So, pre-ordered and have now downloaded the PDFs. Only going to do a quick review, more of an overview really, and I’ll do more when I digest them, and then again when I get the printed copies (because I feel that the physical copies are going to be something else altogether). First part deals with:
Lamentations of the Flame Princess Weird Fantasy Role-Playing: Grind House Edition
First, a quick note: there is a technical fault with this PDF at the moment, but that is going to be fixed, and it looks to be font-related, so the art and most of the text looks ok, enough to do a quick review anyhow.
There is a lot of nice new artwork. I like it. Old School with a twist, you could say. It fits with the theme of the game, the weird fantasy with a dose of horror. I’m not easily shocked, far too desensitised to be honest, but I can see that some may not like all of it: personally, I think it rocks!
Highlights for me: the cover of the box (always been a favourite image); the cover for the Rules & Magic book (which is also my wallpaper for my desktop; just love that picture); the series of fight scenes that flow through the combat section are well done; and I love the image of the man with a crossbow to his mouth, about to kill himself to avoid capture (yeah, morbid, I know); and I adore ALL the new images that separate the Rules book from the Magic book, especially the Medusa, the swamp, and the evisceration. Seriously, these are beautiful pieces of art, suitably weird and terrifying.
I approve of the layout. It is clear and easy to read, the two column format works, and I especially like the fact that the saving throws are all with the level progression tables. Good to see all that information in one place.
The Books: in brief
The Tutorial book, with its take on those solo adventure introductions from the D&D Basic Set, looks like it does the job well.
The Rules & Magic book is nicely laid out with well-placed artwork (which is lovely), handy tables with important information, clear rules, nice flavour for the classes, and I heartily approve of making the silver piece the standard coin of the game. That is a simple but very welcome rule change from the previous version and other variants of the old D&D games. The Magic section is more or less as you’d expect, not too different from the previous version (or D&D early sets) except for some lovely flavouring and what I think are a few extra spells (such as Army of One), but these might have been in the other edition. Oh, and there is a lovely picture of tripods too. Which is cool. And the Summon spell has to have the largest description of any spell I’ve seen, and easily doubles as a ‘make-a monster’ resource. The tables at the back of these books is also welcome.
The Referee Book: at first flick through, this book seems to have everything you need to run the game, with essays on everything from adventure design to campaign and world creation, to designing monsters (with no stock monsters, this section is required reading). I especially like the take on magic items (my preferred way of dealing with magic items has always been to have unique items, none of this +1 sword and magic shop nonsense), and the ‘conversion’ guidelines for making adventures compatible is nicely done.
I’ll deal with the adventure when I have read it in full, avoiding any spoilers.
I was already sold on this game, so it is no surprise that I like it. This edition, the PDF at least, is great. Aside from the issues with the font (which messes up some of the text), the layout and artwork present the rules in a pleasing and artistic format that makes it easy to read, digest, and find stuff. The art is excellent and you can tell that this has truly been a labour of love.
Good work James, and kudos to both yourself, and to all the artists. I look forward to the printed copies whenever they are shipped.