LotFP – Lay of Remy Pardue part two

Sprint 1619, Northern France. We last left our heroes in St. Omer, with one of Remy’s wives (Lucienne) and child (of another wife) they had named ‘Timmy’ casing a two story  inn where Remy was supposedly hiding out. (first part of the adventure is here).

PC’s
Aleric the Pious (cleric) – played by mouth
Fred Fucher (specialist) – played by maat
Titus Sphnchta (magic user) – played by maat the younger (the only character that speaks French in the group)

Out the first session
Jaques Van Dam (fighter) – played by steve
Richard Quigley (fighter) – played by john

Aleric, Fred and Titus made it to the inn along with the boy and Lucienne, while Jaques and Richard must have eaten something wrong earlier in the day and had to stop.  The three noticed immediately that there was a man in the doorway watching the street quite intently.  Frederic Fucher did some successful sneaking into the stables at the back of the inn and watched another man come out the back door bringing a shit bucket to the loo out back, then he staid there awhile.

Meanwhile, Titus charmed the man in the doorway and told him there was a package of money at the postal office across town and he needed to get it and bring it back to Remy, which he went off to do. Then he and Aleric snuck into the inn and heard some people playing lansquenet in an upstairs room. Along with the chatter over the cards, they overheard a conversation about some money coming in and the words: “that man is worth a lot of money.” The cleric and wizard, with the fighters lagging behind  decided to hide in the stables with Fred and discuss what to do next.

Luckily both of the fighters joined them in the stables after successful constitutionals, what with the door now unguarded and all. The decide to whack the guy in the loo, which they did, but very noisily with screaming and hacking and such. This alerted a man named Arsene who guarded the back door to the inn and would have let Hector, the man in the loo, back into the inn had he survived. Instead, he loaded his crossbow and waited. The group then barged through the front door and opened the door to the kitchen from the common room and quickly shut it, seeing Arsene there waiting by the rear door with a crossbow. Aresene, thinking it was a single man invading the inn, bowled into the common room from the kitchen and was noisily brought down by the fighters.

Knowing at this point surprise was not on their side, the group headed upstairs and posted watch on the outside back door  (Fred Fucher) and on the hallway/balcony on the second floor (Aleric).
“go through the front door to get the guy in the backdoor”

They busted into the room Remy and two of his men (Thibaud and Andriet) were waiting in, who had drawn weapons over their abandoned card game. Andriet threw a knife at them but missed, and the characters asked to parlay and Remy, trapped in a room with an unknown number of assailants outside,  decided to do so. They asked for the original map and explained that while it was rude of him to steal the possessions and money from the characters, it was a very bad mistake to steal the map that he had. After some cajoling, Remy produced the map and tossed it across the room, firing a pistol and leaping from the nearby window in the same moment– the pistol missed, but the ground didn’t, and Remy was knocked out by the fall, unlucky for him. Andriet, being a violent sort, attacked with knives, but got covered in lantern oil and then had his skull split with an axe. Thibaud decided to run, and climbed up a ladder into a loft above the room. After making sure Remy was taken care of, the fighters went up the loft and there was more parlaying with Thibaud who was just a hireling. He left them his sword and money and they let him run off into the streets of St. Omer. They noticed a well-appointed chest in the loft after he left. Could this be where Remy hid all of their stuff? Fred Fucher then opened the accidentally stolen map and noted that it was part of Africa, and Matt told the players (not the characters) that he knew what that was all about..

Meanwhile the fighters up stairs opened the well appointed chest and it did not contain anything that they had expected. A tendril of black ooze or something shot out of it into Jacques Van Dam’s mouth and pushed it’s way down his throat. As he gagged on the black mass, Richard began hacking at it with his axe, and after several blows, severed the tendril and it retracted into the chest, which snapped shut. Jacques flailed on the floor as the mass dissipated down his throat and into his stomach and bowels.

DCC magic in LotFP

This is a precursor to a couple of brewing posts about our Scenic Dunnsmouth run about a month ago.  We used the Dungeon Crawl Classics magic system along with LotFP.

First, I recommend trying this out if you don’t mind a bit more chaos in your magic to a more cartoonish, gonzo level. DCC takes the spirit of LotFP’s beloved Summon spell and applies it to everything. The system reminds me fully of Warhammer Fantasy Battle 8th edition’s magic system, which is fantastic and dangerous and explosive.

The biggest differences are:

  1. Spells don’t always work. MU’s have to roll a D20 to cast their spells and then the GM looks at a table to see what happens. It’s about 65% chance that they will work if you have a MU with an INT bonus. Without an INT bonus, you will be suffering as an MU
  2. Unless you fail bad, you keep your spell. So this disrupts Vancian magic completely
  3. You can get REAL fucked up if you fumble your spell rolls, permanent like via corruption and miscasts
  4. MU’s can spell burn their stats to increase their spell rolls. They can loose these stats permanently.
  5. Very high rolls on spell casting of some spells can destroy entire villages and TPK the party.

Good stuff:

  1. Magic users can be badass, or they could be stuck with total shit for spells. The combination of random spell rolling with the mercurial magic from DCC left one of our spellcasters with a light spell that can only be cast in broad daylight and other crap. This is part of DCC’s ‘balance through randomness’ game theory. That sorcerer’s goals will be focused on getting better spells at nearly any cost! What better motivation.
  2. Dice are your friend? My MU used DCC’s flaming hands and always rolled super high (and my character’s version of Flaming Hands caused all animals to flee in terror as well). I burned all the enemies, all the time. While awesome for the party, coming from the LotFP paradigm, the GM was displeased by this.
  3. Spellburn: MU’s can burn their stats to increase their spell rolls. This can leave them puddles of goo that have to be carried around if they burn high. I like this mechanic a lot as you can have a character that is at -2 for every statistic for a period of time. It gives the MU interesting choices before the dice are rolled.
  4. Players don’t have to look up or memorize spell effects.  They just need the name of the spell and then roll for it!

Bad Stuff:

  1. You need the HUGE DCC book handy (or PDF). I had to carry the DCC book on the plane to CO. and it was like it’s own piece of luggage. The rules are only a few pages, but the spell lists are required and take up most of the book.
  2. Clerics. Our GM was not happy about the cleric being able to heal up characters and not losing the spell. I don’t think he will allow DCC Cleric rules again. Having played straight DCC a few times since, the Cleric does get balanced out because each time a roll fails, they increase their chance of fumbling the cast and displeasing their god that gives them spellcasting ability in the first place, which can mean no more cleric…
  3. We couldn’t fit the Summon spell into the DCC paradigm, so we left it as LotFP RAW and during the sessions, and we cast it a LOT.
  4. To fully use the DCC system, you’d have to add a LUCK stat to the stat list, and we just didn’t do that. I think that would get too far away from the current LotFP rules.  You could add it, or use Wisdom, or just tell casters they can only spell burn.
  5. Other classes may feel outclassed.   The Fighters in LotFP won’t get their init bonus for level nor the deed die.  While my character rolled crazy good to destroy nearly all enemies, the fighters could still be marginalized.

Overall, we muddled through and our GM was very enthused about it until there was a Cleric in the party, then Steve was not too happy. It does spin the Gygaxian dislike of spellcasters off into the ether and you have to be cool with that.

World of the Lost session 2

Lost

Had to wait an extra week to play but here we are with the 2nd World of the Lost session report. Here is the first session.  As this was a playtest as well, I went in a different direction this time with a straight up fuckall deathcrawl compared to the open ended city session last time.  This was not what I was expecting to run when I first set out to do the playtest, but here we are.

Characters.  We only had four for this session.  One player bowed out because he said he can’t play RPG’s on roll20 and one no-show.

  • Rainer Keeling – MU with a leather mask to hide his face (1 hp), Move earth, Mass Suggestion and Stone Shape
  • Van Hagen – Specialist
  • Bernard Dreu – Fighter
  • Udo Quattlebaum – Fighter (w/mancatcher)

The characters woke up tied with vines outside of a ruined temple after a night of carousing in Khirima.  They woke to the screams of another of the Portuguese  from the caravan they had traveled with crawling on the ground with his tongue cut out.  Above him stood a tall, severely pregnant African woman with a wild wreath of red hair holding a bloody knife.  The very Ekene they had been sent to kill!  Around the crumbling stones and edge of the jungle were Ekene’s retinue, many with Leopard kilts, long spears and some with steel drums.  She seemed displeased.

She watched the characters slowly wake up to the sounds of the jungle and mid-morning sunlight flitting through the canopy and then told them (in Hausa at first, which none of them spoke since the translator was still passed out, then broken English) that they must beg for their lives for even thinking of harming her.  They babbled excuses at her that they hadn’t done anything and after a few of them actually begged for their lives, she called her guards over to remove a large slab from the steps of the temple.

Musty and chilled air poured out over the temple grounds, and the characters were untied, given their weapons and equipment and bade to go into the black space under the tomb to bring out anything they could as repayment for the offense given by their plotting.  While they had their pistols and weapons, Ekene confidently turned her back on them, basically daring them to strike her, and went and sat on a portable couch to watch while getting fanned by her retainers.  The drummers started up and the characters put their armor on, loaded their pistols and descended into the darkness.

The tomb was chilled and the air heavy. The stone of the temple was impossibly smooth granite and this caused some concern as they hadn’t seen anything like it in Khirima. They hit a wrought iron door first that Udo unlocked easily (a fighter who had +3 tinkering). This lead to a small, empty room with bas reliefs of priests worshiping a humanoid in long robes with a crow’s head.  They hit another iron door, but this one was not locked…

In the hallway beyond this door, the characters started to learn that Ekene wasn’t the nicest person.   Bernard fell into a pit trap and took 8 damage (I allowed a WIS save), and as the group pulled him out of the pit, Van Hagen hit a tripwire and was hammered by a swinging log on a chain from the ceiling  (taking 3 points of damage– I’m listing exact damage cause it’s important later) and barely missed being thrown back into the pit himself (I allowed a WIS save for this as well).

Beyond the trapped hall was a large tomb complete with a sarcophagus, and two steel statues; obviously some sort of protectors of the tomb.  Bernard threw his throwing axes into the room to see if he could trigger a pressure plate, but to no avail.  When he went to pick them up, the statues came to and after their long wait for intruders to pummel, started attacking.

Bernard used the (new) Guard action to hold them off and to push his AC up to 19.  Down to 2 hp it was lucky the statues didn’t hit him. This luck will run out.  Meanwhile, the other characters prepped the log to try to swing it at the statues as they came through the hall. Stuck between the pit and the statues wasn’t the most pleasant place to be!

Rainer had Shape Stone (a 5th level spell), so when Bernard ran back into the hall to kite the living statues into the log, he cast it on a block of stone above one of the statues and pinned it to the floor for a bit.  Meanwhile, the other statue got the log directly in the chesticle, and was thrown back into the tomb.   Rainer fired his brace of pistols at the one he had pinned, but to little effect except a misfire that he burned his session Luck points on (also to no effect), so Udo then used his mancatcher to toss it into the pit, destroying it, and they hammered the other one with the log again.  Great job in the combat as there were no attacks with normal weapons (other than the pistols).

The guardians down, it was time to loot the tomb.  The characters did a bunch of search rolls (luckily no wandering monsters) and found a trapdoor made of stone at the top of a dais, and a small keyhole in a sarcophagus. After many failings at rolling the dice,  Rainer decided to simply Stone Shape the trapdoor, and things went quite awry.  Being his second spell of the day, he had to make a Magic save with 5D6, which failed and the spell was miscast!  An alien light filled the tomb and all characters re-suffered their last damage.  Bernard was  killed, and Van Hagen was down to 1 hp.  Since they had never taken any hp of damage, Udo and Rainer both doubled their hp.  Udo up to an incredible 14 hp (at first level) and Rainer up to a WHOPPING 2 hp.

rollin 1's all night!
miscasted.

We had to call it for the night.

Adventure notes

Needless to say, there’s lots of room for stuff in World of the Lost.  This tomb fit in pretty well for a non-plateau encounter.  I like Ekene, pregnant and fucking pissed as she is, and she ain’t one of the main module characters as written, but she is in mine!  World of the Lost has “make this your own” all over it without that making being a lot of work.  While this was just a two session game, and didn’t even scratch the surface of the content, so I’m looking forward to going back to the World of the Lost again.

System notes

This is a 0.1 playtest so there are some burrs. I like the spell system, but it’s a bit strange as players have zero control over what they get, a bit like the Arcanum from Into the Odd. I’m used to miscasts from WFRP and especially 8th Edition Warhammer Fantasy Battle so fuck yes to that. However, I think nearly all the spells need to be rewritten to fit the totally random method of selection. A daunting task and one that might fuck with backwards and forwards compatibility.  Of note as well, if designers are building adventures, it’s possible that they would assume that parties may have specific spells at certain levels. With the no level requirement and random spells, this may be impossible.

Frankly I would just directly steal the Warhammer Fantasy Battle cast and miscast rules.  The MU has a pool of D6’s based on his or her INT score (calculated just like the CHA and WIS saves) except these are used to cast spells. The formula would be XD6’s + level vs spell’s casting number, X being the number of dice the MU wanted to use to cast a spell.  Casting number would be the number of pips needed to successfully cast a spell. 1st level spells are cast on a 6+ for example.  MU chooses the number of dice they want to use from their pool (say they have a 2nd level spell that casts on a 7+, they might use 3 dice giving them a 9 average roll + their level to hit the casting number).  Spells never go crazy if they fail to cast, spells only go crazy when the power used to cast them is too much for the MU to handle!   If two 6’s come up, you roll on the ‘really bad’ miscast chart.  No matter what, the spell is cast if two 6’s come up, but other stuff happens, bad stuff (see picture below).  A 4th level magic user (with a +4 base to the casting roll) would rarely need to roll more than 1 die for 1st or 2nd level spells (D6+4 vs casting number of 6 and 7 respectively), so would have zero chance of a bad miscast.  Even with 2 dice to make sure, the chance is very low.  A 6th level magic user would never need to use casting dice to cast 1st or 2nd level spells.  The magic dice pool is refreshed every long rest the character takes that would also give back at least 1 hp.

miscast

Combat was fine, I’m not sure about the new armor rules  so just went with the old version.  The guard action seemed to be of use but there is both a firearms and ranged ‘combat style’ that seemed a bit redundant.

The skills are interesting now that everyone has them, but I think the Luck skill is by far the most important skill to get.  It can make impossible rolls possible and help the specialist be able to use every single skill in the game with just a small spread of points (by level 13, a specialist with points in luck left has statistically 100% chance of success in all skills if he spread just 3 points into every skill there is). In addition, if Steve had saved his luck for his miscast, things could have gone better. So rather than INT being the go to stat for Magic User, high CHA and Luck is the ideal to keep those miscasts off.

A bit we didn’t like was the -4 hp save/partial save mechanic.  at -4 HP, while the full save equals ‘passed out but survives,’ the partial save means the same thing as a failed save: death with no chance of healing or recovery (it just takes longer).  The feedback loop of a partial save (not that easy to get on 3 or 4d6) makes it feel like it should be a better outcome, like you are out and will die in 1d10 rounds, but can be saved by another player somehow.  Also, the death saves are based on Wisdom (non magical), which was a bit odd.

Damage healing was very harsh in the new version, especially with no clerics and no access to healing magic except randomly.  Expect characters to drop like flies if they get into combat after combat.

Lastly, I had to make saving throws for the monsters and didn’t know how many D6’s to roll. They can no longer ‘save as a fighter of X level’ anymore (X=HD).  Maybe I missed something in the book.

My biggest issue with the playtest packet is that I put the LotFP current ruleset on a high pedestal for my D20 gaming.  The rules are really perfect for the style of play and totally compatible with nearly everything put out by the OSR (DCC, S&W, LL) and likely 5th Edition as well.  I don’t want it to change as drastically as this playtest doc suggests the new version might.  I just want something that I can use with little trouble if I grab stuff as disparate as Secret of Bone Hill, Idea from Space or Out of the Abyss. I think if the LotFP fans grind on this with long months of playtesting, there could be something great out of it.

swinging off some NUTS today

This is a post about people that made some cool shit that just came out.  We’re all into the high end AAA video game titles and polished D&D 5E and 13th Age books, but today this post is about two titles that are not AAA by any means, very few people on the planet will ever notice them, but are still fantastic.

First is Venger Satanis’s Girls Gone Rogue, a companion adventure to his recent Space Station module, Alpha Blue.  Because I got Alpha Blue along with another module of his that I just couldn’t put down (Purple Putrescence) I hadn’t looked at AB too much except reading it on the shitter here and there.  It looks cool, and if you don’t want to use the game system in the book it would be a great setting for Runequest Star Wars (yes, this actually got made by Design Mechanism), White Star (even though the rulebook is the most fucking boring thing ever, the rules are solid), or if you haven’t already become completely disillusioned with FATE like any normal person, Bulldogs!  If you are a fucking masochist, you could use Star Frontiers, but no one would do that would they?

slutbot
slutbot

That said, there’s not much adventure in AB driving the players.  Lots of hooks, yes, and very interesting stuff as a setting, but no flat out adventure.  GGR solves this problem where players are tasked with taking down a slutbot gone rogue.  I haven’t read much yet but first, the HOOK is just fantastic and unexpected and the art– holy shit.  Tits everywhere, alien orgies, some sort of vaginal… I’m not even sure what that is…where Alpha Blue was pretty tame with the art, GGR is gonzo with the nudity and space robot fucking.  The names Satanis chooses are ridiculous and some of the charts are incredible.  ie: What the Fuck did I do last night??!

All in all, along with Purple Putrescence, which is excellent BTW, GGR solidifies me as a Venger Satanis fan. He’s got a ridiculous sense of humor and he knows his genre and his slavering, sex starved middle aged, children of the 80’s audience as well.  If I’m ever having a bad day at the fucking office, I can come home and read some of this crazy shit, and if the feeling takes me, I can run it and you know they’ll be cascades of space piss into your open mouths.

The second item doesn’t have any tits or nudity, but it sorta DID in it’s first printing.  Palace of the Silver Princess is a pillar of D&D obscurity, the ORANGE cover version was pulled as soon as it was printed and few copies exist (since I grew up in WI, I know I saw one in person before, but can’t remember where or who had it or if it was on the shelf at the hobby store in Brookfield Square).  Why was it pulled?  Well there is a part of the adventure where 9 dudes are (maybe) tearing the clothes off a woman tied up.  Remember when this came out. Early 80’s? Kids getting into D&D and not just old beardies? Yep. They pulled it even though AD&D and Fiend Folio had drawings of boobs right there for us to beat off to.

It’s unfortunate because the Orange version is better than the Green version that eventually came out because it details an entire area, not just the dungeon/palace.  I’ve been thinking about running Orange for awhile (the PDF is around) but it’s got some of those ‘stock your own stuff’ rooms that I just don’t have time for. Christ no.

princess

Bam, then what happens?  A bunch of the LotFP writers got together and rewrote the entire module, indoor, outdoor, upstairs, downstairs using the original maps!  Raggi, Zak S, Kowalski, Green and others that I don’t know, probably promising n00bs specially selected.   I haven’t read this yet (I hate PDF’s and need to get it printed on lulu before I can read it), but there are good snippets I’ve seen.  It lists the writers of each section so you’ll know if you are walking into something interesting and crazy (Raggi, Kowalski, Green, Zak) or something boring and pretentious that takes itself too seriously (won’t mention names) and you can then skip the overwritten or lame parts or revert to the original module as needed.

Also, I need to mention, it’s FREE.

LotFP: World of the Lost first session

So we belayed 13th Age for a bit to try out the new playtest rules for Lamentations of the Flame Princess last night starting the new World of the Lost module from Rafael Chandler.  There IS confusion around the new rules, since it’s no longer JUST a better version of B/X, there are some biggish changes, and I’m not sure I like all of them yet (hence playtesting which will round off the burrs), so let’s see how it goes.

Main things are:

  • Everyone has some random skills, specialists have more skills that they can choose
  • There are fighting ‘styles’ now and Fighters can use all of them
  • Saving throws are different and use D6’s
  • All spells can be cast at first level.  This makes things a bit crazy because now spells can go awry (a la Warhammer Fantasy Battle/Roleplay).

Session stuff

Characters:

  • Rainer Keeling – Magic User (1 hp)
  • Van Hagan – Specialist (tinker, bushcraft)
  • Udo Quatellbaum – Fighter with a man catcher
  • Bernard Dreu – Fighter (I’m glad matt picked a good name this time)
  • Anton Schleiss – Magic User
  • Isaac Netherwood – Specialist (languages)!

The characters joined a ship’s crew in Cornwall under one Richard Trower who sold them on the idea of heading over the ocean to Africa, finding the city of Khirima all for a hoard of the “Negro silver!”  After months on a boat and weeks of travel from the Portuguese port of Lagos along with a Portuguese caravan, they made it to Khirima and settled in to start to look for the silver. Trower took 6 Germans from the crew and went off, supposedly to meet a contact and then come back the next morning– and that was a week ago.  While they waited, they stayed on the down low but got some rumors from the tavern.

As money ran short, the characters talked about what to do and decided to leave the tavern they were at to search the city for trace of Trower or the Germans.  When they did so, they were approached by an obviously sick and recently beaten Portuguese brass caster (who was with them on the caravan from Lagos) who kept repeating: “they put a disease in me.”  He told them that since Trower was now ‘gone’ THEY had to fulfill his debt for the crime he committed by fulfilling a task for ‘them’.  They were to protect a caravan from attack while also murdering a noble that would be a long with it.  They were suspicious and tasked the Portuguese hard but he only had so much information.

When he wandered off, they followed him into the Royal district, where he dropped dead while walking.   After being accosted by guards (Leopards) and a barber surgeon who noticed them following the man (as Europeans stick out quite a bit in Khirima), they dragged the body off, dumped it in an alleyway and high tailed it back to the tavern.  It was only a Portuguese anyway right?

They decided to scout the caravan they needed to guard the night before departure, but couldn’t find it, and then headed back to the tavern where they caroused.  Someone slipped them something in their drinks and they woke up in the jungle tied to stones by vines with something crawling towards them screaming.

Welcome to Africa!

Lost

Of note, the characters were constantly exposed to languages during this short session, so there were rolls for Hausa, German, Portuguese and nearly French as well.  The linguist specialist speaks nearly ALL of the languages they will encounter during this game and I tell you that helps.  I wasn’t sure what to do with languages since with a normal party, they wouldn’t be able to communicate with anyone except via hand signs, with a linguist specialist, they have it made.

World of the Lost is pretty fucking badass,  got to run it more, but so far: recommended.

Yeah, I’m off for XMAS

Xmas is the absolute worst time of the year to take a couple weeks off work, but fuck it, here it is.  Today is my second day off.

I saw STAR WARS a couple of times so far and yep, it’s great.  Worth the hype and I can’t wait for the next one.  Pulp fantasy /sci fi and let’s hope it ushers in a WAVE of cheesy clones like it did in the 70’s and 80’s a la MESSAGE FROM SPACE and STARCRASH.

SHINOBIGAMI!
SHINOBIGAMI!

I broke down and backed this fucker after saying NO MORE kickstarters.   While I’m not an anime freak and am certainly not all that into the whole schoolgirl ninja thing,  after reading the rules and how this plays, it seems like a lighter, shorter TENRA BANSHO ZERO.  From the description, it can be played in an evening on say a board game night as a one shot– and I’m all about the one shots.  I can do the Ninja school girl thing for a one shot!  As soon as I get the playtest/beta test packet, we’re playing this fucker.

lamentations

Over this holiday, if I get any time to myself at all, I’m going to finish up my random equipment tables for Lamentations of the Flame Princess.  I finished a draft of the fighter table last week and worked a smidge on the cleric.  Whether anyone else uses them,  it will speed up play for us a lot ditching the shopping mess during char gen.

bodyguard

 

Tonight is my first go at Feng Shui 2.  I haven’t run a game since 1997 so let’s see how it goes.  They fixed a lot of the annoying stuff in FS2 and while I think the backstory and fluff have gotten weaker, the rules are a lot better.

Degenisis
Degenesis

The above pic is from a Polish RPG called Degenesis.  It’s a horrifying post-apocalyptic world where earth is basically fucked forever.  I’ve been really impressed with the art and there are two excellent trailer videos for it as well.  Lookee here.

The second Nicole Gingerbottom

This week I had the pleasure of running Lamentations of the Flame Princess again with a group of five wary but enthusiastic players. I ran, for the second time, the small adventure ‘A Stranger Storm” which was a layover part of a larger adventure that will remain unnamed at this time.  Spoilers abound.

The first time I ran ASS (see that?) I had only two players, so they were very wary of fighting, especially since they were outnumbered by EVERYTHING, the Morris Dancers, the Merchants, the horses, and even the Inn staff if you count Nicole and both Innkeepers. They were extremely cautious and did not have a magic user or cleric with them to try to snuff out the changelings magically.

The second group from this week had 5 players: two fighters, a specialist, a pretty badass elf and an ancient cleric with terrible stats (a ‘zero’ as my players have started referring to characters that have no net stat bonuses).  They were on the way to an abbey to ask the Abbess about some sort of magical box for their master when bad weather hit and a broken wheel brought them to the Incontinent Vicar where ruination ensued.

In both play-throughs, I think the moment the players realized that the insanity with the changelings was not going to let up but would continue unabated was when the second Nicole Gingerbottom arrived at the inn to make breakfast. This is when both groups of players started saying “we’re fucked,” which, when confronted with a LotFP “player-fucker” is the correct assumption.

The second group had shown the first Nicole the dead body of Doodles (the inn keeper) and Patrick Roktar in the common room, so she was near catatonic when the second arrived…. and then they showed the second one the bodies as well. As the merchants were trying to leave, I had one of the Nicoles change into the Elf and they fought and one of them (turned out to be the Changeling) went down in a single hit.

Eventually they made their way to the nearby village and met the local Priest (Father Naylor) who let in on the secret of the jewel in the changeling’s hearts. That’s that’s when the frustration and ‘we’re fucked’ became ‘we can make a lot of XP off this!’ and instead of wanting to get away from the changelings, they wanted to go straight at them!  Matt had the quote of the night to Father Naylor with “You’re low fantasy, I’m HIGH fantasy.”  He was playing the elf.

Given the knowledge about the jewels, when confronted with the duplicated knight on the road they just sat back and watched and then cleaned up the survivor.  Afterwards slicing up all the bodies (horses and men) to get at the jewels.  I wondered how long it would take someone to cut out a horse’s heart in the pouring rain.

So the bad part of ASS is coming next and we’ll see if the players can navigate the narrows of morality ahead.  And what happened to the Morris Dancers?

LotFP fans, we have our fucking Monster Manual

Deep inside the Referee book (now free) in the Lamentations of the Flame Princess Grind House edition, the author laments the use of stock monsters stating that they just aren’t scary or interesting and everyone knows what an Owl Bear is and can do and a Githianki isn’t frightening at all after you’ve fought hundreds.  He encourages DM’s  that ALL monsters in games should be original creations entire. The man put his money where his mouth is by creating the excellent Random Esoteric Creature Generator published by Goodman Games.  What’s more, in the Referee book he describes at length how to USE monsters in game so they have a, well, monstrous effect and don’t become ZZzzzzz or just a combat challenge.  This is why LoTFP hasn’t had a bestiary or monster manual equivalent these years past until very recently with Raphael Chandler’s Lusus Naturae.  Reading only a handful of entries so far, I have been extremely impressed, much more so than his previous work for OSRIC, the Teratic Tome which every other creature had some sort of boobs on it…lots of cool stuff, but too many boob monsters, even for me!

This leads me to a tangent about how generally impressed I’ve been with two other very recent bestiaries, one for Numenera, which has TONS of amazing creatures and entities that could be used in any type of game regardless of Numenera’s very different system from D20, and the 13th Age bestiary which really fired up my desire to run the game once I got my hands on it last year. Both are inspirational tomes. While 13th Age’s monsters are pretty stock D&D in many cases, the USE and EFFECTS of them are very original and what an AD&D Bullette does and what a 13th Age Bullette does is quite surprising.  Numenera has some basic stuff, but many, many of the creatures just go so far off the deep end your campaign will never come back– including a WEAPONIZED MEME.

Back to Lusus Naturae– each of the entries I read so far are worth at least a session of play, and some of them, an entire campaign.  So if you are a hapless player in my LotFP or Numenera games– look out!  (not so much 13th Age, since it’s gonzo fantasy and while I want the characters in real danger, they are super difficult to actually kill by design)

lusus1
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