Sunday, September 4, 2016

DF Felltower - Revised Rumor Rules

Rumors are a big part of my DF game. However, certain PCs have gotten so good at garnering them that I'm regularly needing to make up 15+ new ones, sometimes more, each session. That means lots of redundancy, repetition, and - based on one player's opinion - much more chance for falsehoods and red herrings.

So I tweaked them a bit. Here is the replacement set:


Rumors represent the filtered nuggets of potentially useful information you get from:

- hearing the latest news and gossip;
- chatting with old-timers;
- interacting with people in your profession (wizards at the guild while you're getting Power Item charges or learning spells, fellow guards for knights, at the church for clerics or devout PCs, etc.);
- information stumbled across in general research or other activities (scraps of maps found in the marketplace, notes in margins of books, chitchat between sages you've hired, etc.);
- actual official pronouncements.

Who Gets Rumors?

PCs, and major NPCs or designated minor NPCs, are eligible for rumors. Most hirelings, henchmen, volunteers, etc. do not come with rumors, nor do Allies. (Basically this means Raggi comes with one, so did Gort, and other "knowledgeable" types might come with one.)

You get one rumor automatically if:

You stay in town. Living off the land or otherwise bypassing upkeep costs means you don't get to hear any of the latest news and gossip, or chat up old timers. You may hear bits and pieces of larger news but don't get the filtered bits of news that amount to rumors.

Plus, you may get additional rumors.

Carousing. A Carousing roll costs 30 sp (or your extra costs for Compulsive Carousing, if you have any.) Success gives one (1) additional rumor plus one (1) for every two points of success on the roll to a maximum of three (3) additional rumors. Critical success will give an additional rumor, for a possible total of six (6) including the automatic rumor.

Example: Vryce has an effective Carousing-17. He rolls a 12, making his roll by 5. He gets one rumor for staying in town, one for succeeding on Carousing, plus two more for making his roll by 5. The GM rolls for five rumors total. Had he rolled a 6 or less, he would get six rumors total!

Current Affairs, Propaganda, Research, or Streetwise. As Carousing, above.

Any of the above rolls are in lieu of doing actual research, and you may only choose one. PCs with Compulsive Carousing can only choose Carousing unless a self-control roll is made!


Rumors are rolled on my big d30 Rumors Table.

Another option would be unlimited rumors, but repeats are retained - sometimes, the same rumors keep coming up. I chose not to do that, because the people with one rumor always feel badly when they get a repeat. I don't mind making up a lot of rumors, I'm just trying to limit the number of times I'm making up and giving out 15-20 rumors per session.

I'm debating letting Carousing, etc. give only one additional rumor (two on a critical success), but letting the player choose a topic. Then I'd choose off of the table. But my concern is that instead of a quick roll, this becomes an issue of people wanting to use Luck, debating for a long time about what to ask for, wordsmithing to find just the right words they think will get me to tell them something that might not even be on the table, etc. So better to just cap the number, I feel.


  1. I think it's hilarious that you use a d30 for rumors. I tend to convert everything to d6 for GURPS so I don't need to carry my big bag o' dice, not that it really makes a big difference once you have miniatures.

    I started each character with rumors at the beginning of the game, but don't give more out every session, because the PCs are the only ones currently exploring the dungeon. (They're the source of rumors, not the destination.) And they're now deep enough that the remaining denizens aren't messing with the local humans much. But I think I need to come up with more "current events" -- while you were in Town for a week, X happened in the dungeon. A more static dungeon is less work for the GM, and easier for the players (don't need to constantly re-clear previously cleared areas), but feels much less real.

    1. I had a d30 so I could use it with The Dungeon Alphabet (L is for Levers), but I had to use it for more than just that!

      Even if you aren't re-stocking the dungeon, if the PCs leave and come back, you can have the locals provide extra detail. "Trolls, you say? That reminds me, I heard that trolls . . . " That kind of stuff. A lot of my rumors are more detail, based on the assumption that the PCs and NPCs blabbed about their adventures in town. If I allowed them to stay tight-lipped, well, lots of rumors would dry up - the locals wouldn't have prompts or reminders, and wouldn't know this little tidbit they had was useful.

  2. Aw, I'd prefer a cap and allowing each player to ask about specific subjects if they use a skill. "Hey, I heard those guys in the red hoods were around again... you know anything those guys?"
    It's not divination, and any attempt to game it should automatically fail... no one wants to sit by THAT guy at th bar with a grudge or who goes on about the same thing all the time. "Oh that Hjallmar, all he wants to talk about is dragons this and dragons that! There are no dragons, it's an earthquake!"

    1. You can see how "What rumors should I ask about?" would be slower than "I rolled a 22."

      Also, don't forget you can go after specific information - sages, the Research skill, actual inquiries, etc. Mostly people don't do it because it's costly in time and money. Rumors are free or (in case of people with Compulsive Carousing) a side benefit of their built-in expenses.


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