Monday, September 25, 2017

DF Felltower, Session 92, Felltower 65 (Brief Summary)

September 25th, 2017

Weather: Hot, sunny.

Characters:
Hasdrubel Stormcaller, human wizard (333 points)
Hjalmarr Holgerson, human knight (347 points)
     Brother Ike, human initiate (166 points)
     Raska, human laborer (62 points)
     Veronico, human archer (125 points)
Mo (his momma call him Kle), human barbarian (350 points)
Red Raggi, human berserker (?? points, NPC)
Quention Gale, human druid (317 points)

Casualties:
Hasdrubel Stormcaller, human wizard (333 points)
Hjalmarr Holgerson, human knight (347 points)
     Brother Ike, human initiate (166 points)
     Raska, human laborer (62 points)
     Veronico, human archer (125 points)
Mo (his momma call him Kle), human barbarian (350 points)
Red Raggi, human berserker (?? points, NPC)
Quention Gale, human druid (317 points)


Details to follow later today or tomorrow . . . *





* Sorry, work before writeups, and writing before writeups, and I have a lot of work and writing to do today.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

DF Pre-summary teaser

Eight entered Felltower.

None returned.

How's that for a teaser?

DF Felltower today

We've got a session of Felltower on tap today. It's looking like we should be able to get in a good number of sessions before the end of the year - lots of potential gaming days on my calendar at least. Not as many as I'd like, but still a good number.

It should be a relatively small crew today, unlike the larger groups we had earlier this year. But that's actually more normal, to me. I should go back and count the number of players per session overall for Felltower, but 4-5 is pretty standard, and for all of the 6+ player sessions we had a number of 1-3 player sessions as well. That's another area where a megadungeon can shine - there are places you want to go after with a big group. And there are places you're going to move around in when only a few people can show up.

So expect a summary teaser tonight, and then if I have time I should get up a full summary tomorrow or Tuesday.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

DF-to-DFRPG - which critical hits?

Yesterday I put up a list of the rules I need to add to the DFRPG for DF Felltower.

The Critical Hit rules I mentioned are the ones from Basic Set: Characters, p. 326.

They are under Attacking, the last two paragraphs of Attack Roll. The short version is that a 3 is maximum damage, a 4-whatever your critical hit number is (4, 5, 6, even 7+ for certain Swashbucklers) just hits without allowing a defense roll.

And that's is.

We use the Critical Miss Tables. But in the interest of speed, we skip the Critical Hit Tables. It's been fine, and has in fact sped things up without anyone really feeling like they've lost out.

Friday, September 22, 2017

DF-to-DRFRPG game conversion: Additional Rules List

Here is the list of additional rules I think I need to list and summarize in a document for my players to refer to:

Charging Foes (Obstruction only) (Martial Arts)
Critical Hits (Basic Set)
Cross Parry (Martial Arts)
Extreme Dismemberment (Martial Arts)
Long Weapons in Close Combat (Martial Arts)
Mind Games (contests of Will only) (Martial Arts)
Multiple Blocks (Martial Arts)
Parrying with Two-Handed Weapons (Martial Arts)
Quick Readying Nearby Weapons (Martial Arts)
Rate of Fire (Basic Set)
Shoves with Weapons (Martial Arts)
Striking at Shields (Martial Arts)
Telegraphic Attack (Martial Arts)
Tip Slash (Martial Arts)
Tricky Shooting (Prediction Shot only) (Martial Arts)
and of course CP-based grappling.

That might be it. Possibly Damage to Shields, too, although we rarely use that in actual play.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

New Magic Item for DFRPG on Kickstarter Update

In case anyone missed it, my contribution to the DFRPG boxed set, Magic Items, has a blurb and a new magic item over on Kickstarter:

Shipping Update, & A Tome Of Magical Wonders

Scroll down for the Tome of Wonders!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Random Notes & Links for 9/20

Really busy day as part of a really busy week, so mostly I'm going to refer out today.

- Life Imitates Blog - And upside of having the blog, and the detailed summaries, is when they positively influence game. I'm pretty sure the next Felltower game session is going to feature exploration of one of the Danger Pockets simply because someone was reminded of it by reading my examples of what Danger Pockets are. It's not certain, as there is a lot to do in Felltower, but it's certainly an option. Had I stuffed that post into my "finish next week" pile, perhaps we'd have a different session.

- Big Bad / Short Fight - sometimes the big bad just gets wasted. This is why I like non-unique monsters! Killed my super man-scorpion-thing? It's okay, there are more! The PCs must have killed the same half-dozen slorn counters and orc minis and troll figures and so on over and over. Also, it's why those unexpected fights where some random NPC beats up the whole party or a nothing of a wandering monster derails all exploration as people run and hide are so fun.

- Suppression Fire - Doug has a new spin on Suppression Fire. Or at least on RoF. Of course, it's based on the Size and Speed/Range Table, because it's Doug. If it was me, it would be the Reaction Roll Table ("Very Good - wow, nice shooting Tex! You hit a whole bunch of them!")

- I forgot to mention there is a new DF item out - The Pagoda of Worlds. Since I have a lot to read and little time to read it, all work related (can you say CEUs?), I haven't gotten to this yet. I will get it and review it when I have a chance.

- I am still working my way through old posts replacing pictures no longer working through Photobucket. It's very slow going, as I need to be on my home PC when I stumble on the post, have the time to edit and search, and then do so. Sorry for all of the broken links. Had I know earlier Photobucket would ask for $300/year to do this thing, I would have switched fully over to Google's hosting immediately. But no, I wanted to diversify my dependencies. Silly me.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

No Town Game

Another aspect of my game that mirrors the West Marches campaign is the idea of "No Town Game."

A couple of quotes sum it up:

"make town safe and the wilds wild — Having the town be physically secure (walled or in some cases protected by natural features like rivers or mountains) is very useful for making a sharp “town = safe / wilderness = danger” distinction. Draconian law enforcement inside town, coupled with zero enforcement in the wilds outside town, also helps. Once you are outside the town you are on your own."

"the adventure is in the wilderness, not the town — As per the discussion of NPCs above, be careful not to change the focus to urban adventure instead of exploration. "

Both of those describe the four "town" settings my PCs have dealt with: Falcon's Keep, Swampsedge, the pilgrim's camp (aka "Rumshackles"), and of course, Stericksburg.

To be fair, some of this is a basic feature of GURPS Dungeon Fantasy as-written: town is vague and resolved with die rolls and simple effects. Town is safe unless you choose to make a roll and blow it. Town is where adventurers gather and get a minimum of information of the world around them, enough to send them off on an adventure.

Mine is a big less minimal than that, since we've got a big rumors table and sages for hire and recurring town NPCs of mostly color-level importance. But it's otherwise the same: safe, abstract, and not a place where adventure happens.

Again, the reasoning is the same - if you make town a place of adventure, people will adventure there instead. There is always one more thing to do in town anyway, even when the PCs are leaving. Ask this one guy something. Buy one more potion. Check to see if one more spell stone is for sale. Double-check if everyone has enough rope. Check and see if there just happens to be one more hireling ready. Adding actual adventure will mean you spend more time in town and less in the dungeon. Adding important adventures means you'll turn the focus from the dungeon to the town.

And that's fine, for a town-centered game. Or a town-and-dungeon game. Or a game where dungeons provide clues and links and resources that influence town. But not for a game where the dungeon is the thing, and town is a way to allow people to replenish and recharge between delves.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Warhammer Fantasy Role-Playing 2nd edition Humble Bundle

Thanks to Erik Tenkar for pointing this out.

There is a Humble Bundle of Warhammer Fantasy Role-Playing game books.



$1 will get you the WFRPG rulebook, 2nd edition, in PDF, plus three books.

Higher tiers will get you more.

II went in for it - $1 for something to read on my Kindle on vacation. WHFRPG 1st edition made my head spin, with all of the misery of being a spellcaster, profession-hoping, and mechanics I couldn't quite understand right away. But it had nice flavor (flavour?) to it. You can throw in more for more books, or just to support the charities they're supporting.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Danger Pockets

There is a very interesting series of web posts on a sandbox-style fantasy campaign called the "West Marches."

If you haven't read them, and you have any interest in sandbox-style play, it's worth reading them. You can start here:

Grand Experiments: The West Marches

I first discovered them a few years after I'd started running my DF campaign, Felltower. What's interesting to me is that many of the features of the West Marches game are also features of mine, in a case of parallel development. Or re-invention of the wheel. Or however else you'd term it. My game came later, and by a combination of accident, design, and emergent lessons of running a sandbox, I ended up with many of the same situations.

While I don't run a wide-open game featuring a large pool of players, I can't just run game on whatever day a few players are available to show up at my house, and I don't feature a wilderness-based area, the similarities really struck me. I read those posts and felt, hey, I do that. Hey, I realized that and changed to that. Hey, that happens in my games, too.

We started with very similar approaches. A modernized version of an old game (his was D&D 3.5 3.0, mine GURPS 4th edition). Minis. Tactical combat. Open rolling (although I still conceal a lot). Narrowed choices of character design but open access within those choices. Risk of death. Cross-player shared maps and knowledge to keep information from being siloed. A decided lack of NPC rivals willing to do the inherently foolish thing of walking open-eyed into extreme danger because you think there is money there.

I decided I'd finally sit down and take a look at some of the elements my game shares with the West Marches, and discuss them in the context of Felltower. Partly because I think it might make an interesting and helpful series of posts. And partly because it was a fun experiment for me to analyze my own game in light of someone else's game.

Today let's talk Danger Pockets.

Danger Pockets

My game in general, but the megadungeon Felltower in particular, has what Ben Robbins called "danger pockets." These are especially high-reward areas, which are often high-risk, difficult to access, difficult to find, or all three. The risk is much higher than the area around it. But I try to make the reward out of proportion to the risk, or at least well out of proportion to the surrounding area. They are static places, although they may feature mobile danger.

Sometimes they are really easy to find but getting in has some difficulty. They're places you can avoid for as long as you want - maybe forever - but if you want to get rich, one way is through those places.

Just like in the West Marches, people sometimes find these and then put them aside for "later," and "later" becomes "never."

Not everything is a "danger pocket." The big lizard man demon temple was a huge, epic fight, but not a "danger pocket." The dragon fought many sessions back was just a very dangerous encounter. The sword-spirit with his great magical sword wasn't a "danger pocket." Even the Lord of Spite isn't - he's an unavoidable problem that happens to have some treasure if you know where to go and get it. The dungeon isn't just broke wandering monsters and "danger pockets."

Interesting areas aren't all "danger pockets," either. The room of pools is interesting, and had an encounter, but wasn't really any more or less interesting than, say, the hall of murals and No Mana Zones or the apartment complexes or the weird temple. They weren't really out of line with what was around them. A statically located reward guarded with a challenge isn't a danger pocket. That's just normal danger for a sandbox.

But what is a good example of a danger pocket?

Good examples are: (* means it's been cleared or accessed)

- the Black Library*
- the draugr
- the "boss's" apartment complex*
- the double-doors in the "cavern area" past the "dragon cave."
- the big dragon
- the twinned temple*
- whatever is behind the repelling doors
- the force-walled temple in the Lost City
- the statue-puzzle "black door" (to the treasury)*
- the gate destinations (generally)

That's not all of them. That's just some.

The gate destinations are interesting. Either they are high-risk high-reward areas, or they're just access to new adventuring areas in general. I'm a little concerned they'll see very little actual adventuring, because by design they aren't set up for dipping a toe in to check the water temperature. You can't just pop in, look around, and get back out and come back when you're ready. Well, you can for some, but not all, and it's not always going to be clear which it is until you go for it.

But the one-and-done or enter easily/leave with difficulty places are "danger pockets" - high risk, but high reward. They'll wait for someone to take some risk to exploit it. And if you set them aside until "later," and only come back once you've reduced the risk to nil, odds are the treasure is not going to be as high-impact as if you'd gotten it first. Imagine if the PCs had solved the rotating statue puzzle right away, and cleared out rings of wishes and high-end healing stones and piles of coins and gems years back. And for reward, it was dangerous and tricky, required thought and a lot of travel around a dangerous dungeon (and thus some work), and carried well in excess of the amount of treasure anything else on the 2nd level could be expected to have.

I highly recommend using some "danger pockets" in your sandbox. Or even in a more linear campaign, so you can bring it back as a callback to earlier days. As in, "Hey, the key to the wizard's treasury must be the one behind that lethal series of magical traps we saw back in Dungeon #1!"


It's tricky as a player to guess what would count, or start interpreting encounters as "danger pockets." But once it's clear an area is especially dangerous and potentially especially rewarding, it's worth keeping in mind that there might be special rewards lurking there, too. Think static areas where something way more dangerous than what is around it lurks and waits for someone brave enough to take the risk to exploit it. Why I am going on about this? Because I half expect players to meta-discuss if something is a "danger pocket" or "just another encounter" to try to analyze risk to reward. Analyzing with only the information on the PC side of the screen can be deceptive - you can get a 100% logical conclusion that leads you astray because you're operating with far less than 100% of the actual data.



Long story short? You can avoid clear "danger pockets" for now, or forever. But there is usually better-than-commensurate reward for tackling them. Clear and obviously more-dangerous area probably have more reward, if you're willing to chance them.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

DFRPG Unboxings

In case you missed any of these from my sidebar, here are two looks inside the DFRPG physical boxed set:

DFRPG Unboxing

Dungeons Fantasy RPG for GURPS has arrived at the Attic!

What ones did I miss? Post links in the comments!

Friday, September 15, 2017

DFRPG - Arrived!

My DFRPG box arrived today. Let's see how it looks:



DFRPG arriving today

My DFRPG boxed set is due to arrive today, so I'll post about it later when it arrives - maybe I can get some unboxing pics.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

The DFRPG is on the way here

I got a notice yesterday that my DFRPG materials are on the way - I should receive them Saturday.

We'll start using them right away, which means next game.

What I'm hoping the DFRPG will do for me:

- simplify my game overhead by reducing the numbers of PDFs I need to keep open and places I need to reference.

- get more buy-in from players reluctant to read and learn the rules.

- replace my so-so GM screen with a DF-centric screen*

- allow me to replace all references for rules with a simple house rules bundle and "See Exploits."

What I don't expect it to do:

- fully replace my DF books, especially template-heavy ones and Power-Ups we intend to keep (which is all of the ones we're using now.)

- undermine the DF-compatibility of my materials

- fundamentally change our DF experience


We'll see how it all goes next game, which is in just a couple of weeks.

* My plan for the screen is to print out the PDF of the screen and tape that to the player's side, as well - they don't need pictures, nice as they are, they need charts.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Suspicious Shopkeepers (thank to The Onion)

The Onion explains why the people of Felltower are so wary of the PCs:




Video Game Shopkeeper Starting To Get Suspicious After Selling 800 Bombs To Player

Yep, that's Felltower, right there.

"Hmm, that guy cleaned me out of alchemist's fire, paut, healing potions, and dark vision eye rub . . . and last week he was selling 'crab legs' and blood-stained weapons and weird idols and was pretty cagey about where it came from."

This is why the PCs don't all have a +4 reputation as generally great guys who spend a lot in town. Oh, sure, they spend a lot in town, but how they get that cash and what they spend it on, well, it's like a guy who comes to the pawn shop with a bunch of antique gold and then swings by Wal*Mart and cleans them out of ammo, sterno, and pressure cookers . . . and repeats that week after week. You're going to be regarded with some concern.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

DM David posts I liked

I stumbled across these posts this weekend by DM David and I enjoyed them:

Four Essential Qualities of a 4-Hour Dungeons & Dragons Adventure - this could probably be the four essential qualities of a game session, too. If you've got all four, you've probably got a good game session going on. 2-3, okay. 0-1, eh. I don't always get a fast start to my games, but I try to ensure the other three are available in my megadungeon. They certainly are in our Gamma Terra campaign, too.

I especially like #4. I remember this article about GMing Top Secret, where the writer said that if you set an adventure in Hawaii and then stick the entire session inside of an office building, you're wasting the setting. In a world with magic (and in our post-apoc game, radiation and mutants) there should be something magical in the encounters. Not all of them, but at least some.

How to Use Scenes and Summaries to Focus on the Best Parts of a Role-Playing Adventure - I don't consciously think of "scenes" and "summaries" but perhaps I should. I use both - we focus tightly in on combat, obstacles, challenges, and puzzles, and pull back to "we go down this long corridor, turn left at the T, and then go straight" or "you all get back to town" summaries the other times. I just wasn't explicitly categorizing them in this way. It seems like a useful tool for thinking about when to slow things down and when to speed things up as your write and prepare adventures, especially more narrowly focused ones (ones with a developing story, plot, or sequences of events to deal with.)

And I like this post about Backstory. I do a lot of that - backstory found in a lost tome is something the players read. Backstory read to the PCs at the beginning is ignored and no one remembers it. "Whose castle?" "The Dark Mage's castle, weren't you listening?" No, they weren't. You need to find a better way - if the players are ignoring your backstory, it's not a "them" problem.

I haven't read a huge amount of DM David's posts, but those I found and I liked. I'll probably dig around more and see what else might help my gaming.

Monday, September 11, 2017

GURPS Gamma World, 20th Homeland - Session 13 - Factory Investigation

Yesterday was a session of our Gamma World aka Gamma Terra GURPS game.

Characters:
"Caveman" - demo/EOD
"Fatbox" - demo/EOD
"Hillbilly" - medical specialist
"Love Handles" - demo/EOD

In reserve:
"Barbie" - demo/EOD (MIA)
"Momma's Boy" - computer programmer
"Princess" - cryptographer/sniper
"Short Bus" - computer programmer
"Oinker" - demo/EOD

We opened in the ferry terminal, and gathered up a partial squad. Originally we'd expected seven, but illness took out one, change of venue a second, and schedule changes a third. So despite really wanting at least one computer specialist, a sniper for cover, and a machine gun in case of a large battle, we had none of those. We set out with just four plus our officer, who we eventually dubbed "Constable Crunky" after I suggested we use the box from some Ichigo Crunky Choco (which I'd brought to inflict on my fellow gamers) as a fold-up.

We set out at 6:00 am, when it was light-er out than at "night," in a thick blanket of red snow. Visibility was bad, but we kept a good pace. After a short walk the road ahead was blocked with a bunch of Pineys, those plant men we'd fought at the hospital. Maybe 50-75 or so of them were across the road, milling around.

Caveman signaled a halt and we talked it over. They're vulnerable to fire and being hacked apart. We waited a bit but they didn't leave. So Caveman suggested we make "spears" of the overgrowth, tie his road flares to them, and light them up as flaming polearms. We did so, and advanced on the Pineys. They saw us and formed a wall across the road. We kept going, shooing them back and to the sides with the polearms. That worked - they backed off from the fire. It became clear to us that they weren't sapient - more like fully mobile weeds than intelligent and hostile beings. We kept going past them, keeping our flare-sticks going just in case. We figured heat-sensing foes would be attracted but it was worth it to keep fire-fearing plants and animals away.

We eventually reached the split causeway, and saw a mech coming. It was garishly painted up with graffiti, like an 80's Bronx subway train. To the sides were three or four patrolling Little Thieves, with big hats, waders, and hawking gloves up to their biceps, plus really ornate weapons. On top rode three Little Thieves with Japanese dai-kyu style bows we ended up called yumis. As soon as we saw that I realized they definitely did not control the mechs, they just followed them. Why put three bowmen on top of a battle mech you control? They were riding and protecting them. Heh. But shooting people off of a mech was bound to seem hostile to the mech, even if it didn't know what to do with those guys.

So we called out to the mech with the bullhorn, which Hillbilly reluctantly returned to Fatbox.

Fatbox just said that we were incoming friendlies, and we walked up. The mech scanned us with its twin gun mount, but otherwise ignored us. The Little Thieves (LTs) were stunned and excited. Three of them started following us around, and babbled a lot. Hillbilly dubbed them Jawas (the Little Monks being "Ewoks"). Fatbox was happy to have worshippers.

We headed to the factory, stopping briefly to examine an area of nuked-out sand. The LTs clearly met them this side of the devastation, and the mechs walked through as evidenced by footprints in the sand. We followed the thieves down a narrow side path. That eventually led to an underground factory buried in the side of a hill, entered by an overhanging cave mouth guarded by dozens of LTs and three mechs. We went inside, and down a big Akira-style elevator to the entrance floor accompanied by two mechs and a lot of LTs. It was stripped of good stuff, and had one working and two non-working elevators. The working one had a disabled card reader, but still opened for us. The LTs were startled - they used ladders to climb down. We took the elevator. Hillbilly hummed "The Girl from Ipanema."

At the bottom we found some side passages but Hillbilly insisted and going deeper and straight in. We did so, and found a giant factory floor covered with rows of M.A.M.A.s, robotic arms for mech assembly. On the sides of the walls were wooden nooks accessed by ladders, full of LTs. Adults, kids, whatever. We walked past them, and saw big screens showing a beautiful dark-skinned woman. We met "her" at the end of the floor, where a few M.A.M.A.s had been moved. One was a throne for the android (a Mark VII they called "Vox", we gathered from their gibber-jabber), while another was playing chess against an absent opponent.

We met their leader (we think) - a four-armed LT who had an empath act as "translator." That got us a whole lot of nowhere, except that they wanted peace and we could stay as long as we didn't cause trouble. Sigh. Like that wasn't going to happen. We tried talking to Vox, but she was clearly malfunctioning - she gave us a spiel about the M3 Corporations mech-based solutions to our business needs, then spewed random code as if she'd glitched out, and then spoke different languages in bits and pieces. She didn't respond to our queries in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, etc. - if only we'd spoke Korean we could speak to Rainicorns, or Japanese so we could speak to robots, aliens, and giant monsters. Poor planning, really.

In any case, we eventually headed down to the lower levels, looking to see if we could turn on the computers. The place had power but no signals, and the big doors to the other mech manufacturing floors were closed and wouldn't open.

We searched the next floors and found basically three things - trouble, a computer room, and radiation. The LTs didn't come with us, which was the first sign of difficulty.

Trouble was on the storage floor, when about a dozen flea-like things the size of dogs jumped us when we disturbed their area. Hillbilly and Fatbox opened up full ROF on them but didn't hit more than once each, and in a second or so they were on us. They jumped on us and our guns. In a confused melee Love Handles had some of the metal on his M16 rusted and eaten, and Fatbox had his gold watches turned to dust and nom-nommed up by a rust monster. Caveman had one on his foot and shot it off with his SCAR-H, but then one jumped on his SCAR so he drew a pistol and shot that one off of it. He ended up in a Jon Woo movie dance with a couple, shooting and dodging, before finishing them off with gunfire and a stamp kick. Fatbox cut one apart with his chainsword and then cut another up off of his arm. Love Handles shook his off and had it jump right back on, and eat more of his gun. He eventually killed his, too. Hillbilly tore one off of himself, then got out Hoopslayer and shivved it. Another came up and got sliced up a bit, then a third jumped him and he ducked and sliced it up, too.

In the end we killed them all at the cost of some watches and a need for repairs to an M16. Luckily, only the charging rod was screwed up, and Fatbox real-world knew how to get around that (he's a former Marine), and we had the Armoury skills to back that up.

Next we found a computer room. It was blinking amber and had slots for 128 cards, with seven missing. Three were broken on the floor (and Caveman couldn't get them working). We took those three and a fourth good one as an example.

Finally we found a door with extreme radiation on it, according to our rad detectors. The door said Blah Blah Blah Reaction Kaskium You're Going to Die. Something like that. It had two swipe card slots. We handed out the non-medical cards to Love Handles and Fatbox, suited them up in the best NBC suits, gave them pre-attempt rad resistance pills and injections, and sent them in.

They got a few card swipes done, uselessly, before the radiation swamped their defenses - Fatbox dropped and Love Handles was woozy. As they happened we shouted to Love Handles to drag back Fatbox by looping an arm through his belt. Caveman had been ready with a rope and grapnel and slid it across and yelled for LH to wrap it around his arm. He was woozy enough to sorta-kinda follow directions, but managed.

We stuffed them with a full grey injector each and some red pens to heal up burns. We fed them post-rad treatment pills, too.

Okay, so that was a bad idea. We gave up on it - it was worth a try to see what was beyond the door, but with that much radiation it's only going to get worse when we open it. We could barely start a reactor with a manual and a helping hand, we're not going to safely deal with a damaged one that's still online.

We headed back up. We "talked" more to the LTs. Fatbox tried to get Vox to reboot or restart, but she didn't listen. That did seem to annoy the LTs, though, as they clearly listen to her and get guidance from her, if only in their own minds. Fatbox did get them to trade a black card with three white stripes (Intel/Med 3) for a watch, and Caveman got them to give him an ornate sword that is knife-sized for him.

We tried to find the chess master, and decided to camp out and wait. They gave us a place to stay. LH and Caveman stayed downstairs, while Fatbox and Hillbilly stayed outside counting mechs (I think we decided it was like 10, but it was late and I didn't write the number down, Caveman's player would know) and seeing if the chess dude was there. They said it was a guy with spikes who punched people. Okay. But all the guards wore armor with spikes.

The next day we gave up and left, figuring that maybe the Colonel would be able to help us with the computer. We were kind of frustrated since we had no clear way forward. They LTs indicated there were more mechs but beyond the big closed doors, and with the computer down those doors would stay so. They didn't have the computer blades, either, so now what? Maybe the campus had ones we could try.

So we headed out. We toyed with waiting for a mech for a ride, and in retrospect, that would have been the best move and would have answered so many questions about violence in and around them.

Suddenly we heard whistling, and Fatbox and Hillbilly hit the dirt (the other guys didn't want to waste 15 points on Combat Reflexes for some reason.) LH took an arrow in the face. Caveman took three in the chest and didn't even bat an eye. LTs - not Little Monks or someone else, but the guys we just left - were shooting arrows at us. We ended up in a brief firefight. LH took another arrow in the face. Caveman took one in the arm. Constable Crunky too three in the face and body. We shot back and took out two archers. We took cover and healed up and reloaded, and then all rose at once to cover all directions. Hillbilly saw an LT aiming an arrow at him. Oh, to **** with that, Hillbilly doesn't have Bad Temper and mild Overconfidence for nothing. Hillbilly used AOA (Determined) and shot full-auto back, putting two rounds in the guy but taking an arrow through his gas mask, wounding him slightly (4-5 points out of 24). We sent Crunky up front but then a beam of red hit him and melted a hole in him, and he listed to the side but stayed standing. Uh-oh.

We saw a gator-skinned spike-shouldered red-eyed LT with some archers at his side. We fired. Hillbilly assumed he was protected and shot an archer, and the others shot him. He had a force screen that deflected the bullets. We called out targets and shot down all of his friends, as he drew he swords and ran at us, yelling "Vox! Vox!" Ahah, the chessmaster, who Caveman called the General.

We fought a big melee after this. LH got out a rope and moved to the side, Caveman his knife Groot Wormslayer and moved to the other. Fatbox got out his chain sword and moved to engage, "charging" at Move 2 or 3. Hillbilly scanned the area, and once melee was joined drew a stun grenade and Hoopslayer and moved up.

The General used his radiation vision to shoot and his swords in melee. He and Fatbox had a nice duel, and Fatbox laughed off a sword slash to the chest and got a face full of radiation in return. He later slice his own arm up after a critical parry by the General, and dropped his sword. The General moved in for the kill. But too late - LH got behind him with the rope, Caveman jumped in and slashed his arm, and Hillbilly ran in and critically hit him with Hoopslayer. He shot off some spikes into Hillbilly but Hillbilly was going low for a takedown and dodged some and the rest pinged off his armor. We ended up with Hillbilly grappling his waist, but unable to move him due to the General's extreme strength, and stabbing him non-stop in the side and back with Telegraphic Rapid Strikes. LH got a rope around his neck and hung from him, trying to get his gaze up (but only after Caveman and Hillbilly each took a shot - Hillbilly's being basically nothing, Caveman's wounding him badly). Caveman stuck a knife in a few times before leaving it stuck in the guy's arm. Fatbox recovered and carefully shoved his saw-blade into the guys chest a few times.

Finally, after a lot of stabbing, more spikes, more gaze attacks, and even more stabbing, he went down. Hillbilly may have dealt the final stab, I'm not sure, as Fatbox was stab-sawing holes in him from the front and Hillbilly was eyes to the ground. Hillbilly stabbed him a good 4-5 times after to ensure he was down, and then Fatbox sawed off his head. Hillbilly cut the throats of everyone not clearly, visibly dead (like, head blown open dead.)

Hillbilly lost his temper, here in this fight. It showed in excessive stabbing, a couple of AOAs when they weren't the best choice, and killing the wounded. Little bastages attacking us when we're trying to deal with them peacefully and harm none of them? No, you shot at us and you die. Hillbilly didn't raise any objection when Fatbox took the General's head, either.

We took their weaponry and attractive bits of decoration and left.

It was way late in the real world, and since the GM had to leave, we had a choice:

- end right there, close to our next objective (the college)

OR

- handwave travel back to the base.

We chose the latter, because it won't necessarily be the same players next time and people might have to sit out half of the session while we "just check this one thing out" on the way back to picking their guys up.

Notes:

Hillbilly things to do for next time (I'd have done them right away, but we didn't have time at the session's end):

- take a rad-away pill
- use a rad-away stick
- mend his gas mask
- put on some temporary arm and leg armor (bark, sticks, and cloth)

As always, we run into computers when our computer guys aren't around. Maybe that's because 5 out of 9 players chose "Demo/EOD" as their specialty?

Speaking of specialties, we're the most un-optimized group.

- the biggest, strongest guy is the medic

- our most charismatic guy doesn't want to lead or be the main guy talking

- our fourth-strongest guy loves melee

- our most organized guy usually gets sent off scrounging while we're planning and organizing

We make out okay, and people are happy running their guys. It's just that if you wanted optimized guys, you'd sort out our choices differently.

Caveman's player and I discussed this on the way home. We're not frustrated as players, but our characters are pretty frustrated. We are kind of stuck as to what to do next. If we hadn't made a deal with Colonel Jezza to split up the robots, at this point I'd just be saying we should loot the church's supplies, loot the mall, check out a spot or two and then just up and leave. Our hope at this point is that the Fit have some computer blades we can re-insert to get the factory going again, we find a way to either make peace with the Little Thieves or defeat them so we can gain access, and get the factory rolling our mechs again. Fighting the Little Thieves will cost a lot of ammunition and injuries - possibly even character deaths; we'd be trading irreplaceable resources for something we don't know to be of greater value. Plus, we don't know if we'd trigger the mechs to fight us!

It's flat-out annoying that we're trying to be friendly (and tried to make amends after a fight) with both the Little Monks and the Little Thieves, thought we came to a friendly pass, and then got ambushed by them. Grr. We're probably tramping all over their beliefs and goals and can't communicate well enough to sort it out. If that's the case, we're going to err on the side of what we want and need and resort to violence to get it. Real-world, I think that's a terrible thing, but in game, well, we're mostly those kind of people. Oh well.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Gamma Terra & the apocalypse

Today is Gamma Terra. And our GM posted up the description of the apocalypse from 1st edition Gamma World yesterday:

The Apocalypse




I first read that at age 10 or 11, probably 10, as I got right into Gamma World after I started playing D&D near the end of my 9th year.

It really creeped me out, in a good way.

And it's appallingly descriptive of 21st century politics, isn't it?

Out of game, I assume that's how the world ended. And that great past-tense tag line at the end sums up our game:

"During the Black Years, those who held the tools, held the power."

We aim to hold the tools.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

My paper man is dead

One of my friends and long-time gaming buddies*, Don W., has a great line about dead PCs.

Pretty much, it goes, "Waah waah waah, my paper man is dead." It works best stated with cold contempt.

It's a line I have to pull out and say to myself sometimes.

Yeah, I know it sucks when a character dies.

But it's just a paper man. It's imaginary. Don't invest too much in it.

"But I invested a lot of time and effort and love into this guy!" Sure. You invested a lot of time and effort and love into having fun and playing a game. You did those. You already got a full return on your investment. That you could have had more fun and played the game more isn't nothing, but it's not really something important. You can make up another paper man and have another go at gaming.

Of course, this is no knock on cautious and careful play. But still, as your character gets stronger, gains experience, and otherwise improves, you're less and less likely to take foolish risks. Yet you can get paralyzed into inaction by fear of losing what is, ultimately, just a paper man. Is it better to sit back years from now and talk about all of the risks you avoided to keep your paper man "alive"? Or to remember risks taken because it's a made-up story about risks without real consequences?

And if your guy dies . . . well, you know the line.


* Although we both game regularly at the moment but don't game with each other. But schedules change, and we'll game together again. We've got an overlapping player who plays in our Gamma Terra game, as well.

Friday, September 8, 2017

More on monster bits

Yesterday I posted about monster bits.

One of my players pointed out that you can basically sell all sorts of animal bits, real-world. Of course, that's partly what I'm trying to simulate. That's why I added a rule that potentially adds value to those random bits, instead of using the existing DF pricing of "no one wants it, it's valueless." There is a chance people will buy anything.

A chance, though, not a certainty. It's a pre-modern market, not a post-internet connected world. You need to find a local buyer at the time you are selling. That buyer needs to think they can sell it right away. This transaction needs to be done quickly because we're not playing Warehouses & Wharves, so people aren't storing materials and shipping them to buyers elsewhere. We're not playing shopkeepers either, so you're selling to the merchant who sells to the merchant who sells to the end-users, and if you're lucky one of the members of that chain is missing and you get a little bit more.

Pricing is pretty low, though. This makes sense given the DF economy. $1000 equips a new delver. $600 buys a sword, and $40 a weapon-grade axe or a spear. $5000 adds magical damage to a sword, being raised from the dead is $15K! Prices are bound to be low for mundane anything.

Plus even if it's unusual (dragon bits, say, or the horn of a rare purple gargoyle, or bits of rock troll), it's not necessarily very valuable. Rare monster bits rarely top $500, and more often are in the $100 or $1dx100 range, and that's intact, properly harvested, and fresh. Dragons top out in the near-$5000 range, for big ones, and that's a magical creature with parts that can do many things for NPCs in town.

It also needs to be identifiable and attractive. Broken bits of random bones, teeth pulled out of a critter not identifiable post-pull, pelts that don't look any different form other pelts, etc. aren't going to have a lot of value. You can lie, but people lie all of the time, and that depresses the market value as confidence men and profiteers pile on.

Damage to the monster doesn't help. Delvers generally inflict a lot of damage to win the fight, and more gaining the bits. It's not going to ensure a salable piece of monster at the end of it, even if it started out as valuable.

It's also a buyer's market. You, the delver, need a buyer at the time you are selling due to your own need to move the stuff now because it'll spoil. Horns, etc. won't, but not every horn is useful and not every horn is attractive and valuable. Teeth are great for collections and savage fetishes, but I work on the assumption that "collectors" don't generally exist. Alchemists and demonologists and wizards who need bits do, but mostly people aren't putting together vast collections of monster bits, rare coins, and so on just to do so. Price depends on utility.

Another thing is that these things are relatively common. For all that squirrel tails* and otter's noses might be salable, if you're pulling lots of the same items out of a dungeon or from the local wood nearby, it's a local commodity. Seashells sell for less by the seashore** and firewood sells for less in the forest.


On top of all of this, part of it is the fun aspect. I'm totally amused by PCs stripping dungeons down to the wall fixtures. But "now we cut the monster into salable bits and arrange encumbrance to bring it home to sell" is not as much fun to me as "we open the chest and take the silver and gold and magical items." The DF economy nicely makes the latter much better than the former. If it didn't, then the game really should center on trapping monsters and killing them efficiently and with the least damage to their body parts, then harvesting and selling them. You can do some of that, and taking the special spleen of the cave slink is worth doing, but the game doesn't focus mainly on selling owlbear meat.

I want to reward my players for their enterprise, but it'll skew the game if every monster is effectively a pile of loot, and if monster pelts are the way you make a profit. That takes us right back to "farm for XP" instead of "delve into the megadungeon and tell gaming stories for years about the challenges you faced."

I figure scrap-based rules do that nicely.


* Mepps used to have price lists in their catalogs for buying animal tails for their lures.

** Tourist shops notwithstanding - you need a tourism-based economy before anyone is buying shells to avoid finding one for free.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Monster Bit Scrap

Delvers love loot. Players seem to love harvesting monster parts are loot.

The problem my players have is a mix of the following:

- lack of meta-game knowledge of what's valuable and of the relevant rules (Dead Monster Bits, Exploits, p. 24)

- lack of in-game knowledge of what's valuable;

- lack of proper skills (Surgery, Alchemy, Physiology, etc.);

- lack of proper tools (using swords, axes, and knives to do the work of surgical tools, scrapers, and alchemy kits);

- determination to take and sell bits that aren't especially valuable as if they were;

- a tendency to hack monsters to well past -5xHP and often past -10xHP, decapitate them, burn them, kill them with alchemist's fire; lightning; and brutal skull hits; and then hope to carefully harvest full-value internal organs and skin.

Add that to random guesswork ("I'm sure the legs of a Death Brain are valuable!" or "Take every single part of this dragon back home, every ounce is salable" or "I'm sure people want to eat owlbear meat from that one we killed with explosive spells") and what do you get?

What I get is a lot of PCs taking random monster bits home and trying to sell them.

I'd like to simultaneously punish their lack of the proper skills (and unwillingness to try them) and excessive "kill it past death" methods of pre-harvesting murder and reward their efforts.

So why not use the Scrap rules?

Dead Monster Bits

As written, but add this to the end of Mundane Parts:

Delvers may try to sell any sort of monster bits in town, even those not especially prized. A Naturalist or appropriate Survival roll will allow the PCs to extract the bits they want without destroying them; at a -1 to -5 for inappropriate tools, excessive damage to the corpses, use of fire or corrosion damage, etc. Success means they gather the bits they want - if choosing at random, this will be 1dx10% of the weight of the intact corpse. Failure means they aren't able to gather anything useful. Critical failure means what they have appears valuable, but is damaged beyond sale, and they may be contaminated with bits that attract burrowing grubs, plague flies, carrion-eating corrosive cave snails, attacks by the dreaded leaping ethereal dungeon shark, etc.

To sell the bits in town, make one Merchant or Cooking roll at the end of the adventure. Success means someone wants those bits for something (better not to ask why); price is $1dx10 per 100 pounds of material. Take it or leave it, and the material will spoil before you get another buyer!

***

Heh. So, worth the try, sort of. And you may choose the right bits, and make the right rolls. You're still better off actually using your skills, and probably better off leaving the dead monster where it is. Just because something has teeth and skin doesn't mean its teeth and skin are valuable loot. Bring back roadkill opossum bits and badger teeth and deer feet from your next hike and try to sell them.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Magic Items pricing in Felltower post-DFRPG

Readers might note that with armor, I'm not giving "best of both worlds" as an option. I'm giving a choice of systems for the entire game.

Similarly, with magic items and spells, we're picking one or the other. But this is a situation where we are basically taking the better of the options available from a PC perspective. If a spell modified in Spells is better than the one in Magic, or is better than the ones we use as house rules, we'll use the one in Spells. Where our house rules are better, we'll use them. And where existing items are available that are not available in Magic Items, they'll stay available.


Magic Items - Most permanent magic items aren't available. Enchantments listed in Adventurers are available, except for Penetrating Weapon. Deflect is available for shields, but not for armor. Prices are as listed there, but still require a cost-positive non-size prefix for weapons and armor.

Spell Stone pricing remains the same. These aren't available in DFRPG, and pricing will use the existing ranges despite the otherwise full switchover to $20/point.

Potions are generally available subject to our usual rules, including most of those in Magic Items. Fountains, bottled explosions, etc. are not available yet.

Scrolls are available subject to our usual rules, prices as per Magic Items.

Speaking of prices in town:
Healing will use the prices in the DFRPG, instead of our current, existing list. Please note that partially-funded Resurrection is possible with this approach.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

The worst part of making new monsters - naming them

I've been making stats for some new monsters for my GURPS DF game recently.

The hardest part for me is naming them.

If I start with a good name, it's easy. For example, Death Brain. Slugbeast. Leaping Leeches. Eye of Death.*

Others I start with a concept, or a miniature, or a visual image, but need a name.

That's the hard part.

A good name is evocative, and tells you something about the monster either clearly and correctly or in an indirect way. Rocks trolls, for example, aren't trolls, but they are regenerating rock men, which fits the name. Phase serpents do exactly what it says. Dinomen are little dinosaur-headed lizard men. Spheres of Madness are spheres and you can sure tell why someone added "of Madness!" to the end of their moniker for theese multi-eyed, tentacles, head-eating things.

Sometimes, though, I just don't have a good name. Nothing that'll beat out the the inevitable disparaging nickname ("Derps") of the PCs, or inappropriately vague identification ("land monster.")

That's where I am stuck on a few monsters. Great concept, great minis (for at least a couple of them), and nothing like a good name that the PCs will actually like and use.

Sigh.

I'd ask for help, but then they wouldn't be a surprise. I may just end up with Derps II or Derps Junior for lack of an evocative name that the players like and use.



* Which was also inspired by needing giant flying killer eyeballs. I've been asked if it's a Beholder ripoff. No, it's a giant flying eyeball. My flying biting sphere monsters with eyes on stalks and a big anti-magic eye are beholder ripoffs. Heh.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Over 700 hours of DF

Game session length came up peripherally in a recent discussion I had, and more directly regarding restocking my dungeon.

We play for about 8 hours. It's occasionally less, sometimes a bit more, and we're together for a bit longer than we play. A couple sessions were much longer - like more than 12 hours - because we played on a Sunday with a Monday holiday.

So how much time is that?

91 sessions.

Call it 8 hours per session.

That comes out to 728 hours of play in the past 5 years.

That's a lot of rolling 3d6.

Still, I'd rather be running Felltower than have a lazy Sunday off with nothing to do.

Why 8 hours? Most of this has to do with 1/3 of our group living very far away, so weekly 3-hour sessions are vastly less realistic than bi-monthly 8 hour sessions. If we want Gale's player and Vryce/Gerry's player to participate, we need to play long sessions to make the trip worthwhile. If we want to play at all involving me, it's got to be Sunday or the rare Friday night (and both of those precede very early mornings leading into long days of work.) It is just how it has to work. I just didn't really think about how long it's been, in terms of total hours.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Felltower Updates

For those following along at home, and for those players of mine who use the blog to track their own progress, here are some pages I updated this morning:

World of Felltower Gazetteer

- minor updates to existing locations for more detail.

- several NPC names added to the rumor list.

- added elves and goblins

(And by the way, I love that the DFRPG took my own tack of making Elvish an optional language and Dwarven an old language not commonly used any longer. Heh.)

Known Gates

- added the newest gate discovered, called the "air gate" by the players.

Monsters Encountered So Far

- added the Death Brain

***

In non-blog updates, I started to go through my spells house rules document and bring it in line with the DFRPG. Page references and going to Spells, now, not GURPS Magic, unless the spell exists only in GURPS Magic. Changes I made have been tweaked back in a few cases to make it easier to just use Spells.

I'm also gathering a list of what rules we use that aren't in Exploits so we can assemble them in one place for reference. I probably should have done that before, but it works out better for me that I didn't because I don't have to re-do work.

***

Otherwise, I did some stocking and restocking - mostly the former - in order to keep ahead of the players. They have lot of options at this point, so I need to do a lot of work to stay ahead. I'm not at the point of requiring the players to tell me before the session where they intend to go in the dungeon. But I did make it clear that I'd prefer they decide ahead of time with gates when they'll go through, as it can be an involved process (or not), and I need to be ready.

That's especially true if they, say, want to go to the Lost City and "finish the job" or something. That's a whole set of material I need to pack up, be ready to run, ensure is up to date, etc. Just making sure I have the minis alone is a big deal. It's not a lot to ask in a meta-game, real-world sense that the players tell me when they're going to do something that can involve an entirely different set of preparations. Much like how we don't tell our Gamma Terra GM that we'll go to the Robot Farm and then show up and say, "No, actually, we'll go to Unknown Area #2 right now instead!" Even if he's got both ready to go, it's easier on everyone if he's only got to re-read and bring along one of the two.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Bones IV - that was fun

In the end, I didn't add anything to my initial core pledge. There were some good deals, and interesting add-ons, but none that gave me enough value for my money in terms of useful, tabletop-applicable minis.

Still, $110 is fair for what I got, and I can set aside some paint for February 2019 when they are due.

Fan Favorite Expansion for Bones IV

Okay, this is tempting. Let's see how it expands:



Slaadi, penguins, rocky hellhounds, a weird beach monster, mounted guys? Oh, so tempting. It's $50, plus shipping, so they'll need more before I can just wait for the ones I like and buy them retail. But I'll keep an eye on this today, it could expand and drop to well below my acceptable per-mini-I-like price.

This guy is neat, albeit totally useless for me:

Bones IV Last 12 hours

Just an FYI post - the Bones IV Kickstarter is in its last 12 hours, if you're interested in joining in:

Friday, September 1, 2017

More on DF-to-DFRPG Armor - why not the best of both worlds?

Yesterday I wrote about some armor options for our DF-to-DFRPG switchover.

Option 4 is probably the one SM -2 PCs would choose. But it's off the list. That probably seems like a fairly adversarial, anti-player stance - no you can't have the best of both worlds, because, to heck with you and your paper man!

That's not really the whole of it, although it could be part of it. That's not why I would not choose option 4.

Mostly, it's a combination of laziness and ease.

Laziness because putting in Option 4 (cost/weight from DFRPG, scaling from DF1 and DF3) will take a fair amount of work. It's not completely trivial - I'll need GDF files for GCA for the DFRPG armor and ones for the DF1 / DF3 scaling, and ensure they work together. I'd also need to revise all existing SM-1 and SM-2 PCs, NPCs, and armored monsters with new costs and weights.

Ease because I would then need to tell people to look in two places on paper - Adventurers, from the DFRPG boxed set, and DF 1 for oversized and DF 3 for undersized armor. I'd have to adjudicate between two sets of rules. Part of the reason to change is because I can just say, "Just use Adventurers for all of your gear."

In other words, it takes the work of a changeover with the disadvantage of needing to maintain two different systems. I can get results we've lived with this whole time - 90+ sessions - without any work. So for something to be worth doing, I have to feel like it either makes things so much better that it's worth the work, or it's a one-time cost that comes with greatly easing work for everyone going forward.

The option I'm most likely to choose is the one where we simply add Oversized. The math is easy, the GCA coding is easy, and the results are easy. It's not as easy as "just use DFRPG" but we'd need them because of existing SM +1 characters.

The "best of both worlds" option doesn't have any of that ease.

So it's laziness and ease. I'm looking for the least work now, for the most ease going forward.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Armor Options for our DF to DFRPG Switchover

So, I've been thinking of the armor options for our DF game, which is mostly switching over to DFRPG as its rules base. Not that this is a big change, but for armor, it is significant.


Option 1: As Is

As we play now, using GURPS Basic Set's armor and DF1/DF3 rules on sizing.

Pros: Simplest.

Cons: We'll have to ignore sections of the DFRPG and all supplements to it that deal with armor. When GCA files for the DFRPG come out we can't use them or I'll need to make a patch GDF to go with them. People enamored of the new armor options will have to leave them by the board.

Likelihood of Use: Very high. In use now, so this will remain unless we make a deliberate change.

Option 2: By the Book Plus Oversized

By the DFRPG book. This approach means:

- there is no Faerie Gear.

- SM -1, SM -2 armor is the same weight as SM 0 armor.

- SM +1 or larger armor is handled per DF1 and DFD:B; that is, double cost and weight.

We can't just do "by the book" because no cases for armor cost/weight for SM +1 guys exist and we have two of them, one of whom (Honus) wears armor.

Pros: Simple.

Cons: SM -1 and SM -2 delvers will be unhappy, especially those already running them. Existing armor can be grandfathered in, but this won't make them happy because armor can be lost, existing armor can't be assured to be upgraded, and PCs with a little more cash and time in will have better gear than new PCs can possibly get. Will require a patch GDF for GCA.

Likelihood of Use: Moderate. It's the least work while still allowing for lighter, better, but much more costly armor.

Option 3: By the Book Plus Oversized Plus Mundane Gear

Use the armor as-is from DFRPG, but use the mundane armor rules from DF1/DF3.

- SM -1 and SM -2 armor will be very light, but very weak (1/2 and 1/5 weight and DR)

- As now, SM -1 and SM -2 delvers will need to go either no-armor ("why bother?") or heavy armor with enchantment to make up for the loss.

- Access to lighter armors means SM -1 and SM -2 delvers will have some DR but armor will be heavy for what you get (SM -1 Epic Plate would be DR 4, 5 with a round-up, and 48 pounds; SM -2 Epic Plate would be DR 2 with a round-up, and 19.2 pounds) but still better than the DFRPG allows (36 pound DR 2 heavy leather for either.)

Likelihood of Use: Very Low. More work, less likely anyone would take advantage, and it's easier to just use things as-is.

Option 4: By the Book Plus Oversized Plus Faerie Gear

Use the armor as-is from DFRPG, but use the sizing rules from DF1/DF3.

- SM -1 and SM -2 armor will be lower in DR (-1 and -2, respectively) but significantly lighter.

- SM -1 and SM -2 armor won't be any more expensive than SM 0 armor

- Smaller delvers will lose some top-end DR but will be able to get close to SM 0 DR for a fraction of the weight of the armor they have access to using GURPS Basic Set.

Pros: Players of SM -1 and SM -2 delvers will be happy. Getting extremely light, high DR, very effective armor will simply be a problem of wealth. Playing SM -3 or smaller characters will be covered.

Cons: This is basically a giveaway - the most PC-favorable parts of the existing rules plus the most PC-favorable parts of the new rules. Small size isn't a disadvantage, it's a very large advantage, given wealth to cover for it.

Likelihood of Use: Nil. I'm not against making things better for the players, but I am against something that will be a lot of work for me and everyone else just to make things better for a select few PCs.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Other People's Posts - DFRPG armor in DF 13 loadouts

Charles Saeger put up a nice post yesterday that puts the Dungeon Fantasy Role-Playing Game armor weights/costs into DF13's loadouts:

New Armor Loadouts for DF13

That's pretty cool - if you want to grab-and-go a loadout, it's still two steps to do it this way but it sure beats doing the entire loadout by hand.

I also put this in my sidebar of GURPS links to make it easier for people to find again.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Bones IV last 4 days

The Reaper Bones 4 Kickstarter is still going, and closing in on its last few days.


They've expanded with some very cool expansions:

Chronoscope, a sci-fi pack.

Dreadmere, a horror-and-undead filled swamp,

Dark Reaches, your basic D&D Underdark (gnomes, dark elves, fungi, monsters)

Lost Valley, reptile men and dinosaurs

At this point, though, I will still pass on all of them. Dark Reaches is tempting for the monsters, but the ones I don't have but want are few enough to make a $50+shipping ask too high. I'd love the umber hulk knockoff, the hook horror knockoff, etc. but I don't need them, and there are too many I don't want in the pile. And besides, that Fungal Queen is totally a surface dweller wearing a mushroom man's head as a hat and pretending to be a mushroom to rule them all. Bet you don't get that in too many games.

The Lost Valley is cool, but I play GURPS. For all that I have players who say, "HECK YES I WANNA FIGHT DINOSAURS!" the problem is that dinos aren't terribly exciting monsters. They are just giant lizards, without the fire breath of slorn or magical powers of dragons. They're bags of HP with a Dodge score and a high-damage melee attack. Unlike in, say, AD&D, where there is this terrible risk the 18 HD T.Rex will bite for 5-40 before you can whittle down its HP to 0 and drop it. In GURPS, especially in GURPS DF, it'll be "okay, eye shot, I take it right to -5xHP." Also, if I wanted dinos, there are cheap plastic dino toys all over the place. If the pack expands, though, it's possible it may fill out with things I must have. So anyway, that makes it less likely I want or need this.

The core set - which will run me $110 with shipping, rounded up - is a great deal, though. And you can buy straight in for individual pieces if you want. I already have plans for the minis from mine!

Monday, August 28, 2017

Games notes from Sunday's DF Felltower session

We played our 91st game session in the current DF game on Sunday.

Here are some random notes:

- The cleaned up Grease spell in the DFRPG is very much like my cleaned-up Grease spell. I approve.

- equally, the improved Very Rapid Healing is a tempting buy for a barbarian nowadays.

- I still prefer ST checks over CP-based systems for dealing with spells like Glue or to hold on to something. It's just easier. Perhaps a smoothed CP-based system could work, but it'll add a step that "Okay, ST Contest!" just doesn't need.

- It's starting to get tricky to keep track of who touched what hand of what color in what room, in what combination.

- I really should have put the Raiders statue in a location with a giant rolling boulder. Or had a French-accented wizard accompanied by horde pygmies with blowguns come and try and take it back. Oh well, can't think of all of them.

- I'm down to d20 rumors most sessions. It's hard to keep a fresh, useful pool of rumors ready for a d30 with the relatively limited delving going on. There just isn't a lot to chat about.

- Mo finally, as of the end of the session, got 30 HP. It's been a slog, since he's been improving ST at the maximum rate he can, not improving HP alone. His one-shot kill potential is getting better now that he's at ST 22 with Striking ST 2. One more point of ST - probably two sessions from now - and he's got 5d-1 swing as a base. This is good because even a combat-oriented barbarian is a second rate combatant next to a knight that's over 150 points his better. Being a bruiser enough to really smash stuff helps.

- The PCs only found one treasure the whole trip, and it was really significant. Like I've said before - the deeper you go, the more risk but the more reward. Oversized slug beasts, wandering patrols, lethal reeks, death brains, gibbering mounds of chaos, etc. and glue-and-grease traps with harmful spells set to go off on a touch, strange runes, doors that bite, etc. - nevermind gates and gate guards and puzzles - but one treasure is $20K. Go deeper, and it'll potentially be more so. It's the logic of the game, and the game world reflects that.

- I can be pretty harsh on "we copy down the symbols." My example is when I've copied down Hangul from the supermarket and showed someone who speaks Korean and they say, "I can't read that." It's worse because I don't even know what I'm copying. Or when I write kanji in Japanese and it's not clear what I'm actually writing to the person written to because the stroke order is wrong and minor errors creep in to make it all unclear. And I speak, read, and write that language. So, Artist rolls to copy down symbols. You can't always take a rubbing. And by the way, taking a rubbing means you need paper equal in size to the writing . . . tough when I make giant doors covered in symbols. This is on purpose, it's supposed to be tricky to sage-source or crowd-source your strange runes and whatnot.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

DF Felltower, Session 91, Felltower 64 - Endless Room & Colored Doors

August 27th, 2017

Weather: Clear, cool, sunny.

Characters:
Hjalmarr Holgerson, human knight (337 points)
     Brother Ike, human initiate (160 points)
Mo (his momma call him Kle), human barbarian (340 points)
Red Raggi, human berserker (?? points, NPC)
Vryce, human knight (494 points)
     Raska, human laborer (62 points)
     Veronico, human archer (125 points)

We started in town. The PCs gathered some rumors, stocked up on gear, and purchased potions and spellstones. They also recruited a couple of hirelings and found Raggi. The grabbed their bridge, a lot of rope, and headed to the castle.

They made it up, with Hjalmarr touching the statue of Sterick's axe and saying, "I'll find you soon." Heh.

They climbed into the castle without difficulty, and headed to an area long-ago explored because there was a note about a red six-fingered hand in it. They headed right to the "apartment complex" and sent Vryce in past the defenses at a run. He got zapped with lightning, limmed with black fire, and shrugged off freezing damage before he was safe. But could the others pass? Probably not.

So Vryce moved into the complex while the others went around to a secret door. They found and accessed the first one, but once inside an adjacent corridor they couldn't open the doors they found. They did find a spy hole, and used that to talk to Vryce. Vryce touched the red hand, and then went back around and met him as he sprinted past the defenses again, taking more damage for his trouble. This took a while out of game, but that's all that happened.

They headed down to the depths to explore more. On the way, though, they got turned around and ended up by an old area. One door was wedged shut with a strong, thick wedge that basically shut the door fast. They were curious so they unwedged it, since clearly no one would wedge something other than treasure behind a door, right?

Turns out it was a room with a least a few reeks in it. They fled, but Mo stayed to spike the door shut. Without the wedge, the door wasn't sealed enough, so the reeks soaked out beneath the door. One grabbed his leg and flowed up it.

He fled back to the group and Hjalmarr hacked it off, hurting them both. He slew it, but not before it sizzled off a lot of Mo's skin and left it sensitive (-2 DR).

Mo tossed a pair of alchemist's fire grenades at the door to seal it off and roast one reek (he's not sure if that worked) and they headed down to the next level. They quickly made it to the giant staircase.

Once down the giant staircase, which Vryce can now open, they tried to touch the floor to see if the painted staircase would extend down. It didn't, despite a rumor to the contrary.

They headed into the level they'd been delving in recently, and moved into new territory.

They quickly found a heavy door, and opened it up, and then a corridor lined with painted-on symbols they couldn't read (and Ike's attempts to copy them came out rubbish, thanks to a terrible Artist default roll.) It also had clouds and stylized bird images. At the end of the hallway was another door. That was forced open. Beyond it the air smelled of fresh, clean air. There was a long wide ledge sticking out into an oval, perhaps egg-shaped, room that extended to the sides, ahead, and down. Floating 9 or 10 feet off the floor was a glowing blue disk - a gate. Something whisked by just out of view, sending a breeze their way. They closed the door, assuming it was an air elemental. They marked this as "air gate" and moved on.

They head bare feet slapping on the floor nearby, so Mo put on some Dark Vision Salve (from Magic Items, from the DFRPG, purchased in town). He couldn't see the source, but he did keep an eye out and ensure nothing snuck up on them.

The other direction found them a mosaic-lined extended octagonal of a room. The mosaics were in reds, blacks, greys, and purples. They depicted two-dimensional non-perspectived images of cone-hatted humanoids worshipping, making offerings, and sacrificing to six-fingered taller cone-hatted figures. Two panels stuck out - one on the right wall, in the middle, showing sacrifices to two six-fingered types.

On the left wall, the panel in the middle showed books and scrolls picked out in grey with black letters. Most of it was just random, lorem ipsum-like nonsense. But a scroll above human eye level read "Whose will do you submit to?" in Common. Hjalmarr tried touching it, and found the letters depressed as individual letters. A chime went off, clear and low, right after a clunk. They tried to "type" in combinations once it was clear every letter was represented at least 3-4 times on the panel. All they did was set off more chimes.

More of this lead to a slugbeast of unusually large size coming after them down the wall. They fled to new territory, passing a small room midway down a long passageway. They eventually reached a side passage full of intersections leading to doors, and a T end with a bricked-up passage to the side with two missing bricks and a door to the left. They took the door.

Beyond it was a large room. How large? They marched for several minutes, and it was huge - hundreds of feet. They kept going and going. Long story short, they eventually gave up and walked back to the door - and it only took a few steps.

Intrigued, they tried several directions - all the same. They tried tossing lightstones and walking after them - tossing worked, but walking back always took far less time than they'd spent walking away from the door.

They spend tens of minutes trying chalk marks, tying rope onto people (it would tense, but drop limp as soon as the person took a step or five and ended back up at the door), and otherwise trying to figure this out.

Eventually, though, something else came at them from the fast distance of the room, closing very, very rapidly. It was a very human-looking brain on four crab-like legs - a Death Brain! It zapped several of them in turn, starting with Mo, inflicting direct brain harm and Fright Checks. One sent Raggi berserk. He charged. They fought it in the distorted room, with ranges being strange, movement away from the door taking many steps and towards the door very few, and sideways an unpredictable amount. The death brain was quick and agile, and avoided most of their attacks.
Mo tried throwing an axe where he thought it would be, and missed. Finally, though, Raggi caught up to it and critically hit it, cutting it down. It leaked clear fluid, and they hacked off its legs to keep and its brain was bashed up to see if it was normal brain material. It seemed so.

After several more minutes of testing and checking, yet another monster appeared in the distance, but closed very rapidly - a gibbering mouther. They got the first hint of it as it moved in and spat at Hjalmarr, disintegrating a chunk of his shield with a gob of corrosive spit. It swarmed in, gibbering away and confusing (dazing) Raggi and Ike repeatedly. It zoomed in and bit at Mo, taking a chunk out of his hand and dodging his counterstrike with easy. It bit at Raggi and tore great chunks out of him. It dodged arrows and slingstones, and stunned poor Ike as he tried to get a Sunbolt going, causing him to (harmlessly) zap himself. Eventually Raggi cut it, slicing it deeply but then crippling his own arm on the thing's critical Dodge. But it was wounded enough that it exploded, sending razor-sharp armor-piercing teeth out as shrapnel.

Raggi and Mo were badly wounded, and needed healing. They got it, and the group left the room, annoyed they couldn't figure it out.

Not wanting to leave empty-handed, they explored a side corridor and found they all ended in noteworthy doors. One had a black door with silver-plate-edged iron bindings. They forced it open and found a slate-grey room with a glowing blue rune on the wall. Fearing a teleport trap, they backed off.

The next door was a green demon face with squinted eyes and a keyhole in the mouth. Hjalmarr tried that, and it tried to bite him. He narrowly dodged it. Mo cut the door with his demonhunter machete but to no avail. So they moved on.

They found more - a red stone door and a blue-painted wood one.

They forced the red stone door and in the corner of the room beyond was a small golden statue of a moai on a grey stone pedestal. They contrived a plan that basically worked out to "Vryce runs in, swaps in a stone for the statue ala Indiana Jones, and runs back out."

This failed.

The statue turned out to be magically Glued to the pedestal, and the floor was instantly covered with Grease and the statue with Glue and the pedestal cast Dehydrate over and over, once per second. Vryce was badly hurt the first time (I rolled a 3 on the spell). He instantly realized he was in trouble - stuck to the statue, unable to get his feet so he could break free. They'd tied a rope to him and Mo hauled him back. This worked, overcoming the Glue spell with ST, but unfortunately the statue stayed stuck to the pedestal.

Vryce argued for leaving, that it was clearly a trap and thus wasn't going to be real treasure.

Mo argued to try again, that it was clearly real treasure because it was trapped.

Hjalmarr sided with Mo. They tried again, this time with Mo going in and Hjalmarr and Vryce pulling. This time it worked - Mo was hurt, but he could keep his grip and they pulled, and his grip exceeded the strength of the spell keeping the statue on the pedestal.

They got the statue out. It was about 5 pounds, and seemed to be gold.

It was getting late, but they decided to risk one more door - the blue one. They couldn't force it, though, and decided to return to the surface.

They eventually did so, first going up via the spiral stairs and metal trap door and then retrieving their bridge.

They made it back to town, not bothered any further.

In town, the statue turned out to be a gold alloy, hollow, and worth 20,000 sp ($20K) for its gold and design. They pocketed $5K each, which Mo immediately spent to commission his morninstar to be enchanted with Puissance +1. That's where we ended.

Notes:

Quotes of the game:

"Haven't you ever dungeoned before?" - Mo (right before the reeks)
"We should have known better." - Vryce (right after the reeks)

Very fighter-heavy group today. Vryce recruited an archer and a laborer so they could cover ranged better and have someone to haul digging tools in case they were needed. Vryce's player also runs Gerry the necromancer, but until he arrived at game we thought it was only two people playing so he figured on Vryce. Gerry's character sheet was elsewhere, so it was easier to just run Vryce anyway. It did lead to a ST-heavy, moderate-Per (best Per was 12), low-knowledge skill group. Still, it worked out okay.

The NPCs got their names because I needed to name an archer, so Mo's player said, "Archie." I said, "No, Veronica - now we're talking." Then it become Veronico, which sounds like a masculine form of the name. Raska was Roscoe, until someone mis-pronounced it and I decided Raska sounded like a great fantasy name. And Veronico Raska sounds like a Scott Lynch character name.

The gibbering mouther has different powers than the original D&D monster. I should just rename it, honestly, as it is look-and-feel but with very significant changes. The death brain is a mini I had, plus a name I'd been meaning to stat up. They're not terribly nasty but they aren't pleasant, and could be lethal in numbers.

That was one of my more mean spell combos - statue glued to pedestal, pedestal casts horrible spells on folks touching the statue, floored gets Greased so you can't get stable to break free or pry off the statue. And yes, feet on the pedestal would work, but then you'd get your feet glued to the pedestal and hit with spells then. I'd originally planned on Deathtouch but I decided I over-use that one, and something resistable would be more dramatic. It was.

I commented that it's a lot of fun to watch people solve problems without spells. Mostly because with spells it becomes combining spells, parsing sentences, discussing costs and timing of casting, etc. Without them, it's ingenuity with known tools.

Hasdrubul's player couldn't make it, thanks to a prior engagement, but he did provide a quote I think we need to use - "I'd rather be in Felltower." Well, who wouldn't?

XP was 5 each, as $5K apiece was enough for everyone's loot threshold and they explored several new areas.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Origins of the +4 to hit the hex - found

The other day I asked about the origins of the +4 to hit a hex.

No one chimed in with the answer, but now I'm back at my office and can check myself. It's exactly where I thought it was from.

The earliest reference I could find was in GURPS Fantasy (subtitle - Magic System and Game World) for 1st edition GURPS. Or maybe for 2nd edition - I had 1st edition, and I got this and used it with 1st edition. It was published in 1986.



Under the spell Explosive Fireball, it says:

"Can be thrown at a wall, spot of floor, etc. (at +4 to hit) to catch foes in the blast."

- GURPS Fantasy, p. 20

That is carried forward to GURPS Magic, 1st edition, and eventually got clarified to mean a single hex. So, why is it +4 to hit a one-yard hex? Expansion from this "spot of floor, etc." from 1986.

Generally I ignore this for direct-fire, non-lobbed attacks. I just don't see why a 3' circle is a +4 to hit, especially when monsters that are 2 wide by 1 tall aren't even +4 to it. Either way, this seems to be the earliest reference.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Quick Equipment Kits notes - from Pyramid 1/06

Yesterday the latest Pyramid came out, featuring an article by me.



Let me just get this right out of the way - loadouts are time-consuming to write. I expected to knock this off in a day or two, writing in my "spare" time between blocks of work. It turned out to take much, much longer.

As an article, it's physically long for its total wordcount. That's thanks to tables, layout (lists, not paragraphs), and formatting. It's why this article is in this issue, and not the one before - it's not small even if the wordcount is rather so.

As a writer, it's a tough way to earn a dollar. There is a lot of text re-use. There is a lot of page flipping, formatting, math, double-checking to ensure the math works, and double-checking consistency with the existing material. That's after you've made decisions about what needs to go into a loadout, knowing full well many people will look at it and say, "This, but not that, or that, and this thing instead - this kit sucks!"

With that out of the way . . .

I wrote this one to deal with an issue I tend to have with buying gear:

- it takes up a chunk of time;

- people forget all sorts of useful gear because they haven't memorized the contents of the equipment lists;

- it takes time to add up the costs and weights;

- full-out loadouts are useful for initial loading out, but not for replenishment or piecemeal add-ons or upgrades.

I tried to account for all of these issues with kits. I'd seen such kits in the Rolemaster Companion and liked them then. So I wanted something like that for GURPS.

If I've done my job right, it should be easier to:

- grab-and-go kits for certain skills and needs;

- replenish ammunition (or stock up), complete with containers if necessary;

- stock up on food by the week or month;

- get an idea of what is an "upgrade" for a set of gear, and what is usually core.

Hopefully I've succeeded!

Although all of this is for the DFRPG, the contents should work just fine for the regular DF line, as well, although the page references are for Adventurers, not DF1: Adventurers.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Little things to love about the DFRPG

The DFRPG has a fair number of small rules clarifications, modifications to simplify, and changes that make for a potentially better GURPS experience.

Berserk now specifically mentions Change Position as your required maneuver when knocked down; I run it that way myself now.

Signature Gear is now a 1-point advantage tacked on to a specific item. It is no longer 1 point per $500 of value (round up). Nor does it give you any money. It's just plot protection for an item. I like that a lot. It's not new top GURPS in the DFRPG, but it's new to the DF line and DFRPG sub-line.

Slam is a Move-modified ST-based attack. No longer do you need to calculate Speed & HP to get a number, but just use your listed damage.

It's clear when to use Speed to give an attacker a penalty to hit in combat. It's not often (AOD (Increased Dodge) and Move, pretty much) but it's clear when to use it.

Relative positive SM isn't a penalty for attacking; not that I ran it that way (it's hard enough being an SM+4 giant without taking a -4 to hit a human and a -5 or -6 to attack a small halfling). It's still a bonus for grappling. You get hosed on being hit, but you grapple better and don't have worse striking.

Overrun and Trample attacks are clearly spelled out, and who can use them is also clear. Yes, big monsters can just walk through you and get a free slam or whirl in a circle and tail-slam everyone. Don't stay too close to the Rancor.

Crippling Injuries get a handy table for typical delver-level HP.

Combat at Different Levels is simplified, and it's abundantly clear what the effects are. Fighting flying monsters sucks - +2 and -2 to defend, and if you're not the one flying you're not the one getting the plus.

Knockback damage - from being knocked into things - is listed. Ah, just like Champions.

Unliving, Homogeneous, and Diffuse Target damage is in a nice a nicer, easier format.

Weapons use the GURPS Low-Tech damage listings and added weapons. Since I'm the one that did those, I'm very pleased to see this made core for the DFRPG.

Group Skill Use is clearly spelled out.

So is Surprise, and how to use it in a dungeon.

Everything is figured. Well, more or less - you don't need to modify costs for power sources or limitations, add enhancements for special bonuses, etc. It's just as-written, no modifiers. So Turning, Healing, modified Wild Talents for spellcasters, etc. are just as-is traits to take. Less figuring = faster chargen.

There is more, of course, but those are some highlights I found that might show you why we're swapping Basic Set for Exploits for our long-running DF game.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

DFRPG and DF Felltower

So how will the DFRPG affect GURPS Felltower?



Adventurers

Templates are easy. I'll let players use either/or. Pick either a DF1 bard or a DFRPG bard and make that. Pick a DF1 barbarian or a Denizens barbarian or a DFRPG barbarian. It's fine. And so on.

Armor is a very tricky topic.

I had players ask if we'd be using the new armor rules.

The problem is that as written, the rules don't cover SM +1. That's easy enough - apply the rules from DF1 for that. But they also make SM -1 the same as SM 0. Okay, fine for our goblin thief. But we've got a SM -2 halfling. Not only that, but he's optimized around a customized layered set of Faerie-made Dwarven Plate to get himself as much DR as possible. He's got a lot (I want to say DR 8 or 9) and it weighs practically nothing thanks to his size.

If we use the rules from the DFRPG, we need to:

- make up rules for SM -2 that work with the SM -1 ruling (no effect on armor cost/weight) where the original rules make SM -1 armor lighter and thinner.

- port over the rules for Faerie Gear.

- deal with "don't nerf my guy" issues from the player affected.

So in other words, we may not be able to use the armor rules because we've got an existing character who adds complexity to them and who will be negatively affected by using them.

Bummer, because I like them just fine and once GCA files get made, it would be easier to just use them straight-up.

It may be possible to grandfather in the existing suits, but then we still need rules for new suits of SM -2 armor. I'll see if I can either come up with some I like, or someone else does.

As an aside, I had one player ask to use them simply because armor is more expensive, so therefore any orcs killed will have better loot potential. I was pretty disappointed by this as a reason. It feels meta-gamey in a bad way, like asking for sword prices to be increased because PCs buy them so infrequently but sell them as loot frequently.

Nevermind it wouldn't likely be true - I'd simply deploy more orc minis with mostly non-metal armor if armor was expensive (no generic orc warriors with $4000 in armor, just because that armor used to be $400). Plus, I'd be more likely to simply use the stats I wrote down already instead of revising them to give the orcs less encumbrance from armor, different armor to reflect a more logical cost structure (again, they don't suddenly became richer in gear despite the logic of the gameworld because the game rules changed the value), etc. I'd just use them as-written, with as-written value of the gear. They'd have crude, heavy mail and notably light leather armor. Must be magic or orc manufacturing techniques or something. You can see this as me not wanting to hand out loot, or being stingy, or vindictive even . . . but it's a combination of laziness and a strong dislike of "I voted against this because I don't want the bad guys to be able to do it!" The latter is almost never true.* I don't let players take deadly eye beams, but that doesn't mean Eyes of Death don't have them.

Weapons are as listed in this book. We use them that way anyway.

Races are still limited to the ones I normally use.

Power-Ups available on the base template here will be available on a starting guy from other books as well; ones not listed but which are in DF11, Denizens, etc. are available as usual (in other words, case-by-case but mostly yes.)

Exploits

This is a no-brainer. This is now our basic rules set for DF. I will add a house rules list to cover materials we've added, and a list of books that add on to this (like all of DF16, for example). So Committed Attack, Defensive Attack, Prediction Shots, Ranged Feints, normal Fright Checks (because it's funny when Vic's guys fail their rolls), no critical hit table rolls, improved parries for balanced two-handed weapons, the Close Combat technique and parrying/striking in close combat, and Technical Grappling-based grapples will go on that "list."

We've already been using some of this - the slam rules, for example, have been working in play this way since I saw the first draft of the book. I found them easy in play, enough so we could skip our house rule of always using max-move slam damage.

I will expect players to reference this, not Basic Set or GURPS Martial Arts, for in-play rules. I will expect my players to read it, too, although I'm sure that's not actually going to happen for all of them. The more that do the better the game will run.

That said, pages 1-70, and 95-end are required, 71-94 are useful reads.

Spells

We will use this as our basic magic book.

The problem is that we have a lot of spells in play that have been house-ruled and others not in Spells. No matter. I'll start to make a list of them and compile them. The rule will be:

House Rules document (aka DF Felltower Revised Spells)->Spells->GURPS Magic

Still not ideal, but we've got existing characters with existing spells I want to keep in the game.

I've had players complain about reading a spell, then I say it was house ruled, then they have to look it up, etc. My solution is this:

- spells from Spells are left alone.
- spells that are house-ruled are marked with a * (and I'll mark them in my printout of the PDF, too)
- spells that are unchanged from and are written up in GURPS Magic are marked with a !

And as we go, I'll expand our "Spells Plus" document with existing, non-house ruled spell text as well. Eventually we should end up with just two documents - Spells, and an Everything Else document.

In any case, the players will need to look at and read the basic rules for spells (pages 1-14, and the back cover.) They will also need to read their spells in this book, and in the house rules, to ensure they know what they do "now." In most cases it's not different (and in some cases, the new rules match our house rules, like how See Secrets works) but you need to make sure.

Magic Items

We've already been using these. They are the law of the land in my DF game, with exceptions made for pre-existing items. No permanent items off the list in Adventurers is available for purchase. Consumables listed in Adventurers are generally available, as are spellstones and scrolls in the usual way.

Monsters

All of these monsters will be added to the mix. Where I have existing monster stats I like better - my orcs, some of my dragons, my gargoyles, etc. - I will use those. Where I like them both I'll use them both in some fashion (different dragon types, different breeds of ogres, whatever.)

I expect my players will read these, which is fine. I ran AD&D for years with guys with the monster stats memorized. It's useful but doesn't help you hit them any more often.

The other books don't require any comments. They'll be used as needed, as written.






* I once had a game where they players strongly rejected some advantages and spells because "we don't want them used against us." I used them against the players anyway - the vote was, should PCs have access to ____, not should ____ exist in the game world. Just because you can't be a demonic weapon master with telepotation doesn't mean there are no demons, weapon masters, or teleport abilities. In DF, especially, the logic is escalating threat with escalating loot against escalating PC power; trying to adjust rules to nerf the threat is explicitly running counter to the logic of the game itself.
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