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Against the Darkness $10.00 $7.00
Average Rating:4.4 / 5
Ratings Reviews Total
2 4
1 4
1 0
0 0
0 0
Against the Darkness
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Against the Darkness
Publisher: Tabletop Adventures, LLC
by Christopher H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/04/2013 03:09:31
Try to picture Fox Mulder and Dana Scully as Catholic priests instead of FBI agents, or Buffy Summers and her friends as seminary students instead of high school students, and you’re well on your way to getting into the spirit of “Against the Darkness.” The straightforward and effective rules set does a good job of covering many possibilities while remaining light on details. The task resolution system is used across the board for all situations, combat and non-combat. Die-hard “simulationist” gamers won’t be satisfied with the level of specificity; for example, a single “Combat” skill covers all forms of armed and unarmed combat, and almost all combat attacks deal the same amount of damage (which doesn’t require a die roll). However, if you can accept the system’s “coarseness,” you’ll find that the “rules light” approach allows you to keep the action moving along with minimal interruptions.

The rulebook bills the game’s genre as “Vatican horror,” and the PCs are assumed to work for or with a secretive order within a fictionalized version of the Roman Catholic Church. The treatment of religion (both institutional and otherwise) is fictionalized but respectful. Christian GMs and players might agree with the game’s implicit theology in the real world, but should not find it offensive in the fictional world. The game is flexible enough to accommodate anything from orthodox (if old-fashioned) Catholicism to a more Pentacostal flavor to something out of “The Exorcist” or “The Da Vinci Code.” (It might be relevant to mention here that I am personally a committed Protestant whose day job is teaching biblical studies at the undergraduate and master’s degree levels.)

I like the overall tone and mechanics of the game very much, but I do find the product lacking in a couple of respects. As a matter of production quality, the typeface choices are inconsistent and sometimes unattractive; for example, one body paragraph might be set in Garamond, the next in Times New Roman. However, with only a few exceptions, the book seems to have been well-edited; readers won’t be tripping over grammatical errors every paragraph or so, as is often the case with small-press publications. As a matter of content, I felt that Specializations could have been explained a bit more clearly, and the rulebook occasionally features some repetitions that could perhaps have been avoided. But the main thing that hampers the rulebook—and the primary reason for my 4-star rating instead of a 5-star rating—is the lack of a sample adventure with mechanics. Interludes of short fiction illustrate the kinds of stories one might tell with “Against the Darkness,” but these are not illustrated with game mechanics. The introduction claims that “[i]n this rulebook … you will find everything you need to understand the rules, create characters, and begin playing,” but that’s not quite true; the GM still needs to come up with an adventure for the PCs to experience. The rulebook does contain several intriguing campaign ideas, but the lack of an included mini-adventure or sample scenario is a significant omission. (Tabletop Adventures did later release an introductory adventure, but that was six years after the publication of the rulebook.)

All in all, “Against the Darkness” fills an interesting niche in the RPG market, and it does so rather well.

(In the interests of full disclosure, I should note that I have contributed material to other Tabletop Adventures products [in the “Bits of” line], but I did not have anything to do with the production of “Against the Darkness.”)

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Against the Darkness
Publisher: Tabletop Adventures, LLC
by Patrick M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/22/2011 14:55:50
This looks to be a really fun game with a simple mechanic that handles every situation. You don't have to consult a dozen tables and memorize different die calculations depending on whether your picking a pocket, wrestling or casting out a demon. One easy formula and you can concentrate on the story and running your character.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Against the Darkness
Publisher: Tabletop Adventures, LLC
by Neil B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/29/2008 04:10:55
Having played many contemporary role playing systems based upon the horror and/or supernatural genre, I found ATD to be fresh and lightweight with the rules. Character generation is simple and we have had a campaign going for a year. If you have tried the White Wolf products, Beyond the Supernatural and many others....give this a go

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Against the Darkness
Publisher: Tabletop Adventures, LLC
by Michael D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/07/2008 09:23:45
A complete product in which characters are Justiciars, fighting against the supernatural enemies of the church (Catholic and/or Episcopalian, given the female priest on the cover). A simple system allows for combat, skills, and miracles in the name of the Lord. The skills allow for some nifty cinematic tricks, as do the miracles.

The presentation is good, with thematic Bible verses and prayers serving as flavor text throughout. The only strange thing I saw was that one round of combat damage does the same regardless of the weapon used. Makes for quick fights, but folks who like differentiation of weapons will be scratching their heads.

The game is simple enough to begin play nearly immediately, yet offers enough horizons for a longer campaign. Rules and advice for running horror games are included, as well as some characters and foes. Expect as much competent action as you do horror.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Against the Darkness
Publisher: Tabletop Adventures, LLC
by Filippo B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/11/2008 21:04:43
Well, one of the best RPGs I seen EVER!!!
It's simple, fast, light and "smart"!

The rules system and the "vatican horror" mood are well rended in only 70 pages and I hope the Tabletop Adventures's guys will release at least an official supplement or adventure circle in future to expand this already good game!

One of my best buys on DTRPG! :-)

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Against the Darkness
Publisher: Tabletop Adventures, LLC
by Stacy F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/13/2007 00:00:00
Awesome product in a rarely-seen genre. Only thing I would have liked would be a few more monsters/adversaries. Maybe a good idea for a supplement?

QUALITY: Very Good

VALUE: Very Satisfied


Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Publisher Reply:
More monsters are indeed on the way. Thanks for the comment!
Against the Darkness
Publisher: Tabletop Adventures, LLC
by Michael S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/24/2007 00:00:00
This is a truly great system, backed up with an excellent setting. The rules are easy to learn, but still provide a great deal of depth. Character creation is a snap, and the archetypes provided are ready to play, so you don't even need to create a character, just print and play. I read through the rules in about an hour and was ready to play. The setting is excellent, and there's plenty of tone provided by the text, The system helps establish the setting, too, by providing game mechanics for miracles and the like. The game can really be played in a number of different styles and tones, from action to dark horror. Overall, this is a great product, and I really like to see more in this product line.
When I've explained the setting to people, they immediately think of "Van Helsing," but there's very little in this setting that is in common with "Van Helsing." The bad guys in "Against the Darkness" have darker motivations, and the heroes need not play it for laughs. The game mechanics for losing your faith or "Fidelis" really ground the setting in something a bit more dark than your average adventure horror film. However, there's always the option to make Terror Checks easier to pass, and lighten the tone.




LIKED: Great setting that is reinforced by the game mechanics.

DISLIKED: I'd like to see more background and more information about the setting. What's there is more than enough to get you started, but future supplements would be welcome.

QUALITY: Excellent

VALUE: Very Satisfied

[THIS REVIEW WAS EDITED]


Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Against the Darkness
Publisher: Tabletop Adventures, LLC
by Charles H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/25/2006 00:00:00
This is a cute game. It reminds me a lot of the Van Helsing movie. In fatc many of the characters from that film would make playable PC's within the existing rules system.


LIKED: The rules are brief and to the point. It is a slim text, but every page has something of value on it.

QUALITY: Very Good

VALUE: Satisfied


Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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