Early Champions and Early Hero System — mark the debut in .PDF of over 50 historic roleplaying games, supplements, and adventures from Hero Games. Here’s some guidance in finding your way through these large bundles.
Q. 55 books! Where to start?
A. In the Early Champions offer, the Third Edition rulebook and Campaign Book (1984) are the most polished early rulebooks. The most useful Enemies books are probably Enemies III and International File, though everyone will argue about that. Strike Force and Super-Agents both reward close study. The Organization Books are useful according to your campaign’s specific needs (though Red Doom has dated, and you can skip CLOWN regardless). The adventures? The Great Super-Villain Contest provokes nostalgic sentiment, and Atlas Unleashed is good, but nothing in this offer is a real standout. (Scourge From the Deep is perhaps unjustly neglected.)
In the Early Hero System offer, Lands of Mystery was the first campaign supplement to tailor its setting to a chosen genre (in this case, lost-worlds romance). Mythic Greece: Age of Heroes shows the fruit of a decade-long campaign. Both of these (along with Strike Force and Super-Agents in the Champions offer) are the work of the late Aaron Allston, whose work in the Hero System influenced the entire roleplaying field.
Stormhaven and The Adventure of the Jade Jaguar are adventures for Flying Buffalo’s Mercenaries, Spies, & Private Eyes (with stats for Espionage!) by MSPE designer Michael A. Stackpole, who later became a popular novelist (X-Wing, BattleTech). Stormhaven won an Origins Award.
Q. How compatible are these books with the Champions Fourth Edition rules you presented in May 2017?
A. Very! The Hero System changed remarkably little across its first four or five editions. Though each version of Champions reworked a few super powers (notably Growth and Shrinking), you can usually pull characters from early editions into 4E games with minimal conversion. The main difference is design philosophy: Early characters are simpler and less versatile than later, more highly optimized builds. But the Enemies supervillain collections, in particular, present a broad range of characters suitable for many kinds of adventures.
Q. How good are these scans?
A. Very! The image scans in the May 2017 Champions 4E offers had some garbled text, especially headlines, but these new scans of the early Hero line are much clearer. A few covers show wearing, price stickers, handwriting from the original owners, or other minor artifacts. The text in some books is light, but it’s always readable and copiable. And like all Bundle of Holding titles, these files are DRM-free.