Sunday, December 24, 2017

Felltower: Rules, Rulings, and Gear answers for a new PC

We should have "new" player at our next DF game session. New to the DF Felltower campaign, but not new either to our gaming group or GURPS. Just new to DF and how we run 4th edition GURPS.


Can I get the Staff spell enchanted into my bow?

Good question. Technically, there is no Staff spell. There are only Wizard's staves, wands, and rods (all listed in the DFRPG and Magic Items). You don't go out and get X made into a Wizard's X* but either find or buy a pre-enchanted item.

But the idea that elves - all of whom can cast spells - run around with longbows that function as staves - makes perfect sense. And in DF you can get a bow you can play as a harp. So, yes, you can do this. They are available in all normal, all-wood bow forms - short, regular, long, composite.

I'll assume that despite the length of most bows, it'll just knock off -1 from reach unless you ready the bow as a staff - you normally grab a bow mid-point, or 2/3 of the way down (for one like a Japanese daikyu (大弓)). You can keep the bow ready as a bow and use it to cast a spell and get a -1 yard break or ready it specifically for casting and get a -2. That seems fair.

I still won't allow this as a power item, though, as I like my 'no weapons, no armor' rule. A Wizard's Staff is an exception, but this falls on the wrong side of the line for me.

Winter gear?

Baby, it's cold outside. People can get winter clothes in a few forms:

Winter Clothes. Suitable for cold weather; worn on top of ordinary clothes or under armor it will provide +1 DR but gives -1 to DX. You can't put your arms down. $180, 4 lbs.

Fur Coat. An animal skin coat, provides DR 2 to the whole body (when wrapped in it) or neck, torso, and legs (1-3 on 1d) from behind. $100, 15 lbs.

A winter bedroll would help, too, if you expect to stay outside or sleep in a glacier like in G2.

Dryst used to just magic this up, but there are few creation mages around and none with the party at this time.

Rules & Rulings

Can I forage for rations on the way to Felltower?

A good thought, and a good question. Simple answer, though:


The rules imply you can, but it's not practical, logical, or in-game sensible.

Felltower is a 6-or-so hour long hike from town, given a steady but reasonable pace up the well-worn path to the top. Most of the time is height, not actual distance, and taking breaks to you can arrive with the need for only a short break (lunch, we assume) before delving. It doesn't assume extra time spent hunting, fishing, picking berries, finding edible roots, etc. and/or cooking and preparing.

In game, the path is well-worn, barren, surrounded by scrub bushes and rocks and not much else. It's also right outside of the slums on the north side of the river, which adjoin a growing town. Little grows there, and what does grow would have been scrounged by the poverty-stricken folks in the slums. Even the danger of Felltower itself wouldn't discourage them from ranging partway up the mountain to snag edibles.

A scout ranging off the trail could find game - it's been done by NPCs. But add in that it's winter, people will be picking over the ground a lot, and the difficult terrain and it'll be time consuming.

A PC insisting on scrounging will mean a much-delayed trip into Felltower (perhaps getting inside at night - subjective dawn for the orcs). If successful, this will save approximately $2 - $4 in ration needs. If it fails, someone else will need to provide food or suffer a hungry PC.

So as a practical matter, if you say, "I'm going to spend some time and bank on a success to say some ration costs!" another player is going to get (probably rightly) annoyed and just say, "My guy gives your guy some rations."

So I said no, and suggested we save that for non-hasty overland travel (the jungle trip in the Lost City, more leisurely travel in the Cold Fens).

Can I buy (skill not on my template)?

Yes, with Quirk points. That's how you buy spells when you're an Elf with a non-caster template, too.

This does mean you have all of 5 points to spend on spells, off-template skills, trading character points for starting cash, etc. - you can't do everything. I am strict on this because the "do everything" approach means you don't show up good at something from the start.

Can I buy (advantage not on my template)?


And it's pretty incredible to me that this question has almost always been for Lifting ST to raise encumbrance break points. Part of why I've said no is so that every single damn PC doesn't have a split ST stat. Even the wizards (perhaps especially the wizards) want this so they can armor up but not slow down.

Can I buy (skill or advantage on my template, racial or otherwise) in play?

Yes. If it's on your template, racial or profession, you can buy it later. There is a monetary cost, and you might be restricted by needing a teacher or magic or a training sequence, but yes, you can. Don't worry about realism, because a) it's Dungeon Fantasy, and b) there is magic in this world. Maybe you just down some blessed owlbear eyes and get Night Vision, or practice your weapon under the right person and get Weapon Master, or play with your drum circle on the night of the full moon and gain shapeshifting for your druid. Magic isn't science, and if you limit yourself with science you're limiting the fun of this campaign.

And yes, I've answered those before, many times. Even just recently. I should get it printed on the cover of the books.

* Great band name. Or hero's name.

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