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Hero System Hardcover – 2002

18 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Widely regarded as the best roleplaying game system ever created, the HERO System returns to print with its new 5th Edition. Written by award-winning game designer Steven S. Long, the 5th Edition updates the classic HERO System rules, providing new options, clarification, and information for Hero gamers everywhere.

Whatever you want to do, in any genre, time period, or setting, the HERO System lets you do it.

The 5th Edition includes:
- The complete HERO System rules, rewritten and revised to adress commonly-asked questions and improve clarity
- Hundreds of new options for Hero gamers, allowing them to better create and define characters, abilities, vehicles, and more
- Over 300 example powers, gadgets, abilities, weapons, and spells for all genres
- A detailed, comprehensive index


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 372 pages
  • Publisher: Hero Games (2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1583660003
  • ISBN-13: 978-1583660003
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 8.6 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #677,142 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Steven S. Long is a writer and game designer from Greensboro, NC.

Steve's been involved in the gaming industry for twenty years, during which time he's written, co-written, edited, or developed nearly 200 books. He got his start as a freelancer for Hero Games, for whom he wrote several books in the mid-Nineties. He soon branched out into working for other game companies, such as White Wolf Game Studios.

In 1997, Steve quit his job -- he was a practicing trial lawyer -- to try game writing and design full-time as a freelancer. During this time he wrote for lots of companies, including White Wolf, Pinnacle Entertainment Group, and Last Unicorn Games. His work on Last Unicorn's Star Trek RPG lines earned him a full-time job with the company as Deep Space Nine RPG Line Developer. He held that job for about fifteen months, until Wizards of the Coast bought LUG. He then became a Designer for WOTC, working on (among other things) the Wheel Of Time RPG.

After leaving WOTC in December 2000, Steve was hired by Decipher, Inc. to work on its new Star Trek and Lord Of The Rings RPGs. He contributed substantial portions of the two Trek core books, but spent most of 2001 writing nearly all of the LOTR RPG, for which he won his second Origins Award for Best Roleplaying Game of the year.

In 2001, Steve became part owner of DOJ, Inc., the company that bought the assets of Hero Games. From 2001 to 2011 he was HERO System Line Developer, writing most of the 110 books the company produced during the decade, and handling editing and other creative matters. Currently Steve is back to freelancing and is exploring the brave new world of self-publishing. In addition to several gaming projects he's also working on Fantasy fiction. You can read his short stories in several upcoming anthologies.

During those rare moments when Steve's not doing something related to writing or game design, his hobbies include reading, origami, calligraphy, collecting antique maps and travel guides from the 1920s and '30s, pontification, and being a young curmudgeon.

You can find out more about Steve and what he's up to at

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Killer Shrike on August 7, 2004
Format: Hardcover
The HERO System Fifth Rules Edition (FREd for short) is the definitive edition of a game system with more than 20 years of history behind it.

(Some might know the HERO System as "Champions, the Superheroic Roleplaying Game!")

The HERO System is the king of point based Game Systems. Instead of a class + level structure like D&D and it's many imitators, in the HERO System a player has a certain number of points (varying by genre and power level) with which to buy characteristics, skills, special abilities, and so forth.

It's purpose is to allow a GM to run any genre, any point level, any time period with one set of consistent rules. It's very doable to take a normal fellah from a modern world campaign into a supers or space empire game and vice versa without missing a beat if you wanted to, but more importantly once the GM and players have learned the rules system, then rather than having to learn an entirely different rules system to play some other game, they can just adapt the good bits of the other game and run it in the HERO System instead.

It's point based open framework set up allows this to work. The key to any point based system is balancing abilities costs against their benefits so that one character's x points of y is equivalent in usefulness to another character's x points of z, and the HERO System does an excellent job of this essential internal balancing.

The strength of a point based system is greater flexibility in design; the weakness is that lacking GM oversight unscrupulous and ignorant players alike can come up with some pretty abusive characters. Thus the game takes a little bit of GM monitoring of character desing to work correctly.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on June 27, 2004
Format: Hardcover
There are some who hate it, and there are some who love it--I am one of those who fall on the "love it" side. The system does have its flaws (for example, having several different task resolution systems), but in my opinion, the system's strengths outweigh its weaknesses hands down.
The Hero System is a multi-genre roleplaying game engine written by Steven Long, based on an original design by Steve Peterson and George McDonald. This is the long-awaited Fifth Edition, and is the most definitive edition of this game yet. One of the criticisms of previous editions of the system (which was purportedly a "Universal" game system like GURPS) was that it looked and felt like a superhero game that was trying to be a universal game system. The Fifth Edition has some changes (mostly in the Skills and Talents sections) that make it more palatable for use in multi-genre gaming. It's now a major contender with GURPS for the Universal Game System title.
If you've spent your formative years (as I have) daydreaming about adventures featuring heroes of your own creation, then this is the game system for you.
Also, if you're the kind of gamer that likes to take a peek under the hood to see all the gears and gizmos inside a game system, and likes to tinker with the game system to see what it can do, then this is the game system for you. Unlike most systems that attempt to hide its game engine, the Hero System proudly shows off all of its gears and gizmos, like one of those model cars with the transparent hood to demonstrate how the engine inside works.
The system is based on a complex point-based system for character creation, and points can be spent for Characteristics, Skills, Perquisites (Perks), Talents, and, finally, Powers.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Rowdy P. Scarlett VINE VOICE on November 26, 2005
Format: Hardcover
A little history first. I started playing RPGs back in the early 80s with D&D (I'm am Old timer at 43). I stumbled on Champions (Hero System) by acciedent at a Flea Market with a friend. We bought both the copies they had that day.
I grew up reading comics. I still do. Supers have always clicked with me. This was a game I KNEW I would love. That I wanted to play/ GM, so I did. I GMed Champions(Hero System ) for over 8 years. I assisted on the playtest of Champions 4th edition (Hero System 4th) and know the game inside out.
The game went out of print for a while, still we played. Finally, Steve Long a BIG Hero Games fan) bought the game and produced Hero System 5th Edition. This baby is as big as a phone book, folks and not for the faint of heart. What Champions has become is a tool kit to run any genre.
This is a RPG you will either love or hate. There are those who say it is too complex. It really isn't. It simply puts the options at what you want to use in this game into your hands and tries not to limit them. The rules have many examples to assist in understanding them and gives sample character write ups.
The best way to learn ANY game is for someone who knows to show you how to play. If you are interested in playing this game, seek those who are already doing so. If you're a beginner and are looking for "The Game" to use for different genres (esp super heroes), then I suggest picking up Sidekick (also found here on Amazon) as it is more like the old Champions in ease of understanding.
Why four stars? Well, the writing. Steve, you're a great guy and I thank you for your hard work and keeping this system alive. However, the book reads like a medical book. VERY dry and Steve's writing, in general, is like this.
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