• Why GURPS defenses use half skill: A half-baked idea

    Continuing the Games Diner’s fine tradition of bringing you the most inconsequential gaming gab out there… Why does a Parry or Block in GURPS – figured as 3 + half your skill with your weapon or shield, respectively – use half skill, something seen pretty much nowhere else in the game? I asked that question in FEND, a bit of fun with rolling defenses like anything else, using full, normal skill. There, I opine that GURPS‘ use of half skill is simply a matter of making defenses play well: with their range flattened by the halving and the resulting too-low score boosted by the +3, the final defense scores are not…

  • Unasked-for silliness: A GURPS logo

    EDIT 2018-10-13: Minor changes, to swap the locations of the pyramid and the die spots, and add a touch of color. Over on the forums, a player ponders whether GURPS should have its own logo mark – something more graphical than just the word “GURPS” in a beveled box. A crude image immediately came to my mind, which I can now show off via an even cruder abuse of “graphic design” <cough>. The shape is obviously the d6 that is core to the game; its angle creates a six-sided silhouette (highlighted with a bit of color) that also evokes a map hex. The two graphic elements are the famous SJG…

  • Dungeon Fantasy RPG: The Notes (Part VI)

    What? I still have unposted “review” notes on the Dungeon Fantasy Roleplaying Game (DFRPG)? Let’s make this the last installment. Sure, there’ll be more to say about the game – thoughts, content (monster and character ideas, etc.), play reports, lots of stuff. But it’s well past time to close up this World’s Slowest Unboxing™. What’s left to talk about? Not details of spell lists or combat options, but meta-stuff. And comments on artwork. Wrapped up with thoughts on the game’s future. Before the big stuff, a few more random observations:  Miscellaneous stuff Huh? The weapon tables don’t offer a thrown rock? I hereby register my permanent vote for rocks on…

  • 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 (BS p. 357). 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…

  • 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…