Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Lamentations of the Flame Princess - Unofficial FAQ

I've been playing LotFP for a few years now and see some of the same questions pop up.  I love helping people out (in fact, the community in general seems pretty supportive), but I thought it might be easier to have a place where some of the most common questions are answered. Questions are arranged in a logical order, so the greener you are, the closer to the beginning you should start.

If you're new and have a question, don't hesitate to ask!

If you're a veteran and disagree with an answer, or have more to add, please let me know!

Your question may be answered by the man himself at the About section of the official LotFP website.

I will update this page as needed.


Where do I get the rules?


Go to the front page of the Lamentations of the Flame Princess website.  You will see some cool art, the most recent news, and (to the right) a list of free downloads:

Free No-Art LotFP Rules & Magic PDF


This is a no-frills PDF of the rules.  You will know exactly how the game is played, but it won't necessarily give you a feel for the flavor of the game, except, let me point you to a few entries:

"Select Alignment" - in most D&D games, I think alignment is virtually meaningless.  In LotFP, it has specific game effects, and the descriptions here give you an idea of what this game is about.

The "Fighter" and "Magic-User" class descriptions point to the sort of people that populate this world.

Finally, check out a few of the spells, namely: CLONE, HOWL OF THE MOON, STRANGE WATERS II, and especially SUMMON.


Free 2011 Edition of the LotFP Referee Book PDF


If you're brand new to role-playing, then you can read this whole book.  If you're interested in James Raggi's unique take on Refereeing, then you should also read the whole book.  If you're just looking specifically for how to run LotFP, but are otherwise an experienced Referee, then I suggest checking out "The Weird" and the sections on "NPCs" and "Monsters."

The most commonly asked question is: "What are the rules for monsters?" because these rules are not in the Rules & Magic book.  They begin on p.49 in this book.


Rules & Magic book (hardcover, full color)


This is a great book.  High quality, beautiful art, and definitely worth owning.  The art conveys more of the world and feel of LotFP than the no-frills PDF version.

There will be a 2nd edition eventually, but this is many years out and this edition was just recently reprinted, so the longer you wait, the less time of your life you've spent owning this book.  The best place to get it is directly from the publisher, but you may also find it at a FLGS, Amazon.com, Noble Knight Games, and PDF downloads are always available from RPGNow.com.






How is LotFP different from other old school games or D&D?


LotFP is part of the OSR (Old School Renaissance or Old School Roleplaying) and is probably most similar to Labyrinth Lord (ie, "Basic D&D.")  This means that LotFP is compatible with pretty much any product made for D&D or by OSR publishers/authors.

That said, LotFP does have a different feel than most other D&D and OSR games:

-It assumes an Early Modern Era setting.  This is one of the most ugly times in human history, firearms are prevalent, people are exploring the world, killing each other in wars, conquering lands and killing its people; and while there's still a sense of  mystery, there's also the beginnings of modern society.

-It amps up the weird, horror, and sci-fi aspects of fantasy role-play, while turning the fantasy way down.  Most interactions are with humans.  There are not elves, dwarves, or halflings living in cities with humans.  There are not dragons terrorizing lands.  Most monsters will be unique (tending toward Lovecraft more than Tolkien) and most modules will feature a fair amount of grimdark, humor, and/or gonzo.




Where do I get monsters?


The free Grindhouse Referee Book mentioned above provides some advice on making up monsters.  I also highly recommend the following books:

Lusus Naturae - Right now, this is the only monster book made specifically for LotFP.  Each monster is original and unique and most can be used as an adventure seed in and of themselves.

Fire on the Velvet Horizon - This monster book is made for OSR games in general, and features no stats for the creatures!  It is pure fluff and description.  Like Lusus Naturae, each monster is original, unique, and is an adventure seed all by itself.

The Metamorphica - I cannot recommend this book enough.  In addition to allowing you to create interesting monsters and NPCs, it has 1,000 mutations that you can use to give player characters boons or curses.  Insanely useful.

Teratic Tome - by the same author as Lusus Naturae, again, it features an array of original, unique monsters.  It is statted for OSR games in general, and has a slightly more fantasy feel than the above books.

The Random Esoteric Creature Generator For Classic Fantasy Role Playing Games And Their Modern Simulacra - This book was written by the creator of LotFP.  It is basically a system for creating unique monsters.  Since it pre-dates LotFP, the stats are for OSR games in general.

The Monster Alphabet - This book definitely veers in more of a fantasy direction than LotFP, but it's great for making those fantasy monsters more interesting.

If you want generic fantasy monsters, you have many options.  You could pick up any old D&D monster book, or any of the OSR monster books (Labyrinth Lord, for example), or, you could just make up the stats yourself.  Most of the generic monsters would be statted like a human, but differ in appearance and behavior, or have some ability that's heightened.

There will be an official LotFP Monster book coming out with the new Referee book, as well as a new way to generate monsters.





Is there an official campaign setting or order that I should play the modules in?


In short, NO.

Most newer modules (especially the soft covers) are set in the Early Modern Era (in the mid 1600s) and could all easily make up a campaign world (this is what I am currently doing).

The older modules, however, have more of a fantasy feel and take a bit of tweaking to fit with the newer modules.

Then there are some releases that seem to be stand alone, or don't connect with the Early Modern Era, such as: Carcosa, A Red & Pleasant Land, Vornheim, The Seclusium of Orphone, Isle of the Unknown, and Towers Two.

I do have some suggestions for getting started if you plan on using modules to run LotFP, and you can get started right now without spending any money!

First, go to the link above where you can access the free downloads from the LotFP web store. Download: The Grindhouse Rules, Better Than Any Man, and Doom-Cave of the Crystal-Headed Children.

Read through Better Than Any Man first, then Doom-Cave, then in the very back of the Grindhouse Rules, the adventure called "A Stranger Storm."  Decide where the Doom-Cave will be on the map in BTAM.  Decide where the players will be entering this area, and start with A Stranger Storm as your first adventure.

A Stranger Storm is a great beginning adventure because it's short, and it teaches both the Referee and the players how to play a true LotFP game!

These three products alone should provide many sessions of gameplay, and once you're ready for more, go to the LotFP webstore, become a Gardening Society Member, and start picking up some great books!

I've created, and update with each new release, a spreadsheet of all official LotFP publications HERE.




What's the best module to run for a Con?


Opinions will vary on this, of course, but my suggestions are below.  These are in order from "Best for a Con" to "Less Best for a Con."  I prioritized in print books over those that are only available as PDFs.

Tower of the Stargazer - this module is self-contained, and does a great job of bridging the gap between LotFP and D&D.  It has just enough D&D that new players can access it easily (and be successful) but it's definitely LotFP and will highlight these differences for new players and GMs. There is virtually no downside to running this at a con other than its popularity and the chance that someone at the table has already played it.  I highly recommend using Jenga in place of chess for the ghost that challenges players.

The Monolith from Beyond Space and Time, The God that Crawls - both of these are excellent, self-contained modules that would fit in a con slot perfectly.  However, they are both a bit more complicated to run.  The Referee would need to be experienced and prepared for odd situations that might come up, and the players will find themselves in situations they wouldn't ever expect from a traditional RPG.

Forgive Us, The Idea From Space,  Qelong - all good fits for a convention.  They are lesser known, so fewer people have played them, but they also all stray a bit in various directions from "pure LotFP" (an arbitrary thing that I just made up).

Death Frost Doom - it would fit well as a con game, but this one feels like it would be better to play with an ongoing group.  If you only ever run con games, go for it,  But I'd probably save this one for a campaign and run something else for cons.

No Salvation For Witches, Death Love Doom, Fuck for Satan, The Doom-Cave of the Crystal-Headed Children- all of these are self-contained and a good size for a con, but may be a bit too much for a convention game with strangers.  They all have violent and/or disturbing sexual situations, so you'd want to make sure you were completely comfortable with running them and the players are adults and also comfortable with this.

Scenic Dunnsmouth, Land of the Lost, Carcosa, Vornheim, A Red and Pleasant Land, Isle of the Unknown - could all work as con games, but would require more upfront work from the Referee.  You need to understand how the books work, be prepared for an expansive hex crawl (which for a con could also feel a bit aimless - sometimes it's nice to have something that's more self-contained) or you need to create stuff in advance.

Sometimes you want some back up "filler," like if the players leave the adventure site too early, or complete what they need to do and leave.  The following are short, easy prep adventures that you could have ready to go:

A Single, Small Cut
Tales of the Scarecrow
The Magnificent Joop van Ooms
Better Than Any Man (this is actually a large book, but it has numerous adventure sites, hooks, and encounters that you could pull out and use.)

Of course, you could adapt pretty much anything to a con game.  Although, the one I wouldn't recommend even trying, unless you were able to do a two day event and get the same players on both days, is Thulian Echoes.  It is an excellent module, but you basically have to run it twice and rarely can you pull this off during a con.





Are there any communities dedicated to LotFP?


Why, yes, there are!

There are the official forums.

You'll want to follow James Raggi (the publisher of LotFP) and his official Lamentations of the Flame Princess account on Google+.

There are also multiple unofficial G+ communities:
Lamentations of the Flame Princess - an unofficial fan community
LotFP NSFW Inspirational Art
LotFP Fan Group
OSR - Old School Roleplaying

Facebook:

LotFP (official)
Lamentations of the Flame Princess (fan group)

There are dozens and dozens of blogs.  I've linked to many of them under "Good Company."


What other products exist for Lamentations of the Flame Princess?

First, here is the official list of third party products made for LotFP ot the official site.

These authors/websites offer numerous products that I think work well with LotFP:

Everything by Zzarchov Kowolski fits great with LotFP.  He occasionally incorporates some fantasy elements (like Gnomes and Halflings) but they're always strange enough to work.  In fact, they work better if these fantasy creatures are not an everyday occurrence in your campaign world.

All of the Psychedelic Fantasies line are great.  Most of these modules are dungeon crawls, but they're all quite odd and fun.

It's also worth checking out the stuff at Lost Pages, especially Wonder and Wickedness.

Everything Rafael Chandler does is awesome.  For LotFP specifically, check out Bad Myrmidon, Narcosa, Obscene Serpent Religion, Slaughtergrid, Teratic Tome, and the Roll XX books.

If you want a distinctly more fantasy feel while using LotFP rules, you could also pick up the stuff from New Big Dragon Games.

Here is a list of books that I recommend for LotFP:

The Dungeon Alphabet
Palace of the Silver Princess (a reimagining of the old module by OSR contributors (including the publisher of LotFP)
Castle Gargantua
Slumbering Ursine Dunes
The Caves of Moreau County
Grandpappy Cromdar's Whizbang Zoo!
Sleeping Place of the Feathered Swine



Coming Soon:

Music, movies, and books that go well with LotFP?

1 comment:

  1. Great stuff! Many thanks for this - the recommended reading for monsters is gold dust!

    ReplyDelete