[WIR] Lamentations of the Flame Princess: Grindhouse Edition

MisterGuignol

New member
Banned
#1
I thought I'd start a thread here to record my thoughts and impressions on the Grindhouse Edition of the Lamentations of the Flame Princess RPG, which I have just found on my doorstep. Think of this thread as a review-in-progress and feel free to ask any questions or ask for clarification of anything I write about it.

First, I want to talk about the physical object that is Lamentations of the Flame Princess. The Grindhouse Edition is a box set. It's a bit smaller than the BECMI box sets of my youth, and it opens from the side instead of having a lift-up box cover. I'm not sure how sturdy the box would prove if it's transported to-and-from gaming sessions for a long while, but it seems like it will certainly stand up to normal shelfware.

Speaking of the box, god-damn does it have a great piece of art for the cover. This is what I am talking about. I find that terribly evocative of the kind of game this promises to be: harrowing, uncanny, and grimly heroic. I've seen at least one person complain that this piece is too "static," but I see it as the a frozen moment, almost like bullet-time in cinema--the pause right before the bloodspray. (I will say, though, that my box art is reproduced much darker than the picture I linked to of the previous Deluxe Edition. A bit of detail is lost, I'm afraid.)

Inside the box are three digest-size books. They feel really nice when you hold them in your hand; they feel readable and not like text books. In general, I'm really liking the digest size for gaming books: they fit better in bags and they are much more ergonomically comfortable in a range of situations where you might sit down and read a book. They also take up less space at the table, which is handy for people who don't have a big gaming area.

The box also contains a bunch of character sheets and a really tiny set of dice. While the dice are nice, I am leery of bringing them to the table lest a player mistake them for Skittles.

The three books are a labeled Tutorial, Rules and Magic, and Referee. The covers on all three are rather nice as well: the tutorial book has a Fu-Manchu looking villain setting a Lovecraftian beast on some hapless victim; the rules and magic book has a red-headed pilgrim (presumably the younger version of the woman from the box cover) brandishing a sword against an unseen assailant; and the refree book has an Otis-esque illustration of a winged monster confronting a hooded figure before a charnel bonfire that could have been ripped straight from the cover of Weird Tales.

I like all three covers, but some might grouse that they don't really "match" or display a consistent "brand identity." Fuck 'em. To me, this sends a message that there are many different flavors of weird fantasy that you can play with in this game. To me, the the Rules and Magic cover says, "You want colonial survival horror against the beasts of the blackened wild? Go for it," the Tutorial cover says, "You want fin de siecle fantasy with Orientalist villains and the perils of the unknowable East? Go for it," and the Referee cover says, "You want to capture the feel of Algernon Blackwood's 'The Wendigo'? Go for it."

This is an exciting box to open, people. I'm already getting ideas that my players will both like and hate.

I will start with the Tutorial, dig in, and report back.
 
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Morandir

Vehement atheist
Validated User
#2
Looking forward to this. I have the free pdfs of the deluxe edition, and as much as I want to I can't afford to buy Grindhouse right now. So I'll be enjoying it vicariously through you!
 

Wulfgar22

Registered User
Validated User
#3
I got my box the other day and it has really blown me away...the art is fantastic, the layout really well-done and user-friendly, it's really well written and this variation of the rules just works really well for me. I've bought a lot of OSR stuff over the last few years but LotFP really takes things to another level!
 

Captain Deadpool

I'm an assassi... Horse Trainer
Validated User
#5
Are there any differences when it comes to an owner of Deluxe? I have three books by the titles you describe above, does that mean the content is identical?
 

MisterGuignol

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Banned
#6
Thanks guys! I'll definitely keep at it.

The first thing that greets you when you crack the Tutorial book is a zombie-fied spin on the warning from Dante's Inferno: Abandon All Hope Ye Who Enter Here becomes Enter Ye Damned. That's probably the most honest introduction to the hobby you're likely to get.

Next up is the obligatory "What is a Role-Playing Game" section. (No question mark after that statement?) James Raggi writes this section in a very conversational tone. There's nothing high-minded about how he describes what you do in a role-playing game; this is straight-forward, no bullshit, and rather like hearing someone who loves role-playing games tell you what they are all about. That's actually what I enjoyed about this section: it both gives a solid overview of what rpgs are and manages to impart the author's enthusiasm for how they are played.

Dice (and how to roll them) get a whole page of description; not only does Raggi introduce what 2d6+2 means, he also includes a little commentary on people's little dice rituals.

Next up is Your First Adventure, a pre-scripted solo adventure that is meant to introduce many of the game's central concepts. In this section we learn about Ability Scores, how to roll to see if you hit in combat, Saving Throws, Hit Points, etc. This adventure reminded me quite a bit of the solo adventure at the front of the red box Basic D&D set. SPOILER:
Spoiler: Show
as in the red box, don't get too attached to your cleric pal.


There is a lot to love about Your First Adventure. One thing I really thought added some value here was that Raggi doesn't just introduce the mechanics of the game, he also introduces many conventions native to gaming itself, such as the kind of exposition you'd find in a published module, the deadliness of old-school D&D games, etc. Similarly, this section does a fine job of introducing the flavor of Lamentations of the Flame Princess; for example, this flavorful snippet--"As you reach the street you notice the men, about a dozen in all, following you. And there you walk, a macabre procession honoring the dead, with the still-smoldering corpse of the deceased in your arms"--let's you know that this is a game far darker than the average high fantasy pastiche.

To sum up what we know about the game mechanics so far from this section: it uses the six "standard" D&D attributes, it has Hit Points, Armor Class, and Saving Throws, and it is a class-based system. (I think there may be a gaff in the text at one point: on page 13, during the final fight, the text tells you that you have 8 Hit Points left, but the cleric had just healed you two pages back; you should be at 10 Hit Points as per page 11. That might confuse new players a bit.)

I'll read the Second Adventure tonight and report back!
 

MisterGuignol

New member
Banned
#7
Are there any differences when it comes to an owner of Deluxe? I have three books by the titles you describe above, does that mean the content is identical?
So far, I think I've noticed three things that differ from the Deluxe Edition: there are two new skills (Architecture and Open Doors), magic received a hefty revamp (new spells and new allotment of spells between magic-user and cleric lists), and plenty of new art.

Keep in mind that these are only the things I've noticed "so far"; there might be more that I notice later on.
 

Web Warlock

Ghost of Albion
Validated User
#9
See here is what I don't get. I got The Deluxe Edition and now the Grindhouse Edition and I can't see what is here that I don't already have in Swords & Wizardry, Spellcraft & Swordplay or any of the other retro clones. Plus I have no idea how the "weird" is supposed to play in it outside of a couple pages in the Referee Manual.

The art is nice. But at the end of the day this is just another retro-clone in a world full of retro clones.

Tim
 

MisterGuignol

New member
Banned
#10
See here is what I don't get. I got The Deluxe Edition and now the Grindhouse Edition and I can't see what is here that I don't already have in Swords & Wizardry, Spellcraft & Swordplay or any of the other retro clones. Plus I have no idea how the "weird" is supposed to play in it outside of a couple pages in the Referee Manual.

The art is nice. But at the end of the day this is just another retro-clone in a world full of retro clones.

Tim
Here's what you don't get with the standard retro-clone:

A section of spells that emphasizes the weird over the usual spells. Notice that the Grindhouse Edition doesn't have "Fireball" or "Lightning Bolt," but it does have "Bookspeak," "Witchlamp Aura," and "Weird Vortex."

A section on inspirational genre authors such as Clive Barker, Edgar Allan Poe, and Clark Ashton Smith. Outside of Ravenloft books, these aren't the standard litany of literary influences.

Advice about "The Weird" at the start of the referee book, as well as scattered throughout. (Seriously, check out Your First Adventure as mentioned above. It really does have a different flavor than the usual first outing.)
 
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