Tuesday, 17 December 2013

LotFP House Rules

Following my purchase of the Lamentations of the Flame Princess Weird Fantasy RPG (reviewed here), I have of course been thinking about what kind of game I would run with it at some point.

The main idea that's popped into my head is to run some games in the Wormwood campaign setting that Greg Gorgonmilk and I are working on (and which is planned for publication at some point). Wormwood is still in development, so its final form is still in flux, but it's shaping up to be a creepy, quirky, pseudo early modern period fairytale setting, which seems perfect for some LotFP-style adventures!

Like any DM worth his salt, I have thus -- as first order of the day! -- been thinking up some house rule tweaks to emphasize the desired tone.


More Skills
The LotFP skills system is just begging to be expanded with a few setting-specific additions. I'm thinking about:
  • Medicine: identify herbs, minor healing capability.
  • Arcane dabbling: use wands & scrolls. Chance of things going badly wrong if the skill roll fails.*
  • Sense magic: spend one turn to detect whether a single object, creature or 10' square area is enchanted.
  • Appraisal: accurately value treasures.
  • Lore: know stuff about history or legend.
  • (Maybe) Performance: influence people by making beautiful music, telling gripping tales, dancing like a sylph, etc.
(The latter two were inspired by Beedo's post about an LotFP bard / skald.)

* Note that all characters would thus have a 1 in 6 chance of being able to read the magic words on a scroll and unleash the arcane energies locked within. For your average adventurer this would, of course, be highly risky though, and probably only a last resort.

Class Cuts?
I would run the setting human-only, so that cuts out the dwarf, elf and halfling classes. Aside from that, I've got this thing about stripping down classes to their bare essentials, and the flexible simplicity of the skill system sort of encourages this.

A couple of further ideas I've been considering:
  1. Remove the specialist class and simply give all characters a certain number of skill points per level. That way, a fighter could have a sideline in sneakiness or a magic-user could dabble in bushcraft.
  2. Remove the cleric class and replace divine magic / favour with a "piety" skill. I don't yet have a clear picture of exactly how this would work, but I'm envisaging some kind of system where characters can pray at shrines in order to receive blessings from saints or deities, which could then be used like spells.
Putting both of those together, one would end up with only two classes: Fighter and Magic-User. I'm not sure if I'd go that far, but it's an interesting idea to think about.


  1. Really like the piety idea -- could be exploded into an interesting sub-system. And it suggests that there are a number of little shrines scattered throughout the campaign, and that each could offer its own sort of boons (and dangers maybe).

    1. The scattered shrines idea is exactly what I had in mind. Would fit in perfectly with a hex crawl, and open up a little "find all the shrines!" sub-game.

      We could talk about this as an official addition to Wormwood, but I feel like it might be getting a bit too far into house rules territory.

    2. It gave me an idea of a blog post where I write about different ways of handling clerics and divine magic to reinforce a specific atmosphere or genre of a campaign setting.

      Anyways, I really like the idea of shrine-based magic. Melan's new game, Helvéczia, does something similar. Clerics can memorise a number of spells based on their level; however, they can only do so in churches, monasteries, or other locations in connection to God. Furthermore, the exact spells available also depend on the location, for instance, cathedrals offer more diverse and higher level spells than little village churches.

    3. Sounds like an excellent system! This has the advantage of really distinguishing clerical magic from MU magic.

    4. I made up my own Cleric rules so that their magic worked based on how much they actually act like a Cleric, similar to your idea of having them pray for boons. It might give you some ideas: http://www.lastgaspgrimoire.com/ive-gotta-have-faith/

      Also rules in my second most recent post for skill advancement for all. I'm fine with Specialists being the best at skills, I just think the rest should be able to get better at them if they're successfully using them all the time.

  2. I like it, but I would likely put Arcane Dabbling initially at 0 instead of 1.

    1. Yeah I was thinking that too, initially. Could work either way, depending on the desired flavour. (I suggested a base of 1 in 6 here simply to go along with how all the other LotFP skills work.)

    2. With only two classes, I don't think giving a 1-in-6 chance of success to everyone would be problematic. The consequences need to be serious enough to discourage using it every single time; yet, it must not bee fatal or needlessly severe so that players would actually dare use it.

  3. Cool. I'm currently looking over simple skill systems for my OSR games. Some good ideas here!

    1. One thing I really appreciate about the LotFP system is that it's explicit that these are things which *all* adventurers can do. Specialists can just get much better at them over time.