you have a group of eight or ten players, and a pretty large speed score differential, it can seem like an eternity between turns for the slower characters.
While I feel it’s more realistic, it causes frustration, and — well — games are supposed to be fun.
Now to GURPS
So in less that two weeks, the game starts again in GURPS. Now to prep!