You Gotta Have Character Review


This week, Whutaguy reviews a recently released Hero System Sourcebook, You Gotta Have Character, a compilation of articles from Digital Hero E-zine.

Technical Details:

Title: You Gotta Have Character: A Sourcebook for Hero System
Author: Jason Walters.
Details: Softcover, 125 pages, $26.99.

Layout and Presentation:

This book includes 23 D-List (as Kathy Griffin would say) historical celebrities, arranged in mostly alphabetical order. I say "mostly" because not all the names have the same components. For instance Eleanor of Aquitaine is after Calamity Jane and few would remember, or even know in the first place) to look up Jane Canary. There being only 23 entries, it is not difficult to find the character you want, provided that you know they are in this book.

The characters presented have previously appeared in Digital Hero E-zine.


There is only one chapter, although the page headers still let you know exactly which chapter you are in. The characters inside range in time from Pytheas (born 380 BC) to El Santo (died in 1984), appearing on 5 continents (though I saw no references to Australia or Antarctica), and from Queen to cannibal. A little something for everyone. Of the 23 characters, I was only familiar with three, and had heard of only three more. The 23 chosen were well-selected because of their quite unique characters, and their omission from GURPS' Who's Who.

The individual write-ups include character stats for Hero, a 3-page biography, quotations about and by the personality, and a bibliography; notably, the bibliography for El Santo lists 57 movies. Also in each section are plot seeds for GMs who wish to use these characters in a setting appropriate to the character or some alterations to use the character in other genres, such as outer space.


This book would be of use to anyone running a game where PCs might encounter these historical figures. While the stats are given for Hero, a nominal amount of work could convert them to anything else, as the number of powers is minimal and where they are used, clarification for why is given.

While the book did well the things the author set out to do, I personally did not care for it, only because it does not lie along my interests. Even if the book contained the 101 most interesting to me characters from history, I still prefer my biographies to be more narrative. However, I will say that having read this book and learned about some of the more interesting folks from history, I may be reading more biographies in the near future.

About the reviewer:

I have been playing RPGs for 23 years and GMing for 20. I run primarily fantasy with occasional bursts of other genres. I have only played in one game where an actual person appeared and he was 30 years out of time. My game system of choice is GURPS and will say that my previous experiences with Hero were not good, but I am also willing to pass that blame onto the GMs that ran the games.

Follow-up report: I received this book from Hero for the purpose of reviewing it. Yesterday, I passed it onto the GM of a Hero game at UCon (Michigans Largest Con) as a prize.

you're the best!

can I have a prize now? :)

Show up at a Con where I'm running an event, and be selected as the winner. I provide prizes for all my con events, in addition to any the con provides.

Also note that I gave these to a GM to give out. I considered the auction, but making a profit just seemed unethical.


BTW the prize is almost never awarded for outstanding up-sucking.

BTW the prize is almost never awarded for outstanding up-sucking. prize for me, then :)