Monday, March 19, 2018

That Scary New World

It's been a long while since I last wrote about Lamentations of the Flame Princess, and rereading my blog post from 2012, I see I wasn't all that flattering in my appraisal. To be fair, I was extremely tired at the time (thus prone to crankiness) with a new baby and whatnot. Today I am ALSO operating on less-than-optimal sleep, but I'd still like to revise my opinion...somewhat.

See, a couple-four weeks back I had the chance to catch most of that old Daniel Day Lewis film The Last of the Mohicans (based on James Fenimore Cooper's famous novel...but who has time to read 19th century novels these days), and I started to see how adventuring in the new world, with blade and musket, could be pretty darn cool, especially when paired with the supernatural backwoods evil found in stuff like Twin Peaks. Combining Disney's Pocahontas with Lovecraftian horror. It's a pretty heady mixture.

And while I'm NOT really a horror aficionado (certainly not of the zombie or splatter-film variety) creepy supernatural and the folks at odds - or in cahoots - with it, are something I find darn interesting. Also went and streamed that 2009 Solomon Kane film (as a follow-up), and while I found the, "less Kane" than I'd hoped for, it still had some nice little set pieces and a real call back to the days when folks were making films about the power of Christ as a shield against Satanic evil while NOT preaching to us about the need to accept Jesus as our savior.

[I mean, did attendance at Catholic Mass go up after The Exorcist hit the theaters? I'd guess the answer is "not substantially." But a lot of "Christian fantasy" the last couple decades seems squarely in the vein of proselytizing, and I'm not really into that]

[apologies to people who are, by the way]

Anyway, I went out and picked up a hard copy of Lamentations a couple days later...the latest hardcover copy (Rules and Magic), published in 2017. Wow.

Let me say that again: wow. Not only is it aesthetically beautiful, extremely practical, and the perfect size for use at the table, but it is completely no nonsense with its approach to defining its systems, The design of thing is absolutely wonderful, providing a tight interconnection with the assumed setting, and containing most everything one needs to play the game...except, of course, for the referee section.

Beautiful art; beautiful
economy of design.
Unfortunately for me, that's the whole reason I went looking for LotFP: I wanted a copy of the current referee guide so I could read about this scary 15th-17th century setting and how the adventure creation, monsters, etc. interacted with the LotFP "world." Because, as with (arguably) every edition of Dungeons & Dragons, there are unwritten expectations and presumptions of the setting to be found between the lines of the game system. LotFP is no different, but I wanted to see what Raggi had to say explicitly regarding that addition to rules interaction.

Welp, disappointed am I as Book 2 of the set isn't yet available for purchase. Yes, I understand I can get the old version, gratis, from the LotFP web site. Yes, I know there are folks writing adventures and campaigns for use with LotFP that I could pick up and use as a jumping off point (including older LotFP adventures). That's not really what I'm looking for...what I want is a beautiful little Referee Core Book to go along with this beautiful little Player Core Book. And I'm willing to wait (semi-patiently) for it.

Because the Player Core Book is a friggin' masterpiece.


  1. "gratis"? Writing Danish now?

    1. Hmm. “Gratis” means “free” (as in “free of charge”) in Spanish.

      I tried Danish as a kid, but could never get those unpronounceable vowels of theirs.

    2. I had no idea! The spelling is the exact same here. Why did you try your hand at Danish? That's not the point of this post I know, but I'm curious :D

    3. Growing up, I had elderly Danish neighbors that lived across the street; their grandkids (who were about the age of my brother and I) would visit some summers. However, we mostly shot pool and skated (as in skate boards)...I don’t remember them being into gaming.

  2. OSR games are usually Weird West meets Renaissance Fair. There's not a ton of people who are writing about real Medieval times.

    Notable exceptions: Skerples, who I adore and Kent from Some King's Kent.

  3. Frontier fantasy is something I've wanted to do for a long time. I worked up a Hero System background one time, but have never played it (I rarely get to play anything, and trying to get people to play Hero is ten times harder than getting them to play some version of D&D, so...).

    I'd add Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown, Howard's Beyond the Black River, and the TV show Salem as a few quick additional inspirations.

    1. Nathaniel Hawthorne is one I’d definitely revisit for LotFP, as well as Washington Irving (despite writing for the (early) 19th century, Irving has a lot of the same backwoods supernatural that I feel is a heavy part of Lamentations).

      I’ve read a bit about Salem, but haven’t watched it. I was STRONGLY tempted to pick up the new edition of Witch Hunter to use as setting material (since I couldn’t find a referee guide for LotFP), but I stopped myself in time.
      ; )

  4. Get your hands on Better than Any Man and the God that Crawls.

    1. I have Better Than Any Man. Got any hype for the latter?