You might have seen reviews of James Raggi IV’s LotFP before, but I’m a relative newcomer to the game. Several weeks ago I was going to buy the Deluxe edition, but when I saw that Grindhouse was to be released I opted to wait it out. Reading up on Grindhouse, I ran across Zak S’ Vornheim: The Complete City Kit. I actually ended up purchasing Vornheim first and was really quite astounded. I was so intrigued by what I saw, that I bought Grindhouse the very next day (both in PDF). Below is an image that appears in Vornheim and on the author’s blog:
Grindhouse and Vornheim are nothing short of inspirational. The LotFP “Referee’s” book offers a spin on weird-fantasy that really appeals to me. In particular Raggi’s less is more philosophy regarding monsters is refreshing. I like scaring my players, but Dungeons and Dragons has never been the game to do it for me… and believe me I’ve tried. Raggi’s game is certainly a DnD retroclone at its core, but it offers a radical shift in tone towards the macabre. With Raggi’s advice, I feel much more equipped to scare my players. The “Rules and Spells” book has my favorite summoning spell I’ve ever read about in any game (this spell is like a plot hook garden). I can’t get into the differences between Grindhouse and any earlier editions of LotFP, but if you don’t own LotFP yet, now is a great time to get on board.
What sold me on Vornheim was the art. But Vornheim is such a solid product because of its sandbox approach. Vornheim anticipates the rapid and sudden expansion of player generated content as the story moves. In some urban RPG’s, an unexpected player decision might be disastrously time consuming; not so with the aid of Vornheim. Vornheim provides the referee tools to handle any number of circumstances that might occur within a city adventure. I was particularly amused by the “Aristocrat” tables because the eccentrics listed are so well suited to a game of weird-fantasy.