Posted on December 8, 2018
What is a long campaign in Lamentations of the Flame Princess?
My LotFP group just wrapped up what will likely be the last session of our regular LotFP campaign of 2018. Our game is played via Roll20 as we are split between three different countries these days, and generally we play every fortnight, although over the middle months of the year we were often playing weekly instead. We have been playing our “England Upturn’d” campaign for just under 2 years now, although about halfway through we did have a near total party kill (and the survivors imprisoned without hope of escape) and we started playing again with a new party, continuing in the living campaign setting of weird fantasy Civil War England as the first party had left it. Maybe that fact means that our 2 year campaign is really two 1 year campaigns, with the second a sequel to the first? I am pretty sure though that by the standards of Gyyax Himself in the 1e DMG, our game counts as one campaign. But I digress…
What counts as a long campaign in LotFP anyway? I have noticed in Raggi’s forewords to recent products and online statements the suggestion that the typical campaign is short and tends to stay in a low-level range. Indeed, the “most campaigns don’t last until high level” thinking informs the suggested spell-level free casting system included in the last two Free RPG Day releases, Vaginas are Magic! and Eldritch Cock. High level spells are fun but you aren’t going to make it to high level so why not make spells level-free so that any magic-user can cast them? I am not saying that is wrong, by the way, just that it suggests I am right when I guess that most LotFP campaigns are short.
LotFP is based on Basic D&D, which tends to be deadly. Its published modules are generally deadly (and often campaign-world changing). I feel I am running this campaign very much in the high-risk, high-stakes mode suggested by the official material. And I have certainly killed my fair share of player characters along the way. The highest level PCs may have just hit level 5 in today’s session, so true “high level” play is still some way off, but it still sounds like our campaign has outlasted many other LotFP games.
If this is true, I want to know why? Is it by design? Do other referees set out to run say, a 6 session campaign with LotFP? If so, why do they do that? Is it because it is harder for these adult gaming groups (and I assume everyone playing LotFP is an adult!) to game regularly, and all their campaigns are thus planned to be brief and therefore easier to sustain? Or do they only do this with LotFP? If these short campaigns are not by design, then I am even more interested to know what the cause of that is. Do players start dropping out because they start finding the modules distasteful, offensive, or too fatal? Or are TPKs super common, killing promising campaigns in the cradle before they hit their stride?
Either way, we are still having a lot of fun and hopefully in a year’s time we’ll be about to wrap up our third year of our weird fantasy English Civil War!