Tuesday, June 5, 2012

An Open Question

I love the idea of Lamentations of the Flame Princess. Weird/horrific fantasy seems really cool to me. So, I started thinking about adding some horrific elements to my BtPG RPG. Well and good, but then I started thinking (always a dangerous thing). That leads us to the Open Question:
Other than some sort of Sanity/Insanity rules, what mechanical ties to the system does weird fantasy need?
I can't think of any really. Maybe a slightly more detailed Fear/Fright system. It just seems to me that scary roleplaying is more about setting and adventure design than about mechanical support.

So, what are your thoughts on the subject?


  1. After 30+ years of horror gaming I actually don't think LotFP does that good of a job of weird or horror.

    Lots of games have Sanity/Insanity rules, that doesn't make them horror. Same is true for Fear/Horror/Terror.

    Those things are expected in horror games, but they are in truth not required.
    Some examples.

    Call of Cthulhu has sanity rules. Because it is horror? No. Because sanity and un-reality are important aspects of Lovecraft's storytelling.

    Dread has no fear, horror or sanity sub-system. Everything the game needs is obtained through tone and interesting systems. IE how characters are described and the Jenga blocks.

    Little Fears has fear, but the this game works because there is an unbalance in power. Like CoC there are things out there that are too horrible to behold. LF has more hope, but it is no less dark.

    Chill is a horror game that has all fear/sanity/horror/terror rules, but the tone is one of the characters being able to stand up to the darkness. Here you are not a victim you are an action hero.

    What is the single ingredient then for successful horror/dark fantasy role-playing. Tone.

    You can add rules and subsystems, but unless the narrative of the game supports it you end up with something that doesn't work and now has an extra level of complexity.

  2. To me, the most important thing is the unexpected, the unknown, and the unique. That, I think, is what defines the weird (more than sanity rules). I see this tying into the system as a lack of well-categorized and well-understood monsters & treasures. Raggi mentions this a lot in the LotFP materials, and he also wrote the RECG to help with monsters.

    You might also want to look at the fear, horror, and insanity rules contained in the (free) TOTGAD compendium:


    1. Thanks for the link, Brendan. I just skimmed over it, but it looks like a ton of very useful information.