Friday, August 31, 2018

Killed my Windsor & Newton brush

So, I went to paint tonight and found this:

I'm not sure what I did, here, but I must have left something on the brush. The bristles have been completely eaten away! I didn't find any shed bristles, so perhaps I incompletely cleaned some of my brush cleaner off of it.

Oh, well. I'll paint with my 00 instead of this 0 until I get a chance to replace it.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Revised GURPS Magic: Healing spells and cumulative penalties

Here is another spell rules change - or at least rules clarification - for my Dungeon Fantasy / Dungeon Fantasy Roleplaying Game campaign, DF Felltower. For more, see my Revised GURPS Magic for DF page.

The various _____ Healing spells in GURPS have a simple but effective limitation: a -3 to cumulative castings.

It's come up in my games - is this successful castings, or just attempts?

For my DF campaign, I have ruled this is casting attempts. Succeed or fail, the very act of attempting Minor Healing, Major Healing, or Great Healing on a subject counts as a casting. If it fails, pay your 1 energy and take the -3 cumulative on the next casting. Succeed, and have the spell effect, pay the cost appropriate for that effect, and also have the -3 cumulative on the next casting.

This makes for a very effective limitation on total healing for the day, which in turn makes injury more of a resource drain than it can be in GURPS. It has played very effectively in our game, too, and made for interesting tactical choices about spell casting and strategic choices about healing spell planning. Pack your potions, the cleric can't just try and try again!

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Plot Continuity and Sequels (over on CRPG Addict)

I like this look at plot continuity and sequels over on the CRPG Addict:

Plot Continuity Across Sequels

Having played games where the sequel makes bizarre assumptions about the previous game, I was keen to see his examples.

I've played a few games that couldn't even keep straight what I did during that particular game - Fallout II was the worst example I can think of off hand. In that one I got an ending that talked about how I wiped out the deathclaws (I hadn't) and two end vignettes that contradicted each other. Nice. So sometimes it seems to be a bit too much to expect it to happen between sequels.

This is one reason I love tabletop games so much - it's not limited someone's scope and ability to cover all possibilities. You just go with what happened and make stuff happen from there. But a well-done sequel segue in a video game is very nice.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Musing on the next session in Olympia

Our next Felltower session may be our second session with the group currently adventuring in Olympia.

They seem to have plans to do three things:

- seize whatever treasure there is within the Caves of Serpents;

- visit the Forge and get the cyclops there to make someone a powerful magical weapon;

- escape back to Felltower (they hope) via the gate to the underworld, somehow bypassing its guardian in the process.

It's mostly the rest of what was set out as possible things to do in the immediate area of their arrival gate other than visit Olympia.

We'll need 6-8 players. Any lower and it's getting unwieldy.

Any more and we don't have enough PCs and NPCs to run.

Someone needs to replace Alaric's player, as he went back to college despite Felltower being the font of all that is worth learning.

Someone can run Ike, if we get an overage.

And someone may have to run Dryst, because we're not sure Dryst's player can make it . . . and it takes an experienced hand to run a 400+ point wizard with 117 spells, Wild Talent, and an unorthodox strategy for powering spells (basically, everyone else does it for him.)

I think we can get this all done in one session. If not, well, I'm probably giving two sessions worth of XP to the PCs. No sense in rewarding lollygagging and time-wasting. Unless they come up with a compelling reason to expand their mission, in which case, I may expand the XP. Chronos is out there, for the truly bold . . .

Monday, August 27, 2018

Game Inspiration - MER's Lovecraft story

I aspire to get to this level of perfectly tuned silliness:

"The coffin was heavily enslimed with ages of accumulated muck, but strange glyphs could still be seen on its rim, and along the side of the lid. No sentient being had ever read them; they had been placed on the stone in some unfathomable way by a group of sinister creatures who had left no trace of themselves, not even the glyphs."
- Mark E. Rogers, "The Book of the Dunwich Cow," in The Adventures of Samurai Cat

I don't really do gonzo. I don't really do all-out silly. But there is at least some silliness in my games. I don't know that I'd stick the above into my dungeon, but it does inform what I do pretty heavily.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Hall of Judgment material in Felltower

What to use from Hall of Judgment for my DF/DFRPG game?

First off, I'm not going to read the finished adventure end to end. I've read parts, but not the entire thing. This at least retains the possibility that I could play it. I won't run it (I have too much to run as it is), but at least it's possible I could get in there and play if someone runs it.

The rules and monsters? I read them all. What will show up in Felltower?

Short version - not all of it. I've been running my DF game for over 100 sessions and 7 years; we've solved a lot of problems that new rules are meant to address.

Fantastic Dungeon Grappling will inform how we run our house ruled grappling. I like FDG but it does make some decisions differently than how I chose to make them earlier. Doug and I had worked on a simplified TG for DF for a while, and I took that and stripped it down further and did my own thing with it. But FDG deals elegantly with some issues that we didn't directly address, and so we'll use a merged version of them.

Field Dressing Game will see use since one of our players likes to have his character butcher and eat things. Especially weird things.

The Wilderness Survival rules are nice, but I'm satisfied with what we use from Dungeon Fantasy 16: Wilderness Adventures. I get why Doug re-invented the wheel; DFRPG didn't have any rules and he probably didn't have access to use the materials from DF16. You wouldn't go wrong using these; but like FDG, I have others already.

From the Bestiary there are some critters I will use. I don't generally use a lot of normal animals, in fact I almost never use them - and there are a lot of normal animals in the book. The various bandits, warriors, etc. I don't need - I use the basic stats for 62-point delvers from DF15 instead. I will certainly use some of the faerie stats, if my players ever figure out a way into (well, under) elf hill, although they should be warned - I'll change them to suit my particular conception of Faerie. The ice alf and krabbari would fit right in with some minis I have, so they go in. I like the vaettr but I'm not sure I can fit yet another wight variation into my game; it's fairly full of them already.

so Hall of Judgment is a solid get for me, even without running the adventure. A good base of faerie critters, a couple of demonic and elemental monsters, and some modifications to my grappling rules. If you don't have you own grappling rules, don't use DF16, and will use the adventure, this is an excellent supplement.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Minis WIP

I haven't really had a lot of time to paint, and it's been humid beyond the norm, but I am not totally given up on painting this summer.

Here is a mini I've been working on:

He's a Warhammer Empire (I think) commander, mounted with an old Ral Partha shield as a buckler. I can't quite settle on the best way to finish him, but I think perhaps some grey on his mustache, some washing and highlights on his clothing, and a bronze face on his shield will do it. Perhaps tomorrow, if the humidity is as low as it was today.

Friday, August 24, 2018

eBay Ogre auctions delayed

I mentioned that I would be auctioning off my remaining Ogre minis this week. That will actually be delayed until next week. General business and a camera battery issue put paid to getting that done this week. I've resolved all of that, and the auctions will come, but they'll be up soon. Here is a teaser:

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Calling on The Good God

In our last DFRPG session, one of the PCs prayed to the Good God for guidance.

I was thinking about how I'd like to keep the split between "Seeking Guidance" and "Praying."

Praying is for danger. Stuff is bad, you need help. The examples are pretty clear - serendipitous saving of a life, teleportation to safety. I'd add arrival of help (if such help was on the way). Disruption of an enemy attack. Parting of Red Seas. Stuff like that.

I may even allow players who try the roll and fail to re-roll it immediately if they sacrifice character points to do so (and get the bonus, naturally.)

But you don't want to do this too much. Just because your roll is an easy 10 or 11 doesn't mean you should do this repeatedly during a delve. Save it; the GM is more likely to be generous if you ask infrequently.

But it's for "things have gone badly" situations, not "we're not sure what to do" situations.

Seeking Guidance is what you need to do if you need a hint, a clue, or a tip on what or how to do something. This may or may not be really helpful. It might just be obvious. And like any other "ask the GM" approaches, the more you use it the less likely the GM is to keep giving you useful stuff. "I roll Theology about going left or right." "I wonder what the Good God would do when confronted with this empty room that I think is something special!" Things like that will get old quickly.

I think the books make these clear enough, but I wanted to show my way of thinking about them. Theology and Meditation get you hints. Actual prayers get you miracles, potentially - but flat-out fail if you do them too often or try when you carry the way out yourself.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Half-Height Area Spells - abuses?

So I am still thinking over my ruling on half-height Area spells.

In our last session, I allowed a one-yard-high Stench spell, instead of the normal 4-yard height. This allowed the PCs to stand in a Stench that troubled their ratty opponents but not the PCs.

At the same time, I didn't allow a reduced-height Mass Sleep spell* to be cast.

I'm still not sure allowing partial-height Area spells that affect air, etc. are a great idea.

But at the same time, I'm not seeing a lot of abuse, here. Great tactics, sure. The oddity of, say, a one-yard-high Blackout spell so allow the PCs to see around them but otherwise annoy short opponents seems fairly interesting.

But I'm curious - does anyone else see abuses that can happen from allowing half-height battlefield-changing spells, with an exception that disallows Instantaneous spells like Mass Sleep or Turn Zombie or spells like that?

* Nevermind that Mass Sleep doesn't necessarily need to hit the head to be effective, although that does seem logically and thematically appropriate.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

The Restocking / Not-Restocking Continuum - costs and benefits

One of the fundamental dilemmas of a megadungeon that I have found is restocking vs. leaving fallow.

If you continuously restock the dungeon, you get fertile ground for new PCs to explore. There are monsters of the same rough difficulty of the monsters in that area (assuming a level-based restocking system). There is new loot of the appropriate level to those monsters (assuming you restock loot, as well.)

But it costs you time and effort, as the GM and as the PCs. For the GM, you must take the time to place these new monsters. As the PCs, it costs you time exterminating them. With new PCs, it might be the right level of challenge. With more powerful PCs, it might just be an in-game resource drain and a real-world time sink. More powerful PCs might waste time, effort, and game time wiping out monsters, making clearing a level or clearing your six a waste of time.

If you don't restock the dungeon, then the new PCs have nothing to do except pick up scraps of the older, more experienced PCs. They can't handle the danger pockets, they might not be up to delving into new territory, and much of the older territory will have been cleared by the experienced PCs.

But equally you gain time. Game time and especially real-world time. The delvers take less time to get to deeper levels and interesting stuff. The the players in the real world spend less chunks of sessions chopping up puddings, burning oozes, killing orcs who won't quit, etc. and more time delving down after the hoards of dragons and demon lords and vampyre-lich-trolls.

Of course, this isn't either/or, it's a continuum. But it's one on which must choose a spot or end up with one. I'm generally closer to the "restock" than "don't restock" end of that continuum, but I do consider the cost of staying there . . . and the cost of leaving it to speed up delves.

Monday, August 20, 2018

GURPS DF Session 108, Felltower 80 - Rats

We had a poor combination of players for continuing the delve on the far side of the Oylmpia gate. So instead we picked up with a B-Team of PCs - a mix of experienced PCs who hadn't gone through the gate and some brand-new PCs.

Date: 8/19/2018

Weather: Damp, warm.

Ahenobarbus the Lacerator, human swashbuckler (286 points)
Aldwyn, human knight (254 points)
Bruce MacTavish, Jr., human barbarian (250 points)
Desmond McDermott, human wizard (260 points)
Gerrald Tarrant, human wizard (330 points)
     5 skeletons (~25 points)
     skull spirit (?? points)
Jaspar, human swashbuckler (260 points)
Murak, God's Hammer, human cleric (250 points)
Raggi Ragnarsson, human berserker (?? points)

We started in town, as usual, gathering rumors and buying supplies. Two new delvers joined the group - a soft-spoken skirt-wearing barbarian with a greatsword and a harpoon, and a stumpy cleric of the order of Saint Taralle of Racciopi, who wields a hammer, hates evil, and claims to be half-dwarf. No one's really sure how they met those guys, but here we are.

They headed out the north gate across the Old Stone Bridge over the polluted Silver River to Sterick's Landing, with the badly vandalized statue of Baron Sterick the Red. Ahenobarbus spit on the statue, and they moved on. While they did Desmond made sure to caution everyone not to tell Mrs. McDermott about Felltower, just that they went on a hike near it just to look around, and that nothing happened. Mrs. McDermott has a low opinion of delvers and delving. Gerry made a Skull Spirit and rested while this went on.

They had decided to hit two areas of special interest: the "touch only once" altar, with those who hadn't touched it, and then over to a grindstone found all the way back during Total Party Teleport II.

They made their way up to the castle and through the acid-eaten portcullis. They opened the trap door and took the short spiral staircase down, and made their way toward the stairs down to level 2. They planned to go right past the "orc hole," assuming the lack of recent orc encounters means it should be pretty safe. They went the long way around . . . and as they did, they passed some doors to areas not yet mapped.

"That was mapped, but the map was lost."

So it was quickly decided to re-check those areas, just in case.

The first door of the three on their map was forced open by Bruce MacTavish, who kicked it open . . . and took a envenomed crossbow quarrel to the groin. It pierced through his kilt and his skin, but his great health was sufficient to keep the old, flaky venom on it from doing any harm. The PCs sent in another to check the room. All they found was a 30 wide by 60 long room with a crossbow trap set up in the corner. They took it, and made Bruce carry it. Murak used Surgery to remove the bolt. (The PC rolled it, and made the roll exactly! Hurrah! Except that he doesn't have a surgery kit. Oops, penalties . . . he ended up tearing the bolt out rather too violently.) They healed up Bruce a bit and moved on to the next room.

They forced that door, and found nothing but a dusty room. They searched but none of them were particularly effective at it.

The forced the next door, and found again, an empty room. But they spotted a ghostly young girl who fled from them. They tossed a lightstone to follow her, and saw she fled to hide in a corner. Then, something unseen grabbed her by the hair and dragged her. Gerry put See Invisible on himself but couldn't see anything dragging her. She was dragged to the door and disappeared.

They spent some time determining what to do about the ghost, but also checked the room. They quickly spotted a 3' wide, 2 1/2' high hole in the wall opposite the door. A chucked lightstone showed only more tunnel, quickly turning to the right. They decided to tie a rope to Ahenobarbus and send him in. He handed Murak his sword (who played around with it, Vow against edged weapons or no, while he waited), put Serrita (his knife) in his teeth, and crawled in.

He found a Y-fork ahead, and heard rats to the left. So he turned right and crawled along until he found a short side tunnel that led to a flat stone wall that was clearly meant to be pushed away. He messed around with it, carefully, but couldn't force it open from a safe position. He moved on a bit further but came to the end of his rope.

He turned and crawled back . . . and ended up face-to-face with a giant rat! The rat attacked at the same moment and Ahenobarbus. The rat bit him several times but couldn't get through his armor (thanks to hist Bracers of Force and helmet) and Ahenobarbus eventually managed to shiv it several times and kill it. He crawled over it and out, followed by more rats.

He crawled out of the hole and announced, "My friends, rats!"

They had some time to get organized, but chose to mostly stand around and argue about how to fight the rats. So, the rats poured out of the hole. The PCs weren't that well organized; plus, it's hard to create a fighting line against speedy and small creatures.

The PCs ended up in a brawl with 30 giant rats and a hundred or so smaller rats (rodents of unusual size, in that they weren't giant, like the usual-sized rats) in the form of 10 hexes of rat swarms.

Gerry tossed a 1-hex height Stench spell, which did help discourage the smaller rats from coming in. Desmond hit several with am Explosive Acid Ball, but also hit Murak and Aldwyn, blinding Murak in one eye! The PCs otherwise just kept chopping and slashing at rats, who proved quite nimble. It was a lopsided fight in the end, but one of Gerry's skeletons was chewed up a bit, another was chewed on and accidentally dis-right-armed by a "helpful" Aldwyn sword swing, and a couple of other PCs were threatened. Desmond hit six rats with Mass Sleep, and the others were hacked up and eventually died.

Gerry used Mass Zombie and brought up nine giant rat servitors, who followed him around.

They began to explore the tunnels. Over the course of an hour or so they sent pairs of delvers into the tunnels, exploring and crawling. At one point Adlwyn got stuck, and Desmond had to crawl in and free him with Shape Earth. They eventually forced open the movable bit of rock they'd found much earlier, and moved out into that room. Everyone except Raggi and Bruce could fit, so they stayed behind with the skeletons. Raggi sat and sharpened his axe, and Bruce just waited.

Murak, while crawling to the hole, found a 2.25 carat pearl stuck in a corner behind the movable bit of wall.

They eventually found the room they'd entered was the second of the two rooms they'd explored.

They made it back to the room with Raggi and Bruce, but those two didn't hear the gentle knocking on the door. So they wrote a note and slid it under the door. Bruce and Raggi opened the door.

They crawled again through the tunnels, and this time took the left fork. They found the main rat den, in a room just like the others. The PCs searched it even as baby rats and young rats scattered, and found some copper coins, silver coins, and a few other trinkets. Plus two waterproof torches (see DF12) and a Potion of Minor Healing.

They left via the door in that room, and explored around. To make a long story short, they ended up going in circles around and around the rooms, until Aldwyn pointed out to Desmond that the map wasn't "totally wrong!" but just that he wasn't seeing that the rat tunnels formed connections between two mirrored layouts of three identical rooms per side. Once that was clear, the mapping was completed. That still ended up with lots of walking, lots of crawling, some shaping of stone, slipping that note under several doors, and much staring at the map to figure out where they were.

Before they left, Murak decided to sit down and pray to the Good God and Saint Taralle for guidance on what to do about the ghost. Or how to find the ghost. [I shot this down - I pointed out that Last Ditch praying doesn't say anything about clues, hints, or guidance - that's a different thing.] He ended up just recalling passages from the Scriptures that said things about "good things come to those that wait" and "patience is the virtue of the true believer" and such. So they decided to come back again in the future.

They headed out from here toward the second level, determined to at least hit the altar in the time remaining. That didn't work out. They heard the sounds of muffled voices and leather and metal. Orcs?

Ahenobarbus moved up and threw a lightstone around a corner. That got the voices to shush, a door to close, and then they heard a muffled horn. The orcs were calling up reinforcements.

They decided to hightail it out, since they had little time left and no stomach for a useless brawl with orcs. They hurried back the way they came and out of the dungeon.

They made it back to town with a pittance - the only valuable thing they'd found, really, was a 500 sp pearl and that old crossbow trap (300, 12 lbs.). They sold those and called it a day.


Once again, that caution in the AD&D PLAYERS HANDBOOK is on the money - "Do not be sidetracked. A good referee will have many ways to distract an expedition, many things to draw attention, but ignore them if at all possible. [. . . ] always stay with what was planned if at all possible [. . . ] (Gary Gygax, PHB, p. 109)

Lack of significant Per scores told here. That pearl was missed almost a half-dozen times before it was spotted (and no one searched, it was just a lucky roll.) The PCs missed significant clues about the rats, various dangers, the "secret panel" that would have revealed the rat holes much earlier, etc.

Raggi was available, but the Meeposian brothers were not. Raggi came, but this was a pretty boring and unprofitable delve. He's likely to keep his current frequency of appearance, or even lower it. Killing a few rats and earning 79 sp isn't really what he got into raiding and pillaging for.

The Stench was interesting. Can you cut down the height of an Area spell? I said yes, because it seems like you should be able to for spells that fill an area or clear an area. I didn't allow it for Mass Sleep, because I feel like that's the beginning edge of abuse.

We also had the usual "We'll use Seeker to [fill in blank with something Seeker specifically can't do]." It's a great spell for tracking down known people or things. It's not useful at all, specifically by design, for finding people or things you don't know well. You can't use the spell to find the owner of an object you found, or find an object you know must exist, or find a person you glimpsed briefly, etc. "Where is Raggi?" is valid; "Where is the ghost woman?" or "Where is the owner of this pearl?" is not.

I allowed folks with Acrobatics to try to Acrobatic Dodge and Retreat away from swarms. Not strictly canonical, but it makes sense with ground-bound rat swarms. I wouldn't allow it with flyers or swimmers, though.

MVP for the session was Ahenobarbus for his tunnel crawling. Also, he got my vote for saying, at one point, "Krull is canon. I'll fight anyone over it!"

Fun session, and even the little bit of loot they got was enough for this low-point group to get some XP, but it wasn't a great delve. They explored some rooms, found a mysterious ghost, and killed some rats . . . but level one wasn't renowned for its loot even before it was pretty thoroughly picked over. Hopefully next session we have enough people to resume in Olympia and get that cleared up!

Sunday, August 19, 2018

B-Team Felltower Delve pre-summary

Good game tonight. We had:

- 7 players

- debuts of two new characters, Bruce MacTavish Jr. and Murak, God's Hammer.

- a planned delve to the second level and the altar and a grindstone discovered many sessions back.

- a "let's just check these doors" moment that turned into the entire sessions.

- a ghost!

- rats!

- giant rats!

- tunnel rats vs. rats!

- loot!

Full summary tomorrow.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Felltower B-Team, Assemble!

Tomorrow is our next game of Felltower.

Unfortunately, two of the players that came last time can't make it. It seems like to the players that's enough that we'll go with a "B-Team" of characters instead.

Jaspar's player, the son of one of our gamers, suggested that the B-Team rush through the same gate and join the A-Team. His dad shot that down; I did, as well, because the difficulty of everyone having two characters plus having more on the side who need to be run, plus Ike, would be logistically too difficult.

Instead I've been getting a last-minute rush of backup characters to check out. We'll see how they turn out.

But this also means game prep I didn't do needs to get done:

- I have to clean the flash off of Jaspar's mini and see if I can get him based for tomorrow. It's been too hot and too damp to do so yet.

- I have to do the rumors, which I'd left alone because I wouldn't need them for a few sessions.

- I need to check that I have the right minis for a regular dungeon delve, and possibly the orcs in case the PCs make a sally against them.

So, on to game prep . . . the B-Team assembles tomorrow!

Friday, August 17, 2018

Retainers from the Geekcave

I like this look at retainers, mercenaries, and specialists from the B/X rules, over at Echoes from the Geekcave:

Moldvay Musings: Retainers, Mercenaries, and Specialists

It's not a super in-depth look, but it's a good primer on those rules sections if you haven't seen them. And I think his idea on retainers is pretty spot-on - they make excellent replacement PCs or folks for the player of a dead PC to take over mid-game.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

New Release: GURPS Dungeon Fantasy Adventure 2: Tomb of the Dragon King

A while back, my players and I spent a session playing some unpublished GURPS DF material. That material was Tomb of the Dragon King. We enjoyed it, even if the PCs basically ended up besieged in a room by the entire population of the dungeon. Ah, good times.

That adventure is now released to the public. It's by the always-excellent Matt Riggsby, and it's $8 and it has lots of dragons.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

The Unlikable Follower

One thing I've occasionally toyed with, but never really personally used, is an unlikable follower.

Most hirelings, henchmen, Allies, and Dependents are in some way likable. Or at least valuable without being disliked. They're friendly, they listen to your PC (even if only most of the time), they have neutral to good traits from the perspective of the group.

But while re-reading Gene Wolfe's "The Book of the New Sun" series I thought about inherently unlikable followers.

Has anyone tried this in play? Using a follower that is useful and helpful to have around, or is an actual Ally of a PC, but is actually a pretty horrible person to be around? Or even actively dangerous to have around (except to, and for, the PCs)? Full-on negative disadvantages, say, outweighed by some value to the PCs that can't be easily had elsewhere?

I'm curious to find out how that may play out in a campaign.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Minis clean-out - pre-eBay chance at stuff

I'm pulling all of my ogre minis and some other minis stuff together to sell off to make some room. If you want to nab anything pre-auction, here is the list:

Ogre minis

I'm also going to get rid of an OOTS coloring book and a grab-bag of Bones minis (pictured below).

Just let me know (using my yahoo mail) if you're interested. I'll try to start putting these things up on eBay next week.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Olympia: GM's Design Perspective

Last session, the PCs ventured down a marble, column-lined hall and through a gate to a world I refer to as Olympia.

It has a few traits I wanted to talk about.

A Clear Theme

Olympia has a very clear theme - Greek myths. That allows the players an easy handle on the world. It lets them fill in details if and when they recognize the world. They did - and started asking about olives, sacrifices, farms, ships, and mountains of Olympian scale. The theme doesn't necessarily need to be this obvious, but once the players start to suss it out it should be easy to understand and connect the clues.

At the same time, I mixed up enough sources - Jason and the Argonauts, The Illiad, The Odyssey, gaming bastardizations of those, etc. - that they have clues but not necessarily answers. The existence of Chronos the Titan as the chief god helps throw out a fair amount of "Hey, do you know a guy named Zeus? Let me ask three times really loudly and clearly!" But still, it's not unfamiliar.

That can lead to meta-gaming, of course, and use of player knowledge. Well, of course. I didn't use Ancient Greece as a model because I wanted the players not to use their knowledge of Ancient Greece. Go for it, and maybe you'll be right, that's my motto. I could easily have made it totally unfamiliar if I wanted it to be impossible to use player knowledge.

Different from Felltower

Olympia isn't Felltower. It's different enough that a "Greek Level" would just seem weird, as would a few Greek-themed rooms. Having a gate lets me put the PCs in this thematically incompatible area and excuse any differences between them. This made a gate critical, and it's probably obvious to all why I used a gate.

In retrospect it's probably obvious to the players that it wasn't a gate to Meepos, but it could have been, if only to allow me to drag in Greek-themed elements to the campaign.

Gate Where the Action Is

I deliberately put the gate in this world in a central area. Because of the theme of the world, it was easily say, "Here is an entrance area in a columned structure." So I did that. This allowed the players to get right into it.

I will not always do this. But it suited the world. So, players be warned, are very long journeys that really should have been trivial jaunts. Just ask Odysseus. Like Mo, he screwed himself by his actions.

Another option could have been distance but obvious choices as to where to go - a gate in a remote land, but a castle clearly visible or a town to get to or something of that sort. Instead I dropped it right in the middle. I like a sandbox, but you need clues as to what to do first.

Limited Sandbox

The world of Olympia is a sandbox, and a potentially big one. It's somewhere where, if the players and I wanted, a whole campaign could be run. But it's limited as of right now. so the PCs don't have to worry about choosing between dozens and dozens of options. They had four or five, and they systematically getting through those might be enough adventure. If it's not, the world is . . .


I can easily add to this. Monsters galore. Gods. Demogods. A titanomachy. Whatever I need - this world can expand and expand.


Not all gates will be like this. Some will be narrower adventure areas. Some will be larger. Some will have gates far from the area of adventure as a challenge to logistics and planning. And some will be fairly simple - entrance and exist will be one and the same or very close to each other. But this is how Olympia is, and partly why. That may be useful for GMs considering adding gates to their own campaigns.

Saturday, August 11, 2018


There are three days left in the Trogdor Board Game Kickstarter.

I backed it, of course, because TROOOOOOOOGDOOOOOOOOOR!

But they also released a print-and-play version of the prototype game, for free:


So, if you want to know how the game plays before you buy it, or just want to make your own set, have at it.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Gamma Goals

I think we need some goals for our GURPS Gamma Terra game.

Personnel Goals:

We need promotions. It's come up again and again in game. We're chipped in the head to be low-ranking E-somethings; we want to be treated as high ranking O-somethings.

So let's talk upgrade paths.


Promotion Paths:

Caveman-> Captain Caveman
Momma's Boy -> Momma's Man-Child -> Momma's Man*
Princess -> Prince Princess -> The Sniper Formally Known as Princess
Short Bus -> School Bus -> Bus
Barbie -> Ken
Hillbilly -> Mountainbilly**
Love Handles -> No Higher Lover Handles
Oinker -> Link Hogthrob

* Actually, a path in name only. He'll always be Momma's little boy.

** I should have named Hillbilly "William Everest." Sadly, he's Arnold Maytreks ("it's e, but pronounced with a short i sound.")

Thursday, August 9, 2018

XP for gate-locked multi-session playing PCs in Felltower

Here is what we ended up going with for XP for Felltower with PCs who are stuck behind gates at the end of a session:

Per Session, Not Per Delve. - Normally, XP is per delve. But if PCs are trapped in a gate-accessed play area for multiple sessions, that's not fair. It's not less fun, but it does slow advancement and I don't like doing that to the players. So if a gate-accessed area takes 2-3 sessions to clear, so be it - the PCs earn 2-3 sessions worth of XP.

Per Session, not Amortized. - Loot and exploration is for a specific, single session, not divided up over three delves.

I count the loot garnered each session and, once it's sold and diveded, pass out XP to the group. When it was looted matters.

In other words, if a group goes through Gate Z to World X, and earns 1000 sp, 40,000 sp, and 0 sp, the loot for a 450+ character is 2 xp, 4 xp, and 0 xp, not 41,000/3 = 13,666 = 4, 4, and 4.

This is critical to avoid spending extra sessions "just making sure" when you know doing 1, 2, even 3+ extra delves won't reduce you below your loot threshold. That's essentially milking treasure found in one session to make up for less in other sessions and earn more XP.

XP comes at the end of the delve. Like it says, you get your XP after you return to town, not after the session ends.

MVP is per session. - Enough said, there. Every session has an MVP. That comes right away.

All other "per session" stuff is "per session." - Serendipity, Wild Talent, etc. - it's per session.

I hope this clears up how we're doing XP for delves such as this last one.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Dragonhorn Bow

I didn't want this to get lost in the comments. Here is what a dragonhonr bow does in my DF game, Felltower:

"Horns can be sliced up into strips and used as fronting for a dragon-slaying composite bow. You'd need to pay the construction cost for the bow (at least fine quality, as well) and the enchantment cost, but if you got it up to +3 Puissance and Accuracy (even if vs. Dragons only) it would get the "slaying" quality - any crit is max damage, any 3 is 3x max damage. One bow/horn."

"Dragons only" as a Puissance limitation would be the Bane enchantment ($2000) and reduce the cost of Puissance in half. So Puissance +3, Dragons only, on an otherwise Puissance +1 bow would be $90,000 (10,000 energy, divided by 2, minus 500, times $20.)

As I said to my players, "This may seem stingy, but these things are not available for sale, anywhere, so it's a gateway to a special magic item." And it is. Don't expect to just find dragon slaying or dragon horn bows laying around. Want one? Kill a dragon.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Jaspar McStafford

"McStafford" might not be his last name, but this guy is going to be Jaspar the staff-armed swashbuckler's mini.

Nice. He's a good size, too, rather than the usual "giant 28mm" Reaper minis.

Monday, August 6, 2018

GURPS DF Session 107, Felltower 79 - Olympia (Part I)

Date: 8/5/2018

Weather: Very hot and humid

Alaric, human scout (293 points)
Dryst, halfling wizard (450 points)
Galen Longtread, human scout (389 points)
Gwynneth, high elf wizard (262 points)
Hjalmarr Holgerson, human knight (370 points)
     Brother Ike, human initiate (160 points)
Mo (his momma call him Kle), human barbarian (394 points)
Vryce, human knight (509 points)

We started off in town. Rumors were gathered and equipment purchased. Not everyone could afford to repair their corroded armor from last session's ooze battle. But even so, at Vryce's insistence, folks bought rations for what could be a long trip past the gate at the end of the marble hall. Meanwhile, Galen's special order bow finally came in - a Fine Balanced Elven ST 19 Composite Bow made from dragon's horn, enchanted to Accuracy +1 and Puissance +1. He will own no more than he can carry, so he handed off his old backup bow to Alaric, keeping what used to be his main bow as his new backup.

The group set off for Felltower. On the way, Mo smashed yet another of the statue of Sterick's horse's legs. The statue is becoming unstable, and will soon fall.

Once they reached the top, Mo climbed up the walls. But then Dryst, under some pressure from the rest of the group to shape the wall into stairs, conceded that he could do so. It was "too expensive," he said, and that it would be cheaper to just burn the portcullis down with Acid Jet. He ended up doing just that, standing around like a grumpy old man in his garden, hoses down the metal with 2d Acid Jet until he corroded a 2-hex passage through. Alaric, who'd just upgraded his Climbing skill, climbed the wall anyway.

Once inside they took the trapdoor down and worked their way to the second level, and then to the giant fantastic staircase. Tired of all this opening the door, Hjalmarr made everyone decided who was doing what before they headed in. He opened the door and they went down. At the bottom, they headed straight for the marble gate. The air was very close and stale across the whole level, though, and Brother Ike and Gwynneth both suffered penalties from it. The air has been getting progressively more stale in their delves to the "gate level," formerly known as "the apartment complex." They aren't sure why.

They made it unmolested to the hall with the gate. They stopped to carefully examine some of the pillars, looking for any markings or words on them. They gave up after a short time.

Dryst was called upon to use Scry Gate. He did, and saw a round, pillared area with a fountain in the middle. An old man in a white robe off one shoulder was sitting with a wineskin on the edge of the fountain. No edges of the room could be seen, only darkness past the circle of pillars. Dryst pronounced it non-hostile appearing.

The gate was big - 15' wide by 12' high - so they sent in two waves. The gate dispelled all of their ongoing spells, causing Dryst to fall as his Walk on Air (and servant, and Invisibility) was cancelled. He landed well enough, though.

They could see only the fountain, the old man, and a circle of pillars. Beyond it, blackness, although they could smell fresh air (which helped those weakened by the poor air of the level they were on.)

The old man turned to face them and spoke, but none could understand him. He gestured to Gwynneth to drink some of his wine, though, and indicated a tiny pinch between his finger and thumb. She drank . . . and when he spoke this time she understood him! He told her to pass it around to her friends, and warned her that only a little was to be drunk. Naturally, the lushes in the group - Alaric, Hjalmarr, Vryce, and Mo - all drank more than that. Gwynneth and Mo ended up pretty tipsy . . . giving them stat penalties the entire session. Mo tried to offer his own cheap win in return, but the old man refused to drink the drinks of barbarians, he only drinks civilized wine.

The old man said he was a seer, and neither asked their names nor gave his. He claimed at one point that as a seer he knew all, but was allowed by the fates to only say so much at certain points. The group began to query him about the area.

He told them enough that they could get their rough bearings (and let me hand out a rough map). He asked them what they sought. They said treasure and glory. He told them of four places that held such:

"The cave of serpents" held the most wealth but the most risk.

"the field of fire" was were the bronze bulls roamed, and offered the most chance at glory - and that their eyes were the reward and weapons plunged into their hearts would be proof against fire.

"the tree of the fleece" was were a golden fleece lay, guarded by a terrible hydra

One of those places he mentioned that to win you needed to make the immortal, mortal - but they can't remember which.

Finally, he told them of "the forge of eternity" where a one-eye blacksmith forged weapons for the gods. That forge lay on an island across the "Sea of Chains" and the blacksmith was hostile unless one brought him an appropriate gift.

Gwynneth asked for magical power, and more spells. "Only Chronos the Titan has those, on the top of his mountain" ("Mt. Supermountain" it was quickly nicknamed). "Is that mountain of Olympian height?" asked Mo, pointedly. Yes, yet it is. Chronos, however, jealously guards his knowledge, and he is guarded by "the 300 who are three."

They grilled him further, but he didn't provide much else. He finally told them that this was the hall of arrival, and that they could not return the way they came. There was no gate behind them. To return, they needed to pass through the gates of the underworld and its guardian.

A debate followed about what to do. Once more, the Seer pressured them to choose and go . . . in a short time no choice would be possible. So they chose the Field of Fire and headed out where the Seer pointed. As they passed the pillars, they saw sunlight, blue skies with puffy white clouds, and green rolling hills with a huge mountain capping a range off to the NE. Behind them, only the fountain and pillars and green hills beyond. Each new member of the group to pass merely appeared out of the air. There was no way back.

They debated going right to the underworld, dealing with the guardian, and thus securing a route home. Vryce vetoed that, claiming it was unlikely the guardian would let them pre-pay (or pre-slay) their path home and then come back later.

So they walked toward the Field of Fire. On the way, they saw off in the distance out of their way to the north a house with a walled-in field of grape vines and olive trees. They headed there, since the Seer had told them a wise man speaks to all who will speak to him.

They closed in on the house, and a man wearing a bronze helmet and clasping a spear stepped out. They spoke. He addressed them all as barbarians, and was suspicious of them. They questioned him about Chronos (he takes what he wants), the bulls (beloved of Chronos, like all of the mystic beasts of the land), he hydra, etc. They got some useful information, but not a lot of friendliness. They eventually moved on.

They found the Field of Fire - a scorched area patrolled by two grazing bronze-scaled bulls, much like the stone bulls they'd fought in Felltower. They spent about 20-30 minutes discussing a plan to use Shape Earth to dig a 3' deep hole, put a berm behind it, cover it with an illusion, and then lure the bulls in. Finally the scouts got frustrated and Galen started shooting. The bulls charged 500 yards at them. Dryst put Resist Fire on everyone Even with the damage the bows of the scouts could do, it took bodkin points at under half damage range to actually penetrate (and even then, not much.) Vryce fired some sling stones, Dryst and Gwynneth waited with missile spells. Dryst plugged one with an 18d Stone Missile, wounding it badly - on top of all of the arrows Galen and Alaric put in it. But it kept coming!

The bulls charged up and tried to gore Hjalmarr and Mo, who dodged and hacked at its neck. The bulls turned and breathed fire. Despite Resist Fire, they tried to dodge. The fire was too hot, however, and ignored their level 1 Resist Fire spells! Ike was badly burned and set on fire, and Vryce was set on fire as well . . . and Ike took a second bull's breath as he went down.

They piled on the attacks, the scounts trying to guess where the vitals were but to no real effect. In a few seconds, though, the two bulls were brought down. Vryce split one's skull open and Galen shot twice into the exposed brains and put it down. The second, wounded badly by Galen's arrows (also Alaric's and Dryst's spell), was put down moments later. The fires were put out, but only after Vryce rammed his blade into the heart of one of the bulls. Blood wicked up his sword and then sloughed off. Hjalmarr quickly dunked Shieldslayer into the other. Mo tried to jump in on that, too, but only once per heart - nothing special happened.

Ike got to work on the eyes, aided by Grace to guide his hands. Even so, he mangled two of the four eyes they sought to recover. They were like squishy gemstones, not quite like stones or like eyes.

Alaric was goaded by someone (maybe by Alaric) to try and eat the heart of one of the bulls. So he did so. It set fire to his mouth (6 injury!) and he narrowly missed having his tongue burned out.

They healed up a bit and then headed out, Mo keeping an eye on the mountain to the north. They decided the next destination would be the Tree of the Fleece.

On the way, they saw horses in the distance. Wait, not horses - centaurs! Fifteen of them rode up, bearing bows, clubs, and spears. One was unarmed, older and bearded, and carried only a bag over his shoulder. The youngest of them rode up and gave a wave as Hjalmarr did the same. He called himself Oros, and demanded to know who they were. Mo answered even more belligerently, and in moments they had a challenge going. Oros rode back. The older centaur and a big one rode back. The older introduced himself as Achaeos, and the other as Escalos. He asked if a duel was to be between Mo and Escalos. Mo agreed. Escalos asked if it was to the death, or to victory?

"Victory," said Mo.

"Weapons or wrestling?"

"Weapons," said Mo.

Mo told him he'd only use blunt weapons, and put away his axe. Escalos only had his bow and a club, so, club it was. The reward? A great prize to the victor.

They fought, with Escalos quickly landing a ferocious blow right after Mo landed one on him. They exchanged blows several times, with Mo and Escalos both rocked seriously by the injury. The centaurs cheered Escalos on. But he finally fell unconscious after a hard blow from Mo's morningstar.

They were hushed, their champion down.

Then put his foot on the fallen Escalos, and posed there and said something like, "He put up a good fight." Hjalmarr quickly said, "We have a healer!" and Brother Ike was gestured forward.

The centaurs were silent, and the old one waved off Ike and gave Escalos a potion. His wounded healed instantly and he awoke! He stood, and Mo asked for his reward. The old one gave him one of the potions, said it was the reward, and as a body they turned and rode off, saying nothing more. Mo quaffed the potion and it healed 6d (!) and healed all of his injury. He was disappointed in the "great prize" he expected for victory.

After this, they moved toward a hilly grove in the distance, seeing (but not going to) farms in the distance to the east-northeast (they were headed southeast.)

They reached the edge of the grove and sat and ate and rested a bit. They moved into the grove, and all smelled something lizard-like ahead. "Like a dragon!" said Hjalmarr. They all disagreed.

They sent Galen ahead to scout, cloaked in Invisibility and Mage-Stealth 4 and No-Smell. He found a clearing, and in it a dead tree with a golden fleece on it. Next to it was a cave, some 15' high and 30-35' wide. He snuck up to the fleece and saw something asleep in the cave. So he carefully took the fleece down.

The thing awoke with a snort and many roars!

He turned and jumped the bushes and ran. Something came after him.

He ran until he passed the party, dropped the fleece and readied his bow. The others formed a line, suspecting the roars and such meant a fight was coming.

One was - a nine-headed hydra about 18'-20' long and 12' wide came at them. They attacked.

The hydra was long and fast, and although it took arrows from Alaric and Galen and an axe from Mo, it kept coming and snapped at the lead fighters. Vryce tried to parry but it was too big and brushed his blade aside, injuring him with its long fangs. He stepped into its reach and slashed.

The PCs quickly piled on, dealing an immense amount of damage. The wizards had discovered the trick of starting to cast Great Haste and then abandoning it a second later, until the fight was clearly started - then they finished it. In short order, Dryst and Gwynneth put it on themselves and then Vryce and Mo. Galen and Alaric kept shooting. Ike kept healing the injured. And the fighters kept cutting it up.

Hjalmarr finally split a head in half, presumably not wanting to cut it off at the neck . . . and two popped up in its place in any case, growing in a few seconds into full heads! It went from 9 to 10. They argued about how to kill it. The only other one they fought they killed with brute force damage to the body, so that should do for this one, only more damage was needed.

The hydra fought, and its toxic blood sprayed around. Mo was too resistant to care, and Vryce and Hjalmarr encased in plate from head to toe, and weren't hurt by it.

Gwynneth piled Fireball spells into it, as did Dryst. Mo tossed on alchemist's fire. But it wasn't regenerating, it just wasn't dying from damage.

But it started to dawn on them, a few hundred injury into hurting it, that it wasn't likely to just fall over and die. Eventually they decided to try to take off a head and cauterize the stump. They did so, burning off the two heads.

Having hit on that, what followed was a slow dance of trying to take off just enough heads that Dryst could burn them off with his 6d Flame Jet But it was slow, and the hydra was at 11 heads for a while before they managed to slowly whittle it down. They never stopped piling damage onto its body. Mo managed to cripple a leg after 3-4 tries, but as a quadruped it wasn't really phased by that. A critical block eventually knocked out one head cold, but they still had to kill of the rest slowly.

Eventually they did, after lots of Fireball misses by Gwynneth and unlikely Flame Jet misses by Dryst (he was missing on a 15 or less!). Gwynneth put Flaming Weapon on Vryce's sword and he finally decided to hold that against a stump himself, and burned it beyond healing. They fianlly put it down to one, unconscious, head. Hjalmarr and Gwynneth started to concoct a complicated plan to deal with it. As they did, Mo smashed it and Vryce held his blade against it.

The thing died.

They washed off the toxins and healed the injured.

It was late, so they grabbed up the fleece and sent the scouts to check out the cave. In it they found bones of men and animals alike, and some bronze weapons, some gems, some low-value jewelry of silver and gold, and about 7000 or so in in silver pieces. The fleece was non-magical - they tried to use it to heal Mo by draping it on him, but not such luck.

We ended it right there. Next up, rest, and then the Cave of Serpents?


This was our first ended-beyond-a-gate session. There was simply no chance for the players to return this session. Luckily I'd made plans for this - XP is per session, not per delve, in a gate area, but I rate each and every session as a unique delve for XP purposes. So they'll gain loot and exploration XP based on this session, and then for next session separately. So, no XP yet. MVP is still being debated.

What do we do if we can't get all of the same players? Either we wait until we get the same mix, and run an alternate character set in the meantime, or we may swap in players. For example, if Dryst's player can't make it, he may let Jasper's player run him and finish out the delve, or something of that sort. New characters will not be portal'ed in or out or anything of that sort.

This gate turned out not to go to Meepos (although I did joke the suspicious farmer was the Meeposian brother's dad), but rather to a Greece-like mythical world. Greece-like in that it mixes some of the pre-rebellion of the gods structure, and some of the post-rebellion myths. A fair bit of "Jason and the Argonauts" and assorted Ray Harryhausen bits, too. Enough that familiarity by the PCs would help, but that you couldn't wholly rely on what you think you know to solve everything. Still, we had some stuff like "the Golden Fleece heals, put it on Mo!" and yet also had "I don't want to meta-game, I'll keep hitting the hydra in the body" stuff going on.

I tracked the damage the PCs did to the hydra's body. At the end of the fight, it came to ~2000 injury. Yes, 2000. For some monsters, I use a variant of Unkillable where you simply cannot kill or even disable the creature through sheer damage to non-vital areas. I did this quite on purpose, because even a high damage limit is just saying, "Don't find the weak point on this puzzle monster challenge, just beat the living hell out of its torso and eventually it'll die no matter what." A lot of time and resources were wasted trying to kill the hydra through just sheer damage.

The centaurs were interesting. This is about the only place I'll use them. The duel was fun; I didn't expect it to be Mo that caused it. But Mo was being very belligerent to everyone, even for Mo. I don't think he realized it, but the centaurs were terribly shocked and insulted by his planting a foot on Escalos's fallen form and patronizingly saying how well he fought. That was immediately followed by Hjalmarr helpfully offering that they had a healer . . . to the race of people that healing potions were named after in the original GURPS Magic, and the mythic fathers of doctoring. That cut down the reward from "great" to "minimum to satisfy their word." They've potentially made enemies instead of impressing potential allies.

They are still deciding if the fleece is sufficiently impressive of a gift to give to the cyclops on the island to get powerful magic weapons. We'll see . . .

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Felltower Pre-Summary for 8/5

Great game of Felltower today.

- we had a mere six players. Heh.

- the front gate of Felltower was finally penetrated. Alaric and Mo still insisted on climbing the wall.

- the "Meepos Gate" was scryed . . . and entered

- a world of Olympian myths was discovered

- fell and mythical beasts were encountered and slain, including ur-forms of some common foes from my game

- a band of centaurs were encountered

- much loot including a mythic artifact was taken.

- and all were left in the world beyond the gate, unable to return from this delve and with much left to do.

The summary should come out late tomorrow . . .

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Saturday 8/4 Random Thoughts & Links

Just a few things as I prep for Felltower tomorrow:

- I got a copy of Pagoda of Worlds. So far, I like it. The monsters are neat, and Matt Riggsby comes at things in a truly DF angle that's different from Sean Punch and I, so they're really interesting and useful for me. Sean's stuff is so much like mine it's often like "Peter, but meaner." Heheh, fireproof slimes. I may use this adventure straight-up, which is rare for me.

- I finished re-reading C2 The Ghost Tower of Inverness again. I plan to run it using AD&D, lightly house ruled, in the same way we did White Plume Mountain. It would be handy to have a purely tournament version, though, as to keep the run time appropriate I plan to run only the tournament encounters. Did a copy of the tournament-only version ever get produced?

- Thanks to a random mention of Terminus Est, I started re-reading the New Sun books by Gene Wolfe. After I finish I'll pull GURPS New Sun off of the shelf and see what I glean from that. I found these books difficult at first but a real joy to read after a while. I also, just as a random aside, associate them with Japan as I read them there. Certain scenes I couple with very specific places in Japan where I sat and read the book while traveling around.

- I used to be a very meticulous wildnerness mapper, with hexes and distances and such. I'm much more of a vague map and pointcrawl kind of person these days. I just find it so much easier to map, describe, and use.

- Sometimes I put minis away and can't find them. This is very frustrating the night before game. Aargh! I need a walk-in glass shelved minis closet. I won't ever get one, though.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Hall of Judgment

The Hall of Judgment PDF went out today, to the playtesters and contributors, at least.

I'm one of the playtesters.

My first impression is that it's a very, very attractive book.

My second impression is that it's going to need a good long cover-to-cover read before I know what I'd like to do with it. It will be hard to run, as I've got players who also backed it. But I can certainly lift bits of it and use them.

If you're a backer, you will be well pleased with this one.

More when I have a chance to read it and post about it.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Review: GURPS Fantasy-Tech 2: Weapons of Fantasy

Periodically I like to review game materials I found useful or I just enjoyed a lot. Here is another one of these.

Full disclosure: The author of this one is Sean Punch, my friend, sometimes co-author, and editor of the game line I write for sometimes. I'm not remotely impartial.

For more reviews, see my consolidated reviews page.

GURPS Fantasy-Tech 2: Weapons of Fantasy
by Sean "Dr. Kromm" Punch
Published October 2017 by Steve Jackson Games
14 pages

GURPS Fantasy-Tech 2 is the second of the Fantasy-Tech line of books, which covers improbable, unrealistic, or fantasy "low tech" weapons. Where Fantasy-Tech was a bit more of a catalog, Fantasy-Tech 2 is more of a line of options for weapons.

These are:

Full-Metal Weapons. For axes with metal handles, metal quarterstaffs, metal dusack and bokken, all-metal maces, etc.

Double-Ended Weapons. For two-ended swords and axes and whatnot. First seen in Pyramid 3/61.

Giant Swords. For anime or Soulcalibur-sized swords.

Absurd Rapiers. Very long rapiers - as in, 3-4 hex long rapiers!

Serpent's Fangs. Blades which deliver venom on a successful hit.

Quicksilver Swords. Weapons with a hollow core filled with mercury for more impact. If your campaign really needs its own Terminus Est, this is where to go.

Diabolical Whips. Actually weapon-effective whips that defy the logic and physics of whips . . . and which have other Hell-born advantages.

There really isn't a lot to say about this book except what's in it. Like all of Sean Punch's work, the writing is clear and effective and entertaining. The rules are rock-solid, make perfect sense with the rest of GURPS, and are easily to grasp and use. It's everything you'd want in a book of weapon options for a fantasy game.

And as a bonus, it shows how to back-port Cost Factor (CF) to cost multipliers.

Overall: I found this book immediately useful for my GURPS Dungeon Fantasy campaign. For a less fantastic game, I'd probably have gotten use out of full-metal weapons but not all that much else. In a game with an even looser grip on reality than mine, it can dramatically expand your options. I bought it solely for the full-metal weapons rules but found I liked and would be using more than just those. Recommended.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Which gate, narrowed down

My players have decided they want to take their PCs through a gate. Probably. Maybe. But which one?

At this point, the vote seems to be one of the gates they discovered this past session at the end of a marble hall, dubbed either "the Mable Gate" or "the Meepos Gate."

Because the players see a connection to Meepos, at least one player wants to find and hire the Meeposian Brothers and bring them along for their expertise and guidance when they reach their homeland.

Does it in fact go there?

No one knows.

No one can afford a scroll of Scry Gate (and if they could, it's special order, and it's too close to delve day to get it in time.) No one can cast Scry Gate either. So it'll be a blind jump into the gate. Even with that spell they wouldn't necessarily know where the gate comes out.

This will be the third deliberate passage through a gate that I recall in this game . . . unless Plan B kicks in on Sunday.
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