D&D 5E Update: pdf links are being sent! Lankhmar 5e, Monsters & Magic of Lankhmar from Goodman Games indogogo is live

Dire Bare

Legend
I just pledged for a digital copy . . . WARNING . . . Indiegogo seems to be defaulting to adding a "tip" to Indiegogo on top of your pledge. I was able to change my "tip" to $0.00, but the default options ranged from $1-3. That was irritating.
 

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Voadam

Legend
Oh man, I missed this entirely.

I have most of the 1e and 2e Lankhmar materials, the DCC PDFs, and I recently picked up some Savage World sourcebooks in the SW sale a little bit ago.

A lot of fun novels in the Lankhmar series and I believe Lieber coined the phrase Swords and Sorcery to define what he was writing.
 

Voadam

Legend
Given that Lankhmar is the template for all big sprawling corrupt fantasy cities (Goodman is underselling it, honestly; everyone has just been ripping off Lankhmar forever), I'm intending to use this with my Ptolus game, just sanding off the names.
I believe Greyhawk is a D&D version of the fantasy novel Lankhmar with a Midwest Chicago sensibility the way Lankhmar was a fantasy sword and sorcery version of New York.
 

Whizbang Dustyboots

100% that gnome
I believe Greyhawk is a D&D version of the fantasy novel Lankhmar with a Midwest Chicago sensibility the way Lankhmar was a fantasy sword and sorcery version of New York.
This is why everyone in Greyhawk won't shut the hell up about their beef sandwiches and insisting they have pizza in more than just one way.

But I agree, and I think we see a lot more of these analogues around. It took me way too long of running a Ptolus campaign (more than 15 years) to realize "oh, this is Lankhmar overlayed with Seattle and Catholicism." I've used both the endless, nameless slums and neighborhood of thousands of temples in Ptolus recently, both of which are straight out of Lankhmar.
 

Voadam

Legend
Lankhmar - Metropolitan fantasy city on the East Coast with a lot of organized crime.

Greyhawk - Metropolitan fantasy city on a giant lake in the middle of the continent map, with a lot of organized crime.

Ptolus I am not familiar enough with Seattle to say much of how much it maps with any Seattle touchstones (I don't really see a lot of coffee shops, the Pike Place market, etc. type of references) Ptolus seems a bit Monte's Greyhawk (metropolitan fantasy city on a big lake in the middle of the continent map). But given the empire set up it could be a bit western edge of the empire.
 

Whizbang Dustyboots

100% that gnome
Ptolus I am not familiar enough with Seattle to say much of how much it maps with any Seattle touchstones (I don't really see a lot of coffee shops, the Pike Place market, etc. type of references) Ptolus seems a bit Monte's Greyhawk (metropolitan fantasy city on a big lake in the middle of the continent map). But given the empire set up it could be a bit western edge of the empire.
Non-stop rain and a giant iconic spire are the Seattle tells.

And yes, it's almost, but not quite, the western edge of the Tarsisian Empire. (You've got Trolone to the northwest, but they're three-quarters out of the empire now, with the restoration of the monarchy, etc.)
 




Whizbang Dustyboots

100% that gnome
The introduction makes the product's aims explicit:
Michael Curtis said:
Fritz Leiber penned more than 40 short stories, novellas, novels, and poems related to Nehwon and the adventures of Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser. It would be unrealistic to assume I can document every magical spell, enchanted object, and terrible monster Leiber described in those works with the mere word count allotted to this project. A how-to guide for running your fifth edition campaign set in the world of Nehwon would similarly be far beyond the scope of this work.

Instead, like that single chapter in the original Deities & Demigods, the reader should treat this work as an introduction to Nehwon and the city of Lankhmar, a sample of monsters and magic to challenge your players, no matter in what world their adventures take place. In time, if interest deems it necessary, Goodman Games may further explore the world and tales of Fafhrd and Mouser in the fifth edition format.
 

The introduction makes the product's aims explicit:
I am not sure what to make of that. I think there is little doubt that a full treatment of Lankhmar like they did for DCC would sell well. All their other 5E products have done very well.

But really putting out something as meager as this and thinking it’s success represents how a much more fleshed our product would sell seems misguided. At the very least I don’t think it is an accurate representation.
 
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Whizbang Dustyboots

100% that gnome
The PDF has a full bibliography, with what Curtis feels to be the essential works to be bolded. It's a pretty good list, and like my own recommendations, the recommendations list stops immediately before Rime Isle and things getting weirder in Leiber's old age.

The monster list is prefaced with a box discussing which Basic 5E monsters would fit in well in Newhon. They're what you probably expect and are also a good shortcut for making 5E game have an OSR vibe.
  • Behemoths and leviathans are both referenced in the Newhon stories, but not ever shown, and it's probable that they're just the local names for elephants and whales. Curtis has made the choice of fantasying them up. So a behemoth is a CR 7 huge beast that's uses echolocation to make up for its poor vision, has tusks and charges things.
  • The Beloved of Tyaa are basically extra-smart crows. In standard D&D, they'd be good to attach to the Raven Queen's temples.
  • Bleak Shore Executioners are CR 2 monstrosities that stalk the Bleak Shore. I don't remember them from the stories, but from the description, they sound like one page obstacles that were dispatched pretty quickly.
  • Dragons of Newhon are a base set of stats for sea serpents, with advice for how to make each of them unique.
  • Fish of the Air I do remember from the stories, as they're invisible furry flying manta rays, which tend to stick in the reader's mind. They're used by the Invisibles of Stardock as mounts.
  • Ghost Hounds are ghosts of dogs that exist only on the Ethereal but cannot interact with the material plane except by howling. As they cannot rest until they kill the person who killed them, but cannot reach the material plane themselves, this is A) likely something that works better in stories than RPGs and B) probably a sign that the Ethereal is filled with sad dead dogs, which makes Newhon's Border Ethereal less fun than most worlds.
  • The Gods of Lankhmar are some notes on the super-powerful undead "gods" of the city. In this case, they're mummy lords with a magic staff (which crumbles to dust if the god is destroyed, sorry).
  • Ice gnomes are tribal humanoids who live in the frozen north and in no way resemble traditional D&D gnomes.
  • The Invisibles of Stardock are evil invisible humanoids and one of two times Leiber figured out how to let his heroes have sex with invisible women. The man knew what he liked.
  • Kleshite ghouls are non-undead carrion eating jungle humanoids.
  • Leviathans are gargantuan beasts with bony head plates, multiple rows of teeth and are fantasy whales based on what people who'd never seen a whale understood whales to be.
  • Newhon ghouls are non-undead eaters of other humanoids with invisible flesh but visible bones. (And this is the other time Leiber was able to have his heroes have sex with invisible people.) These are closely identified with these stories, but they make a great gotcha monster as anti-undead spells and abilities do nothing against them.
  • Rats of Lankhmar Below are intelligent rats who have their own civilization beneath the city. Two sets of stats are provided, so when player characters are shrunk, they can face "huge" rats.
  • Simorgyans are aquatic humanoids who were transformed by a magical cataclysm. They are much weirder than most D&D aquatic races (they can change shapes and turn incorporeal), although they probably fill a niche occupied in most games by sahuagin.
  • Snow serpents are white furry serpents. I remember these guys, like the Newhon ghouls, from Deities & Demigods.
  • Statue of the Devourers are the cloaked constructs from Bazaar of the Bizarre. Curtis explains the ambiguity about whether these are the Devourers in the story, or just their proxies.
  • The war cats are the 13 rulers of all cat kind.
There are six spells, ranging from levels one through nine, available to rangers and arcane spellcasters. They range from a level one illusion that makes it harder for the subject to be tracked, including by scent; to a strangling fog; to a first level spell that afflicts the subject with a level of exhaustion for 24 hours (soon to be less deadly with 1D&D); a spell that stores up damage taken to inflict on someone else; to a ninth level spell that works similarly to sleep, except it turns up to 100 hit points of creatures into dust; and finally, a paralyzing cold spell.

There's a note about how few magical items show up in the stories and how ordinary they are. And the magic items here are things like breastplates that can be worn and hidden under normal clothes, a ring that allows a spellcaster to communicate with their familiar over a longer distance and, for DMs who want Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser's signature weapons to be magical (which Curtis argues against), modest magical weapons that do things like give advantage once a day, allow the reroll of one die of critical hit damage, and a magical longsword that is both light and a finesse weapon but not versatile.

The art is by Goodman Games all stars, including a 2017 picture from Jannell Jaquays. I don't own any of the DCC Lankhmar stuff, so I have no idea if any of this art is reprints.

I take back my earlier concerns. This PDF will fit into pretty much any D&D campaign that features a grungy Lankhmar-like fantasy city (in other words, almost every published setting ever) and where the DM likes an old school or OSR feel. I will definitely be using it in my Ptolus campaign.
 
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Voadam

Legend
I remember the Invisible flesh Nehwon ghouls from both Deities and Demigods and the novels (and the TSR modules) but not the Kleshite ghouls. Does it identify what stories the various monsters are from?

How many pages is the supplement?
 

Whizbang Dustyboots

100% that gnome
I remember the Invisible flesh Nehwon ghouls from both Deities and Demigods and the novels (and the TSR modules) but not the Kleshite ghouls. Does it identify what stories the various monsters are from?

How many pages is the supplement?
It does not call out where everything is from, and some of the text suggests that some of the content is based on vibes or things that are alluded to but never seen in the stories.

Including the covers, a page of ads for their fifth edition modules, and several art gallery pages, it's a 34-page product. So it's a little higher priced than a typical DMs Guild or DriveThruRPG title (I believe @M.T. Black has said they average out to $1 per four pages), but it's of high quality. This feels completely worth my $10 as a backer.
 

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