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The Complete Vivimancer
by Eric F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/27/2015 10:14:00

There are important books that come out and then there are books for OSR games that you wonder how you ever did without them at the gaming table. Years ago, I downloaded Theorems & Thaumaturgy, which is available as a free download now: it contains (among many other things) a basic version of the vivimancer class. The Complete Vivimancer is essentially not only as a follow up book but an expansion of this class that does some awesome things with biosorcery, magic items, spells,etc. This is because I've been reading and following through The Complete Vivimancer From Necrotic Gnome Productions after tearing into the free monster & adventure book Out of the Vats . The Complete Vivimancer does exactly what it says on the tin. It brings eighty eight pages of sheer wizard master goodness of gene splicing, cross breeding,and the Vivimancer as a corruptor of nature itself. In the first two pages of the book we get a complete overview of this class and then the book jumps into the deep end of the darkness . For the advanced edition version of this class we get Elves and half Elves as the preferred racial foundations for the Vivimancer. This enables them to advance up to 10th and 11the levels respectively. This reenforces the alien aspect of the Elven race and this is part of an under current theme in the OSR that Elves really are far more alien to the humanity. A fact that came in loud and clear in games such as LoFP. This supplement takes full advantage of this fact and even through it claims to be for Labyrinth Lord. There are ton of options for adding this book to both OD&D and its retroclone systems all the way through the various Advanced editions.
Another added bonus is the amount of time it takes the vivimancer down in the lab to master the craft of flesh warping, genetic meddling, neural manipulation, and vat growth to become a master of mind slaves, mutants, symbionts, parasites, and viruses.The guidelines for this book's chapter are very nice and helps to flesh out the laboratory details and adds a certain Lovecraftian something to the class. The book details a ton of spells for levels between one all of the way to nine. And here's where the book really starts to take off for me. The spells have flavor and add a ton of resonance for me for the backbone of the Vivimancer as a whole. These twisted freaks are putting together the horrors and weirdness that adventurers loath to encounter. Remember those random monster tables that created horrors with the claws of a lobster, the head of a giant monkey, and demons blood that the DMG guide had in it. These are the wizardly guys putting those together. The magic item section proves that in spades. We get an overview of items for these twisted practitioners of the bio sorcery arts over and over again. Here's why you want one of these guys in your party, not only are they going to know the ins and outs of the biology and applications of this stuff they're going to want some of this of stuff as their own which means favors and big ones at that. The last sections are appendixes on mutations and psionic powers, these are really needed because of the bio science fantasy and fictional nature of this class. There's lots of icky stuff in this book, slime laden weirdness that brings to mind all of the really cool VHS nastiness of the Eighties horror movies, science fiction 'B' films, and lots of other wonderfulness but it also clocks in with all of the pulpy bits from the science fiction, fantasy,etc. of the 1930's thru 1950's. As far as I'm concerned this is win/win. So let's get right down to brass tacks, is this a good book and even a necessary one? Yes not only is this a good book but it has a huge range of possibilities at the gaming table. You really do want a mad scientist type in your party, you want them as vile villains as well. This brings the dual nature of the class as a whole. This book gives you every last tool to pop these guys into the post apocalyptic wasteland, the science fantasy deserts of your choice, as dimensional travelers and invaders, as motivators for adventures, adventurer patrons, twisted healers, & the list goes on and on. In my own Warlords of the Outer Worlds setting, I'm using these guys sparingly and lovingly as a twisted faction. Applying what I've learned about them after reading about them over the last week or so, I've come to the conclusion that one can take the frame work and backdrop of the Vivimancer and apply their own creations to the class without losing the vitality and freshness of these twisted practitioners of the dark arts of bio sorcery and mad biological magicks. So five out of five for one of the more original and flat out weird books and PC classes to come down the pike in a very long while. Eric F Sword and Stitchery blog



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Complete Vivimancer
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From the Vats
by Eric F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/22/2015 00:35:15

There are books that players are going to hate to see the DM having and know that the PC's are going to be in for a hell of a weirdly strange trip and well get ready for that with this free rpg resource! From The Vats was just birthed! The vivimancer.was first introduced in 'Pay What You Want' title Theorems & Thaumaturgy which your going to need in order to properly use 'From The Vats'. I consider it one of the essential books for Labyrinth Lord or any retroclone game. Each year free RPG day gives birth to some wonderfully twisted strange creation that sort of defies convention. There are really wonderfully strange OSR books that come out from time to time and then there are books that you have to have if your a certain kind of DM. Those books that leap right into your lap. Deformed, mewing and sort of like the baby thing from Eraser Head. Wailing this thing wants, no needs you to use it. Well, 'From The Vats' is that thing with genetically engineered bells on. I have over the years spent way,way too much time with Necotic Gnome Production's creations over the years and this one is no exception. This book is an eighty four page tour de force about the abominations, creations, and high weirdness of the vivimancer class, a magic-user sub-class specializing in flesh-warping, genetic meddling, neural manipulation, and vat growth. These guys give mad scientists nightmares or genetic drift envy. There are two adventures here. The Submerged Spire of Sarpedon the Shaper, by Ben Laurence is a look into stomach churning journey into the world of a particularly nasty vivimancer. The maps are very nice, the ideas, setting material, monsters, and goals are very nicely laid out. The two one-page adventures by Alex Schröder and Anders Hedenbjörk Lager take the themes of the book and expand them further and twist the material into other directions. The three adventures within the book are plug and play allowing them to be dropped anywhere into the background of your campaign. In point of fact these creations have a strange sort of universal appeal about them many of the things in From the Vats would fit a wide variety of campaigns from pulp, science fiction,sword and sorcery, fantasy, science fantasy, and even post apocalyptic material. In point of fact this whole book could be dropped right into your favorite Advanced Mutants & Mazes campaign for Mutant Future and not one person would be the wiser. Holy crap the monsters are meant for Labyrinth Lord but with a little tweaking would give an OSRIC or AD&D party a hard time and these things are straight up adventurer nightmare fuel. Seriously these things are horrors from beyond the vats of nightmare. These things could be used in a science fantasy game and not one person would bat an eye at their use. This is one of the strengths of these creatures. They would also fit right into the background of a sword and sorcery campaign or a pulp campaign this is again one of the basis of evil that is From The Vats. Look if you already haven't stopped reading and grabbed this book let me go on. The seven magic items are perfectly suited for this book and these things are perfect for wrecking the lives of PC's and making the vivimancer spasm with glee. A bit of warning, use these things sparingly as many of the magic items are life altering things that one might find within the lab of some of the most dangerous members of this class. The six new magic spells are especially tasty and give the DM even more sauce to get the maxium flavor for the meal of From The Vat. These are very well done and can be vary dangerous to the well being of PC's and are of great use to the vivimancer. The magic here is bold, dangerous, and borders on things man wasn't meant to know. Many of the things within the 'From the Vat' dove tale into the vivimancer PC book The Complete Vivimancer Much of that material supports and expands many of the elements, themes, setting material presented in 'From The Vats'. The Complete Vivimancer goes into far greater detail into the back setting of the PC class. Filling in many of the gaps and what have you presented in Theorems & Thaumaturgy. All in all this is one of the best books that I've seen released for the Free RPG day weekend. And its amazing that this book has been released into the wild for free. This is easily a five out of five book for From The Vats. Grab this one right now and don't wait. Eric From The Sword and Stitchery blog



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
From the Vats
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Theorems & Thaumaturgy
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/16/2015 11:29:44

Post here: http://timbrannan.blogspot.com/2015/03/review-theorems-thaumaturgy.html

To start with Theorems & Thaumaturgy is a "Pay What You Want" product. Yes you could pay $0.00, but I hope this review convinces you to pay more. The book itself is 66 pages (standard letter) with text and art that reminds you immediately of the old Moldvay Basic books. If you have The Complete Vivimancer then you have an idea of the how the text and art looks. To me the art is like psychadelic art-nouveau meets Elric. In other words, perfect for a magic book in my mind.

There are three large sections (Classes, Variant Classes, and Magical Tomes) and an Appendix with nine sub-sections. Like old-school Basic the new spells are all listed with the classes. The book is designed for use with Labyrinth Lord Advanced Edition Characters, but really it can be used with any sort of "old-school" game.

The new Classes are the Elementalist, Necromancer and Vivimancer. The Vivimancer is of course detailed in a later book, but he gets his start here. The classes do pretty much what you would suspect they would do. The Elementalist uses elemental forces, the Necromancer deals with the dead and undead and the Vivimancer. Each class has a good number of new spells (250 in all!) to make using them feel different than your normal "magic-user". Each has spells from 1st to 9th level. All the classes use the Magic-User XP, to hit and saving throw tables, so whatever system you use, you can just use that to put them on the same footing as the Magic-User. While I like the simplicity of this and it helps make the "subclasses" feel like a part of the same Magic-user family. I would have liked to have seen some powers or something for each class. After-all they are sacrificing spell flexibility for what? Power? More variety of spells in their chosen field? I think I would have given them a couple of bonuses at least. But that is fine, these rules are flexible enough to allow all sorts of edits.

For the variant classes there is the new Fey Elf race. This elf is closer to the faerie origins of the elf. The class taken by these elves is the Sorcerer. This class is similar in idea to the D&D 3.0 version; a spontaneous spell caster with magic in their blood. The sorcerer has a couple of new spells and a modified list of spells they can cast. There is an alternate version of the Illusionist as well. This version has a few more spells and has 8th and 9th level spells.

The final section is all about magical tomes. It includes a bunch of unique magical tomes with new spells. The books' histories are also told and which classes are most likely to get use out of it.

The Appendices are a small treasure trove of great ideas and useful material.
Appendix 1 has new optional rules for Magic-Users. A number of these are very similar to house rules I (and many others I am sure) used back in the day. This is followed by new monsters, new magic items, and some examples of memorized spells by class (all classes presented here and MU). We end with an alphabetical list of all spells included here and in the Advanced Edition Characters book.

All of this for whatever you want to pay for it. Personally I think anything less than $5 is an insult. There is a lot of great material in this book and all of it can be used right away.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Theorems & Thaumaturgy
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Labyrinths of Madness
by Jim M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/15/2014 00:32:20

An interesting way to play Lovecraftian horror using LL. However, if you are going to discard so much of LL to convert to a modern setting, why not just use Call of Cthulu or similar horror RPG? I expected this to simply introduce horror into the medieval fantasy setting of LL.



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[3 of 5 Stars!]
Labyrinths of Madness
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The Complete Vivimancer
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/14/2014 21:40:21

I recently downloaded The Complete Vivimancer the new book from Necrotic Gnome Productions, the same folks that gave us Theorems & Thaumaturgy.

Gavin Norman, of the City of Iron blog, gives us a new(ish) class, the Vivimancer. The book is 88 pages and advertised as Labyrinth Lord compatible with both Basic and Advanced stats (more on that in a bit).
The class was introduced in Theorems & Thaumaturgy. The basic class is a type of Wizard/Magic-User and detailed on two pages. The experience per level, saves, spells, and attacks are not too different from the Magic-user normal. For the Advanced option elves and half-elves can also be vivimancers. Interestingly enough elves can advance to 11th level and half-elves to 10th. I would have expected it to be the other way around.

The next substantial chapter is on Spells and Laboratory procedures. The biggest expense in gold and time for the vivimancer is his laboratory. The vivimancer according to the rules needs to spend 6 hours per day in his lab. I wonder how much time this leaves for adventuring, eating and sleeping. Sure some apprentices can cover this time. Upkeep costs is 10 gp per spell level, so about 1980gp per month at 20th level. Not unreasonable really.

The next 65 pages detail spells levels 1 to 9. Like most Labyrinth Lord compatible products the spells are compatible across a wide variety of products. You could use these with any old school product wizard, magic-user and yes witch. Though to do so I think robs the class of some it's charm and power. The spells are a varied sort. There are some very useful, some are variations on a theme and others will have limited utility to the adventuring vivimancer. But all have a lot of style. If you prefer your games a little more G-rated then this isn't a book for you. While not as over the top as Carcosa or Lamentations of the Flame Princess, there are a lot of cutting things up and putting them back together.

The chapter on magic items is nice varied lot as well, with attention paid to things the vivimancer needs to perform his craft.

We also get Appendices on Psionic Powers and Mutations. Both are fine and work but in use I might swap out the same rules in the Labyrinth Lord compatible Mutant Future.

Overall I really liked it. Like the book said why let Necromancers have all the fun. There is a lot here that can be used in any game really even if you never use them as a class. Personally I wonder what a bad guy team of a Vivimancer and Necromancer might produce. Heck with the Advanced rules, a Vivimancer/Cleric.

There are couple of places where Insanity is mentioned but not a lot of details on how insanity would work in a game.

The art is somewhat sparse, but it is all original and unique to this book (ok maybe 1 or 2 are in T&T). So that gives it a sum positive in my mind.

The book is 88 pages, as mentioned above, and lists at $10.00 for the PDFs. Maybe a bit higher $/page ratio, but I'll be honest I am not sure where to price these things. I think $7.50 would have been best, but I am not judging.

I have to admit I was set to like this book. "The Complete Vivimancer" reminds me of the old Bard Games "The Compleat Spellcaster" and "The Compleat Alchemist". Not just in terms of title and feel, but in terms of content. This is the sort of thing I enjoy from the OSR/Old School publishing realms. I like something I can drop into my games with no issues. Plug and Play gaming.

I would like to recommend this book. I particularly recommend it as a change of pace from the evil Necromancer NPC.

There is a lot to love about this book.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Complete Vivimancer
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Creator Reply:
Thanks for taking the time to write the review Tim! Just to clarify what you mentioned about the rules for laboratory usage: the requirement of spending 6 hours a day in the lab is only when a magical procedure (i.e. a spell) is underway. The rest of the time the vivimancer is free to go adventuring or get up to whatever mischief he or she should wish.
Theorems & Thaumaturgy
by Vik S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/11/2014 21:31:38

This book is fantastic! Many of the old tropes I used to play with from magazine articles and third party supplements are here cleaned up and ready to be dropped into any Labyrinth Lord (or Basic Set or Advanced Edition) campaign. I only wish there was a print on demand. The Elven Sorcerer class will be making it's way into my game this coming week and the rest are sure to follow shortly after. Great job on this book guys!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Theorems & Thaumaturgy
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Creator Reply:
Hi Vik, thanks a lot for the review, and glad you\'re enjoying the book! If you go to the publications section on my blog (The City of Iron), you\'ll find info on how to get a printed copy of Theormes & Thaumaturgy.
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