• Zen and GURPS and the Art of Blowing up Death Stars

    The setup for Luke Skywalker’s Death Star run isn’t complicated. Luke and his rebel pals need to shoot a wee little exhaust port to end the menace of the Death Star. (“That’s no moon; it’s a space-opera stand-in for Smaug and his vulnerable weak spot!”) But the shot is a really tough one with major penalties on the TH roll, and the heroes keep missing as both the clock and the stock of rebel pilots run out. (Even their fancy targeting computers aren’t help enough. No, not even computers with astounding vector graphics technology from that far-flung future known to Jedi prophecy as “the 70s”.) “Use the Force, Luke! Let…

  • Dungeon Fantasy RPG: The Notes (Part V)

    It’s time for more notes on Dungeon Fantasy Roleplaying Game (DFRPG), Steve Jackson Games’ condensation of the GURPS roleplaying system and its Dungeon Fantasy (DF) product line into an all-included, standalone game. The first four articles looked at specific books and components; this installment will add a few observations on the product as a whole. And even then, I believe I have another installment in store for later. (Just think of this as the slowest unboxing ever.) The dire elephant in the room We can’t jump in without mentioning this big piece of DFRPG news, announced in the Steve Jackson Games (SJG) Report to the Stakeholders for 2017 just a few…

  • Dungeon Dining: Exotic Eats and Remarkable Rations for Fantasy Travelers

    The dungeon is an eat-or-be-eaten world. Eat your rations, or you’ll get all woozy and a fuscous slime will eat your lunch. And your legs. Delvers far from the nearest inn don’t need to worry. Travel-ready rations are cheap and light: just $2 and 0.5 lbs. per meal in the worlds of Dungeon Fantasy (DF) and Dungeon Fantasy Roleplaying Game (DFRPG).  But… What is that stuff? Hard cheese and harder bread, again? With some over-salted, meat-like stuff you dismiss as Dire Pemmican?  It gets old. So you dabble in dwarven rations, stocking up at that one Costco a mile under Ghrimmbil’s Gate. At $5 and 1 lb. per meal, it’s…

  • Dungeon Fantasy RPG: The Notes (Part IV)

    After a bit of a recess, it’s time to report more impressions of Steve Jackson Games’ boxed Dungeon Fantasy Roleplaying Game (DFRPG). (“After a bit of a recess”? All my posts are bookended by recesses longer than the lives of small animals.)  This installment comments on goodies outside the core five books: the maps and Cardboard Heroes included in the DFRPG box, and the separately sold DFRPG GM Screen and its included booklets. I think I have enough notes for one more installment after this, covering meta-level observations about the game. For now, let’s gaze upon those stand-up heroes as they adventure across those lovely maps. (Recap: Part I offered miscellaneous…

  • The Talented Thief: Stealing the Spotlight in GURPS and DFRPG

    You know how it goes. You think “Hey, I’ll toss out some quick new talents for thief characters”… and the next thing you know, it’s an essay on where weaknesses lie in the fantasy thief template, why you would want to nab more talents, what’s already available, how new ones should be designed, how much your thief should spend on them, what else can boost the profession… Yeesh, it’s already looking like some unsolicited (and low-rent) first draft of Dungeon Fantasy Denizens: Thieves down there. Well, this article may not be the shortest thing you read today, but it’ll slip you a swag bag of valuable (?) new talents for characters (even…

  • Dungeon Fantasy RPG: The Notes (Part III)

    On to Part III of thoughts upon exploring Dungeon Fantasy Roleplaying Game, the latest “powered by GURPS” wonder from Steve Jackson Games. Part I offered miscellaneous notes on the Adventurers book. Part II focused on Adventurers‘ catalog of skills. Here in Part III, I look briefly at the remaining four books found in the game box. Exploits Unless I’m missing it, DFRPG doesn’t offer Optional Rule: Extra Effort in Combat from GURPS (BS357). That’s a bit too bad, as the rule is useful for letting fighter-types burn off FP for nifty minor combat boosts, which in turn means more tactical options and more resource management fun. Well, like a lot of rules bits, it’s an easy thing to fold…

  • Dungeon Fantasy RPG: The Notes (Part II)

    It’s Part II of a scattershot passel of notes on Dungeon Fantasy Roleplaying Game, the GURPS-based all-in-one game that everyone’s talking about. (They are. You just can’t hear them all the time.) Part I offered miscellaneous notes on the Adventurers book. This installment focuses on Adventurers‘ catalog of skills, a key component of a DFRPG character. Part III and later will look at additional books and other facets of the game. (Abbreviations: “DFRPG” is Dungeon Fantasy Roleplaying Game; “DF” is Dungeon Fantasy, SJG’s “full” line of dungeoneering books for use with the regular GURPS Basic Set.) Skills in Adventurers A farewell to skills DFRPG pares down the GURPS skill list…

  • Dungeon Fantasy RPG: The Notes (Part I)

    ME the other day: “Good morning! Imma do so much today!” SJG: “O Hai! I haz DFRPG in the mailz!” [later…] Everyone around me: “…Hello?… Are you alive?…” Dungeon Fantasy Roleplaying Game is real, and it’s pretty spectacular. There are plenty of reviews of this GURPS-based, back-to-hack-n-slash offering from Steve Jackson Games; you’ll find a list of reviews here. I’m offering the lazy man’s variant of the review: an unwashed handful of disjointed observations. Part I is small: thoughts on part of DFRPG’s Adventurers book. Part II will wrap up that book with a lot of notes on skills, one of the key components of any GURPS/DFRPG adventurer. Part III…

  • Beware the assassin’s blade

    DFRPG idea: “Assassin’s weapons”. Has small notches, grooves, etc. on blade, supposedly to carry more poison. Probably not real, but let it be in game.Add cost to blade. Gives +1 to Poisons roll to use extra poison (Practical Poisoning, Exploits p58). Also lets poison survive 4, not 3, blocked its (Adventurers p116). However, Armory (Melee Weapons) +5 roll (= IQ) makes purpose clear; gives negative reactions!  You may have heard of the “assassin’s weapon” or “assassin’s blade” or some such: a blade etched with grooves that help carry poison and more effectively deliver it to the target. This isn’t necessarily something that was used in real life (or so I’ve…

  • As Good As Done: New Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) perks for GURPS

    GURPS Power-Ups 2: Perks introduced a new perk that I loved immediately: Standard Operating Procedure (SOP). This one-point beauty lets you specify some task or action that your character performs as a matter of course, even off-screen – reloading weapons (good for action heroes), sitting with your back to a wall (good for paranoid heroes), and many more – without your having to say that the PC performs the action. “Cool”, I thought. “It’s automation for characters.” There aren’t a lot of SOPs offered in Perks, but they’re easy and fun to think up. Here’s a giant handful of SOPs to keep your PC busy, on and off screen. But first,…