Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Minis I Don't Need But Want - Evil Geniuses

I stumbled on these on Mark Copplestone's webpage.

I have no need for these guys, but I want to play a game where I need them.

That guy on the left looks like a non-green Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz or a Sontaran's skinny cousin. I can't place him, except as a vaguely Kruschevian type.

Then we have robot Hitler.

And a metal-handed Mao.

Again, I have no need . . . but man, they'd be the best James Bond RPG villians you could hope for if you went for non-canonical bad guys.

Monday, April 29, 2024

Next in Felltower - a Gate, but which one?

The PCs decided on a gate next session, because they are high risk but disproportionally high reward areas. The Felltower experience isn't meant to be had without going into some gates.

There are links to a number of gate sessions in this post from last January for those who want to see how things have gone before. And here are the Known Gates of Felltower, updated as we play.

I broke this up into three categories based on brief discussions with my players today.

Gates with stuff to do

Ape Gate: Previously visited. There is a lot to do here, but the players will need to take a look at that summary and figure out what they want to do. They could just show up and assault the place, which can be messy, but if they want to have ape-led adventure they'll need a plan. And "go there and see if they're give us a quest" isn't a plan, it's a wish.

Olympus Gate: Previously visited for a 2-part delve: Part I and Part II.

One of my players expressed doubt about this as a possible destination because of how much the previous groups accomplished there. I told them, in a pure meta comment, that this one wasn't an empty delve. While there was a lot done, there was more to do. Because of the success of the last group, the ease of getting there, and generally positive interest in a Mythic Greece setting, this one is getting a lot of consideration.

Jester Gate: Bwahahahahahahahahahahahahah. There is a lot to do here. It will be silly and deadly and rewarding if they survive the deadly silliness.

Gates without much to do (right now)

Lost City. There might be stuff to loot in Felltower, or stuff to fight, but the PCs don't know of any. Previous groups sacked the living hell out of this place. It's not a useless trip but it would be a just-made-loot-threshold kind of delve at best unless there is something big they stumble upon. Well, there is one thing . . . but I don't think they have the information to make a delve out of it worthwhile.

Icy Gate. Lots to do here, actually, but the PCs lack to means to do any of it at this point.

Air Gate. Untouched, but the PCs lack the means to do anything here at this point.

Fire Gate. Possibly a lot to do, but nothing known about it yet. No one wants to find out more just yet.

Gates with nothing to do

Forest Gate. This one is definitely finished. That may change in the future, but it's just a waste of time at the moment. Also, the way back isn't directly back to Felltower, instead it's way off near Molotov.

All I ask is a decision by 5/5/2024 so I have time to update my notes, upload foes to the VTT, upload maps to the VTT, and so on. Face to face I could improvise if we played near my minis collection, but online, I need time to do the work to make it flow well.

Sunday, April 28, 2024

DF Session 192, Felltower 130 - Down, down, down the GFS

Date: April 14th, 2024

Weather: Sunny, warm.

Chop, human cleric (301 points)
Hannari Ironhand, dwarf martial artist (301 points)
Thor Halfskepna, human knight (306 points)
Vladimir Luchnick, dwarf martial artist (266 points)
     Darkspire the Inscrutable, human apprentice (125 points)
     Harold, human guard (~80 points)
     Samuel, human guard (~80 points)

We started off in town, gathering rumors and then heading off to the dungeon. Vlad took a note to spend his time between this delve and next investigating the cone-hatted cultists near the Brotherhood Complex.

They made their way to Felltower and in through the front entrance. They wound their way to the altar, and their newest hireling got Puissance +2 on all his weapons for the day.

From there, they went down the GFS to the "apartment level" and began to explore. They systematically shattered a number of those black hemispheres on the ceiling that the bronze spiders keep fixing, and checked a lot of different areas - the colored doors, the werewolf lair, and places nearby - for the ratmen and gnolls. Nothing. A big trip around led them to near Durak's lair, and they heard what they consider to be the sound of him sleeping.

There was debate about rouding up the magic bottles as loot, but that was rejected at the last minute as they approach the "prison" area. There was debate (real world and in-game) about the point of spending Sundays doing un-fun wandering around without actually encountering anything.

So, with a firm push from Hannari, they headed to the second GFS. Thor took some damage trying to open the door with a kick, then more when he did it properly with a hand touch. Getting through the illusionary wall was trickey, but it seemed like saying the Brotherhood's passphrase helped get a second chance to get through, which helped Thor and Samuel - the rest made it through.

On the stairs down, they were attacked by a pair of speeding blades. They broke them down and sent them rattling down to the abyss below, but not before Harold got cut and Vlad was briefly dropped with a crippling leg cut - both speedily healed by Chop, who also put a Curse on one that proved very helpful.

They headed to the third landing, where their notes (from delvers who never made it back, but hey, Summon Spirit) said there was poison gas and a Dispel Magic trap. They got ready and rushed in, planning to run to the left and right out of the danger zone. They didn't make it. They triggered a wave of dangerous effects - a Dispel Magic that took out half of their lightstones, a Deathtouch-like effect on their front three that hammered Samuel, Harold, and Thor, and a greenish mist that inflicted 1d toxic per second despite them holding their breath. They fled, dragging the reeling hirelings behind.

Chop healed everyone on the stairs as fast as possible, draining his power item to do it, and using a Lend Energy charged scroll to replenish himself. They quickly fell to arguing about returning upward to find loot or going down. Over Vlad's strenuous objections, they headed down. There was nothing but abject darkness above and below.

And down.

And down.

And down.

What turned out later to be 6 turns around the stairs they emerged from the darkness.

Queue up the John Williams music.

The walls around the stairs were gone. The stairs, corkscrewing down into the depths, just continued on without any obvious support. Below them, far below them, was a faintly glowing dome. A big one - hundreds of yard across, maybe? - faintly glowing from within with pastel colors. The colors changed as they descended - always soft colors. Sky blue, not dark blue. Indigo or mauve, not deep violet. Soft yellow or orange, not a harsh deep red. They could feel the size of the space around them - it was big. They couldn't see part what was lit by the dome below or their lightstones.

Down, down, down they went.

As they closed in, they saw the GFS didn't end up in the dome, but rather next to it. The dome was clearly over a "city" - they could vaguely make out shapes that had to be building-sized, but no details emerged. Around the city was the inky blackness of water. The stairs ended, 14 more turns down (roughly 1/2 a mile, if the calculations of Hannari's player are correct as they usually are), in a square stone building on an adjoining island, connected to the city's landmass by a causeway or bridge marked on each end by gate-like buildings, and the city itself had a bastion-like setup in from of the dome.

Exhausted from the climb down, the PCs rested at the bottom and took extra time to search. Besides the badly broken bits of two shattered speeding bladeds, they found some sparse but valuable loot. That was a ring (a Potion Ring, from DFT3), a ruby covered with fire-related runes (non-magical - just the overlooked remnants of a broken magic item), and a chunk of metal that Vlad identified as a 1.25 pound lump of Poison Metal (DF8.)

With that, they decided (due to time and my prompting, honestly) to return to the surface rather than risk what defenses the city has. They wanted to identify more about it to get some research done, but they couldn't be sure what awaited them . . . only that no one had been there and returned. So they decided to just do that.


- Annoyingly, the loot for the speeding blades says $10/pound for bits, and sends you to DF8, p. 13 for more. That book explains how to value bits, but not how many pounds worth you get from a speeding blade. Sigh. I want an answer more than a method, and this kind of lacks both.

- So that domed city has been sitting under Felltower since my first side-view draw up of Felltower. It's not necessarily the bottom of Felltower, but it is perhaps the bottom of the top of Felltower.

- I had to wing the treasure at the bottom of the GFS a bit. I had notes in a folder that said:

"Potion Ring (empty)
big chunk of mystery metal (poison metal)
Ruby with magic item markings but non magic 5 carats?
No body bits"

So I had to quickly determine a value for poison metal by looking in multiple books - and its size, which I don't know if I ever wrote down, double check the description of a potion ring (to be consistent with my wording in DFT3), and check the ruby value since I no longer use carat prices just ballpark ranges. I honestly didn't expect anyone to go all the way down there this session for sure. But the rough notes are maybe 11 years old, and the first notes on that level date to 2011.

- Before they went down there, the group was having a grumpy discussion about spending Sundays not doing much of anything. The delve to the third landing didn't pan out - the defenses there are pretty brutal - but Hanari's player successfully bullied the one player who was refusing to go deeper. The other two were fine with going . . . and going paid off greatly.

- XP was 4 xp for loot, 1 xp for touching a new level post-return to Felltower (3rd landing), +1 for new exploration (the domed city), +1 for first touch on a new level (the dome city), and +1 for discovering a special location (the domed city) = 8 xp per person. Hanari's player got MVP for pushing the delve that deep and insisting on searching for loot at the bottom; it was a tough call because Chop's healing was critical, and Thor's Sacrificial Block and Sacrificial Parry stopped a lot of potential casualties.

- The city is a special location, but it's not easier than the levels above it. It could be totally lethal for a group of this point total. But it's there for eventually . . . and I promise it's a good one. I'm glad they found it. It, and the level it is on, is full of discoveries waiting for PCs. But I think not yet.

- There is a MST3K reference in that title. Just watch The Mole Men.

- Next time, a gate. They just haven't decided which one, yet. More tomorrow.

Saturday, April 27, 2024

Dungeon Fantasy Roleplaying Game Companion 3 - Arrived!

My copy of DFRPG Companion 3 arrived today.

It's a meaty book, printed out, at least by DFRPG standards. 174 pages, softcover.

Three of my articles are in there - one each on equipment kits (which I need implemented in GCS somewhere), one on spell components (which my players don't seem to like very much), and one of monsters (which I like very much.)

I'm much more likely to use monsters I have in front of me in print; not necessarily with art, but in print. So expect more of Sean's prefixes and monsters to show up in my game now I can look at them while flipping through a book.

Fun stuff - I like having this in print to peruse.

Friday, April 26, 2024

Random Thoughts & Links for 4/26/2024

A few links for a Friday.

- A look at Kara-Tur. I agree it feels a little uneven. But the maps are gorgeous and looking at them makes me really want to play a game there. I own the "trail map" of it, too, which is pretty awesome unfolded.

- Joseph Bloch has a Kickstarter for the 2nd edition of his Adventurers Dark & Deep system.

- I love the idea of a rule that makes killing down foes requires a roll to overcome natural reluctance. You can see it featured here in a game of Twilight: 2000 run by Wayne.

- Maybe game on Sunday . . . so far only one definite yes and a lot more definite nos. I'll run game for 2 players but solo . . . just not as fun anymore.

- Reflections on Psi-Wars. The experience there with ST matches mine - even in very high tech situations, ST is just useful to have, and at 10/level people still want it and buy it.

Thursday, April 25, 2024

More thoughts on Only Heroes Get to Resist

I've never implemented this rule, but I keep thinking about running a game that would use it:

Only Heroes Get to Resist

I have a few more thoughts on it, nine years on.

- I think it should totally affect allied NPCs, too, with an exception made for any characters 125+ points, who'd get treated as worthy and get a roll.

- In a DF-style split, Fodder don't resist, Worthies may, Bosses do. Worthies with a base resistance below the effective skill of the caster don't get to resist; those with equal or better do get a chance. Don't apply the Rule of 16 until this comparison is made.

- If an effect has a chance for recovery, the same rules apply - Fodder stays down until the effect naturally ends, Worthy and up get to try and evade the effects.

- You still have to make the roll to put the resistable effect on the target.

I don't intend to use this in Felltower, but I do think it would make a good Heroic DF rule.

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

DFRPG Companion 3 on the way!

I got a shipping notice for a copy of DFRPG Companion 3!

I'd kind of let this one slide out of my awareness. I'm excited to see it in person . . . it's always nice to get a physical copy of something you contributed to.

It's available here.

Monday, April 22, 2024

DF Felltower: What if all critical hits did max damage?

In Felltower, we use a little rule buried in the back of Basic Set: Characters (p. B326) that makes critical hits just bypass defenses, no table roll, and a "3" is max damage.

One way I thought of speeding combat - thanks to additional lethality - is to make all critical hits maximum damage. Roll a 3-4, or a 5 or a 6 with sufficient skill (or a 7 for some templates) and bang, max damage and bypass defenses.

This would add a lot of lethality to combat when the big boys roll a 3-6. Less so when others do . . . but make wizards really happy when they nail a crit on an Explosive spell thrown at an actual person.*

It wouldn't help fodder much, but at least sometimes they'd manage to hurt someone.

It would make boss monsters really, really scary. You can't get critically hit and luck out with a low damage roll against you. A giant doing 6d+12 or something would just flat out do 48 damage and that's that.

I don't think my players would go for this but part of me wants to try it. I think it would increase the bloodbath of combats and certainly erase a few foes here and there much more quickly.

* I joke. They all take the +4 for targeting the floor that I find totally bogus, but accept as a rule.

Sunday, April 21, 2024

Felltower Updates

Updates to Felltower in anticipation of next week's game.


For quite a while, no one had delved into Felltower. Those that did, returned battered and usually no better off. But the last group came back talking about beating up some beetles and taking home a nice payoff. That's the kind of thing that makes volunteers show up.

As usual, volunteers tend to be the kind of guys you wouldn't pay for. Wizards who may or may not actually cast spells, like Ken Shabby. One-armed swordsmen. One-eyed archers. No-morals semi-human thugs. Folks as dangerous to you as they are to the enemy, and/or themselve.

But my players love them, so we'll see a few more of them if this keeps up.


All rumors are true, even the false ones. Like a Nostradamus prediction, they get contorted around until they match what happened, or what happened gets contorted around until it matches the rumor.

Either way, I wrote a bunch of rumors.


Very little. I think I'd benefit from a more systematic, roll-based approach. For now I eyeball it and do some randomizing, but I wonder if I could generate a system based on my stocking system that would tell me what moves into Felltower, and what moves out, and just modify the dungeon based on that each time? Hmm . . .

Thursday, April 18, 2024

Limits on Targeting Hit Locations?

This post is thanks to Faodladh, who made a comment on my last post on this subject.

In GURPS, it's very common to target specific hit locations. For skilled fighters run by skilled players, they often target a very small handful of optimal locations. You get eye shot guy, neck slicer guy, I only shoot the vitals guy. It's not always that realistic - the vitals or eyes or neck are always targetable? You can go for them over and over again. So let's say you want to limit the options.

Option 1: Minimum Effective Skill 10.

Like Deceptive Attack, attacks aimed at a specific location must have a minimum effective skill of 10. Therefore, to target the vitals (-3), you need a minimum effective skill of 13. Skull? 17. Eyes? 19.

Pros: Easy to implement. Limits tricky shots to the skilled.
Cons: You can't try a Hail Mary eye shot to win a fight unless your skill is higher.

Option 2: Only What's Open

I think Sean "Dr. Kromm" Punch suggested this or something somewhat like this, back in the day. Roll on the Hit Location Table. Whatever comes up is your best target, at a -0. Or you can choose anything else, but with an extra -2 on it.

Pros: Has a realistic feel to it.
Cons: Probably just imposes an extra roll and/or people buying 2 extra points of skill to eat the penalties.

Option 3: Saw it Coming

Use the rules as written, but give a +1 to defend against any targeted attack after the first one on the same target.

Pros: Can be used with the RAW or the rules above.
Cons: Still allows anyone who wants to hunt for specific areas to do so.

I have some more ideas, but it's late so they'll need to wait for another post.

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Multiple Defense penalty not automatically resetting?

I had a stray idea for a rough, gritty rule for cascading defenses.

Instead of resetting the penalty for multiple defenses on your turn, do not reset it unless:

- you spend a full second without using any defenses

or, optionally

- you spend a turn doing Evaluate

This is a simple, but very nasty rule. Being outnumbered and unable to take a breather - to step back and just reset - means your defenses will eventually be whittled down. Good ways to trigger the first is to use Move and clear the battle area, a classic swashbuckler move. Allowing Evaluate means you can stay in the fray, but not launch any offense, and it helps make Evaluate do something.

Why not reset when you do All-Out Defense? I think it just rewards taking a second being even more defense, which someone pressed is going to just do fairly often.

This would be a pain to deal with in a large fray, but it's probably a good way to make multiple foes - even weak ones - nasty in a realistic game with more detailed combat and/or smaller numbers of combatants. It also should have the emergent behavior of making outnumbered fighters either moving very defensively to try to limit their exposure, or very aggressively to take out a foe to cut down the odds. Right now, that's not always worth doing - the first might be useful, but with high defenses you can just ride out the attacks. The second is just standard behavior, but usually folks get a lot more tactical about which foe they choose to try to take out. Suddenly this would make "take out someone, anyone, even briefly so I can reset or even up" very attractive.

I haven't playtested this but it might be fun to try it out sometime.

Monday, April 15, 2024

More notes from Session 191

We played yesterday, Session 191, and I had a few more notes I'd forgotten yesterday.

- the PCs fought a bunch of slicer beetles. I found it easier to just do TOTM, as they call it, winged ranges, and tracking the monsters by hand. I didn't bother to put all 20 of them into the turn tracker, make sure each token was rotated properly, etc. I just did it on note paper. I may do that for true fodder encounters.

I was hopeful one of them would roll a 3 or something and lop off someone's hand or foot, but none of them did so. The PCs rattled off about a dozen criticals during the fight. You know, against fodder-level defenses, where it hardly mattered. You can't control the dice.

- The PCs gave Harold $120, a full 100% bonus on his asking rate, and asked him to be available in 2 weeks. We'll see - they get a nice bonus on their roll to find him again, and it does slightly increase his Loyalty, too.

Darkspire took a share, and we'll see if he's available again. He might be, if only because I have him in the system. Otherwise I've aked for at least one week before the play date for NPC requests because it's time consuming to make and upload the NPCs, ensure they have a token, name, quirks, etc. and all of that. I don't want to do a bunch "just in case" because I don't enjoy the process of making characters in GCS. My players love it, I find it really annoying.

- I find exploration without the "unlimited LOS view" of Dark Vision more fun to GM. It's a much shorter "you see this and that" and not a lot of "so-and-so sees" and "I tell them that" or what have you.

- the PCs found a broken set of orc ladders, and the thinking was Hjalmarr broke them. Could be. I describe PCs as being like wolverines, except that goal one is destroy anything you can to prevent the NPCs from using it, and goal two is get whatever they can use. So, so many doors, portcullises, ladders, entrances, exits, tools, puzzles, and re-useable items in the dungeon have been pillaged for loot (rarely) and destroyed so the (fill in name of group NPCs) can't use it/lock it/block it/come around behind us/come out of the dungeon/sell it/whatever. I once ran an arch villain in a campaign whose attitude was "don't break anything you might need later" so he didn't stomp the PCs just in case he needed them, tried to keep allies (and even useful enemies) alive, etc. That was a fun exercise, highly recommended.

- Oh, and it's tax day in the US, but not in Felltower, because everything looted under Felltower is tax-free. Because paying taxes in game is very, very old school AD&D, and also very, very annoying to deal with. So I made up a way to not do it.

Fun session.

Sunday, April 14, 2024

DF Session 191, Felltower 129 - Troll Treasure & Orc Holes

Date: April 14th, 2024

Weather: Sunny, warm.

Chop, human cleric (308 points)
Hannari Ironhand, dwarf martial artist (297 points)
Thor Halfskepna, human knight (310 points)
Vladimir Luchnick, dwarf martial artist (255 points)
     Darkspire the Inscrutable, human apprentice (125 points)
     Harold, human guard (~80 points)

The PCs gathered in town, gathered rumors, and headed out to Felltower itself. The goal was simple - gain the loot from the trolls slain last time, and then . . . explore around. They managed to hire Harold, a low-rent fighter (asking $60 for the trip), and Darkspire, an Air College wizard, who came for a share. They noted he signed his agreement Marvin Darkspire, Esq. Hannari thinks he might work at Ragnarsson and Sons.

Once in the dungeon, they crossed the pit, but not before Thor fell into the pit and took 22 damage (13 after armor). The perils of low (no) Climbing skill and 20+ HP. They made it across, picked up the trail of the trolls, and then decided it led into too many NMZs and pits. So they went around, checking the room they'd fought spiders in a while back (they'd forgotten that) along the way.

They tried to cut into the mosaic hallway by a disused route, and found it wasn't just a NMZ, but a No Sanctity Zone, either. That wiped out the scout's lightstone. Vlad opened a glow vial and checked the big double doors nearby and found signs of trolls.

They backed off and took the long way around, and into the gigantic room. Darkspire opined the burned wreckage in the room was once books. In any case, they found the troll's trash pile . . . and their loot. They found a 2000 or so silver, 10 gold, a broach, an ornate shield, a helmet, and a tome on constructs.

They took the loot and headed down to level 2 via a trapdoor in that room. In the room below, a curious Thor pressed a button in an alcove, and the floor opened. He snatched the lip of the pit and avoided a fatal fall onto spikes.

Then it was over to the altar. They told the new guys the altar could turn up to 30 sp into gold, so they handed each NPC a bag and had them touch it in turn. Harold got +1 to all of his stats for a day. Darkspire got the transmuting effect (it comes up a lot, actually) and I rolled . . . 3d30 and got 47. So all 30 sp he had turned to gold. Oops. (I'm not sure why they thought it was only 30, but whatever.)

Next, they headed to the orc hole, and in. Some falls (Chop, this time) later, they made it down. Long story short, they explored the caves at the bottom thoroughly, and found nothing except some pits. They made their way the 3+ miles down the tunnel to the exit in the valley north of Felltower. There they found a stockade fence, towers, and patrolling orcs, with a cleared kill zone in front with a bunch of wolf-like dogs laying about.

They saw the place was pretty busy - they called it Orcburg - and backed off.

After they eventually made it back to the dungeon proper, they headed down to the caves where Sterick had been imprisoned. They basically wandered around there for a time, killed 20 slicer beetles, and then headed back home after not finding anything else worth noting.

They did check the spherical room and find a nest of a probably goblin-sized individual, who'd used the broken sarcophagus and twigs and wattle and mud to build a nest. No loot, though.

With that, they headed home, profitable for a change.


- Hey, wow, we played Felltower again.

- XP was 1 exploration (they actually went into part of the orc hole no one had bothered to before), 4 xp loot (~600 sp or so each), 1 xp MVP for Thor to learn Climbing. Also because he was very useful when he wasn't Sir Fallsalot.

- It was a fun session despite what on paper wasn't a lot done. The loot was good, the players were focused, and everything went smoothly besides me getting booted from the VTT 2x for no apparant reason. Whatever. At least we gamed and enjoyed it!

Friday, April 12, 2024

Links for Friday 4/12/24

Links for Friday!

- This is the kind of playset I want to play on.

Gaming - D Day Gold Beach

- Love Holloway illustrations like this one from B5 Horror on the Hill.

- Game on Sunday, finally.

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Black Company RPG in development

Thanks to Rob L for sending this one to me:

Black Company RPG in Development

The folks who did Delta Green are doing a Black Company RPG. Interesting. There was a D&D3.5 one done about 20 years back. I'd still play a BC game with GURPS myself. but I'm interested in seeing how it's done in another system. You need to have extremely powerful folks (Dominator, Lady, the Taken, various monsters), heroic above-the-norm types (Bomanz, say, probably Raven, definitely lots of the Rebel generals), and lots and lots of normal folks, many without the baggage of a conscience (most of the characters.) Yet those normal folks occasionally manage to stack things to go toe-to-toe with the extremely powerful folks and come out smiling. In other words, powerful doesn't mean invulnerable yet can still mean capable of leveling a company of enemies.

I'll take a look and I put in for the playtest, although it sounds like you'll need to be a Patreon subscriber to do so. If so, I'm likely out - I pay with my contribution, I don't like to pay to help you - but I'll keep people posted. After all, it's one of my favorite books by my favorite author.

And for those keeping track, I first heard of the book in a sidebar in 1st edition GURPS Special Ops. Thanks Mike Rose!

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Fantasy General: Grinding Out a Win

I have resumed playing Fantasy General as General Marcus.

I think I have two battles left. My current one should put me just outside the Shadowlord's fortress. There is a little side penninsula I ignored, which I'm hoping I can keep on ignoring. In video games, though, one never knows. In WWII the Allies just encircled those "fortress" cities the Nazis set up in France and left them until the war ended. In video games, you might have to clear them before you're allowed to attack the main fortress.

The battle before the last, then, is going on. It's nasty. Rough terrain, spread out objectives, and the enemy has lots of high-experience sky hunters (fighters) and seemingly endless numbers of mechanical infantry units (Mechanus) and cavalry (Rolling Thunder.) They're brutal to take out, and they're backed by Shadow Warriors and Monks of Meo in large numbers. It's been a slog and cost me a lot of pain and I'm not even a quarter done.

I'm enjoying it despite the title - it's a slog, it's a grind. But it's good. It shouldn't be easy. My tactics, though, still work - rush in mobs of Sky Hunters to take out all the units I can easily demolish, hound the wounded, and then let my combined follow-on forces mob the remainder. It's just slow.

I'm interested to see how this wraps up. I enjoy the game in spurts. This is one of those spurts. I hope to finish it this week!

Monday, April 8, 2024

Discworld RPG Bundle

There is a Bundle of Holding for the GURPS-based Discworld RPG:

It's $14.95 and nets you the Discworld RPG - normally $30 alone - plus Low-Tech and Fantasy Tech 1. I'm not sure why those two, except that they kinda fit. Whatever the reason, it's a good price for either DW or the two accompanying books, so if you're missing DW or missing those two or all three, it's a good way to fill out your collection.

If you're in, click here.

Sunday, April 7, 2024

Minor Felltower Work

Sunday is about Felltower, and I think we're playing next week. So I spent it doing a little maintenance.

- I re-familiarized myself with some of the areas I think the PCs may go to.

- I updated a few modules on the VTT.

- I did a little work on the Felltower file itself, just cleaning up some junk that's crept in. Keeping the whole dungeon as one big file has lots of upsides but also some issues with notes that aren't important anymore. Unless something is blatantly wrong (spelling error, rules page reference error, etc.) I just use strikethrough text to indicate something changed.

That's about it . . . Felltower needs delving to live.

Friday, April 5, 2024

Random Thoughts and Links for 4/5/2024

- Wayne's Books has a post up about "The Game" - the way the designers at GDW resolved the shift from Twilight:2000 to Traveller: 2300 AD.

The Game

- The Defense Policy wonk-in-training that I was in college looks at this and thinks of the consequences of an invasion of Taiwan. The game in me - who's been around longer - see this and thinks, can I play?

Wargaming an Invasion of Taiwan

(BTW, the Wall Street Journal explainer videos are in general really excellent.)

- This Grognardia post made me realize that while I know a number of gamers at work, they're all female. My client's daughter plays. My department sub-group coordinater plays with (I think GMs for) for husband and son. One of my clients plays and GMs for her daughters and her family members. I'm not actually sure I know any male gamers through my work. The gamers I know outside of work are almost all male, but they're also almost all either my gaming friends, or friends I made through gaming. The people I know who just turned out to play RPGs - almost always D&D5 - are all female.

Just interesting to me, honestly. I don't talk to them about gaming much. I just say I play, it's GURPS not D&D, and that's about it. I just don't like to game with my co-workers . . . I did that once or twice in the past and it didn't work for me. These days I like to firewall my gaming from my work. Still, I enjoy the fact that gaming is just a casual hobby these days that doesn't require instant bonding between fellow outcasts. And all three of the people I mentioned are very cool folks. I just want to hack-and-slash with different folks.

- My spam is getting nasty. Not just spam links but the the occasional hostile attack on me as a person have popped up. But they've been from anonymous folks. In other words, cowards.

- Game day should be next Sunday. I honestly can't wait. I'm rusty as a GM at this point, and if we don't get a game in for April, I'm not sure it's worth trying to keep the campaign going over the slow months of the summer. So fingers crossed!

Thursday, April 4, 2024

A few thoughts on PCs Making Magic Items vs. Buying Magic Items

This post is almost entirely in the context of GURPS Dungeon Fantasy and the Dungeon Fantasy Roleplaying Game. It's influenced by my current game's actual play, but also in light of the way my original game - AD&D - treated acquisition of magic items.

In standard DF and DFRPG, PCs cannot make magic items. That's exclusively something NPCs do. They can buy magic items in town - and quite a broad array of them, even using just DF1 or Adventurers for a list.

What are the implications of PCs being able to buy magic items?

PCs buying magic items:

- has a loot cost, primarily cash but also selling found items that don't match your preferences to fund the creation of one that does.

- no time cost; time to enchant is a delay on receiving but doesn't take the PCs out of play.

- limits on what you can buy can seem arbitrary but can be tied to in-game social abilities (Status, Wealth, Social Stigma, etc.)

- no template limit on purchases.

Cash found in a dungeon, and things exchanged for cash, can be swapped into magic items of whatever sort the PCs need unless the GM puts on specific limits or creates sale item lists. PCs just delve, spend, repeat. Time delays on purchased items can be imposed but the time limits are on the item, not the PC.

What about making items?

PCs making magic items:

- has a loot cost, some cash but also finding the "right" ingredients, if required (either as baseline rules or color.)

- has a time cost, because time spent enchanting is time not spent delving.

- if the loot cost is primarily finding ingredients, this can have a neutral effect on selling found items.

- limits on what you can make can seem arbitrary but are more easily tied to in-game magic/knowledge abilities.

- template limits.

If you take an AD&D-style enchantment approach, you're going to need a lot of monster bits and specific gems to make things go. Even a GURPS Magic approach will have some specific requirements on design and ingredients. Cash alone will usually suffice but may not for all things. There will also likely be time costs - if it takes 100 days to make a magic items, you're out of play for 100 days. What templates and abilities you need to enchant are likely to limit item access. Bards and wizards may be able to make items, clerics some other items, but most other templates might be out of luck. Or maybe not, if you allow shamanistic barbarina practices, fighters to hone steel so well that it becomes enchanted, or thieves to go through certain rituals to make magic keys and dead man's candles and so on.

All of them come with time out of play, definite needs to find ingredients before you can just go get the custom magic widget of your dreams, and in-game advantgae or skill acquisition.

It might be that to make money less of a way to get custom magic items, and make found items more important, you might benefit from letting PCs make the items. It seems a little counterintuitive but the thoughts above point that way.

I need to spend a bit more time noodling this over. Maybe the future of magic items in Felltower is PC made?

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

Impressive 4th Doctor Who minis range

The weekly sale over at Black Tree Designs has a really impressively complete list of figures for the 4th Doctor Who era.





Well okay then. I'm not seeing a lot of people left out. And as a former subscriber to the newsletter from The Jersey Jagaroth, I like the inclusion of Scaroth!

Monday, April 1, 2024

New Felltower Magic Items

Here are a couple of new magic items for Felltower!

Al-Jaffee's Book of Quips and Comebacks

This convenient pocket-sized book is made with a soft cover, and weighs only 0.5 lbs. Using it requires holding it open with one hand (a Ready maneuver.) Using the Book allows for multiple uses of Rapier Wit on the same foe as long as the user succeeds. If the victim successfully resists, they are no longer vulnerable to Rapier Wit for 24 hours.

Attempts to use Rapier Wit against the holder of this book are risky, too. When held ready, if an opponent tries Rapier Wit on the holder, roll a quick contest of Will - and the loser suffers stunning normally.

Price: $1000

Dwarven Hammer, Loyal Thrower
Power Item: 4 FP

The Dwarven Hammer, Loyal Thrower can be thrown with these stats: Acc 1, ST x 2 / x3, sw+3/crushing. One second after impact, it summons the bearer to wherever the hammer hits, pulling the thrower along at Move 12 as if under Flight spell. The bearer travels by the most direct route possible for the hammer to pass; be careful throwing it through narrow gaps! If the thrower's path intersects a barrier, foe, or ally, treat like a slam at the thrower's ST and Move 12 (so, +5 per die.) The bearer will keep being pulled to the hammer until they meet. When the bearer arrives at the hammer, the thrower immediately falls down and takes damage as if from a fall from the height the hammer hit or 2 yards, whichever is higher.

This can be used to travel. Simply throw it to whereever you'd like to go and brace yourself for impact! The pull of the hammer is equal to the ST of the thrower, if that becomes relevant.

In melee the hammer is sw+3/crushing, Parry 0, Reach 1.

Price: $25000, 5 lbs.
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