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LotFP Dark World Session 1: "Pilot"

Previously: Planets Collide.

We played a Dungeon World campaign for 30+ sessions over about two years. We started with nothing but the playbooks, and I used Dungeon BINGO to generate some ideas at the table for the first session. Session after session, we developed a thrilling world and saw the characters repeatedly cheat death, undertake epic deeds, and even bend time. Two planets crashed into each other and even that didn't stop them. But last Fall players of two of the most pivotal long-standing characters had schedule changes, and we put the game on hiatus so they don't miss what might be the final showdown.

After playing a season of Twisted Tunnels, some of us decided to start a new campaign in the same setting as our Dungeon World game, taking place 20 years before the events in Planets Collide. I offered to run it using the Lamentations of the Flame Princess Weird Fantasy RPG rules, because I wanted to see the setting from the perspective of more human-scale characters and action.

Planets Asunder: Dark World.

Here's the backdrop: Remember that heroic battle scene when the Last Alliance of Elves and Men met Sauron's forces and Elendil and Gilgalad defeated Sauron? Imagine that, only in this world the Bad Guy Team won. Thus began the "Years of Peace". The goblin queen Una of Kobolstadt marched her orks into a verdant valley where they met the armies of elves and men, and she turned her enemies into ash. Soon she utterly wiped out the elves, and subjugated nearly all the human kingdoms under the aegis of the Chthonic Imperium.

A federation of kingdoms on one continent fought her to a stalemate, but her overwhelming naval and military might forced them to enter a treaty: The Figaryo Federation could govern themselves in relative freedom, in exchange for an annual tribute, paid in human lives, who would enter the service of Kobolstadt as slaves. That was about 9 generations ago.

The so-called orks in this world are enslaved humans, not "monsters". The Imperium has systematized their utter domination, teaching them to endure harrowing pain, and turning them into ruthless killing machines. The Figaryo Federation typically sends its criminals and other unfavorables to the Imperium, but slave catchers operate with impunity in the frontiers and outlying areas, routinely making children disappear.

The Figaryo Federation includes a large veldt inhabited by nine clans called the Steppenkhazzim. At present, they are locked in continuous intermittent warfare among each other, with shifting alliances. We know that somewhere down the road the Nine Kaxhans will be united by a man called the Lizard King, who was a major and captivating NPC in our Dungeon World campaign. This is all stuff we knew before making our LotFP characters.

Session One: "Pilot" [S1:E1], 2 Feb 2019

Location: Castle Figaryo, surrounded by desert; Figaryo is "capital" of the Figaryo Federation—a loose alliance of human kingdoms where the people enjoy relative freedom from imperial domination.
Campaign date: 11 November YP 231

Tsaritsa Una I of Kobostadt
The Empress of the Chthonic Imperium
Zhavia
An ork warrior in Una's retinue, who is secretly working with human abolitionists to end slavery in the Imperium
Zhavia is played by Phoebe, my 18yo daughter and veteran of a decade of roleplaying, including T&T, Dungeon World, and a survivor of Death Frost Doom.
Regent Villem
The castellan of Figaryo until the princes are old enough to take the throne
Sabin of Figaryo
The older of two princes of Figaryo
"Gecko"
A human magic-user recently arrived in Figaryo; he previously traveled with an Imperial caravan to the Sea of Ash. When the caravan was overtaken by a sandstorm, he and his ally Jurek took the Tsaritsa's daughter. Gecko used his gifts to persuade Jurek to raise the child as his own, as a barbarian beyond the northern mountains, instead of killing her.
Gecko is played by Jim, a 20-something student who joined us late in our Dungeon World campaign. Jim has experience with 5th edition D&D, Dungeon World, and a handful of other games; and he is currently working on his own hack of Twisted Tunnels.
Soren Khan
A herald of the witch Matka who conceals his short goat-like horns in long hair usually covered by a hood; she has sent him on a mission to the Shrine of the Living One to tell them there prayers will be answered.
Soren is played by Mark, Phoebe's boyfriend who has no prior experience with role-playing.

Soren and Gecko reach Castle Figaryo in time for a festival in honor of the Prince Sabin. Sabin's 16th birthday was the occasion chosen to name him the crown prince—cementing his succession to King when he reaches adulthood.

Seeking information about the Shrine Matka has asked him to visit, Soren meets with a holy man named Beckwin. Beckwin testifies to the character of the shrinemaidens there and offers to introduce him to the Mother Superior in exchange for an errand: Free his associate Gordi from a grotto where the moneychanger Ron'ken Ferdinand is holding him prisoner. Soren accepts Beckwin's task and dines with him into the evening.

Gecko briefly meets Sabin and the son of a Kaxhan sparring in the castle courtyard, before having a private meeting with the Regent Villem. He tells the Regent that he is a covert agent of the Imperium and that he wants Figaryo's help in uniting the nine clans (and the Nine Kaxhans) of the Steppenkhazzi horde.

Just before sunset, Una's army arrives. Zhavia is marching with the Imperial retinue. Una's arrival sparks chaos at the festive castle, and Gecko slips away unnoticed before Una enters the fortress. As she goes into the castle keep to meet with Villem, she orders Zhavia to arrest Sabin.

Soren takes advantage of the distraction to steal a monastic habit from Beckwin's wardrobe and runs off to investigate Ferdinand's bank in the outer bailey. Ferdinand is away on business, and Soren executes the clerk there. He rummages through the property, looting a cache of coins, a ledger, and a pair of glasses. Soren slips out a window on the ground floor and escapes the castle.

Back in the inner bailey, Zhavia signals to Sabin to "go along with it", whispering to him the name of Dom Ashur, an abolitionist they both know in Figaryo. Sabin catches on and they spar for a few rounds, but the other orks get involved. Kanan son of Kothas Kaxhan, jumps in to help Sabin against the orks.

More and more orks join the fray every round, and things get bad. Kanan is struck down with a gruesome injury. Finally, Zhavia backstabs the ork captain just before he can kill Sabin, and they run for it! Sabin has to parkour over a battlement and they narrowly get out of the castle alive!

Una comes out of her meeting with the Regent and declares that she will be taking the Prince Sabin captive until her daughter is returned to her. From a distance, Zhavia and Soren see a billowing pillar of inky darkness surge up from the inner bailey and engulf the castle in living shadow.

Game Mechanics and Observations

Anyone who knows LotFP might wonder how we got an ork and a "tiefling" as player characters. These are re-skinned from the core classes Dwarf and Elf: An ork is mechanically identical to the LotFP Dwarf class except they replace their progression in the Architecture skill with Sneak Attack. The Herald of Matka is mechanically identical to the LotFP Elf class, except there is only one in the world.

Jim wants Gecko to become the Lizard King we knew in Planets Collide. That's awesome—it reminds me of the Destiny/C-A-B rules from Sorcerer and Sword. It also provides an additional Challenge to that player: Can he keep Gecko alive? Can he navigate the complex rivalries and unite the Steppenkhazzim? If he gets killed, fantasy logic allows the character to come back and accomplish it as a NPC, but that maintains death as a fail state for the player.

I knew LotFP lacks contest-of-will type mechanics at first brush, and I anticipated that Jim would be putting Gecko in a lot of situations that would call for the Parley move if we were playing Dungeon World. I told him I'd handle negotiations using the LotFP mechanics for hiring retainers (page 51), since those already include the idea of making an offer and determining whether the offer is accepted.

It still caught me off-guard when Gecko marched up to the Castellan and told a bald-faced lie about being an Imperial intelligence officer. LotFP also lacks a skill akin to bluffing or deception. Even though this didn't involve an offer or request like hiring retainers, changing Villem's belief would still have a drastic impact on the fiction!

In the moment, we just resolved it by Drama: I decided on the spot that Gecko was imperious enough, and Villem was unimaginative enough, that it would just work.

After the session, I decided I would adapt the retainer hiring roll—in which the player rolls 3d6 + Charisma modifier—if this happens again. Instead of having a static target number, I would use the mark's Charisma or Wisdom, maybe giving a bonus if it's something the mark wants to believe. In cases where the mark doesn't have ability scores, I would apply the rule from page 56 and roll their defense on the spot. This has worked pretty well in the sessions since.

Overall, this was the most thrilling time I've had with any D&D-like game. Besides a few one-shots of LotFP and Swords & Wizardry, I haven't run any D&D since 2011, when I was running 4th edition.

With 4e, we were frustrated with how long it took to resolve combat.

"Rolling for initiative" felt like a sharp break from role-playing, and the tactical combat options for each player made the turns pass slowly so that players often lost track of what had happened since their last turn.

We tried a bunch of tricks to speed up combat, but I looked at it as a fundamental flaw of the game.

But I was wrong. It wasn't a fundamental flaw in the game itself, as much as a major deficit in the culture of play that we couldn't figure out how to bypass.

LotFP is different than 4th edition in some big ways, and those differences definitely contribute to making combat faster and simpler to play. Fewer hit points makes every roll more consequential.

But what really made the difference in this session was that my brain has been rewired by years of playing Tunnels & Trolls and Dungeon World. Dungeon World makes it an inviolable rule to "begin and end with the fiction".

I didn't notice that I was doing anything different than my previous D&D experience until afterward—this principle has just become hard wired into our habits of play.

As a consequence "rolling for initiative" did not create a firewall between role-playing and combat.  Beginning each move with the current fiction, and narrating every result into the fiction no matter what, created a drastically different experience than before.

A big example was the whiff factor. D&D, with the flat d20 probability curve, is inherently whiffy. In our 4th edition games, my impulse to speed up combat led us to basically ignore combat misses. When someone rolled a whiff, we just said "miss" and cut to the next character in the initiative, in order to keep things moving. If someone had a string of bad rolls, that might mean waiting a half hour or more to make any difference at all in the fiction.

LotFP is no different—it's just as whiffy. But making sure we narrated every result, even the whiffs, created a cascade of meaningful and interesting changes in the fiction. The missed attack rolls may have failed to deal damage, but they still altered the situation and set up new conditions. It felt so much more like a dynamic action sequence, instead of simply a numbers game.

In T&T, narrating the fictional positioning every round was a matter of life-and-death tactical necessity; and in Dungeon World, it's literally impossible to play without doing this. But I still feel silly that I missed this should-be-obvious aspect in my previous D&D experience, and it makes such an exhilarating difference in the game.

Department: 
Actual Play

Comments

Ron Edwards's picture

Oh sure! I’ll be happy to address Dungeon World, Lamentations of the Flame Princess, D&D 4th edition, and Tunnels & Trolls in the same post! (this is me crawling into labrynthine stonework, setting up a tribe of deranged humanoids to camp in the upper levels, and slamming the door to brood in the lowest one)

I don’t know if you’ve seen any of the following but they may interest you: my T&T game from about fifteen years ago, my Lamentations game from about seven years ago, and my (second) 4E game from about one year ago. I also ran an extensive session of Holmes out-o-the-box about four years ago, but can’t find if I posted it somewhere, and I’m working up my post about recently playing 5E. Anyway, I’m only listing these to show that we have a similar profile or matrix of being able to examine some very important variables together.

To pick one example, in my presentation the Lamentations game (Mother’s coming), I also talk about the verbal or narrational aspect of combat, effectively, a real rules subset that just happens not to be explicitly taught. Apropos of our recent discussion, too, describing this exact feature is what Zak flipped his lid about at G+ in one of our dust-ups; it might be nice to talk more about it without such nonsense intruding.

If you want to follow up on the skirmishy and fictional-positioning features of 4E, especially since we have different experiences with it, it would go really well in the comments for our recent one-year-later reflection on that game (Barbaric Psychedelic one-year union).

So, to focus a little on what you presented, I have been musing on a post-Tolkien Bad Guys Win, especially without a “new hope” “well then how about this time” context, ever since the grimdark Eighties. So count me jealous that I didn’t get to play. I’m also really interested in Mark’s experience as a first-time player.

Looking at the situations of play and the player-character priorities, I also wanted to know if anyone ... well, how do I put this nicely, cared about the setting and politics. I may be missing it in your write-up, but most of the setting excitement seemed absent, or merely as one backdrop among many in front of which players could get into dangerous hijinks. If that’s what you’re playing for, then no criticism is intended, but just in case, am I mis-reading your game?

John St. Gaptooth's picture

Looking at the situations of play and the player-character priorities, I also wanted to know if anyone ... well, how do I put this nicely, cared about the setting and politics. I may be missing it in your write-up, but most of the setting excitement seemed absent, or merely as one backdrop among many in front of which players could get into dangerous hijinks. If that’s what you’re playing for, then no criticism is intended, but just in case, am I mis-reading your game?

Oops! So here's the deal about that.

I would have been totally happy running a LotFP game of dangerous hijinks with this setting as a backdrop, as long as there were players who were familiar with the stuff that happened in Planets Collide. Without that, I'd much rather start from scratch and create setting based entirely on where the players go and what they do. But with players who know about the future events here, even their dangerous hijinks play gives a worms-eye view that could be fun to see.

We have 4 players so far (Lewis could not join us for the first session). 2 of them are deeply invested in the setting with interest in the political stuff because of the previous Dungeon World game: Phoebe and Jim.

Phoebe played Ghanna the Ranger in Planets Collide. Ghanna witnessed the Lizard King become the Chancellor of the Chthonic Imperium, cast a charm over Death himself, and decided that he had to be killed. When we left that campaign on hiatus, Ghanna had gone into the belly of a witch to get the Lizard King's heart, and now she has it.

Her new character Zhavia has an explicitly political ambition: to have slavery abolished in the Imperium. She decided that Zhavia was of the child soldier type: She was kidnapped by slavers, disfigured, and given rigorous military training. Out of character, Phoebe knows slavery still existed 20 years from now, but she thinks uniting the Steppenkhazzim could make it impossible for slavers to operate in the lands of the Federation. That could happen without condradicting what we know about future events. For that reason, she wants to help Gecko unite the clans and become the Lizard King.

Jim joined us in Session 28 of the Planets Collide game (it's one that I actually wrote about here), playing an Paladin Inquisitor from the world where Una's army lost. He latched on to the setting immediately, especially the political machinations. He played Malcolm Chaser almost like Dungeon World was a game of Diplomacy. Chaser developed a more genial relationship with the Lizard King in order to further mutual interests, and now Jim wants to manipulate the political landscape to create the Lizard King.

Lewis heard a lot about the Planets Collide game and wanted to join in, but the first time he played with us the players asked me to run Tunnels & Trolls instead: they thought it would be too complicated to onboard a new major character at that point in the drama. (Unlike LotFP or T&T, player characters in Dungeon World are by definition major characters.) He played several sessions of T&T with us, and joined us for a few sessions of Twisted Tunnels in the Fall.

He knew he couldn't make it to the first session of the LotFP game, but he rolled up a Fighter character in advance anyway. After the session, I asked him if he wanted to take the character of Prince Sabin—an obvious Fighter—and make him his own. Lewis dug that suggestion: that gave him an immediate bond with Zhavia, who saved his life, and meaningful ties to the setting. All we had to do was change the name on his character sheet. There wasn't much established about the character yet, and he could alter that and/or develop the character in any direction he wants.

The thing about Sabin is that we never heard of him in the Planets Collide game. By then, Sabin's brother Edgar was king. Since I had no idea that Zhavia would go to such lengths to save Sabin's life, I expected him to be killed or captured in the very first session. Having him an active player in the events to come is an exciting surprise.

Since it was his first session of any RPG, Mark was neither deeply invested in the setting, nor especially interested in the political situation. But he immediately grasped the idea of tactical infinity: I can do anything. As a consequence, he had his own solo adventure in this session, which was all dangerous hijinks.

On the other hand, Mark latched on to the idea of being a herald of Matka, a diabolical witch we knew in Planets Collide. He described how his parents were killed and he made a pact with the witch for power. Without knowing anything about the witch's fiendish saga that we explored, he did know she was big. He may have only been excited by the color of it, but attaching his character to such an icon sets him on an inherently politcal direction.

Mark talked ebuliently about the game experience. So ebuliently, that Phoebe jokingly called him a fake nerd.

One LotFP game mechanic Phoebe looked down on when she heard about it was XP-for-treasure. She said she wasn't interested in just looting dungeons for gold, and that she wanted to pursue more audacious and personal character goals in role-playing. But the scenario they are in, and the goals they have set, makes treasure an immensely valuable asset: they could use it to raise an army, finance a fleet of seagoing vessels, dig in and build a stronghold, or anything else in the domain-level play they have set their sights on.

That became more clear after Session 3: retainers and henchmen are going to be very useful if they want to survive and operate on such an ambitious scale.

I do remember reading about your Lamentations and Barbarian Psychedelia games, but it's been a while. I will look those over and see what I can glean!

Ron Edwards's picture

Thanks! Very clear.

I think the treasure/XP mechanic in Lamentations is one of its great strengths, and it also showcases the point that no, just calling something "OSR" doesn't mean it's the same game as whatever else sports the label. In this case it fits very nicely with the idea that adventuring is simply insane, and only deranged, uncontrollably violent, fanatic, or otherewise badly-misfit people do it. In one of our conversations you mentioned how the game was evidently written from the concept of "well, if this is the way the world is, and this  is the way adventurers are, then what is it and who are they," and making the rules based on the answer.

On a possibly trivial note, I'd like to run that term "tactical infinity" back to its source. I've had an author referenced to me but I am mildly suspicous.

John St. Gaptooth's picture

I forgot to mention, of course I remember your Tunnels & Trolls play reports. They were a big part of helping me tap into the game's full potential, and I have reshared them many times over the years. They also helped me define the aesthetic constraints for Twisted Tunnels, especially in contrast to Deluxe T&T.

John St. Gaptooth's picture

On a possibly trivial note, I'd like to run that term "tactical infinity" back to its source. I've had an author referenced to me but I am mildly suspicous.

I believe I tracked it down, thanks to a conversation on Google+ a few years ago. I think S. John Ross (author of Risus) coined it in this essay, published sometime in 2011: Five Elements of Commercial Appeal in RPG Design.

That version is mis-dated, but you can still see the original in Archive.org, which indexed the page as early as December 2011.

I myself started seeing the phrase some time between 2011 and 2013, and I think every usage I know of traces back to S. John Ross. I checked with him and he believes he coined it. If anyone was using it independently of that, I suppose it could be a Neuton and Leibniz situation (naming a feature of role-playing is totally on par with inventing calculus, right?), but I don't know of any usage predating 2011.

Ron Edwards's picture

Thanks! That coinage makes much more sense coming from Ross than from the person to whom it was attributed in a recent email to me.

Ron Edwards's picture

There's an older reference too, from December 2009: A lock for every key (Grognardia). A commenter "richard" uses the term and cites Ross, so it's clearly older than that.

Thanks to Tommi for finding that!

John St. Gaptooth's picture

Oh dear, I've made a serious mistake in my haste to respond to your comment, Ron.

If anyone reads the article at this link, it will look like I'm accusing S. John Ross of misrepresenting his own publication date for the article—which he gives in the article as 2008. In fact, Archive.org has another index of the article from 2008 at a different URL here.

I've been informed that the same article was published in print in the 2008 book Things We Think About Games, which includes an attribution to S. John Ross.

To clarify, I only said the article was "mis-dated" at the current link because the machine-generated publication date above the title is given as "12/11/2018". I knew I saw it online long before that—that's why I provided the 2011 Archive.org link.

I completely failed to notice that Ross mentions the original publication date in the body of the article. I was definitely not asserting the Archive.org index date as some kind of authority—just as a latest possible date of publication.

I hope this clears up any possible misunderstanding of my previous comment.

John St. Gaptooth's picture

Here's another mention from 2006: Interview with S. John Ross (Gnome Stew).

Ron Edwards's picture

It's OK! No need for apologies and this isn't even a debate, let alone an argument or stress-test for completeness. We both thought it was Ross, and it is. Happy times.

Ron Edwards's picture

I would very much like to examine the textual descriptions and your play-experience with alignment across these game systems, for exactly and only the sequence of play you've described here. I think it's a big deal.

Specifically, Lamentations features a unique definition and highly practical use which I consider under-represented in play, a fancy way of saying "no one does it." I've even found that staunch fans of the game are unable even to describe it accurately, falling back on hand-waving that somehow there's a vague old-school or even common-use OSR definition which "everyone knows." It was certainly a surprise to players when I DM'd the game.

Anyway, I only bring that up here to show that I have a little bit of a goal in asking for your broader comparison, and I'd rather see what that comparison brings up for you than insist on my own focus. Please let me know!

John St. Gaptooth's picture

Thanks! This is a great question. LotFP is one of the few games where I really like what Alignment does.

My experience with Alignment in the actual TSR era of D&D was counterproductive. In the culture of play I saw, Alignment was one vector for the GM to browbeat and coerce players into playing their characters according to the GM's lights (and the GM's intended outcomes) instead of their own. I did not miss it when I jumped ship from D&D to play other games.

Of course I had no idea about the roots of Alignment in fiction, as a type of allegiance to cosmic powers. Nor did I know about Gygax's idea of Alignment as a character's religion.

Needless to say, I love the way Alignment plays a practical role in LotFP without providing a pretense for anyone to police the way players portray their characters. You once described "chaotic" as "weirdness magnet" alignment, and that's a good shorthand for its role in the game. Another way to put it is that your Alignment is that special something, like a potential, that the Cosmos sees in you; a potential that governs your relationship with magic especially. And most people lack any potential at all in this respect.

In LotFP, your Alignment is explicitly unrelated to moral outlook, which is entirely up to the player to portray in whatever way they want. I appreciate that.

When we played 4th edition, by contrast, we didn't discern any mechanical impact of Alignment at all, and we thoroughly ignored it. Our longest game was a campaign created for the "D&D Encounters" program by Wizards of the Coast, and all the player characters were pre-generated—I'm not sure if they even had their Alignments listed on the handouts.

Now that I look at the actual text of my Essentials rulebook, I see that 4th edition uses the "cosmic team" language, but couches the idea of Alignment as hypothetical: "If you choose an alignment for your character…" I guess it's no accident that we saw Alignment as extraneous in that game.

At that time, we were also playing a lot of Tunnels & Trolls, which doesn't have any concept of Alignment, except for implying acquisitiveness as a central priority for all the characters.

Dungeon World has a totally different take on Alignment that works for the game, and I like it. DW defines Alignment as your character's moral outlook, but it's impact is limited to one-among-several ways the players can get XP for a session. This is quite the opposite of the culture of play I experienced in TSR D&D: Instead of hitting the player with a stick when they portrayed their character with moral uncertainty or nuance, Dungeon World simply offers a carrot for taking action on your Alignment in any given session.

By the time I played Dungeon World, I had already fallen under the sway of LotFP's notion though. In our DW Planets Collide campaign, we strictly used the Dungeon World Alignment rules as written, allowing the players to portray their characters how they wanted, while earning a reward when they acted on their Alignments.

But we did see items and NPC factions in the game for whom I treated Alignment exactly like LotFP: One item they found could only be touched safely by non-Chaotic characters; it was a holy relic with a Lawful intelligence. And receiving power from a certain witch required one character to "turn" Chaotic—which suited the player just fine! He racked up XP a lot faster with the Chaotic aligment move than he ever did when he was Good. And that racking up of XP had a vast, snowballing impact on the world around him!

So far in the LotFP game, Alignment has not played a front-and-center role in the events we have seen in play. That's not for lack of potential opportunities, just that the players have not interacted with the elements that make Alignment focal. We had one Alignment-related event narrated so far, and that was when Soren got rid of his holy water in the first session. His immediate aim was to manage his encumbrance so that he could take some stuff without slowing himself down, but the player chose the holy water for disposal because Soren's "Elf" class makes him vulnerable to holy water and clerical magic.

I'm curious to hear what application you have in mind for Alignment in LotFP that "no one does". I certainly don't treat it the way I was taught to see Alignment in TSR days, but because it's mechanical features relate to Cleric and Magic-User magic (and other unnatural stuff from other planes), we can have a lot of mundane adventuring without interacting with Alignment.

Ron Edwards's picture

My allusion to "no one does" concerns playing LotFP alignment completely as a DM device toward creating situations and responses, rather aggressively. The cosmos is just itching for a locus of its purpose, and it is prone to "weak spots" concerrning its integrity and meaning, and both are potentially walking about in the form of unwitting player-adventurers.

As you rightly said, its only concern for players is that they designated it at the beginning (and were willing to bear the consequences). It doesn't represent character outlook at all, but instead the cosmos' view of the character.

So ... "no one?" Maybe not no one, as I haven't observed each and every game played using the system, but I've certainly observed no practical mention of its alignment rules, have observed players gobsmacked by my using them during play (they could not shake the notion that it's a character ideology), and have ruefully observed more than one statement that since Lamentations is OSR, and OSR is D&D, that everything in it is "pretty much" like any and all other designated OSR games.

(Cue dutiful repetition of how great D&D is because "you can do anything with it," but I digress.)

In other words, I've observed plenty of basic ignorance of what the Lamentations alignment rules even say let alone practical knowledge of their use. I'm delighted that you were using them.

You're right that if every player-character were Neutral in terms of that game, alignment would be a non-issue  ... meaning that anyone could believe or do anything, even fanatically according to some ideology/morality, and the cosmos wouldn't care. It would also mean everyone was a fighter or specialist, as wizards must be Chaotic and clerics must be Lawful.

I confess I would find such play abysmally uninteresting, as the interplay among wizardry (specifically the Summoning spell), Chaos, and whatever it was the actual wizard actually wanted to do are just about exactly what I want to play the game for, on either side of the table. And I would dearly love, one day, to see the personal interactions between a cleric and wizard develop entirely sensibly and dramatically based on what they wanted and did as persons, even as the cosmic interactions and oppositions cannon-balling at them and everyone who adventures with them underwent their own developments and consequences.

We should talk more about alignment in 4E in some other conversation. Our recent review session of our Barbaric Psychedelic game might be a good place, if you want to start it there; my summary of its meaning for the players is in the document I attached to the post.

 

John St. Gaptooth's picture

I have only my own play experience to go by, and the few LotFP play reports I've read. Based on the other play reports I've seen, it's not obvious to me that other people are unpacking the implications of the game's interesting take on Alignment. Based on my own experience, it's something I enjoy hitting.

But this is my first LotFP game that has gone more than 2 sessions. I think we'll see more of the implications of Alignment unfold over time. As the GM, I see myself going there with subtle steps right now. I can imagine that snowballing slowly over time, unless the players accelerate it. With the Planets Collide crew, I would count on them doing so. With the slightly different lineup of players in this game, I'm not sure what they will do.

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