The HERO System is a Work of Art

Let me start by saying that I’ve met Steve Long, the writer of Hero 5th Edition in real life.  He’s a huge dork.  Slightly overweight, unfashionable glasses, and a terrible haircut.  I told him flatout I thought the system was anal-retentive, and he said very seriously that that was why people bought it.  Another time I posted a question on the HERO boards about why a certain thing was priced a certain way, and he said, “Sorry, I don’t answer game design/philosophy questions.”  So the man is utterly humorless.

However, when it comes to rewriting a system to make it as anal-retentive as possible, he may very possibly be the best man for the job.  HERO 5 (revised) is so expansive, detailed, and crammed full of stuff.  It reads like a textbook, and its shaped like one to boot.  Its the biggest gaming book I own, and the second biggest book I own.  It can stop certain calibers of bullets.

As a universal system, I haven’t seen anything that comes close.  I hate stupid mystery games.  Last night I was writing up a superhero-level character, The Muse, with an ability to instantly determine the solution to any problem (or rather, grant that ability to others).  You can model that under the HERO system.  It costed 24 points.  (Superheroes typically get 350).  Now that’s a versatile system.

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