A Review of the Roleplaying Game Supplement Hero Kids – Fantasy RPG by Justin Halliday

Hero Kids – Fantasy RPG by Justin Halliday and published by Hero Forge Games is the main rulebook for the Hero Kids game system, a lightweight introductory roleplaying game designed for children aged 4-10 years

The main rulebook is available in PDF and print on demand softcover. The normal price of the rulebook is $5.99 but it was purchased at the reduced price of $3 (although it is available at this price anyway in the Hero Kids – Complete Fantasy PDF Bundle) and the regular price of the print on demand version is $11.99.

There are five PDFs in the purchase. Three are different versions of the main rulebook; screen, print on demand version and printer friendly version. Two are different versions of an included adventure, Hero Kids – Fantasy Adventure – Basement O Rats – in screen and printer friendly versions.

Hero Kids - Fantasy RPGThe review here applies to the screen version, as the print on demand version is laid out differently, being in a 6″ x 9″ format compared to the screen versions’ landscape 11″ x 8.5″, and as a result of this has more pages although not more content, and it lacks colour backgrounds to the pages. The printer friendly version is laid out identically to the screen, except it also lacks the colour page backgrounds.

The screen version is a 50 page PDF. One page is the full colour front cover, one page the front matter and two pages the Table of Contents. 20 pages at the back are the Heroes! and Monsters! sections.

The book is divided into many different sections, usually only a page or two in length. The primary part of the book has explanations on the game, what you will need to play it, and how to play the game, with different levels of play for different ages of children; older children are more capable and can therefore use the more challenging material. Consideration is made of how to encourage children to roleplay, and how to subtly guide the story and coax them by using leading questions. There is also a three page Glossary of all the terms used.

Heroes! – this section switches to a portrait view after the one page title. There are six pages, each with two Hero Cards on it, ten of the cards being pre-made and the last two being blank. Each of the pre-written cards has an image of the hero along with their statistics. The blank ones are similar, only they have no image and the stats are not filled in. Then, back in landscape view, there is a page with ten A-frame black and white miniatures – the images on them match the images on the pre-made cards – and ten blank A-frame miniature templates.

Monsters! – this section follows the standard landscape view of the majority of the PDF, and has four pages each with four monster cards, seven pages of black and white A-frame miniatures, each with sixteen miniatures, to go with the monster cards.

Basement O Rats

Basement O RatsThis is a 19 page PDF, of which one page is the full colour cover, one page is two monster cards, one of which is duplicated from the main rulebook, there is one page of sixteen A-frame black and white miniatures and five pages of black and white maps with grids. The maps appear to be hand drawn, and one page is the tavern; the other four join together into the underground caves. These maps are designed to be used with the miniatures, and are unlabelled. Throughout the adventure there are smaller duplicates of these for the GameMaster, which are labelled. The encounters in the adventure are scalable, in terms of combat difficulty, and there is descriptive text as well as pointers on how to run each encounter for children.

Hero Kids – Fantasy RPG in Review

The PDF is well bookmarked and the Table of Contents is hyperlinked too. There isn’t an index as well as the Table of Contents, but the latter is thorough enough to cover everything. Combined with the length of the book, this all makes it easy to navigate.

The book maintains a two column layout for the text, although the landscape view is rather different, as most books – including the print on demand version of this one – are portrait. The illustrations are black and white and simple but effective, and appropriate to the book. The miniatures, and pictures on the hero and monster cards, could have been coloured; however, the supplement is aimed at children, and leaving them in black and white allows children to colour them in themselves (although this is not actually mentioned), which many are likely to enjoy doing. It also saves on printer ink. Perhaps having both coloured and black and white would have been a nice option, but this would more than likely have increased the cost of making the supplement.

Hero Kids has a range of other supplements for it, including a bestiary and plenty of adventures. There are also some science fiction themed supplements. The system can also be published for by other publishers, and there are also a range of nice third party supplements available, some of them rather good. The system itself is easy to pick up. It manages to embody much of what a role playing game is, without having the complexity that would be seen in, for example, Pathfinder. There are roleplaying opportunities, combat, tests of skill and puzzle solving, and tips for parents on how to play the game with the children of others – not all parents approve of roleplaying games. The complexity of the game can be scaled up using optional rules as children get older, and more capable.

The included adventure is simple and easy to run, and features the children having to save another boy who has been kidnapped by giant rats from the tavern in which they are eating. The encounters can be scaled, depending on the number of players. This is an easy, but decent, first adventure.

Hero Kids – Fantasy RPG is a great, simple introductory system for children who are interested in roleplaying, and can also be used as an educational medium too, but one that is fun to learn.

 

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