Sunday, October 9, 2011

Fantasy Hero -- a different philosophy from OSR

In comparison with the more abstract combat of classic D&D, Fantasy Hero (based on its rules lineage of Champions and the Hero System) is much more tactically complex. But it also does give more tactical options in combat, options that would be eerily familiar to D&D 3E aficionados.

What I do like about the current (Hero 6th Edition) version is that there's a clear dedication to giving a taste of not only the tropes and elements of the genre -- there are quotes from the many varied novels and short stories and other source material that serve to illuminate each of them.

Like prior versions, though, it provides options for running fantasy games: racial templates, class templates, varied magical systems, equipment lists, martial arts (weapons and barehanded), genre and subgenre definitions, and so on.

In short, a gold mine of tools to put together your own campaign -- whatever your chosen ruleset.

Of course, the Hero System is one of my favorite systems, because it taught me (someone who didn't quite understand the concept of game balance/imbalance early on in my gaming career) how to evaluate what trade-offs are done between advantages, disadvantages, abilities, penalties and so on.


  1. Of course it depends on how narrowly you define OSR. If you include The Fantasy Trip then there you have a game that emphasized tactics.

    And I like the same things about HERO, especially because I prefer magic systems where spells use energy. Writing a spell up in HERO gives you a good idea if the energy cost matches the spell's potency.

  2. Hi JerryC!

    Well, in the "rulings over rules" arena it technically already fails. But it's true what you said: it depends on the narrowness of your OSR definition.

  3. Hi,

    Apologies for the off-topic comment, but I couldn't find a contact email for you.

    I've recently put out an ebook of my writing, called 'The New Death and others'. It's mostly short stories, with some obvious gamer-interest material. For example I have a story inspired by OD&D elves, as well as poems which retell Robert E Howard's King Kull story 'The Mirrors of Tuzun Thune' and HP Lovecraft's 'Under the Pyramids'.

    I was wondering if you'd be interested in doing a review on your blog.

    If so, please let me know your email, and what file format is easiest for you, and I'll send you a free copy. You can email me ( or reply to this thread.

    You can download samples from the ebook's pages on Amazon and Smashwords: (kindle only) (variety of formats including plain text and pdf)

    I'll also link to your review from my blog.


  4. Hi anarchist,

    I'd be delighted, but I am a bit swamped right now to do any reading -- I'm editing an anthology right now for Philippine Speculative Fiction volume 7 (along with my wife) and we're currently slogging through the submissions.

    I will e-mail you in case come December (when my work should thin out) you're still interested in my reviews.


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

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