Greetings Maze Dwellers! Today was an especially happy gaming goodness day on several levels, of which part today I will share that I received my PDF download of HEROES/A Roleplaying Game Set in the Dark Ages by Dave Millward of the UK.
Like many in the OSR who have researched and hunted out classic gaming rules and settings, this one has haunted the periphery of my memory for quite some time, both because of the era in which it came forth (the best time for rpg's in my mean opinion), the academic credentials of the game's designer, and it's extreme rarity.
I have a vague memory of seeing this on a game shop shelf somewhere during the eighties--at the time I was quite enamored of TSR and Dungeons and Dragons so I paid it little heed.
After getting online and joining the OSR, I read about HEROES in several sites, blogs and forums and developed quite a curiosity for it. But for a long time, it wasn't available except as a very expensive out of print collectible hard copy. Well, that's no longer the case!
This week I decided to order the PDF scan of the original rules (there is also a reboot version) and I am quite thrilled. I have spent the last four hours pouring over it with a glass of port wine in hand and the Virginal Book playing upon my turntable (not Dark Ages music perhaps but quite mood building)and getting a grasp on how to run the game... and I can tell you that, although there are some typos, errors, and a few ambiguous sentences, it is a thing of beauty.
I will be writing up a full review of the rules very soon. In a nutshell you are a newcomer to a port city named Triente in a Dark Age Europe type setting, and having determined your character nationality and social background, along with initial arms and armour and starting wealth, it is up to you to rise or fall according to your own inclinations and the luck of the dice.
You can decide to socially climb or descend into the squalor of the back alleys or brigandage of the lonely highway, the choice is yours, but whichever way you choose, rest assured the GM (or Umpire) has a table that will let you know your outcomes. And there are tables for what transpires in the bawdy house, the field of war, Church, City and Court, and a host of other possible incidental happenings.
No monsters, no magic...just naked ambition, human foibles, and plenty of swordplay, skullduggery and carousing. I am still devouring the rules and pine at the thought that people in highschool and college in the late 1970's created campaigns like this one; I wish I could have been a part of the hey-day!
I am also nearing the end of an art project I began a lonnnngggg time ago (early October of 2015) and have uploaded a few pics of the late stages. Hope you like the piece.
|The scenes you see in the portals are going to be erased and replaced by similar but more subtle landscapes.|
|The goddess lends her radiant blessings upon the assembled heroes who will brave the depths of the dark dungeon!|
|The Minotaur, still under construction....|
|Likewise the Gorgon...|
|The dice rolls don't seem very favourable...aside from the triple six, the polyhedral dice bears the figure of a zero...|