Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Raggi (LotFP) and monsters

This is how I see it.

In raggian games (adventures and modules typical to James Raggi) there are monsters but they are unique. In Raggi's core rulebook Lamentation Of The Flame Princess there is no monster manual nor section for monster stats. Only example how to create a monster using a vampire.

The point is that monsters should be weird, horrific, unique and strange instead of just bunch of experience sacks for player characters to fight with.

Raggian adventures focus in the scenario and what is happening, why it is happening and what player characters will do about it if they even can do anything about it. Or the player characters encounter weirdness in their travels and adventures.

It is more important to give players a whole scenario what is "the monster" of the adventure. The whole adventure in between the beginning and ending is the monster. It is more important to experience, observe, manipulate and possibly survive the adventure than introduce individual monsters or groups of monsters to encounter in a series.

But there are monsters. These monsters have a reason and background why those are there. These monsters aren't randomly placed around to give some entertainment in dice rolling. No. These monsters are there to make the adventure more horrific.

The experience rules support this. You don't get that much experience points by defeating monsters. The treasures are what you get experience from. Most likely because of that players are encouraged to come up with other plans to defeat or go around them.

And some monsters (as they basically are unique) have really nasty special abilities. Save versus death is not uncommon. In LotFP there are no those +1 magic weapons and if you use game system with lots of magic weapons you can't kill a monster too hard for LotFP characters to kill because of that. Why? Immune to magic is what Raggi will stamp those with.

In fantasy roleplaying games player characters tell that they attack the group of orcs with axes, spells and whatnot. In raggian games Regeree tells how the orcs screw up characters. And it is not always about monsters dealing HP damage to characters. No. They can screw up characters in many ways.

And there are not only monsters. There are places, items, surroundings what are like monsters to characters ready to make players cry for mercy. It is cruel and deadly but at least there are great SP rewards to gain... if you survive long enough to get out!

Possible spoilers ahead of Death Frost Doom, Death Love Doom and The Monolith From Beyond Time and Space.

DFD: There are undead. Some of these are more powerful individual persons but most of them (thousands in the end if things go bad) are just walking corpses with not that impressive stats. But the stats are not the point here. You can fight an undead or two, but that is not what the adventure is about. The adventure is about the evil undead vampire lord's deed. And about thousands of dead starting to walk and conquer surroundings.
So you do find undead stats, but who cares? There are bigger things going on in the adventure. You don't just go there, kill all the zombies and get back to claim your reward. No. You are lucky if you survive and if you do survive, there's going to be a heck of a mess around.

DLD: There are monsters. Really powerful entity and its human slaves controlled by parasites. You can fight them, but that is again not the point. The point is to experience the horrors of this adventure and see how screwed up it is. Even though player characters "win" this adventure, it still will eventually take place somewhere else wreaking grotesque havoc like it has done when player characters find about it.

The Monolith...: Again, some monster stats. One big fishie what you can fight to destroy it... but it will come back as it is in time limbo. Monster guarding monolith? You basically cannot fight it. Monsters within monolith are easy to kill as long as you are in different "place" than they. The point is not to kill the monsters. There is no point in monolith except explore it.


Jonas said...

DLD has new way of handling normal walking dead style zombies, those could be used in DFD too I think.

BTW If we would compare DFD to video nasty like Zombie Flesh-Eaters what would be the Night of the Living Dead?

I have old crumbly issue of White Dwarf (that was published before when I was even born) with adventure titled Lichway that I got after, well realizing it was spelled out in the DFD.

Instead of hunting a copy the adventure can also be found online:

It is interesting to compare evolution of the same idea on completely different takes.

Unknown said...

I think that DFD zombies are not monsters but the machine. They are monsters in a sense of being walking dead with statistics characters can fight with, but these zombies have a bigger picture. After DFD if the zombies rise it's not about the individual zombies being all "fleessshhh" but the wholesome situation. That is well done and written.

I give one example here. The video game Left For Dead. No one cares why there are zombies nor cares what happens everywhere else in the world. People just sneak, kill zombies and try to reach next checkpoint. In meta level or the thought what happens after the game or what happened before the game doesn't excist. DFD is backwards thinking. It is not relevant what is happening when characters escape the mountain. It is more important what happened pre-zombies and what happens after it when characters (hopefully) are long away (or with a headstart getting away anyways). In DFD there is a bigger picture that doesn't involve characters any more when the adventure ends. Adventure basically ends when characters die or get away but that is the real beginning. So DFD is basically a prelude.
In that sense the zombies as monsters are not as important as the zombies area as a gaming world and campaign changing machine.

Maybe you could do that with AFMBE for example, but still most AFMBE campaigns are about player character survival. It focuses around how characters experience the zombie world when in DFD it's all about the zombie-world characters can't do anything about with.

That's the big difference with DFD zombies as monsters compared to other games or adventures with zombies as monsters.

In my opinion.

And thanks for the link! I have to check it out!