Lamentations of the Flame Princess: What's the hook?

Modern Angel

Retired User
I get that it's a D&D clone. What sets it apart? I've seen, on other forums, stuff about singular monsters, it being extra deadly and excellent for sandbox gaming. How does it achieve those sorts of things? Or is there no difference mechanically and we're left with a standard clone with a few suggestions to make the game a little off center?
 

Sleeper

Red-eyed dust bunny
Validated User
I wouldn't call it a clone, per se. It doesn't attempt to replicate any particular edition. It's more one person's riff on old school D&D. Enhanced niche protection (e.g. only fighters get better at hitting opponents) and revised thieves (most characters start with a 1 in 6 of performing various skills, which specialists can improve) are two of the more notable changes. You can see for yourself in the free version here.
 

maybecca

Member
Validated User
IIRC there's some pretty neat stuff, like the class differences - out of the classes, only one gets any better at hitting things. Clerics, wizards, thieves never get so much as a +1 to hit whatever their level.

Aside from that, it's primarily a philosophy thing, DM advice and so on. It's worth grabbing the free version of the rules to take a look through.
 

Modern Angel

Retired User
The rules themselves aren't jumping out at me, though I do agree that some of the tweaks are well received.

If I can quote from an old story games thread:

"Second, and related, monsters are supposed to be singular and mythic. Not a dragon, but the dragon. You don't know how to fight a purple worm because you've fought purple worms before - you only have legend and hearsay to rely on. This ramps up the tension and fear appreciably."

This is what piqued my interest. However, I'm not seeing anything in the free rules which does anything to support that assumption.
 

fmitchell

Frank Mitchell
Second, and related, monsters are supposed to be singular and mythic. Not a dragon, but the dragon. You don't know how to fight a purple worm because you've fought purple worms before - you only have legend and hearsay to rely on. This ramps up the tension and fear appreciably.
The not-free Referee's Guide discusses monster creation. It explicitly lacks a "monster manual", and instead gives general advice on creating monsters, with notes on common types (a subset of the 3.x list). A few notable choices:
  • His advice about Humanoids is "don't". He grudgingly adds in elves, dwarves, and halflings, as the B/X race-classes, since they're so deeply embedded in fantasy gaming. Otherwise, though, he recommends using humans for adversaries unless there's a truly compelling reason why a human culture wouldn't work.
  • Under "Oozes", he also discusses extraterrestrial and extra-planar creatures with more solid forms. His reasoning is that creatures with alien biology might be immune to critical hits, spells, or attack types, and especially vulnerable to others, just like the standard "ooze" type.
  • Undead, and other terrifying monsters, won't be scary if they're common adversaries. He recommends keeping them rare, and mixing and matching abilities to keep players on their toes, or taking to their heels, depending.
Much of what LotFP achieves comes not through rules, but lack of rules.
 

Teataine

Registered User
Validated User
This is what piqued my interest. However, I'm not seeing anything in the free rules which does anything to support that assumption.
As said earlier, it's mostly a philosophy thing, advice and guidelines. The ruleset is just a variant of oD&D.

There's a reason why "system" in the lumpley principle "includes but is not limited to the rules". Now sure, a game where the rules support and interact with the rest of the system more coherently is something we've gotten used to from the indie side of things, but LotFP is a retro clone and is not interested in doing that. It's interested in doing old school D&D with a particular vibe and accomplishes that by having:
-a simple and polished set of classic D&D mechanics (in the free pdfs)
-a ton of flavour and advice how to get the "weird" (in the complete product)

If you're looking for mechanical support of those themes, there isn't any. But simply describing a divination spell as communication with the stars or making all monsters unique does a lot to give the game a certain flavour.
 

Modern Angel

Retired User
Interesting stuff, thanks. I'd prefer to see rules shaping this sort of play but I can settle for suggestions as an alternative to rules. It's certainly an interesting take on D&D.
 

atonal chaotic

Retired User
You've seen the cover art, right?
That, plus "box set" (all gone), plus Raggi's style and reputation sold me.
It's a fine rule set, but you could replace the classes with Labyrinth Lord, S&W, or OSRIC classes and still have the heart of the game. As said above, the lack of specific rules in many cases is more telling than the rules that are there.
 

Modern Angel

Retired User
I'm partial to Labyrinth Lord for my clone needs, myself. Would you say that the rules in LOTFP (I've only had time to skim them) are mindblowingly good in terms of the utility of the changes?

I do like the style of the guy who writes it. There's a certain throwback metalhead vibe to the whole thing that I really like, judging from his blog and such. While I don't think that's in keeping with Gygax and co. themselves it does fit very nicely into the late 70s to early 80s scene.
 

Dulahan

Active member
Validated User
Reading the rules, huh. It's certainly got the minimalistic stuff going. Interesting. I'll say this much, I hate 3.0 and 3.5 (d20) with a passion, enough I probably won't play them. I'd probably play 2nd edition for nostalgia's sake... 4.0 is meh, but I might play around with the right group.

And I'd give this a try. If there were more setting with it I'd probably buy it. Fuck, when I get a job I might anyways, if only because I love the name. :p
 
Top Bottom