Single Post

posted by johntfs Original SA post

So Lamentations of the Flame Princess put out a game/setting called Carcosa. Presumably this is the same Carcosa noted in Call of Cthulhu scenarios that feature the play, The King in Yellow. In practice it plays out as being a weird kit-bash of Conan and FATAL.

So, let's start with the "dice conventions." In Carcosa not only are Hit Points and Weapon Damage random, the degree of randomness in any given encounter is also random. Here's how this works: Whenever the PCs get involved in a battle, they first roll a D20. This tells them what kind of dice to roll for their hit points. 1-4: d4, 5-8, d6, etc. This happens every conflict. Meanwhile, whenever the characters or their enemies hit with a weapon they roll all six die types (4, 6, 8, 10, 12 and 20). The number on the d20 tells which one of the other 5 dice you read for the damage. So, if in a roll your results were d4=3, d6=1, d8=5, d10=9, d12=2 and d20=18, your weapon did 2 points of damage against whatever it was.

While the dice mechanics seem needlessly complex, class choices are very simple. You can play a Fighter or a Sorcerer and that's it. Sorcerers, btw, have the same attack bonuses as Fighters, which is good because their Sorcerous Rituals are completely useless in most encounters since they require elaborate preparations and usually take hours to cast. Generally, the rituals are all variants on a theme, Contact Thingie, Conjure Thingie, Banish Thingie, Bind/Control Thingie, Imprison Thingie and Torture Thingie. Contacting a Thingie lets a sorcerer communicate with it, presumably to gain knowledge, etc. Conjuring a Thingie calls it forth phyiscally. Banishing a Thingie forces it to flee. Bind/Control forces obedience. Imprisoning forces a Thingie to remain in some specific place until some other sorcerer calls it up again. Torture, well, tortures a thingie to make the Binding easier or automatic. Except for Banishing, all of these Rituals take hours of time, potentially age a sorcerer unnaturally and requiring the sacrifice of humans. Oh, and at first level, a Sorcerer starts with exactly none of them. All rituals have to be found in play.

There are thirteen races available for play. They're humans of different colors. Along with your somewhat normal Black, White, Red and Yellow are Jale, Dolm and Ulfire. There's really no other difference between them aside from color though their is the notation that the races can't interbreed.

All characters have one fairly low chance at gaining Psionics (they have to have at least a 15 in Int, Wis or Cha. 18s in all three stats still gives on a 12% of having Psionics). Assuming a character is doubly lucky enough to have psionics (once force having high attributes and once for making the Psi roll) he gets to roll a d4 each day to determine how many powers are available to him during a day. Further rolls are made to determine which of eight (Clairaudience, Clairvoyance, ESP, Mental Blast, Mind Control, Precognition, Telekinesis or Telepathy) are available. Psychic powers can be used a number of times per day depending on a character's level (take the character's level, divide by 2 and round up with anything 9 or above counting as 9). A 6th level character could use psychic powers 3 times a day. And that's any use of psychic power. If the guy got Clairaudience, Telepathy, Telekinesis and Mental Blast, he could use Mental Blast three times and that would be it, or use Clairaudience twice and Telepathy once, like that.

The book goes on to describe various tech treasure available which include anything from a blaster pistol to some bizarre pit that randomly creating oozing monstrosities.

There are a number of Sorcerous rituals to be found. Let's take a look at one, shall we?

The Ecstatic Rites
of the Subterrene

These rites make possible the contacting of a primal
and feral subterranean god. The Sorcerer must obtain a
Dolm virgin female of 14 years as the sacrifice. He must
also acquire the erotic drugs and learning scribed by the
Snake-Men in their forbidden tomes. Lastly, the Sorcerer
must find twelve assistants (all of them male Sorcerers of
lower level than himself) and instruct them in the ways
of the ritual. In an underground cavern the Sorcerer, his
assistants, and the sacrifice inhale the drugs and begin
the rite. The Sorcerer and his assistants practice the
debased sexual acts prescribed by the Snake-Men upon
the sacrifice, which will lead to her death in 21–26 hours.
During this time the Sorcerer can receive revelations from
this feral god.

Now, the above ritual is the best example of why I despise this game. Read that thing over again and really let the implications sink in. If you want to contact this feral, primal, subterranean god, you and your 12 little sorcerer buddies need to kidnap a 14 year old girl and rape her to death over 20-odd hours or so. Meanwhile, this is all treated with the cold, gamespeak dispassion of any other spell. Amber rod, check. Silk, check. Okay, let's cast Lightning Bolt. Here: Drugs, check. Book of snake-man sex torture, check. Twelve other sorcerer dudes, check. Virgin girl we're gonna rape to death, check. Okay, let's do this thing.

The next part is a monster manual, followed by a bunch of encounter hexes and a sample adventure, but by that point I'd pretty much lost all heart and interest in this thing after the previous ritual and another one where you tie "a Purple female virgin of no more than 13 years and no less than 9" to a rock so she'll die of heatstroke and dehydration in the desert sun and you can torture a Violet Mist and make it do what you want. Oh, before she dies you also need to "obtain the weird copperish metal of the Snake-Men that, when melted, is merely warm to the touch" and be sure to "cover her naked body with the melted metal." At this point "Over the next 2–3 days the Sorcerer intermittently chants and performs cryptic signs while the desert sun claims the sacrifice." Presumably also over this time the dying 9-13 year old naked little girl is begging for her life, but fuck it, that's no concern when you're trying to torture a Violet Mist, right?

So yeah, fuck this game right in the empty hole where its heart should be. Don't give these people your money and discourage others from doing so as well in order to perform the Cashless Prisoning of the Empty Wallet and thus cause this game to sink from sight on the internet, ne'er to be seen by the eyes of men again.