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Old November 12th, 2009, 07:07 AM

happygeek happygeek is offline
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Default OT: Champions

About 25 years ago, I used to enjoy playing the Pen and Paper RPG "Champions". I was quite sure no one had heard of it, since I had lost my rulebooks about 23 years ago when I moved out of my folks' place. I had actually looked around for the books when the internet got more common, but never found anything, and stopped looking when the 90s were over. Recently, I had a look once again, and am now really flabbergasted and confused. May I ask some of you wise gamers?

Now, when I search, I see that the game idea has been franchised and now released as an MMO, (champions online).

Frankly, I am not terribly interested in an MMO. I wanted to get my hands on some of the PnP manuals. I would even have purchased a SP RPG (I did actually purchase "Freedom Force", thinking it would be much like what I was looking for, but was dissapointed).

So I checked out the wiki, and according to the WIki Site, the MMO is based on the PnP game I am looking for. Yet what I didn't know is that the manuals that I once owned are apparently (??) redone and now part of a larger system, the Hero System as it is apparently called, which I believe to be some generic RPG system much like Jackson's GURPS. Unless I am mistaken.

So I checked out the Hero site, and cannot make heads nor tails of it. I want to purchase the Champions PnP manual, but cannot find out what is what. I checked out amazon.de (I live in Germany) and they offer nothing from Hero.

So my questions are
1. Can anyone give me the current situation? Is "Champions" a sub-franchise of Hero?
2. I live in Germany. If I want to purchase the Champions manual or manuals, what must I do?
3. Has anyone actually tried out Champions online?

thank you in advance
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Old November 12th, 2009, 08:28 AM

Raiel Raiel is offline
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Default Re: OT: Champions

1) My understanding is that Steve Long was the original force behind Champions. The HERO System is his work and Champions is a subset of that system. Here's an excerpt from the hero system page:

"And now I’m back to full-time writing on Champions for 6E [6th edition of the HERO System Core Rules]. As of this writing, I’m deep in the middle of Chapter Two and making good progress."

2) I recommend purchasing the downloadable versions of this system, but I suspect you can also get the hard copies shipped wherever you need them. Here's the shopping page:


3) After trying WoW, I doubt I'll ever touch another MMO, even if it was inpspired by such a great RPG system.


It's ironic that I originally found this system as a result of a post on these (Dominions 3) forums.
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Old November 12th, 2009, 09:48 AM

happygeek happygeek is offline
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Default Re: OT: Champions

Hey thank you for that quick answer. I just did a quick search of "champions" on these forums and only find my own post plus one MP game. Can you link me?

Sadly, after spending 30 minutes on the shopping page to which you link, I am still somewhat confused. I remember purchasing a "rulebook" for Champions 25 years ago; on that page to which you link, I can see a couple hundred possibilities, and perhaps four or five for what appears to be some sort of Champions core ruleset. When I click on the "view details" of that product, I am told that I will require the HERO 5th edition rulebook in addition; there are lots of options for that as well. What surprises me is that what appears to be the most affordable versions of both of those books together would cost $60 as a download. It is very hard to tell from the description (I find the website itself to be confusing), but it seems that this is really just a pdf of the textbook, no software, no game. Is that right? Have the prices skyrocketed because he sold his idea as an MMO, or was this always so expensive? I'm thinking twice, but maybe I am still confused, the HERO website is, oddly enough, not for the uninitiated.
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Old November 12th, 2009, 03:29 PM

aaminoff aaminoff is offline
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Default Re: OT: Champions

I played Champions (the paper & pen version) quite a bit in college, in the late 1980s. In those days I think it was 4th edition. I believe what happened is that Champions started out as a superhero genre system, and was generalized into something akin to GURPS, and finally Champions is now a special case of the HERO system. So you probably do need both the base HERO book and the Champions book.

The prices you describe are, unfortunately, high, but not surprising. Paper and pen RPGs have become a bit of a niche market. The books still take just as much time and effort on the part of writers/designers/producers to make, but now that cost must be borne by a much smaller number of customers. Also, there is a cohort effect, where the bulk of people interested in PnP RPGs were probably born in the 1960s-1970s and got into gaming in the late 1970s-1980s, and nowadays that cohort has grown up & gotten jobs and is much less price-sensitive than they used to be. I very much doubt the prices are high because of the MMO tie-in, especially as I don't think that particular MMO has done all that well as far as market share.

What you might want to do is look on Amazon or Ebay for used copies of the rulebooks. You might even go for the slightly older ones, 4th edition or whatever. Unfortunately shipping to Germany may use up any money you save, but at least you get a physical book.
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Old November 12th, 2009, 05:29 PM
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djo djo is offline
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Default Re: OT: Champions

Head on over to rpg.net and look for some reviews there. They have a very active set of forums, if you want to ask over there. My vague recollection is that the current Heroes/Champions is a multi-book system now. Back when I played (early 90s), "Champions" was the single-book superhero game and overall game system, and individual sourcebooks adapted the system for non-superhero genres (my group played "Fantasy Hero", for example).

Edit: And I also recall that the Hero/Champions system has changed hands a large number of times, so that may explain why the confusion in figuring out whether you're looking at current or historical information.
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Old November 12th, 2009, 06:23 PM
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Yskonyn Yskonyn is offline
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Default Re: OT: Champions

I have no experience with Champions PnP, but I do have a lifetime sub for Champions Online.

It's very much action oriented and the character creation options are massive in scope. It's a fairly generic MMO in aspects of questing, crafting (light even) ,but the combat is quick and flashy and a lot of fun.

I doubt, however, that you would really like it (or any MMO for that matter) if you're looking for a PnP experience. Those are very different.
The only MMO coming close to the PnP games of old is maybe Dungeons and Dragons online (playing that occasionally as well).

If I can answer more questions about CO, please ask.
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Old November 13th, 2009, 03:59 PM

happygeek happygeek is offline
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Default Re: OT: Champions

Hmn thank you all.
That makes sense, I suppose. I was just so overwhelmed by that website's plethora of detailed information on the one hand and utter lack of explanatory metainformation on the other hand that I was unable to figure out what is what. I think that makes some sort of sense now.

@Ysk: Yes, I think MMOs are not really for me, I also am wary of becoming "addicted". Also, a brief look at the CO website had me baffled again -- in 10 minutes, I was unable to find out what it actually *costs*. I gave up. What does it cost?

@all: Would you say that HERO is superior to GURPS?
Is there no character generation mini-program, like there was in the CD that came with the D&D3e character rulebook?

Last edited by happygeek; November 13th, 2009 at 04:06 PM.. Reason: forgot a question
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