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Reviews of 'Heroes of Defiance'

Heroes of Defiance

by Steve Miller
Fifth Age, Volume 6

Reviews of 'Heroes of Defiance'

Here are the visitor reviews we have of Heroes of Defiance. For more information about this title, please visit the item detail page.

Reviewer: Morten Brattbakk

Rating: Stars

First off, the rogue roles. There is a varied set of roles here, many of them which automatically offer role-playing opportunities to the hero choosing those roles (like the displaced noble.) Some roles are quite restrictive and usable only in certain situations, campaign types or places, like the loyal servant, the diplomat and the river pirate. However, these are fine if they fit the campaign. There are many other rogue roles to choose from here. But I have one complaint: There is no role for a common thief, for example, nor an assassin role. And what about a kender who is doing his handling, but cannot qualify for the role of "handler", which is described here as something of kender all other kender admire?

The chapter on underground operations is very interesting, if a bit brief. It describes the resistance against such dragons as Beryllinthranox and Malystryx. Lots of great campaign opportunities and adventure hooks here, I hope these operations are elaborated on in future products.

I also liked the hidden agenda chapter, which can make for a very interesting character if used. Lots of good ideas.

Then there is the chapter about Northern Ergoth. It offers detailed information on the cities and sites in Ergoth and its three provinces and Hylo. We get the history of the realms in detail, and some paragraphs of each land's culture. Adventure hooks abound, and all this is very good background on Northern Ergoth and the interesting political tensions between the Ackalites, Ergothian, Solamnic refugees, Sikk'et Hul goblins and true and afflicted kender.

All in all, this book is better than Book One in Heroes of Steel, because it better reflects the story-telling idea behind the Fifth Age game. Where Heroes of Steel was mostly a collection of combat rules, new weapons and warrior roles; Heroes of Defiance gives ideas and background for narrators and players alike. It better suits my purposes. The roles are more a role-playing aid in Heroes of Defiance, while in Heroes of Steel some of them seemed to be a set of advantages and disadvantages.

In future products, I would very much like to see other areas of Ansalon detailed in the same fashion as Northern Ergoth was detailed here. Then there is the adventure. We played it last night in fact, and that worked very well. I can tell you my players were excited when Khellendros showed up in the climax.

It was better than the adventure in Heroes of Steel. The two cities which the players visit have encounter descriptions and there is a map of each city. This was something which was missing for Caergoth and Palanthas (and large areas the players could travel) in the Heroes of Steel adventure. I still find the scenes/act organization of the adventures a little restrictive, but the system is stretched a bit here to allow for more freedom for the players. Oh, and the adventure has some hooks for the narrator to future adventures, also.

Well, all in all, Heroes of Defiance is very good, with lots of good ideas to help both players and narrator to come up with new ideas for their characters and adventures. Since the information is very little rules-bound, even those who do not use this system can find some use for this box. The background for Northern Ergoth can easily be used as a basis for Fourth Age campaigns as well as Fifth Age campaigns set there.

Review made Saturday November 8th, 1997 on the newsgroup.

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