Following are several documents that discuss an array of variations on the typical
HERO System usage, particularly around alternate character definition and / or advancement
Most of these concepts originated as posts on the HERO Games Forums many years ago;
the common underlying idea was ways in which the HERO System can be utilized to
support more narrative or modern styles of play with a focus on "organic" character
Unfortunately the various threads where these approaches originated and were discussed
by the community are no longer easily discoverable due to various upgrades to the
forum software and reindexing of the pages. However, the documents stand alone without
the original discussions.
- Alternate Character Design Methods
Trait Driven HERO: rather
than engage in HERO System character design, players provide the GM with a list
of weighted traits that describe their character, and the GM is responsible for
statting those characters. Ideally, the players never see the HERO System version
of their characters and interact with the GM using their character's traits as the
context of communication. The GM uses HERO System mechanics in the background for
resolutions, and translates the outcomes into more general language to convey back
to the players. This approach is intended primarily for play-by-post games where
the minutia of the HERO System (particularly the Speed chart and combat resolution)
can be a significant impediment.
Shtick Driven HERO:
players define between three and ten "shticks" that define their character concepts.
Unlike Trait Driven HERO, the players still design and use full Hero System characters;
the definition of shticks is an ancillary effort.
For each session rather than the normal method of awarding experience points (xp) characters gain xp
based upon how often their shticks affected the session. Supports a more character
concept based approach to xp rewards, and also provides players with a concrete
agenda during play sessions which can lead to more focused sessions.
Planned Phases HERO:
rather than gain xp and spend them on character growth in the
normal fashion, players instead write up multiple versions of their character ranging
from "starting" to "final idealized version". As play progresses, the GM periodically
hands out a higher pointed version of a character at an appropriate time, allowing
for a stair stepped progression. Different characters might be up-versioned at different
times, leading to a more natural jagged development of characters within a party
rather than the typical parity usually maintained.
Event Driven HERO: at
character creation, players define some number of significant life events that are
important to their characters and a chunk of potential xp is attached to that event
via negotiation by the player and the GM. During play, characters using this method
receive a reduced amount of normal xp, but gain large chunks of xp when they manage
to accomplish their various significant life events. This allows for a combination
of some gradual progression non-deterministically interspersed with significan power
ups as events resolve. It also provides players with long term strategic goals,
and provides the GM with a form of collaborative campaign development as he knows
what sorts of things a given player wants to see included in the campaign.
- Alternate Character Advancement Methods
Meta Accounting HERO:
standard HERO System characters have a number of character points available to them
equal to a campaign determined number of "base" points, points from disadvantages
up to a campaign determined maximum limit, and any experience points accrued. This
methodology simply describes an accounting trick GM's can use to adjust the base points
and maximum disadvantage points limit over the course of a campaign to organically increase
the overall character points available to characters, and commensurately the power
level of the campaign.
GM Hold Back HERO: this
method just formalizes a practice some GM's employ, which is to award players
some amount of xp that they can spend immediately if they wish, but hold back some
of the xp which is then doled out in a larger lump sum later to correspond with
significant events in the emerging story of a campaign.
Subsidized Buy In HERO:
this is a math-oriented accounting method that is essentially just a variant of
the GM Hold Back method. It allows players to opt into a sort of interest bearing
savings account for some or all of their xp, and then make lump sum withdrawals
later to pay for significant character progression such as entirely new abilities
or story-driven growth. Offered as a way to address the observed problem that the
constant gradual progression of the HERO System's xp model makes it difficult for
characters to undergo radical changes.
Bundled Powerup HERO:
less of a "methodology" or concept, this document just describes the option a GM
has to give individual characters a power up of some kind, at their discretion.
There is no "system" or structure to it; this is something GM's have the option
to do in just about any RPG if they see fit; it was included in the general discussion
of alternate character advancement for purposes of completeness.