Lamentations of the Flame Princess: I'm both intrigued and confused.

JimLotFP

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Banned
#21
I wouldn't mix them, though. It's a unique work unto itself but it's, in a word, different. People are wary of different things and it took some time to wrap my head around some of the presentation.
I've been hearing this a lot, and I'll admit: I am surprised people think this way.

Not complaining, just surprised. :)
 
#22
It makes sense, though. All the retro clones are written from a reference frame of mind while LotFP is written as both a set of rules and a presentation for a specific style of gaming. D&D is very Western European in style but LotFP has an Eastern European flair (and you being from Finland makes obvious sense). Magic is dark and mysterious (unlike D&D's view of magic as technology), men are brutal and violent (unlike D&D which tends to encourage portrayal of a romantic hero), people hide behind a shield of religion to mask themselves from the truth (rather than D&D's "gods are real, worship them or lose your spells!"), and something lurks in the dark forest over yonder picking off children as they play in the fields (in D&D it's a goblin and everyone knows goblins are nothing more than easy xp).

I'm a big fan of Slavic and Scandinavian art and mythology so I can take material from LotFP (and believe me, I'm contemplating stealing that encumbrance system) but I couldn't imagine myself bringing other material in to it. It would ruin the feeling. Where's the fear of death when you can drag your buddies corpse to a random church and pay them huge wads of cash to raise him?
 
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MachFront

Ugly is IN!
Validated User
#23
Magic is dark and mysterious (unlike D&D's view of magic as technology), men are brutal and violent (unlike D&D which tends to encourage portrayal of a romantic hero), people hide behind a shield of religion to mask themselves from the truth (rather than D&D's "gods are real, worship them or lose your spells!"), and something lurks in the dark forest over yonder picking off children as they play in the fields (in D&D it's a goblin and everyone knows goblins are nothing more than easy xp).
Not to get too far afield here, but it's odd...what you describe as being not-D&D is exactly how I've always held D&D to be and assumed it was meant to be. What you describe to be like D&D isn't like D&D at all in my mind. Of course, I've little to no experience with the newer editions besides a few sessions of 3e when it was first released and I've never played any 2e either, so perhaps my feelings stem from not being exposed to assumptions that are or may be within those games.


To the OP:
I've thought about this the past day or so and I still have no idea what to tell you.
Besides: Read all the rules to all the old editions and retro-clones and then you'll know!
Surely you don't want to hear that. :)

Since you're not familiar with the older editions, and if you like Jim's game, then what does it matter what the distinctions are?
But, maybe you'll not dig on only the fighter increasing in combat skill. Then perhaps you'll turn to Swords & Wizardry, I dunno...

Maybe specific questions may help, otherwise I feel like I'm poking around in the dark as much as you. :)
 

Redbeard67

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Validated User
#24
In every other edition of D&D, the spell water breathing allows you to breathe under water for X turns.

In Weird Fantasy (my nomenclature for Lamentations of the Flame Princess Weird Fantasy Role-Playing), the spell water breathing grows gills and scales on your neck for X turns, during which you can breathe under water.

*

There are other innovations. The specialist is very cool. Armor Class does go up (oh what a heretic!). Encumbrance is actually something you can calculate at a glance.

I've not read the included module yet, but there is a skeleton of a wilderness setting that looks awesome. Mostly I've read the Referee's book as I'm currently DMing another game and appreciate the perspective.
 

Wulfgar22

Registered User
Validated User
#25
Labyrinth Lord is on sale in every games store in London! All two of them!
I've seen LL (and the AEC) in a few shops here in the UK...including my local one in Bristol. My local even has some LL compatible stuff like The Village of Larm as well as OSRIC adventures. Pretty cool! Sadly, I haven't seen Lamentations yet.
 

brianm

Registered User
Validated User
#26
Lastly, the question that's been on my mind since I first heard about it: Why would one choose this game over any of the other retroclones out there, particularly the ones that exist as free PDF's? Aside from just style and production values, what makes it a better choice for those that like it?
Honestly, LotFP is maybe the first retro clone that's more than just an attempt to reproduce either an actual rules set from back in the day, or the rules as we played them back in the day. (Please, someone correct me if I've missed something here.)

It sports a clever little encumbrance system, removes resurrection magics from the core spells lists, and, as others have mentioned, only gives combat bonus for advancing levels to fighters.

The final result is mechanics that reinforce a dangerous game with a much more shallow power curve. Since death isn't something you can just shrug off, the lack of hit points for magic-users is a serious concern. This is mitigated a bit by everyone getting at least half of the maximum possible hit points at first level.

And that, coupled with the cosmetic effects of the rewritten spells, really enforces the "weird" vibe. There's a reason Scott's picked it as the mechanics for his Wilderlands of Darkling Sorcery campaign. If your interests run towards Clark Ashton Smith or dropping a pinch of Lovecraft in your game, LotFP is optimized for that sort of thing.

However, if you think 1e's rules are barely endurable, I'm not sure I can recommend the game to you. It's basically Basic/Expert D&D with a few nice options bolted on. It's still hit points and armour class, race-as-class and Vancian magic. There's a modest skill system based on the roll of a single d6, but it's focused on dungeoneering: picking locks and discovering secret doors. With the focus on challenging players rather than characters, social interactions and puzzles are left to player ingenuity and DM adjudication. That sort of thing floats my boat, but if you prefer complex lists of combat options and voluminous skill lists, LotFP isn't the game for you.

- Brian
 

Longspeak

Social Justice Bard
Validated User
#27
... which is why if I release setting material (as opposed to adventure material), it will be written by someone else. :D (... and stay tuned for that, actually...).

I have used the same setting for all the gaming I've done since 1990... across multiple systems, genres, time periods, etc). To me that's most of the fun of running games. So I figured when I published a game I should encourage people to do that for themselves and not even hint that they should set their games in any world I've made.
:D

Well, as I said, I'm incredibly intrigued by the presentation of your work, the art, the evocative names. I came looking for more because of the cool looking cover. :p I seek these sorts of things to help me with my own gaming. I'll keep checking back to see what others say... and to see if I can find a way to get a poster. :)
 
#28
I've never been a fan of the "sell me on this" posts.

If you like a very light system that forces both players and DM to think outside of the system to accomplish goals, then you might like OD&D.

If you like that in a world of slightly darker fantasy, with much more in the shadows and on the edge of civilization, where the weather and terrain can be as much a threat as an army of goblins, then you might like LotFP.
 

smathis

Retired User
#29
I mostly recall seeing the AD&D rules as something to be endured rather than enjoyed, thought I never played Basic, et al (I also must confess that the editions of D&D prior to 1e AD&D are a confusing morass to me.) So on the one hand, LotFP and it's hearkening back to the pre-Advanced era of D&D should logically hold no appeal for me.
I suppose. But to me, the B/X (and later BECMI) rules are the only versions of D&D worth playing besides 4e. I found AD&D to be a complete mess. 2e bored me to tears. 3e was a Herculean chore to run (and often still just as boring for me as 2e).

And OD&D, while laudable... well... there just didn't seem to be enough of a game there for me to get into.

I have my issues with 4e. I don't particularly like it. But it's a fun game and I can recognize that the game itself is solid -- if not particularly what I'm looking for out of a Fantasy RPG.

However, it really seems to be a labor of love on the creator's part. Not that other "pure" retroclones (the ones that aim to accurately emulate a specific past edition of D&D) aren't that as well, but this one seems like one man's mad vision of what old-school D&D could or should have been. The style and mood of it grab my attention, and despite my distaste for pre-3e D&D's mechanics, I'm curious about what he's done with them to make the game his own. Heck, even the production values of the boxed sex (a boxed set!) draw my eye.
I'll say this. I've played a few retro-clones. I've read many others. Of all the games I consider to be D&D clones, the only one I've stuck with has been C&C. Because it was just different enough and just streamlined enough to grab my attention.

But all the others? They don't float my boat. I find them to be too similar. I mean, why would I play Labyrinth Lord when I have the Rules Cyclopedia sitting on my shelf? LL is great. It captures the essence of the old D&D sets I grew up with. But I still have those D&D games. I guess it's a different situation for those who don't.

That said, LotFP is the first retro-clone I've plunked down significant cash for.

And it is precisely because I find the mood, style and vision to be both mad and fascinating. It's brilliant and stands amongst the top of the crowd for the retro-clones, IMO.

In the others, "Speak With Dead" takes a round to cast and lets you ask a recently dead corpse a few questions.

In LotFP, you summon the spirit of the deceased back to their corpse. Those who lived good and simple lives are eager to answer your questions because they would rather endure the incredible pain and suffering of being brought back into the world than waste away in the dark limbo of nothingness that awaits them after death. While those who lived wickedly will be uncooperative and harsh because they resent being pulled back from an afterlife in which they happily feel they got away with all their misdeeds. Because in LotFP there is no great reward or suffering awaiting the deceased.

That's why LotFP rocks. A spell isn't just a 100 word description of mechanical jargon about duration, range and area of effect. A spell is wicked cool and will have you sitting back and going all Keanu Reeves ("Whoa") like Carl Sagan dropped some metaphysical, heavy-metal, reality-shifting psychic A-Bomb on your lap.

It's like Dave Mustaine and Timothy Leary got together for a seance to invoke the tortured spirits of H.P. Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard and said "Dude! Roll up a character!"

Sure, LotFP has some interesting mechanical tweaks. Most of them have already been covered. It also carries over some of the things I didn't care for in older editions of D&D -- like the Saving Throws. And some things that I know are unpopular with fans of the later editions -- like Race as Class and differing XP progression. But I don't mind those things (except for the saves -- which I am willing to forgive for all the other awesome in there).

But if you're buying LotFP for the mechanics... well... I think you're missing the best parts. Or maybe are about to reach an old-school epiphany when you stumble upon them.

So I find myself extremely skeptical that I'd like the game, and yet oddly intrigued by it. (I actually wonder if this is at all what it's like to be attracted to another man for the first time.)
Moment of confession here. I tortured myself over the decision to buy the boxed set. I really, really did. I own free copies of all the other retro-clones I have. And honestly, I'd read through them, file them away on the computer somewhere and be like "Well, that was certainly reminiscent of a game I already own..."

So paying the WFRP3 levels of cash for LotFP was a hard sell for me. I read the free pdf of the Rulebook (twice). Was intrigued by some of the mechanical tomfoolery. But wasn't sold. I opened the Magic pdf. Just skimmed through and read a few random spells.

I placed my order within 30 minutes. And I don't regret it. Not a dime.

So I'd say give the Magic pdf a look through. And if nothing in there hits your "Add to Cart" button. Then it's cool. But, frankly, after reading only a fraction of that pdf, I was simply going to cease to be if I didn't get my hands on the Referee book.

Lastly, the question that's been on my mind since I first heard about it: Why would one choose this game over any of the other retroclones out there, particularly the ones that exist as free PDF's? Aside from just style and production values, what makes it a better choice for those that like it?
Because none of the others really grabbed me? They were all fine and laudable enterprises but none of them made me feel like "I must play this now!"

There are some good ones. I like C&C a lot. And I own the core books and a couple of other publications from them. I'll continue to collect them because I like that game. I think S&W and Labyrinth Lord are really well done too. I didn't like OSRIC. Probably because I didn't like AD&D to begin with. And the others I've come across (Microlite74, Red Box Hack and some more)... well, it's like having 13 different brands of Cheerios.

BrianM sums it up well in this post...

Honestly, LotFP is maybe the first retro clone that's more than just an attempt to reproduce either an actual rules set from back in the day, or the rules as we played them back in the day.
Except for when he gets to this part...

However, if you think 1e's rules are barely endurable, I'm not sure I can recommend the game to you. It's basically Basic/Expert D&D with a few nice options bolted on.
I find AD&D (considered by many to be "1e") to be a steaming pile for the most part. I find them overly complex and lacking in the simplicity and elegance of the older version.

I found OD&D to be incomplete -- needing copious house rulings to meet the standards of playability.

B/X (to me) was cleaned up OD&D. That's why I liked it. To me, AD&D began a trend of piling on more and more to D&D in the interest of... well... just having more there. This would continue in 2e with the crazy amounts of "kits" and splatbooks. And even 3e with more splatbooks and 1000+ feats. And then 4e with its powers database and more races than could fit in a city bus.

But B/X kept it simple. Yet (for my tastes) was more refined than its predecessor (OD&D).

I think LotFP is definitely worth a look.

If you're still on the fence, spring for a download from RPGnow. I think it's like $12. But don't blame me if that leads to an immediate purchase of the boxed set. I just skipped the middle-man and I'm happier for it.

I also think James mentioned on his blog that he's only got 18 or so left. So... if you're leaning towards the boxed set, I might act sooner rather than later. I'm not under the impression that this version of LotFP will see a reprint.
 

CLAVDIVS

Postmodern Futurist
Validated User
#30
I haven't replied again sooner because I was having a hard time formulating my thoughts into actual words. Giving it a crack now, but I'm not sure how successful I'll be...

One thing several people have said is that if I hated 1e, I shouldn't bother. Thing is, though, I've never played the "Basic" branch of the game: OD&D/White Box, B/X, BECMI, Rules Cyclopedia; never played them, no one I knew played them, and I don't even know how they differ. Before 3e, I only ever played AD&D, and that was the game I hated. One of the reasons for the hate was that it was so clunky and fiddly and complicated in weird ways; maybe if I'd tried the Basic line at some point I would've appreciated it's simplicity. I was willing to give S&W a shot, but as I mentioned that never got past the first session.

So what it comes down to is that I don't know if I'd like an old school game like Basic D&D or LotFP. There's no real draw for me, but no revulsion, either; it's an unfamiliar neutrality. My reaction to such games is simply untested.

I wouldn't write a good setting anyway. My personal formula is to make a very mundane baseline for civilized areas - children can run in the fields, prospectors can go out in the hills, etc, without the expectations of monsters or sudden death, the average villager believes in magic but has never encountered it. May not have ever met a dwarf, elf, or halfling. The gods do not meddle in human affairs. Hell, they may not even exist. Maybe it's interesting, but the idea is to not be cool or awesome. It's normal.

... and then you add the adventures in between the folds of civilization or out somewhere that people don't go. This is what's cool and super-awesome to me, the actual adventure locations with the magic and the monsters and the danger.
That's an interesting approach, I gotta say. A lot of us Americans at least like stuff big and in your face and awesome, and that seems to be what sells; or maybe it's just what gets published because of the perception that it's what sells, which is reinforced by the simple fact that people buy what gets published.

As for me, though, let's try an analogy: I think Die Hard is a great movie, but so was A Simple Plan. :D


But to the OP, if you're looking for something beyond "roll 3d6 in order" or "you're a fighter with 6 hit points staring down a mean ogre; what do you do?" then no, you won't like it. OD&D is very much a game about skill and good sense as it is luck and fate. Your character may be weak but through good roleplay you can overcome. A vial of oil with soaked cloth makes an effective backup weapon for many levels.
I'm not necessarily looking for a complicated system. Just one that's good at what it does. I liked what AD&D did, but hated how it did it. 3e did the same thing but much better, which is why I kept playing it (and have moved on to Pathfinder, because I like how it does it). If it turns out that I like what LotFP does, and it does it well, I might end up liking it.

Since you're not familiar with the older editions, and if you like Jim's game, then what does it matter what the distinctions are?
Because not knowing anything about them means I don't know which one I'd like best, if any.

Maybe specific questions may help, otherwise I feel like I'm poking around in the dark as much as you. :)
Unfortunately, I don't know enough to think of any. :eek:

There are other innovations. The specialist is very cool. Armor Class does go up (oh what a heretic!). Encumbrance is actually something you can calculate at a glance.
I don't get the attachment to descending armor class; I know you're being sarcastic, but still. It's always seemed bass-ackwards to me. I understood how lower saving throws were better, because they were a roll-over target number, but I could never figure out how AC made any sense.

Is it maybe something that dates back to Chainmail? A friend once told me something about AC originally being a roll-under target number; if that's how it worked in Chainmail, that would make sense. And since OD&D was originally meant to use Chainmail for combat, all the stats would've been Chainmail-compatible, and then the "alternate" combat system (which eventually became standard) would've been written to use those stats... Am I on the right track?

Honestly, LotFP is maybe the first retro clone that's more than just an attempt to reproduce either an actual rules set from back in the day, or the rules as we played them back in the day. (Please, someone correct me if I've missed something here.)
(snip interesting stuff)
That's the kind of thing that's attracting my attention. The design follows a certain mold, but the creator really seems to have done his own thing with it. I"m just trying to figure out if it's a thing I like.

For another analogy, I'm thinking of Torchlight. If you hated Diablo, you'll almost certainly hate Torchlight; but even if you were kinda "meh" about Diablo, you might totally love Torchlight, because maybe you'll enjoy it's treatment of the genre more than Diablo's.

In contrast, I (for purposes of the analogy) have never played Diablo, so it's hard for me to say how I'll feel about Torchlight as a game, but dang it, it looks cool.

However, if you think 1e's rules are barely endurable, I'm not sure I can recommend the game to you. It's basically Basic/Expert D&D with a few nice options bolted on. It's still hit points and armour class, race-as-class and Vancian magic. There's a modest skill system based on the roll of a single d6, but it's focused on dungeoneering: picking locks and discovering secret doors. With the focus on challenging players rather than characters, social interactions and puzzles are left to player ingenuity and DM adjudication. That sort of thing floats my boat, but if you prefer complex lists of combat options and voluminous skill lists, LotFP isn't the game for you.
Again, it was 1e AD&D I hated. And complexity and options aren't what draw me to a system, at least not anymore; as I've gotten older, my tastes have shifted to simpler systems (I can barely imagine running Hero anymore). What I like is clarity, consistency, and ease of use, with a side order or actually producing the intended results in-game. The more I think about it, the more I wonder if something hyperfocused on a certain play style, but with clean and simple mechanics to support it, might actually be something I'd enjoy. By (God, yet another) analogy, I enjoy FFXII, but sometimes I just wanna fire up Torchlight and kill some shit. :D

So I'd say give the Magic pdf a look through. And if nothing in there hits your "Add to Cart" button. Then it's cool. But, frankly, after reading only a fraction of that pdf, I was simply going to cease to be if I didn't get my hands on the Referee book.
The rest of your post was good and quite intriguing, if too huge to quote. This and the next bit were the only parts I had something to say in response to. I did look through the magic PDF, and WOW. That's just freaky. The fact that magic-users have to be chaotic -- in what is I suspect a somewhat Moorcockian sense -- also implied a ton about magic itself. It's things like that that are making me even consider this game; the only reason I wasn't sold from the get-go was worry that I wouldn't like the old-school rules and would be happier trying to use the "fluff" of the game in another system.

I also think James mentioned on his blog that he's only got 18 or so left. So... if you're leaning towards the boxed set, I might act sooner rather than later. I'm not under the impression that this version of LotFP will see a reprint.
...

God DAMMIT.

The thing is, I'm poor. Like, really, really, "how the shit am I gonna pay for rent this month" poor. If I decided I wanted this game, it was going to go on the list of future purchases when my situation improves. It's just not possible for me to buy it now, and if I wait I'll probably be stuck paying eBay prices for a copy. I suppose I could print the PDF, but dang it, if I'm gonna own the game, I want that freaking boxed set.

I noticed that it says "deluxe edition" on the front, which makes me wonder: When you say it's not likely to see a reprint, do you mean the next printing won't be "deluxe"? Any idea what would be different?
 
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