Monday, October 22, 2012

Anguish and Abandon

Disclaimer: What follows is not meant as a comparison of two fine games. I am merely using the two games to contrast two different play styles, since they are such iconic representations of their respective styles.

As you know, immediately preceding my current obsession with DCC I had a dalliance with LotFP. There is a fundamental difference in their implied styles of play that I felt like pointing out.

Lamentations is notable for its total lack of a bestiary. There are several reasons that the author chose to go this route, but there is one that matters most to this post. In the implied setting of LotFP there are no "evil races". There are no orcs, goblins, trolls, ogres, or giants. There are no dragons who wear their moral affiliation in their color. This means that every time a character kills it requires accepting that the character is killing. There are no free passes. There are no unrepentant races or groups. There are no creatures that it is OK to kill. In a way, this makes LotFP very story-driven. At least that is how I define such things. The more angst the game promotes, or the more focus a character's internal conflict (or downward moral spiral) is given, the more I tend to think of the game as story driven. For example, in such a game, the killing is often anti-climactic to the fact that the character made the willful decision to kill.

At the other end, we have DCC. With the exception of wizards needing to be ever vigilant of the dangers of their craft, killing is done with wild abandon. Spells can succeed spectacularly, raining death. Warriors can perform deeds of great daring in pursuit of their enemies. While DCC does encourage unique monsters, it also includes the old favorite "bad guys", ripe for the slaughter.

While there is a part of me that can really appreciate the style of LotFP, it's not really the way I want to play anymore. Maybe when I was in my "serious role playing" phase, sure. Now, if I can ever manage to get a game together, I just want to have a few laughs, some hair-raising chills, thrilling adventures, and ultimately kill some monsters and take their shit. And for all the angst-love I have for LotFP (and it is considerable), I want to do all that killing without having to anguish over it.

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