Thursday, 20 September 2012

Hero Kids alpha playtest complete

After several weeks of thorough testing, the alpha playtest of Hero Kids is now complete.   I've gotten back a whole bunch of useful feedback from the various testers and their tiny helpers.   Thanks guys and girls!

I'm currently working to implement the changes and suggestions that have come up in the testing, I'm designing more adventures for our pint-sized heroes (including an randomly generated minotaur's maze), and finally I'm working with Eric Quigley to complete all of the artwork for the monsters and the heroes so that we can get Hero Kids finished early in October (what a perfect holiday activity it will be!).

Here's a quick look at some of nasty humanoid monsters in the game:

Eric Quigley Art

Lookin' good boys!

The monsters in Heroes Against Darkness are much less cute:
Heroes Against Darkness: Downloads.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

D&D Encounters at Games Laboratory

Tonight I GMed my first ever session of D&D Encounters at Games Laboratory here in Melbourne, Australia.

We had four players, two who hadn't played 4th Edition at all, but they picked it up pretty easily.   I managed to KO two of the characters and had them on the ropes, but some judicious use of healing checks got them through the fight.   We also had two spectators, one of who has promised to come back next week and play.   The only downside was trying to pronounce all of the damned Drow names!

Next time I need to remember to take some minis and maybe even the my Pathfinder stand-ups, because the generic tokens are a bit mundane.   Oh, I should also remember to take my DICE, although the d20 I used did roll pretty well!

It's definitely a great program to allow new players to try to D&D (in any flavor) so if you're in the area and want to play some casual D&D feel free to join us on Wednesday nights:

Games Laboratory Role-Playing Games Facebook Group

Alternatively, check out this game:
Heroes Against Darkness - Game Rules.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Review of Heroes Against Darkness on RPGnet

Antonios S has done a long and comprehensive review of Heroes Against Darkness over on RPGnet:

Review of Heroes Against Darkness - RPGnet

Antonios' review looks at the game in depth, and picks up on the way the game's rules are presented to ensure they are easy to find and also to make sure that no 'little rules' are buried (or hidden) in the text!

"This is a full game that costs nothing. This can't be stressed enough. It is not a demo, not an introductory adventure, not an abridged version designed to lure you into buying other, more complex products. It's a full system, free for us to check and use according to our needs. The system is contained in one single product. It isn't impossible to play because some rules might be included in future products. It's all there, ready for the taking."

"The mechanics of the game are solid, simple and unobtrusive. Being a light game it obviously won't cover all situations and the GM will have to adjudicate or outright wing it at times. That is, however, one of HAD's very strong points. It can easily give the feel of fantasy gaming with classes while remaining super simple at the same time."

"The writing is concise and to the point. I am trying to imagine what Justin Halliday's background is, since the presentation of the rules is by far the cleanest I have seen in RPGs. Effectively each rule is inside a square preceded by the world 'rule'... It adds however greatly to the concept of the game's minimalism and lightness, since it's quite obvious at any given point where the rules are in any given chapter. I am not sure whether this type of presentation has been used in the past, but even if it has, kudos to Justin."

Note: I haven't seen this presentation of rules elsewhere, and I used it to force myself not to add little rules, elaborations, and exceptions to the game. Any rule I wanted to employ had to be worthy of inclusion in that boxed area, otherwise I left it out of the game!

"Most importantly, it appears that all of his choices are based on a particular principle or idea that he had concerning game mechanics. He doesn't necessarily strive for realism, mind you, but he appears very knowledgeable of game mechanics and how systems and sub-systems interact with each other, how rules mesh and stack up and what tools one should use depending on the goal to achieve."

"Heroes Against Darkness deserves to be in your library and merits to at least be tried a few times. Its mechanics are intuitive, solid and easy-going and the game has an air of friendliness to newcomers."

"HAD is now by far my game of choice for the one-off demos to the uninitiated on what our hobby is about. Something tells me I will not be disappointed."

Antonios S, I salute you!

Heroes Against Darkness is intuitive, solid and easy-going, just like its author:
Heroes Against Darkness: Downloads.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Sneak peek at a Hero Kids character

So while all of the helpful playtesters are putting Hero Kids through it's paces, I reckon it's a good time to show everyone else what a 'Hero Card' looks like for one of the heroes that's included in the game.  From the card you might be able to work out the basics of the system itself.

First, each of the heroes has four main attributes:
•   Melee (dice pool for melee attacks)
•   Ranged (dice pool for ranged attacks)
•  Magic (dice pool for magic attacks)
•  Armor (dice pool for defending against enemy attacks)

Plus a number of attacks and actions:
•   Normal Attack (melee, ranged, or magic)
•   Special Action (usually a special attack or other action)
•   Special Ability (a passive ability based on the hero's specialty)

Finally, heroes can also have these items and skills:
•   Healing Potions (these are used in combat to heal the hero)
•   Inventory Items (these can be used in adventuring)
•   Skills (these can be used in adventuring or role-playing)

Hero Kids works as a simple skirmish game or as a full RPG, and the characters themselves have layers of complexity so that they are usable by kids from 4 to 10.  Younger kids just have to use their dice pools and their Normal Attack, while older kids can use tactics and their heroes' Special Actions and Abilities to tackle hard combats and other adventuring and role-playing obstacles.

If I've designed the Hero Cards it right, this example card should pretty much tell you about the underlying mechanics of the game and the possible and probable variations in the heroes that come with the game.

Looking for something more complicated, look no further:
Heroes Against Darkness: Downloads.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Hero Kids alpha playtest begins

Okay, the playtest docs for Hero Kids are out to testers.

If I somehow missed you in sending out the docs, drop me an email at justinhalliday(@)gmail(dot)com.

In the mean-time, here's a real-life RPG for grown-ups:
Heroes Against Darkness: Downloads.