Review: 4 Color Cheeze-Puff Productions – Heroes & Heels (Dungeons & Dragons)

Heroes & Heels
Heroes & Heels is a rules supplement/rulebook for superhero playing using the Dungeons & Dragons 5E mechanics, written and published by 4 Color Cheeze-Puff Productions.
By Aaron T. Huss

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Heroes & Heels is a rules supplement compatible with 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons that takes the core mechanics and allows you to create superheroes and superheroines (i.e., heels, but really a poor choice in words). I have never seen Mutants & Masterminds, so this is my only foray into d20 superhero. If there are any similarities, they will not be noted herein.

Heroes & Heels creates very vanilla supers in a fairly straightforward fashion. It doesn’t attempt to make 5E feel completely different and instead uses the existing mechanics in a cool way. You start by choosing a race – human, meta (including alien), or automaton. You then choose a class – brick, soldier, or blaster. So simple! And really if you consider many of the most popular comic books, the majority fit into those mixed and matched categories. Each class has features, fighting styles, weapon styles, and subclasses. It’s so familiar with building a normal character in an epic fantasy D&D game. Although these mechanical features so far are flavored for supers, they are still very familiar. It’s what comes next that really sets the rules apart.

Feats and powers are amped up to super levels! If you had feats and powers like this in an epic fantasy game, everyone would complain that they’re horribly broken and totally overpowered. But that’s the point in a supers game! Additionally, this is where you start to distinguish your particular style of super from all the others, delving deeper into what those mixed and matched categories can offer you. The rules further flesh out your characters with quirks, disadvantages, some cool rules for creating extraordinary situations, and modern equipment (although I’m not really a fan of some of the options for equipment).

I feel the biggest advantage Heroes & Heels has going for it is the simplicity of how supers are created in a way that takes advantage of all the core mechanics of D&D 5E. There is a catch though… the layout is terrible and the whole thing is difficult to read. There is a lack of white space and delineation between sections and chapters. It’s like a bad run-on sentence. But at least the rules are done well!

Oftentimes, DMs/GMs face the difficulty of bringing a new type of game to the table because the players don’t want to learn new rules. Heroes & Heels solves that problem by bringing a new type of game with rules that are familiar to existing 5E players.

It should be noted that this core rulebook does not contain any setting or even an implied setting. But for only $3.50 (today at least), this isn’t really an issue as the DM can pick-up that sourcebook to give you a setting to play in!

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