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Veins of the Earth
 
$19.99
Average Rating:4.7 / 5
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Veins of the Earth
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Veins of the Earth
Publisher: Lamentations of the Flame Princess
by Dennis B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/01/2017 13:01:17

This book is well written and very entertaining. It has lots of material that a DM/GM/Referee can draw upon to generate some very memorable campaign moments; it is clear the author spent a great deal of time considering the psychology of creatures and societies that exist in darkness.

For the writing, I give this book a full 5 stars. However, and this is a big one, the art in this book is a hair north of atrocious. Quite literally, it's the worst art I've seen in an RPG book ever. So much so, in fact, that I found it quite jarring when compared to the quality of the writing. I understand what the artist was trying to accomplish with the style, but it failed miserably. There are better ways to convey a sense of dread, fear and the unknown than resorting to senseless scribbles. Art that can be outshone by my 5 year old has no place in a book with prose of this quality.

3 stars.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Veins of the Earth
Publisher: Lamentations of the Flame Princess
by Carter C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/15/2017 01:57:03

It's hard to talk about this book without descending (no pun intended) into hyperbole. This is the best RPG book I have ever read, hands down, and I've read a lot. This book is so dense and richly layered that it's hard to consume any one part of the book. You have to take it in in peices and then go back and look at the bits you already read with fresh eyes.

About half the book is a monster manual, but it's nothing like what you get from a popular magic-user that lives on the edge of the ocean. Each monster is a just that, a monster: a horrific, terrifying, and unique abberation. There are no large crocodiles. There are crocodiles that have a symbiotic relationship with an intelligent fungi that uses them as an emissary between civilizations. There are no golems. There is a creature that is patchwork of stone and clay who has been wandering the veins, replacing bits and pieces of themselves, for millenia, with a random table that gives you descriptions like the Nightmare Lord of the ancient Demi-Kaz, the City on the border of Dawn, who survived the Great Flood and learned her art from the gods, and now quests for her heart, lost in a box on a sunken ship in the pits of the deepest ocean so she can destroy it and die. After reading this, you'll never want to say "and you see an owlbear" again.

After that is a section on the cultures of the veins. Again, these are reskinned human cultures. These are completely alien people with alien thoughts. Each one is singular and unique. They will be a challenge to roleplay, but done well, could be amazing.

After that is sections on how to build the veins and run encounters in them. The sections on how to run food and light are well-written, and they strike a delicate balance between handwaving away an important aspect and turning your players into accountants at spreadsheets. The section on how to generate the veins though is absolute gold. It's incredibly easy to do, and it gives you caves like nothing I've seen in an rpg. These are realistic caves. These aren't a leisurely jaunt through 10 by 10 halls that lead to big rooms perfect for manuvering around animated skeletons. These are small, cramped places in the dark, where you can get lost and die without ever seeing an enemy. One description goes like this:

"They can expect to be enfolded by stone on all sides and must go in darkness or push a light ahead of them. Often the only way to get through is by deliberately relaxing the muscles so that the volume of the body becomes more liquid and pliable. If the user becomes afraid, they may tense up and become trapped."

If you are taking your players below ground, you need Veins of the Earth.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Veins of the Earth
Publisher: Lamentations of the Flame Princess
by Ivan T. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/01/2017 09:11:11

This is top notch stuff. It offers a take on the underdark that is more original and thought-provoking than any similar supplement. It also contains new seemingly-very-useful rules systems for encumbrance, starvation, lighting, and climbing. DISCLAIMER: I have not yet used it in actual play.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Veins of the Earth
Publisher: Lamentations of the Flame Princess
by Oliver B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/15/2017 13:48:25

This book is rad as hell.

Some content is a little too silly for my campaign, but might not be for yours.

It can all be tweaked anyway.

And the art is fantastic.

A++ would buy again.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Veins of the Earth
Publisher: Lamentations of the Flame Princess
by Matt M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/27/2017 04:47:51

Veins of the Earth puts all other "underdark" themed sourcebooks to shame.

I would recommend this book to anyone considering a game in a subterranean realm. Veins of the Earth provides the tools and inspiration to make such a place as alien and scary as it really should be, and to test your players and their characters with challenges they might not have considered before.

It's clear that the author either has experience in real-world caving, or else has done a great deal of research into caving. I've done it myself and the writing in this book quickly dredged up my experiences with uncanny precision. Letterboxes, sumps, crawlways, chimneys, flowstone... the absolute darkness. It's all here.

The crowning glories of Veins of the Earth are the Rapture; the cave generation and mapping system; light, lamps, and "lumes"; and the expanded climbing and exploration mechanics. I also really enjoyed the entry on the dErO. These alone are worth the price of admission.

If I were to offer any constructive criticism (I have a physical copy too - which is of astounding quality), I'd suggest settlements and quests. There is some information on a few cultures in the Veins, but information on living spaces is almost non-existent. I wouldn't expect a detailed account of an unlikely underground metropolis, but some guidelines on where the PCs can expect to buy food, light, equipment, hirelings, etc. (without being enslaved or otherwise betrayed) would be extremely valuable. The Veins are also presented as an extremely dangerous and uncomfortable place to venture. It is clearly the GM's function to come up with quests and macguffins for the PCs to look for underground, but a few suggestions would have been very welcome. I'm pretty sure my players would just say "nope" after a few days in the Veins unless there was something extremely important or valuable keeping them down there.

In conclusion, this is an excellent supplement and successfully captures the foreboding darkness and alien architecture of a massive underground space. GMs should buy it and read it, at least for the four topics I mentioned above. Your caves will never be the same again.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Veins of the Earth
Publisher: Lamentations of the Flame Princess
by Bradley N. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/08/2017 21:46:29

Everything Patrick makes is amazing. He's a wordy bastard who is needlessly obtuse with some descriptions or ideas but he's also endlessly imaginative and qutie clever in his handling of the mechanics of caving and underground exploration.

Get this, get Deep carbon observatory, get maze of the blue medusa. Get it all.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Veins of the Earth
Publisher: Lamentations of the Flame Princess
by Max V. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/24/2017 19:49:23

This book is excellent. It is designed to be hacked into any game. The monsters are interesting and usable. I love the art style. This is the Underdark supplement I never knew that I wanted and so much more.

I am using it with Macchiato Monsters instead of LotFP and having a lot of fun watching my PC's slowly dwindle their food and light supplies.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Veins of the Earth
Publisher: Lamentations of the Flame Princess
by Patrick L. M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/11/2017 12:14:14

Just before bed, I looked on drivethrough RPG, I don’t know why . . . But I found this gem. I may have been one of the first people to buy it. I like Deep Carbon Observatory and thought I might like this too. I downloaded the pdf and read late into the night. . . .

. . . Reading it for the first time moved me deeply! It was something akin to a religious experience! I will never look at the Underdark the same way again!

It starts with a monster manual of 52 new monsters. The first few a really liked! And the next section is on Underdark societies. But after reading a few monsters, I skipped over these sections and dove into the rules.

Veins of the Earth portrays a world very different from most people’s vision of the Underdark. It’s not a series of 10 foot high tunnels that your party can have a Marching Order for. It’s Caves that have to be navigated three-dimensionally. You have to climb and repel and squeeze through spaces so small that you have to stick one arm in front of you and tilt your shoulders to fit. Food is so scarce that your body is worth its’ weight in silver as a source of meat. (LoFP is on a silver standard) And over shadowing it all is the Dark . . . the Deep, Deep, terrible Darkness . . . “Dungeons are puddles of darkness. This is the sea.” Down here infravision/darkvision doesn’t work very well. There are several ways given in the book to adjucate this. Down here, Light is initiative, Light is the ability to navigate, Light is money. The amount of Light you have left is a measurement of time. The amount of Light you have to consume to get there is a measurement of distance. There are twenty new kinds of lamps offered in the book. And rules about what happens when you get lost in the dark.

There is a new character sheet with an easier system of encumbrance than the LoFP standard. It also has a section for the starvation rules. How long has it been since you ate? 4 days? Then you have to either buy/steal 600 light hours worth of food or eat one of your companions.

Also, climbing in the caves is a very important skill. And non-specialized (non-thieves) only have a 16.66% chance of making that climb. Fortunately, you can improve you chance of climbing by studying the route of your climb. The longer you study, the better your odds, with a 82% chance if you spend more than an hour studying the route. (but you are burning Light while you do so!) Or, if the DM doesn’t want to roll for every climb, there is a way to roll for exploring and the time it takes. And if you fall from a climb there is a highly varriable chart to roll damage with the maximum roll of 1-600 hp. (so you might get lucky a survive that extreme fall. Or up to 5 of your friends might catch you, sharing the damage amongst them and you.

There is a new way of making caves, a sort of 3D line drawing that allows you to cover lots of rooms quickly. I’m currently using it as a player to map Maze of the Blue Medusa. There is also a method to use this to quickly generate random caves. There is also a section of mapping larger scale features like rivers and mines. There is also 100 described caves that you can use on the fly.

There is also a random name generator, 100 works of art, and twelve kinds of darkness.

After reading the rules I went back and read the sections on Cultures in the Veins and monsters. The tone on Cultures and monsters was highly variable. Some of the Monsters I like a lot and would want to use whole cultures of them. Others, were described too poetically for me to use.

I am an older person. I find small print hard to read and electronic format hard to use as I like to flip back and forth when using a book like this at the table. So I usually print out my pdf’s. Also there is the art. I am not a fan of Scrap Princess. But her art on Deep Carbon Observatory is starting to grow on me . . . it sets a certain mood. The art in this book is mostly black and white with little splashes of colour. It looks much better on the tablet than the art in Deep Carbon Observatory and I can tell that on glossy pages it would look much better. And there is a lot of this art throughout the book. Also the book has many many large sections of white text on black background. I could tell that it would use a lot of ink to print this out, all 368 pages! So I ordered the actual book. . . . . . . . When it arrived, It was extremely high quality, with a glossy cover that shows off Scrap Princess’ the way it was meant to be seen! The cover looks much better than the one of Maze of the Blue Medusa! There are not one, but, two ribbons attached to the book, a red one and a black one to mark two different spots. And the most commonly used charts are on the inside covers. And the pages are thick . . . almost thick as card stock! . . . . . . but the book is smaller than expected . . . half-page sized. . . . even smaller than Maze of the Blue Medusa! It doesn’t fit with all my other RPGing books. Smaller pages means smaller print. Hard to read small print. The pages are not white, but grey and I have to turn on the lights brightly in order to read the book. Many of the White (gray) print on black background are hard to read. Also, there is a faint pattern on the pages that I initially thought was bleed-over of print from other pages. Also the pages are flat, not glossy. So Scrap Princess art (except the cover) does not look as good as the electronic version.

After I had had time to digest the book, I realized that there is a lot missing in the content. Several peoples are covered in the Cultures section. But there are no descriptions about what individual members of that race are like. Using this book will take a lot of extra work on my part. There is a table of 100 random encounters. But, to use the table, I will have to flesh out most of them. There is no equipment list telling how much do things cost. It is stated that meat is worth its’ weight in hours of Light. (silver equivalent) But how much are mushrooms? Are there extra big mushrooms that can be used to make things as a subsitute for wood? Or do you have to use large bone? How much is real wood worth as jewelry? How much are things from the surface worth, especially highly addictive things, like tobacco? If Light is money, how long does a candle last. How much oil will fit in a lantern? There are 20 different lamps listed. But no costs. Some of them are permanent or semi-permanent sources of Light. How much do they cost? How long do the various fuels last? And with 350+ pages, you would think they would be at least a sample village in a cave or mini-adventure.

In closing . . . I highly recommend this book as a reference. But not as book at the table. I plan to print out the tables and character sheets for use at the table though.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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