Lamentations of the Flame Princess
|Lamentations of the Flame Princess: Weird Fantasy Adventures|
|RPG published by
|Rule System||D&D Retroclone|
|Authors||James Raggi IV, Zak S.,|
Lamentations of the Flame Princess is a grimdark retroclone made by James Edward Raggi IV. It started out as an Elizabethan version of Basic/Expert Dungeons & Dragons, but moved in the direction of historical fantasy as the author's interests inevitably changed (and he got dumped by his girlfriend, who was incidentally the eponymous "Flame Princess"). It's most well-known for the little mini-adventures with art that looks like it came from a Cannibal Corpse album that no one buys from the shelves of your FLGS, with lots of gloom, doom, horror, and NOPE! mixed with copious amounts of the absolute worst DM practices of a bygone era; you know, the ones that make for interesting reading but always seem to cock up royally when you try to play them?
So What's It About?
LotFP would probably be a shoe-in to fit all your horror-style retroclone needs, if not for the fact that the creator was such a smug, unlikable cunt. Seriously, he's basically the result of a dangerous experiment to distill all the worst aspects of /tg/'s neckbeardy nature into a single individual, while filtering out all the likable charm and class and replacing it with the lingering bitterness of a douchebag who can't move on from a bad breakup, and his superior, insulting tone and free-floating resentment seeps into everything he writes.
Without fail, his adventures always begin with like five pages ranting about how much he hates people who prefer other games and systems, people who prefer his game and system, people who treat tabletop RPGs as ways to have "fun" and enjoy themselves instead of SRS BSNS, etc. On top of that, most of them are either deliberately designed to be cruel jokes for the DM to play on the players ("Death Frost Doom," "The Monolith From Beyond Space and Time"), or just plain unfun exercises in torturing them for daring to think they are the main characters rather than the DM ("The God That Crawls," "Death Love Doom"). Virtually none of them have "winning" scenarios attached to them, just to drive the point home.
Of course, there is a certain kind of player that finds this sort of unfair, trial-and-error, Tomb of Horrors bullshit to be part of the game's charm. If you can filter out the Raggi, it's not unplayable.
Why Do People Buy It?
It has some really good supplements.
No, that's pretty much it. While the modules tend towards garbage, the settings therein have a lot of interesting ideas behind them, with a good mixture of gonzo and grim. Vornheim and its anachronistic spires and gangland battles across a vertical playground. A Red and Pleasant Land with its confusing, macabre four way war between vampiric nobility on a giant chess board in the dreaming lands. Veins of the Earth's take on the Underdark, where player characters will trade legendary artifacts that whole campaigns could be based around for moldy bread.
Between that, the high quality of the printed versions, and the massive amounts of system neutral tables for generating your own weird shit, Lamentations limps on.
- Better Than Any Man: A group of adventurers is sent to root out rumors of witchcraft before the local lord burns the place to the ground. A cabal of ladies have taken over with the aid of monsters from beyond space and time. They probably die. Marginally better than most of his better work, by virtue of being pretty good at historical horror and weirdness, and also given away for free.
- Death Frost Doom: A group of adventurers ventures into a disbanded cult's ancient stronghold. They probably die and/or cause a massive zombie apocalypse. (Or leave, there's nothing really keeping them there until they've passed so many red flags that even the most genre blind of PCs will get the hint). Includes a bonus mini-adventure involving a tower that is also a seemingly-fun dungeon that is also a big trap full of Bad Things.
- Death Love Doom: A group of adventurers investigates the estate of a wealthy family which has recently gone missing. What follows can best be summed up as Raggi's performance of the Aristocrats routine. They probably leave in disgust, or die. Solving the problem is impossible, as the entirety of the plot has already happened offscreen when the PCs show up, keeping it from happening again requires real-world psionics.
- Fuck For Satan: A purposely-generic adventure to save some missing kids is derailed by an unrelated, bizarre dungeon full of traps and monsters that are either silly (a trap that forces you to void your bowels, then fight your own turds, a literal dick monster) or just lethal screw yous (doorknobs that inflict permanent stat drain, no saving throw, a monster that rages about content in previous LotFP modules). Everyone probably dies, but if they actually do ignore the bait, an astral being that hates the DM as much as the DM hates the players gives them power over him. They will probably then encounter a second unrelated, bizarre cult involving gay orgies and a second literal dick monster. The kids were actually eaten by a bear, which has a 1/10 chance of showing up each day but is otherwise not probably found by actual player action. Funny, if juvenile and meta.
- The God That Crawls: A group of adventurers is kidnapped and thrown into a maze full of forbidden artifacts and a deadly monster for reasons that may not make sense. They probably die. Explicitly for "breaking" groups that feel like they can deal with any monster the game throws at them.
- Green Devil Face #1: A group of adventurers are recruited to battle thinly veiled versions of people the author doesn't like. They die pointlessly.
- The Grinding Gear: A love letter to Tomb of Horrors and a relatively lighthearted module after the never ending line of gloomy GM dickery. Note that we just described a Tomb of Horrors-alike as a lighthearted break from GM dickery.
- The Monolith From Beyond Space and Time: A group of adventurers gets word of a bizarre structure in a secluded valley that warps reality around itself. They'll definitely be very confused and probably wish they were dead by the time they get there. By the time they leave, at least one of them will almost certainly be dead and the rest will remain very confused. And if they try to wander off partway, terrible things happen to force them to come back.
- Tower of the Stargazer: A group of adventurers tries to get into a paranoid wizard's tower. They probably die or leave empty handed just as the adventure is beginning.
- Vornheim - Turning a city into an adventure, with rules for creating floorplans and buildings on the fly.
- A Red and Pleasant Land - Vampire Alice in Wonderland. Utterly random, but a good way of spicing up your horror campaigns.
- Veins of the Earth - Why spelunking is bad for you. Monsters introduce range the gamut of "Unplayable Garbage" to "Will invade the next Underdark campaign you run". Includes cave exploration, hypothermia, and cannibalism rules, because Lamentations is gonna Lamentations.
- Frostbitten & Mutilated - Black metal amazons, primordial archetypal animals, horrible giants, and black metal witches. It's like they wrote an RPG setting based entirely off Immortal lyrics.