RACE PACKAGE SUBMISSION
|Any GM's or Players that have
developed their own Race Packages can send them in for inclusion
on the website. Submissions selected will be posted and credited
to the submitter. Send such Race Packages to the above e-Mail
|Most Fantasy Settings contain one or more
non-human "races"; in fact some settings even lack human
analogues entirely. In a Fantasy context, these variant Races
are most notable in how they are different than humans, and
typically have one or more exotic or remarkable abilities that
make them interesting or notable in some way.
|The most common Fantasy Races are Elves,
Dwarves, and Hobbits/Halflings, thanks largely to the influence
of J.R.R Tolkein on Fantasy fiction in general. Most other
Fantasy Role-playing games stick pretty close to the classic
Fantasy Races, with a more exotic Half-Giant or "furry" Race
here and there for good measure. However the number of variant
Races possible are only limited by imagination, and one of the
areas where the HERO System can really excel for a GM with a
world building bent is the ease with which any sort of "race"
can be created.
|Either way, whether opting for prosaic Elves
and Dwarves or developing some strange new creation, "race" is
most easily defined in the HERO System using a construct called
a Package Deal.
|PACKAGE DEALS EXPLAINED
|Package Deals (or simply Packages as some
prefer) are handy organizational aides in the HERO System; they
simply exist to allow various things which should be associated
with one another to be grouped into a tidy collection. Packages
normally have no mechanical impact and don't effect the cost of
Characters, although in the case of Race Packages I make an
exception to this general rule (see below for details).
| Package Deals can be used to define any
thing from a Race, a Profession, a Culture, or common Power set,
a Template, or any other sort of grouping of abilities you can
think of. Just slap some abilities, perhaps some Disadvantages,
and a description together, give it a name, and you're done.
USING RACE PACKAGE DEALS
| The intention of the Race Package Deals is
to provide consistent Packages that capture the archetypical
attributes of given Fantasy Races but within a tight point
range. GM's may vary widely in their approach to this. The Race
Packages provided in this website can be used as is, modified,
or ignored as preferred by an individual GM. Good Package design
is more of an art than a science after all; there's always more
than one "right" way to do it.
| Players should check with their GM's before
choosing a Race Package Deal to determine what Race Package
Deals are acceptable for their GM's campaign.
RACE PACKAGE DEAL COST
|The cost or Race Packages is a very
important consideration when determining how many points to make
available to starting Characters, and the relative expense of
Race Packages vs. points available creates a powerful dynamic
tension during Character Creation.
|If Race Packages consume a lot of Points on
average then Race selection will be an extremely important
consideration and further the capabilities of Characters will be
strongly determined by their Race.
|On the other hand if Race Packages consume a
negligible amount of Points then a player's choice of Race for
their Character is more of a flavor decision since it has little
net impact on the Character's starting capabilities.
|Another option is to have a majority of Race
Packages of reasonable cost relative to starting Points, but
some Races with extreme abilities beyond what is normally
attainable by other Characters to have substantial Point costs.
This creates an interesting dynamic where Characters using the
lower Point Race Packages have more diversity and flexibility,
but a few Characters using the higher Point Race Packages have a
collection of impressive abilities that makes their selection of
Race notable. This provides outlets for many types of players
and works well enough in most cases.
|TOTAL COST OF RACE PACKAGE
|My preferred method of handling Race
Packages is to subtract the Total Disadvantage Value of the
Disadvantages and Characteristic Penalties in the Package from
the cost of the abilities in the Package.
|Among other things this allows Race Package
Deals to be purchased for their final Total Cost, which makes it
very easy to snap Race Packages onto other Packages in a Modular
|Additionally, since the Race Disadvantages
from a Character's Race Package don't count vs. their
Disadvantage Maximum, a Character's diversity isn't determined
by their Race. In other words, by the official method of buy
Race Package Deals, the Disadvantages in a Race Package Deal
count towards a Character's Disadvantage Total, leaving them
with fewer "personal" Disadvantages than Characters from Races
with fewer Disadvantages stemming from their Race.
|Individual GM's may not agree with this as
it is a specific deviation from the Hero System Rules; in that
case a few options exist to accommodate that approach and still
use the material on this web site, the easiest of which is to
increase a Character's Maximum Disadvantages limit sufficiently
to allow their Race Package Deal's Disadvantages on top of the
Character's personal Disadvantages.
EXAMPLE: If making a
Character, that Character pays 15 Real Points for the High
Elf Race Package rather than the Cost of the abilities in the
Package (50 Character Points), and does not include the
Disadvantages (35 Disadvantage Points) as part of his Personal
Disadvantages. In fact, if brevity is desired, the entire
Package can be listed as a single line Entry, "HIGH ELF: 15
Points", on the Character Sheet.
|NOTE: This is method of handling
Race Package Disadvantages is easily handled in HERO Designer by
simply adding the Race Disadvantage total value to the maximum
Disadvantage total for the campaign on the points tab when
making Characters of that Race.
If using the "Total Cost" approach, Race Packages are considered
Locked, meaning that they are not alterable by players.
As explained in more detail below under Race Options, Race
Package Deals can be configurable by Pick Lists and "x points
worth of y sort of ability" type options (like this
Human Race Package Deal), and they can be
extended by specific Race Options if any are provided, but they
cannot be altered by removing or swapping out listed
A player that wants to make a Character of a given Race must
take the good with the bad, so to speak.
It is recommend that Race Packages be internally consistent
within the same Race and that the point value of starting
Packages should be weighed heavily against the starting point
level of the campaign.
If using the "Total Cost" approach recommended by this web site,
no Race Package can have a Total Cost less than 0. Further Races
that are meant to be commonly playable at 125 starting points
should generally be kept to around 15 Total Cost or less.
It the "Total Cost" approach is not taken, then most Race
Packages should generally have abilities with a combined cost of
20% or less than the starting point total, and total
Disadvantages of less than 25% of the Maximum Disadvantage limit
unless Race is intended to be a major defining aspect of a
|The price ranges of Race Packages can serve as
a form of rarity control as well. Races that are more common
should be cheaper to play if possible, and Races that are
intended to be rarer should be more expensive; this can be
easily accomplished by adding highly specialized
abilities that are interesting and distinctive, but usable in
narrow circumstances and not
overpowering when taken in a normal game context to "rarer'
|Because Race Package
Deals are "locked", players cannot (and should not be allowed
to) tinker with the Race Packages, this technique results in a
discouraging factor that will cause many players to avoid higher
priced Race Packages in favor of the cheaper Race Package Deals
which "coincidentally" correspond to more common Races.
|In the interests of
interacting with the Profession Package Deals provide on this
website, which are each priced at 55 points, a Race Package
intended to be playable at 125 points should cost no more than
70 total points.
70 Total Cost
Firbolg Package demonstrates an outer range Package Deal
which is playable at 125 starting points, but at a steep
opportunity cost. Firbolg should be rare if allowed at all, and
the cost alone will discourage many players from wanting to play
Points vs Diversity Correlation
|As a conceptual note,
Races represented with Packages that have a low Total Cost will be
more diverse individually, where as Races with Packages having a
higher Total Cost will tend to be more similar and archetypical.
This is because Characters that spend fewer points on their Race
will have more points to spend electively.
|Accordingly most of the stock Race Packages
provided on this web site for
generic Humans, Half-Elves, and Half-Orcs cost around 5 or fewer points.
Characters created with those Package will be somewhat more diverse than
the stock "demi-human" Races Packages that cost around 15
points each, and all of them will be more diverse than some of
the more exotic Race Packages that cost 30+ points.
PACKAGE DEAL VARIABILITY
|GM's can alter Race
Package Deals as they like, but as noted previously the intention
is for players to not be able to alter Race Packages outside of
any Option Lists or Pick Lists
presented within the Packages themselves. Pick Lists within a
Package are always selectable by players, but abilities from
Option Lists might require GM approval. This section discusses
the idea of Race Options Lists in more depth.
RACE OPTION LISTS
|Option Lists are included
for some Races in the material provided herein. Their primary
purpose is to illustrate additional abilities that some, but not
all, members of a particular Race might have. However, depending
on your GM's vision of how a particular Race should be depicted
they may or may not allow all abilities on Race Option lists.
Seek your GM's input when selecting abilities from Race Option
|Players that wish to expand their
Character's Race Package by taking one or more abilities from
these lists must decide to do so during initial Character
Nature vs. Nurture
|Because the depiction of the various
"demi-human" groups varies somewhat from setting to setting and
in fictional sources, some of the ancillary abilities
sometimes attributed to the various common Fantasy Races were placed in Option
than in the Race Packages directly.
|Additionally abilities that seemed more like
"trained" or "learned" skills rather than innate attributes of a
Race were also placed into the Option Lists.
|Essentially, many of the Options provided
allow the Race Package Deals for some Races to be expanded to
also serve as de facto Cultural or Background Package Deals.
|For instance, in some settings perhaps all
members of a Race have these abilities innately, but in other
settings or GM's games they must be learned as part of a
Character's background, leading to variation among members of
the same Race depending upon their training, or perhaps distinct
bloodlines within the Race.
Portrait Of A Hill Dwarf
Package as an example. The default version is priced at 10 Real Cost,
with a number of the Dwarven Underground abilities shifted into
the Dwarven Option List rather than taken as part of the Hill
Dwarf Package, as these abilities may be
learned rather than innate depending upon perspective.
|In some campaigns the GM might agree with
this assessment and allow individual Hill Dwarf Characters to
purchase abilities from the Option List where appropriate for
|Other GM's may prefer that these abilities
be considered innate and therefore included in the Hill Dwarf
Race Package and modify the Race Package accordingly. This wont
necessarily have a major impact on cost scaling either if the
"Total Cost" method of Race Package use is in effect as other
Disadvantages or penalties could be applied to keep the
Package's cost manageable. An example of this is shown below.
|BEGIN VARIANT HILL DWARF
typically live either above ground in highland villages, or in Dwarven
holdfasts near the surface, typically farming and/or maintaining livestock
for sustenance. This kind of Dwarf is less common than Mountain Dwarves in
most settings, but more often encountered because their steadings are not as
remote or difficult to find. Hill Dwarves are typically taller and lither
than their Mountain kin, and less dour in outlook.
|NOTE: This variant of Hill
Dwarves have innate Underground senses and abilities.
||Strong: +5 STR
||Durable: +3 CON
||Durable: +3 BODY
||Stubborn +2 EGO
||Doughty: Power Defense: 5
||Magic Resistance: Damage Reduction 25% Resistant; Only vs
||Poison Resistance: Immunity
to Poisons, Activation 14- (-1/2)
||Stalwart: +5 Mental
Defense, +5 Power Defense,
+5 PRE; Only to Resist Fear (-2)
||Keen Senses: +1 PER with Normal Hearing and Normal Touch
||Longevity: LS: 200 Years
||Longevity: Double to LS: 400 Years
||Racial Enmity: +1 All
Combat, vs. Orc-kin Only (-2)
||Racial Enmity: +1 All
Combat, vs. Giant-kin Only (-2)
||Find the Path: Detect Way
Out, Discriminatory, Underground Only (-1)
||Walk the Path: Bump of
Direction, Underground Only (-1)
||Stoneworker: KS: Stonework;
||Stone-eyes: Detect Concealed
Stone\Rock Features, Discriminatory
||Underground Senses: Detect
Depth & Slope Information, Discriminatory, Underground Only (-1)
||Normal Characteristic Maxima
||Distinctive Feature: Dwarf
(Concealable w/ Magic, Noticed, Not Distinctive in Some Cultures)
||Physical Limitation: Short
but Heavy (4 ft - 5 ft; 250 to 400 lbs)
||Psychological Limitation: Insular and Gruff (Uncommon,
||Slow: -1" Running
||Dense Flesh: -1" Swimming
||Cumbersome: -1" Leaping
||Thick-limbed: -3 DEX
||Ruminating: -2 INT
||Rough-hewn: -4 COM
Racial Enmity: Orc-kin (Uncommon, Strong)
Racial Enmity: Giant-kin (Uncommon, Strong)
Gold lust & Greed (Common, Moderate)
|Total Cost of Package
|END VARIANT HILL DWARF
RACE CHARACTERISTIC MAXIMA
In the Race Packages provided herein it is intended that
adjustments in the Race Package Deals be
applied after Normal Characteristic Maxima is determined.
This is true of both bonuses and penalties.
In this fashion an effective Altered
Characteristic Maxima is achieved.
EXAMPLE: The stock package given for
grants a +1 Speed, +2 DEX, -5 STR, -2 BODY, -2 INT, -5 PRE as
part of the Race Package Deal. If a Hairfoot Halfling Character
purchases +10 DEX and +10 STR outside of their Package they do
not encounter Characteristic Maxima having neither DEX or STR
After NCM is determined the Race Characteristic modifiers are
applied, resulting in an adjusted DEX of 22 and an adjusted STR
If the Halfling wanted a final adjusted STR of 20 after the Race
Penalty is applied, the Halfling must buy his base STR up to 25
paying the doubling penalty for 21 to 25 strength; after the -5
STR adjustment from the Hairfoot Halfling Race Package Deal is
applied the Halfling has an adjusted STR of 20.
NOTE: This is a variation from
the recommended method of handling Characteristic Bonuses in 5th
Edition Fantasy HERO.
ALTERNATE NCM TEMPLATE MAKER FOR HERO DESIGNER
Alternate NCM Template File Maker for HERO Designer v3 is
provided to assist users of the software to create a file with
the necessary content to instruct HERO Designer that a Character
has base and max Characteristics different than the assumed
Instructions are provided on the tools use. It's really
quite easy to do, and only takes a few minutes. However, if you
experience difficulties using it email
Killer Shrike with any questions and you will be given
reasonably timely assistance (within a day or two typically).
NO OTHER EXCEPTIONS
Characteristic bonuses from all other (non-Race) Package Deals
do count against Characteristic Maxima. This may require such a
Package to be refactored if a Character is already at or near
their Characteristic Maxima when they take
the non-Race Package. In all cases where possible take
the number of Character points spent on the Characteristic in
the Package Deal, and buy that many points worth of
Characteristic at the increased price.
OTHER RACE PACKAGE DEALS
|It is perfectly
acceptable to not use the method of handling Race Packages
offered by this site. A GM could opt for a standard Fantasy HERO
implementation of Race Packages, use the Race Packages from
Fantasy HERO for 5th Edition, The Turakian Age, or some other
|The remaining material
contained by this site is still generally usable even in this
scenario, though some assumptions regarding starting point
totals and the pricing of other Packages might need to be
examined on a case by case basis.
USING RACE PACKAGE DEALS
|More unusually a GM might decide to not use
Race Packages at all. My personal recommendation is to
reconsider this position, but theoretically this is doable. In
my experience without some kind of consistent definition of what
constitutes a particular Race, odd inconsistencies arise during
|Also, for some players, Characters can seem
to lose a good deal of the flavor of being members of various
Races in such an environment. Since there is no real definition
of what it means to be a member of a particular Race there also
tends to be a very large skew between individual player's
interpretations of what a Race is composed of mechanically.
|As far as eschewing Race Package Deals
altogether and using the material on this web site is concerned,
there is a strong assumption that Race Packages will be used and
in many ways the Race Package concept forms the foundation of
the stackable Package material. Most tellingly, a good deal of
material references or implies or proceeds on the assumption
that every Character must have one and only one Race Package
Deal when they are created.
|Thus some of the material might need to be
reevaluated on a case by case basis from the perspective of a
campaign with no Race Packages whatsoever.