Friday, September 30, 2016

Dungeon Fantasy: What Books Should I get If...?

This is probably over by the time
you read this.
It was an observation made on the official forums, and one I've heard a lot as well: people new to GURPS often ask what books should I get if I want to do this or that? Or, more topically, what books outside of the main Dungeon Fantasy line might be interesting to me? So, I'll attempt to put together some lists here to cover a few "pallets" of options for extending a game in different ways.

Cool Powers

Inside of the Dungeon Fantasy line, your options are Dungeon Fantasy 3 - The Next Level, Dungeon Fantasy 11 - Power-Ups, and Dungeon Fantasy 14 - Psi. Book three has a few pages dedicated to new abilities near the back, but a lot of other helpful stuff as well. Book 11 is nothing but cool extra powers, and ways to spend points. Book 14 is dedicated to the Mentalist template, an occupation who is built solely around the concept of having unusual Esper abilities.
Outside of the main line, you can find some new powers in GURPS Powers - Divine Favor and GURPS Thaumatology - Sorcery. The first talks about how to pray for the gods assistance, and the second is an alternative system for casting spells. The Saint (and Warrior Saint) in Pyramid #3/36 are templates to incorporate the former into Dungeon Fantasy easily, and the Sorcerer from Pyramid #3/82 helps with the latter.
If you want to make your own special abilities from the ground up, Basic Set - Characters, and GURPS Powers gives you access to the entire toolbox for creating new abilities, while GURPS Power-Ups 4 - Enhancements and GURPS Power-Ups 8 - Limitations are very helpful, but not needed. This is an especially advanced option though, so I advise this only if you are ready to take the plunge into the deep end of GURPS.
Finally, one strange outlier that I would also recommend for a totally different take is the Mystic Knight from Pyramid #3/13 which requires GURPS Power-Ups 1 - Imbuements and I highly recommend Pyramid #3/04 before using. The Mystic Knight is something like a "spellsword" that can do magic with her weapons to enhance her attacks as a free action, and it is a decidedly different take from the rest of the powers system.

More Treasure

If you want more treasure, the easiest out of the box options to consider are Dungeon Fantasy 6: 40 Artifacts, and Dungeon Fantasy Treasures 1 - Glittering Prizes and Dungeon Fantasy Treasures 2 - Epic Treasures. These are catalogs of ready to use items you can just drop into any dungeon.
Dungeon Fantasy 8 -Treasure Tables and Dungeon Fantasy 18 - Power Items are slightly more advanced options. Treasure Tables requires a lot of the previous books in the series to get full value from, and Dungeon Fantasy 18 - Power Items is a specific, but helpful niche of treasure that allows casters, power-users, and even regular warriors to use items for more energy reserves.
For even more advanced options, consider getting GURPS Magic which has a energy cost to create items based on almost any spell in that book, giving you tens, (maybe hundreds?) of new magic items if you feel like doing a (pretty simple) formula (multiplying energy cost by dollars per point.) Even more advanced but more flexible, take a look at GURPS Thaumatology - Sorcery for a system to make an item based on any cool power you can make from the previous section.

Different Magic Systems

Besides the Sorceror, one other unique magic using system is available in the recently released Dungeon Fantasy 19 - Incantation. This system allows you to make up almost any spell you can think of, whenever you want, but takes a long time to use. It probably requires the GURPS Basic Set - Characters book though to get the full mileage from it.
If you feel like building a completely new magic system from scratch, the manual GURPS Thaumatology has a lot of helpful advice, idea starters, and system templates for a brand new system.

Deeper Combat

If you want more fighting options, first and foremost you should check out GURPS Martial Arts, which covers not just unarmed karate and kung-fu, but armed melee combat, throwing weapons, and bows. This book gives options for conservative and liberal attacks, counter-attacks and ripostes, several perks for working around annoying limitations of some abilities, and for advanced users, a construction kit to build your own special moves.
If you like the grappling system but want more from it, you can try out Technical Grappling, which gives a lot more options for wrestling moves, and feels a little less black and white than "you grappled him/didn't grapple him. You escaped being grappled/failed to escape, etc." Note this is a pretty advanced system, but not too difficult to wrap yourself around.
If you like games like Punch-OutDark Souls, or Monster Hunter that have a stamina gauge that runs out if you overexert yourself, and you don't mind tracking a few more numbers, The Last Gasp, an article in Pyramid #3/44 can require players and enemies to need to act more carefully than attacking all turn, every turn.
For a slight twist, if you want guns, check out The Musketeer and The Demolisher in Pyramid #3/36, and GURPS Gun-Fu. A lot of options in the latter could even be applied to bow users if you want to be creative.

Huge Battles

If you want to fight armies on the battlefield instead of small bands in the dungeon, you can check out GURPS Mass Combat a detailed guide to managing armies and fighting wars. Some interesting options beyond that include GURPS City Stats, which helps determine the military strength of a city, Boardroom and Curia, which complements the metrics from GURPS City Stats nicely, Pyramid #3/36 for expanded rules for more detailed mass combat, and Pyramid #3/84 for detailed rules for statting out brand new elements for mass combat.

More Monsters

For the original Dungeon Fantasy series, Dungeon Fantasy 2 already contains some monsters, but besides that, and the few sprinkled here and there, Dungeon Fantasy 14 has some unusual encounters, Dungeon Fantasy Monsters 1 and 3 have really big lists of interesting monsters, and Dungeon Fantasy Monsters 2 - Icky Goo has a fun build-a-bear approach to creating random slime monsters. The first adventure, and really fun, Dungeon Fantasy Adventure 1- Mirror of the Fire Demon has a very reusable list of monsters.
Besides those check out the Monster Hunters line for very high powered encounters (may need the edge taken off,) and Creatures of the Night for monsters that aren't made to be especially dangerous in a stand-up fight, but rather, attack through a battle of attrition for one's sanity.
One side-bar here, if you need help balancing monsters and are not math averse, Pyramid #3/77 has an article describing a CER metric that measures monster threat levels. It's not always perfect, but that's the awful truth of lies, d*nged lies, and statistics


Currently there is one main line adventure for Dungeon Fantasy: Dungeon Fantasy Adventure 1: Mirror of the Fire Demon. If you want ideas on how to remix it, take a look at Pyramid #3/70 which has an article about incorporating new mechanics from Dungeon Fantasy 16 - Wilderness Adventures. Besides that, a few pyramid issues have short adventures in them as well.  Check out #3/50 for Willowdeep, and #3/89 for an adventure in The Titan's House.

More Classes and Races

Check out this list on occupational templates and this one on racial templates on the GURPS wiki. Scroll down to the Dungeon Fantasy section and if you see a class or race that sounds interesting, ask someone about them and/or buy the book they are listed in.
If you want to go crazy and design your own, just use Basic Set - Characters and Basic Set - Campaigns to put one together yourself.
If you want to go classless and have no restrictions, as said, you could use the Basic Set, but a fun alternative (which also requires the Basic Set anyway) is in Pyramid #3/76, the Pointless Slaying and Looting article chunks up packages of points in a way that makes creating very personalized characters more flexible than the class templates, but faster than just flipping blindly through the Basic Set. A good compromise that offers more good than bad.

Other Thoughts

GURPS is really flexible, this isn't even scratching the surface of all the things you could add to Dungeon Fantasy to spice it the way you want. You could go Sci-Fi with UltraTech, go realistic with Low-Tech, incorporate politics with Social Engineering and Boardroom and Curia. Simplify the game further with Wildcard skills, world build with Fantasy, go meta with Power-Ups 5 - Impulse Buys, etc. It's one of the things I like about GURPS. I just got the email right now saying the kickstarter has successfully ended, hooray!

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