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HiLo Heroes


HiLo Heroes is about as rules lite as I can tolerate; while I can't imagine trying to play a campaign using HiLo, it has some interesting aspects that made it fun for a quick game with some old friends. Oh and it's a free download, so worth every penny emoticon

Basically everything about your character is represented by calling it Hi or Lo (i.e. Strong (Hi) and Quick (Lo)). Every action requires you to roll 2d6 and depending on the related rating, you either take the high or low die. Simple.

Powers are minimally defined and only offer a +1 bonus to an applicable roll, so your Adamantine Claws would give you a +1 to your damage rolls (the same as a shotgun, optic blasts, or psychic knives to the brain). Over the course of a campaign you could, in theory, "level up" your Adamantine Claws to +2, +3, etc. Small bonuses are a big deal.

Powers such as Tiny Form offer the same bonus, +1, but to a different action (Evade in this case). Your actual size is not dependent on your "level" of Tiny Form, that's just narrative fluff. This being the case, you can end up with weird rules vs narrative arguements like "well, I simply shrink to microscopic size and dissapear for a while...cool, well you still get attacked, so roll to evade".

Which gets me to the part that I didn't like; everything outside of roll to hit, damage, evade, and block is all narrative fluff. The game avoids addressing powers that are difficult to shoe horn into a simple bonus such as Regeneration or just plops a bonus onto powers that probably require more thought such as Invisibility (which gives a +1 to Evade too).

Accepting that the game is 99% about combat, you gain experience not from succeeding at actions or completing plots, but rolling dice as frequently as possible. Every time you roll doubles on your 2d6 you gain an xp. You can "level up" a power at any time by spending xp, so in the middle of a fight, you could roll doubles, bump up your power by +1, heal all your wounds, and gain an additional point of health.

There's a little bit more to the game, especially rolling doubles, but that's the jist of it. It's worth looking at, maybe even running a game or three, but long term game play seems like it would require an awesome story because the rules don't have a lot to offer beyond "congrats, you get another +1!".
7/6/2013, 12:01 am Link to this post Email Dustland   PM Dustland Blog
 
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Re: HiLo Heroes


I have actually had a copy of HiLo Heroes for a long time, and just updated mine to the most recent version. It is a very attractive system for the purposes of just throwing together a game of relatively low-powered heroes. Well, the game doesn't get into "how powerful" a character is, but you only get two different powers to start with, so, yeah. Still, I have always wanted to try running this game. Some guy once did a series of blog entries writing up the JSA for this system, which was very interesting to see, too.
7/7/2013, 5:15 pm Link to this post Email MaxTraver   PM MaxTraver Blog
 
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Re: HiLo Heroes


I've now played two games with it where we played super-powered mutants. Both games felt like mystery-men level adventures where success and failure were only a hair's width apart. It does make for some tense combat because everyone seems to get pretty well banged up. Even if you're good, you're really not THAT good, at least at "1st level". I could see how that would change at higher levels.

After last night's game, I really think with a little fleshing out this could make a fun and simple system for more realistic games such as weird west or modern horror where you don't have a bunch of folks running around with suites of powers but rather a buck knife, a crossbow, and maybe a single supernatural trick...I'm thinking zombie wars!

I'll have to search for the blog post you mentioned. I've looked around for gameplay notes or house rules, but there doesn't seem to be a lot out there.

Last edited by Dustland, 7/7/2013, 6:07 pm
7/7/2013, 6:05 pm Link to this post Email Dustland   PM Dustland Blog
 
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Re: HiLo Heroes


Here's a link to the blog with a TON of write-ups:

http://sordnbord.blogspot.com/search/label/HiLo

I'll be damned if I can find the JSA characters, but there are tons of other ones here.

-Max
7/7/2013, 7:26 pm Link to this post Email MaxTraver   PM MaxTraver Blog
 
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Re: HiLo Heroes


Thanks Max, that's a pretty cool read.

Well my third game fell a player short so I ran a solo adventure. I've always wanted to play a Borderlands style RPG, my friend had never played Borderlands, and HiLo was a simple fit so we gave it a go. (Which I hope to one day use Supers! for...)

I allowed the player to pick 3 "powers" and didn't have to take a weakness. He decided to go with a hunter turned mercenary. Here's what he came up with:

Longshot McAllister
Body: Quick (High), Powerful (Low)
Mentality: Logical (High), Intuitive (Low)
Temperment: Bold (Low), Cautious (High)

Professions: Hunter, Mercenary

Powers: Steady Aim (+1 Attack), High Caliber Rifle (+1 Damage), Phase Shifting E-Shield (+1 Evade)

So Longshot's a fast, slimly built hunter who is patient and meticulous in his stalks. Years of practice have taught him to shoot straight and he has a battered old hard-hitting rifle to do the job with. Before answering the call of adventure, Longshot picked up a half-busted E-Shield that blurs his form, making it a bit harder to hit him.

Longshot McAllister answered a call for help from the citizens of Fyrestone on the remote planet of Pandora. Seems the area has been overrun by one of the many bandit tribes running around the desert and they're willing to pay handsomely to have the raiders driven off (3000 creds, the equivalent of 3XP).
7/14/2013, 1:11 pm Link to this post Email Dustland   PM Dustland Blog
 
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Re: HiLo Heroes


The merc was dropped off on the dusty highland highway a few miles from Fyrestone, the closest the armored bus he'd hired for transport was willing to go. No worries, Longshot made his way to the village, bypassing a number of dens where skags were lounging about, not doing much but trying to stay out of the heat.

Rolled a couple of successful Hunting checks to slip by the packs of skags.

As he approached the high walled village, Longshot could hear the roar of engines and the crack of gunfire. The main gate had been busted through; as he approached, he could see a disabled dune buggy just inside the village with a heavy caliber machine gun mounted on its top. Three men were arguing, trying to figure out how to get the vehicle up and running after having apparently used it to ram down the gate. Their conversation indicated that they were part of a larger raiding party.

Failing to take advantage of the bandits being distracted, young McAllister swaggered through the gate with his rifle raised, called out to the men and opened fire! (No suprise round since he announced his presence, but he still won intitiative).

The hunter quickly decided to take aim at the bandit who was manning the machine gun, fired off a single, well-placed shot and dropped the man dead. The remaining two bandits returned fire but were too shocked to aim well.

The following round Longshot rolled particularly well on his initiative, gaining two actions. He chambered a round, dropped the second bandit, chambered another round but fired too hastily at the third and the shot went wide. The remaining bandit fired wildly and turned to flee deeper into the village, apparently hoping to link up with the rest of the bandit tribe.

With only one chance to stop the man before he could call for reinforcements, Longshot fired his fourth round which flew true and straight, knocking the man into the dust, a pool of red forming under him. He took a moment to reload and scrounge through the vehicle but didn't find anything of value.

At this point the player was pretty pumped, but we were both questioning just how easy the game may be. Each bandit only had 3 Health and had to take the lowest of all their rolls since they were simply "mooks", but Longshot rolled particularly well...this encounter...
7/14/2013, 1:31 pm Link to this post Email Dustland   PM Dustland Blog
 
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Re: HiLo Heroes


Longshot McAllister snuck his way through the sun baked village of Fyrestone, getting the drop on a pair of bandits trying to pry open a building's synthsteel door (apparently after the resident's daughter!).

One shot wasted one of the bandits. Initiative was rolled and once again the quick hunter got two actions, putting two rounds into the remaining bandit and dropped him dead. Longshot tried to engage the people behind the barricaded door in conversation, but they weren't having any of it, certain it was a trap to get them to come out.

Feeling pretty confident in his abilities as a hired gun, Longshot stalked his way to the center of the small village where the remaining bandits were busy shooting up the town with another vehicle-mounted heavy machine gun. There were three other bandits as well.

Suprise was gained yet again and McAllister fired a shot at the machine gunner. Unfortunately it only grazed the bandit (1 damage and more importantly the end of Longshot's amazing run of luck).

Initiative was rolled and Longshot went second to last (on account of his gun jamming according to the player). The heavy gun opened up; the gunner was either very lucky or very skilled (rolled 6 and 6, good enough to beat the crap out of anyone since the totals are added together!) turned the wall Longshot was using as cover into swiss cheese. Sharp shards of metal and shrapnel tore into the hero (dealing 8 damage...out of 10 health!).

The other two bandits added their guns to the fire but were ineffective. Wounded and desperate, Longshot took aim at the heavy gunner once again but his shot was high. The remaining bandit, who had been struggling to get his smg unslung, unloaded a clip into the young hero, ending his life (having rolled 5 and 5, dealing out 6 more damage and killing the character).

Thus ended the career of Longshot McAllister.

Fortunately the bandits cleared out long enough for teh villagers to gather the dropped weapons and get the abandoned machine gun operating, giving them enough teeth to make the bandits weary of returning any time soon.

The end.

And in conclusion, HiLo is BRUTAL. Even against underpowered mooks that have a third of the health and a major hindrance on their rolls, taking the worst of two dice for every action, Longshot was cut down by two attacks in one round. The doubles mechanic coupled with relatively low health makes for some very swingy fights.

It did however feel right for the style of game. Have to do it again!
7/14/2013, 2:51 pm Link to this post Email Dustland   PM Dustland Blog
 
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Re: HiLo Heroes


Very cool playtest log! Too bad that the game is so brutal when it is designed for superhero action. I guess you could take away the bad guys' ability to benefit from rolling doubles? Either way, very neat to see that it fit the Borderlands genre as well as it did!
7/14/2013, 6:35 pm Link to this post Email MaxTraver   PM MaxTraver Blog
 
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Re: HiLo Heroes


Thanks (thrice) Max emoticon

In honor of how death works in Borderlands, we've decided to continue the game in a similar fashion. Anytime the character drops to 0 health, he'll respawn somewhere safe (as safe as anyone in Pandora ever is) at a cost of half the character's unspent XP (which subs for creds too).

And next game, our other player has decided he wants in on the action, so at least there'll be a little backup. He'll be playing one of Fyrestone's citizens who decided to stand up and fight, inspired by Longshot's heroics (and armed with some cast off bandit gear).

I forgot that when a character takes 5+ damage, they lose their next action so Longshot shouldn't have even had a chance to fire back before getting gunned down. Brutal.

7/14/2013, 7:13 pm Link to this post Email Dustland   PM Dustland Blog
 
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Re: HiLo Heroes


Yikes. Triple post alert! Sound the klaxons! (Please delete when a chance presents itself) emoticon
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