Monday, February 27, 2012

HiLo Heroes Re-release Under CC

With the announcement of HiLo Heroes' re-release under a Creative Commons license, I have spent a little time thinking about what I would want to do with it. Obviously I would love to see a Fantasy Rules / Setting supplement, but do I have the time, drive, or ability to pull such a project off? Probably, but would it be of the quality that I would force upon myself? I hope so. I am not, nor have I ever been, the most articulate and persevering person in the world...

Now, with the self lamination out of the way, where to begin?

I think one of the issues that might arise is the granularity of Powers. What I mean by this is, within a Supers setting, everyone is... well Super. If you look at Dan's blog, Sword and Board, where he has been doing tons of awesome write-ups, you can notice that the Heroes/Villains range from about a +1 to +6, in what I have coined as a TL (or Training Level, which equates to advancements). In addition, there is seldom a single "Power" over a +3. This is not a dig on the characters that Dan creates, or re-images, but rather an unintentional design limitation, IMHO.

The +3 limit in any given power is kind of like a commonsense modifier limit. I think it harkens back to the days of the D6 rules set, where if you ever had a +3 pip modifier you added another die. And, by my way of thinking, you might as well, since it equates to something more than what the average would be on several d6 rolls. I don't know if that is a feasible option though currently with HiLo Heroes without making it a different feeling game. Which I have no desire to do! It's simplicity is it's charm. I have no desire to add more dice to the mix.

This gets me to wondering about simple fantasy staples like armor, or even ~shudder~ magical armor. Even in it's most minimalistic form, conventional fantasy has three tiers of armor; light, medium, and heavy. Just by giving something a heavy armor, presumably a +3 to Block Mundane, you have made an impressive foe.

When I have made fantasy characters / monsters in the past on this blog, I have kinda stuck to the mentality of, "What is this type of character / monster known for?" This approach, which may not be a bad thing, could have two characters, each with a +1 "armor" vs. Blocking Mundane, being differentiated by descriptions. Example; Heavy Plated Knight or Swift Footed Vagabond. Both legitimately getting a +1 to their Block Mundane. One using chitinous plates, the other using rapid footwork, to impose air between themselves and an attack.

I suppose the granularity could be expanded with d8s or d10s, but that kind of piddles on the spirit of HiLo Heroes in my mind.

Definitely something I am going to have to think about and address, should I want to move forward with such a project.



  1. Since all actions in the game are resolved by rolling a die and comparing the result of an opposing roll, any bonus can be countered by a comparative bonus at the other end. If heavy armor stops +3 in damage and a heavy weapon inflicts +3 in damage the results are effectively nullified and you are comparing die versus die. In the supers game this is the same. If Superman has an Invulnerability of +9 then no one can hurt him unless their attack is also +9 or close to it ... then everything works. I believe this scalability works to keep the system pretty open ended, but I welcome arguments for or against this logic.


  2. I think I'd limit armor to +1 for light and medium, and +2 for heavy. +3 is for magical.

  3. @Jeff, agreed. There is effectively a plus four interaction bubble, because at a plus five, even with a roll of a one, you are gonna have a six, effectively mitigating any exchange to a tie with someone with no bonuses.

    Sure the range spreads slightly with the negative one weakness and the plus one to Hero Damage. Come to think of it, it would be rather silly as a PC to take their weakness in Block. They would, in effect, be enlarging the window of damage possibilities.

    Sorry, back on point, that plus four 'window' of interactive ability is limitless for sure, and works (IMHO) well for a supers game. Your example of a +9 is a perfect example. Supermans +9 'armor' makes it impossible for a 'normal' +0 being to even graze him. In fantasy, there is usually a chance, like a natural 20 to hit (there are exceptions for monsters that require a special/magic weapon to hit). I remember reading once where someone figured out the math for how many 1st level (or Normals) it would take to take down a full grown dragon. It was a lot, in the tens of hundreds, but it was doable.

    A Dragon with +9 couldn't be hit at all until the PCs had a +4 attack, and then rarely (2.78% chance, may be wrong.) Plus four is the effective interactive max as I see it. Four levels, or TLs.

    I guess, previously, I was talking about this interactive window and didn't express myself well.

    @Dan, right about where I was thinking. I was thinking of a three tier scale; +1 = best X in the region, +2 = best X in the land, and +3 = best in the world, for any given attribute. Leaving magical items, which would be rare, for that elusive +4.

    Dang, late for work!