Monday, April 20, 2015

A Stranger Referee

First off, are you really reading a review about an awesome, free RPG product that you could just go download right now and read instead?  Seriously, go do that:

Ah, I get it.  The book is long, maybe it's not worth your time and trouble to download and read, eh?  I'll try and summarize its finer points here, then.

1) This apparently is your only chance to get "A Stranger Storm."  This is a great little adventure, which I'll talk more about later.

2) I'm going to assume that you are not going to get any of this art again.  If you like the LotFP art, here's some you might not have seen already.

3) If you run Lamentations of the Flame Princess, this has all the missing rules you need to run the game, like statting monsters, XP awards, etc.

4) This book fleshes out the tone of the intended setting a bit more.

5) I like the way it reads.  Similar to reading Gygax in the 1E DMG, this feels like James Raggi is talking to you about how to run a good game.

6) Included are quick generators for settlements and NPC characteristics.

7) I read it a thoroughly a long time ago, and while perusing it for this quick review, I'm already seeing things that I should pay heed to after a year and a half of Refereeing.  I probably need to read it thoroughly again to further hone my skills.

A Stranger Storm

At some point I was going to write a review of this adventure as a sort of pleading to James Raggi to reprint it or offer it in some form again.  Now that it's available, and he's added the tag, "which won't be reprinted," then I need to get on this now so that people know to snag this while they can.

This is a nasty but beautiful little adventure that offers players a 50% chance of death.  It's challenging, but fun to run (you will have to play a traveling group of snooty spoon salesman, a jocular troupe of young dancers, some simple townsfolk, an unusually calm priest, a grumpy paladin-type, confused nuns...)  I have never come across another adventure that is anything like this one. You can probably get through it in a single session.

Remember that first album you listened to by your favorite band?  No matter what they release, even if it's better, that first album is still elevated in your heart.  This was the first LotFP (OSR) adventure I ran, with the following results: 

-We had fun while being disturbed, and we were all hooked on the feeling.
-My players learned that treasure is not always buried in the ground, sometimes it's buried in our hearts, and, if you have to kill the baby, you probably shouldn't do it in the room with all the nuns and orphans watching.

This adventure is what got me and my gaming group into the OSR.  The party continued on to the Tower of the Stargazer and Better Than Any Man.  I have been a long time gamer: I've played (literally) hundreds of different board/card games, Magic: The Gathering, D&D of all editions, Storytelling Games, various other RPGs...some before LotFP some after.  But Lamentations still remains the most fun gaming I have and I owe it all to this little adventure (well, and Better Than Any Man, the reading of which convinced me to give the system a try in the first place).

As an added bonus, you get more advice from Raggi throughout the adventure.  I always enjoy authors discussing their choices, and this adventure is crafted for new referees to flex their muscles and try some things out.  However, there's enough meat here for experienced GMs to invite the whole block over for a good old-fashioned barbecue...

Now, you're either regretting reading on, or you're more stoked than ever, so go get yourself some free refereeing advice and a wicked adventure!