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Champions: The Super Hero Role Playing Game (3rd Edition)
by Christopher B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/06/2022 13:14:09

Played it in the 80's. You design your own superhero with the included rules and go forth and do superhero things after. Hero creation takes a while but you can make just about any superhero you've seen in comics or movies. It's points based and you get experience so your hero can get more powerful or get skills to be more effective with the powers you have. 3d6 rolls for skill execution and combat is a d6-fest counting total and number of dice to do stun damage and killing damage, as well as knockback. It's a very good similution of comic heroes and action. Movement is expressed in inches and hexes (1" hexes) so using ~28mm miniatures works well.

The pdf doesn't have tabs to let you jump around but it's very clean and legible so I don't think it's page scans from a book.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Champions: The Super Hero Role Playing Game (3rd Edition)
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Hudson City Map
by Derek S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/23/2022 15:28:23

This has got to be one of the best Maps for a Modern city I've ever seen. I've used this map multiple times over the years for Modern games like Mutants & Masterminds, World of Darkness and yes, even Hero 6th Edition game. I love this map.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Hudson City Map
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Champions Begins
by Joseph W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/19/2022 10:50:15

What a wonderful way to start playing HERO System! You get everything you need to learn the system and start playing at the amazing low price of FREE! Well worth checking out, even if you're just curious about this amazing system.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Champions Begins
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Champions Begins
by David A. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/20/2022 23:13:45

So. Many. Mistakes! Did no one proofread this before it was published?



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Champions Begins
by Darren K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/17/2022 16:44:01

This is an amazing product. It's like Hero Sidekick plus Hero Basic next step tool. Well done...



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Hero System Book of Templates II
by robert I. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/09/2021 18:04:12

this is a great resourse for both GM's and players showing how to build your favorites from popular comicbooks



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Hero System Book of Templates II
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Hero System Book of Templates II
by A H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/05/2021 12:25:15

I really enjoyed this book, Hero System is a great game, but of course it is on the more complex side. This book does a great job of illistrating how to use the Hero System to make a version of all the recent popular Super Heroes. I learned to make characters in Hero System from books just like this one. If you're looking for a good set a pre-mades to just get your Hero Game off the ground look no further. If you're looking for a how to in the current edition of Hero then all you need to select this and check out. It's good fun for whole family.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Island of Dr Destroyer
by Christopher H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/10/2021 23:41:21

I started my campaign with this adventure. The opening scene is perfect for getting characters into the action and introductions to each other. The villains all hit on the nostalgia for longtime players of Champions, but will appeal to newer players because some of them are quite memorable. The maps are great and I had no problems cutting them in Microsoft Paint 3D and uploading them and expanding them for Roll 20 use. There is a lot of value here and the detailed bad guy hideout alone was worth the price of the adventure. Reply



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Island of Dr Destroyer
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HERO System 6th Edition: Combat and Adventuring
by Roger D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/26/2021 23:11:58

The Hero System version 6 is the best mix of fantasy/real-life role-playing I've ever played. It is a universal principle that when you give someone more options, it become inherently more complex. When you make an RPG closer to real-life, it becomes more complex. The Hero System involves lots of options for character creation and combat, allows the character to specialize in anything, and gives tools for building characters based on back-story, strengths, fears, equipment, and even the people that character knows.

The Combat & Adventuring book is necessary to learn and run Hero System campaigns and adventures. It's also useful during character creation so you can see how your choices will affect your combat. This book contains a good foundation for having combat that uses super powers, guns, dinosaurs, robots, mental magicians, and everything else the Hero System can take.

At my age, I know how I learn. I learn well from reading, but I also learn from example. This book has way too few examples and formulas for combat scenarios. As I reviewed in the Character Creation book on this web site, a list of formulas with variables would be really helpful, rather than the English in-line wording that so often describes how something works. The Hero System is for intelligent folks because it involves a lot of math. Laying out the math in formulas would help so much in the heat of combat and might also make good annotations on a character sheet.

I purchased both the printed book and the PDF as a combo. The problems with the printed book are that it's black-and-white and soft cover. The soft cover means it doesn't stand up well in my collection; it kind of slouches. The B&W print isn't exciting to look at. Titles and captions in the black-and-white print are merely a bigger font, rather than using a stand-out color. The page numbers in the Index at the back of the printed book are hard to read as they were originally red and light blue; which get printed as a light-gray color. The colored page numbers have significance, too: blue is for handbook 1 and red is for handbook 2. Luckily they are prefixed with 6E1 and 6E2, otherwise I wouldn't be able to tell the difference.

Although I started Hero System with my teenage kids and their friends, they put no effort into learning this complex system. They never learned how to make a character or how to properly do combat. And no one showed me how to play; I learned it all from the books. Combat became bogged down because, not only did I have to control the NPC enemies' attacks, but also help the PCs make their attacks. After trying this system for a few years, they eventually got the fantasy hook and we transferred to D&D. D&D is easier for character creation and combat, the art is better, but the system makes little sense. Every racial and class feature, spell, and magic item has to be explained in loose English terms, rather than in game terms like the Hero System does. Armor class (AC), hit points (hp), and healing make even less sense in D&D, so I love how the Hero System tackles those issues. D&D combat involves one or two attack dice, the addition of small numbers (like +1 or +3), and comparing them as less than, greater than, or equal to some number. D&D won over our group because of simplicity.

Would I go back to Hero if they did? I don't know. It really took so much time building the enemies, vehicles, weapons, armor, and adventures behind the scenes. I would spend hours in the library, the restaurant, and at home preparing for a few hours of adventuring. And I would always figure the costs to make sure things were balanced which meant lots of math, and even more math when I would change a power by adding an advantage or limitation. I would sooner be a player than a GM again.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
HERO System 6th Edition: Combat and Adventuring
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HERO System Bestiary (6th Edition)
by Roger D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/26/2021 22:49:39

I purchased the Bestiary for the same reason I purchased other Hero System supplements--to save time preparing for play. Since the Hero system requires you build everything beforehand, any time-savers are appreciated. And because the Hero System rules are so complex, it helps me become a better builder when I see the pros build things like centaurs, giant frogs, and living chests (mimics). For instance, it was cool to see how the dracodemo has wings built as a small multi-power: they help it fly and they can attack with those wings, but not both at the same time.

Another reason I bought the Bestiary was because the Villains 3 book I purchased mentions it. There is a monster there able to summon a certain number of character-points worth of creatures from the sea and it mentions the Bestiary.

I believe this was one of the rare PDF-only purchases I made from the Hero System. Like any good PDF, it is searchable and does not seem to rely on OCR (optical character recognition) that comes from scanning pages.

As far as the organization of the book is concerned, it is pretty well organized, but it can be hard to find things, even though it's a PDF. For instance, while there is a Table of Contents, there is no index. Take the imp, for example. The two-page, small-text Table of Contents shows imp under demons and devils. While I understand why it's found there, where could I go to easily find imp alphabetically? If I search the PDF for imp, I'll find words like "chimpanzee", "improve", and "important." So let's say that I check the box that says "Whole words only", then I'll find it. Looking for bear has similar problems. I find it when used as a synonym for carry, and in words like werebear. In the Table of Contents, it is on page 2, under Chapter Six - Mundane Beasts, under Bears. So, yes, while I agree with the organization, search helps would make the book and PDF better.

The art is okay, but I didn't buy the book for the art. However, while I kind of expected a black-and-white printed version (as it was with the Hero System handbooks), the Bestiary PDF itself is black-and-white! There are drawings of dragons, apes, and demons, all of which look to have been drawn in a single color. But like I said, I didn't buy the book for the art.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
HERO System Bestiary (6th Edition)
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HERO System 6th Edition: Character Creation
by Roger D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/26/2021 22:29:57

The Hero System is the most flexible, balanced, real-life/fantasy role-playing system I've ever played. You can play in worlds that resemble super hero comic books, deep space adventures, high fantasy, country westerns, pulp fiction, and 1920's New York noire, all with one system. The rules are a bit of a tough swallow, but they are pretty consistent. I love the separation between special effect and game effect. I like how many examples there are in the books, even though they're relegated to the margins. I like the artwork as well.

I love how I get a printed book and a searchable PDF (because I bought the combo). I wish the print was color and hard-cover, even if that made it more expensive. I would have at least liked the option to choose color or black-and-white. The soft cover starts to fall apart after lots of commutes in a backpack. It doesn't stand up well on a shelf of Hero books because of this. The index at the back of the printed book is hard to read because the original color of page numbers are light blue and red, which fade to light gray in the black-and-white printed version.

The most difficult part of the Hero System is having to build everything--enemies, weapons, armor, bases, vehicles, animals, adventures, and campaigns before you can play. All of this (plus learning the rules) takes a great deal of time. And you'd better have an intelligent play group. Combat requires lots of addition, counting patterns, and subtraction; building characters involves calculating costs with multiplying and dividing fractions. While there is additional software you can purchase to help out, you still need your GM's approval. They need to approve costs associated with limitations, and the design of things like contacts, favors, and complications.

While the popular D&D system is easy to learn, people have a hard time describing the flavor of Armor Class (a combination of dexterity and armor) and hit points. The Hero System nails these issues in the bud, where each character has an offensive combat value, defensive combat value, physical defense, energy defense, resistant versions of the last two, stun, and body. All of these combine to make a combat system that makes more sense, but requires more math in the heat of combat. Critical hits and failures in D&D each have a 1 in 20 chance of occurring because you're using 1d20. In Hero, you roll your attack with 3d6. A 3 is an automatic, glorious hit and an 18 is a colossal fail. Each of these rolls has a 1 in 216 chance of occurring. Much more realistic.

Here is what I would improve if there were another version of the book. While there is a section of charts at the back, I would also add a section of formulas. Formulas for things like knockback and turn radius are hidden in paragraph form. I would love to see formulas with variables and I just substitute the variables. Knockback, for instance, includes formulas for going into and thru walls, which require other variables like wall BODY and PD, but it is written in English form, rather than in math form. There are other things that could be turned into formulas, like the rules for adjustment powers, multi-attack, and how damage from an attack gets applied to defenses. So, in-line formulas would be great as would an index of formulas.

Another thing I would improve are the headers and footers. When I flip through a book, I personally look at the lower corners to find the page I want. However, the page numbers in this book are in the upper corners. Also, although the header will say something like "244 - Powers", I would really like to know alphabetically where I am in relation to what I'm looking for. Page 244 gives no indication as to which Power it's talking about. It happens to be Leaping. Therefore, if I was looking for FTL, I know I'd have to flip more towards the beginning of the book, and if I was looking for Multiform, I'd have to flip more towards the ending. Even if the header just had "244 - Powers - L" I would know where I was.

All in all, it's a great system, but it's not for the mathematically faint of heart. I started a group with my teenagers and their friends. I had no one to show me the ropes and no GM to explain how things worked. I spent way more hours preparing for adventures than playing them because of all there was to design and build, along with reading and learning the rules because the teens wouldn't.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
HERO System 6th Edition: Character Creation
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Hudson City: The Urban Abyss - PDF
by Harold C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/08/2021 02:19:41

In all, the product would have received a 4 star rating. The editing was GOOD, the presentation was GOOD, and the layout was GOOD. Toss in the fact that the detailed information contained within was GOOD, and you'd see why I'd rate it at a good SOLID 4 star product. If you want to run a campaign set in a gritty urban environment, this would be a worth while product.

The problem is, the security restrictions placed on the PDF document by means of internal document security - was higher than any I have ever used from other game companies such as SJGames, R. Talsorian, etc. Security settings folllow these guidelines (right click on PDF page, select properties, then security to see what the security settings are for your PDF).

Printing Document Assembly Content Copying Content Copying for Accessibility Page Extraction Commenting FIlling of form fields Signing Creation of Template pages

SJGames for example, only disallows Document Assembly and Page Extraction. R Talsorian only disallows Document Assembly, Page Extraction and Creation of Template pages. This particular product?

Disalllows EVERYTHING save for Printing and Content Copying for Accessibility.

How did I discover this fact? I went to copy the word "otorhinolaryngology" so I could google its meaning. When I could not copy and paste the word to Google's search field, is when I dug deeper into the permissions at the security level and thought to myself "Wow" and said to myself "not going to buy another product again with this kind of restriction."



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Hudson City: The Urban Abyss - PDF
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Vibora Bay - PDF
by Ernest B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/19/2020 15:24:15

An excellent setting for any Super RPG delving into the mystical side of things, VIBORA BAY gives the Champions setting new depth and texture. It would be especially good to mix with DARK CHAMPIONS: THE ANIMATED SERIES to have a dark urban fantasy setting similar to CITY OF MIST. Highly recommended.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Vibora Bay - PDF
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Champions Now
by Chris M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/05/2020 14:00:46

Champions Now is the most confounding product I have reviewed to date. I’ll start with my ratings (this product definitely warrants multiple ratings) based on my direct, personal experience, and then if you’re interested you can read my detailed explanations below. [Note: People have told me that based on the text below that my overall rating should be 3-stars, and they're probably right. I gave it an overall 4 stars because it's hitting my sweet spot right now. Anyway, on with the show...]

The system mechanics – if you’re an experienced Champions player looking for a simpler, faster system that hearkens back to 80’s style of the first few editions of Champions and your players already know Champions too: ***** (5 stars).

The written text of this book: 0 stars. This is the worst-written RPG book I have ever read in my 40 years in the hobby.

The system mechanics – if you are unfamiliar with Champions or the Hero System and you’re looking for a medium-crunch, point-buy superhero system: *** (3 stars). The mechanics are great, but you’ll have to wade through the terrible writing to learn them.

The system mechanics – if you yourself are familiar with Champions but you want to GM it for a bunch of players who are not (which was my experience): **** (4 stars). Manageable, because your players will have you to explain things after they get frustrated reading the horrible text of this book.

Art and Design: ** (2 stars). The design and layout are fine, but there’s very little art in the book itself, and some of it is not up to Hero Games’ standard, imo. Also, the cover art is very un-dynamic and uninspiring for a superhero roleplaying game product.

THE WRITTEN TEXT

Let’s start here since it shades everything else about this product. The writing is terrible. It reads like a master’s thesis by a way-too-full-of-himself grad student. I feel bad saying that because I don't know the author personally, and I assume everyone is a nice person trying to do their best. But the writing style and much of the content really detracts from the excellent mechanics.

Most RPG rulebooks introduce a mechanic briefly, give some examples, and then explain it in more depth without overwriting the explanation. The author here so desperately wants you to know what HE thinks about everything that he writes pages and pages (and pages) of often unclear verbiage telling you that and then sort-of half-baked explaining the rules before actually telling you what a given rule is. This is just bonkers to me. I want to know what the rules are in as clear and concise a manner as possible. I don’t care what you think about them. Save that for your blog, man. The extra pages could have been used to include villain character sheets, more artwork, or an introductory adventure, all of which would have served your readers better.

The author of this book is excessively in your face with his opinions and views on how the game should be played, and it reads poorly because of his writing style and how redundant so much of it is. I assume the inspiration for this was Aaron Allston’s classic “Strikeforce” book from the 80’s. While Allston did write some excellent advice on playing and GMing superhero games, his writing style, while not dry, was practical, concise, and clear. The writing in this book is none of those things. Honestly, if you’re looking for that type of material, you would be far better served getting a copy of “Strikeforce” on DriveThruRpg or wherever and reading that and skipping all the non-mechanical text in this book.

The author also includes a lot of parenthetical opinion commentary on superhero comic books that doesn’t need to be in the book. Some of it I agreed with, some of it I didn’t, but 95% of it is completely superfluous to explaining the rules of the game or how to play it. Again, save that kind of material for your blog.

THE SYSTEM MECHANICS

If you are looking for a medium-crunch, point-buy superhero system that is fast and flexible and fun, I think these rules are awesome. There are a few things that I’ve house-ruled (the author is WAY more into Luck and Unluck mechanics than I am, and I don’t really care for his rules for them), but very few. The game plays exceptionally well as-is, and I LOVE how much faster it is to build a villain or run a combat than it is in 5e or 6e Champions (which I have played and enjoyed and have no problem with). I’m just at a point in my life where a simpler and faster – but still crunchy (I don’t want rules-light, I just don’t want rules-heavy anymore) – system is what I’m looking for, and this absolutely fits the bill.

Something else that I really appreciate about this book is that it is a superhero roleplaying game system. It’s not trying to be a universal RPG system, and I think that’s fantastic. That is absolutely perfect for my needs. The author sets out to write a simpler, superhero-focused, Champions game with its roots firmly planted in the three editions from the 80’s, and to his credit he has absolutely succeeded in terms of mechanics.

The only non-mechanical writing that I both agreed with and found helpful for new and old players alike is the author’s take on special effects. In Champions, if you want to shoot bolts of fire from your hands, you buy the Blast power and define it as a Flame Blast or whatever you want to call it (you can further fine-tune it, and make it crunchier, with Advantages and Limitations applied to the power, which is something that makes character creation a lot of fun). “Fire” is the special effect, “Blast” is the mechanic.

The author of this version of Champions wants the special effects to have additional mechanical effects when it makes sense. If a group of villains are standing in a pool of flammable liquid and you shoot it with your Flame Blast, it should cause the liquid to ignite and do your fire damage to everyone in the pool. A GM has to be careful to not let the players (or his villains) get away with too much “extra” mechanical benefit from special effects, but this is absolutely my favorite way to run Champions because it leads both you and the players to be more creative with your combat actions and makes battles less generic and more memorable.

But otherwise, the only downside of this ruleset is the terrible writing of the book itself. There are parts of the book that are confusing to players not already familiar with Champions, and my players were all as turned off the over-pontificating of the text as I was. If you’re new to Champions and are confused about something, don’t drive yourself to frustration trying to figure it out from this text. Find someone who is already an experienced Champions player or go to roleplayinggeek.com or the Hero forums and ask questions of people who already know how to play.

ART AND DESIGN

The design and layout are good, up to Hero’s usual standards. I think the book would have benefitted from more and better artwork that would inspire new players’ imaginations and get them excited about playing in the genre. And one of the great things about previous editions of Champions is each sample hero and villain having a good illustration showing you what they look like. Except for a couple characters, this book lacks that, which is unfortunate and surprising given the author is trying to go back to that 80’s well. Readers would have been much better served by more artwork and less of the author’s views on how games should be played.

When I first saw this book, I was puzzled by the cover. It’s a nice painting, but it’s just a not-very-striking character in an undynamic pose with some dim scenes in the background that aren’t superheroic and don’t really make any sense without context. Unfortunately, the author provides that context in the book itself. It’s a villain character he created, and he explains the character’s backstory, which is fine, but then goes on about the process of how the illustration itself came together and how proud he is of it and how clever he thinks it is to put a villain on the cover. Again, this is just taking up space that could have been given to actual game content and should go on his blog.

Also, putting an undynamic illustration of a visually dull villain on the cover of your superhero game is not a great way to use your cover to drive sales. Look at the George Perez cover to 4th edition Champions. Holy cow! That has both a great villain and a great hero battling in a dynamic, colorful illustration that screams “Superhero games are awesome, and these guys get it!” This cover does not do that and is sadly a wasted opportunity to hook potential players’ interests. (Especially since the inspiration and style of play being invoked is classic 80’s Champions, which is not about grim-and-gritty or dark, deconstructionist superheroics – you could certainly use these rules to play that way, but that’s definitely not the default. Such a weird choice.)

IN CONCLUSION

I’m giving this book an overall 4-star rating because ultimately I think these are great medium-crunch, point-buy rules for superhero gaming, and if you can get through the bad writing (or you actually like it – everyone’s opinions are different) I think you’ll have a great time playing this game. I really do hope it will attract enough of a player base to result in more products being published for it (some adventures for busy adult GMs would be excellent!), I just hope they’re not written in the same style as this book. Recommended, but with caveats.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Champions Now
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The Hero System Book of Templates
by Virgil H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/21/2020 13:13:54

A fantastic book allowing us to finally create characters with less headache. The pre-generated characters make it easy to introduce players to the game, easing the learning curve. This is a must have reference book!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Hero System Book of Templates
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