Wednesday, August 1, 2012

RPG Week: Lamentations of the Flame Princess

Lamentations of the Flame Princess (or LotFP for short) is a Basic/Expert D&D clone mixed with some d20 normalcy. Character classes are as in Basic, but rather than a 10 to -10 armor class system you have the more standard (and sensible) d20 system. This way, combat resolution goes more smoothly. You don't have to roll and look up what armor class you hit, just roll a high enough number to hit the armor class in question. Another nice addition is the inclusion of extra fighting operations the melee classes can perform, such as a pressing attack, defensive attacks and so forth.

The game is in a fantasy setting, but is a "weird fantasy" setting, so it is designed with a Mythos adventure style in mind, though playing plain-old D&D style is certainly an option. Eldritch horrors are the focus, and the game lacks any standard monsters at all. Opponents are either other humans/humanoids, or less often demons from the void. It is geared towards adults, but could be for anyone as a core system. As you can see to the right, the artwork is more adult oriented.

There are some complaints about the lack of monsters in the game, but really it would be rather easy to make monsters from the Basic/Expert D&D rulebooks. The base armor class for an unarmored creature is 12 in LotFP, and 9 in Basic/Expert D&D. Everything else is the same, so merely transposing the armor class gives you useful monsters.

The last change I will mention is a listing of basic skills, something many modern edition D&D players sorely miss in Basic/Expert. Skills are all d6 based, and everyone has a 1-in-6 chance of performing any of them. Some classes get better chances at certain things, but here everyone has at least some chance of climbing a wall to escape. It is not a huge thing, but beats having to house-rule such things, or making a lot of ad hoc judgement calls.

In all it seems a solid game with some expansion of what Basic D&D players are already used to. A few things seem a bit wonky, but I still find it to be an improvement. Also, for those of you who hate having characters die, it seems less of a character grinder than Basic D&D.

You can see more, and get free editions of some of the rules at the LotFP website.

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