On Tuesday I started a Thought Experiment in supers games, looking at what changes a character goes through when converted from one system to another. This is meant to test the validity of most supers games claims that you can use the system to build “any” character or run “any” kind of game. The character in question – Dr. Zachary Zevon, the Indestructible Man - started in Villains and Vigilantes, and uesterday he was translated into Silver Age Sentinels. Today, with the aid of the redoubtable Cambias, we look at him in HERO
A quick recap: Dr. Z is the Reed Richards analogue in a Fantastic Four style game. His natural abilities include a massive intellect and scientific skill, a powerful presence & sense-of-self, and an ability to analyze his opponents’ fighting style and the scientific basis for their powers. His superhuman ability is an invisible, highly versatile force field. He is renowned as the smartest man on Mars and is a millionaire with access to advanced technology and the Liberty Lair, his team’s base.
Having seen him map over with some hits to his Fidelity, how would it work in play?
I don’t have a ton of experience with HERO, but I’d have to say “Poorly”. The character costs in at 500 points, which is somewhere between High Powered and Very High Powered, but he doesn’t break out in any of the conventional fashions for those power levels. His Stun score is lousy. His Speed Score is the same as a Brick or a Mook in a game where Speed is a big determining factor in combat effectiveness. His damage Potential is too low to hurt anyone he can hit, and his OCV is too low to hit anyone he can hurt. I might be under-emphasizing the strength of the Gadget pool here in making 50 Active Point weapons against a target’s weak spots, but that’s hard to say. In either event, the Gadget Pool and the Force Field Pool would both take more math than I’d like to have to do in play.
Damage Delivery in HERO is very different than the other two games: it has a higher potential lethality and relies more on whittling an opponent down. The Force Field power is meant to slow the whittling, but not to stop it all together. That makes the iconic “Indestructible Force Field that Dr. Z had in the other two games hard to manage. Ideally Dr. Z would have a PD and ED equal to the number of dice in the average attack, so it would be a rare shot that would breach the wall. But that gets costly in a High Power game – 12/12 at least, for 70 base points, plus the invisibility = 105 points, which breaks the suggested cap of AP for a power. Interestingly the Force Field powers take up about 40% (actually 43%) of his points here as well.
The Skill list is longer, but it’s also reductive – in the other systems it’s assumed that Dr. Z can do anything that makes reasonable sense for the character. In HERO if it’s not written down he hasn’t got it. I’d really want to see even more on there – conversation, security systems, other sciences, and so on, but that would price things up even more. The biggest problem remains the way Damage is handled, however,
I’m interested if anyone has any suggestions on improving the fidelity, because the system still leaves me noticing all the things he Can’t do rather than envisioning the ones he can. I also find it interesting that a character who is of "average" power level in the previous two games is on the High to Very High range in HERO. Why is that?