I know people have reviewed Vornheim but to my point of view it’s not, particularly, a book that can be reviewed. It’s more like a work of art or an experience. Like being hooked up to a fire hose of creativity or a cut-up.
There’s only something like 65 pages but it’s dense with material, ideas and inspiration. Even the dust jacket is thrown into use as is the cover of the book itself. There isn’t a corner that isn’t used.
It has a contents but I think it’s best experienced as something to dip in and out of for inspiration. It’s weird, strange and just right for the weirder end of the horror-fantasy that fits Lamentations of the Flame Princess in particular.
There’s a lot of ‘city books’ out there, lists of people, places and things and these can be good but the sheer degree of detail can make them practically unusable unless you play in them often enough for everyone to learn the layout of the fictional city.
The old Night City for Cyberpunk 2020 worked for that but Vornheim takes a better approach, in my opinion, being more of a tool kit, an urban fantasy resource. It provides the main locations but only inspiration and ideas for the other aspects. Vornheim creating the ‘feel’ of the city, rather than its geography. Just as Paris or London have a character all of their own, so does Vornheim and even if you don’t use Vornheim itself, a similar approach can work wonders for any other city you care to create.
I think Zak Smith and the D&D With Porn Stars crew are one of the best things to happen in gaming for a while. A fresh approach and a new perspective, paradoxically tied into the Old School movement. Long may they continue to provide us with cool shit to play with and fresh perspectives.