Monday, October 14, 2019

Review: Dungeon Fantasy Magic Items 2

I sometimes review gaming products. Mostly I review things that I like. My reviews aren't unbiased or objective. To state my biases upfront: I play GURPS and the DFRPG, I write for GURPS and the DFRPG, and the author of this book is my friend, frequently my editor, and sometimes my co-author.

For more of my reviews, see my reviews page.

Dungeon Fantasy: Powered by GURPS
Magic Items 2

Written by Sean Punch
Published September 2019
48 pages
Price TBD

Backers of the Magic Items 2 Kickstarter have begin to receive their copies of the book. I received mine several days ago and read it through.

The book contains 44 magic items, "rare or unique artifacts" according to the back cover.

Each item consists of a vignette, a depiction of the item, a text description of what it is and does, a stat block providing price, weight, etc., and a "Treasure!" seed offering tips on placement and GM use of the item.

I won't lie, I don't like most vignettes. I don't like these any better than most. I read them out of a sense of completion but they don't add anything to my enjoyment of the items. I don't really care how the sample NPCs from DFRPG feel about the items. The short flavor texts or poems work better for me but I could take them or leave them.

The text descriptions of the items are well done. They contain everything you need to use the items in play. It's not just descriptive, it includes rules and details you need. With Sean Punch's easy clarity, the rules are easy to follow and make sense.

The "Treasure!" seeds are excellent, and provide a good hook for using the item. For items that seem game-breaking the sections features clear explanations of why some items that seem abusive really are not (or how to keep them from being so.)

The layout of a full-page for each item has its positive and negative aspects. Some of the items don't really seem like they need a full page and an illustration. For artifacts, sure. For some of the more complex items - such as the Amazing Backpack or Libra Infinitas Mysterii - the space is needed to fully describe it. Some better for it - the Trusty Knife benefits from lots of examples - but probably don't need it. But others seem overwritten for what you get from them.

A couple items fell flat for me. The God-King's Occulus doesn't really seem to do anything in DFRPG that you couldn't just do with points and have less problems. It's not like you couldn't buy the advantages it gives you, it's just a way to get some of those points. Others, like the Butcher Blade, are neat but again seem like they get more wordcount than they need. The Skull Ring is cool but the time limit (and the effectiveness within it for its skull given the power level of the game) really seems to undercut its value.

Overall: I like the book. I think the full-page plus illustration meant that some items are really don't warrant a full page get one, and ones that don't need an illustration get one. That aside, I'll use some of the items in my game as written. Others might get modified. Others still will just get set aside as not really suited for my type of game. It's a good book and it's worth it to expand the magic item count in your game. I found I didn't like it as much as I loved Dungeon Fantasy 6: 40 Artifacts . . . call it a 4/5 instead of a 5/5.


  1. I'll concur on the vignettes, both in general and in specific. The self-referential nature of these doesn't draw me into the game at all, but rather adds another layer between the game and me. The space would be better served by a legend or origin story.

    Incidentally, same goes for pull quotes in GURPS books, unless it's quoting something external. The pull quotes from the rules text are always boring. Quote the Talking Heads or Back to the Future instead.

  2. God-King's Occulus

    Can't this give Margery 0 to a Knight or Cleric?

    I think that's a pretty neat item

    1. That's fair, but Magery 0 is nice, and gives access to some useful spells, but that's really a small thing in my opinion. Had it some other power that no one could get . . . sure. But for wizards, it's not "more magic power!" it's just another way to get some points. That's not that exciting to me.


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