So with Pathfinder and I no longer an ‘item,’ I’m on the market again. I don’t think I’ll ever make the same kind of commitment to another system. But then, nobody ever anticipates the day that special game comes along, do they? And as it happens, I’ve had my eye on Lamentations of the Flame Princess for awhile.
I actually don’t recall when LotFP first came on my radar, but my first distinct memory of the game is the fear in my fellow adventurer’s eyes when our GM announced that we was running “A Raggi module.” (as in a module written by James Raggi, creator of LotFP). It took me a few months to get around to purchasing the game, and when I got it in hand I was immediately impressed with it, before even reading a word. Multiple books, printed character sheets, and a full set of dice were included in my $35 Grindhouse edition of the game. What’s more, the art is gloriously imaginative, provocative, and NSFW. I don’t think I ever realized how much the tame-ness of most RPG sourcebooks bothered me until I found this book which was actually willing to engage with me as an adult. To depict all of the violence I so gleefully describe to my players.
Upon reading the books, I was profoundly disappointed. Not because the books were bad, but because I saw many of my own ostensibly unique ideas had already been published by someone who managed to come up with them before I did. I thought I was going to be so very clever someday when I released a game system, and the GM’s Guide was largely just a collection of essays on GMing, rather than a collection of charts and numbers of limited usefulness. I thought my system would be so much easier to understand with expansive examples of play–though even I wouldn’t have been so bold as to fill an entire book with them!
I don’t love everything about LotFP, of course. The magic research / magic item creation systems seem to be more trouble than they’re worth. Some spells are so dangerous to use that I don’t know if I’d ever be willing to cast them. The idea that only fighter’s advance in combat ability has a certain appeal, but I worry about how it will affect play as adventurers start to reach mid level. And call it a nitpick, but I’ve never liked games which measure movement in feet. My ability to perceive distance is not good, so saying a character has a movement of 120′ means nothing to me.
But for every con, I could list a half dozen pros. And two pros in particular make this game worth it all on their own. First, the rules work. And second, these are among the most lightweight rules I’ve ever seen. More lightweight than any of the other old school games I’ve encountered. And that’s good, because it gives me so much more room to tinker and expand on my own, which is what I love to do anyway.