Last night, I was listening to The Game's the Thing. I got it from Zak and while I listened, I pulled out my box set of the original Lamentations of the Flame Princess. (Not the Grindhouse edition, which I want to get after hearing Raggi pitch it.) I had already decided to use the small modules that he included in the box set. (Tower of the Stargazer, which is brutal if played by idiots.)
Here is the thing, when I first got the box set, I thought it would be a neat little collection to have. I might pull it out and look at it, yet I was getting it as a collectible. Once I started looking through it with an eye towards game design though, I was won over by this thing! It is an amazing little set of rules. It is real old school, with a few modern twists. The Specialist to replace the thief/rouge is the biggest one with ascending armor class being the other. I devoured the books and was amazed at how elegant and simply, without being simplistic, this game system turned out. I am not itching to run a game of this for my group.
Though, there are some who have a philosophy counter to the very nature of LotFP. A few of them believe that their characters are heroes. That nothing can hurt them and they are better than the rest of the world around them. Not so in LotFP. Your character isn't a powerhouse. Your PC is a guy with a sword, spells or an attitude of wanting to go out and find "adventure." And, typically, that adventure turns into delving into a dark and forbidden place, where things lurk in the dark that would make H.P. Lovecraft shudder. S/He isn't better than anything out there, and most stuff out there can kill you easily. So, why play at all? For the challenge of it.
I can even link it back to the podcast I released yesterday. (By the way, if you haven't listened yet, keep your volume down a little. We were recording really loud I think.) This idea of set challenge ratings and encounters is something that would never survive LotFP. In this game, you a small guy/girl who can't hack it as a potato farmer and instead picks up a sword, or a book of spells, or a holy symbol and goes out and tries to survive in a world that is trying to kill you. Or, to be blunt, doesn't care if you live or die.
Ok, I hear those of you reading this thinking, so why are you talking about this and yet you put in the 4E label on this blog?
Well, I'll tell you.
First, there is something else you need to know. I love Vornheim (also, a contest I am trying to do.)
So, imagine my surprise when I look to a game blog a guys writes about called re-skinning Vornheim. Here is the link, and this guy's idea rocks!
What can we take away from this?
1. Vornheim is cool.
2. LotFP is an amazing and brutal system I want to play.
3. Even 4E can be cool, if done right.
And, as a last minute thought, I might also try and do a full review of LotFP in my next blog.