Friday, 28 December 2012

Review: Heroes Against Darkness Gets 4E Right (Allegedly)

Looks like the release of the print version of Heroes Against Darkness has shaken out some new fans.

+John Bell - The Retired Adventurer - has posted a review of Heroes Against Darkness on his blog:

Heroes Against Darkness Gets 4e Right

"I mention all of this because Heroes Against Darkness is a 4e heartbreaker, and a really good one." 

"There are lots of little tweaks like this that I really like. The GM advice chapter is also pretty meaty, and I'd feel fairly comfortable giving Heroes Against Darkness to a new roleplayer as their first adventure game."

"Heroes Against Darkness in general has the feel of 4e done right. I don't say that as someone who hated 4e and wanted it to be fundamentally different, but as someone who played it and felt that the game didn't live up to its own promise. If that sounds like the kind of thing you'd be interested in, go check it out."

It's not all flowers and holding hands though, 'cos John has a couple of criticisms:

"The not particularly serious one is that there's some extraneous swearing in a couple of chapters. I'm not a prude, but it kind of comes out of nowhere and doesn't serve much purpose."

Now I'm a fairly conversational writer, so sometimes more colorful turns of phrase slip into my works.   As far as I can tell, in reading Heroes Against Darkness you'll get one 'shit' and one 'crap'. You've been warned!

The second criticism is more serious:

"The more serious one is the underdeveloped skill system. Skills are mentioned in a couple of places: Each class has some suggested skills they should have, and there's a big list of possible skills, but the actual rules for skills are totally missing, from how many skills characters should have, to how and when they select those skills, to what skills do or how one uses them, to how one gets more. As a quick set of house rules, I'd imitate 4e somewhat: Having a skill would grant a +5 on any checks related to that skill. Character would select say, four at the start and could add another every other level."

I deliberately left the skill system out of Heroes Against Darkness, but its absence has been noted.   But all is not lost, and we've had a few discussions about it over at RPGnet:

RPGnet thread: [Heroes Against Darkness] This is my kind of D&D clone

Thanks for John for taking the time to review Heroes Against Darkness.

Head over to DriveThruRPG to pick up a print edition of Heroes Against Darkness:
DriveThruRPG - Heroes Against Darkness


  1. I picked up the PDF as a result of the thread on It looks good. Having read chunks of it is there a good place to ask questions about it in terms of detailed mechanics etc?


    1. Hi Edward, you can either ask here or better still start a thread at