Friday, November 11, 2016

Review: Dungeon Styles

I'm not even sure if this
counts as a cover illustration
at all at this point.
Magical Styles. Neither here nor there for me. I almost completely exclude the regular magic system from play, but that doesn't mean this book isn't even then a little helpful. In fact, irrelevantly, I never gave the regular magic system a fair good ol' college try, so I think maybe I should give it a go and see where I can go with it someday. Let's see what we get with this book.


This is a 44 page PDF, with chapter 1 starting on page 4, and the final chapter ending on page 42, for 39 pages of stuff. This stuff is broken into two chapters. The first, 29 pages describes 7 magical styles, and the other chapter, 10 pages long, creates 250 point Dungeon Fantasy templates for each of the magic styles.
This book relies very heavily on GURPS Magic and Magical Styles to get the full use of it, and is enhanced by having access to Dungeon Fantasy 11, unless you don't intend to use these styles or templates in a Dungeon Fantasy game.
This book is hugely fluff, with some data, a smidgen of guidance to apply the data, and next to nothing in the form of rules. Overall, this book is like an extended example chapter for the original Magical Styles book and is about as helpful as that sounds. The art is stock clipart or recycled, but the pull-quotes are mostly interesting. If you like Magical Styles, and especially if you like Dungeon Fantasy, this is probably a good book. So let's take a closer look now.

Seven Sorcerous Societies

Table of Contents
This chapter covers the seven magic styles of the book, and is the meat of the thing, coming in at nearly 3/4 of the book. The chapter begins with a little guidance on applying the content to either Dungeon Fantasy, or GURPS in general, and a few basics for people who need some pointers on how to read books. From there, it goes on to each of the styles. Each style has a generous amount of vague, and easily repurposed flavor text that relates the general feelings for the members of one style about those of opposing styles. Each one has interesting pros and cons, and thoughtful spell and perk lists that do a good job of differentiating the styles from each other. As a pleasure read, I found it a little dry, but that's because this chapter is mostly lore and tables, which are not my particular favorites, but I appreciate having the information to look at if and when I need it. Most important of everything included in the styles is an aside near the end of them with design notes which really drives home how this book is meant to teach you how to fish.

The Fluidists

This style is an example of a combination of elemental and theoretical styles from Magical Styles, and in particular, the concept of "flowing" and spells centered around that idea.

The Guild of Iron Mages

This is a fusion of elemental and martial styles, and focuses on war, weapons, and buffing.

The Old School

This is a combination of theoretical and experimental styles, themed around the ideas of the occult and necromancy.

The Order of the Sun

This is a martial style that focuses on projectile and missile attacks.

The Sisters and Brothers of Echoes

This style is an elemental style that focuses on the communication, empathy, and sound colleges, in the pursuit of enhancing communication abilities.

The Tower of Pentacles

A theoretical style that focuses on the pursuit of knowledge and on grooming members to be fair and impartial adjudicators and judges.

The Wizards of the Mirrored Gaze

This is an elemental style that focuses on deception and trickery.

Character Templates

This chapter creates seven 250 point templates for Dungeon Fantasy that correspond better to each of the aforementioned styles. This is a nice bonus I think. They coulda just let you stick the style on the wizard template, but these new templates are custom built to play to the strengths and weaknesses of their styles.The templates are all well written with decent amounts of guidance for choosing ability configurations and the like, and there is an aside for power-ups as well. One very interesting aside for me as someone who enjoys rules includes a few new codified applications of skills that would otherwise fall into "useless background details," so that's pretty neat, and a nice highlight for me.

Other Thoughts and Conclusion

The styles are written well, the book is put together very well, and I'd recommend it to anyone that likes Magical Styles, doubly so if you like both Magical Styles and Dungeon Fantasy. If you don't like the regular magic system, because you'd rather use Mentalists, Sorcerers, Incanters, Mystic Knights and Saints, then this book might not be that helpful. If on the other hand you love your Wizards, Clerics, Bards, and Druids, then this might be a great choice for you! Personally, I'm glad I got it in the "I want it all" bundle.


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