Periodically I like to review game materials that I find useful and interesting. Or otherwise inspire me to write about them, for good or bad. Generally I review things I like. I'm biased with books like this becuase I play and write for GURPS Dungeon Fantasy, I'm friends with the author, and I like magic items that give you a bit of a concern when you find them.
For more reviews, see my reviews page.
Written by Sean M. Punch
Published by Steve Jackson Games 2021
This is the 5th book in the DF line dedicated to magical treasure - DFT1, 2, 3, and DF6 preceded this one. This one is focsed on "mixed blessings" - magic items that combine an upside that make you want to keep them with downsides that make them a bit less than pure upside.
The idea of magic items with a downside isn't new - it wasn't even new when Tolkein and Moorcock used them, and probably wasn't new when Aladdin found that lamp, for that matter. It isn't new to GURPS DF, either - for example, weapons like Grimslaughter, Frenzy, and Malice in Dungeon Fantasy Treasures: 3 are great toys to have if you don't mind being a threat to friend and foe alike. But DFT4 does a few of things:
- it gives a solid number of items - 13 of them.
- it gives a lot of options for those items.
- it gives a lot of examples of, and direct text describing how to make, items with both strong upsides and strong downsides.
As always, with a Sean Punch book, the rules are rock-solid, even "unbalanced" seeming items are balanced upon further reflection, and it has both humor and style in plenty.
The magic items are a good mix. A magic sword that deals more damage but costs you damage as well. A magical healing tool that hurts before it helps. A ring that'll keep you alive but costs you HT, with a fairly gruesome side effect. A cheap way to come back from the dead, if paying in stats is cheap. And so on. They're fun and cool, and none of them fail to live up to the title.
Overall: Good book. Well worth $3 if you even get 1-2 usable magic items for your campaign and get a good handle on how to properly mix blessings and curses. Good stuff.