We’re back, and we’re looking at the Old School Renaissance and, more specifically, Lamentations of the Flame Princess. In case you aren’t familiar with the OSR, it’s a broad movement that embraces the simplicity and immediacy of early incarnations of Dungeons & Dragons, reinventing them in new and sometimes alarming ways. And few games are more alarming than Lamentations of the Flame Princess (officially abbreviated as LotFP).
Lamentations of the Flame Princess is probably the most successful and visible OSR game, largely due to canny marketing, high production values, and a strong and varied line of supplements. One recent LotFP publication– Zak S‘s gleefully deranged take on Alice in Wonderland, A Red and Pleasant Land — won four ENnie awards this year, including gold for Best Writing and Best Setting. This is especially impressive when you consider that a one-man outfit operating out of a flat in Helsinki bested Wizards of the Coast.
If you’re wondering why we’re discussing a D&D retroclone on a horror podcast, playing a session of LotFP or reading one of the supplements should dispel any doubts (and possibly leave festering psychological scars). This is a game steeped in the black ichor of weird fiction, pitting often weak adventurers against an uncaring world filled with vile people, bizarre monsters and dungeons filled with sudden, gruesome and downright unfair death. The setting for most of the supplements is a pseudo-historical 17th century Europe, and the mix of real-world history and weird horror should help LotFP appeal to Call of Cthulhu fans.
If you want to try it out, you can download a free PDF of the complete rules, although it is missing all the nifty and deeply disturbing artwork. Be warned that there isn’t any setting information in the PDF — you’ll have to turn to the supplements for that. Happily there are two free scenarios as well: Better Than Any Man and The Doom-Cave of the Crystal-Headed Children.
For our next episode, we have a nice long chat with James Raggi, author and publisher of Lamentations of the Flame Princess. Our original goal was simply to record a brief insert with him, but James gave us so much good material that we had to spill over to a second episode. The world isn’t ready for a three-hour episode of The Good Friends of Jackson Elias. At least not until the subliminal messages finish rewriting everyone’s synapses.