Monday, March 12, 2012

Carcosa Hard Cover - Short Review

I finally received my copy of the recently released Carcosa hard cover published by Lamentations of the Flame Princess.

Here are some quick thoughts on the book and contents.

The book looks fantastic. It could easily fill the role of a prop in your fantasy game representing some ancient tome of foul wisdom. The cover and spine bear only imagery avoiding the writing and titles we commonly see on a book, and this adds to the mysterious appearance.

The text and graphics are mostly black and white in a large easily readable font. There are accents of purple and green text as well that in natural daylight really pop, greeting the eyes with a wonderful effect.

While I did read some areas for details I mostly skimmed the rest. I might have missed it, but I do not recall seeing the fighter class description and experience table in the classes section. (Carcosa has only Sorcerer and Fighter as classes.) If it is there it must be brief or it could have been left out either by accident or perhaps there is no real difference in classes except how one chooses to play them. If the latter is the case it would be nice to have that pointed out in the book.

I read the Psionics rules with interest after having read a couple of reviews that remarked on how short and simple they rules actually are, and those reviewers were correct. In fact I like the random element to the availability of powers on any given day. Any character has a percentage chance of having psionic ability based on their mental stats (Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma). The way this is handled keeps it from being an overwhelming game breaker, making it just an extra tool.

It would be nice for the D&D developement team to take a look at how elegant these Psionics rules are and impliment something similar as an option in their next iteration of the game. Meanwhile I could easily port this into my own game with no fear of runaway mentalists stealing the show.

A good friend of mine is a Cthulhu fan and this might just be a great addition to his library of game books. Sadly it is too expensive to just order him another hardbound as a gift, and he has brutalized every book I have ever lent him so he'll have to settle for buying it himself if he wants it. (PDF files are handy, but I'm a dead tree fan.)

Overall the production values are top notch, hitting the mark for what the publisher's intent happens to be for this artifact.

The game world is bleak and hopeless which suits a world where the Great Old Ones actually reside or are easily contacted should be. It isn't meant to be the typical fantasy campaign environment, but this would make for a nasty little side-trip caused by entering the wrong portal or being cast into it by a powerful enemy, as long as the stay was brief and escape not too difficult.

I like the book, though it is more something for me to steal ideas from than a campaign I would run for more than a session or two.

1 comment:

Venger Satanis said...

Solid review, my friend. Buying the hardcover tonight. Thanks!