Rose of Westhaven

Season 1

We’ve recently wrapped up season one of our Lamentations of the Flame Princess Midderlands Campaign, as of the time of writing we’ve already started season two, which has seen the timeline move forward by ten years and a switch to the For Coin & Blood rule set.

Season One charts the rise and fall of the Locke Adventuring Company,

During their adventures they made allies among the people of Porthcrawl, enemies of many fierce creatures, many friends were lost along the way, but they never stopped striving to push forward against adversity in the spirit of their deceased namesake Edwin Locke.

Over twenty sessions chart the rise and fall of the Locke Adventuring Company, these are all available to watch on Youtube or Twitch.

Youtube Playlist

Twitch Playlist

Watch Rose of Westhaven – Season 1 from RedDiceDiaries on www.twitch.tv

LOTFP 2E Playtest Rules

My First Thoughts

Okay, so you may or may not be aware–based on whether or not you’ve read Eldritch Cock James Edward Raggi IV’s FreeRPG supplement for Lamentations of the Flame Princess–that there is a second edition of LotFP in the works for some date in the distant future. The Eldritch Cock supplement features two pages of playtest rules that are currently under consideration for inclusion in a 2E of my current favourite OSR system.

Readers are invited to submit their feedback so I thought that I’d put mine into a blog article.

Aims of the New Rules

According to the document the aims of the new rules are as follows:

…keep things fresh and accentuate how LotFP is different from other superficially similar games without creating an edition war.

The process of play should remain the same…

Backwards compatability is a must…

Ability Scores

The six perennial D&D attributes are still there and, essentially, the player rolls 3D6 for each ability in turn and receives modifiers based on their score as per the standard LotFP and other OSR-style games. The idea seems to be that each Ability Score should have more of an impact on the game than previously.

How Much do we Need Ability Scores to Affect the Game?

It’s no great secret that in many OSR games your stats only have a very minor effect on the game, perhaps boosting your attack modifier a little, maybe giving you the odd additional Hit Point here and there or–if you’re using a system like LotFP that incorporates skills–perhaps giving you the odd skill boost. I’ve never really seen this as a problem in OSR games because many of the games focus on the “rulings over rules” style that is often discussed in this style of gaming.

For those of you not familiar with it, “rulings over rules” refers to an ethos of not having a specific rule for every possible situation but having a simple flexible set of rules that are almost purposefully vague in some areas, allowing the common-sense of the GM and their group to prevail when it comes to interpreting how to adjudicate situations.

So how do the new rules give a bit more bite to Attribute Scores?

  • Charisma: Determines the number of D6 that you roll for your magical based Saving Throws (there only seem to be two types of Saving Throw in the new ruleset, magical and non-magical), the better your score, the more D6s you roll. When you make a Saving Throw, you roll your dice and count how many 6s you’ve rolled, if you get one 6 then you have achieved a partially successful save, if you get two or more 6s then you have made your Save successful. No 6s is a failure.
  • Constitution: Determines the dice type that you roll for Hit Points, that’s right, your HP is no longer based on your class but on an Attribute, ranging from D4s up to D12s (if you’re lucky enough to have a CON of 17-18).
  • Dexterity: This Attribute determines what dice type you roll for Initiative.
  • Intelligence: Determines how many Skill Points you begin with. Although the focus of LotFP’s simple skill system has always been the Specialist Class, with everyone else having low or limited ranks in the various game skills, in these new rules your non-Specialist character at least gets a few points to spread around between the various skills.
  • Strength: Determines how many items equal 1 Encumbrance Point. The way encumbrance works in LotFP is that a certain number of items equals an encumbrance point, you work out how many encumbrance points you are carrying and this affects your movement and abilities in certain situations. Previously this number was set, in the new rules however, the higher your Strength score, the more items you will be able to carry.
  • Wisdom: Works in a similar way to Charisma but for the purposes of non-magical Saving Throws.

I quite like the idea of the Attribute Scores having more of an impact on the game, especially when–as seems to be the case here–they do so without adding a great deal of unnecessary complexity to the game. Rolling a different dice or calculating encumbrance in a slightly different way doesn’t (in my opinion) add additional complexity, nor can I see how it would slow down the game much.

Character Classes & Gaining Levels

Only the following classes exist in the new rules:

  • Fighter
  • Magic-user
  • Specialist (this is the LotFP version of the Thief Class, sort of…)

That’s right, only three classes, the Cleric and the three demihuman classes (Elf, Dwarf and Halfling) have been axed in the new edition, the demihumans because apprently “this aint Tolkien” and the Cleric because “the existence of divine power defines the cosmology of an individual campaign that is best left to the Referee, not a game publisher”. These two viewpoints seem a bit of a contradiction in terms, on one hand telling you that the game definitely does not involve demihumans and putting a stern foot down, whilst on the other hand saying that it doesn’t want to impose it’s viewpoint, allowing the GM the freedom to do or do not as they see fit.

Perhaps this is the author representing the fundamental differences between everything having a Lawful plan which all things must bend towards and the churning, bubbling froth of chaos that tears down walls and allows ultimate freedom (to paraphrase the alignment descriptions from the LotFP corebook), but it must be remembered that these are only potential playtest rules. Although I remember hearing ages ago (before ever reading Eldritch Cock) that Raggi wanted to get rid of Clerics at some point and his opinion on demihumans is well known so I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that the author is sharpening his axe for them as well.

I suspect that this is going to divide the audience somewhat, I certainly know that–preparing for the game I’m planning to start soon–when I put it to the players they were quite keen to keep the demihumans and the Clerics. I can certainly see why this is the case, although their exclusion wouldn’t bother me terribly, they have been part of D&D and OSR games for many, many years. That said, it’s not terribly difficult to house-rule those classes to work in the new rules, I suspect the only difficulty–assuming you’re concerned with it–is that the demihumans (particularly the Elves) tended to be balanced by requiring more XP to level-up. In the new system it takes a flat 2,500XP to reach second level and double the xp required for each subsequent level.

Fighters get to roll their HP dice twice and pick the highest results at first level where the others get to roll once, giving the Fighter clear advantage when it comes to potential HP totals at first level, which makes sense. When characters advance in level they roll their new number of Hit Dice and–if the total is higher than their existing number of Hit Points–they up their total to the new number, otherwise it remains the same. I’ve encountered this rule before in the OSR sci-fi game Star Without Number written by Kevin Crawford and am a huge fan of it, since the number of dice you roll increases with each level the tendency is for your total HP to creep steadily up, however it isn’t guaranteed at each level and slows down the onset of superhero syndrome, where the PCs have enough HP to shrug injuries that would fell lesser men.

Attack Bonuses

Essentially in the game there are now four categories of combat bonus:

  • Melee
  • Firearms
  • Ranged
  • Guard

Fighters gain +2 in each of these categories at first level and +1 in each category per level, whereas other character classes get +1 in Firearms and +1 in one of the other categories (chosen randomly); the higher combat proficiency of the Fighter Class makes sense, however the emphasis on Firearms for the other classes is a little confusing and may hint at a great involvement for firearms in this edition. Previously they were jammed at the back as an appendix, I love these rules to bits and wouldn’t run LotFP without using blackpowder firearms, but I’m guessing that these rules are going to be bought more centre-stage in the 2E of LotFP.

Like a lot of rules in this, and other, OSR systems there are a lot of random elements in this (rolling your Attributes, randomly determining where attack bonuses go, etc), some people may love this, others no so much. Again though it’s not difficult to allow people to jiggle their Attribute scores around and allow them to pick which attack category they get a bonus in.

Guarding

Guarding is an interesting idea and replaces the Parry rules from the current edition of LotFP, essentially when a person chooses to Guard, they gain an AC bonus equal to their level plus their Guard rating. I like this, it’s nice and simple and gives all the Classes a way to fight defensively if they want to; however the second paragraph talks about choosing to Guard out of Initiative order and only getting half the level rounded up, plus their Guard rating, this seems unnecessary and I’m not sure it would add a lot to a game. Personally I’m not a fan of Initiative interrupts since I think that they make combats lengthier and clunkier, but it’s not exactly difficult to omit this bit.

Holding an Action

These rules allow a character to hold an action until an enemy takes a particular action then interrupt (with various penalties). As you can see above, I’m not a fan of turn interrupts, but I’d be interested to see if and how this actually works in a combat.

Weapon Damage

All weapons now do D8 damage, armour counts double against Minor and Small Weapons and half against Great Weapons and Polearms. This is interesting and seems to jibe in well with the existing weapon categories, sticking closely to the 2E rule-set’s guideline of “reverse compatibility”, although I’m not sure how it would work on Ranged Weapons and Firearms since they are not currently grouped into the same abstract categories.

In my own upcoming game I’ve chosen to ignore this rule and stick with the 1E weapon damages and rules.

Skills

The next section of the playtest rules focusses on LotFP’s simple skill system; previously Skill tests were determined by rolling a D6 and trying to get equal to or below your score, in the playtest rules you roll a D6, add your skill rank and are attempting to score a 6 or above to be successful. Each skill starts at a +0 bonus with characters receiving a +3 and a +2 bonus allocated randomly to two skills. Characters get bonus skill points (or lose them) based on their Intelligence score, Specialists get four +1s to allocate to skills of their choice and a further +2 points at every level thereafter.

There are also some additional Skills added:

  • Leadership: This skill allows you to modifer hireling morale checks, a successful Skill Check providing a +2 bonus to a morale check and a failed roll giving a -2 penalty.
  • Luck: Grants the player a number of re-rolls equal to their ranks in the skill per session.
  • Medicine: Allows you to double the effects of healing naturally, although a failed roll on the seriously injured can result in serious consequences. Personally I find this a bit limp, I’d just have a successful roll heal D4 + the ranks in the skill or something similar, but I can see why the author doesn’t want this to become a super-skill that negates the danger of taking damage.
  • Seamanship: There’s very little description to this skill beyond that it is going to be some sort of Bushcraft on the High Seas style skill, there are going to be some forthcoming rules related to this and I wouldn’t be surprised to sea them take a more central role given the authors obvious fondness for naval exploits (we can see this with how much coverage they get in the original LotFP rulebook).

Saving Throws

This section was a little confusing, we’ve already been told that the number of dice rolled for Magic and Non-Magic Saving Throws are adjudicated by various Attribute Scores, given that the difficulty of Saving Throws is no longer based on rolling above a number but on how many 6s you roll, it seems as though their isn’t much point in the current Saving Throw classes, you really only need two (Magic and Non-Magic). Some parts of the playtest rules seem to imply this, whilst others make reference to the previous Saving Throw categories from 1E LotFP, so I’m not sure where the author is going with this, however I suspect it’ll get straightened out in the future.

So, what do I think?

I think that the rules are very interesting, some (like the Attribute, Skill and Combat Rules) I’m a big fan of, whereas others (such as Holding an Action and Weapon Damage) I’m not so fond of. For my own upcoming game we’ve made a few tweaks and ignored the Weapon Damage rules, I’ve produced a small character generation guidebook incorporating the new rules that we’re going to be using and look forward to trying them out.

Amended LOTFP spell mis-cast table

In today’s session of Rose of Westhaven we’re trying out using an adaption of the LOTFP supplement Vagina’s are Magic, we’re not going the whole hog with the weird spells and such-like in there (since that would entail a massive alteration of the magic level of our campaign) but I’ve been discussing with one of my players using the VAM rules for casting.

Essentially a magic-user has a number of spell slots equal to their level, they can cast any of their spells using those slots with no problems whatsoever.

However, if the magic-user tries casting spells in addition to that number then they must make a miscast chance. There are other circumstances that can force a miscast roll such as if a magic-user has taken damage in the same round they cast a spell or is massively encumbered.

The slight issue we had was that the VAM 1D12 miscast table only has result for rolls 7-12, results from 1-6 are dependent on the individual spells (as listed in the VAM rulebook). Since we’re keeping the standard spells we don’t have individual charts for each spell and I’m not greatly desiring to write that number of tables, so instead I’ve just created entries for results 1-6 based on some ideas of my own and some D&D 5E house rules that one of my players (Dennis Bach) was kind enough to donate to me.

The table is added below:

If you want a PDF version of the table you can find it by clicking here.

I’m interested to see how this adaption of the VAM rules will work, hopefully it will add a little bit more versatility to the magic-user; if it goes well then I may consider adapating it to use for Clerics, but with an offended deity table instead of a miscast table.

The wizard icon used for the feature image of this post is taken from http://game-icons.net/ and is used under the CC BY 3.0 license. 

VAM is copyright James Edward Raggi IV, no challenge is intended to any copyrights. If you’ve not yet got a copy of Vagina’s are Magic and you fancy experimenting with a weird magic system you can get a copy from http://www.lotfp.com/store/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=234.

Games on Demand at UK Games Expo 2018

Games I’ll be Running

For those of you who aren’t aware, I helped run Games on Demand at last years UK Games Expo (masterminded by Lloyd Gyan). Essentially Games on Demand is a series of two hour long ‘taste games’ where people can just turn up, buy a ticket for Games on Demand on the day, and jump into a game of some sort relatively quickly, each GM assigned to Games on Demand has a number of different games that they can pull out and run for a couple of hours. It’s a great way to kill a few hours, if a pre-booked game is sold-out/cancelled or if you fancy trying something new.

This post is going to give you a taster of the games that I’ll have with me at the Expo. I’m bringing PBTA, Fate and OSR with me, but the other GMs will have different things for you to try.

White Star Galaxy Edition

Emperor Valis rules the galaxy with the aid of the Cabal, his loyal cult of Void Knights. The Star Knights–once mystical defenders of the galaxy–have been all but destroyed, existing now only as a few survivors living in constant fear of apprehension and execution.

The only opposition to Valis and his New Order is a rag-tag rebellion lead by a mix of mercenaries, refugees and senators who have refused to bow to the new regime. Within this rebellion hide the last flickering remnants of the Star Knights.

The rebellion has received word that the New Order is working on a super-weapon that may spell their doom, and so they mount a desperate attempt to stop the weapon, at all costs.

White Star Galaxy Edition is an OSR game inspired by a smorgasboard of different science-fiction franchises, in this scenario you play smugglers with hearts of gold, outcast senators and hunted Star Knights banding together to try and stop Emperor Valis’ secret weapon.

In the darkest of times, will you be the ones to light the spark of hope?

Lamentations of the Flame Princess – Carcosa

In the skies the fireball breaks,
And twin suns sink behind the lake,
The shadows lengthen,
In Carcosa.

Strange is the night wherein men cry,
And bodies vanish into the night,
But stranger still,
Is lost Carcosa.

Lamentations of the Flame Princess is an OSR game of weird fantasy. The Carcosa supplement takes us to a strange world of serpent people and science-horror inspired by the writings of H. P. Lovecraft and others.

In this game a fireball has plummeted into the mountains near your village, since then strange creatures have been seen, odd noises heard and man have gone missing. The elders of the village council caution but–knowing that there will soon be no-one left if this continues–you have gathered some companions and set out to investigate the source of the disappearances.

Will you find your missing kinsmen, or do only death and horror lurk among the mountains or Carcosa?

Swords & Wizardry FMAG

“It simply won’t do, this is the third caravan to be raided on the Devil’s Pass in the last fortnight, merchants are already threatening to take their business elsewhere. This town thrives on trade, we cannot afford for this to happen.”

Swords & Wizardry FMAG is an OSR game of fantastic exploration and combat built to recapture the enjoyment and splendour of the earliest editions of the world’s most popular roleplaying game. In our scenario the players are a group of adventurers hired by Lord Harper, ruler of Highpeak, to investigate the matter of the raided caravans. Something or someone is preying on the merchants who are the life-blood of the town, it’s up to you to stop them.

Dresden Files Accelerated

The White Council is at war with the Red Court, a war sparked by the newly sworn in Grey Warden Harry Dresden, but the war is hardly confined only to the United States. Across the pond in the United Kingdom, the city of Birmingham, a group of consultants are called by their contact in the police force to the scene of a most unusual crime.

Dresden Files Accelerated is a FAE game set in the world of Jim Butcher’s popular novels. In this game you play a beleaguered police detective and a group of esoteric consultants attempting to solve a mysterious murder.

Can you uncover the culprit and bring them to justice using your know-how and the powers of the occult, or will the forces of darkness triumph?

Young Centurions

“Know this young Centurions, that I, Baron Zeppelin am responsible for the current drop in world temperatures, unless my demands are met he world will freeze whilst I remain safe in my arctic lair!”

Young Centurions is a FAE game where you play pulp-heroes in the early 1910s, born in the first seconds of the new century, each of the characters embodies the spirit of Invention, Speed, Joy or something similar, possessing powers far beyond those of mortal men. Raised to be heroes by a mysterious society, you may be the worlds only hope to stop the mad Baron, a young man born in the dying seconds of the old century who embodies the Shadow of Industry.

Masters of Umdaar

Skalldor–a dark and twisted necromancer–has menaced the lands of the Eternal Kingdom ever since overthrowing the rightful ruling family. He is opposed only by Arthur–rightful heir to the throne–and his loyal band of renegades. Rumours have it that Skalldor has discovered the resting place of the legendary Starblade, such an item would give him power to make his rule over the kingdom everlasting, but Arthur and his rogues race to retrieve the blade too and restore their Prince to his throne.

Masters of Umdaar is a FAE game of gonzo science-fantasy that models itself on classic heroic cartoons from the 1980’s. Can you help Arthur to recover the Starblade before the evil necromancer, or will the entire Eternal Kingdom soon bow to the foul Skalldor?

MASKS

“This is not a drill, repeat this is not a drill. This is Mister Miracle broadcasting to any heroes that may be left, my old foe Manat has stolen the Helmet of Chronos and two of the Moirae Stones that power it. The others are dead or gone, the Justice Warriors, the Super Friends, all of them. I’m broadcasting this on all frequencies, my only hope is that there are still some heroes out there and we can stop Manat before…”

The world’s experienced and greatest heroes have been wiped from existence by the–now almost god-like–Manat using the Helmet of Chronos, in his last act before being wiped out himself Mister Miracle, mightiest of the Justice Warriors puts out a call to anyone who may be listening, hoping that there are still heroes in the world. That’s where you come in, young heroes yet untested in the forge of destiny, but overlooked by Manat, you are the world’s only hope.

MASKS is a PBTA game of young heroes struggling with responsibility and their legacies as heroes, trying to find their place in the world.

Tremulus

“Well they say that the stiffs have been going missing up by the Old McCorley graveyard, I ‘eard the rumours but never gave it no mind, leastways no-ones been buried their fresh in months. Well that were before the police constable that the Mayor had set to watching over the place went missing, we all heard the screams, loud enough to chill yer blood. I expect that’s why they called you in eh?”

Tremulus is a PBTA game based on the Cthulhu Mythos, in it you play investigators, unwitting victims and daring scholars struggling to maintain their sanity in the face of the sanity-blasting creatures of the Mythos. Something is clearly rotten at the McCorley graveyard (other than the corpses) and the Mayor wants it cleaned up discretly and quickly, there’s a large reward in it for you if you succeed, fail and perhaps the graveyard will have claimed some new residents.