Blimey. Has it been two months already? I’d meant to update this blog much more regularly than that. By now I’ve actually finished prepping the campaign and have already started running it. In fact, the first session was this Monday.
So, why didn’t I update the blog? What happened? Well, my players is what happened. I had grand, pretentious plans to run a Medieval French-styled megadungeon campaign in Lamentations of the Flame Princess, using Isle of the Unknown and Castle Gargantua. It would have been equal parts La Chanson de Roland and Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
However, my players had other ideas. We’ve been playing LotFP regularly for almost two years now, and there were lots of little things they didn’t like about the system. They grumbled at the “race-as-class” thing (personally, I think less is more, and would much prefer to just remove demihumans altogether). They really liked the idea of more class options and mechanical bonuses for their characters (which I’m really not a fan of, but hey). They wanted to move into high-level play and command armies, which is something LotFP doesn’t really support (we tried using the mass combat rules from A Red & Pleasant Land, but it fell a little flat; they wanted something crunchier).
In fact, it turns out my players don’t really like the kind of old-school horror play I get weak-kneed over. The idea of playing nameless nobodies dying ignominiously in a long-forgotten tomb doesn’t interest them; one player complained that a high lethality campaign would stop him “connecting” with his character and make him feel like he was playing “cannon fodder” (which is, btw, madness. Jools and Jops were the very definition of cannon fodder, and I loved those little fuckers). I don’t really care about connecting with a character. I much a prefer roguelike (or Dark Souls) approach to roleplaying games, with the focus being less on story and roleplaying, and more on player skill and the capricious whims of RNGesus.
Here’s the thing, though. I value my players. I recognise I have niche tastes. I want to run a game that they want to play. I also want to run a game that I want to play. So, the solution is (as always) to find a compromise. To run a game where they can get a little bit of what they want, and I can get a little bit of what I want.
So, we moved to the Adventurer Conqueror King System (ACKS) for the new campaign. It’s still race-as-class, but demihumans get unique classes, making it a compromise between the two approaches; players can choose proficiencies, which lets them further customise their (precious snowflake) characters and get loads of mechanical bonuses; it basically uses the same encumbrance system as LotFP (which I love); it lets me run LotFP modules with pretty much zero conversion necessary, and it scales all the way up to domain-level play.
The first session went really well. We’ve got the second session in two weeks. I’m still using Isle of the Unknown as the wilderness for my game (though I’ve now plonked it down in the default ACKS setting of the Auran Empire). I’m using the one-page city of Enharza from Fight On! #6 as the main city on the island (which is working beautifully), and I’ve sprinkled a bunch of One Page Dungeons around. I’ve replaced Castle Gargantua as the island’s megadungeon with Dyson’s Delve, which also basically uses a One Page Dungeon format.
So far, so good. The first session was a dream to run, and I’m looking forward to the second session.