A friend picked me up Lamentations of the Flame Princess Grindhouse Edition in December. We’ve been talking about playing an Old School Renaissance game for a while, and when James Raggi ran his Kickstarter for newly revised hardback versions of the game, a group of us went for the GM’s pack so we could each get a copy of the game. We’ve waited and waited. There appear to be signs that the newly revised versions are still being revised, which we are all happy about. Then a few copies of Grindhouse Edition showed up at Powell’s Books in Portland so we jumped on them.
LotFP is a retroclone of Basic D&D, and a child of the Old School Renaissance and the OGL system reference document. The Grindhouse Edition is a neat little boxed set with several books and its own tiny set of dice. It is the Grindhouse Edition primarily because its packed with some rather nasty artwork.
I have played LotFP twice now, and ran it once myself. Because it is a much pared down system it is mostly easy to learn. One reason though I have recommended to others to wait for the new, revised version is that often rules are not where you expect them to be, plus you do have to leave your assumptions at the door because Raggi left no rule untouched.
One of those touched rules is Strength modifiers. In many D&D derivative games, a high Strength gets you both a bonus to hit as well as a bonus to damage. It turns out that in LotFP, you do not get a bonus to damage. According to Raggi, the only reason why the bonus to hit is still there is that Strength needed something important to do….
Odd but it makes a lot of sense. If you really want to do more damage, you have to use a particular maneuver that will net you more damage, or you need to use a weapon that has a greater range of damage. This keeps with the minimalism of the game, and even creatures that deal out a lot of damage still have the possibility of doing only 1 point of damage.
Notably, there isn’t a great deal of hit point escalation in the game either. Once you reach -3 hit points you are doomed.