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Better Than Any Man
Publisher: Lamentations of the Flame Princess
by Itai A. R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/12/2019 02:27:37

One of the best products ever, I can't believe they're just giving it away FOR FREE



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Better Than Any Man
Publisher: Lamentations of the Flame Princess
by Jorge J. V [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/10/2018 21:07:26

Is there such thing as perfection? If this module/sandbox/mini-setting is not the perfect product for your roleplaying games (OSR or otherwise), then it's the closest to be it.

There is a dark plot here, one that will happen whether the adventurers (PCs) take part in or not; oh, that doesn't mean the result will be the same, by god, no! It means that there is a story that happens if the players don't get involved, but getting involved will change the story, at least to a degree.

But they don't have to get involved if they don't want to, there are lots of stuff to be done in the area: exploring witched, fighting thieves, helping peasants (or abusing them), dethroning a "theocracy", profiting of other's misery, and more. What's not to love here?



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Better Than Any Man
Publisher: Lamentations of the Flame Princess
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/01/2017 05:47:27

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This module clocks in at an epic 180 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page internet resources, leaving us with 174 pages of content. Now, it should be noted that the pdf is longer than the physical version – and the space is used VERY well: We get ALL combat statistics collated in the appendix; a spell-index, a magic item index; reference-resources…and, really cool: Both the overview map of the region and all the maps are collected in the back – and, in a really amazing offering, all top-down dungeon-maps can be rendered player-friendly, courtesy of the layered pdf – HUGE kudos there! Furthermore, we get player-handouts and a player-map of the region.

Now, at this point, I need to thank one of my friends/supporters, who did send me the physical copy of this module, moving it thus up my reviewing queue. This review was also requested by one of my patreons as a non-prioritized review, which made me move this up in my reviewing-queue. The physical copy has a full-color map on the inside of the front/back-cover – it’s basically a nice sleeve of the regional map. The module per se, is, apart from that, a saddle-stitched, pretty big booklet in A5 (6’’ by 9’’)-size.

“Gott mit Uns!” The battle-cry of Carolus Rex, Gustavus Adolphus, resounds through the Holy Roman Empire. It is the year of our Lord 1631 and the king whose tactics would influence the history of military campaigns, has claimed his famous victory at Breitenfeld. His armies march onwards, but the growing force of the Löwe aus Mitternacht no longer are merely professionals – and, as the annals tell, his days are numbered. Still, for now his host approaches Würzburg and the notoriously inefficient fortress (which pretty much withstood only a single battle…) there. I grew up around this place and, while nowadays, the area is less swampy than within the module, I have to applaud the commitment to plausibility. Additionally, it should be noted that the German names used throughout the book, from Inn-names to the names of forces, are actually correct – huge kudos for not butchering my native tongue.

The champion of Protestants and his overwhelming force is approaching the area around Würzburg – the book has a VERY strict, extremely challenging time-limit – the PCs have basically 5 days, RAW, which is not much, considering the difficulty of this module. Beyond potentially modifying this time-line, there is another aspect that allows for some control, particularly when using this as a start of a campaign or one-shot. It should be noted that this module is not for the faint of heart or for the novice player – this is brutal in its difficulty, but it is NOT necessarily unfair. There is also another aspect of this book you should be aware of: The book is billed as intended for ages 18+; if this was a movie, it would deserve a hard R-rating for some gory scenes.

This is also the point in time, where I should comment on the controversy that was sparked by this book. In my opinion, it’s ridiculous. I mean it. To give you an idea: One of the best means to gather information, is to venture into a brothel; the magic-using mistress of the place gets her kicks from exchanging information for demeaning tasks and sexual acts. Yeah well, so what? The respective tasks aren’t explicit, can be glossed over or replaced…and this module is billed as “For adults only.” Perhaps it’s my European upbringing, but frankly, while I consider her tasks to be often disgusting, the PCs are not required to engage in them. It’s a choice. You can say no. I really don’t get it. And she never stoops to the lows of De Sade etc. – you can actually see more explicit or extreme things in real life on the internet without ever trying. That, and the lady in question is actually part of the enemies of the PCs. Similarly, while some images depict really gory, messed up stuff – that’s what the BAD GUYS are doing. You know, the bastards the PCs are supposed to stop?

Is this dark? Yeah. Is this dark to the point where I’d consider it problematic? Nope. Not even close. And those other ridiculous claims you can find? Similarly unfounded. If you like dark fantasy, horror, etc., then chances are that you’ve seen much, much worse.

It should also be noted that this is a combination of basically a regional sourcebook and sandboxy mega-adventure rolled in one; if you expect railroads, you won’t find them herein.

Okay, this basic discussion out of the way, from here on out, I will discuss the module. As such, the following discussion contains SPOILERS. Potential players should jump to the conclusion.

..

.

All right, only referees reading? Great!

So, Gustavus Adolphus is hell-bent on razing Würzburg to the ground, if he finds the rumors of occult practices to be well-founded. Unfortunately for all concerned, they are. Karlstadt, just before Würzburg, has been taken over by magic-users: Women ostracized by the hypocrisy of society, unified by a strange spell: Casting the ritualistic magic cost one of them her life, but granted their simple, unified wish of power: Now, all of them, hopelessly out of their depth, rule Karlstadt, courtesy of the powerful magics and the potent creatures gained from the casting of the spell.

The 7 (actually 6 – as mentioned, one died) are interesting characters in their own right: There would be a girl, who only wanted finery and power and now doesn’t now what to really do with it; there is a lady who always wanted to provide for others, who can now create food for others and help keep the masses from starving. There is aforementioned madam, now wholly entrenched in a web of debauchery of her own making; there is a twisted, bitter woman, who “teaches magic” – with the goal of reincranting herself into the baby of one of her students; there is a madwoman, convinced that she’s ferreting out the walking dead. All are pitifully weak casters…but they rule over Karlstadt and are, in some aspect or another, well-rounded characters. Gorgeous b/w-artworks also help making them more than just bad guys…and there’s a problem. For the most part, a sense of cosmic irony and cruelty pervades their magics: The Provider, Jutte Beckman, for example, does not really help sate the masses: Her magical food is filling and tastes nice…but actually doesn’t sustain anyone. It is wholly without calories, nutritients, etc. Similarly, the detect undead-like magic of one of the ladies actually has a 1 in 10 chance of delivering false positives. Yeah, fun. Each of the 7 sports sucha signature spell, just fyi.

There are two reasons the 7 remain in command beyond the authority granted by their ritual: Number one is the most interesting aspect: Basically, their ideas are hyper-progressive. The interim-society of refugees they have erected in Karlstadt is actually closer to our ideals than those of medieval Germany. It is, philosophy-wise, a well-meaning construct, suffering from incompetence and lack of interest in some cases, and power-trips in others. The second reason would be the creatures: Each of the 7 comes with her own guardian creature, horrific monsters (you can see one of them on the cover…), which all come with truly ORIGINAL rules. The lamest one of them just steals the best stats of those nearby; there is a monster that can switch ability scores, change XP and hit point totals; there even is an immortal, invulnerable thing that exists in another dimension – it causes tumors, and attacking these can be used to slay it. Not only are the illustrations cool and twisted, the monsters are extremely poachable – each can make for a challenging puzzle-boss on its own.

Why is this relevant? Well, if the PCs want to stop the destruction of the whole area, they need to take down the 7. With the lavishly detailed Karlstadt, their smart security and powerful guardian creatures, that’s easier said than done, though.

While Karlstadt is pretty much a hub for this module, the surrounding villages and wilderness do sport not only wandering monster-encounters (curiously focusing on insects…), they also sport instances of the spectrum of human suffering and desperation when faced with the impending doom. These are grim, yet flavorful, and add a big context and some well-hidden information to the massive sandbox that is this module. How do the PCs get into Karlstadt? How do they take down the 7? It all depends on the players and their actions.

Beyond these aspects, there is more – in fact, a lot more. The module contains 3 locations which most publishers would have used on their own as a free offering. All are only tangentially related to the plot at hand and may be used, providing a piece of the puzzle. None of them are strictly required, though. Number 1, and by far the worst part of the book, the only part I’d consider to be lame, would be the infinite tower. It is pretty much what you’d expect: An infinite tower with occupants and treasure..but also a chance to be lost for 1d6 x 10 years in the past or future. If you run that aspect RAW, chances are your PCs may miss the adventure. That being said, you could use this as a means to “save” the campaign: The PCs fail, travel back in time, level up, and retackle the module at a higher level. Just sayin’. The highlight here would be the isometric map: Big plus: In the layered pdf, you can remove the secret door!

The second red herring would be a sidequest you’ll usually gain from a wealthy-looking refugee waiting to gain entrance to Karlstadt: Gunther Moll and his rowdy band of bandits have kidnapped a child. Turns out, though, that, as far as bandits go, they’re not that bad: While they have taken up residence in an ostensibly cursed farmstead, they won’t harm a kid (They are not the insane farmer who cops up travelers and sticks their parts in his field…). The abandoned farmstead and its secret tunnels etc. are once again provided in a nice, isometric map – though here, the layered pdf does not provide for player-friendly customization. Anyways, unbeknown to the bandits, the former occupants were indeed evil – worshipers of the vile Insect God…and an undead is still lurking. Cue the potential for Mexican standoffs and strange alliances…

The third dungeon that isn’t really required would be the Mound – lair of the surprisingly powerful and thoroughly nasty Willibald Schwartz – a level 17 magic-user with garish clothes, who is not only a pervert, he also has a glass tiger as a kind of executioner golem to fetch new subjects. Alas, the tiger sucks at distinguishing proper from improper prey and sometimes brings kids instead of adults. Willibald likes making magical marionettes out of their bodies. Yeah, he is a thoroughly vile, disgusting bastard – and if the PCs are smart, they’ll listen to his offer: You see, he knows about the imminent rise of the Insect God – a threat to all mankind. And he has this spell, which is another means for the PCs to actually beat this module: Journey to the Past. It sends you chronologically back through time where you’re standing. Yep, this does require some serious referee fu, and when introduced, is most assuredly a spell (at level 1) that makes a one-shot use perhaps easier to handle. But it is a potent tool. You see, he knows that the Insect God needs a particular gem to rise – and where that gem was. Retrieving and handling the problem of the gem is a means to get rid of the cosmic horror lurking at the edges of this module…and a discreet note to the Swedes regarding Herr Schwartz can solve the problem of this vile bastard. Once again: He’s a BAD GUY. Just sayin’.

But what this module, beyond assassinating the 7, is truly about…well, like in any good investigation, that’s not readily apparent. You see, the 7 actually are compromised; they are, in fact, lams set up to be slaughtered. Their well-meaning creation of the Bürgerfriedensmiliz (Citizen’s freedom-militia) and their notes of ostensible pacifism may have been rooted in good intentions – but one of the 7 is actually a fervent devotee of the Insect God. Deep in the wilderness, there is the headquarters of the Bürgerfriedensmiliz, where the members are brainwashed into committing unspeakable atrocities (illustrated, btw.). The dungeon that contains the HQ is actually a complex: It houses the 4 levels: The caverns, the shrine of the Insect God and the headquarters…and it is one of the best dark fantasy dungeons I have ever had the pleasure to run.

In true LotFP-manner, it is a hellhole, difficulty-wise: There are dangerous, extremely deadly adversaries and hazards to be found; bone wearing madmen concealed in ossuary-caverns; the gateway to the Insect shrine, lavishly depicted, is nightmare fuel with its strange statues ringing it: As a hand-out, it should most certainly show the PCs that not all is well…and in the HQ, there is a powerful tinker and a powerful alchemist, both fully realized and sufficiently insane/complex characters, which can render the exploration even more interesting…though it should be noted that, while super deadly, characters can also find a super powerful artifact that can grant a character 1000 non-regenerating hit points. And yes, this actually remains balanced to a degree and provides a means to truly “win” this module, particularly if you’re using the time-travel angle of the tower mentioned before.

You see, while the unique madwomen within the HQ, their labs etc. are amazing and creative, the module constantly hints at the imminent rise of the Insect God – a chthonic evil of legendary proportions. The encounters, small tidbits , etc. all lead up to it.

That’s where level 4, the end of the complex, comes in. You see, upon exploring the dungeon, at one point, the PCs will find a particularly VILE place, an environment, where pure malevolence seems to seep through. They have to actually DIG there. Yes. They are warned. Everything OOZES “RUN, YOU FOOLS!” Heck, if clerics rest, an agent of their deity will tell them to get the hell outta dodge. It should be noted that the task of this module is fulfilled at this point; the PCs have NO REASON to dig down there, apart from curiosity, from wanting the whole picture. You know what we said about curiosity and cats, right? If the PCs dig down there, the module changes. Up until now, Better than Any Man is a brutal, but fair and challenging dark fantasy module. If they dig down there, they enter, physically, the realm of the Insect God.

At this point, the module becomes a horror-module. A balls to the wall, weird, Lovecraftian nightmare. Down there, they can find an insect borealis, the head of an extinct, regenerating giant (who is buried to his neck), the largest specimen of humanoids to ever life…now an idiot through constant insects gnawing through his brain. The Insect God thinks that this is mankind’s god…which is wrong, obviously – but woe to those that tell that to the Insect God. Here, every step shows new horrors and wonders…and can kill you. You can walk through the cavern, through which the haemolymph of all of the world’s insects runs, prior to reincarnation.

That being said, at the end of this dungeon lies a half-consumed cadaver of a gargantuan insect-thing, attended by the ghosts of literally countless insects (one of the most gorgeous b/w-artworks I’ve seen in any RPG-book, btw.) – and the dead Insect God speaks. It commands. The spectral insects attack in endless waves. The PCs will fall. One by one. Until only one remains. The unfortunate last person standing will be invaded by the insect legions, becoming one, bodily, with the crawling legions, a mind enslaved…this champion receives the living, vile blade of the Insect God…to go forth, and once again spread the gospel of insect superiority… Yeah, that can jumpstart a whole campaign of its own.

So yes, level 4 is NOT intended to be won; it is intended to be the horror-end to the module; it is intended to be a dark conclusion…or as a reason to really want to go back through time to stop the apocalyptic exploration of a place, where mortals were never supposed to tread.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch on both a formal and rules-language level. Layout adheres to a two-column b/w-standard and the pdf comes with a TON of truly amazing b/w-artworks AND cartography – Aeron Alfrey, Gennifer Bone, Ramsey Dow, Alyssa Faden, Andy Hepworth, Laura Jalo, Anna B. Meyer, Jason Rainville, Jennifer Rodgers, Amos Orion Sterns and Peitsa Veteli did an amazing job. The player-friendly maps in the pdf-version are pure amazing. The pdf comes fully bookmarked with nested bookmarks. I love the layered pdf…and guess what: Got a table to roll in the module? Click on it. It’ll roll for you. Oh, and the module is internally hyperlinked for your convenience as well. That’s one step beyond. Big kudos!

James Edward Raggi IV’s “Better than Any Man” is a masterpiece.

There.

I said it.

Yes, you can misalign and misread it. If you have an issue with adult content and dark fantasy/horror, then this is obviously not for you. If you’re a newbie, this will SAVAGE you. This is a massive module for pros: Experienced players and referees. PCs will die. If your players think, they can walk in the module and kill everything/loot everything – they’ll all die. Like flies. This is a module that requires a good referee AND smart players.

That being said, this module is pure amazing: The 7 are interesting; the regional setting is glorious and surprisingly well-researched; the monsters are inspired – each could conceivably carry its own module. The finale is phenomenal. It takes a certain type of player to FIND the final level; it takes a hardcore, dedicated group to get out of the deadly level, much less kill the thing; the latter will take a campaign beyond the range of this book – it is possible, though! And the level, in all its lethality, is ALL about the player’s choice. Literally ALL aspects tell them “Death (or worse) that way ->” – if they follow, well, then they reap what they’ve sown.

This book’s finale is pure, glorious horror; the module is dark before the finale – it is not for happy-go-lucky-family-friendly gaming. If you expected that, it’d be like putting in a Friday the 13th movie and complaining about it not being Sesame Street. But neither is it even half as dark, explicit, etc. as some of the more negative reviews would make you believe; some claims I read are objectively, patently false, some outrage ridiculous. Apart from the thoroughly optional horror-finale, this module is actually pretty survivable; challenging and hard as hell, yes – but most experienced groups should have a solid chance winning here.

Oh, and this is FREE. It is offered for PWYW in its electronic version; print was Free RPG Day. And guess what? I would pay serious money for this. If you can get the print version for ~40 bucks, I’d honestly kinda consider it worth it. I am NOT kidding. The superb, comfortable PWYW-pdf is a thorough must-have offering if you even remotely like dark fantasy. The bang-for-buck-ratio of this book is absolutely RIDICULOUS. In a truly amazing way.

I am not engaging in hyperbole, when I’m saying that this is very much the best, most professional, amazing module I’ve ever seen for PWYW. This is a truly amazing offering. I love pretty much everything about this module; the freedom, the characters, the desperation, the high stakes and pressure, the difficult decisions. My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval. This also gets my “Best of”-tag. If you even remotely like challenging, deadly, dark modules, then download this gem right now – and if you can find the print version for a fair price…well, totally worth it. This is a stunning, gorgeous book – to think that it had been released for Free RPG Day is mind-boggling.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Better Than Any Man
Publisher: Lamentations of the Flame Princess
by A customer [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/19/2016 03:21:55

One of the best adventure's I've ever ran. There's so much to do in the adventure and so much interesting stuff to mine. Setting is interesting, characters are well thought out and the weird is there. And on top of that, it's free!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Better Than Any Man
Publisher: Lamentations of the Flame Princess
by Megan B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/08/2016 22:26:37

I've ran through part of Better Than Any Man with multiple groups and there's a HUGE amount that can be done with it.

While BtaM does provide a main adventure that players can pursue, there's also a sandbox here with a ton of little tidbits sprinkled throughout this book that can be used as seeds to grow a variety of additional little adventures. BtaM also is nice in that it provides the potential forplenty of good old dungeon crawling and confronting monster (some very weird cool ones I might add) or for much more of a socially oriented game which dives into the politics of the times, as well as stranger intrigues. My players generally like a bit of a mix of the two, and so do I.

I'm torn on the time limit, because there's just so much going on that having more time could allow for the exploration of, but, the time limit isn't an entirely bad thing either. On the plus side this enforces a feeling that the world is a living place where things will happen around the players in an especially strong way. If played out the culmination of the adventure itself provides all kinds of possibilities as well. However, the timeline can be fudged if necessary, even setting the adventure further back in time a bit can work if desirable.

I also find that this adventure works great as a place to drop in other LotFP adventures too.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Better Than Any Man
Publisher: Lamentations of the Flame Princess
by James Y. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/04/2015 01:39:57

I started my campaign with this and it's been going strong since. I don't know what else to say beyond "it's really good and free", so here are some tips when running it.

Start your players off in one of the dungeons (Goblin Hill or the Abandoned Farmhouse) rather than the suggested "wander in from a map edge" opener. Starting players off in a dungeon is the best. Make sure they find out about the invading doom army fairly soon. It's the timer ticking down for the region. I had them as farmers who woke up in the cannibal cult's torture chamber, so they already knew. Print out the area map. The original publication had a pull-off cover with an interior map, so being able to lay that down on the table and say "you are here" was real useful.

You don't have to use it in its actual historical context. As explained in the opening blurb, real history is used for easy reskinning. I replaced the Swedish with demons, for instance.

If your players are new to old school play, they may be surprised to find that there is no such thing as a balanced encounter. They should be treating combat as a last resort, and only attacking if victory is certain. The best way to teach them this lesson is to let them die. If they still don't grasp it, give them the Quick Primer for Old School Gaming and find that old "Combat as Sport vs Combat as War" post. Just google them.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Better Than Any Man
Publisher: Lamentations of the Flame Princess
by Eric F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/14/2015 16:24:52

Welcome to a little corner of the Thirty Year War in the sword and sorcery back drop of Better Then Any Man adventure for the Lamentations of The Flame Princess Rpg system. This is a deconstructionist horror adventure with witches, cults, and old school downright nastiness set into the world of a sandbox adventure with plots, counter plots, double dealing, adult situations, and the occult in full blossom around your PC's ears! This is one of the best adventures to throw the party into the deep end of a horror themed dark survival horror straight out of the 60's or 70's with a dripping helping of dark fantasy via HP Lovecraft spun through the lens of Dario Argento. This sandbox is set in the ruins and aftermath of Karlstalt as the Swedish army coming through on its way for conquest against the Roman Catholic forces. Yes this adventure uses actual history as its backdrop using Catholic against Protestant forces. From the adventure - Better Than Any Man takes place in October 1631, in and around Karlstadt, a small town outside Würzburg. Situated in the Holy Roman Empire, both the town and the surrounding area have been in turmoil for much of the past 13 years, caught up as they have in the events of the Thirty Years War. Here are the important background details: The Thirty Years War began almost as a civil war within the Holy Roman Empire. The conflict is often simplified by describing it as a religious war between the Catholics and Protestants, but once foreign powers became involved such distinctions become wholly inaccurate as alliances became less ideologically based. Add into this mix the Seven, gang and council of witches, wizards, and madmen whose occult power has introduced the Dark Forces into the backdrop of the ruins of the villages and the surrounding countryside. They've seized control of the locations involved and declared an end to war and it gets much,much, worse. PC's can wander through the landscape and deal with a variety of dark and dangerous NPC's. The machinations of the Seven are at the heart of the adventure but there is far more going on here. What Better Then Any Man does is introduces several key concepts to the DM from the Lamentations Of the Flame Princess rpg system along with rules for black powder weapons which would be later expanded upon in the hardback rule book. The key adventure location and adventure elements are horrific, dangerous and downright PC tearing. PC's looking to tear across the landscape with guns and swords blazing are going to be dead and that's no lie. The adventure is a romp through the Thirty Year War and the horrors that echo through history brought to vivid life by the echoes and creatures of occult power throughout Better. This is a completely different take on the pseudo historical elements explored in Chandler's No Salvation For Witches adventure romp. The darkness here is mankind and the occult forces are working side by side taking every advantage but this Better reaches into the back drop of the soul on a much more personal and intimidate level of play on the horror tradition. This is an adventure that is a piece reaching for Howard and instead finding a splatterpunk aesthetic wrapped in a brutal brick of pulp flavored witchcraft laden piece of weird adventure. In fact this is outlined right in the introduction by James Raggi with the adventure details : • Anachronistic historical truth taken from other times and places from the Thirty Years War and the early-to-mid 17th century in general, • Historical myth, • Historical detail which is thought to be true by the author, but actually isn’t, • and pure fiction… … and it does not distinguish between them. This is a game book, not a tool for learning or teaching history, nor does it seek to encourage or discourage any real world attitudes or actions other than “Buy more Lamentations of the Flame Princess books because they’re gnarly.” This will give you a good explanation of what's in store for the PC's and also gives a good benchmark for PC generation. The PC's should be a very nice cross section of classes from across the Lamentations spectrum to get the best chances of not only survival but profiting from the experience laid out in the adventure. Better Then Any Man takes the dark and nasty bits of a pesudo historical pulp adventure setting and mixes in the essence of an open ended seven day romp through Germany. This is done with some really nasty adventure elements lurking in the backdrop. You've got covens,things from outside, the machinations of the Seven, time traveling wizards who murder children, and more. This module makes Ravenloft look like The Swiss Family Robinson adventures. Seriously its twisted,evil,and darkly dangerous. Look with everything I've said before this module introduces all of the major elements of horror and depravity set against the events of the thirty year war in the Lamentations of The Flame Princess game line self contained world. This is an offensive, dangerous, maliciously wonderful little romp through history seen through the fun house slaughter mode of James Raggi, if this sounds like a basic adventure to introduce all of the Lamentations of the Flame Princess rpg line to your players then check this one out. A quick read through of the Thirty Year War on Wiki can't hurt when running this one. If you want to get in on the ground floor the Lamentations system then this is good solidly done starting place. Its not for the faint of heart and well worth the price of admission with its twisted material and approach to historical detail. Well worth the download in my opinion.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Better Than Any Man
Publisher: Lamentations of the Flame Princess
by Troy V. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/20/2015 05:58:45

BTAM was only slightly better than DCOTCHC, but not by much.

I downloaded this based upon the good reviews of one of my fellow gamers and friends, but in the wake of reading it I realize that I can't run it with my group. Many of the elements found in Goblin Hill and in the Insect God's lair would rapidly drive fine members away from the table. A powerful wizard with a number of sexual psychoses and a penchant for repulsive sculpting with corpses and will TPK over a slight or personally perceived insult is an NPC I never want to place in a game session.

You have several days before the Swedish army rolls up on the Germans. If you want to survive the adventure, don't stand in their way, don't get involved; in fact, don't bother playing this adventure. Play a 5th edition game instead. Chances are, you will be significantly happier playing the 5e adventure than this one.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Better Than Any Man
Publisher: Lamentations of the Flame Princess
by Michael H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/02/2014 03:32:30

This PDF disables scroll bars using Reader XI on Windows 8.1



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Better Than Any Man
Publisher: Lamentations of the Flame Princess
by Jim M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/14/2014 23:36:45

Although I am not a big fan of LotFP overall, I found BTAM to be well written, if gory, adventure. Despite the claims of many, the adventure is really just an "against the evil cult" plot line. The quasi-historical setting and the invading army as time pressure device are both interesting elements that help make the story feel a little different. The former may be unique but the latter has appeared before. The BDSM/torture porn aspect is a little heavy handed and overdone but that is pretty typical of LotFP.

So what are the good and bad points? In its favor, the adventure is well constructed and the production is good, with excellently drawn illustrations and maps. I plan on using it pretty much as written with the exception that I will be putting it in a more medieval fantasy setting. If you scratch the surface, it is easy to see the basic bones of the plot and that the Thirty Years War setting is just a frame that can be adjusted at will. Interestingly, many of the individual encounter areas, particularly The Infinite Tower and Goblin Hill can easily be removed and used by themselves in other places, making the adventure even more useful.

On the downside, if you aren't into the gimp/dominatrix vibe, it's a little hard to eliminate some of the content but certainly not impossible. Jumping into an orgy to get info is just one example, I also feel that, considering some of the supposed influences, the adventure is lacking in terror. There is nothing in here to terrify characters (things that go bump in the night) even if there is plenty to horrify them (severed body parts and bloody disemboweled corpses).

Final thoughts: Honestly, BTAM represents a huge amount of usable content for free (unless you want to pay). Just don't leave it lying around; some people just wouldn't understand.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Better Than Any Man
Publisher: Lamentations of the Flame Princess
by Jonas B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/04/2013 13:25:23

Amazing adventure. My first exposure to Lamentations of the Flame Princess, but after reading this, for sure not the last.

Very dark and funny, and a great read in itself.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Better Than Any Man
Publisher: Lamentations of the Flame Princess
by Sam H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/28/2013 07:40:41

Pretty amazing art and fiction, not for the squeamish. A strong combination of history and horror!



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Better Than Any Man
Publisher: Lamentations of the Flame Princess
by JERRY M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/09/2013 15:51:47

Another great LOTFP adventure from Mr. Raggi. I admit, I use these in some of my other games and sometimes modify the outcomes so that there is at least a small possiblility of surviving (sorry Mr. Raggi) but this is one of the best.

One question though.

The version I got here had the color illustrations disabled for printing. How do I get them to print?



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Better Than Any Man
Publisher: Lamentations of the Flame Princess
by Mark H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/05/2013 22:25:29

Five horrific adventures in one book, tied together around the doom caused by holy wars. Fantastically gross and disturbing, and perhaps no way to win. The art is the usual fantastic torture porn common to LotFP, and earns the 18+ warning. The maps are excellent, and in the PDF hyperlinked to the encounters.

Unlike a typical Free RPG Day book, this has only a link to the free rules online, so it's all adventure. While it's mostly usable with any Old-School game, it only fits the tone of LotFP.

Give Raggi your money, read this, and take as much of it as you need for your demon-worshipping heavy metal fantasy horror gaming.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Better Than Any Man
Publisher: Lamentations of the Flame Princess
by Alexander L. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/05/2013 15:54:46

Originally posted at: http://diehardgamefan.com/2013/06/21/tabletop-review-better-than-any-man-lamentations-of-the-flame-princess/

Our last look at this year’s Free RPG Day is with Lamentations of the Flame Princess. We’ve had high praise for the game, along with releases like Carcosa and Vornheim. What can I say? James Edward Raggi IV and the other people involved put out some high quality stuff.

I have to admit I thought it was odd that LotFP was participating in Free RPG Day as the event is generally geared to bring either new gamers into the hobby or old gamers to a new system. Considering how polarizing LotFP can be I was curious how they were going to run their offering. LotFP isn’t the most rules heavy system and oftentimes, Raggi’s stuff can be classified as system neutral because you can fit it into many a setting with little to no work, so how would Quick Start Rules work? Well, it turns out LotFP said, “Fuck the Quick Start Rules! Here’s a full fledged adventure that you’d normally pay a big wad of cash for. Thanks for buying our crazy stuff!” In truth, Better Than Any Man feels like it was written for those who already are into Flame Princess releases as a reward for supporting the company rather than a, “Psst. Hey you. Buy our core Rulebook!” However, the astute reader will note that inside the adventure is a link to download the full core rulebook for LotFP, albeit art free. So while at first glance, Better Than Any Man seems to be the least welcoming release to newcomers out of the Free RPG offerings, a closer inspection shows that it’s the MOST. After all, what would YOU rather have? A sixteen page set of scaled back rules for a game meant to make you buy a fifty-sixty dollar book, or a full length, nigh 100 page adventure that also gives you a digital copy of the core rulebook FOR FREE? It’s wasn’t a hard choice people.

That said, the reputation of Lamentations of the Flame Princess might have hurt the Free RPG Day release a bit. At the first gaming store I went to, the proprietor hid his copies of Better Than Any Man which he said he did to prevent kids from looking at the art. You had to specifically ask for it by name to pick it up, which kind of defeats the point of getting into a NEW gaming system, no? While I was there, only a single person asked for it while no one else thought to. They were too busy debating between Star Wars, Pathfinder and Shadowrun Quick Start Rules. At the next store, which was a comic store, Better Than Any Man was on full display because the store was more than a little ignorant on role playing games. They had a small game section but it was mostly board games and a little bit of D&D and Pathfinder. Well, I did get to see the amusement of a nine year old picking up Raggi’s adventure and flipping through it, see the extremely well done pictures of severed heads, severed hands, a guy’s wang being infested with insects and so on. Well, the parent of said child wasn’t too happy something with a big “18+: EXPLICIT CONTENT” red circle on it was open for perusing and made the kid pick something else (I think it was Star Wars), but you could see the kid was completely mystified by the pretty pictures which shows that sometimes, it’s the art, not the rules that first draw a person into a system. I can’t imagine a group of nine years olds actually PLAYING LotFP although I really do want a video podcast of someone attempting this now… My point of both of these stories is that in each case, LotFP lost potential new fans because of the game’s reputation and/or presentation. I’m not saying Raggi should care and I’m definitely not saying LotFP should make things more open to a younger audience – just that it’s interesting to note how people, both brand new to the industry and who actually revolve their lives around it react to this game.

Now, on for the adventure! Clocking in at a whopping ninety-six pages, Better Than Any Man is not only the biggest Free RPG Day release of the year, but it’s actually bigger than some LoTFP adventures I’ve purchased. That’s an insane deal of awesome proportions. The adventure itself is extremely detailed and could, in fact, be considered a campaign rather than an adventure due to the inclusion of eight different dungeons, a potential open-ended time travel aspect of the adventure and the fact characters will spend eight days running around a big chunk of Germany trying to limit the damage done by invading Swedes and a malevolent Insect God who wishes to engage in a pretty hefty amount of genocide. I can’t even begin to imagine how someone would run this highly detailed and intricate affair in a single gaming session – unless all the characters die horribly in that first day’s attempt. Now that might be intimidating to people picking up a LotFP release for the first time, but I personally think it’s great. You’re not getting a four hour one-shot freebie but something that will last you weeks or even months simply for going, “I want the one with the hentai monster on it” as your Free RPG Day releaser of choice. There’s just so much content in this thing I don’t know where to begin!

Better Than Any Man is a pretty open ended adventure. You’re giving a rough timeline of events for how things will go if the PCs fail to make any progress and/or die horribly, but other than that, you are given locations, dungeons and random encounters that can occur in any order the person running the adventure sees fit. As Better Than Any Man is so open ended, it’s something only a highly experienced DM/GS/Storyteller/Keeper/Whatever will be able to run smoothly, and even then, only after reading the adventure several times and scrawling out how his or her version of the adventure will flow. Besides the whole inclusion of The Thirty Years War and some real players from it, PCs will also encounter a town run by seven sorceresses and their strange monstrous sidekick/pets, an ancient God wishing harm on all of humanity, a time travelling wizard who likes cutting up children and may be the lesser of multiple evils and even more crazy crap being thrown at them. Players may have to gather information via weird sex acts or some light BDSM. They might engage in a battle with Scooby-Doo style zombies. One might get transformed into an Avatar of the Insect God. One might come away from this with a pair of hands growing out of his nut sac. As I said, there is a lot of weird shit in this adventure that is highly memorable and will either having you fully embracing Lamentations of the Flame Princess or declaring that your first exposure will be your last. I can’t honestly say this is my favorite adventure for the system, but it’s definitely one that will help you make your mind up about whether you want to invest in the game or not almost immediately, which is what I feel a Free RPG Day Release should do.

Artwise, there are some graphic images, but nowhere near the level of gore and nudity you’d find in other LotFP releases. I can honestly say I think this is the least amount of genitals I’ve seen in a LotFP release of this size! Your feelings on eviscerated vaginas aside, the art really is spectacular in the piece, which is all the more impressive because it’s a free release to the general public lucky enough to scoop one up. Just the sheer attention to detail, quality and production values makes this my favorite release from Free RPG 2013 and honestly, I wasn’t sure if I was going to even pick this up until I got there. You damn near got an (ick) Pathfinder review instead of this!

I should also add that the cover of this adventure comes off, because when my wife picked it up to see what it was (and grimaced when she saw it was a LotFP release…) the actual adventure slid out onto the floor and she remaked, “Wow, that’s some bad production values right there.” In fact, it’s not. The inside cover is a map of the region you and your troupe will be playing in and the cover is designed to come off to provide both a visual aid to the gamers and to help a DM know where everything is in location to each other and with handy dandy page references to each. I like this, but I will admit that if you don’t except this, you probably will drop the content onto the floor the first time you pick it up.

All in all, I was thoroughly impressed by Better Than Any Man. While it’s not my favorite LotFP offering, it is by far the most impressive offering out of the Free RPG Day 2013 offerings. You’re getting a full campaign AND a digital version of the (art free) core rulebook! How could you pass this up. While I’m not sure if Better Than Any Man will be released outside of this Free RPG Day event, either physically or digitally, it is well worth tracking down even if you have to pay a few bucks for it. This is an adventure that will not only test players, but the DM running it as well. I’d definitely recommend it to fans of the system, albeit less so for people who are unaware of what LotFP is all about. This might not be your first foray into the system.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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