Heroes Against Darkness: Overview

Imagine an ancient world torn apart by primal powers. A place where magic runs through all living things and erupts from the minds of powerful magi, where humans, elves, dwarves and orcs walk the same earth, where ancient gods fight side-by-side with mortals in an endless battle between order and chaos.

Adventure is everywhere. This is the world of Heroes Against Darkness.

Heroes Against Darkness is a free, fast, flexible, and fully-featured fantasy d20 RPG system. The game is quick to learn and play, while offering progressively greater options and flexibility as players develop their characters and explore the breadth and depth of the system.

For Players:
• A game that’s fast, fun and deep
• Streamlined rules system using unified mechanics
• Eleven character classes for all play-styles
• Three martial classes: Warrior, barbarian, berserker
• Two specialist classes: Rogue, hunter
• One hybrid class that combines magic and martial: Hospiter
• Five magi classes: Warlock, healer, canonate, necromancer, mystic
• Extensive character background and skill options
• Fast character building with plenty of depth
• Martial and specialist classes get meaningful combat choices through class-specific techniques that are based on trade-offs and the unique capabilities of each class
• Anima points-based magic system with five main schools focusing on each of the following; physical, healing, protection, necrotic and controlling

For GMs:
• A system that’s easy for the GM to set up and run
• Intuitive and clear rules
• Set up unique combat encounters in minutes
• Easy on-the-fly conversion of adventures from other systems
• A simple ability test system for non-combat challenges
• Support for long-term campaign play
• Extensive GM’s Guide to help run the game
• Huge bestiary with over 80 monsters
• A framework for quickly making custom monsters
• A comprehensive world-building guide
• Appendix of key tables for GMs

Check out Heroes Against Darkness over at the downloads page: Heroes Against Darkness - Game Rules.


  1. Hi Justin! great work indeed!

    I've 2 fast questions:

    -you've rules to improve characters up to level 20, but available powers go only up to level 10. Does it mean that in levels 11-20 you only obtain damage scaling, hps and no new powers?

    -Apparently there's no way to improve skills even if you want. Why?

    -I see no rules for multiclassing. Has it been made on purpose? Why?

    1. Yes, between level 10 and 20 you only gain damage tiers and additional HP and AP. I chose to draw the line at Level 10 because most campaigns end at around that level and I don't have time to extend all of the classes and their powers for another 10 levels!

      The skill system is fairly freeform, so as the GM you can simply allow the players to gain extra skills when they level up, maybe based on the sorts of activities they've been doing in their adventures. I was going to expand the skills section in the Game Master's Guide to give some more pointers for bonuses from skills where players have different levels of accomplishment and capability (+2 for a general understanding -> +5 for expert, -> +10 for true mastery).

      There are no rules for multiclassing at the moment, for no particularly good reason. I've been thinking about it this morning, and it could be straight-forward to include. You could take a level in another class and as long as you adhered to that class's proficiencies (or took the penalties), you could use that class's powers (up to the level you have in that class, not overall). But you'd only achieve the damage tiers when you get that number of levels for the class, not overall. This could require a slight change to the rules for weapons and armor to ensure there are no loopholes.

  2. Thanks a lot for your reply. I have another question.
    You've written about hybrid classes (blackguard, swordmaster, etc), but I don't find rules for their xp progression and about what powers and class features they gain. Are they a sort of gestalt 3.5 pc?

  3. I just found this by way of another blog.

    So far I love the layout and art, but I haven't read too much of the rules yet.

    My question is though why did you choose CC as opposed to the OGL for licensing?

    1. Hi Tim, I licensed Heroes Against Darkness under CC because I don't need the OGL.

      Basically, the OGL is legal plaigarism.

      By signing up to it, you are allowed to use text and other copyrightable materials that are owned by WotC to make clones or derivatives of earlier editions of D&D.

      I don't need the OGL because all of the common elements in D&D and Heroes Against Darkness are not copyrightable.

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  5. What about -D?

    For instance the goblins have -1d on their attack. I understand 1d, 2d, etc. I do not, however, understand a negative number. Can you clarify?


    1. 1 fewer dice. So 3d becomes 2d (+ Attack Bonus), and 1d becomes Attack Bonus damage only.

  6. Hello. I just noticed a TINY mistake on page 9 of HAD rule set, on the Hospiter example page. It reads as follows:

    "The GM tells Sean to use the epic character method of
    generating ability scores, so Sean grabs four six-sided dice
    (4d6) and starts rolling.
    For his character‟s six ability scores he rolls:
    • 4, 5, 4, 6: He drops the 4 and totals 15
    • 1, 2, 4, 2: He drops the 1 and totals 8
    • 4, 2, 4, 3: He drops the 2 and totals 11
    • 5, 3, 1, 4: He drops the 1 and totals 12
    • 5, 4, 3, 2: He drops the 2 and totals 12
    • 3, 6, 4, 5: He drops the 1 and totals 15 "

    On the last line there it says "He drops the 1" where it should read "He drops the 3". Just something to fix for when ever the next update to the game is coming. With regards, JVB.

  7. Hello, I love HAD!
    I've been playing it for a few weeks with some local friends and we're having a blast. I just had a quick question, your summary lists "Easy on-the-fly conversion of adventures from other systems" but I'm not seeing it in the rulebook. Any ideas? or is this not part of the main rulebook? Thanks in advance!