Wednesday 6 March 2019

Character development in Hero Kids

Let's talk about character development in Hero Kids.

The number one thing that people ask me for in Hero Kids is:


But the number two thing that they ask for is:


Thus, I recently directed the Eye of Sauron to the task, and worked up some ideas for how character development could work in Hero Kids.

Before we discuss these actual ideas, these are the principles that guided the development work:

  • Maintain compatibility with existing heroes and expansions (i.e. equipment)
  • Minimise straight-up escalation of die pools
  • Allow players to choose what aspects of their characters to develop
  • Enable advancement in each of the aspects of characters (dice pools, armor, health, actions, abilities, and skills)
  • Continue the look and feel of Hero Kids

Here's the idea, the Hero Chronicle:

And here's how it works:
  • Each hero has a corresponding 'Hero Chronicle'.
  • The Hero Chronicle as a number of character development options
  • Each character development option on the Hero Chronicle has one, two, or three check boxes
  • Each time the hero completes an adventure (or a reasonable adventuring time period, such as 90 minutes), the player can check off a box on one of the development options
  • When all of the check boxes next to a development option are checked, the hero has 'earned' that development
  • The development options are:
    • 3x Increase a dice pool by 1 die (Melee, Ranged, Magic, Armor)
    • Add a new dice pool (Melee, Ranged, Magic), such as a Magic pool to a Melee character, and gain that pool's standard attack action
    • Add a new health level (Grazed)
    • 4x Add a new special action or skill
    • Add a new bonus ability
  • Each development option has matching set of Development Cards, representing all of the development options (such as different skills, special actions, or bonus abilities)
In play, a hero would venture forth, and as they completed adventures or adventure sessions, the player would check off boxes on the Hero Chronicle, and progressively accumulate additional development options, each of which would be represented through a Development Card:

The Development Cards would look like these:

So, that's the working idea.

Leave a comment below with feedback and discussion.  I'm keen to hear whether this seems feasible, or whether the great eye needs to look further afield.


  1. Only thing i'd add is maybe rename Bully to Flanking

    1. Yep, I'll definitely change that one!

    2. Agree. Bully is a great term when that skill is being used by the brigands and kobolds, but isn't a great way to describe it for the heroes.

    3. Yep, came to offer alternatives: tag-team, assist, flanking, team-up, teamwork.

      Great stuff, Justin! :)

    4. Teamwork, team-up, tag-team, assist, helpful, flanking, better together... lots of great ways to express this one! :)

      Keep up the good work, Justin!

  2. Only thing I can think to add is maybe advice for GMs on rebalancing adventures with characters who have advanced. Should we add 1 extra enemy per character advancement? That may be too much (or it may be not enough).

    1. Done! I've added lots of advice to cover how and when to re-balance encounters:
      • Harder ability tests for advanced heroes
      • Increase ability pools to make monsters stronger
      • Add armor to make monsters harder to hit
      • Give monsters more health to keep them in the fight
      • Use monster tactics to challenge advanced heroes
      • Switch monsters to tougher variants
      • When all else fails, send in more monsters

  3. I did something like that, only I didn't have the ability to add a die or health box. (Maybe with and item) They seemed happy to earn new actions/abilities/skills. It gave them something new to do without unbalancing the adventure or monsters.

  4. I really like this idea! Any idea on a release date for this? Would be great to have this feature before starting my kids on the adventures.

  5. Cool idea! But i dont think is those assignment type is good. May be will be better separate each box for few points (3-4 maybe). And asighn a certain amount of points for every adventure according to its complexity.
    Where i can find a changes about game encounters balance for this system of development?

    1. Hey, the released Hero Advancement Cards expansion is on DriveThruRPG. It includes guidelines of how to balance encounters for more powerful characters: