Friday, July 20, 2012

Review: Wizard's World (1983)

What can one say about Wizard's World?

Well for starters it could be easily dismissed as yet another fantasy heartbreaker, but I don't think that would be fair really.
Yes it's AD&D roots are showing and there is a lot about the this game that is derivative.  But that is looking at it in 2012.  To look at this game as it was meant to be seen you have look at it with 1983 eyes.

This game offers some interesting twists beyond the typical D&D knock-off.  First I love the art in this book.  Sure there has been better art, much better art, even in books from the same time. But there is such an honesty about it that I enjoy.  And I LOVE that cover.
The attributes are nearly the same, enough that conversions are easy.  The charts all go to 30 which is nice.

Ok so we have a bunch of classes, many of which would drop right into AD&D, OSRIC or what ever Clone you enjoy.  There are a number of fighter-like classes, that honestly only differ a little bit from each other, but that is fine.  Some martial artists, some magic using types, 14 total.  What is cool is there is Vampire class!  Something we won't see again till D&D4 or until I did my own (link).  We have all the standard races plus some new ones, Metamorphic Dwarfs and Demon Halflings.  Honestly the book is worth it just to be able to say "Demon Halflings"!

There are 22 pages worth of spells that go all the way to level 10.
Rules follow next which is primarily about combat, weapons, poisons, potions and the like.   A little bit on magic items.
Monsters follow. There are a few, but almost no overlap between here and what you might find in a typical monster manual for a game.  There are dragons, but very different from what we are used to seeing in "D&D".
Some suggestions for play and threadbare character sheet.

Ok what is good about this game?  Lots really.  If you play D&D or some old school game you would be hard pressed not to find something here to use.  Did I mention the Demon Halflings yet?  There are plenty of monsters and lots of spells.

What is bad?  That is subjective.  If you are not a fan of old-school play or expect full color art then you will be disappointed.

What did I like? Nearly everything really.  I have to hand it to Dan Procter and Goblinoid Games for becoming an old-games preservation society.   This game isn't going to win any awards now nor would it have won any then, but it is a fun trip into the past when many games were little more than a few pages, a staple and your friend's brother to do the art.

At 80+ pages this is packed.

If you wanted to play this system and say use one my of witch classes from either The Witch or Eldritch Witchery then I say you would need an INT 11 and WIL 11.  Choose spells from the witch lists and use those or the WW spell that was most similar.


Dan of Earth said...

Hey Tim, thanks for the review! When I discovered this gem I knew it needed to be made widely available. The author posts on my forums occasionally to answer questions, so people can drop by there too for more information. I've created a free license so we may see some 3rd party support in the near future. If we get enough support I might give the book a makeover with new art.

Timothy S. Brannan said...

No! You have to keep the art it gives it so much character!

Dan of Earth said...

If I ever release some sort of revised edition I'll of course keep the original in print.