The Complete City Kit

By Zak S.

Vast is Vornheim, the Grey Maze . . .

“Give somebody a floorplan and they’ll Gm for a day – show them how to make 30 floorplans in 30 seconds and they’ll GM forever.”

Need to know how to get from here to there even if neither here nor there are listed on a map? Even if there is no map? Need a Random Encounter? Need instant stats for that Random encounter? This book was designed to help you make a city happen now.

In addition to details on Vornheim, adventure locations and player commentary from the “I  Hit It With My Axe” girls, every single surface below this jacket – including the jacket, the book covers underneath and the inside covers – has been crammed full of tools to help you build and run a city no matter what edition of game you play.

The above is the description on the back jacket of the book. Published by Lamentations of the Flame Princess, Vornheim is a useful tool for GMs of any Role Playing Game. The creatively graphic OSR that smashed on the scene a few years back. There has been talk for years of updating the LotFP Referee’s Guide but we are yet to see anything in print. This book is filled with information that any GM might need to get more familiar with the setting and as a resource to save time in generating maps and encounters.

Vornheim is a sample mega-city with a few sample locations that can be quite interesting for any would be group of adventurers. The inside of the book jacket is a handy map of a portion of that mega city. But the true reason to buy the book is the wealth of information and tables that are not specific to any one game. This means you can use this tool with almost any game you are currently running with minor adjustments.

If you take off the jacket, the front cover is a chart on which you can roll a d4 to, in a single roll generate a random: animal, monster, Fighter, Thief, Guards!, Wizard, Inn, Small room, medium room, tower, or magic attack. A single roll of 1d4 gives you an animal with Armor class (listed in both ascending and descending AC) Maximum damage (size of the die) and Hit Dice. A single roll of 1d4 for Guards! can give you AC, HP per Guard and number of guards. A single roll of 1d4 can for a room can give you width, length and number of doors the room has.

But the back cover  also has a similar chart. This one is for your combat resolution. In a single roll of a 1d4 you can get the “roll to hit”, the damage (in d4, d6 or d8) and even the body part hit which is a fun narrative tool for GMs and players alike. And if you roll more than one d4, you can get this for multiple combatants so it also saves time! If everyone had different colour die, I could even see this used for players and a GM running several NPCs all rolling at the same time for simultaneous combat. Similar mechanics via specific body parts in Runequest: ______ as well as Warhammer.

Inside the back cover is a similar chart for random locations in a city. With one roll of a die you can pick a random type of business on a street from Apothecary to Weaver. Or you can roll several dice to generate a whole street at once! There is also a table so that these things can be rolled on 1d100 with some details about each place.

Sounds like a lot of game and we have only just discussed the covers so already I was feeling good about the purchase. There are also pages inside the book filled with things like “Navigation shortcuts for Busy GMs”, Floor plan shortcuts, Item cost shortcuts, tables of random aristocrats and NPCs, encounters, Fortunes, “I search the body”, and taverns.

The sample locations are stated in a OSR format, making them usually for any variation of TSR D&D and its’ retroclones of which Lamentations is one. But if you are a new school player of 3.5 or Pathfinder, You will find a page of conversions already done for you in the back of the book with the other tables so they have streamlined the process. As an OSR veteran myself I find this a valuable resource as I am playing in a one game a week and running sometimes up to two sessions through Discord so to has simplified things for me. Having a go to for encounters and locations can save a GM a decent chunk of time meaning more time to focus on crafting the story and immerssion.

My only complaint about this book is that it is printed in tiny print with lots of black and grey on the pages, making it expensive to print out to have a larger refrence and copies for seperate campaigns.

All in all, Vornheim is an essential tool for any GM of any game system. I highly recommend it!