Wednesday, June 25, 2014

TL;DR RPG: Lamentations of the Flame Princess

TL;DR (Too Long, Didn’t Read) RPG is a series of reviews that aims to present a clear and concise description of core elements of a game with the intention of helping people choose the right game without needing to read an entire rulebook.

Lamentations of the Flame Princess
Author: James Raggi
Publisher: Lamentations of the Flame Princess
Genre: OSR Fantasy, Horror

A Basic/Expert D&D retro-clone with unique death metal and weird fiction flavor.

Best for an old-school exploration game that focuses more on surviving encounters with the unnatural and unholy than killing hordes of kolbolds.

Material Requirements
Full set of polyhedral dice, character sheets, pencils, Rules and Magic book.

Characters are uniformly defined by the six classic attributes of Dexterity, Strength, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma. The scores of each attributed results in a modifier that influences most every other stat on the character sheet.

There is a short list of skills but they are limited to special dungeon-delving related actions such as Opening Doors.

Magic is the Vancian style of fire and forget.

Non-Human races are separate character classes.
Characters advance in level by gaining experience points. Experience points come in the form of killing monsters and recovering valuable objects from dangerous locations.

Task Resolution
Most non-combat actions are dictated by common sense. Actions related to the few skills that appear on the character sheet are resolved by rolling a d6. A success is a score equal to or less than the number of points in that skill.
Some spells require the character to perform a saving throw to adjust the effect of the magic.

All attacks are performed by rolling a d20 and adding in the appropriate Attack Bonus. A successful attack is equal or greater than the target’s Armor Class. Damage is calculated by rolling dice specific to the weapon and then subtracted from the target's Hit Points.

Expansions and Supplements
There are many adventures and sourcebooks published by Lamentations of the Flame Princess, most of which of exceptionally high quality. As an OSR system, almost any D&D product can be used with LotFP without much thought.

The Referee's Book is currently undergoing a revision but will include rules options, monsters and advise on running a LotFP game. However, it is not at all required to play or run the game.

Other Comments
Although LotFP is marketed as being a horror game that happens to use rules based on B/X D&D, the game is essentially just a rewritten version of D&D. It can work just as well for high fantasy as it can for horror.

This game has one of the best character sheets out there. Everything a player would need to know is one the sheet and presented with most of the math already done.

Rules Weight: 2/5 
Most of the rules are very straightforward and do not micromanage characters. In terms of D&D simulacrum, LotFP is almost minimalist in its approach to the rules for classes and skills.

Fluff Weight: 1/5 
Magic-Users and Clerics will need to be familiar with the rudimentary cosmology and Vancian magic, but there is no setting fluff that all players need to buy into.

LotFP Official Site
LotFP on

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