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Detailed Instructions for the
HERO System Combat Applet

There are two overall parts to the CombatApplet - the character displays, and the combat display.

Character Displays

At the top and center of the applet, there are two HeroLister windows with similar behaviour. Each has four buttons at its top, a selection list at the left side, and a text display at the center. Pushing any of the first three buttons, Select Hero, Combat Stats, or Edit Hero, changes what is shown in the text display and the selection list.

Select Hero

Use this display to select characters to fight or edit. This display is shown first, and is the logical place to start. The selection list on the left hand side lists all the characters in the game. Clicking on a name will select a character, and display the character's parsed stats in the text display.

Currently the program can parse (understand) all the HERO statistics, but only some of the powers, and none of the disadvantages or notes. Where the program has understood a power, the character display will display a line of the power text as the program understood it, followed by the original power text in { braces }. There may be an Errors: section at the bottom of the display - these are mathematical inconsistencies between the costs of characteristics in the original Sam Bell text and what the program thinks the characteristic should cost. Since the program doesn't yet understand certain powers that affect the values of statistics (such as Growth), these reported errors can be taken with a grain of salt.

Combat Stats

This display is intended to be most useful during a combat. The text window shows only the characters characteristics and parsed powers, no original text. If a character's characteristics have changed from the original due to the current combat, the current value is shown before the original value, and separated by a slash /.

The left hand side selection list lists the attack options open to the character, including END cost and charges. Click to select the action you want the character to use its next phase of the combat. The default selection, Random Action means to rechoose randomly among the list shown each attack phase. This option will also be automatically chosen if the last selected action cannot be used - runs out of charges, or is out of range, for example. If a half-move is necessary to use the action, that is shown first, for example 10" Flight, 2 END and 10d6 Punch, -1/+0, 5 END. At 0 range that would be shown only as 10d6 Punch, 5 END since no half-move would be necessary.

The bottom left field is a Knockdown checkbox. If this is checked, then the character will direct all Knockback from any hand-to-hand (0 range) attacks on his opponent straight down within the same hex, instead of knocking the opponent away. This option has no effect on ranged attacks. If a specific character action is not selected, this option has a 50% chance of being used any given attack.

The bottom right fields display skill levels usable with the currently selected attack. If you haven't selected a specific attack, the fields are not editable. Free levels are levels that can be put towards OCV, DCV, or additional damage with an attack. If the character is using a specific attack, rather than letting the program pick, the OCV, DCV, and damage levels fields are editable, otherwise they only show you the way the program has randomly distributed assignable levels. The program also recognizes levels which can only be put on DCV or OCV, and displays those too, after the + after those fields, but doesn't let you edit them. All editable level fields must be positive, and their sum cannot exceed the number of assignable levels, otherwise the program will re-randomize the fields - so if you want to put all of a hero's levels on OCV, first set DCV and Damage to 0, and only then set the OCV field to equal assignable levels.

Edit Hero

This display has no lists, and is editable. It displays Sam Bell's original text writeup of the character. Make any changes you like, and then press any button. If the program can at least somehow make sense of the altered text, your changes will be reflected in all the windows of this HeroLister. If there is a radical error (missing characteristic, for example), you will stay in this window, and the specific error message will be displayed at the top of the text window. Delete the error message if you want to continue editing, or delete all the text in the whole window (and press any button) if you want to return to the last parsed version.

If you use the New Hero button to leave this window after making changes, then your changes will be added to the end of the Select Hero list as a new character, and the character you started editing will be unchanged.

New Hero

Besides the above use to input new characters based on those already existing in the list, this button can also be used to input completely unitialized characters. If the Edit Hero display is not showing when the New Hero button is pressed, the program will add an unitialized hero to the end of the Select Hero list, and will select it.

Combat Window

Text Display

The large bottom window will display a running commentary on the last combat fought. Each action will be described as it is executed, and an ASCII diagram of the characters and the last action fought will be shown (a bit - a very little bit - like a "frame" in a comic). You can scroll through the combat narration and re-read it. The combat stats windows always reflect the charactes at the end of the last event.

Fight Buttons

At the bottom of the applet there is a row of three Fight buttons, and a large text display. Once a character has been selected in each of the HeroListers above, press a Fight button, to have them fight. The combat begins at Round 1, Phase 12. The Fight Phase button will take the combat through the next segment on which at least one of the characters acts. The Fight Round button will take the combat through the next Segment 12, including recoveries. The Fight Turn button will take the combat through the end of the next Round divisible by 5, which is usually enough to finish the combat.

The characters act in DEX order within a phase, with the character from the top HeroLister acting first in case of ties. When any character is reduced to 0 or negative STUN or BODY, the combat ends, and the other is declared the winner. Pressing another Fight button will begin a new combat, with combatants again at full strength. Selecting another character in the middle of a combat will also begin a new combat, with both characters again at full strength.

Page Separation Button

The last button is (at first) labeled Separate Applet from Page. If you find that any portion of the applet is too hard to access on the browser page, or that some of the fields overlap one another, push this button to launch the applet in an independent window. The main advantage of this is that you can resize this window in the normal way for your system, typically by dragging the corners with the mouse - this generally makes the fields stop overlapping. Once launched, the button title changes to Return to Page, which you can push to get rid of this separate window should it be annoying you. Warning - resize it to roughly the right size to fit neatly on the page, or you won't be able to get at all of it there!

Another warning: even as a separate window, this program is running in your Web browser. If you change to another page, the program may hang, doing nothing, and if you close your browser, the program will close.


George Ruban,
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