What is LotFP Weird Fantasy Role-Playing?
LotFP is the brutal and wondrous Weird Fantasy tabletop role-playing game born out of love for underground heavy metal, horror literature and film, and in fact all things strange and macabre. Whatever the inspiration of the moment, be it Lovecraft and Barker, Troma and Hammer, Argento and Fulci, the NWOBHM and True Doom, or Ito and Morrison, LotFP's cadre of writers and artists deliver mind-bending and merciless content for your game table.
Rules-wise, LotFP belongs to the "Old School Renaissance" family of games that uses the Open Game License to recreate game rules of the late 70s/early 80s, with LotFP's particular twisting of those rules flattening out the power level a bit and emphasizing a more horrific and go-for-the-throat attitude. A PDF version of the full rules without any of the game's artwork is available here for you to use for your own purposes. (The full-version PDF includes all of the art, while the physical version is a beautiful high-quality artifact in its own right.)
Being part of the Old School Renaissance also means that every LotFP adventure and supplement is readily compatible with over 100 other RPGs, and their support material is readily compatible with LotFP.
What is so "weird" about LotFP?
The rules themselves are mostly familiar and normal. You don't read the rulebook and think, "Oh, that's strange!" Well, maybe in a few places. Anything in the actual rulebook becomes in effect normal and not weird while playing the game. The idea is that the characters are normal (for values of "normal" that may or may not be present in a fantasy RPG setting), and it's what they encounter during play that is unusual and strange and where the weird is found.
So in practical terms, the weirdness lies in the adventures and support material, and consists of challenges to both the characters' and players' perception of what is supposed to be happening in the game.
You'll just have to deal with the fact that the rulebook is "only" a solid interpretation of classic RPG rules, with application left up to your own imagination.
Where's the Referee book?
As of this writing the expanded Ref book reprint is not yet out. However, it will be a book of optional procedures, variants, advice, and adventure-building tools. It will enhance your game and expand your mind, but is not actually necessary to play the game. The rules are the rules, but the flavor and atmosphere that set LotFP apart from everyone else is easily gleaned from the support material.
You can, however, download the previous printing's Referee book here.
You can download 2013's Free RPG Day adventure Better Than Any Man and 2014's Free RPG Day adventure The Doom-Cave of the Crystal-Headed Children right now for free and get a taste of what makes LotFP LotFP.
What is the Default Setting of LotFP?
There is none. The publisher uses Real World 17th Century Earth as a setting in his own writing and campaign, and the rulebook contains information about firearms. Other authors for the LotFP line use real-world variant settings for their writing (Qelong is a fantasy-Cambodia analog), twisted-up takes on a traditional fantasy world (Vornheim, Isle of the Unknown), even an alien planet as a setting (Carcosa).
The LotFP line of releases is not a unified product line - it is a series of individual releases, each with its own spirit and inspiration.
So what about the company itself? Who runs it and where is it located?
Glad you asked! LotFP was established in July 2009 and is based in Helsinki out in Finland. It's run by James Edward Raggi IV, who is the owner/operator/mail order clerk. We've recently (September 2018) expanded to bringing on a full-timer to handle production duties and a part-timer to handle social media, both working remotely, and hired a full-time adventure writer in October 2019, but continue to operate the business out of a three-room apartment.
Small-scale publisher, big-deal publications.
Where do I find more info?
You can keep up with official announcements, product reviews, etc. over at our Facebook page. You can also sign up for an account at the LotFP store and make sure you have the Newsletter option switched to Yes to get notified whenever we release something new.