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Hero Magazines

Hero Magazines

Tuesday 29 September 2020
In September 2020 we presented the Hero Magazines Bundle, marking the debut in .PDF of two long-running hobby periodicals devoted to Champions, The Super Roleplaying Game and the universal HERO System rules set from Hero Games. This bargain-priced offer presented new, never-before-published .PDF image scans of Adventurers Club magazine (27 issues, 1983-1995) and hundreds of articles from the APAzine Haymaker (1992-2014). Along with Digital Hero (also included in this offer), these magazines supported five different editions of Champions and the HERO System across 25 years. Soooo — this offer also included every Champions rulebook from 1E (1981) through the Fifth Revised Edition (“FRED,” 2005). This whole offer comprised almost exactly 8,000 pages.

Many of our largest offers have featured the Hero System. Why? First, as you’d expect for a game entering its fifth decade, there’s just a lot of Hero books (viz. 452 DriveThruRPG listings). But also, Jason Walters of Hero Games has undertaken several ambitious projects to scan the backlog of Champions products from the dark times before .PDF, and he’s kindly allowed the Bundle of Holding to premiere the impressive results: the April 2017 Champions 4E Essentials and Universe offers (revived in May 2020) and the November 2018 double offer of Early Champions and Early Hero System. This Hero Magazines offer marks another milestone in this multi-year effort.

Adventurers Club (no apostrophe) was the first Hero Games magazine, launched in Fall 1983 after Champions 1E became an unexpected hit for the three-person company. Published erratically for 12 years, AC presented scenarios, characters, and variants from leading Hero designers of the time, including Aaron Allston, Steve Long, Bruce Harlick, Scott Heine, Steve Perrin, and many more. AC also chronicled the line’s development and the young company’s roller-coaster history. The last few issues of AC supported both the Hero System and the Iron Crown Enterprise FRPG Rolemaster, during the time ICE owned Hero. The last editor was a young newcomer named Monte Cook.

Before the modern web and its many campaign portals, blogs, forums, and subreddits, enthusiastic writers and journalists made do with Amateur Press Associations (APAs). (Some still do. The oldest APA, the National Amateur Press Association, was founded in 1876 and is still going.) The Hero System APAzine Haymaker produced 67 weighty issues (1992-2014) of hand-collated manuscript contributions from many Hero System aficionados. Now Hero Games has assembled almost 280 Haymaker articles in seven giant .ZIP archives, a 180MB barrage of characters, organizations, locations, equipment, vehicles, adventures, rules variants, and essays. These thousands of humble manuscript pages encompass everything from two-page character outlines to full-scale campaign supplements, plus the contributors’ informal musings on the state of the Hero System and commentaries on each other’s works. These Haymaker archives are deep waters; lower your net here and there, and you never know what you’ll discover.

Hero Games started Digital Hero magazine in 2002, soon after publishing the Fifth Edition of the HERO System Rulebook. Digital Hero maintained a regular monthly schedule through 2006, going bimonthly in 2007 and ending its 47-issue run in 2008. Supporting Champions, Star Hero, Pulp Hero, and Fantasy Hero, each issue presented a varied assortment of characters, variant and advanced rules, articles, and (sometimes lengthy) adventures.

There were twenty-three titles in our rich Starter Collection (retail value $70) as DRM-free .PDF ebooks, including the first 20 issues of Digital Hero magazine (2002-2008) and the HEROGlyphs essay collection drawn from them, as well as the complete Hero System FRED rulebook and the Hero System Resource Kit for 5E.

Those who paid more than the threshold (average) price also got our entire Bonus Collection with — not kidding here — sixty-seven more titles worth an additional $187.50, including the complete 27-issue run of Adventurers Club, all seven giant archives of Haymaker articles (180 megabytes of Hero goodness!), the remaining 27 issues of Digital Hero, and all the core rulebooks for Champions First, Second, Third, and Fourth Editions.  

Ten percent of each payment (after gateway fees) went to this offer’s pandemic-related charity, Heart to Heart International. HHI provides medicines, supplies, and equipment to safety-net clinics in the US and to international medical teams. Now HHI is delivering urgently needed equipment to providers fighting the Covid-19 pandemic.