Thursday, September 18, 2014

Review and Commentary On The Seclusium of Orphone of the Three Visions By D. Vincent Baker For The Lamentations Of The Flame Princess rpg System & Your Old School Campaigns

Seclusium of Orphone of the Three Visions, The (Print + PDF)

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Once again its months until I can lay hands on another Lamentations Of The Flame Princess book and in this case its one that I've been lusting after for some time. So I've got my hands on the hardback of  the The Seclusium of Orphone of the Three Visions By D Vincent Baker which  is both a guide to the seclusiums of three individual wizards and a handbook for the design and use of seclusiums in any campaign. It includes rules, guidelines, and 50 pages of lists.

Writing by D. Vincent Baker
Artwork by Cynthia Sheppard
Cartography, Layout and Design by Jez Gordon

se•clu•si•um \si-’klü-zē- m\
n. pl. se•clu•sia -\zē- \

  1. A place to which a wizard withdraws from the world to pursue mastery.
  2. A place of magic and plasms and grotesques and horrors and treasures and doorways to other worlds.
  3. A place which, when abandoned by the wizard but with its treasures and dangers remaining more or less intact, is a terrible and antic catastrophe in process.
  4. A place which makes for marvelous location-based adventures.
This book provides rules, guidelines, tables, and suggestions for creating wizards’ seclusia for your own campaigns, and features three sample seclusia in various stages of completion, including the Seclusium of Orphone of the Three Visions.
Suitable for characters of all levels, usable with Lamentations of the Flame Princess Weird Fantasy Role-Playing and other traditional role-playing games.

Right now that you've read what the book supposedly is, let me tell you what this book really is. This is an adventure/tool kit for the construction and creation of  
Seclusium which are sort of like the fabled wizard's tower and lairs but these locations actually live up to their hype in this book.  But first a quick note on the physical book
 Its a really great physical book and another wonderful addition to your shelf. The hardback is something that makes the pdf look like a wet fish.
 The book is dedicated to Jack Vance and I've read a ton of Vance even have the role playing game of his world but this book didn't actually make me think about Jack Vance at all. Instead I found myself looking through the book and the three sort of fleshed out 
Seclusium that are contained within its pages and the random tables that you as a DM can use to put your own random stamp and set dressing qualities on each one.
In fact even if you you these locations they can be reused over and over again so that those random rolls will translate into different features,treasures, and magic items within the bounds of the 
 That being said I found myself thinking about Robert Howard and certain sword & sorcery tales of Conan with the lairs and towers of wizards scattered across the landscape. The ideas of the book can easily be used for Lamentations of the Flame Princess campaign  or a 
Seclusium could be a setting piece for a sword & sorcery style game. The Seclusium can appear as a dark pulp adventure location with some very frightening and weird overtones. 
As a tool kit 'The Seclusium of Orphone of the Three Visions'  is glorious because of the tone, originality, and ideas that the author tosses into the ring. The The Seclusiums presented are places that seem to resonate with the pulp asthetic of the LoFP game. But what some folks fail to understand is that this book is an extension and an adventure as well. The Seclusiums remind me vividly of  the 1960's and 70's Marvel Doctor Strange comic books. Within those comics there were lots of weird and strange wizard's lairs with incredibly individual magical features, strange treasures, monsters, and other background pieces that Strange and co. had to overcome. Each location had the stamp of the magician who created it and that's exactly what the The Seclusium of Orphone of the Three Visions creates. Mr. Baker even gives house rules and his own unique take on the LoFP game in several pages of appendix towards the back of the book.  Let's not screw around, this isn't a book for the players unless they're PC's wizards have reached twentieth level and their ready to create their own Seclusium. Given the peg leg that the Flame Princess is sporting in the cover art for this book its unlikely. That being said this is a solid book for the DM to grab and create his own  Seclusium. Given the pulp flare of the LoFP system and its uses of a great deal of the Lovcraftian and Clive Barker horror ethos. I can see Seclusium scattered throughout a campaign being adventuree draws for parties being hired by rival wizards for raids on such places.

In fact I can see using Clive Barker's Lord Of Illusions movie as a twisted piece of source material for the creation of a Seclusium or two for a particularly harrowing raid on for a party of adventurers. The elements of magic, cults, and twisted occult investigation are all there waiting to be converted into a pulp style LoFP session complete with magical rivals just in time for Halloween. A quick Barker homage there folks. 
I can also see using  'The Seclusium of Orphone of the Three Visions' as a source book for other retroclones and the Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea rpg system comes straight to mind here. Given the pulp ataestheticf the book and its contents this book is perfect for generating a demi plane lair  Seclusium for some twisted and dangerous Atlantian or Lemurian wizard left over after the destruction of Old Earth now lost in the Outer Darkness just waiting.
The book is very well done, concise, and a very attractive tool box for your old school adventures. There are plenty of hooks in this book to take your PC's on a journey to a nearby Seclusium and far beyond. I'm very glad to have acquired this book and I look forward to unleashing it in the weeks to come. I think that D.Vincent Baker did a very nice job on a very handsome package and its a damn fine addition to the Lamentations Of The Flame Princess rpg system line of products.

Seclusium of Orphone of the Three Visions, The (Print + PDF)

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