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Skip Navigation LinksHigh Fantasy HERO>Conversions>D&D>D&D 3rd Edition>DM to GM>Monster Conversion Information
Monster Conversion
This document describes a method for converting D&D 3e Monsters into the HERO System.
Monster Race Package
When converting creatures from D&D, it is recommended that you first make a Race Package for the creature, just as if they were a playable Character Race.
As explained in the Monsters as Races rules provided in 3e to convert a Monster write up into a 3e Race, the Racial stat modifiers for Monsters can be determined by taking each D&D stat given in the Monster profile and subtracting 10 from even values and 11 from odd values.
This is a very usable and easy to apply method for converting Monsters into the HERO System as well; the modified values determined by subtracting 10 or 11 from the Monster's D&D stat translate directly into Characteristic bonuses or penalties in the HERO System.
D&D 3e Statistics to HERO System Characteristics
D&D 3e Statistic HERO Characteristic
Strength Strength
Dexterity Dexterity
Constitution Constitution
Intelligence Intelligence
Wisdom Ego
Charisma Presence
(Hit Points/15) +10 Body
(Discretionary) Comeliness
When converting a D&D 3e Character into the HERO System compare each D&D 3e Statistic to the adjoining chart to determine which D&D 3e Statistic maps to which HERO System Characteristic. With the exception of BODY and Comeliness, Simply take the value of the D&D 3e Statistic as the value for the HERO System Characteristic.
For BODY divide the Character's Hit Points by 15 and add the result to 10, rounding in the character's favor as per the normal HERO System metarule.
For Comeliness assign a value appropriate to the character's general appearance.
EXAMPLE: Applying the -10/-11 rule to a D&D Monster with Str 15 Dex 12 Con 14 Int 8 Wis 8 Cha 6 statistics would yield Str +5 Dex +2 Con +4 Int -2 Wis -2 Cha -4. This would translate directly to a +5 STR, +2 DEX, +4 CON, -2 INT, -2 EGO, -4 PRE for the HERO System Race Package of that Monster type (but see below for consideration of the difference between Cha and PRE).
Many D&D 3e Monsters have an Intelligence of 2 or 3, and there is a chart to translate low Intelligence into some more playable value for Monsters as PC's but you can just ignore it. 
INT means different things in the HERO System than it does in D&D and its actually quite common for "dumb animals" to have relatively high INT. Instead, Monsters that have a low INT will just have a 10 INT in the HERO System, plus the Physical Limitation "Animal Intelligence"
Physical Limitation: Animal Intelligence Frequently, Greatly Impairing
Disadvantage Value: -15 Points
Many D&D 3e Monsters that are incapable of social interactions have a low Charisma score. However, Charisma maps to Presence (PRE) in the HERO System and part of Presence is the ability to be frightening, which many Monsters should be.
Typically if it seems like a Monster has a low Charisma because they are not able to speak or interact socially rather than because they are actually unassuming and unimpressive, just assume they have a PRE of 10 in the HERO System, modified up or down as you see fit if the Monster should be frightening.
D&D AC and HERO System defenses do not map directly. Generally speaking each +1 of Natural Armor can be treated as 3 Real Cost worth of damage mitigation, which could be Armor, Damage Resistance, or even Force Field as you prefer and seems appropriate to the creature in question. For creatures with truly high Natural Armor bonuses such as older Dragons, spend some of these points on Damage Reduction as well.
Generally speaking if a Monster is visibly scaly, or otherwise protected then Armor with the Visible Limitation is generally appropriate. If they are just generally tough either Damage Resistance or Armor or a mix is appropriate.
Keep in mind that Monsters with 12 or more Resistant PD will be difficult for Characters to hurt without having high STR, Martial Arts with Damage Classes, or Deadly Blow.
Natural Armor bonus x 3 = # of Character Points to spend on Damage Mitigation (Armor, Damage Resistance, Force Field, Damage Reduction).
D&D Damage Resistance works like defenses in the HERO System already work. In most ways this works the same as converting Natural Armor (above), save that each point of Damage Resistance should generally equal 1 PD / 1 ED of Armor in the HERO System or its equivalent (0 END Persistent).
D&D Damage Reduction HERO System Equivalent
5/- Armor 5 PD / 5 ED;
Real Cost: 15 Points
5/silver Armor 5 PD / 5 ED; Not vs. Silver (-1/2)
Real Cost: 10 Points
5/+1 Armor 5 PD / 5 ED; Not vs. Magical Weapons w/ +1 OCV or better (-1 1/4)
Real Cost: 7 Points
5/+2 Armor 5 PD / 5 ED; Not vs. Magical Weapons w/ +2 OCV or better (-1)
Real Cost: 7 Points
5/+3 Armor 5 PD / 5 ED; Not vs. Magical Weapons w/ +3 OCV or better (-3/4)
Real Cost: 8 Points
5/+4 Armor 5 PD / 5 ED; Not vs. Magical Weapons w/ +4 OCV or better (-1/2)
Real Cost: 10 Points
5/+5 Armor 5 PD / 5 ED; Not vs. Magical Weapons w/ +5 OCV or better (-1/4)
Real Cost: 12 Points
Some Damage Resistance in D&D is conditional, as marked by a slash and a notation. Some examples are included in the adjoining table.
The definition of "Magical Weapons" is a bit different in the HERO System than in D&D, and not necessarily all weapons that are "Magical" will have bonuses to OCV, while in D&D it is basically a given that they will.
Furthermore +5 to hit, while a considerable bonus, is basically a drop in the well in D&D where Characters might have +20 or more to hit with accumulated bonuses. It's basically just "+25%", though slightly flattened at the higher end.
In the HERO System, which is on a Bell Curve, a single relative +1 OCV over the opponents DCV is a 12% bonus, and a relative +2 is a 21% bonus. Thus +5 OCV means quite a bit more in the HERO System and should be much rarer.
In the HERO Systems GM's can generally consider each +1/2 in Advantages applied to a Magical Weapon as equivalent to a "+1", in addition to any actual bonuses to OCV they might have.
1 point of Damage Resistance = 1 DEF or 1 PD / 1 ED Armor
The D&D and HERO System Skill Lists line up pretty well, and it should generally be pretty clear what the HERO System equivalent is to a D&D Skill. The Skill Conversion document details how to match up some of the less obvious Skills between the two game systems.
Skill Ranks are harder to convert due to the differences between the d20 linear probability model and the HERO System Bell Curve probability model. In the HERO System the greatest benefit is gained in the first step for 11- to 12-. However, as a rough rule of thumb you can divide the D&D 3e Skill Levels (not counting any stat bonuses) by four (4) and buy that many +1 bonuses with the equivalent Skill in the HERO System. As usual, round in the Monster's favor.
Base Skill Bonus / 4 = +1 to appropriate HERO System Skill
Divide Base Attack Bonus by five (5), and give the Monster some combination of Combat Skill Levels (CSL's) that make sense for their Attack scheme equal to that number, rounded in their favor. In some cases All Combat Levels (aka 8 point Levels) will be appropriate, but when converting Monsters that have only Ranged Attacks or only HtH Attacks it is usually sufficient to give them Ranged or HtH Combat levels (aka 5 point Levels).
In rare cases, used only when it seems appropriate, the GM might decide to upgrade the CSL's to Overall Levels (aka 10 point Levels) instead. This would be particularly appropriate for Races that have some form of Find Weakness, a lot of innate Skills, when All PER bonuses can be rolled in to CSL's to "buy up" (as OL's can be used for both Combat and PER Rolls -- and just about every other sort of 3d6 resolution roll), or for "Monsters" that represent extremely powerful extraplanar entities and the like that are simply superior to mere mortals.
Base Attack Bonus (BAB) / 5 = +1 CSL of appropriate type
Some GM's run their game with a lower mean average of Combat Values and prefer to keep the total number of CSL's Characters have to a minimum. This has a tendency to make DEX even more "prime" and prone to creep, but that aside if it seems appropriate to your game rather than dividing Base Attack Bonus by five (5) and rounding in the Monster's favor, instead do not round at all -- only grant a +1 CSL for each full five (5) points of Base Attack Bonus the Monster profile has.
Some Monsters have a lot of iterative attacks stemming from their Base Attack Bonus, and others have complex attack routines. Attack routines such as Claw, Claw, Bite are usually best handled using the Multiple Power Attack rules in the HERO System.
However a true high volume of attacks can be handled in a variety of ways. The same general advice for handling a high number of attacks that applies to normal Characters applies to Monsters as well, as follows.
Some Characters and Monsters get more Attacks per Round than others in D&D 3e, and this bears special consideration when converting into the HERO System.
For starters, all Characters are going to get more "attacks per round" (or per six seconds to be more accurate) in the HERO System because the basic design of the combat system revolves around twelve second Turns in which all Characters make at least one action, and often many more than one.
However there are several mechanisms available to ensure that those that have a lot of Attacks in D&D 3e maintain their edge in melee nonetheless.
SPEED Figured Characteristic
The most direct method of increasing one's actions in the HERO System is to simply buy more SPEED. However since Fantasy HERO is a Heroic level game with Normal Characteristic Maxima in place this can get expensive once the Maxima has been hit. Due to the "force multiplying" effect of SPEED, many GM's will actively resist Character concepts pertaining to increasing it too far.
 But, if your GM is amenable, even a single point of SPEED over the Characteristic Maxima can give a definite edge in combat and should be considered.
Killing Machine: +1 SPD (Over Characteristic Maxima)
Real Cost: 20 points
Sweep is an Optional Combat Maneuver which is accessible to all Characters for free if it is allowed at all. 
Sweep allows a Character to attack multiple opponents in HtH as long as they are within melee range, but at a stiff to hit penalty. To ensure superiority at it a Character could buy several +2 OCV Combat Skill Levels with Sweep.
Willow parted Four Times: +6 OCV with SWEEP {allows four strikes without penalty}
Real Cost: 12 points
NPA Autofire
Alternately, with your GM's permission, you can buy an Autofire Naked Power Attack (NPA) usable with any weapon of up to a certain amount of Active Points.
This is a personal ability inherent to the Character, and it is usable with any weapon of the appropriate type. This will enable your Fighter to strike multiple times with each attack as described under Autofire. However few GM's would permit NPA's  taken to be applied to free Equipment; due to their overpowering efficiency.
If their use is common place then it likely balances out but if only a few characters have access to such abilties (such as the PC's for instance), it can be very unbalancing. Check with your GM prior to taking any NPA based ability to determine whether or not the allow them in their campaign.
Flurry of Strikes: Naked Modifier, Autofire (3 shots; +1/4) for up to 4d6 HKA (15 Active Points); OIF (Sword of Opportunity, -1/2) Costs 1 END
Real Cost: 10 points
Signature Power
With your GM's permission you could buy a special Attack Power that allows your Character to do damage to more than one opponent at a time.
You can use variations on Area of Effect: Any Area with No Range to indicate an ability to accurately attack all the hexes adjacent to your character, for example.
This is a more expensive option, but it makes for interesting flavor for a given Character; also, don't forget the advantage of only needing to hit a hexes DCV of 3.
Reaping the Whirlwind: Killing Attack - Hand-To-Hand 2d6 (plus STR) (vs. PD), +1 STUN Multiplier (+1/4), Area Of Effect (4" Any Area; +1) (67 Active Points); OIF (Sword of Opportunity; -1/2), All hexes must be adjacent to own hex (-1/2) Costs 7 END
Real Cost: 33 points
The adjoining table shows the approximate damage conversion between D&D's many dice steps and increments and the HERO Systems d6 Damage Class steps which serves as a general guideline for converting attacks.
1, 1d2 1 pip Killing Attack
1d4 1/2D6 Killing Attack
1d4+1 1D6-1 Killing Attack
1d6 1D6 Killing Attack
2d4 1D6+1 Killing attack
1d8 1 1/2D6 Killing Attack
1d10 2D6-1 Killing Attack
2d6, 1d12 2D6 Killing Attack
1d20 3D6 Killing Attack
The chart is fairly accurate as far as it goes, however it is important to keep in mind the differences between D&D's AC and the combination of the HERO System's DCV and actual defenses, not to mention the differences between hit points and BODY & STUN.
In D&D if a character gets hit, they take all of the damage rolled, and thus a 1d4 attack can still harm a Character.
In the HERO System even if a Character gets hit, they get to subtract any relevant defenses they have and thus a 1/2d6 Killing Attack will rarely cause any actual damage except vs. a target that lacks resistant defense.
On the other hand 4 hit points is only meaningful to low level Characters in D&D, but very few HERO System Characters can afford to casually lose 4 BODY to a single attack, as BODY is generally tracked in much smaller increments than hit points.
The net effect of this is that in general, unless special circumstances apply, its usually ok to bump D&D damage on the low end of the scale (sub 1d6) up a notch or two when converting Monsters.
And of course if you are converting a Monster for a game in progress, and when you've translated the Monster's attacks into HERO System terms you realize that they simply cannot reliably hurt your PC's due to their defenses, you should feel free to dial up the damage as necessary, either by applying more dice, using Advantages like Semi-Armor Piercing, Armor Piercing, and Penetrating, giving the Monster a level or two of Deadly Blow, or the like. However, you don't want to push damage too high because the higher end of the scale is more lethal, relatively speaking.
As a rule of thumb, you want to push damage towards the middle range where possible; not too weak, and not too strong.
Many D&D3e Monsters have Special Abilities. There are quite a lot of more or less standard ones, and further some Monsters have unique abilities as well. In general it should be fairly easy to consider what the ability does in D&D and model a similar effect in the HERO System. However, following are some suggestions regarding the more typical Extraordinary and Supernatural special abilities:
  • ABILITY SCORE LOSS: Use the Drain Power.
  • ALTERNATE FORM: Generally speaking, use the Multiform Power.
  • BLINDSENSE / BLINDSIGHT / SCENT / TREMORSENSE: Use the Enhanced Senses Rules to either apply Targeting (and possibly other modifiers) to a Monster's senses, or apply an ability like RADAR, SONAR, or Spatial Awareness.
  • BREATH WEAPON: Buy an appropriate attack Power, and apply AoE: Cone or Line and No Range to it.
  • CHANGE SHAPE: A combination of the Shapeshift Power and a VPP to model the natural attacks and movement abilities of shifted forms (if any).
  • CONSTRICT: Extra STR "Only Usable To Increase Squeezing Damage (includes No Figured)"; -2.
  • DAMAGE REDUCTION: See above under Dealing with Damage Reduction.
  • ENERGY DRAIN: Use the Transfer Power.
  • FEAR / FRIGHTFUL PRESENCE: For Fear Aura and Frightful Presence use Presence bought as a Power with "Offensive Use Only"; -1. For Fear Rays, Cones, and other such "targeted" Fear effect use a Drain vs. PRE and EGO Simultaneously.
  • GAZE: Model an appropriate Attack Power with "Eye Contact Required"; -1/2. Typically a character can only make eye contact with a target within 3" of him in decent light.
  • IMPROVED GRAB: Either buy 10 points worth of Martial Maneuvers with the Grab Element to meet the Martial Arts minimum buy in requirement, or buy a few OCV Levels with Grab and Sweep an Attack followed by a Grab.
  • LOW-LIGHT VISION: Use the Nightvision option of the Enhanced Senses Power.
    • BURROW: Use the Tunneling Power.
    • CLIMB: Use the Clinging Power.
    • FLY: Use the Flight Power.
      • PERFECT: Apply the Combat Acceleration / Deceleration and No Turn Mode Advantages and the Position Shift Adder.
      • GOOD: Apply the Combat Acceleration / Deceleration Advantages.
      • AVERAGE: Default.
      • POOR: Apply Limitation "Turn Mode Divisor: 4"; -1/4.
      • CLUMSY: Apply Limitation "Turn Mode Divisor: 3"; -1/2.
    • SWIM: Use the Swimming Power.
  • NATURAL WEAPONS: Usually modeled as Hand Killing Attacks or Hand Attacks as appropriate.
  • PARALYSIS: Typically, use the Entangle Power.
  • POISON: Typically, use the Drain Power. The No Normal Defense Advantage is often appropriate for Poisons with the defense defined as LS: Immune to Poison. Alternately, there is a custom "Venom" Power defined on page 566 of the HERO System 5th Edition Revised Rulebook which works well for many types of Poisons.
  • POUNCE: Either buy one or more Martial Maneuvers with the FMOVE ability (and observing the minimum buy in for Martial Maneuvers), or buy Combat Skill Levels usable with Move-By or Move Thru or both.
  • PSIONICS: Refer to the Psionics Power System document for suggestions on how to handle Psionics in the HERO System.
  • RAKE: Buy an appropriate attack ability with the Limitation "Only vs. Grabbed Opponents"; -1 1/2.
  • RAY: Buy an appropriate Ranged Attack Power.
  • REGENERATION: Use the Healing Power with the Regeneration option.
  • RESISTANCE TO ENERGY: As Damage Reduction above.
  • SONIC ATTACKS: To model the "spread" effect of Sonic Attacks apply AoE: Radius with the Conforming Adder, Personal Immunity, and No Range.
  • SPELL IMMUNITY: This is tricky in the HERO System since it is an absolute effect. A way to do it is a very large Dispel vs. Magic on an Immediately Self-Resetting Trigger, and a 360 degree Detect vs. Magic That Would Affect Character.
  • SPELL RESISTANCE: There are many different ways to model Spell Resistance in the HERO System. I recommend Resitant Damage Reduction vs. Magic.
  • SPELLS: Spend points on an appropriate Magic System just as would be done for a normal Character.
  • SUMMON: Use the Summon Power.
  • SWALLOW WHOLE: Use the rules for Swallowing Targets Whole on page 33 of the HERO System Bestiary.
  • TELEPATHY: Use the Telepathy Power.
  • TRAMPLE: Either buy one or more Martial Maneuvers with the FMOVE ability (and observing the minimum buy in for Martial Maneuvers), or buy Combat Skill Levels usable with Move Thru.
  • TURN RESISTANCE: Buy Presence as a Power with the Limitation "Only To Resist TURN UNDEAD"; -1.
  • VULNERABILITY TO ENERGY: Use the Vulnerability Disadvantage.
Many abilities in D&D had no limit on usage, while others are usable X times per day.
When converting Monsters abilities that had no limit on usage it is important to remember that the HERO System has a fatigue mechanic in the form of END. In many cases, nothing special needs to be done as the END cost for most abilities is negligible enough that the Monster can still function and use their abilities in a typical HERO System combat.
However some abilities that are assumed to be effectively constant in D&D will run a Monster out of END which can be counter to the intent of the Monster's design. This includes Flight, which in D&D is effectively effortless but in the HERO System will burn a lot of END quickly. In such cases use the Reduced END Advantage to lower the END cost to 1/2 or 0 as seems appropriate.
This sort of ability maps directly into the Charges Limitation in the HERO System. Once you have converted the base effect simply apply the appropriate number of Charges to it. In the case of Constant Powers don't forget to use Continuous Charges.
You can play around with the Charge options, such as Boostable, to spice Monsters up a bit if you like as you see fit.
Some Monsters have varying movement rates, and some have extra movement rates like flying or teleporting.
All D&D3e Movement types are easily translatable into the HERO System. Fly = Flight, Teleporting = Teleport, Planar Shifting, Astral, Shadow, Ethereal, and similar dimensional crossing movement = various flavors of EDM, and so on.
Winged Flight should usually take the Restrainable Limitation.
D&D 3e Movement rates are measured in inches, so to determine the number of hexes for any particular type of movement simply divide the number of inches by 6.5 and round off to determine how many hexes of movement they should have in the HERO System. 
Some Monsters have special Feats.
  • ABILITY FOCUS: Saves are meaningless in the HERO System. Just increase the damage or effect of the converted version of the Special Attack this Feat applies to by a d6.
  • AWESOME BLOW: Buy Does x1 1/2 Knockback as a Naked Power Advantage for the Monster's STR, with the Limitations "Only When Performing A Move-Thru" for a -1.
  • CRAFT CONSTRUCT: Take KS: Create Construct for the Monster. Handle the creation of Constructs like the creation of a Permanent Magic Item as described in the Magic Item Creation guidelines.
  • EMPOWER SPELL-LIKE ABILITY: Just increase the effect of the ability the Feat was taken for by some reasonable amount. Don't worry about the 3x per day limitation.
  • FLYBY ATTACK: Take a few OCV Levels with Move-By.
  • HOVER: This Feat is pretty powerful; there are a few ways to handle it, but to model it exactly would require a large amount of points. In the interests of operating on a budget, since people that fly can already hover in the HERO System for free just apply Combat Acceleration / Deceleration to the Monster's Flight. If you want to go wild and spend some points, add a Change Environment Power to the Monster as well along the lines of:
    • Wing Gust: CE 2" radius (4" Cone; +0), -1 to Hearing Group PER Rolls, -1 to Sight Group PER Rolls, +5 Points of Telekinetic STR, -1 DCV, -1 OCV, Multiple Combat Effects (53 Active Points); No Range (-1/2), Extra Time (Full Phase, Only to Activate, Delayed Phase, -1/2), Concentration (1/2 DCV; -1/4); Real Cost: 23; 5 END
  • IMPROVED NATURAL ARMOR: Just increase the Monsters Armor or resistant defense a little.
  • IMPROVED NATURAL ATTACK: Add a d6 of damage or effect with the applicable attack.
  • MULTIATTACK: Consider taking Two Weapon Fighting. Otherwise, Ambidexterity, or just a few extra OCV levels depending on how you have converted the Monsters attacks.
  • MULTIWEAPON FIGHTING: Ambidexterity or Two Weapon Fighting.
  • QUICKEN SPELL-LIKE ABILITY: Buy an "At Will" Trigger as a Naked Power Advantage for the applicable ability, with a 0 Phase Reset.
  • SNATCH: Buy a few OCV levels with Grab, and then Sweep a strike followed by a Grab.
  • WINGOVER: Just buy two Flight Skill Levels.
In addition to the aforementioned Animal Intelligence Disadvantage for Monsters of Animal intellect, there are several other Disadvantages to be applied to Monster Race Packages.
Monsters that lack hands or other manipulator appendages should take a Physical Limitation.
Physical Limitation: Very Limited Manipulation Frequently, Greatly Impairing
Disadvantage Value: -15 Points
If a Monster type has some information or details pertinent to it that are known and that could disadvantage Monsters of that type, a Reputation Disadvantage indicating as much is appropriate for the Race Package.
For instance, many people know that were-creatures are harmed by silver which is the sort of information that could definitely put a were-creature at a Disadvantage if silver does indeed cause them problems, and thus a Reputation to that affect is appropriate.
The value of this Disadvantage will vary by how widely known the Reputation is.
NOTE: In some cases there will also be Reputations related to the Monster that have an advantageous effect, which should be indicated using the Reputation Perk.
Reputation: {Some detail or information}, {Frequency}
Disadvantage Value: varies
In line with the other Race Package Deals presented on this web site, Monsters get to take a Distinctive Feature for their Race.
The value of the Distinctive Feature will range from -5 to -25 depending upon how monstrous the Monster's appearance is, how much reaction is typical from observers, whether or not their appearance can be concealed by some natural ability (such as shape shift), whether or not some members of the Monster's type are generally accepted in some populations, and other considerations. However the majority of Monsters can take the Disadvantage at the level indicated below.
Distinctive Feature: {Member of Race} (Concealable w/ Magic, Noticed and Causes Reaction)
Disadvantage Value: -15 Points
In line with the other Race Package Deals presented on this web site, Monsters get to take Normal Characteristic Maxima in their Race Package. Remember that by the Race Package guidelines set forth on this web site Characteristic bonuses and penalties in Race Packages are applied after NCM is calculated.
Normal Characteristic Maxima
Disadvantage Value: -20 Points
For Monsters that are unusually large or small, consult the Size Templates in the Bestiary (also reprinted in the back of HERO System 5th Edition Revised) and merge the appropriate Size Package with the Race Package you have made. In cases where a creature would get a Characteristic bonus or penalty from both their Race Package and a Size Template Package, only apply the larger of the two values generally unless the lower seems more appropriate (or if you prefer split the difference); however do not combine the two values.
EXAMPLE: Based on their D&D stat conversion a Monster might get a +8 STR Bonus. However they are also Large; the Large Size Template Package indicates that up to a +15 STR bonus is appropriate for a Large creature. The GM can decide to give the Race anything between a +8 and a +15 STR as they prefer and seems appropriate. However, they should not "double-dip" and give the Race +23 STR.
The Hippogriff Conversion document gives a step by step example of taking a Monster from D&D 3e and translating its profile into a HERO System Package Deal.
Once you have a Race Package Deal for a Monster, you just use that Package as is for any average member of that Race. For exceptional or unusual Monsters you just take the Race Package and slap some extra abilities on top of it as personal abilities just like you would make an antagonist that was a Human, Elf, or Dwarf by starting from a Human, Elf, or Dwarf Race Package Deal and adding other Packages and abilities. It grants you both consistency and extreme flexibility.
It's also very friendly to use in HERO Designer (the HERO System Character Creation Utility) using the Save As Template and Create Character From Template functionality.
One of the more time consuming tasks facing a HERO System GM is the amount of work that must be put in to making NPC's and creatures. Following are a few tricks to get around this for run of the mill NPC's and stock Monsters; important NPC's and Monsters should be fully developed in the normal fashion.
For each type of generic antagonist, such as Barbarians or Sky Ravagers or Guardsmen, make a series of Profession Package Deals:
  1. Make a "Basic" Template Package Deal describing the basic abilities of someone in that type or role.
  2. Make more advanced Template Package Deals for more powerful or advanced members of the type or role, taking the BASIC Template and layering up from there
    1. Make a "ELITE" Template
    2. Make a "VETERAN" Template
    3. Make a "CHAMPION" Template
    4. Make a "MIGHTY" Template
    5. Make a "LEGENDARY" Template
    6. Etc...
NOTE: The titles used have no meaning or relevance other than to express increasing levels of power / capability. Feel free to substitute any labels that you prefer.
Each Template inherits the Template before it; thus if you were making a LEGENDARY Barbarian Package it has all of the abilities of the MIGHTY Barbarian Template as its base and then adds on to it.
Of course, you only need to make as many progressively better Templates as is necessary for your purposes; this might be only BASIC or only BASIC and ELITE, or it might be many more echelons as needed.
If you want to individualize Characters made from these Template Package Deals, simply include some semi-undefined abilities (such as Any Trade, Craft, or Knowledge Skill: 11- ; 2 points) or "Choose some number of the following:" style Pick Lists as appropriate to the use case of the Template.
Don't worry about Disadvantages for Template Package Deals unless they are integral to the concept of the Template; it just decreases the reusability of the Package. However, when you use a Template to instantiate a Package for some actual group within your setting it is entirely appropriate to apply Disadvantages to that Package that relevant to the group that you are using the Package for.
Later on when you need to make one or more Characters of a particular type or role you simply:
  1. Take an appropriate Race Package Deal 
  2. Add the appropriate Template Package Deal(s)
For instance if I needed to throw together a Elven Spellfilcher or a guild of Elven Spellfilchers (makes no difference) I would just pair an Elven Race Package with a Template Package Deal combining the sorts of abilities I think such a type of Character should have. In less time than it takes to type about it, I have an Elven Spellfilcher write up ready for play.
The same holds true for Monsters that you have designed Race Packages for as well; the same methods described above can be used to define Packages that permit different roles or variants that are appropriate to that type of Monster, and just mix and match them for best effect.
A number of Character Templates can be found here.
Once you have done the basic ground work of laying out some Template Packages, it is extremely fast and easy to make viable stock NPC's and opponents by simply stacking a Race Package with one or more Profession Packages.
If you use Cultural Package Deals and/or Organizational Package Deals as well, or any form of Package Deal for that matter, it stacks nicely with this and is infinitely expandable. It basically takes a Modular Object Oriented approach to building Characters.
This is the approach taken throughout this web site; all of the hundreds of Race and Profession Package Deals presented on this site are usable in this fashion.