Lamentations of the Flame Princess goes Early Modern

The other day I decided to pick up two free PDFs for James Raggi IV’s take on old-school D&D, Lamentations of the Flame Princess: Weird Fantasy Role Playing: the art-free Rules & Magic book and the Free RPG Day adventure Better than Any Man from RPGNow.  I had heard good things about LotFP’s encumbrance system, and wanted to check it out for possible inclusion in my Labyrinth Lord/Barrowmaze game this weekend.  I had more-or-less avoided the game up to this point for various reasons, chief among them that my interest in OSR games had waned, my reading of the rules when they first came out left me pretty lukewarm*, and I don’t care much for the sensational “grindhouse” art aesthetic or “edgy” approach.

That said, I’ve continued to hear rumblings about the LotFP game and I can’t ignore them.  The encumbrance system and the 1d6 skills (and Specialist class) both seem really great, and I’m keen to try them out this weekend.  For some time now, reports have filtered in that LotFP mastermind James Raggi is pushing the game in an Early Modern direction, a move hinted at in some of the art pieces I’ve seen online; hence another reason to give the game another try.  Better than Any Man confirms this, being set in the real world — Karlstadt, Germany, October 1631, six months after the sack of Magdeburg and squarely in the Swedish phase of the war.  I’m definitely looking forward to reading through it to see his take on historical fantasy/horror.  I did find myself rolling my eyes at the F-bombs and anti-establishment tone of introduction, but at this point it’s nothing unexpected…**

I’m obviously excited that James is moving in this historical direction.  After all, it’s nice to see that an era that has, until recently, been woefully under-represented in fantasy gaming, finally get some really solid games: Clockwork & Chivalry/RenaissanceHonor + IntrigueWitch Hunter: The Invisible World, and now three OSR offerings: Sabres & Witchery, Backswords & Bucklers, and now LotFP.***  I look forward to investigating the system further, and maybe even picking up the hardback LotFP Rules & Magic book due out sometime this summer.  One can never have too many options for Early Modern, pike-and-shot fantasy gaming!

* Upon reflection, this belated positive reaction to LotFP reminds me of my initial indifference toward and subsequent enthusiasm for Barbarians of Lemuria.  Hmm…

**My only lament is that Raggi’s edgy, anti-establishment style will prove too “metal” to draw more gamers over to the Early Modern era.  LotFP’s “grindhouse” art aesthetic has been an OSR lightning rod, prompting the spilling of much virtual ink and heated “mountains out of molehills” debate.  To each their own and all that; all I’ll say on the subject is that, much like many heavy metal album covers, some of the LotFP art pieces I’ve seen are amazing, some are OK, and others are lame (in this latter category I place most of the “grindier” pieces that simply come across as lame attempts at shock and titillation.)  Maybe I’m just too “conservative” or “old-fashioned,” but the use of profanity in BtAM’s introduction strikes me as an unnecessary, unprofessional blemish on an otherwise incredible-looking product.

***Apologies to any other Early Modern RPGs out there, these are the ones with which I’m familiar!

[cross-posted at pikeshottesorcerie.wordpress.com]

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