Heroes of Light
Authors: Brian Campbell, James Lowder, and Peter Woodworth
Summary of content:
Chapter One: Creating the Virtuous Hero
Chapter Two: Heroic societies in Ravenloft
Chapter Three: Who’s blessed ?
Chapter Four: the Heroic Campaign
A companion book to Champions of Darkness, I was quite afraid when I purchased Heroes of Light a month after the first book. Thankfully, it is much better. The book introduces new ways to characterize gradations in virtue. Well made, IMHO, but difficult to maintain. The new PrCs are much more useful and relevant then those in CoD.
The good: Anchorite Inquisitor (with the cool candle communion ability), Blessed Defender, True Innocent (for NPCs with the highest virtue; get some divine powers from their inner strenght), White Arcanist (cool return)
The average: Anchorite Wanderer, Black-powder Avenger, Blessed Paladin (with the weird Last Stand ability - no wonder they loose one point of wisdom :)! ), Detective, Dilettante ( a good NPC class, but not for PC IMHO), Knight Errand
The weird: metaphycisian, scholar
The new feats are less silly then in CoD, and most are geared toward roleplay, which is good - check Test of Virtue for example.
Chapter two presents good secret societies. Many adventure hooks in these pages.
Chapter three is a bunch of good NPCs. Most are quite cool and colorful (Patrick Connor, Kattinker Tatters) while Eia Pax is a little too powerful to my taste (next Saturday night: Eia Pax against Mrs Shadowborn herself!) (but her drawing is cool). However, none of them uses the PRCs and the feats introduced in the book.
The chapters ends with the great Wanderers from Spectre of the Black Rose. Great stuff!
Chapter four has guidelines for DMing Heroic Campaign. Good advices.
OK book. 3 out of 5.
I have just purchased Heroes of Light, and based on my cursory reading, I can whole-heartedly recommend it to all Ravenloft players and DMs. While I haven't gone over it with a fine-toothed comb, I haven't found any major typos, or rules problems, like I did when I first read Champions of Darkness.
Heroes is presented as the counterpart of Champions of Darkness, but it far outshines it, no pun intended. Heroes is intended for PCs and NPCs who are not only willing to oppose the horrors of the Dread Realms, but who are able to resist the temptations of wickedness, and remain pure of heart. The book introduces new gradations in the steps between an Innocent and a Corrupted character, similar to the rules in the 2E Domains of Dread rulebook. In addition to being Innocent, characters might be Blessed, Moral, Penitent, Unclean, or Corrupted. Innocents use the same rules as in the R3E Core Rulebook. The Blessed have lost their innocence, but have undergone a Test of Virtue, to prove their valour, and gain a +1 bonus to their Fear, Horror, and Madness saves, and qualify to take the special Feats and Prestige Classes in Chapter 1. Moral characters are those who have never failed a DP check. Penitent have failed the first stage of Corruption (Unclean) but have repented. Virtuous characters (those who are Innocent or Blessed) must be extra vigilant to avoid actions that incur DP checks, but if they maintain their Virtue, they are rewarded.
The PrCs in Chapter one are very powerful, but in order to take them, a character must have a specified level of Virtue. If they lose that Virtue they lose all class abilities, instead reverting to one of the Core classes. In addition to a Virtue restriction, some of the others require the character to give up something in order to get these powers.
The PrCs are all wonderful, though the Virtue-related ones are difficult to gain and keep. However these make for excellent roleplaying opportunities, as a Blessed character strives against the temptations of Evil that Champions of Darkness catalogued.
Examples of the PrCs:
Chapter 2 has a collection of secret societies, including a group of militant members of the Mordent sect of Ezra, dedicated to protecting the sect from the fanatics of the Lawful Evil, Nevuchar Springs sect.
Chapter 3 has a collections of NPCs who have remained Virtuous. The stars of the chapter are the famous Wanderers, the tribe of Vistani founded by Magda Kulchevich. Following the events of Spectre of the Black Rose, there only three of the former members left alive, along with the Stone Giant, Nabon, who was the recipient of special powers from the Bloody Cobbler. Nabon is not a Vistani, but he has become a defender and avenger of endangered Vistani. The Wanderers have vowed to rid Sithicus of its new DL, Inza Kulchevich, the traitorous daughter of the tribe's founder.
Chapter four has suggestions for a Heroic Campaign. There are suggestions for starting the campaign, for maintaining the theme, and even how to add Romance, which is the part of the Gothic genre that is least touched on in Ravenloft.
All in all this is a wonderful book. I give it five drops of blood. Go buy it.
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