Saturday, August 6, 2011

First Look - The Secret Fire (RPG)

I'm experiencing a bit of a sensory overload with all of the RPG products that have been released in the last week.  I'll get to the reviews of these games later, I need time to digest them them.  In the meantime I'm giving my first looks and initial impressions.

The Secret Fire is the latest game I've gotten to look at.  I'm really at a loss for words so far as to how to explain it.  It harkens back to the original Dungeons & Dragons White Box.  It quotes from Supplement III - Eldritch Wizardry and Chainmail 3rd Edition.  It seeks to carry on the mantle of EGG himself.  The question then becomes, does it succeed?

To that I don't have an answer just yet.  Mr Strayton, the author of The Secret Fire, has been granted access to all of EGG's notes and files by Gail Gygax.  It is quite possible that many of test ideas were tweaked and trimmed form ideas of Gary's himself.  It's just that at over 300 pages in length, so it's way to large for me to absorb at this point in time.  That being said, from what I've read in the beginning of the book, and what I've skimmed form the rest of it, there is certainly an early D&D feel to it.

If you have the time or the inclination, the PDF can be found on Lulu for 10 bucks - google search for a 20% off coupon and you can get it for 8 - a bargain for a game this size.

Give me time and I'll let you know if it succeeds at it's aims of uniting the fractured D&D gaming landscape.

From the blurb:

From SECRET FIRE GAMES™ comes THE SECRET FIRE™ (formerly known as George Strayton’s LEGENDS & LABYRINTHS™), a new, original game system with mechanics that emphasize exploration, roleplaying, and the constant threat of danger as adventurers set forth on perilous quests, engage in lethal battles, and win precious treasures. The design philosophy focuses strongly on imbuing the game world with a specific tone through elements of flavor, simpler rules, faster play, constant roleplaying (with associated mechanics that make it necessary to roleplay in order to win the day) and unlimited flexibility using innovative “literary” mechanics alongside traditional tropes of the fantasy game genre. The overall “feel” of this combination is what sets THE SECRET FIRE™ apart from all other games. It’s been 11 years in the making and now finally comes to a tabletop near you this August!
The foundation for TSF lies with the unknown, the dark and dangerous subworld which we all fear and yet desire to inhabit, if only for a brief time (so that we may survive and return to the world above and repeat). With that, we begin our journey….


“With THE SECRET FIRE, George Strayton is following in the footsteps of the inventor and master of roleplaying games, Gary Gygax, expanding on Gary’s original vision of fantasy roleplaying by taking it back to its roots while simultaneously bringing it into the future.”
— Gail Gygax
“A flavor-filled approach to fantasy gaming that puts the mystery and magic back into the dark recesses of the dungeon.”
— Monte Cook, co-creator of Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition


  1. "Give me time and I'll let you know if it succeeds at it's aims of uniting the fractured D&D gaming landscape."

    Without being overly cynical I doubt the secret fire is all that different from free versions of OSR RPGS mentioned on the sidebar. I do look forward to your review since I tend to buy games I never play. If there is something that makes it really stand out in a more distinct way than DCC (with its goofie dice) I'd be glad to hear about it.

  2. The thing is, it's NOT D&D. It not OGL. Give me some time to read deeper. It goes for the feel of the old games, but it's not a reworking or reimaging of one.

  3. I'm interested to hear what you have to say about this. I'm intrigued, but at the same time, I'm seriously in the Land of Diminishing Returns when it comes to new games/systems.

    ...also, what's up with the name? It's cool, but definitely a break from Labyrinths and Lairs/Mazes and Monstrosities/Tombs and Treasures/Crypts and Carrior Crawlers/ etc etc etc...

  4. I bet Secrets and Satyrs just didn't conjure good imagery. ;-) I hopeful Tenkar that your review may make me think of looking into the game.

  5. so ive read most of the book. about 200 pages and im friends with one of the developers and play tested it a few months ago. its got some really cool stuff like the wound levels and alignment shifts as you play. definitly worth the money to buy the pdf or the book. plus there are puzzles which i havent even begun to figure out

  6. I think the name refers to the "Secret Flame" Gandalf refers to in Lord of the Rings. The secret flame is the soul, the incarnate goodness and energy endowed on life by Ea the creator of the world at the dawn of time.

    A very apt name don't you think?

  7. Why after years of having to deal with D&D being branded "evil" and "Satanic" does "The Secret Fire" have so many dark, evil and Satanic illustrations?

    Couldn't the authors/illustrators have chosen something that wouldn't cause the wrath of the religious right?


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