Thursday, August 9, 2007

REVIEW: Labyrinth Lord by Daniel Proctor

A little background from me first: I got into RPGs in 1982 with the Moldvay basic set. I had heard of D&D through advertisements in OMNI magazine, but paid little attention to it. When my best friend brought home the Moldvay set from Wal-Mart (yes, you could get it at WallyWorld in those days) after having been initiated into the game by his cousin, I gave it a whirl with him.

The B/X set was the foundation for me and the level at which I judge all RPGs today. Was it the most sophisticated? No. Inclusive? No. Best artwork? That's subjective. B/X simply works for me... always has.

Back to present: after the advent of the OSRIC document and its stimulation of good old school products, Daniel Proctor decided to take a crack as something a little more "basic." Now it's been tried before, but that product ventured too much into the d20 system. Proctor rolled forward and produced a document that virtually duplicates... well, you know...

Labyrinth Lord can be downloaded in free PDF form at Goblinoid Games' website, purchased at RPGNow (if you care to make a purchase to support GG's work), and a print version will be available soon at GG's store at (EDIT AND CORRECTION: the GG website and the RPGNow download are both free).

Ok, forward: LL measures 138 pages long. The cover has that B/X tone to it, and the front has a drawing of a female elf and a human male fighter fighting it out with a couple of trolls.

I first looked at that drawing and thought: "I hope that's not the best art he looks like something I would have drawn at age 14." Then it dawned on me... that's exactly the point.

Past that, the vast majority of the artwork in this text is just great. There are several artists listed, but Paul Daly catches my eye the most.

As far as the text goes, Proctor does an excellent job of recreating B/X gaming in one text. If you've read those, you've read this... with a few notable exceptions:

- The spell list is more expanded to include many from the AD&D spell list. Spell levels go up to 9th level for MUs/elves and 7th level for clerics. I'm guessing this may be some Mentzer influence... I wouldn't know.
- First level clerics can cast 1 spell, as opposed to 0 spells under B/X. I appreciate that.
- Combat tables for human classes go up to just level 17; demi-humans are leveled off just like in B/X.

There are other small things... "intelligent swords" are called "sapient swords"... which I think is a nice touch.

SHOULD YOU BUY THIS PRODUCT: if you're going to use and enjoy that free copy of LL, then yeah... to encourage Goblinoid Games to produce more quality stuff, order off RPGNow, or wait for the print version to come out.

But why use this product when you already have B/X? Proctor is adamant in the introduction to this work: it's not a replacement, but a publishing platform, in the same vein as OSRIC, for future works. Let's sit back and see what Proctor and the gang at GG make out of this excellent piece of work they've produced.