Fantastic Heroes & Witchery – cool new OSR game

EDIT 2013-12-31

Yesterday my FH&W book arrived in the mail, and I’ve skimmed it now. Good stuff. Really good. 
Anyway, seeing the book live I have to make a change to this post, namely the dimensions of the book. I thought it was A3 size, but in reality it’s the same size as Labyrinth Lord, i.e. 8.25×10.75 inches (approx. 21×27 cm). At 400+ pages, this book is a beast, about the size of Pathfinder Core.

Sadly, it’s not available on Lulu any longer. The author wrote on Dragonsfoot that he decided to take it down due to finding too many errors. It is scheduled to be available again, as version 1.3 in February 2014. I’m sure glad I got mine in time… Also, the homepage seems to be down at the moment…
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Maybe not flash news, but a few weeks ago a new OSR game came out:

Fantastic Heroes & Witchery

The game is available as a low-res free PDF. I downloaded it immediately, but it was hard to read due to the double-page layout, so I let it stir on my hard drive for a few weeks.
Now, I’ve scanned it over, and darn it’s cool! In fact, I just ordered the printed hardback from LULU… And as I understand, there’s an indexed and complete PDF coming up on DriveThru or similar this month.

In short:

The system is a mix of classic, 1E/2E and 3E. What I like is the wealth of options! Lots of everything: classes, races, gear, spells (666 of them to be exact).
Also, there’s optional rules for different flavors of fantasy gaming, be it dark fantasy or science fantasy.
AC is ascending and the game uses the 3E attack bonus system instead of attack tables (my preferred way these days). I think there’s a single save as in S&W, and it works like old school – a target number to be beat. There’s also a simple skill system and from what I gleaned so far, rules to cover most in game situations in a simplistic manner.

The most unorthodox section is the classes, where some D&D dogmas gets the boot. For example, there’s no clerics. Religious characters are called friars, and they can’t cast spells. On the other hand there’s a multitude of cleric type character classes: Templars, Friars etc.

Another big difference is that all spells are put in one pile. If you use magic, you’re a magic user. Naturally, you can be a religious magic user or a magic using warrior and there’s classes for that. All magic is also divided into white, grey or black magic. Fresh idea if you ask me. And if you can’t live without the classic classes there’s a PDF with optional rules for that on the home page. 

The book is in A5 format, and clocks in at circa 430 pages. The layout feels old school and there’s a lot of cool art. Very 1987-ish! No monsters or magic items are included, but the next supplement for the game is to be a monster book – Blasphemous Bestiary. The lack of monsters and magic items is no acute problem though – just use your usual monster books for any D&D or OSR game.

Even if you don’t want to play FH&W, there’s a lot here to be borrowed for other games.  I also think this game can be a worthy contender to Blood & Treasure on the “classic-D&D-meets-3E-in-one-package” scene. All in all, a very interesting game.

Well done and thank you Monseigneur Crouzet!

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Links:

Fantastic Heroes & Witchery homepage

FH&W at LULU

Tenkar’s review of FH&W

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