Monday, March 16, 2015

Review: Theorems & Thaumaturgy

I was combing through some old posts this morning looking for some ideas for my "Second Campaign" (to be renamed soon) and I noticed that I have never really talked about +Gavin Norman's Theorems & Thaumaturgy on it's own.

Honestly that is criminal.

Let me start off with what I have said before. I have compared it to his other book, the Complete Vivimancer and I have compared it to The Basic Illusionist.  But never on it's own merits.

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.

I should have more to say on this one later on.

You can also find print copies here:

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