Originally published at: http://diehardgamefan.com/2014/03/11/tabletop-review-forgive-us-lamentations-of-the-flame-princess/
Forgive Us is a collection of three adventures for Lamentations of the Flame Princess. There is one fully fleshed out adventure with a map in Forgive Us, while the other two are more like story threads than true adventures, since the DM will have to flesh them out fully in order to make them playable. All three adventures are really well done, though, and are pretty memorable affairs. Even if you don’t normally play Lamentations of the Flame Princess, you still should consider picking this up, as the adventures are fully playable with many a Dungeons & Dragons retro clone, and your purchase even gives you a second PDF which gives conversion stats so that Dungeons & Dragons 3.0/3.5 and Pathfinder fans can take part in the experience. That’s a really nice touch that allows Forgive Us to reach a much wider audience. Who knows, it might even help convert some of those Paizo and WotC holdouts to peer deeper into the madness that is LotFP. I should also point out that all three adventures take place in England during the year 1625. Of course, it is a fictional England, since there will be magic users, cursed artifacts and the like, but if you don’t like using our reality as the basis of a role-playing game, you can always change the location to some generic fantasy world. It won’t have the same effect mind you, but it will shut up the person who absolutely has to play an elf in every game you run. It’s also worth mentioning that, while all three adventures take place in the same year and same general vicinity of the world, they are NOT connected. Each one is designed to stand-alone, but an enterprising DM could connect the three with a little bit of effort into a mini-campaign.
Our first adventure, Forgive Us, bears the same name as the collection, and it is the only adventure to be fully fleshed out. You get full stats, maps of locations and randomizing tables, and it takes up thirty-five of the fifty pages in this collection. The adventure is a definite tribute to The Thing (the John Carpenter movie) and players will no doubt figure that out around the climax of the adventure, when they encounter the horrible monstrosities waiting to convert or kill them. Forgive Us also works best with characters under 4th Level. This way, no one has access to Cure Disease. If characters have ready access to this spell, the adventure loses a lot of its tension and terror since the entire experience revolves around a disease transforming people into hideous thingies. Make sure your players can suffer from the potential affliction that awaits them – otherwise, this can easily turn into a run of the mill dungeon crawl, and Forgive Us is too cool of an adventure to be relegated to such a fate.
In Forgive Us, the PCs will be tasked with one of several reasons to enter a full city block of Norwich that appears to have gone both silent and empty. As players root around the area, they will discover creepy mutants, a hideous disease and the failed machinations of a guild and the horror that it has caused. There’s not a lot of combat until the very end of this piece, with Forgive Us really relying on the DM’s ability to describe what the players see and creating an atmosphere of foreboding doom. The end result is an adventure that will feel more like a Call of Cthulhu piece, where characters are playing detectives more than monster slayers. Well, at least until the climax, when the adventure feels more like Alien. In the end, the PCs will have some tough calls to make, and the potential for a full TPK is high… although it might be by the player’s own hands rather than the monsters if the adventure goes “right.” All in all, a truly great experience from the core plotline to the wonderful art littering this piece.
The second adventure in this collection is In Heaven, Everything is Fine. The author states it’s a bit of a Silent Hill meets The Colour From Out of Space mash-up. I definitely see the later, but not the former. It’s hard to describe this adventure without massive spoilers, and it really is something best left experienced rather than read about. Suffice it to say, the adventure’s concept is an exceptional one, but as it is more a story thread or adventure seed, a good DM needs to really flesh this out before presenting it to players. In the hands of a good DM, it will be a very memorable adventure, but in the hands of a bad one, it will come off lame or just annoy players.
Characters of ANY level can experience In Heaven, Everything is Fine and still be challenged. There’s a spooky ghost, a tower that can be modified to whatever players (or player characters) want it to be, a bit of sleuthing to be had and a climax that revolves around a morale puzzle which could cause some temporary in-fighting with the party. Of course, most of all, the adventure really shakes up what the players consider to be reality. At best, you’ll have created a spooky little adventure that can go multiple sessions, but at worst, more sensitive players that treat RPGs as something “to win” may get pretty pissed off at the DM by the time everything is done.
Our final adventure in this collection is Death and Taxes. It’s meant to be a straight forward one session experience, and works great as a first adventure for a new party or even new players. A close friend of the PCs has died, his daughter has disappeared and a group of tax collectors are accusing the late man of theft. Players have to figure out how all these things tie together while also stopping the servants of the Conqueror Worm. It’s a short but fun piece, and if you have people who have new done a tabletop RPG but have shown interest, Death and Taxes might be a good choice to help them get their feet wet with.
Overall, I really enjoyed the Forgive Us collection. You get three very interesting adventures and some fun cartoony yet horrific artwork. This collection is definitely worth the current sticker price attached to it, and it serves as a great introduction to the mood and themes LotFP likes to present to its audience.