Realms of Crawling Chaos!

One of the prizes I won* in the OPD contest is a print copy of Realms of Crawling Chaos.  I was hoping against hope that I’d get that, because I like Labyrinth Lord a lot, and I like Lovecraft, and although my current game is much more ‘standard fantasy’ than ‘dark fantasy,’ I do like me some dark fantasy.

It came yesterday in the mail and I have only had about an hour to flip though this 61 page tome of awesome but everything I’ve seen so far is pretty damn good.

Nice art, readable text, a complete table of contents for quick reference, lots of neat tables, plenty of new monsters, spells, and character race/classes, and more.  An appendix gives the sources on many if not all of the elements in the book, and the sources are pretty much all HPL stories with a dash of Clark Ashton Smith.  No crummy August Derleth type non-canonical Lovecraftiana, just pure uncut HPL. (Clark Ashton Smith gets a pass because he was HPL’s buddy and has his own weird ideas with nary a tentacled cliché!)

There is a table of d100 random artifact effects, d100 object types, and d100 strange properties for said artifacts.

There are rules for the effects of reading eldritch tomes.

I’m not a fan of psionics but if you’re gonna use them fit in a dark fantasy setting OK.  There are three pages of rules for them that look playable.

A new kind of magic (“Formulae”) that are spells for creating special substances.

And maybe best of all, a four page essay on “Lovecraftian dark fantasy” which really seems to “get it.”  (Hint: it’s not about tentacles and worshiping a pantheon of mythos beings. It is about pessimism and alienation.)

You could buy it as a PDF for less than $5, or get the print version for $17.95, which seems like a very fair price.  It is printed by Lulu, looks good, and is saddle stitched (i.e. folded sheets bound by being stapled in the fold — a very durable format).

I can’t recommend this too strongly to anyone who might want to introduce a few Lovecraftian elements to their game, whether they go full-tilt “Swords against the outer dark” or just want to sneak in some serpent folk or white apes here and there.  On a scale from knobkerry to godentag, this is a skull-crushing tetsubo! (A few illustrations by Erol Otus or Stephan Poag would push this all the way to godentag)

Note that this is not a complete game in itself but a  supplement suitable for use with Labyrinth Lord (original or Advanced Edition) as well for use with any old school version of D&D (B/X and AD&D would be easiest to adapt); I think it would go nicely with LotFP and any “retro-clone.”  It also has some notes for using it with Mutant Future, a Gamma Worldish retroclone.

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*The organizers of the OPD contest asked the winners which prizes they wanted, as there were a LOT of prizes donated.  That was pretty damn nice.

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Published in: on June 1, 2011 at 6:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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