Thursday, October 2, 2014

The OSR for the Lapsed Gamer - Free PDFs - Lamentations of the Flame Princess: Weird Fantasy

So, where does LotFP: Weird Fantasy fall on out list of D&D clones? At it's core, it is a B/X clone, but that falls quickly to the wayside as you read the classes.

It is a race as class type of system, but each class is purposefully given it's own niche. For example:

Only fighters can increase in combat ability. No other class get's more than a +1 to their to hitroll.

Dwarves are the HP powerhouse. They get 1d10 per level for HD and they can carry more than other classes. They also get a + 1 to their Constitution modifier for HP.

Elves can cast spells and get a 1d6 for HD (as opposed to the magic-users 1d4). I don't recall if they can use armor or not, but "Player Character Elves are those gifted individuals that are trained as both Fighters and Magic-Users."

Halfling get by far the best saves in the game, but that's about it.

Clerics are pretty close to the norm. They DO get a spell at first level.

Magic-users are what it says on the tin. You'll need to read the spell descriptions carefully, as there are enough that have been changed from the source material to keep you guessing.

Specialists (Thieves). This is where Weird Fantasy shines. The D6 mechanic that is substituted for the % rolls for thief skills is something I'm tempted to port over no matter which Old School ruleset I'm running with. Worth the price of admission on it's own, and when the price is free, it's hard to pass up.

Weird Fantasy does not have a monster book or section. DMs are expected to make each one unique. Or, just borrow from a different OSR game. Trust me, it will work.

Weird Fantasy is basically a B/X clone with some very unique house rules. It will feel familiar and yet not for those coming from the originals or their more direct clones, but the art free Weird Fantasy PDF is certainly something that every OSR gamer should have on their virtual bookshelf. As for the full version of the PDF or Print - just be aware, the artwork, while very good, may not fit into everyone's social norms for sex and gratuitous violence.

If you can find the older Grindhouse Edition, the Referee Book is priceless with the advice it gives.

LotFP Weird Fantasy (Free No Art PDF, PDF with Art $5, Print 21.18 Euros)


  1. "Halfling get by far the best saves in the game, but that's about it." And a +1 to their DEX modifier as well as an extra +1 to AC when not surprised. So a +2 to AC in total (before any other bonuses from high DEX) means that they are very difficult to hit. Plus a 5 in 6 Stealth skill, which means that most of the time you don't see them anyway.

    And I've always Refereed their Bushcraft skill, as being some uncanny version of the way in which the Hobbits in LotR are constantly looking for the ingredients for 'second breakfast' or elevenses. So while a 'Specialist' built up a a Ranger might catch a mangy rabbit, the Hobbits someone come back with bacon and eggs!

    1. point taken on the halflngs - I just remember having a discussion early on with James about the halflings getting the short stick (no pun intended) and he kept stessing their saves.

  2. The AC table is shifted up by 2, so naked is AC 12 and plate is 18. I love the first level Summon spell, sure to get the budding mage into deep doo-doo.

  3. Regarding casters in armor, the rules say nothing specifically about it. What they DO say is that magic users cannot cast if they are more than lightly encumbered, and elves cannot cast if they are more than heavily encumbered.

    Plate armor by itself is an automatic light encumbrance.

  4. One thing I really liked was making Turn Undead a spell, rather than an innate clerical ability.

    1. I agree, and that is something that I must incorporate into my own D&D houserules.

  5. I'd buy hardcopy in a heartbeat if they got the referee book back into print.

  6. Thanks, Tenkar. I was just about to write a review based on Grindhouse. I didn't realize the new edition leaves out the Referee book. Too bad. It's such a unique and quirky product (in a good way) partly because of the extra stuff like that. I couldn't disagree more about the Thief, though. To me, he's the weakest part of an otherwise fairly brilliant game. And it starts with that boring name-'Specialist'. :)

  7. I wish it was easier to get ahold of a print copy here in the states for less than the cost of an arm and a leg. POD or something....


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