Tuesday, March 29, 2011

HEROic D&D -- Part 4

Philosophical Underpinnings
I've been avoiding doing this as I've been writing, but after having wrestled with the prior posts, I feel a bit more confident about posting this now. Plus, I guess it's important to remind myself about these things as I begin to tackle character creation and classes and whatnot.

Fast Character Creation - more Basic D&D than HERO influence here, and that's not a knock against the time it takes to create a character in HERO. Creating a character in Basic D&D is faster than AD&D -- roll up your abilities (and pray your DM is lenient if your initial abilities suck), select your class (which already includes race), roll up your money and shop, and then copy down all the appropriate benefits from tables (hell, the To Hit table is the same no matter what class you select).

And there's a reason that's there -- low-level characters tend to die and not get resurrected. Spent time making a backstory? Sorry, it's all gone unless he's got a brother who's also a fighter...

One of the first steps in HERO is character concept. In Basic D&D, presumably because they were targeting people unfamiliar with the idea of roleplaying, many initial broad-stroke stereotypes are done for you already: the strong but brusque fighter, the intelligent but unwise magic-user, the charismatic but weak halfling. Training wheels (and disposable ones) for the early levels until you've become HERO enough to survive).

Okay, too much philosophy. Back to work.

Players of 1st Level Characters are always afraid - For 1st Level Characters, Armor Class is king, as is Surprise, as is a 3rd level Cleric in the party. Why? The maximum hit die is 1d8. With the oh-so-rare maximum attribute bonus from an 18 Con of +3, you get 11 hit points.

Three kobolds that find you bathing naked could kill you in the 1st round, and will probably kill you in the second round.

Based on this principles, I've decided: 1st Level Characters are Standard Normals.

God, that sucks.

Given the vast difference in experience gain between HERO and D&D, this could be very problematic. I remind myself as I begin to consider the implications that we should try it out a bit and see what happens -- we can change our minds at a later date anyway. Do the due diligence first.

How do I build a magic-user on those points?

Silence, mental me.

Rough Allocation of Points

Standard Normal gets a Total of 25 points assuming you ignore Complications, which I assume would be allocated as follows:

Characteristics: 10 points
Skills/Perks/Talents/Powers: 15 points

I figured on the 10 points for Characteristics by first figuring out how much it would cost to get characteristic one-above average (7 points as seen below):

Str: 11 (1 pt.)
Dex: 11 (2 pts.)
Con: 11 (1 pt.)
Int: 11 (1 pts.)
Ego: 11 (1 pt.)
Pre: 11 (1 pt.)

...and rounded up for an easy to remember number. Technically, you have 3 extra points to tweak your character -- perhaps by buying up your Body, or your Stun. Or you could stick every fricking point you have into getting +1 Speed. Even this puny stat spread is better than what you get by randomly rolling up your stats using 3d6 in exact ability sequence.

As for Skills and Perks and whatnot -- those 15 points go pretty quick. So much for lengthy character creation!

For my next trick, I shall try to build the following on these points and see if I end up a withered husk of a man:
fighter - sort of the most basic class
rogue - a skill-ish counterpoint to the fighter
magic-user - most problematic since we have to handle the magic system

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That's my side of things. Let me know what you think, my friend.

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