Thursday, September 8, 2016

Dungeon Fantasy: Steal Which Bits? - Part II

Here is Part II of my posts about Stealable Bits from Dungeon Fantasy.

Here is Part I


Another usable, stealable bit from DF are the Power-Ups. I mean this in three ways - wholesale, the execution, and the concept.

Wholesale means, just take them and use them. They're good pre-packaged power increases, and often flavor changes, that you can just take and use. They're hack-and-slash oriented, but expanded levels of Higher Purpose or Magical Stability or the Flagellant's Blessing or a Zombie Arm might really fit into certain games. Read them through, pick the ones that fit your game, and just use them outright.

Excecution is where Power-Ups make life easier. Instead of Techniques like Dual-Weapon Attack, you just buy Two-Weapon Fighting and you're done. You want an additional option of All-Out Attack to slice apart multiple foes - get Cleaving Strike instead. You are seeking ways to make backstabs more effective, you go and get Backstabbing. It's an on-off approach where you aren't slowly increasing from Skill-4 to Skill-3 and so on, you go from Skill-4 to Skill-0 and you're done. For new players and GMs juggling a lot of PCs all at once alike, this is much easier than the slow investment approach. You just sudden get the ability, and deal with it in chunks instead of knowing who has what particular gradation.

Concept means, the entire idea of buying powers later. Most games I've run, and games I've played in, severely restricted purchases of advantages after play began. You might pick up Combat Reflexes or raise DX but couldn't add Eidetic Memory or levels of Magery if you wanted to. The idea that you can pick anything from a pool and add it on - but that the pool you choose from doesn't fully overlap with all other pools - even in play, even after chargen, is powerful. It frees up a lot of players from the angst and melodrama (and point-shifting optimization) of trying to get just a few more points. Or building a nearly unplayable mess of a character who has all of the "can't get later" bits but none of the stuff that would logically come with it. The Magery 3 guy with 5 spells or the Weapon Master with the minim points in a weapon the GM will allow, or the vastly talented Outdoorsman who has maybe 2-3 of the skills and expects to learn them in play. Opening up a larger pool of advantages to purchase later, as a concept, makes for more flexible character generation and development.

Warning: The assumption of DF is hack-and-slash dungeon delving. Perks like Butchery (from Denizens: Barbarians) or power-ups like Mana Bolt (DF11) make assumptions about the game and the world. Butchery assumes you'll need to take foes to -10xHP, say, but there is a real cost to doing so. Mana Bolt assumes you want pew-pew wizards firing "magic missile" shots with no cost. They bring their own flavor and world changes to the table.

Supplements useful here: DF1, DF11, Pyramid 3/61 Way of the Warrior, Denizens: Barbarians.

Magic Items

This one is pretty simple. If you want magic items for your games, especially if they tend towards heroic gaming archetypes, just steal the ones from DF. There are a lot of them, and they are good.

Supplements useful here: DF6, DFT2

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