Few games come even close to the kind of heart that Dark Harvest: Legacy of Frankenstein has. Iain Lowson’s work in Dark Harvest could be described as a love letter to gothic horror with a little wink to the steampunk aesthetic.
Setting-wise, Promethea is a strong one, full of interesting and disturbing detail. It is a world gone wrong, with atrocities committed in the name of science, ambition, greed and selfishness. The abuse of power is a prominent theme, but for good reason. The writing of the setting chapters serve to fan the flames of indignation, where any person with half a heart can find the spark needed to DO something about the conditions in Prometha. It is a setting of martyrs and heroes fighting in the purest battlefield for sacrifice, one where their valor and courage will never be recognized.
The rules for DH:LoF are a variant of the Victoriana mechanics. I’d put this in the rules-medium category, similar to that of Legend of the Five Rings, and Savage Worlds. The mechanics are easy enough to learn and teach, though it does require about 10d6 per player. Combat is closer to that of the World of Darkness, where “Tactical” concerns aren’t really the highlight, though tweaking the system to allow for some measure of advantage to those who think ahead before engaging an enemy isn’t too hard to do.
Character creation is meaty, and the book itself suggests minor variations depending on the group’s preferences. Characters can start off with a host of advantages, and the use of social classes to determine the difficulty of certain tasks and the avilability of other advantages is an inspired touch that I wish I could see more of in other games.
Overall, Dark Harvest: Legacy of Frankenstein is an inspired and flavorful game that lends itself well to many gaming groups. The blend of Horror and themes of rebellion is a rare one, and DH:LoF finds a way to inspire players to fight, rather than just give up in the face of the inevitable. I would definitely recommend this game to anyone looking for something different as far as RPGs go.