Thursday, May 14, 2020

DF Book is Almost Ready

My book is proceeding nicely. I was given a pre-production preview to read.

Basically, the book with proposed art, layout, etc. but still with "p. 00" and a chance to change things.

I made a few wording change suggestions after deciding my wording was more obtuse than usual.

I also made a quote change. I liked the quote chosen . . . but given space I liked another part of the same quote better.

Unfortunately one I'd really rather liked doesn't fit very well. I'll post it with my "Designer's Notes" blog post.

So soon enough a new DF book will come rolling along with my name on it! I'm very excited. It's a line built for me to write for.

I'm hoping it comes out in the next few weeks but I really have no idea.


  1. "It's a line built for me to write for"? Is this some new sub-line like Monsters or Treasure?

  2. Personally, I'm hoping for another Denizens† book (which are always great), but I fear it'll be a Monster book (which I don't need).

    † Specifically I'm hoping to be Thieves.

    1. So Dungeon Fantasy Denizens: Steal This Book?

    2. Yes exactly!

      I mean, as you know and have lamented, Thieves need something-something to make it a viable, chosen profession. Anecdotally, you've had what, one Thief, I've never had one at my table†, and others have mentioned how they //seem// underwhelming in the scrum (and they are, even compared to Healbot Clerics). They're primary purpose‡ is largely unnecessary until it suddenly, very rarely isn't.

      † I got into running DF really late in it's cycle (DF 16 Wilderness had been out like almost a year I think?) so there was already 7 years of people griping about Thieves, so I did the sensible thing and decided to simply drop them and allow Scouts and Swashbucklers to learn Lockpicking and Traps as though they were in profession. There have been some changes, for instance I now prefer Swishybocklers to use the Rogue profession if they want to be a lockspringer, but overall it works fine. No one has ever taken a look at the Thief profession and said "Yeah, I want to play that". I've had requests for allowing Ninjas, Assassins, Rogues (three so far), and even Bards (if they could take traps and Lockpicking and Hidden Lore), and plenty of the rest (except Druids, only 1) but never the Thief profession. Heck I've had people ask if they can make Alchemists (Brewmaster Artificer) and Scholars.

      ‡ Traps, which Scouts are as good at spotting (and almost as good at disabling) and lockspringing which up to a point, Wizards can be better at picking. Of course the Barbarian is equally adept at just surviving the trap and kicking in the door, and let's face it, that's what the group generally prefers anyway.

    3. We've had three thieves. One player didn't stick long, another only played a few sessions before kids came along and killed his gaming time, and a third took Overconfidence and died.

      Thieves really do depend on the GM making sure there is stuff for them to do, more than any other template. I liberally salt my dungeons with meteoric-component locks, locks with high penalties, locks in low and no mana zones, etc. - and that's just locks. There are a fair number of places in Felltower you just can't get with brute force or magic, and thus the players have been walled off from them due to lack of a good thief. The swashbuckler is trying, but Luck and Takes Extra Time only goes so far. He'll top out before he's really capable of pulling off everything a thief is needed for. No one seems interesting running a thief, but they do frequently list one as something they need. They've hired at least one cutpurse, but they haven't really invested the time and effort in picking up a good NPC ally thief, either . . . and pay for it in lack of access.

      Basically, if everything can be hit with Silence and chopped down, or kicked open with Forced Entry, or undone with Lockmaster, the thief has nothing to do with a primary skill of the template. If there isn't anything that requires incredible manual dexterity and filching skills, there isn't anything for the thief to use other skills for. Etc. It's like putting zero outdoor skill challenges in a session and then saying, geez, barbarians wasted 40 points on Outdoorsman! Well yeah, template must be broken to all hell.

      All of that said, Thieves could use some additional assistance as a template, though, without just turning them into damage-engines line later D&D games have. DF doesn't need more damage-engines (cough, Barbarians, Martial Artist, Scout, Swashbuckler, Knight, Ninja, Holy Warriors . . . ) It needs thieves to do thing that other templates can't just do with a couple of points here or there, like how you can't just adding 8 points in Bow to your Swashbuckler or Knight and out-do the Scout.

  3. "Thieves could use some additional assistance as a template, though, without just turning them into damage-engines"

    Yes, exactly. I've long thought they need to be given more movement capacity, make them into the ultimate dungeon parkourists, allow them to equal the Martial Artist. Also, beefy up their sneaking and "How did he get there" abilities.

    Which is why I've seen several requests for Ninja, they have a lot of the mobility of the Martial Artist and the DX to take advantage of off-template Lockpicking and Traps (though their Per is lacking, but that's cheap to buy up). Similarly, I've had two MAs that picked up off-template Thief skills and did a great job with them.

    I've also thought about shifting the Ninja into a non-Chi based variant with more Thief skills. Basically furthering the Gizmos/Gadgetry of the Thief line and adding some semi-supernatural abilities at the end of Advantage chains, Silence 1 then 2 and Chameleon 1 then 2, then One With Shadows. Things like that.

    But as it sits, an off the shelf Thief isn't doing anything anyone else can't do, they just tend to do it slightly better (and sometimes they don't do it any better at all, like a Stealth focused Scout is as good as a Thief, eventually). But yeah, Thieves need something to set themselves apart, I've just not really figured it out yet (though I think being best at Sneaky and Movements might be the way to go).

    1. Given thieves a strong supernatural (or supernatural-like) edge would help them a lot. Much as Scouts are defined by how Heroic Archer makes them different than others with Weapon Master and a good Bow skill, Thieves could really use the ability to be different from others who cross-train to their skills.

  4. The thief is the guy who is both DX and IQ man with the emphasis on DX as opposed to IQ. Not sure how best to leverage that.

  5. I've never been very fond of the Scout as One True Archer idea. Knight, Swash and Savage Warrior Barbarian can all really step to plate as Noodly Armed, Middling, and Strong melee sluggers, but if you want to shoot a bow it's Scout or Nothing

    1. The tough part is that if you allow anyone else Heroic Archer, you get the problem the Thief has - someone else can blow some points and do your best bit better than you. If you don't, then everyone else has to take a back seat to the Heroic Archer. You can get partway there with Weapon Master, but you'll always be slower.


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