Monday, December 12, 2011

House Rules for Lamentations of the Flame Princess Weird Fantasy Role-Playing

Yesterday we rolled up the first character for the campaign. Fiona Wilson, a female fighter from Kirkstead. Finally, this is going somewhere. In case you have been wondering, the Land Beyond the Drowning Woods campaign will start after the current Vampire the Masquerade (V20) campaign will be finished. Probably sometime in January. Maybe the first session will be on New Year's Eve.

Anyway, it is time to present the house rules for the campaign:

  1. Ability scores: roll 3d6 twelve times, chose six and arrange as desired. If you include the lowest score rolled, you get to roll one other ability score again. Three times. If you roll higher than the current score, you get to keep the higher score.
  2. Bonus spells: Clerics and magic-users receive bonus spell slots based on their Wisdom respectively Intelligence. INT or WIS 13-15: one first level bonus spell, INT or WIS 16-17: one second level bonus spell, INT or WIS 18: one third level bonus spell. The spell slot becomes available when a cleric or magic-user becomes elligable to cast spells of that level.
  3. Strength bonus is added to weapon damage.
  4. Elves are called swamp elves. Their appearance is wizened, with flinty black eyes, twisted arms and legs. They are reed thin. Apart from that they follow all the rules of the elven class.
  5. Alignment: all clerics and all dwarves are lawful, all magic-user and elves are chaotic.
  6. Starting Gear: all characters start with the same starting gear. Leather armor, shield, small weapon, dagger, traveling clothes, backpack, purse, bedroll, latern & lamp oil, one healing potion (1d6+1), 10 iron rations and 1d6 sp. Since each iron ration fills one encumberance slot, I give the players the option of foregoing some or all rations and gaining 1 sp per ration not taken instead. Magic-users and elves start with a spellbook, of course. Reasoning behind this package is to get gaming as fast as possible.
  7. Two new common activities: Legend lore (knowledge about the campaign world) and busking (useful for performing and earning money). Legend lore starts at 1 in 6 and is modified by the Intelligence modifier. Busking also starts at 1 in 6 and is modified by the Charisma modifier. A successful busking roll earns 1d6 times roll result in copper pieces.
  8. Starting spells for magic-users: Read magic. Then the player rolls 3 plus Intelligence modifier times on the chart of first level magic-user spells. Duplicates are re-rolled. He can pick three. The magic-user does not get more spells, he just has more choice. I want to emphasize the professional nature of the magic-user. For elves nothing changes. Their acquired spells are a matter of chance.
  9. Hero points: Each session a character receives 3 hero points. Role-playing entertainingly, bringing food, or otherwise contributing to the game, may gain additional hero points. Each hero point can be used to either add a +2 to a roll on a d20, completely re-roll a d20 or to add a small detail to the narrative. We have just played a bit too much FATE 3rd edition to make do without any player empowerment. It probably will not hurt the game and also give the player characters a bit of an edge in surviving the lower levels.
  10. Experience points: Since I don't want to place treasure all over the place, experience will be awarded differently. 500 XP for attending the game. +100 XP for each hex travelled or each dungeon level explored, + 100 XP per HD of monsters defeated (to be distributed evenly among the group), +250 XP if the player creates something that enriches the game-play for everyone (e.g. keeping and publishing a journal, drawing characters, and so on). In case a game has to be cancelled, every would-be participant receives 250 XP.

House rules that my players didn't like:
  • The elven class becomes the tiefling class. Tieflings have small horns, cloven hoofs and smell faintly of sulphur or brimstone. They are more like the Planescape tieflings than the 4E tieflings.
  • The halfling class becomes the swamp elven class. Swamp elves are wizened, with flinty eyes, twisted arms and legs and they are rail thin. They are medium-sized and count as elves for rules purposes.
See? I am listening to you. Now I just have to figure out where to place the halflings.But I already have an idea. Since the elves are roaming the swamps, the forests are kind of abandoned.

Note: That also means I am dropping the tiefling idea. There will be no tieflings as a player character class in the land beyond the Drowning Woods.


  1. Hi, nice house rules. Watch that strength bonus early on, it can get out of control with other combat modifiers.

    We usually just group iron ration into the "small items count as one slot" category for encum. say 5 per slot. Generally only bulky or heavy items should take up a slot - or lots and lots of some item. You should aim for forcing heavily armored characters to be penalized and for characters carrying treasure to be encumbered mostly.

    Also your xp will result in ridiculously fast leveling for this system - the +100 per hit die is especially out of scale with normal monster encounters. Low level encounters with multiple critters would net as many xp as a 9 HD dragon (or whatever). The progression of xp per hd should be very gradual - otherwise players can just power level by hunting gnolls. The existing table on page 32 works very well.

    Also remember that for treasure to count for xp - it has to be returned safely to civilization, which can be an adventure in itself.

    I always give m/u read magic - usually apply the first level rules from the ADD DMG.

    I really like the swamp elf concept. I may have to steal that one...

    Hope the game goes well, this is an excellent system.

  2. You have no followers yet? Fixing that.

  3. Thanks for the comments. I think the Strength bonus is not really an issue. It just spices up combat a bit. And there are no other damage modifiers.

    Iron rations are not listed in italics in the Grindhouse edition, so I'm assuming that means they are encumbering.

    Regarding the experience points: thanks for mentioning this. You have a partially valid point here that I need to address.

    And maybe the wording of the spell selection was a bit confusing. The MU and Elves always get read magic.

    Again thanks for the constructive comments.

  4. Wording was fine on M/U spell selection, I just was saying that I almost always go with starting a M/U out by following the DMG advice. Read Magic, three spells from separate tables, player can choose one the other two are random.

  5. Also, we had a large discussion about encum. a while back on the LotFP forums.

    Most agree that a sensibly loaded backpack of rations, spikes, hammer, water skin, bedroll, etc should only account for 2 maybe 3 slots max. Unless players load up on tons of stuff.

    Armor, extra weapons, ten foot poles, excess lamp oil, all that will weigh you down.

    Basically, the encumb should be used to penalize kitchen sink equipment players, heavy plate armor, and trip up a party as they try to escape with their treasure.