I have enjoyed the work James Raggi has put out for over ten years now. I followed the blog back when James was just a blogger and had written a random monster generator for Goodman Games. Lamentations of The Flame Princess was his old metal zine and not his game company yet. My copy of Death Frost Doom is a first printing. I had the Deluxe Box set but I needed money and the eBay price was too tempting to hang on to it. I had to let it go. I still have the Grindhouse box set. I’ve driven 60 miles to get to a game shop that participated in Free RPG day to get LoTFP’s contribution. I have run open games of LoTFP at local game shops and nerd bars. I have gotten a lot of enjoyment from the work over the years.
That said. I miss the old days when James gave us delightful rants like, I Hate Fun , I Can’t Find Any Players! and Christmas, Markets, Realizations, and Birds to the World. This last one, in particular, strikes a chord.
The way to grow and maintain a hobby isn’t commercial products (the things I put out are things that I use in my actual gaming, or that amuse me… and note how my efforts to publicize that which amused me didn’t reach beyond this blog or forum signatures). It’s not getting product into shops and it’s not marketing and it’s not blogging and it’s not creating gathering places on the internet.
The way to grow and maintain a hobby (this hobby, anyway) is to do that hobby and play with as as many people as you can.
I have come to realize that my goal in writing this blog and participating on a scale greater than just my home game is not to change the world or make my gaming style more influential to the world at large. It is exploration and a desire to find my way in this hobby and then surround myself with artifacts of that way and discard the rest.
Several years after this post we stopped getting anything worth reading. All we got was advertisements about the next thing James was selling, links to reviews about what was already out, where you could buy the things he was selling, the drama of the month about a writer he had published etc. It’s like he forgot the thing that convinced us to buy his stuff in the first place. I dug thru the blog and it turns out we haven’t had a good rant in about seven years.
I keep thinking about this quote from one of James’ early blogs about how to make your campaign METAL. I wonder what James in 2008 would think of LotFP in 2019.
… until one day in the campaign… it’s the PCs who are rich. And powerful. And even if they’ve always fought well for the cause, they’re going to wake up one day and find that they’re the enemy they’ve always been fighting against. Power always corrupts, always. If it’s rich, it’s evil. And the PCs have killed a lot of evil, and taken its stuff, and have gotten very rich. If it’s powerful, it’s evil. And the PCs have gained a lot of levels, and are very powerful. They’ve sold out, they’ve come too far to truly embody the spirit they’ve always championed, and it’s up to the next generation of oppressed, angry warriors to be able to fight the good fight.
That’s fucking metal.