Vornheim by Zak S.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Every spare inch of this slim hardcover volume is covered in role-playing goodness. Though slightly reminiscent (I use the term anachronistically - Vornheim came first) of the excellent Yoon-Suin, with it's varied tables of random fun, this supplement does not repeat anything from Yoon-Suin. I suspect, in fact, that they might both be used together to great effect.
Vornheim, The Gray Maze, is a hypermassive city in which characters can spend an entire campaign. Actually, given the random way in which the city can be generated on the fly (no, I'm not kidding), one could feasibly run an infinite number of campaigns in Vornheim. Yes, there are several brilliant and Vornheim-specific locales, including the house of the medusa, Eshrigel, the Immortal Zoo of Ping Feng, and the Library of Zorlac, the three of which are worth the cost of the book alone. But the real genius of the book lies in the plethora of random charts that one can use for such diverse tasks as generating NPCs from merchants to aristocrats, determining what adventurers might find while searching a library or a dead body, and generating tavern names and games. The most innovative section is in the urbancrawl rules, which allows for the creation of chunks of city at a time with great ease right there at the gaming table, along with optional chase rules, should the party find itself running through new neighborhoods at breakneck speed because they . . . well, you and your players get to determine the whys and wherefores of those situations!
My only complaint (and I almost dropped this to a four star rating because of this) is that every spare inch of this slim hardcover volume is covered in role-playing goodness. The inside dust jacket and overleafs, both covers of the book, the end pages - EVERYTHING is covered in tables, maps, or charts. Which makes for some squinting to those of us who have outlived the 20/20 vision of our youths. But if you can scrye it all . . . wow, what a vision! The Lamentations of the Flame Princess has struck gold, yet again!
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