Champions Complete: Initial Overview

Champions Complete obviously had one central goal - to present the Hero System rules that you needed to play a robust and fun superhero RPG in as few pages as possible. 

The first thing I'm noticing that was sacrificed was art. I'm torn between loving that there's so little getting in the way of the rules, and the relentlessness of the book, moving inexorably from section to section with little in the way of visual cues that you've moved anywhere. The cover is well done, however, and worth noting for not being a cheesecake shot that so many games take, and for which super hero comics are famous.

But the rules are still in there, they're just much more succinct. Instead of a half dozen examples, and every possible alternative use of a power being presented, they're cooked down to their core. Only a few mechanical changes have been made, and they're not terrifically significant ones that serve only to make the game simpler to play without hindering a player from making his character exactly the way hie wants it.

The combat rules are sparse, but clear, and this is the one area where a longer-form example would be really helpful - and thankfully you can download just such a thing from the Hero Games website. It's free, and might be worth it just to see a fight all laid out and just how smoothly it can run. 

I'm honestly having a very hard time approaching the game from the perspective of a novice. As an experienced Champions player, everything just makes sense, but I can imagine the relative dearth of examples (compared to the Herculean tomes that make up Hero System 6th Edition) actually makes the game that much harder for a beginner to pick up, I suspect. It's definitely going to go more smoothly if you view the game as being intended as a Player's Guide for your players, and a short-form reference for your GM, when he doesn't want to look things up in another monster PDF.

What the game definitely is not is a generic system anymore. Yes, there are rules present that can be used for such things, but they're most assuredly not the full list of optional rules you'd want or need for a Fantasy game, or a Sci Fi game. With the right add-ons, Hero can definitely handle those genres, but this isn't the book for it. Look instead for the forthcoming Fantasy Hero redux to handle things from a Fantasy perspective in the same way that Champions Complete handles supers. Or look to Monster Hunters International for how Urban Fantasy has already been handled. 


  1. I think the cover art is awful: the woman is looking one way (at something off to the side?) and blasting fire the other way. It makes no sense. Of course if the artist turned her face to be looking at her opponent, we'd be seeing the back of her head, which would also be a bad cover. The artist made some poor choices here. I'm amazed someone okayed this cruddy cover. They should have paid George Perez again; maybe an update or homage to that great 4th edition cover. In any case, this cover is poorly thought out.


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