Thursday, October 20, 2016

A Simpler Start for My Online LotFP Game

So I've thought about my tentative house rules for the online campaign that I hope to start soon, and I think I might be forcing my players to jump off of the deep end if I subject them to all of that right away. Most of them are probably unfamiliar with both the specific set of rules and the old-school/OSR style, so adding a whole bunch of weird, experimental rule changes on top of that might overcomplicate things or give a false impression of what the typical experience of the game is like (assuming there is such a thing). If I were new to the game, I could easily see myself playing for the first time in a campaign with all kinds of oddball rule changes and then playing what I thought was the same game elsewhere and practically having to learn everything over again. "What? Different character classes get different saving throws? And what's up with all these different categories?" Maybe that wouldn't be as hard as it sounds in my head, but I bet that it would be more beneficial to start off simply and then introduce the more unorthodox ideas later, maybe even in a different campaign. There will hopefully be time for playtesting after everyone has gotten comfortable.

I do want to use some house rules right from the beginning, but not so many of them or ones that are quite so different from what the players could read in the free rulebook. So for now, here are the few house rules I definitely want to start with. To quote the post I linked to above, "I should also note that most of these are lifted from the LotFP Playtest Document, either as-is or in modified form. I may not explicitly mention this in all cases, so please keep in mind that credit for a lot of this material should go to James Raggi."

Ability Score Checks - When a PC attempts to accomplish certain risky actions that are not covered by a Skill, the DM may ask for an Ability Score Check (Strength Check, Charisma Check, etc.) in order to determine success or failure. The player rolls 3d6. If the result is equal to or less than their character's relevant ability score, they succeed. If the result is higher, they fail.

Character Classes - There are two options regarding the available character classes that I am considering. Before the campaign beings, I would like my players to make a group decision about which one to use. I would be glad to answer questions about these choices, of course.
  1. Available character classes are the Fighter, Specialist, Magic-User, Cleric, Elf, Dwarf, and Halfling. Class abilities operate by the book, or RAW (Rules as Written) at the beginning of the campaign, but we can negotiate tweaks to these rules over time if desired. Also, new classes can be "unlocked" or discovered through play, and thus added to the roster of character creation options in the future. Members of the Elf, Dwarf, and Halfling classes should note that their characters may face severe discrimination and hostility in human communities, and that NPC members of these classes will probably be extremely rare. I may or may not implement my house rules from this post regarding the Elf.
  2. Available character classes are the Fighter, Magic-User, Cleric, and Alice (or Fool). In addition to their usual class abilities, all characters gain skill points as per the Specialist, which is no longer a separate class. No class starts with free specialist tools. The Alice class will probably use the HP, Saving Throw, and XP chart of the Specialist, and the Level Up table for the Alice will be altered to remove the entries that improve the character's Saving Throws or increase skill points. I reserve the right to alter the table in other ways before the campaign begins. Also, new classes can be "unlocked" or discovered through play, and thus added to the roster of character creation options in the future. However, I will alter these new classes to fit the house rules above if I feel it is helpful or necessary.
P.S. I still want to try out my crazy "everybody's a Fighter" thing I mentioned previously, but since I don't think it's very old-school compared to the options above (among other reasons), I have decided not to do so with this group just yet.

Critical Hits - If a natural 20 is rolled to hit, the attack automatically hits and does maximum damage (e.g. 8 if the attack would normally do 1d8 damage).

Experience Points - No more than one level of experience can be gained per session. If a character gains enough experience points to gain more than one level in a single session, the character only gains one level for the time being. In order to reach the next level, the character must gain at least 1 additional experience point in a future session. This continues until the character does not have enough experience points for the next level. "Excess" experience points are not lost.

Increasing HP - Upon leveling up, roll a number of Hit Dice equal to your new level (up to level 9, after which each additional level gives you less, as per Rules & Magic). If you roll an amount higher than your previous maximum, that becomes your new maximum HP. If you roll an amount equal to or lower than your previous maximum, your new maximum is your previous maximum plus 1.

Read Magic - This spell is no longer necessary.

Replacement Characters - When your character dies, you have two options.
  1. Create a new character. This character starts with an amount of XP (and appropriate level) determined by the house rule outlined in this post.
  2. Use one of your last character's NPC retainers as your new character.
The Rule of One (Paraphrased from the Playtest Document) - If the DM justreally wants an excuse to screw with the players, they can roll a d6. On a 1, the DM has permission to add a problem or complication to the current situation.
The Rule of Reasonableness (Paraphrased from the Playtest Document) - If the chance of failure wouldn't be interesting, or if it seems reasonable that something should just work, let the PCs automatically succeed at what they're doing.
Skill List - Available skills include the following:
  • Architecture (I might change this to Engineering, as per Papers & Pencils)
  • Bushcraft
  • Climb (I might change this to Atheletics, as per Papers & Pencils.)
  • Languages
  • Luck
  • Medicine (I might call this First Aid)
  • Seamanship
  • Sleight of Hand
  • Sneak Attack
  • Stealth
  • Tinker
  • Others that may be added over time
The skills "Open Doors" and "Search" have been removed, as per my notes HERE.

 Strength - No longer affects Open Doors because this skill has been removed.

Shadowgate (NES Version) and D&D

My internet was out at home yesterday, and I wanted to do something spooky in keeping with this wonderful season, so I popped Shadowgate in my NES and played through it again for the first time in a while. The game was clearly influenced by D&D (and/or games or fiction related to D&D), so I had a few thoughts about old-school tabletop RPGs while playing it. Needless to say, there are going to be spoilers, but this game is about as old as I am, so I doubt anyone is going to care.

As with D&D, Shadowgate is cool because it draws from a variety of sources to create its fantasy setting. D&D had the famous Appendix N, plus it often drew monsters and magic items and such from fairy tales and folk tales, from mythology and religion, from urban legends, from history, and even from jokes and puns. Shadowgate has a greedy troll guarding a bridge, a riddle-loving sphinx, a cyclops who gets dispatched almost exactly like Goliath (complete with a cry of "Death to the Philistine!"), a shark swimming around an underground pool like something out of Jaws or a cartoon, a wishing well that responds favorably to money, green slime straight out of D&D, a dragon and some dragon-like creatures, a werewolf, a hellhound, and much more packed into this relatively short and simple game.

In some ways, Shadowgate does some things that would be inappropriate in D&D. Puzzles generally (perhaps always) have only one solution, and other than the fact that some puzzles can be solved and some areas can be explored in different orders, the game is very linear, so a tabletop version of Shadowgate would be a total railroad if it were run just like the video game. Also, things in Shadowgate are either lethal or non-lethal; there are no saving throws or hit points to give the player some slack for making bad choices or having bad luck, although the game does give the player infinite lives and the ability to save their progress, so I guess it's a wash.

On the other hand, Shadowgate gets a lot of things really right about old-school, D&D-style dungeon crawling as far as I'm concerned. Running out of torchlight is a constant concern. Life is cheap and death is often hilarious. There are secret passages and chambers all over the place. Burning things is often the key to winning. The challenges come from a good mix of NPCs, traps, and puzzles. The environment has a lot of stuff to examine and interact with, and not all of it is necessary for victory. There's at least one magic item that feels a bit more unique and strange than just another magic sword or scroll - I'm specifically thinking of the super-cold magic orb, which gets more than one use, unlike most items in the game other than torches, and the use of which requires some clever thinking on the part of any player who lacks a walkthrough. The titular castle is enough of a gonzo funhouse dungeon to offer lots of surprises and amusement, but also pretty coherent overall since it totally seems like the kind of place an evil and powerful warlock would design. And of course, you can't trust the woman chained up in the tower begging for help. That's a classic trick in fantasy games. Playing Shadowgate feels to me like a satisfying old-school dungeon crawl distilled into a quick, rules-light, solo game with great music.

Sometimes I think that when RPGs started being adapted to video games, both directly and indirectly, the various things that make RPGs good got split up between different genres. Point and click adventures like Shadowgate (and their older cousins, text adventures/interactive fiction), especially really good and complex ones with multiple puzzle solutions, nonlinear progression, and choices (especially dialogue choices) which can heavily alter the course of the story, often handle the creative side of the RPG experience really well. Meanwhile, video game RPGs tend to do interesting things with "crunch" like creating intricate combat systems, offering a variety of interesting choices in character creation and advancement, making in-game economies that matter to the player (because they need to get better equipment or more supplies or what have you), making the player balance exploration with resource management, and getting the player addicted to collecting loot and XP. But looking at older video games, and perhaps newer ones to a lesser extent, adventure games don't generally offer the "crunch" of RPGs, and RPGs generally don't offer the puzzles or dialogue of adventure games. This is obviously not true across the board; for example, the Quest for Glory series combines the adventure and RPG genres, while many RPG series like Fallout, The Elder Scrolls, and Mass Effect have won over fans with branching stories, interesting dialogue systems, quests with multiple solutions, and open-world gameplay. Sometimes this genre separation in video games is not a bad thing, either, but I think it holds true much of the time as an overall trend. One cool thing about D&D and many other tabletop RPGs is that they're like playing a point and click adventure and a video game RPG at the same time, in one fairly seamless experience and with a plethora of options and possibilities more or less unavailable in video games due to the limits of pre-programmed game systems vs. human imagination and ingenuity. This, along with the social and cultural aspects of tabletop RPGs, helps explain why I love such games, despite (or maybe just in addition to) my love of video games. Tabletop RPGs continue to be amazing fun in a world of electronic entertainment, and their versatile, free-form nature accounts for much of that.

UPDATE: If you want to learn more about video game RPGs, I recommend checking out The CRPG Addict. Ditto with adventure video games and The Adventure Gamer.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Babbling in Common

So I stumbled across this post over at Tales of the Grotesque and Dungeonesque, and it made some things click into place for me.

Your typical old-school D&D setting is basically a howling wilderness with only small bastions of civilization, right? Basically a post-apocalyptic world. (It certainly explains all of the dungeons and other ruins.) And yet, the people in these isolated fortresses and Medieval-Europe-Meets-Mad Max-style ramshackle villages, who have little contact with outsiders, little in the way of wealth or resources, and little access to what we would consider "education" in the modern sense, all manage to speak at least one common, consistent language. And if I'm not mistaken, many (even most) of these people are generally portrayed as literate, too! We're talking modern or near-modern literacy levels in a setting that is both pseudo-medieval and post-apocalyptic. That's got to be some kind of miracle, right? Some kind of magic?

Well, why not explain all this by sticking a Tower of Unity somewhere on your world map? A reverse-Tower of Babel, the construction of which created a common tongue. The aforementioned blog post called it the "Lexicos Spire." You could even go a step farther and say the Tower somehow creates or enforces other commonalities between the far-flung remnants of civilization, like a common form of currency and a common set of by-laws for all those Thieves' Guilds and Druidic Circles and such.

And maybe a well-organized coalition of bad guys are trying to bring down the Tower and pull a Babel on the world for their own nefarious reasons. Since this would make life a lot more difficult for the PCs, they might want to do something about it.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

"Huh? Radio? What's going on with that radio?"

Roll a d12:
  1. All of the radio stations within range are broadcasting pure silence. Every once in a while, the silence is broken by a series of tones which drive some people to commit crazed and creative violence.
  2. An announcement from the CDC warning about the dangers of a memetic virus slowly turns into a vector for that virus.
  3. The news reports are all talking about an impending collision with a rogue neutron star. Outside of the news, there is no evidence that this is really happening. At least, not yet.
  4. The commercials are all advertising unappealing products like Fetus-Os cereal and Now That's What I Call Scaphism Volume 10.
  5. The usual Sunday hymns are replaced with primal, gurgling chants, and the sermon discusses the virtues of being eaten last.
  6. The songs are all ostensibly by familiar artists, but no one recognizes a single one of these tunes.
  7. Someone is hosting an all-day radio interview with Ketatath, the Lord of Ossified Polynomials.
  8. This song is so catchy, you just can't help but dance. Seriously, you have no choice.
  9. The hit new single is literally just sex sounds. Everybody but you seems to love it without question.
  10. The traffic report casually mentions a miles-long swarm of acid-spewing killer bees headed right in your direction.
  11. The only station on the air has someone just listing names in a somber tone, occasionally broken up by sobbing and whimpering.
  12. The lyrics to every song on the radio have been altered in order to include messages that personally threaten you and your loved ones.
(This post's title is a quote from Silent Hill, in case you were wondering.)

So You Decapitated the Quest-Giver

Roll a d12:
  1. Your victim breaks down into their constituent parts. Roll 1d6: 1=Sugar, Spice, and Everything Nice; 2=Snakes, Snails, and Puppy Dog Tails; 3= Earth, Fire, Wind, and Water; 4=Earth, Fire, Wood, Water, and Metal; 5=A neatly folded pile of skin, a carefully stacked pile of bones, a coil of intestines, etc.; 6=Carbon, Oxygen, Hydrogen, etc., with a 50% chance of highly radioactive or otherwise unstable material being present in a dangerous amount
  2. Smoke pours out of the victim's neck stump and forms into a genie that offers to grant one wish, provided the wish is no longer than four words and the first three words are "I wish for..."
  3. Confetti and candy shoot out of the victim's neck stump, and children can be heard cheering in every direction.
  4. The victim picks up their head and carries it around, being all like "No big deal, guys." The Quest-Giver now works stupid head-related puns into conversation as much as possible.
  5. The Quest-Giver disappears Obi-Wan Kenobi-style, leaving just empty clothes and possessions behind. They may return as a blue ghost at the referee's discretion.
  6. The Quest-Giver's head grows limbs and starts scampering around like John Carpenter's The Thing. I hope you brought fire.
  7. The victim's body turns out to be a lifeless mannequin. Which you've possibly been talking to for quite a while.
  8. The victim turns out to be three children stacked on top of each other and disguised as a single adult. And now you've just decapitated the topmost child.
  9. A new head pops up in place of the old one. There is a 50% chance that it is either comically tiny or unreasonably huge. There is also a 50% chance that it is either identical to the original head or that it is identical to someone else's head (referee's choice). If this new head is chopped off, rinse and repeat (but with an even bigger or smaller head).
  10. Your victim's blood shoots at least six feat into the air like a geyser or a high-pressure fire hose. The gushing lasts 1d6x10 seconds. Then roll 1d6 again: a secondary spurt of that many seconds happens shortly afterwards.
  11. Some kind of lumpy homunculus craws out of the victim's neck stump, grows tiny wings, and tries to fly away in order to report your actions to its mysterious master.
  12. The disembodied head explodes with the force of a hand grenade. On top of that, there's a 50% chance it also sprays the area with that ink that department stores sometimes put in security tags on clothing, and an additional 50% chance it produces a cloud of foul-smelling fumes that seem to stick to everything like skunk spray.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

LotFP Specialist vs. Referee Book Thief

In the free Lamentations of the Flame Princess Referee Book, there's a section (p. 70-71) which talks about comparing the Specialist class to the Thief class in old-school D&D and similar games. A table is provided which demonstrates how to convert the Thief's percentile-based skill spread to the Specialist's d6-based skills. I thought it might be interesting to compare how many skill points the Thief's proposed skill spread gives a character based on this chart, in comparison to the number of skill points a regular Specialist gets. Remember that skills in LotFP start at 1 in 6 for all characters, and they max out at 6 in 6, so it takes 5 skill points to raise a skill from the minimum score to the maximum.

Level 1          Specialist 4 (Total 4)          Thief 7 (Total 7)
Level 2          Specialist 2 (Total 6)          Thief 0 (Total 7)
Level 3          Specialist 2 (Total 8)          Thief 1 (Total 8)
Level 4          Specialist 2 (Total 10)        Thief 1 (Total 9)
Level 5          Specialist 2 (Total 12)        Thief 1 (Total 10)
Level 6          Specialist 2 (Total 14)        Thief 4 (Total 14)
Level 7          Specialist 2 (Total 16)        Thief 2 (Total 16)
Level 8          Specialist 2 (Total 18)        Thief 0 (Total 16)
Level 9          Specialist 2 (Total 20)        Thief 1 (Total 17)
Level 10        Specialist 2 (Total 22)        Thief 3 (Total 20)
Level 11        Specialist 2 (Total 24)        Thief 2 (Total 22)

It looks like the classic Thief gets an early lead, but is quickly eclipsed by the Specialist and never surpasses it again.

On the one hand, if it's true that most LotFP players are almost never going to get to level up their characters, as I've seen some people say, then you could argue that the Thief is actually the better class simply on account of it having higher skills at level one, the one true level that you're going to be stuck at anyway.

On the other hand, the Specialist clearly seems better to me for two reasons. First, the Specialist gets to distribute those points as the player sees fit, allowing for different character "builds" (a term which probably makes some old-school players cringe, but I feel like I'm calling a spade a spade here). That way, you're not stuck playing a Thief, but instead you could be a translator or a scholar or a wilderness survival expert or a pirate or whatever, and that's super cool. Second, if you do manage to level up, you're going to get way more points in the long run as a Specialist, and it won't even take that many levels to outclass the Thief. It's probably also worth mentioning that the Thief doesn't get any skill points at level 2 or 8, which is boring, and the table only goes up to level 11 in the Referee book, so I don't know if the Thief maxes out at 22 points or not - I guess it would depend on which game's Thief you're converting to the d6 skill system.

So yeah, I prefer the Specialist. It's definitely one of the nicest things LotFP brings to the B/X formula, at least insofar as I've experienced it.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Final Fantasy 1 Classes for LotFP

"For ten years I probed for the FLOATER."

Here's something I'm pretty sure no one asked for: classes for Lamentations of the Flame Princess based on those of the classic NES/Famicom game Final Fantasy, which you may have heard of. ("What?! You've never heard of Dr. Unne?") These have not been playtested as of this post, and are probably not balanced. If you use these, I would probably recommend restricting the classes available to the players to just these (and possibly other Final Fantasy- or video game-themed classes, if you have any).

All Classes - "You might think that there is something to it.... But in fact it is just an ordinary well."
  • XP as Elf.
  • Gain and spend skill points like a Specialist. No class starts with free specialist tools.
  • Add Strength modifier to melee damage.
  • Critical Hits - If a natural 20 is rolled to hit, the attack automatically hits and does maximum damage (e.g. 9 if the weapon used does d8 damage and the attack has a Strength modifier of +1).
  • All classes that cast spells can do so one-handed, as LotFP Elf. A holy symbol is not needed in order to cast Cleric spells.
  • The Read Magic spell is no longer necessary.
  • Holy water does 1d12 damage to appropriate targets instead of 1d8.
  • I wouldn't worry about alignment, personally, but if it came up for some reason, I'd say Fighters/Thieves/Black Belts can choose their alignment, White Mages are Lawful, Black Mages are Chaotic, and Red Mages count as whichever would be more interesting at any given moment.
Fighter - "You impertinent fools. I, Garland, will knock you all down!"

  • Hit Dice are d10, as LotFP Dwarf (UPDATE: This was originally "d8, as LotFP Fighter")
  • Saving Throws as LotFP Fighter or Specialist, whichever is better (see my Myth Warrior class for an example of how I do this)
  • Base Attack Bonus, Combat Options, etc. as LotFP Fighter
  • Increased encumbrance capacity, as LotFP Dwarf
  • Constitution modifier continues to apply to HP gained per level after level 9, as LotFP Dwarf.
  • At level 10, the Fighter earns the title of Knight, and can begin to learn and cast some Cleric spells. For purposes of determining known spells and Spells Per Day, treat a level 10 Knight as a level 1 LotFP Cleric, a level 11 Knight as a level 2 Cleric, etc. Knights can never learn or cast spells of over third level, even from scrolls (although Cleric potions of any level will work on the Knight just like any other character). Knights cannot research/create brand new spells or create magic items.
Thief - "Unprofitable business is not a practice of the Dragons of Cardia."
  • Hit Dice are d8, as LotFP Fighter
  • Saving Throws as LotFP Fighter or Specialist, whichever is better (see my Myth Warrior class for an example of how I do this)
  • Base Attack Bonus, Combat Options, etc. as LotFP Fighter
  • Only surprised on a 1 in 6, as LotFP Elf
  • +1 to Dexterity modifier and +1 to AC when not surprised, as LotFP Halfling
  • Extra +1 to initiative (UPDATE: Not originally included)
  • At level 10, the Thief earns the title of Ninja, and can begin to learn and cast some Magic-User spells. For purposes of determining known spells and Spells Per Day, treat a level 10 Ninja as a level 1 LotFP Magic-User, a level 11 Ninja as a level 2 Ninja, etc. Ninja can never learn or cast spells of over third level, even from scrolls, wands, and staves (although Magic-User potions of any level will work on the Ninja just like any other character). Ninja cannot research/create brand new spells or create magic items, but they can learn spells (by gaining levels, copying them from other spellbooks or scrolls, or researching spells already on the game's spell list) like Magic-Users. A Ninja must buy or otherwise acquire a spellbook; one is not automatically provided.
Black Belt - "The TAIL of a rat proves your courage. I shall give you the honor due true Warriors."
  • Hit Dice are d8, as LotFP Fighter
  • Saving Throws as LotFP Fighter or Specialist, whichever is better (see my Myth Warrior class for an example of how I do this)
  • Base Attack Bonus, Combat Options, etc. as LotFP Fighter
  • Does not gain any AC bonus from armor heavier than Leather. Does not gain any AC bonus from a shield.
  • Only does d4 damage with over-encumbering weapons, and does not apply Base Attack Bonus when using such weapons.
  • When no more than lightly encumbered, the Black Belt does higher damage with unarmed attacks than other characters: d4 at level 1, d6 at level 4, d8 at level 7, and d10 at level 10. At level 5, the Black Belt gains the ability to make 2 unarmed attacks per combat round when unencumbered, and this increases to 3 unarmed attacks per combat round at level 10. These are altered versions of rules borrowed from Qelong by Kenneth Hite.
  • Ignores damage from 10' of falling per level (maximum 100'). When unencumbered, can move up to 60' per round (180' running). In addition to using the Climb skill as normal, a Black Belt can Spider Climb (as per the spell) for a total number of turns per day equal to their level (maximum 10), and these turns do not have to be consecutive. These are altered versions of rules borrowed from Qelong by Kenneth Hite.
  • At level 10, the Black Belt earns the purely honorary title of Grand Master.
Red Mage - "400 years ago, we had an advanced civilization. Our interest was the universe!!"
  • Hit Dice are d6, as LotFP Cleric
  • Saving Throws as LotFP Fighter or Specialist, whichever is better (see my Myth Warrior class for an example of how I do this)
  • Base Attack Bonus as LotFP Fighter when up to lightly encumbered, but only BAB of +1 at heavy encumbrance or higher. No Fighter Combat Options (or Fighter firearm rules if you use guns). UPDATE: If you want to stick closer to the original LotFP rules, or if you just want the Red Mage's class features to be a little less fiddly, you could easily swap out the increasing BAB for the Fighter Combat Options and call it a day.
  • Cannot cast spells if more than lightly encumbered
  • Casts Cleric spells and performs other magical functions as LotFP Cleric, with some differences. At level 1, the Red Mage can cast 1 Cleric Spell Per Day, and their Cleric Spells Per Day increase every odd numbered level after this. For example, a Red Mage can cast 2 first level Spells Per Day at level 3 (like a level 2 Cleric), 3 first level Spells Per Day at level 5 (like a level 3 Cleric), 3 first level and 1 second level Spells Per Day at level 7 (like a level 4 Cleric), etc. Red Mages can never learn spells of over fifth level, and can only cast them from scrolls or other magic items.
  • Casts Magic-User spells and performs other magical functions as LotFP Magic-User, with some differences. At character creation, the Red Mage starts with a free spellbook containing three random first level spells. Each time the Black Mage earns a level, they gain one free random spell of the player's spell level of choice as per Rules & Magic, but they only take one day to scribe it into their spellbook (instead of the normal research time). At level 1, the Red Mage can cast 1 Magic-User Spell Per Day, and their Magic-User Spells Per Day increase every even numbered level after this. For example, a Red Mage can cast 2 first level Spells Per Day at level 2 (like a level 2 Magic-User), 2 first level and 1 second level Spells Per Day at level 4 (like a level 3 Magic-User), 2 first level and 2 second level Spells Per Day at level 6 (like a level 4 Magic-User), etc. Red Mages can never learn spells of over fifth level, and can only cast them from scrolls, wands, etc.
  • A Red Mage can make potions of Cleric spells without help from another character (see Rules & Magic p. 81).
  • At level 10, the Red Mage earns the title of Red Wizard. The Red Wizard gains the "Most Learned" ability from the Doctor character class created by Patrick Stuart and published in The Undercroft #9. They also gain a 50% discount on the purchase of any hat due to their obvious and admirable expertise in fashionable headwear.
White Mage - "We, the Twelve Sages, were led here by the stars and prophecy."
  • Hit Dice are d6, as LotFP Cleric
  • Saving Throws as LotFP Cleric or Specialist, whichever is better
  • Casts Cleric spells and performs other magical functions as LotFP Cleric.
  • Can cast spells at any level of encumbrance less than over encumbered (5+ points).
  • Can memorize (but not cast) up to 1 addition spell per spell level per day. This "Spell Versatility" rule is borrowed from the article "Classless Lamentations of the Flame Princess" by Marc "Lord Inar" Gacy, published in The Undercroft #4.
  • At level 10, the White Mage earns the title of White Wizard. The White Wizard automatically succeeds at creating protection scrolls (see Rules & Magic p. 76) as long as an appropriate creature of at least 1 HD is sacrificed. Furthermore, the White Wizard can now create a vial of holy water in one day (and with one casting of Bless) instead of 10 (see Rules & Magic p. 76).
Black Mage - "----TCELES B HSUP A magic spell?"
  • Hit Dice are d6 at level 1 and d4 after that, as LotFP Magic-User
  • Saving Throws as LotFP Magic-User or Specialist, whichever is better
  • Casts Magic-User spells and performs other magical functions as LotFP Magic-User
  • At character creation, starts with a free spellbook containing the spell Summon, one first level spell of the player's choice, and two random first level spells. Each time the Black Mage earns a level, they gain one free random spell of the player's spell level of choice as per Rules & Magic, but they only take one day to scribe it into their spellbook (instead of the normal research time).
  • Can perform "Unsafe Casting" in order to cast spells when out of Spells Per Day or otherwise unable to cast normally (see LotFP Playtest Document 0.1 for details).
  • Can memorize (but not cast) up to 1 addition spell per spell level per day. This "Spell Versatility" rule is borrowed from the article "Classless Lamentations of the Flame Princess" by Marc "Lord Inar" Gacy, published in The Undercroft #4.
  • At level 10, the Black Mage earns the title of Black Wizard. The Black Wizard automatically gains the spell Advanced Summon (treat as a fifth level spell, not ninth) in addition to the usual spell gained upon earning a level - this is the only way to gain this spell, and no other class can learn or cast it. This spell magically appears in the Black Wizard's spellbook, so it does not take a day to copy down. Even if cast from a scroll or other magic item, only a Black Wizard (a Black Mage of level 10 or higher) can cast this spell. Furthermore, when using a laboratory, the Black Wizard no longer needs to roll a Saving Throw vs. Magic in order to see if the value of the laboratory is decreased or if an explosion occurs; this Saving Throw is simply assumed to automatically succeed.
Closing Thoughts - "See your face upon the clean water. How dirty! Come! Wash your face!"

  • I gave the Specialist's skill points to every class because Final Fantasy doesn't have anything really comparable (the Thief in the video game is basically a Fighter variant), so it seemed better to give a little bit of skill check duty to everyone in the party regardless of class instead of keeping it in the domain of one class, and therefore drastically changing how that class would probably play in comparison to the video game. Final Fantasy is a very combat-focused game, so these classes follow suit. Plus I kind of like the idea of having a skill system that is separate from and/or parallel to the class system, kinda sorta like in later editions of D&D. I'm sure this isn't to everyone's taste. An alternative idea is to ditch the skill system and play like it's pre-Supplement I OD&D: Just try things, and the DM will tell you if it works or not.
  • Likewise, I added the Saving Throws of the Specialist to those of the "base" classes just to make the "everyone is a Specialist" thing consistent and to make the new classes a little tougher. It's not at all necessary. 
  • I'm not entirely happy with how magic works with these classes, especially the Red Mage. I feel like there must be a simpler way to handle the number of spells these classes can cast at a given level, for example. Maybe some kind of MP system is in order, like in the video games?
  • If you think holy water just isn't Final Fantasy enough, you could probably reskin it as some damage-dealing item from another game in the Final Fantasy series.
  • If NPCs behaved in your LotFP campaign the way they do in video game RPGs like this one - you know, repeating the same lines over and over, occasionally speaking in weird ways, obsessively patrolling certain paths, constantly getting in your way - I imagine it could be pretty creepy and/or funny. Maybe every town in the world has been afflicted with the same crazy curse.
  • Since they're so much more powerful than the default classes in Lamentations of the Flame Princess, these new classes would probably work better in a slightly more typical D&D-style campaign than in a typical LotFP campaign featuring a low monster count, rare magic, low XP-per-game, etc. It would have probably made more sense to base these classes on the B/X rules or AD&D rules or something, but I'm honestly more familiar with the LotFP rules as of now. Plus, I thought this might serve as an interesting thought experiment or something, I guess. Still, a mash-up of Final Fantasy and LotFP might not be so bad: JRPG tropes clashing with bleak cosmic horror and surprising injections of a brutal, heavy metal aesthetic. My Lamentations of the Fallen Lords campaign is similarly over-the-top in terms of character abilities, and it's been really fun, so...who knows?
  • I tried to create an interesting mix of specific class features from the NES game (or at least rules inspired by them) and stuff I like from the existing LotFP rules and publications, plus some of my own ideas. If anyone has any suggestions on how to improve any of these classes, please feel free to let me know.

"My legs are beautiful! It's so nice to have legs."
I want to give a shout out to Blueberry Buttface at GameFAQs for posting the text dump of Final Fantasy that I mined for quotes. Thank you!