Lankhmar: City of Thieves for Savage Worlds. What we have here is a source book for using Lankhmar, the city and its denizens, in the Savage World role playing game RPG setting. The game is intended to be played using the Savage World system and some parts of the book are exclusively for this. However, there is plenty of information that can be utilised in any other RPG system by an enterprising GM. In the Characters section, for example, Hindrances and Edges are pure Savage World devices but the information about the player races available is universal and readily adaptable.
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A badly named blog about the tabletop RPG hobby. Dominating the Land of Lankhmar and crouching at the silty mouth of the River Hlal in a secure corner between the grain fields, the Great Salt Marsh, and the Inner Sea is the massive-walled and mazy-alleyed metropolis of Lankhmar, thick with thieves and shaven priests, lean-framed magicians and fat-bellied merchants—Lankhmar the Imperishable, the City of the Black Toga. This was the setting for the tales of two rouges, Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser.
An odd pair, a tall barbarian from the North and a short, sword wielding thief and a bit of a sorcerer , became like brothers trying to survive and thrive in a world with opportunities to win riches and lose them just as suddenly.
They do all the things that great heroes of sword and sorcery do: eat, fight, womanize, gamble, and drink not necessarily in that order. This was the age of pulp anthology magazines dedicated to imaginative stories of horror, noir, sc-fi,supernatural, crime and fantasy In the fantasy genre many heroes were created that are still known today: Tarzan Burroughs , Elric Moorcock , and Conan and Kull Howard.
A new set of magazines were released each month to enthrall readers. Leiber himself was inspired by a famous author of fantastical tales published in pulp, H. Leiber liked the characters and began writing about them, with Fischer assisting on a few stories.
The stories were collected into books starting in , mixing the older tales with new ones as well, the last written in Dungeons and Dragons is often said to be inspired by Tolkein. The pair were not meant to be messed with, with Fafhrd being a 15th level Ranger, 13th level Thief and a fifth level bard.
Gray Mouser was a 11th level fighter, 15th level thief and a 3rd level magic-user. Probably this was their final statistics.
In , Mongoose Publishing issued two game books based on the setting and then dropped the line. Now in , Pinnacle Entertainment Group has released a new series of game books, this time for Savage Worlds. Oddly, another company is also licensed to make Lankhmar game materials, Goodman Games for their Dungeon Crawl Classics old-school game, though no date has been set for release.
Since the physical book has not shipped yet, I am reviewing the PDF. It is ninety eight pages of full color art with Pinnacles standard two column layout which means it is good , and has artwork that ranges from above average to pretty good. Maps are very well done. The last part of the book gives an overview of the city, gods, the lands of Nehwon, stats for Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, and stats for common character types encountered in the alleyways and bars of the city.
The PDF has a few errors and possible omissions. One of the reasons for its release far ahead of printing is so the fans can search out and report problems, which will lead to a print edition with minimal errata. I hate errata so this is just fine, even though I cannot wait to have the book in my hands.
However, Savage Worlds is my go to system these days, so I looked at the rules intently. First off, everyone is rogues in this city. This is not rogue as in a guy who can pick pockets, back stab, bypass traps and pick locks.
You need to be this kind of person to survive in a world of skulduggery thank you, Thesaurus. It is a general term, so you can still have a character based around what you want to play. Sorcerers are rogues, ex-mercenaries are rogues, and basically anyone of any profession who is trying to get by in the thankless city is one as well. Making characters is the same as in standard Savage Worlds, and racial templates, new hindrances and edges are provided.
Most players will create humans, the main race and most populous in Nehwon. This is not a Tolkein-ish setting, so there are no elves, dwarves, orcs, or other Middle-Earth derived races. There are cultural packages available that differentiate one human group from another, though these can be ignored if you want to create a specific kind of character: Lankhmarts residents of Lankhmar are used to danger and know how to watch out for it, while a Northerner, like Fafhrd, is bigger than most, and knows how to survive in the wilds.
Other cultural packages are the Kleshites jungle dwellers and Mingols who, as the name suggests, is based on the mongols. Not the best disguise, Fritz. Told you they were weird. There are two other races, but are rather uncommon. Nehwon ghouls are not undead, but they are weird enough to unnerve a person when met.
Their flesh skin, organs and arteries are transparent, and you can see the skeleton though it. They eat flesh of creatures and other sentients, not all but enough to get a reputation for it. Ratlings are half humans and half intelligent rats who mated I do not want to know details. Though not accepted in Lankhmart society, some are able to disguise themselves enough to fit in unnoticed in the world above. The new, world specific hindrances and edges are detailed, and a list of prohibited edges provided to keep the feel right.
A few of my favorite new ones are Amorous, a hindrance that makes a character easier to trick and be cheated when the character finds them attractive; close fighting allows knife fighters to move into the reach of a longer melee weapon to gain an advantage, and lunge allows a sword fighter to extend their reach, like a fencer. In Nehwon it is typical to name your favorite weapon, and the edge Named Weapon gives a bonus for it combining with Signature Weapon can make a interesting combo.
Many of the new hindrances and edges will be useful in other settings as well. GEAR All the gear needed for the setting is here in one place to make it easy to peruse.
The prices are in Lankhmar coinage made of tiks, agols, smerduks, and rilks. While this adds flavor to the money, I find this causes the same problems I had with the Freeport Companion for Savage Worlds, making converting items from other books difficult.
It might be nice to include standard prices for each item for conversion purposes. Armour and weapons are typical medieval, but you will not see anyone walking around in full plate. The best armor is chain, and that is used by soldiers and guards. Most people will wear nothing more than leather, some no armor at all but that does have advantages as you will see below. A fantasy campaign has a different feel than a hard sci-fi or hard boiled noir. This is accomplished by special Setting Rules.
There are several for Lankhmar, but they are easy to implement and will not make the game any less fast, furious, or fun. Some of the changes include not allowing bennies to offset critical failures, so there will be a few more complications because things go wrong. However, when a joker pops up for the initiative cards, everyone gets a benny, which is a fair trade.
Lankhmarts always seem to be living on the edge, and part of that is they are always needing money. This need drives the characters to sometimes take a job they find distasteful or outright wrong. There are rules for making coin disappear to keep this pressure building. The Knock Out Blow simulates the fictional act of knocking a person unconscious when you have the drop and hit them in the head.
This would be good for noir stories as well, because characters are always thumping each other in them. It is not good for a realistic campaign as hitting people in the head is more likely to cause serious brain injury and possibly kill rather than the character waking up groggy a little later kids, do not thump each other in real life, only the game.
A young Denny Crane. Heroes in Lankhmar heal a little faster and shake off bumps and bruises, allowing characters heal up and get back to adventuring there are no clerics and few magic capable of healing. Most interesting is the Unarmored Heroes rule. In many stories heroes are unarmored and end up with their shirts off like James Kirk in Star Trek; he always gets his shirt removed. In this setting it lets a character improve their soak rolls.
Rules for shadowing are also included. Each has its own allowed power list and rules, though all basically work the same. White magic is a safe general magic to use. Ice, earth, and sea are examples in the book. This affects the trappings of the powers. There are rules for making your own element for your spells. It is the same here, the character gains corruption and becomes an evil NPC if he gains too much. Also, corruption alters the character and leads to new hindrances, usually physical, that can make the character into a freak show.
The reward is that black magic is easier and faster to cast. A character can only use one type of magic, and the other disciplines may switch and become black sorcerers, however black sorcerers can never change away from the dark arts. There are several new powers described, and some existing ones are altered to fit the world better.
The big difference is the how magic is cast. It does not use power points, instead is uses a variant of the No Power Points option in the Setting Rules section of the Deluxe rule book. Damage Field in regular Savage Worlds would have a -2 to cast; it is -4 in Lankhmar. This may be offset by taking longer to cast.
For every round a character concentrates the penalty is reduced by one all the way down to zero. So, taking two rounds of concentration and casting on the third round would give a -2 to the arcane skill for Damage Field.
Black magic users halve the casting penalty to allow stronger effects in less time. There is also a system to cast spells as rituals. These take much more time, as much as a hour or more. Rituals automatically double the range of a spell, and there are options to further increase the duration and range as well. The example in the book uses the bolt power, but allows it to hit a subject on the other side of town nifty!
A character can also try to use a power he does not have through this technique using his arcane knowledge, only it is harder to do. Other characters helping in the ritual, and the sacrifice of resources can improve the chance of the ritual working. There are a few magic items detailed in the book, but not many. This is because in Lankhmar magic items are very rare. Another change of pace from the usual. There is a short 4-page section with a map to give to the players you will have to copy it or print it from the PDF.
Only very bad people deface their books.
Lankhmar: City of Thieves
Description[ edit ] Lankhmar is richly described as a populous and labyrinthine city rife with corruption. The city is ostensibly ruled by an overlord and his nobility. The main meeting place is the Plaza of Dark Delights, which is the setting for the story " The Bazaar of the Bizarre ". The religious center of Lankhmar is the Street of the Gods the Gods in Lankhmar , along which numerous and often bizarre cults seek to arrange themselves in order of popularity. The true gods of Lankhmar, however, are feared rather than worshipped. These "Black Bones" mummified ancestors of the Lankhmarese occasionally leave their temple and battle threats to the city—or threats to their own position as the preeminent religion within Lankhmar. Beneath Lankhmar is an underground city inhabited by sentient rats.
Well Met in Lankhmar: A Review of Lankhmar City of Thieves
If you just write out the backstory for a book, list the characters involved with their in-game stats and sketch out some episodic adventures, that just skims the surface. Instead, the supplement works as a toolkit, presenting a layered set of adjustments, tweaks and outright replacements to Lankhmar-fy Savage Worlds good and proper. Reid takes Savage Worlds and gives it a solid working over, unpicking and then respinning the system to channel the world of Lankhmar. Read the book, skim the Internet, then run a game with the Savage Worlds engine. Reid offers up an alternative approach. Life is hard in Lankhmar, but heroes are harder still. They can take a knock, but they bounce back even harder.
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Lankhmar: City of Thieves