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Instant Hero

Premise

This document describes the basic Hero System Rules (HSR) dice mechanics and suggests some changes to simplify their use during play, make them easier to learn, and the results more intuitive.

Combat Version 1.0

One of the most common events during a gaming session is direct conflict. The mechanic that governs this interaction in Hero System works in this fashion:

The player announces the attack. Either the player or the GM determines the OCV of the attacker and the DCV of the defender. They add the OCV to eleven (11) and subtract the DCV. This result is announced, and the attacker rolls 3d6. If the result is less than the announced number, the attack has succeeded.

Here is a list of what actions are performed by each party:

  1. The player announces the attack
  2. The GM asks for the player's OCV
  3. The GM looks up the target's DCV
  4. The GM adds 11+OCV-DCV
  5. The GM announces the total
  6. The player rolls 3d6 and totals them
  7. The player announces success or failure

This may seem cumbersome, but during play it usually works much more smoothly:

Lugnut says "I'm going to punch the jerk."
ZargleGM says "What's your OCV, Lugnut?"
Lugnut says "8"
ZargleGM says "You need a 9-"
> Lugnut rolls 3d6+0 and gets 6 6 3 for a result of 15.
Lugnut says, "Nertz! Missed."

Version 1.1

Let's take a look at that list again. Notice that the GM is performing most of the work, and by announcing the total the players are provided with specific information about the target's DCV. Also, much of the information exchanged is synchronous -- both parties must wait for each step to finish before they can proceed with the next. We can change the order and the math just a bit to improve this in several ways:

The player announces the attack. The player determines the attacker's OCV, adds it to eleven, and subtracts a 3d6 roll from the total. The player announces the result as "I hit DCV X." The GM determines the target's DCV. If the DCV is less than or equal to the announced result, the attacker has succeeded.

Here is a list of what actions are performed by each party:

  1. The player announces the attack
  2. The player adds 11+OCV
  3. The player rolls 3d6 and subtracts the result from the total
  4. The player announces the total
  5. The GM determines the DCV of the target
  6. The GM announces success or failure

We have removed one entire step from the list. In addition, steps 2, 3 and 4 can be performed by the player without interaction with the GM. Similarly, steps 5 and 6 are performed by the GM without interaction with the player. Reorganizing the actions in this way allows us to compress the list of actions significantly:

  1. The player announces the attack
  2. The player adds 11+OCV-3d6 and announces the total
  3. The GM determines the DCV of the target and announces success or failure

An example in play looks like this:

Lugnut says "I'm going to punch the jerk. (11+8=19)"
> Lugnut rolls 3d6+0 and gets 6 6 3 for a result of 15.
Lugnut says "I hit DCV 4. Nertz!"
ZargleGM says "You miss."

Since the result is expressed in terms of how effective the attack is ("I hit DCV 4") the participants have an easier and more immediate understanding of what the result means.

Version 1.2

We can make one more change that removes the use of subtraction from the calculation. This requires putting one of the actions back into the GM's hands, but makes the flow of play go more smoothly.

In the previous version, the player subtracted out the roll of 3d6 when making a to-hit roll. We remove the subtraction step by requiring the GM to add eleven to the DCV when determining the effect.

The player announces the attack, rolls 3d6, adds their OCV, and announces the total. The GM determines the target's DCV and adds eleven. If the player's result is larger, the attacker has succeeded.

Our list now looks like this:

  1. The player announces the attack
  2. The player adds 3d6+OCV and announces the total
  3. The GM determines the DCV of the target, adds 11, and announces success or failure

An example in play looks like this:

Lugnut says "I'm going to punch the jerk."
> Lugnut rolls 3d6+8 and gets 6 6 3 for a result of 23.
ZargleGM says "You hit."

Note that one additional very importantthing has changed: In this version, big numbers are good.

Terminology

HSR Hero System Rules
CV Combat Value. Equal to DEX/3
OCV Offensive Combat Value, the CV of an attacker.
DCV Defensive Combat Value, the CV of a defender.
GM Game Master. The person responsible for determining the effects of the PC's actions on the environment and describing the environment to the players.




Last modified: 2002-May-26 18:41:30

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