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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Some Thoughts on the Latest LotFP Release - F@ck For Satan

This is not a review. The review will be forthcoming in the next few days. This post is just some thoughts and observations on Raggi's latest LotFP release.

First, the name. Even James states that it's named Fuck For Satan to get noticed:
As I write this I’m still unsure whether or not I’m actually going to call this thing Fuck For Satan. It would be unnecessarily divisive and provocative, especially for an adventure that’s essentially a farce... that by putting something so patently tasteless right on the cover they can avoid spending money on a product they won’t like anyway. Plus they’ll do it loud enough that they will entertain us all with their outrage that a role-playing game scenario is not to their tastes and help me with a little publicity to boot.
There was a time when James sold adventures based on quality, not drummed up controversy. The Grinding Gear, Tower of the Stargazer, Death Frost Doom - these all became popular based on the quality of the adventure, not some innuendo or attempt at shocking the gaming public.

Now, I know that James sells on his own webstore as well as RPGNow, but I find it striking that Fuck For Satan has fallen to 13 place on RPGNow after a week of release on the Hottest Selling List, whereas Ambition & Avarice, a new OSR RPG from a relatively unknown publisher (compared to LotFP) is at a solid 7 after nearly 3 weeks.

Why is that? Quality outshines shock nearly every time. Shock can also obscure quality. I haven't fully read FfS yet, but I suspect the walking penis will make this adventure just a notch less quality then I had hoped.

I guess if I want to read quality over shock from James these days, I'll have to read his older stuff - until he re-skins them with more "shocking" titles.

31 comments:

  1. To be fair it wasn't that long ago that "Better than Any Man" was released and it's a very good product. So you don't have to go back that far.

    That being said, the only buzz I've heard about Fuck for Satan has been about the name. Usually the background noise about a Raggi release has given me info on the adventure by now and that hasn't happened with this one.

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  2. The three-page Angry Grandpa Rant in "Fuck For Satan" is my favorite bit of canned dialog in an RPG product, ever. I think it might be worth the five bucks just for that.

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  3. "Plus they’ll do it loud enough that they will entertain us all with their outrage..."

    This sorry display of narcissism is the only thing to which I take the least bit of offense. To be clear, I don't mean the "morally outraged" kind of offense he obviously imagines with relish -- I mean the "eeeewww, something smells weird, let's go eat somewhere else" kind of offense.

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  4. Shocking? Sure, in a puerile, "Let's upset Mom and Dad in front of Granny with the new word I learned on the playground" sort of way.

    IOW, not shocking. Just puerile. *yawn*

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    1. About how I'd characterize it. Raggi's just kind of tacky and obnoxious and stupid.

      (And whatever he says, he does have some noticeable women issues, and I think he knows it and tries to avert it, which I guess is kind of noble of him but it doesn't make the times when his judgment lapses in terms of the art direction any less problematic.)

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    2. I don't think Raggi is stupid. I reserve that word for his obsequious fans.

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    3. Yeah. Don't get me wrong, he's no moron. Just... I guess his business model kind of strikes me as trolling.

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  5. James' blog has been intentionally controversial since day one, long before he even started producing games. This is nothing new. Whether it is good or not is up to you to decide.

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  6. Dude makes some great books. I suppose he's allowed to put out something goofy now and again. Plus it seems like the shocky title will indeed feed the Raggi Media Machine. At least he didn't put any pictures of his cock in there (that I know of...)

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  7. The fact hat he produces what he and his fans want rather than the same old bland bull this that most of the OSR seems to prefer, is why i support him and all of product range.

    The development of the 30 Years War as a setting is much more groundbreaking than another set of "rules based upon the original role-playing game".


    As if magic elves and sentient swords are not fucking puerile.

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    1. I'm not lamenting the content so much as the "shock" for the sake of the shock factor. James does damn good stuff and I hate to see it get overlooked because of the "shock".

      I've spoken with James in the past and I like him. But much like "shock jocks" tend to have a limited lifespan before their novelty wears off, I'd hate to see it happen with James

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    2. I actually own the LOTFP Grindhouse Edition. It's basically Labyrinth Lord with the monsters and magic items missing and a couple of spells changed. It even includes "magic elves", as you put it. I see nothing in the rules that supports a "30 Years War setting", and in fact several of the LOTFP adventures that I have (such as No Dignity in Death and Hammers of the God) are clearly set in a typical fantasy world with the usual demihuman races of elves and dwarves. Nor is there anything in the actual rules, a handful of spells excepted, that is particularly "weird". It's just two-thirds of Labyrinth Lord and a lot of Raggi's rambling "advice".

      The gap between the evocative artwork of LOTFP Grindhouse Edition and the meager, generic, BLAND content is so great that I would actually use the term "sea monkeys" to describe it. I would like to play a game where a flame-haired princess swaggers around the 17th century with a sword in her hand and a musket over her shoulder. But LOTFP Grindhouse Edition - a crippleware version of Labyrinth Lord - is certainly not that game.

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    3. Using the 30 Year's War is pretty groundbreaking, if you never saw HR4 A Mighty Fortress published in 1992.

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  8. Magic elves and sentient swords are puerile?

    Hackneyed maybe. But puerile?

    As if games of make-believe played with dice could not also be construed as fucking puerile?

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  9. What amuses me most about Raggi's tendency to chew up his food and open his mouth while writing adventures is the fact that, in the LOTFP rules, the thief has been given the horrible new name of "specialist" (which is unquestionably the worst, least evocative, most soulless class name I've ever seen in ANY Old School product). So he uses adventure titles like "Fuck for Satan", but he's too squeamish to call a thief a thief? That's kind of hilarious.

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    1. Really? Specialist is worse than "Fighting Man" or "Magic User"?

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    2. Yes, far worse. A "fighting man" is a man who fights, and a "magic user" is one who uses magic. Those terms immediately impart a sense of what those classes are supposed to be about. "Specialist" OTOH is an utterly meaningless term, and so dull it looks like it was chosen from a thesaurus by a computer.

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    3. Not all specialists are thieves. Consider one who has put his pips in bushcraft and languages.

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    4. If Raggi wanted to create a scout class he should have just called it a "scout". That name is a million times better than the unimaginably lame "specialist". But whatever you call it, it REPLACES the thief. So the guy who's always going on about how "metal" he is, is the same guy who removed THIEVES from his version of D&D. I find that hilarious. Even wimpy 1990's TSR kept the thieves and just called them "rogues"(another name that's an improvement on the egregious "specialist"). Reskinning thieves as "specialists" is so wimpy and kid-friendly, I'm surprised Tipper Gore didn't get coauthor credit.

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    5. I'm not going to defend "Magic-user" but the Appendix N provenance of "Fighting Man" is rock solid: John Carter, Fighting Man of Mars.

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  10. LotFP irks me because it's a well wrought system bogged down with the gross and offensive in attempt to be edgy.

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  11. Pssh, he's just trying to get in ahead of the release of my long-anticipated PopeRape RPG (Kickstarter coming soon, to be followed by a release sometime between next year and never, depending on how much money I raise).

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    1. Sign me up at the molested Monsignor level.

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    2. "Molested Monsignor" ::dying::

      Careful, you might actually get me doing this. (Is it possible to run a Kickstarter for zero dollars?)

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    3. Media reports have given me the impression that most Monsignors are tops, not bottoms.

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  12. I may not always agree with your criticisms,, but I greatly appreciate the way you refuse to let issues you think are problems go by. This blog has become the OSR's BS detector, and it's very important.

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  13. LotFP pubs are as edgy as a Victoria's Secret catalogue, and about as adult into the bargain. Remember when we all homebrewed our campaigns and dug our own dungeons? Did anyone need need sexualized violence to keep their players entertained? The whole idea isn't shocking. It's as tired as a prime time police procedural. And Raggi's no Ted Danson.

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  14. Maybe this is the point where the OSR jumps the shark. Or maybe just Raggi. For some reason this all seems like something that is a rather pointless revisiting of much of what has gone before in the industry, but because it's new to the OSR it's getting a tired revisit. Raggi missed his calling with Black Dog Press, or writing for HOL or who knows what. Maybe he writes good books, but I won't know because I am not sufficiently juvenile enough to take a look and the FLGS is smart enough not to carry stuff like this for me to browse through (and if they did it would be in shrink wrap).

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    1. Then people in my FLGS aren't very smart, because LotFP and DCC RPG (no DCC modules :/) are only OSR games that they sell, and LotFP is the only OSR game that you can get from public library.

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