Monday, August 8, 2011

Does "The Secret Fire" Out Weird LotFP's "Weird Fantasy"?

I like Raggi's Weird Fantasy RPG and own the boxed versions of both the Deluxe and Grindhouse Editions.  While I may not agree with all of the changes Raggi made to the classes and races, I always figured I could house rule them to a state I was comfortable with.  Besides, the tone of the game did have a nice horror feel to it, especially in the Referee Book.

I think The Secret Fire may have outdone Raggi on the "Weird" axis.  Case in point.  TSF changes many of the D&D spells we know and  gives them a twist.  Sometimes they are easily recognizable, sometimes it takes a little work.  As an example, I'm going to show what all the CLW, CSW, CCW and Heal spells turned into - one simple, yet powerful and disturbing spell:

Mend (Life)
Circle: I                                   Casting Time: Move
Range: 5 feet (1 square)          Resistance: Willpower
Area of Effect: 1 Creature       Duration: Instant
Description: Your allies thought you mad when you asked if you could make small incisions on each of their limbs with the Brand of Mantheris. As you concentrate, holding the Brand gently in your grip a few inches from your ally’s wound, a tentacle of blood streams from the Brand toward his body, which spasms painfully as the blood forces its way into him. At first, there is only suffering; then his injuries begin to disappear and relief spreads across his face. You are grateful that you had properly attuned the Brand to your ally, as the use of this power on the un-attuned can lead to injury and even death. 
Mechanics: By briefly laying hands upon a living creature, the cleric channels positive energy that cures 1d4 + Wisdom adjustment Stamina. The amount of die increases by 1d4 for each level, up to level 4 (4d4). At level 5 the die increase by one size (4d6) thereafter continuing to add 1 die size each level, up to 4d20 at level 9.
-At level 10 the Holy-Man may use a mend prayer to perform a miracle once per day. A miracle fully heals the creature chosen, regardless of amount of healing done. Any other uses of Lay Hands on that day are rolled as normal for a Level-10 Holy-Man (4d20). If this ability is performed twice in one day for any reason, the gods consider it arrogance, and all life from the caster is transferred to the injured.
-This prayer will not affect creatures without corporeal bodies, or creatures that can only be harmed by iron, silver, or magical weapons.
-The reverse of the prayer, rend, inflicts the same amount of damage on a successful prayer attack against the target. Because the subject is less willing and the intention more severe it takes a full Action to complete a Rending prayer.
-A critical miss while performing rend results in inadvertently requesting your Deity strip the intended amount of life from your body, and transfer it into the target as healing.
That is a disturbing reworking of the healing spells from D&D.  It scales very well and is limited to one casting per day (unless you want the gods to kill you).  Screwing it up can have deadly consequences.  Definitely a "Weird Fantasy" vibe if you ask me.  This is just one spell of many that have been reworked into a similar vibe.

Did I mention that spells that have limited durations count down in "real time"?  If a spell lasts 10 min/per level, that's 10x minutes at the gaming table, not game time.  Certainly makes bookkeeping easier and encourages the players to keep the pace of the game moving,

I haven't even touched on the races or classes yet, have I?

Count this as the beginning of the review process.  This is going to take some time, as this isn't the usual clone or house rule revision that we often see.


  1. Please continue with this review. I think it's very interesting.

  2. I agree with Christian, since I don't have the freedom to get into it just yet I appreciate the heads up on the game. I am looking forward to my own exploration of the game.

  3. Thanks for the overview of The Secret Flame, Tenkar. So far, what you have covered is much more interesting than I thought the game would be. Especially the spell descriptions. Though I must admit that a write-up that large for what amounts to be a healing spell worried me a bit. I am looking for less crunch these days, and I am afraid TSF might have a bit too much in the way of rules density for my taste. But I am keeping an open mind, and looking forward to reading more of your posts.


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