“Impressive, small, adventure locations that attempt to push the boundaries of pen and paper RPGS.”
This anthology of Lamentations of the Flame Princess adventures is strange; a few of the adventures has left a lasting impact on my group. What makes me interested in these adventures are the adventure mechanics they try to employ. For example, one of the adventures is a mystery that you are asked to solve. It is full of NPCs suggesting “stereotypical fantasy locations” that are just red herrings while the solution to the mystery is due to a totally mundane event that you should thought about before falling into the groove of “fetch questing”. It teaches the party to think clearly and critically and avoid the RPG tropes that seem to dominate videogames and RPGs in general.
The art is anywhere from creepy and dark, cartoony and blasphemously disgusting. It is all drawn well and I love the emotions it evokes. One of the adventures (Death Love Doom), was essentially an exercise in pushing the limits of what could be physically published. It is full of gore and torture. I loved it; for it created a bone chilling tension for the adventure. “the thing that did this… is it still here?” or “We need to kill the thing that did this”.
As usual, Lamentations of the Flame Princess is set in the neoclassical period of Europe. I find that this serves to make it much easier to understand the nature, culture and point of the adventures. While I run Pathfinder 2e, with my own fantasy world, I find that its easy to just reskin the adventures to fit my intentions. I actually prefer the presentation since my understanding of history helps me understand the setting they are trying to operate in.
A brief review of each of the adventures included is below,
- Tales of the Scarecrow: This one is a pure masterpiece. The players find a patch of corn in an otherwise barren area; and a cabin in the center. When they reach the cabin, they realize that there are thousands\millions of tentacles shooting from the cornfield; there is a terrible horror that dwells underneath. They can try to escape on their own, which is possible for a sufficiently high level party; or they can consult the scarecrow. The scarecrow is pure genius, you ask the players to think of the most horrible price for escape, secretly, then you give one who succeeds this a bunch of exp\bonuses. In my group, my wife chose to "let the scarecrow kill , and have where they are buried be transformed into a new creepy corn field). Of course they buried the girls in the largest nearby city… resulting in catastrophic changes to my game world. Amazing.
- The Magnificent Joop Van Ooms: This one is fun because it has a lot of random encounters and rules for a blackmarket. The blackmarket tool is something I now use for all my adventures. The town has a creepy Lovecraftian painter (think king in yellow), named Joop van ooms. He is largely a fancy npc that can be used for any purpose, but has his own mini dungeon and stats if you want to fight him. He creates art of terrifying and weird power. Throw him into any big city you have and it will be a lot more… fun.
- Fuck for Satan: I love this one. It’s got an edge-lord name, but the entire premise is that there are missing kids, and speculations about where they could have gone. There are lots of possible places to go: most of them are red herrings; the kids just died in the woods by a bear. If the players are smart enough to search the woods, then it might end prematurely, but if they just follow where the villagers tell them to go (like a normal adventure would demand of them), they will explore at least one dungeon full of threats totally unrelated to the missing kids. There is also an alien that is a penis, that is thrown in to make things even weirder. Amazing.
- Death Love Doom: This one is great, but very creepy and disgusting. It is meant to convey fear, terror and disgust to the players as they explore this mansion, trying to find out why the denizens are no longer responding. There is a demon that relishes in tormenting people and you come just in time to see the gruesome handiwork. You might just leave in fear, or you might kill the thing that did it, or try to free what’s left of the remaining survivors. Awesome.
- There is a fifth adventure, that is not really talked about. It is a series of “triggers” that occur when the party does something that activates said trigger. A scene or an event plays out, then another trigger is randomly assigned… repeating the process. I find that this idea is creative; it creates a way of generating story content in a way that hasn’t been tried before.
What do you guys think?
I numerically reviewed it on reddit, but it came out to be 67/70. If you want to see that calculation, the post is here: https://www.reddit.com/r/PenPaperandDice/comments/hrfu09/review_adventure_anthology_death_lotfp/