Friday, November 2, 2012

[Review] The Magnificent Joop van Ooms for LotFP

The Magnificent Joop van Ooms is not an adventure. It is a small sourcebook for Amsterdam in 1615 and one magnificent person and his servants living there.

The book is small only 18 pages long what makes it easy to read and memorize.

Presentation

The cover art is really cool expanding to back cover. In cover you see Joop van Ooms messing with a painting of adventurers and, well, one of the adventurers is messed up also. The cover is stunningly done.

Inside the pages are in greyscale, the font is easy to read but a bit small and layout is clear. Pictures are great in black and white and the style reminds me a bit of some of the old World of Darkness art. Usually LotFP books' art are done in painting like style but this works also if artist(s) is/are great.

The Setting

Joop van Ooms lives in Amsterdam in year 1615. There are only two pages worth of information about Amsterdam focusing into The United Provinces and commercial scene of that period. Because the book is set in historical Amsterdam Referees can easily expand the details using various sources from historical books and internet. This both saves space from the book itself and gives Referees freedom to include extra details as many as they wish.

In my opinion even though this books is supposed to be in real Amsterdam it is easy enough to include in your favorite setting you use. Mostly because The Magnificent Joop van Ooms doesn't go to deep in the location description.

Rules Part

There are basically only two additional rules. One is chart for selling and buying in black markets and other is a random encounter table. The random encounter table has 50 possible encounters but some of those are pairs with a minor difference. Some of the encounters can be also seeds for adventures.

The black market table I am really disappointed at. You roll 2d6 + Cha modifier to see the result of selling and buying. Mostly it affects is the item available and what its actual price will be. There are also some boring extra effects after failed or successful transactions. But these are really, really dull.

After natural 1 & 20 chart what gives various effects and not just bonus to damage this was a huge disappointment. You can quickly see what price you sell or buy and does the vendor like you or not but that's it.

Joop van Ooms

There are three NPCs. Joop van Ooms, his guard and his lackey. All of these three are interesting persons but still easy to play.

Rules-wise Joop is a Magic-User but basically it only means his HP and savings. He doesn't use spellbooks, spells, spellscrolls or anything magical Magic-Users usually tinker with. Joop van Ooms magic is in his art and crafts.

Joop can alter reality - or cast spells - using arts like architecture, paintings, sculpturing, poems and so on. He is also an engineer like Da Vinci and he has created a couple of advanced crafts. Other seems to be useless but another can be a blast with "wrong hands".

There is also map for Oom's personal residence. How magnificent person he is his home is a little boring. The focus is in what Ooms is in person and what he can do and not where he lives. His residence is basically for hosting parties and creating arts.

The description of Ooms is interesting. He is really extraordinary person with his fanbase but also enemies.

Adventure Hooks

The book also gives possible adventure hooks. As adventure hooks these are not that detailed but that's the point. They give ideas and inspiration to put player characters involved somehow in Joop van Ooms. I think the adventure hooks are broad enough and easy to use.

The Number 8

Nice little detail is the number 8 Joop van Ooms avoids. In several different contexts it is present. And it is no good.

Final Words

The book is nice little piece of introduction to 1615's Amsterdam focusing on Joop van Ooms as a character, adventure hook and a background for adventures. It is quick to read and easy to memorize and simple to use. Only flaw is really boring black market table what could have been more interesting. It works yes, but is dull.

If you are looking for yet another LotFP adventure this is not for you. But if you want something you can use as a small inspiration for your adventures this is a great little book. A lot of work to use this is left for Referee but it gives you a good starting point for interesting play.

The official product page: http://www.lotfp.com/RPG/products/joop-van-ooms

10 comments:

Jonas said...

I have no doubts this would not be top notch but I see these historical adventures a kind of strange path for LotFP line to take, playing in the era with lack of rules for firearms is sort gimped and moving from implied setting to straight up pulp historical with fantastic elements would imply very defined setting. Also these rules for commerce and such imply of something that is more than just Old Timey D&D with few personal twists.

Jonas said...

I always have trouble putting out my thoughts out exactly, I think it would be time for "James Raggi's 17th Century Fantastic Old Europe Campaign Sourcebook" but with perhaps more selling name.

Thaumiel Nerub said...

But there will be firearms rules. That's what I am waiting for now. I think that putting adventures in real world is better than using some generic fantasy setting that doesn't excist as a source/worldbook at all.

Thaumiel Nerub said...

But why do you need that "official book"? You got internet, Wikipedia, books... tons of sources for your 17th century world.

Jonas said...

Yes, that is true, but it is just raw naked curiosity, I read the LotFP forum and he was talking about his home campaign with no elves, elves and dwarves, and then there is the deliberately vague Duvan'Ku mythos, rules that seem to be some sort of pre-order exclusives like them boomsticks. I don't want endless list of 17th century kings, political maps or stuff I can look at library. I'm just saying that guy has sold me game with pointy eared elves and prancing hobbits, then I get glimpses of the game as the designer plays it and it seems rather different. Heck, "James Raggi's 17th Century Fantastic Old Europe Campaign Sourcebook" could as well be a few pages as pamphlet, I would be satisfied. That dude has cooked up some fascinating stuff and I would be really interested to read his take on this subject.

Thaumiel Nerub said...

Jonas, now you said it how it could be interesting. Joop's Amsterdam is just a place where all these cool things happen (well, where Joop lives). That kind of campaign world sourcebooks would work great!

Justin In Oz said...

If history is not your schtick, read any of the Solomon Kane stories by R E Howard. That will give you what you are after for source material.

Cedric P said...

I am also confused by how LotFP don't really support most of it supplements.
(Vornheim, Carcosa and "James Raggi's 17th Century Fantastic Old Europe Campaign").
Or by how most of it supplement drift away from it. :-/

Thaumiel Nerub said...

Well, as far as I know Raggi is an adventure writer and he basically created LotFP because it's easier to publish stuff for an existing game than not. So LotFP is a brand for his stuff. I also think that LotFP is "generic fantasy game rules with focus on the weird side" and Raggi's adventures and what he publishes is actually what "LotFP" universe is.

So, with Grindhouse rules you can play games from weird to really traditional fantasy.

And add Isle of the Unknown on the list of Vornheim and Carcosa.

JimLotFP said...

Basically I want all the supplementary material to stand on their own as much as possible. So you don't need to use LotFP as the base system for Carcosa or Vornheim, and if you start using Ooms in your campaign you don't have to worry about a future release contradicting what has happened in your game.