Daily Archives: August 20, 2010

Review: LotFP Weird Fantasy Role-Playing

Product Summery:
Name: LotFP Weird Fantasy Role-Playing
Publisher: Lamentations of the Flame Princess
Author: James Edward Raggi IV
Line: OD&D Retro clone
Cost: $65.00 ($12.50 for the PDF)
Pages: 328 Pages across the 3 main books
Webpage: http://lotfp.blogspot.com/

This product is another attempt to re-envision the Original Dungeons and Dragons (OD&D) box set. The appearance of the book is better than other attempts at redoing OD&D, the cover art is great, the internal art runs from pretty okay to really really good. The layout is well organized and easy to read. There are three primary books, Rule Set, Referee Book and the Magic Book. There is also a tutorial book that walks you through the basics of the game. The print product includes dice, pencil, character sheets and two adventures. I have to say though, I am not a big fan of box sets. Boxes do not do well over the long run, of course the PDF version does not have this problem, unless you want it to.

The game itself suffers from what all the OD&D retro clones suffer from, which is staying too close to the source material. The ridiculous notion of Race as Class is present, this by itself knocks a point off the score. Personally I would prefer it if he had went more along the line of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (AD&D) instead. Those rules were better written and well thought out. It does not make sense to me that so many retro clone writers cling to OD&D in such an odious fashion. I can see taking the simplicity and ease of play, but would it have kill even one of them to separate race from class. It was a bad idea in 1974 and it is a bad idea today.

The setting is where this product really shines. Raggi is really a good writer, I like his blog, I have enjoyed the modules he has written and the Random Esoteric Creature Generator stands as one of the best game supplements published in the last 10 years. Raggi likes dark fantasy and he does it very well.

Besides the OD&D oddities in the game system, my only other complaint with this game is the price, $65 is way too much money. I bought the PDF and am very pleased with the $12.50 price, but the printed version, UGH!. I realize the cost of putting together a package like this is going to be pricey, no doubt, but $65 is too much, especially when I can get Labyrinth Lord, Basic Fantasy RPG and White Box Swords & Wizardry for free and they are essentially the same game. Unless you REALLY like OD&D and unless you are REALLY planning on playing this game, I can not recommend the print version of this product at all.

Summery (Scale of 1-5):
Appearance and Layout: 3
Game Mechanic: 2
Setting: 4
Overall: 2.666666667 (PDF version is a solid 3)