So this is my first ever review of an RPG, for reals!
What could possibly make me want to review an RPG after all these years or gaming? Well it is simple, this game MADE me want to play D&D again... well this version of it anyways.
Heroes Against Darkness is a Neo-Clone (loving this term) or a Fantasy Heartbreaker (I see this term more as a badge of honour) that takes the wide breadth of D&D and pieces together one hell of a fun system!
Now this is not a perfect game by any stretch of the imagination, it has some gaps that are a bit glaring for a more role-player like myself. These gaps are missing classes like the more social ones (Bard) or the straight up Paladin (which is sort of covered by the Hospitaler class), also I think the game could benefit from a Monk and a Druid, for completeness sake. That said, the classes that are there really cover a large amount of options. At face value it is complete enough for old school D&D players.
Justin Halliday wrote this as a labour of love, to be sure, and it shows on every page. The writing is tight and focused, the art is evocative and exciting and the layout is excellent. Especially for a layout done in Word... wow! I would never attempt to layout a whole game in Word, or at least I wouldn't have previously, but now I see the power of it.
The thing that I liked most of all was the incorporation of a pseudo-4e Power mechanic for each class as well as a hybridized almost Magic The Gathering style for spellcasters. Together this really hits the spot for me, though it does make house creating character classes a bit of work as you need to balance out their new powers.
Another nice thing is that while mapping isn't necessary, it is really a lot of fun with the way the rules work. So much so that my group played out a map combat, and we are NOT mappers by any stretch, and LOVED it!
Character creation is deep and involved, plenty of narrative options are in this section, including a cute 7 deadly sins/7 blessed virtues option which is very cool.
There is a nicely sized monster manual in it, treasure and a truckload of GM advice and tools to make your campaign even better.
Best of all though is the price... FREE!
That's right, you get a FULL game that is fast and a load of fun to play with out paying 1 single penny.
Now if we can get a community going, that might lead to some fan creations (I've already done a Knight Class) of classes, new powers/spells and maybe some monsters too!
So in summation, this is worth the price of admission and even gives you more value than some games that you pay $20+ for. Check it out, give it a read and maybe even take it out for a spin or two. Trust me, if you like fast paced, less complicated stuff, this game does not disappoint!
[5 of 5 Stars!]