Semi-Review: Spellcraft & Swordplay Pocket Editions.
I recently purchased the “Pocket Editions” of the Spellcraft & Swordplay books from Elf Lair Games and Lulu and I wanted to share my geek joy with you all.
Spellcraft & Swordplay Core: http://www.lulu.com/content/paperback-book/spellcraft-swordplay-pocket-edition/6810298
Monstrous Mayhem: http://www.lulu.com/content/paperback-book/monstrous-mayhem-pocket-edition/6859303
Disclaimer: Yes I do work for ELG and I am writing for S&S, but I am doing all of that because I was a fan. I will recuse myself about talking about the game system or mechanics (they are awesome by the way), but instead I do want to focus on the thing I had not seen until now; the actual printed books.
Briefly: Spellcraft & Swordplay is a new game inspired by the early history of the fantasy role-playing genre. Not really a retro-clone of Original D&D, it is more a divergent evolution that pays homage to that game and the feel of playing in the mid-to-late 1970s. Its advantage is that it is a complete FRPG in 140 pages (or so).
Ok enough of that. Let us talk about why I am writing this. The books themselves. I picked up the Pocket Editions from Lulu. The format for both books is 5.5” by 8.5”, or a standard (American standard I should say) sheet of printer paper. This puts them at the same size as the Original D&D books. They are perfect bound and if they are like other Lulu books I have purchased they should hold up rather well. I wouldn’t break the spines on these since that would ruin the overall appearance of the books. Speaking of which, the appearance is great.
The books, while obviously paying homage to OD&D also give nods to AD&D. Monstrous Mayhem sports a black cover with a gold-orange spine that is a reminder of the 2nd group of covers for the AD&D 1st Ed books. The art is very appropriate, though not as much as some games tend to use and it gives both books an overall style that just really “feels” old school. This is not a fancy new MP3 or DVD audio, this is that “Uriah Heep” or “Rush” album that has been sitting in your closet that you have not listened to in decades. Jason and Lulu have just provided you a new needle. The feel of this game is not “A thousand points of light” or whatever, but a grittier world, but a “warmer” one if you will. For those that might ask, this version contains no Elmore art.
The paper is nice bright white and the text even in these pocket editions is very easy to read.
While I have been doing some S&S playing and have the PDFs, these books will still be a welcome addition to my game library.