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Tabletop RPG Cartography

Weird Fantasy RPG: Tutorial Book Read-Through

Tutorial BookAlthough I’ve been flipping through the pages of the LotFP Weird Fantasy RPG, it wasn’t until this week that I sat down and started to read through the books cover-to-cover. Thought I’d share my thoughts as I do so, starting with the Tutorial Book.

For an introduction to the game, and RPGs in general, I think it does a fairly good job. Going to get my girlfriend to read it and see if it makes as much sense to her, since I’m an old hand at these games (29 years and counting); but it is well-written and informative, and covers the basics of what you need to know. The example of play is probably my least favourite bit, being kinda long and I found Enrico somewhat annoying (which I am presuming was the point), but it does the job it is meant to, so it is only a minor niggle.

What I did like was the two tutorial ‘adventures’, the first a walk-through and the second a more ‘choose-your-own-path’ type, similar in style and detail as the one from the old D&D set. I read/played through both, to get a feel for it; details below. I also enjoyed the reviews and tiny essays about recommended reading, which was both informative and made me want to read and re-read many of the works mentioned.

But my favourite part was definitely the tutorial play. The first was a read/walk-through with some dice rolling. My fighter (Diggory Smith) fought a snake (losing 4 hit points before I killed it, taking 7 rounds!), got healed by a helpful cleric (who later died) and against the homunculus kept missing, but eventually killed it after 9 rounds. Then he failed against the evil wizard’s spell (Ending #1) and while he managed to escape, he was bitten and infected by a zombie!

The second tutorial had Diggory heading back into the old mansion, down into the basement to find a cure for the infection. This was quite fun, choosing what to do and where to go, flipping from one numbered section to another, just like I was back playing some Fighting Fantasy game. He headed down into the cellar, to a cluttered storage room with a door and two passages leading off. A search and listening at the door revealed nothing. Headed north and found a homeless man, who promptly cleared off, warning Diggory of a monster ‘at the end of the long corridor’. More searching revealed nothing. Headed east into a macabre laboratory, with a table of different coloured liquids and a corpse on the table. Diggory searched, found nothing, then decided to mix and drink some of the drinks: he died, after his consciousness was transferred to the corpse, and his own body became a zombie that ate the corpse!

I decided to pretend it never happened, and carried on. It was fun. So, instead, Diggory heads through the south door, through a hallway and into another storage room. A search revealed… well, it was either two giant jaws, or rats, or dogs. A slight editing error here; the text says ‘jaws’, other text mentions rats, and the stats say vicious dogs. They were dogs. A quick fight, and luck was with Diggory. He killed both without taking a hit, in just 2 rounds. A further search of the room found nothing, so he moved off down a passage, found himself back at the start, and decided to try the west passage instead. Comes into a ‘long corridor’, with three doors. The north goes back into the room where the homeless guy was, the others sound quiet behind them. Check the east door, which opens into a closet. Inside he finds a map, showing a secret door in what he guesses is the homeless guy’s room. He goes to the west door, and opens it: and is attacked by a deadly ghoul! That fight lasts barely a round, before the ghoul hits, paralyses Diggory, and eats him alive!

I decide to carry on again. I really want to see how it ends. So, more combat with the ghoul, and after four rounds Diggory manages to kill it without being paralysed, but suffering a few wounds (from 10 to 6 hit points now). Finds a staircase behind the stairs, heading up and out. Leaves it, and heads back to the homeless room to look for that secret door: finds it and opens it, finding a secret study beyond. A search finds notes on the correct mixing of those coloured liquids back in the lab, which should cure him. And time is running out (9 turns have passed, and 10 seems to be the ‘time out’ turn). Back to the lad, mix and drink the liquids and… nothing seems to happen. Hoping all will be ok, Diggory checks out the north door of the lab, which is the only place he hasn’t been yet: inside he finds a Rust Monster! It manages to destroy the fighter’s armour and sword, but then Diggory clubs it to death. He finds nothing in the room. But now it is turn 10, and flipping to the correct section, we discover that the cure worked and the fighter is saved.

So he legs it out of the cellar and returns to the village, happy to be alive, but with no weapons or armour and no gold.

That was a fun tutorial, and certainly gave me a feeling for playing the game. Deadly too, which is in spirit with the game and Old School style.

Next time: The Rules & Magic Book read-through

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  1. Thaumiel Nerub February 28, 2012

    I was ment to play that tutorial today myself. Almost spoiled it for me with this review. Naughty you.

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