I recently downloaded The Complete Vivimancer the new book from Necrotic Gnome Productions, the same folks that gave us Theorems & Thaumaturgy.
Gavin Norman, of the City of Iron blog, gives us a new(ish) class, the Vivimancer. The book is 88 pages and advertised as Labyrinth Lord compatible with both Basic and Advanced stats (more on that in a bit).
The class was introduced in Theorems & Thaumaturgy. The basic class is a type of Wizard/Magic-User and detailed on two pages. The experience per level, saves, spells, and attacks are not too different from the Magic-user normal.
For the Advanced option elves and half-elves can also be vivimancers. Interestingly enough elves can advance to 11th level and half-elves to 10th. I would have expected it to be the other way around.
The next substantial chapter is on Spells and Laboratory procedures.
The biggest expense in gold and time for the vivimancer is his laboratory. The vivimancer according to the rules needs to spend 6 hours per day in his lab. I wonder how much time this leaves for adventuring, eating and sleeping. Sure some apprentices can cover this time. Upkeep costs is 10 gp per spell level, so about 1980gp per month at 20th level. Not unreasonable really.
The next 65 pages detail spells levels 1 to 9. Like most Labyrinth Lord compatible products the spells are compatible across a wide variety of products. You could use these with any old school product wizard, magic-user and yes witch. Though to do so I think robs the class of some it's charm and power.
The spells are a varied sort. There are some very useful, some are variations on a theme and others will have limited utility to the adventuring vivimancer. But all have a lot of style. If you prefer your games a little more G-rated then this isn't a book for you. While not as over the top as Carcosa or Lamentations of the Flame Princess, there are a lot of cutting things up and putting them back together.
The chapter on magic items is nice varied lot as well, with attention paid to things the vivimancer needs to perform his craft.
We also get Appendices on Psionic Powers and Mutations. Both are fine and work but in use I might swap out the same rules in the Labyrinth Lord compatible Mutant Future.
Overall I really liked it. Like the book said why let Necromancers have all the fun. There is a lot here that can be used in any game really even if you never use them as a class. Personally I wonder what a bad guy team of a Vivimancer and Necromancer might produce. Heck with the Advanced rules, a Vivimancer/Cleric.
There are couple of places where Insanity is mentioned but not a lot of details on how insanity would work in a game.
The art is somewhat sparse, but it is all original and unique to this book (ok maybe 1 or 2 are in T&T). So that gives it a sum positive in my mind.
The book is 88 pages, as mentioned above, and lists at $10.00 for the PDFs. Maybe a bit higher $/page ratio, but I'll be honest I am not sure where to price these things. I think $7.50 would have been best, but I am not judging.
I have to admit I was set to like this book. "The Complete Vivimancer" reminds me of the old Bard Games "The Compleat Spellcaster" and "The Compleat Alchemist". Not just in terms of title and feel, but in terms of content. This is the sort of thing I enjoy from the OSR/Old School publishing realms. I like something I can drop into my games with no issues. Plug and Play gaming.
I would like to recommend this book. I particularly recommend it as a change of pace from the evil Necromancer NPC.
There is a lot to love about this book.
[5 of 5 Stars!]