• Medieval gamers

    What’s interesting about roleplaying games

    We interrupt this site’s regularly scheduled posts about weapon stat trivia and other simulationist drivel to bring you long-simmered higher-level thoughts on gaming itself. The following likely offers nothing you haven’t thought yourself or heard before, but that’s okay. For the interested, here are a few things that I’ve always found particularly interesting about RPGs. They’re a whole new type of game That’s a rarity. Think of the types of games you play at a table. Not specific games, but broad, top-level categories. There are card games, of course, in a zillion variations. Countless board games, too. To avoid getting too broad, we can consider strategy games like go and…

  • A year of daily GURPS tweets: #DailyHouserule (GURPS/DFRPG)

    I’ve been assembling a collection of bite-sized house rules, tips, and tricks for GURPS and DFRPG, with the intent of tweeting one a day for a year. I’ve got enough entries now for nearly three-quarters of the year; the rest are falling in line smoothly. When to launch these daily tidbits? January 1 would make all kinds of sense… I realized one day in late January. So I launched on February 1, the Chinese Lunar New Year. That works too. I’ve got over a week of house rules and tips posted now, and it’s going fine, so here’s the blog announcement. Interested? Just follow @gamesdiner on Twitter, or follow my…

  • Bridge battle

    Game design musing: Simplifying ST-based thrust and swing damage (GURPS)

    Here’s a small simplification GURPS could make: Replace the two damage scores (thrust and swing) attached to ST with one damage score. Huh? You mean do away with GURPS’ distinctive difference between a weapon’s swing and thrust damage scores?  No, nothing of the sort! That thrust-vs-swing distinction adds fun considerations to the choice and use of weapons. It’s one of my favorite features of the game’s combat system, right up there with defense rolls. Let’s keep it! But I think the game could remove the small complication of two damage scores if it wanted – not from combat, but from character stats.  I’ve made mention of this somewhere in the…

  • Fight

    Game design musing: Swing vs thrust damage: What’s the difference? (GURPS)

    Welcome back to Dork Labs (a name you can count on to mean “spreadsheets will follow”). In writing an upcoming post involving strength and damage, I had reason to revisit an old question of mine: in an ideal GURPS, how much should ST-based swing and thrust damage differ? It’s by no means a pressing matter at anyone’s game table, but on the off chance that someone finds this of interest, and continuing this site’s hallowed tradition of yammering incessantly about all things ST for reasons only Yog-Sothoth can divine, here’s what the numbers show. Swing vs thrust, by the numbers The table below is self-explanatory. At left are ST-based thrust…

  • Games Diner Site Updates

    I often update old material with additions and corrections. I place brief notices of changes within some articles, though I’m not immune to forgetting; Moreover, readers have no way of knowing that some old page has been updated unless they visit the page. From here on, I’ll collect update notifications on this page, your one-stop destination to see what’s new (i.e., how little has changed. : / ) You’ll find this a link to this page under the “Diner Stuff” menu at top. Navigation Edits, etc. (going back to 2017 or so) The Talented Thief: Stealing the Spotlight in GURPS and DFRPG 2022-12-01: Added note on the ease of improving…

  • Game design musing: Meeting weapon ST requirements (GURPS/DFRPG)

    Hand-held weapons in GURPS and DFRPG have a ST requirement. The rules let Striking ST help meet the requirement. But they should give that honor to Lifting ST instead. You: “Cool! A topic that’s both trivial and boring!” Yep. I seem to be outdoing even myself on that front here. Grognard gamers who recognize this as some long-retired, fiddly rules ephemera will be happiest heading back to the gaming table and playing things however they always have. Newcomers to GURPS/DFRPG (or RPGs), meanwhile, are encouraged to skip this because it’s terribly unimportant. (Just play the rules as they’re written, and revisit this page some day after you, too, have become…

  • DFRPG components

    Swarm of observations: Dungeon Fantasy Roleplaying Game

    In RPG activities, Dungeon Fantasy Roleplaying Game (DFRPG) continues to dominate my attention and my table. When there’s always too little time for the hobby to begin with, it’s nice to have a slick, all-in-one game to fall into. I jot down observations and notes born of playing/reading/character-creation/etc., thinking “hey, here’s something to play with later, or write about online.” This practice has left me with… a big useless pile of scraps in my Notes app. I’ll plop the scraps here onto a page for the possible amusement of passers-by. (There’s no particular theme or organization, so I won’t even call it a new entry in my DFRPG review (see…

  • Possibly the mythical Magery 4 spell

    DFRPG resource: Wizardly Spell List

    In Dungeon Fantasy Roleplaying Game (DFRPG), what spells can a cleric or druid access with a given level of Power Investiture? We’ve got handy lists for that! And what spells can a wizard learn with a given level of Magery? We’ve got… well, not a handy list. Because it’s a little complex for the wizards. Learning a given spell requires a given level of Magery and, often, one or more prerequisites (which aren’t always even spells). So a list of spells by Magery level still wouldn’t let wizards just pick out spells like clerics and druids do. On top of that, such a list would be long, as wizards blow…

  • Delvers to Grow

    Grow a delver – fast! – for the best dungeon RPG out there

    I’m late wth this post; the Big News in question is a Kickstarter campaign with 60 hours to go. But better late than an ogre punch upside the head (or something like that), as they say. Dungeon Fantasy Roleplaying Game (DFRPG) is the best dungeon RPG out there, for a ton of reasons. Its competition in the market includes a lot of truly great games (including a really big name or few), but DFRPG out-dungeons and out-dragons them all. (Yeah, that’s an opinion. Got lots more where that came from.) Characters in DFRPG are rich and detailed (like this guy!), and that’s a beautiful thing. Creating those unique personas can…

  • Tactical Hand Signals

    GURPS resource: New techniques

    Getting technique-al The skill sub-sets called techniques are a fun part of GURPS. This page will list new techniques of my own invention – initially just a placeholder page with a handful of techniques, but I’ll be adding more as I scrounge ’em up from past notes and character sheets and what not. I’m labeling this a resource for GURPS, not DFRPG, as the latter doesn’t formally use techniques. But if you’re fluent in GURPS, you can drop these into a DFRPG game with no trouble. The list Eye on the Ball (Hard) Default: Shield -2 or other prerequisite skill -4Prerequisite: Any unarmed combat skill, Melee Weapon skill (except Knife…