Thursday, March 19, 2015

Least Used GURPS DF Templates & Races

Yesterday I posted about DnD classes and races we never saw in my games.

What about templates in GURPS Dungeon Fantasy?

It's a good comparison to classes, since out of the box you can treat DF templates as rigid class-like professions instead of suggested options.

So far, we haven't had any Bards, Druids, or Swashbucklers. We've had a few Swashbucklers made, not yet run, but no one has touched the other two.

We actually haven't had any elves, either. Out of the races I've allowed for my game world, we have had a lot of dwarves (second only to humans - I count four so far), a halfling, a goblin, a gnome. But no elves or half-elves. No one has even asked about them, actually. This is a reversal from my earliest GURPS campaigns, where we had so many elves and half-elves humans stuck out as oddballs. The campaign that ended back in 2010 featured no elves, too, though, so much so that I took them off the race list after a few sessions and made "Where did the elves go?" a campaign question to be answered. No surprise, this current group has a significant overlap with that group (four of the current 6 or 7 regulars played in that game) and lacks elves. That might change after this post.

Since GURPS charges for races as an advantage, there isn't a basically free front-loaded power boost like you'd get in a D&D-based game (especially AD&D). Where AD&D had level limits to say, basically, your dwarf fighter is better than a human but caps out at level 8 or so, GURPS says, pay for those advantages up front. Also, where AD&D allowed multi-classing for demi-humans but not humans, it was a strong incentive to be non-human so you could be a fighter/magic-user or illusionist/thief or cleric/magic-user or something of that sort. So I think this shifts the assessment of what a race is worth when building a character.

How about in your GURPS games? Any races people avoid? And DF templates that don't get the love?


  1. In GURPS 3 racial templates could be a bit of a points crock, because of the non-linear cost for high stats - if you wanted IQ 16, a human would pay 80 points, while an elf with racial IQ+1 would pay (10+60)=70 points. I'm glad that was fixed in 4e.

    Nobody in my GURPS TORG campaign wanted to play a Stalenger. :-)

  2. I play in a much more kitchen sink, everything goes environment, with 30+ people in 5 or 6 different campaigns, so I've seen almost everything at one point or another.

    Races I haven't seen in game: Corpse Eater, High Elf, Sea Elf, Goblin, Half-Orc, Hobgoblin, Orc, Elder Spawn, *-Infused, Ogre, Dragon-Blooded, Lizard Man, Troll, Wildman.

    I've seen every template in Adventurers, several repeatedly. I haven't seen most of the expansion stuff, except for an Elementalist, a Necromancer, a Shaman, and a Ninja.

    The most popular templates are Scout, Swashbuckler, Wizard, Knight, and Cleric, in about that order. The bard, druid, ninja, and the summoners have each only shown up once.

    Popular races include minotaur (and not just from Bruno), mountain elves, nymphs, gargoyles, and humans. I don't think there's been more than a handful of dwarves, and about the same number of catfolk and leprechauns.

  3. Sorry to say I only played in one GURPS campaign and I was a goblin. My wife was a dwarf and the two other players were human.

  4. I have had a lot of elves,ogres, and lots of thieves, bards, swashbucklers, knights and wizards. We had a tanked out human fighter, a more effectively munchkinized ogre knight, a high elf bard, a woods elf multiclass scout/mage/thief, a shadow elf wizard/thief, a mountain elf wizard, a mountain elf thief, an orc martial artist, a goblin hunt priest, an orc druid, a leprechaun druid, two human thieves, a catfolk thief, swashbucklers human and halfling, barbarians both wildman and ogre, an ogre wizard, a pair of human clerics (mismatched) and a pixie wizard. One human artifices, and a treasure-hunting human agent. I think that rounds out the pcs, excepte of a wizard/assassin... and, oh a satyr scout and a dark one cleric.
    This leaves out all of my npc's and the assorted henchmen, including a troll apprentice, a troll archer, a goblin necromancer, an orc brute, woodelf archer, a dwarf smith and a bunch of humans...

  5. I have had none of the Following:
    Infused (none of the 4)
    Sea elves
    Winged elves

    For professions, I haven’t had any:
    Summoners (none of the 4, yet)


    1. Choleopteran with crab claw and using Technical Grappling = Trained ST of 30+. It's terrifying.

  6. Bards.

    There are never any bards in any of my games - it might help that everyone strongly considers them silly and useless, useful only if they can instantly respawn and make a handy pile of bodies to use as cover. So I'm not surprised.

    There has also been a lacking of Artificers, Scholars, Demonologists... basically anyone who spends a lot of time reading. We recently have had some movement in the direct of Martial Artists, and got half of a multi-classed Innkeeper before the character retired from the main storyline. By numbers, Barbarians, Swashbucklers and Thieves are by far the most common... which probably explains the lack of other profession styles.

    As for races, it took a long time before anyone rolled up a non-human. Probably because the campaign started in "human lands" and no one wanted to be an "outsider". So far the party and their entourage still mostly consist of the "usual fantasy races", with very few exotic or monstrous races.

  7. The way GURPS front loads races is by giving them more disadvantages. A faun gets you DX+1, HT+1, Per +2, and more for [20] that way. Just have both a male and female in the party so only one is screwing up at a time.

    1. Yes, but with a GM enforcing your disads, more disads = more problems. That's not really any different than just taking more disads than the recommended cap. It's asking for additional trouble.

  8. Amusingly, bards and druids were at the top of my list for templates I would consider playing in your campaign, elves and half-elves as my top choices for race. Kinda too bad I live in Michigan and work on Sundays, isn't it? :P

    * * *

    In the one GURPS campaign I played in my GM had three races:
    Human [0]
    Elf [70?]
    Dwarf [35? 40?]

    It was a 100-point campaign. Front-line fighter took dwarf, thief/prospector took dwarf, ninja took human.

    Dwarves had Magic Resistance and an expensive base template. I wanted to be a wizard and he seemed to think it would be reasonable that I'd spend 40 points on a race that gave no bonuses to being a wizard and an additional 10 or so for the modifier to let me cast spells in spite of magic resistance, then pay the full 35 to start at Magery 3 because he was indecisive about whether Magery was trainable.

    There being no halflings or half-elves (my personal favorites) and full-elves being so expensive, I went with human.

    1. The working on Sundays is a killer, I agree. I stopped working on Sundays to better facilitate gaming. Also, because working 7 days a week way getting really old.

      We could use a bard. Or a druid. Or both, really.

    2. I work in fast food. I never know what days, which shifts (6:30 AM to Noon-ish, 11 AM or Noon to 6 PM-ish, or 4 PM to midnight-ish), or how many I'll have until close to the end of whatever week I'm on. If I mark a specific day on the calendar with a request to have it off about a month in advance I might get that, but I've only asked for it once...on my birthday.

      * * *

      I have character concepts ready to go of a high-elf bard who is coming "out of retirement" at the age of 300 or so and mourning the passing of his human wife to the ravages of old age. As a high-elf bard he would, naturally, spend much time merrily singing sad songs about the whole affair.

      The other idea I had was a halfling druid with a delusion that he is a wizard or cleric (not sure which would be more amusing, but he'd be in denial about druidic power investiture even being a thing).

  9. I nearly played a bagpiper bard back in your high school game. Never happened. We had a druid, once; he got eaten by a remorhaz when he turned into a hawk to heal (bad move).
    Pretty sure we had a briefly-lived halfling thief. I always played humans with ridiculous disads and the occasional dark elf. and the paladin, Sir Garion Pendragon (I'd just read the Belgariad).

    I've never felt like playing elves, but if they had advantages to the Druid class or there was a Scout-Druid lens they were good at, I'd consider it. But right now I'm enjoying playing clerics, especially a dwarf with pickaxe penchant, they're kind of a jack of all trades if you spread their spells out.

    1. Elves make pretty good druids and scouts, given the race stats we use for elves.

      I don't remember a halfling thief in AD&D, but we had one in GURPS, run by my cousin. And the guy who ran the ranger/druid just emailed me the other day . . .


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