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Realms of Crawling Chaos (Labyrinth Lord) $6.99 $4.89
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Realms of Crawling Chaos (Labyrinth Lord)
Publisher: Goblinoid Games
by Chris D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/15/2020 12:47:31

Realms of the Crawling Chaos is a fantastic supplement for any OSR game, which not only focuses more closely on Lovecraft's own material v.s. the expanded universe created by later authors, but takes the material with less kitsch and more seriousness than what you would expect for a "add cthulhu to D&D" supplement. I have not run any of its content yet so unfortunately, I cannot speak for the balance but I can speak for the writing and content, which is pheonominal to a large extent. The book restricts itself to only entities introduced in Lovecraft's own work, his collaborations during life, and his contemporaries whom he referenced during his lifetime, so don't expect Byahkees, but do expect Clark Ashtom Smith's Tsathogguah, or the White Apes from Facts Concerning the Late Arthur Jermyn and His Family. There is quite a lot of material curbed from the often unexplored earlier works of Lovecraft, and as a result the feel of it is quite different from what you traditionally get from a Lovecraft supplement, focusing far more on the sincere fantasy aspects of Lovecraft's work than the science fiction. What results is a world that is just as lethal as any OSR game, but with new unknown wonders that offer variety from the typical Tolkein-esq tropes. It also offers a considerable amount of advice for getting the tone and themes right for a game with these concepts. This advice is considerable, and the book is deliberately designed to suggest a setting for keepers rather than give you an entire hard locked setting to play around in.

There are new races, both for basic and advanced LL, one of which is secretly a group of Innsmouth hybrids (for extra fun, don't let your players know what the Sea Bloods ARE except that they are effectively a cleric race class, and then run the generational mutations as time goes on and let the rest of the party slowly realize what they are), another are white aps or white ape hybrids. All of the new races are quite interesting and offer up a lot of potential roleplaying scenarios of prejudice and paranoia, but what is fascinting about this is since the players play as these types they get to experience the horror of this themselves. It's uncomfortable, and not for everyone, and I can definitely see many tables not being comfortable with a player race called "Subhumans", but the roleplaying opportunities for exploring gritty dark and uncomfortable topics are fascinating and adult without ever really drawing attention to it directly. For example, in the alchemy section there is an "Oil of Sea Blood revelation" which could easily be used by an angry mob on a Sea Blood PC hinting at much of the potential prejudice and mob rule that could come about if the secret of their blood was ever revealed. Similarly, Subhumans need to masquerade as ugly humans or face persecution and death. My only gripe about these new races, is white apes seem a tad too exotic to give to players straight out the gate from the beginning, and that the basic versions of these races might not always have enough benefits to make up for the considerable disadvantage they may have socially due to their race. I also wish there was a basic race which functioned as a "magic-user", as although Sea Bloods work as Clerics, humans would be the only ones in basic capable of casting magic. Maybe they are the only ones that foolish.

I decided that when I run my own game of this, I am going to omit elves and halflings from the setting, and make dwarves more of a subterranian semi-xenophobic culture, pale skinned, who's eyes are so adjusted to the darkness that they need tinted goggles in any light more than that of a torch. They are also the natural enemies of ghouls.

The monster bestiary is nice, and the new magic system of alchemy is quite interesting. I am surprised it took any game this long to create a spell for the "spirit bottles" from lovecraft's The Terrible Old Man. My only gripe with monsters is the truly laughable illustration of a mi-go, but it is a part of the art which is doing a great job aping that early TSR style, and at times does a good job going for the style used in 1st Edition Dieties and Demigods' Cthulhu section. However, the real show stopper is the chart in the back for the creation of random magical artifacts. I adore the idea that in a setting like this, not every magical object players may find will be useful or even something they should come within 20 feet of. Not every piece of treasure will be something they can sell, and they might even need to try to destroy some of it given how dangerous it is.

All in all, I have become a little obsessed with this book, as it has given me so many new ideas for worldbuilding of my own setting using Labyrinth Lord and the quality of this book actually directed me toward checking out the Labyrinth Lord rules. The only thing I wish I could see more of is examples of more other-worldly and wonder and horror inspiring dungeons or adventures, stuff like the cities of the white ape from Facts Concerning the Late Arthur Jermyn and His Family, or that gorgeous drawing of R'lyeh from Shadows of Yog-Sothoth. It might not even have to be something that extreme, but tips for creating realms with an uneasy feeling, maybe even a detailing of a Sea Blood village, or where the Subhumans live. This is a setting that I would love to see more of. Medieval Cthulhu stuff exists, but actual fantasy Lovecraft? That is rare and there is simply too much unexplored territory here to be left. This book does something I wish more RPG books did and that's create a sense of mystery once you start to piece its ideas together.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Realms of Crawling Chaos (Labyrinth Lord)
Publisher: Goblinoid Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/12/2019 13:14:25

The physical book is 60 pages worth of material and deals with running a Lovecraftian-inspired game of horror fantasy. The PDF is 66 with covers and an ad for Mutant Future.

A few new races are introduced for a Race-as-Class style game with notes on other classes to use in an advanced game; Sea-Blooded, Subhuman, White Ape and White Ape Hybrid.

Next, are some new magical formulae and some new spells all based on various Lovecraft sources. Enough to sprinkle into various dammable texts for the players to find AND then really get into trouble with.

We come to the monsters and all the old favorites are here. Comparing them to other sources of similar monster will give you plenty of differences in stats, which is a good thing really. Players who are familiar with other books should not have knowledge their characters do not.

A small section on Eldritch Artifacts, a staple of many of Lovecraft's mythos stories.

And finally a section on Psionics which differs from other books/games.

We get some appendices on Eldritch tomes and an artifact generator. Appendix 3 covers the use of these psionic rules in Mutant Future. And Appendix 4 covers the stories and books used.

We end with the OGL section.

The book is awfully fun and is full of great ideas. If you are a fan of Labyrinth Lord and Lovecraftian tales then I would most certainly grab this.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Realms of Crawling Chaos (Labyrinth Lord)
Publisher: Goblinoid Games
by James S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/26/2012 11:10:25

Realm of Crawling Chaos wasn't what I expected. It's good, but not what I expected. I was looking for a source book that would allow me to (fairly seemlessly) integrate the Lovecraft Mythos into an existing Labyrinth Lord game and while you can technically do that with Realms of Crawling Chaos, the book is more geared towards starting a Labyrinth Lord campaign that works from the information presented from the get go.

That being said, the information presented is very good, very creepy, and very evocative of the Lovecraft Mythos. The art is especially good, presenting itself as a great hybrid of old-school fantasy art that's been driven insane by the Necronomicon.

My point point of disappointment was the Psionics section. While it does specifically present rules for Psionics, they're limited and not intended for player characters. Now, personally, I don't use psionics to begin with - but I feel a game master should have lots of options to choose from.

All in all, Realms of Crawling Chaos is a fantastic buy, especially for less than $5. The folks at Goblinoid Games know how to do old school gaming and with this book they know how to do it with a large helping of mind-bending creepiness.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Realms of Crawling Chaos (Labyrinth Lord)
Publisher: Goblinoid Games
by Lee O. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/27/2012 19:40:38

This is a great title for adding some flavour to a Labyrinth Lord campaign. I was particularly impressed with the Monster Bestiary, which pulls together an eyebrow-raising number of beasties from H.P. Lovecraft's core stories, his 'Dreamlands' work, and the extended Mythos universe, like the 'serpent people' courtesy of Robert E. Howard.

Another section that really made me sit up was the Random Eldritch Artifacts section, with 99 different weird, un-knowable gew-gaws, 99 different objects they can be, and then 99 side effects. And that was an addendum on the back of the 'proper' named Eldritch Artifact section..!

As ever, it's going to take a good GM to get this stuff to really sing in a campaign, but if you've got the wherewithal to be dealing with Labyrinth Lord in the first place, then you're probably fine on that score.

Personally, I'd love to take this, some Call of Cthulhu material and a few other bits and bobs and construct some kind of fantasy romp through the vaults of Lovecraft's bonkers 'Dreamlands' setting. Ah, one day...



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Realms of Crawling Chaos (Labyrinth Lord)
Publisher: Goblinoid Games
by Daniel D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/10/2011 21:08:33

First off let me say that HP Lovecraft is a tricky territory for a writer to approach. It has been hard enough for all the authors who "contributed" to the mythos through the decades. RPG writers...gulp, that has been almost worse. Yet HP Lovecraft has been intwined with role playing for years. Sandy Peterson's game was my introduction to Lovecraft's fiction at a time when I was busy reading Conan novels and playing AD&D. Little did I grasp how closely all three of these things were related. The themes present were in Lovecraft's work were also there in Howard's Conan (hell he even contributed to the mythos). The AD&D games I played had less Tolkein in them and more sword and socerery at the time. Years passed and so did the games. When I rediscovered old school role playing like many other gamers Labyrinth Lord was my first pick. My old school games were blissfully rolling around in Mordor like quests when I heard that a Conan movie was being remade. Then I discovered this little gem by Goblinoid Games. Dark gods had apparently answered my darker half's whispered prayers. All of these meandering words now become more than just reverery. If you want that type of RPG world captured in sword and sorcerery fiction and want the exclusive take of HP Lovecraft on such a world this book is it. Other mythos contributions are not present, just HPL's. The rules for a darker magic system are there, as well as those dark tomes and artifacts from Lovecraft like stories (as well as the rules to make them). Of more dubious use are the rules for psionics and the alternate character races/classes. They are there though and some GMs are going to find it invaluable. This isn't pure sword and socerery mind you but if want your Labyrinth Lord game closer to that this book is great. If you wanted to take your retro clone game to the horror side (such as that presented in the loft for ravens series of game supplements) this would be very helpful. To sum it up this book is a great toolbox for retrofitting your retro clone to horror/sword & socerery role playing.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Realms of Crawling Chaos (Labyrinth Lord)
Publisher: Goblinoid Games
by Dominique C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/17/2011 13:56:05

Excellent supplement for Labyrinth Lord.

The most interesting part of this supplement are the spells, the monsters, and the artifacts and magic items (including the cursed books like Necronomicon and others). They are a must for any game that would be run in a Lovecraft-inspired setting, but also for many grim, sword & sorcery campaign worlds.

Now, I only give it a 4 stars because layout is mediocre (and I don't like the choice of fonts, art is average, etc.). Then, the new PC races, despite being appropriate, don't provide much originality. I mean, I don't really need this book if it was but for the races and classes (i.e. races as classes); I could easily improvise them myself. However, it's but a small part of the book. Spells, monsters and items are what is really important, and there is plenty of them.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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