Many quests have townsfolk or NPCs that are treated as a "hero figure." Others, such as in the Cardinal's Plight quest, have NPC's that are treated as a "hero." What is the difference?
We have been playing that any hero or OL abilities that mention targeting a hero only work on figures treated as heroes, and not hero figures. This means that all being a hero figure does is allows the heroes to move through it, and means that they can't make it the main target of their attack.