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Dunegon Fantasy Roleplaying Game: Production Values

Now that I've got my hard copy of the Dungeon Fantasy Roleplaying Game box (woot!), I can look at it as a physical product, and I'm quite happy with it.

Consider, for a moment, the GM screen:
Currently available images of the screen don't do justice to it as a physical object. We'll ignore the art and such for the moment (I'll be coming back to it). This is a substantial item, made of thick cardboard under those glossy covers. The four-panel display stays up quite nicely on its own and is unlikely to be collapsed by passing breezes.

The cardboard heroes are made of the same sturdy material. These are designed to fit into the manufactured stands, a significant change from the original version made form sheets of thick paper/thin cardstock, designed to fold up into triangles. The fold-up-triangle approach was certainly viable, but they were still easily knocked over by drafts and inadvertent table collisions. These are heavier and less subject to the vagaries of the …
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That's A Lot Of Meetings

A little while ago, I mentioned that rather than spending my meetings doodling on a notepad, I was painting 3d printed gaming terrain. Unfortunately, as useful as that is keeping my hands occupied, I can't actually use it. I play GURPS, which uses a hex grid, rather than a square grid. I've found some designs for wall-only terrain, which I can plop down on a hex map, but I've got a bunch of terrain that doesn't do me any good. As it happens, I've got a nephew in town this week who has recently started playing D&D, which does use a square grid, so I'm shortly going to hand the terrain off to him (and cleverly obligate his parents to ship it back to the Left Coast where they live rather than do it myself). Before sending it way, I thought I'd lay it out and see how much there was.














Turns out there was a lot.

In other news, I go to too many meetings.





Doctor GURPS Author, Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The WYSIWYG Template

Something I see over at the forum from time to time is people saying that they're interested in writing for Pyramid or GURPS but are instantly driven off by the size and complexity of the style guide and the WYSIWYG template. And they can be intimidating documents. They're long and there are some really specific guidelines for certain kinds of material.

And that's necessary. Despite working almost entirely in the realm of the imagination, Steve Jackson Games is a technical publisher. They need to organize information in regular, predictable formats. It's like Safety Data Sheets, just of their own design.

But the thing I've noticed in several years of writing GURPS material is that you won't need most of it.

So if you want to write an article for Pyramid, here's what you do: Once you've gotten a thumb-up from Steven on your proposal, get the template, create a new document based on it (Don't use Microsoft Word? Me neither. I use LibreOffice. The temp…

Dungeon Fantasy RPG PDFs to Backers!

It is, at long last, out! Sort of! PDFs of the Dungeon Fantasy Roleplaying Game have been released to Kickstarter backers. I don't think it'll be generally available until next month, but since it's in the wild in at least a limited way, I feel I can talk about this a bit more like a customer than someone involved in the project.

The Dungeon Fantasy RPG is a complete fantasy tabletop roleplaying game. It's based on GURPS 4th edition rules, but it's a stand-alone game, requiring no other books, or even prior knowledge of GURPS. I've already made some general comments elsewhere (I got an advanced peek for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that I was called on to write some follow-up material coming out later). I'll expand on that here.

For those unfamiliar with GURPS, it's a point-buy system rather than randomly rolled, class-and-level, or life path, and pretty much everything in play boils down to "try to roll a target number or less o…

Back To the Geniza

This is the sort of thing which happens when you write gaming material based on real-world sources. Back in Pyramid #38, I had an adventure the goal of which was a geniza full of scattered but useful information. This was based on the Cairo geniza, essentially a massive waste paper basket which has turned out to be one of the most important source we've got on life and Jewish history in Medieval Egypt.

And while it's already been immensely valuable to modern scholars, it's still incompletely investigated. It contains many scraps of documents which haven't even been categorized by language, let alone translated. But now there's a project on zooniverse where you can get involved in research. They're crowdsourcing the identification of fragments of texts based on some fairly simple criteria. This is pointing to a phase two where stuff actually gets translated. There's absolutely no telling what will come out of this (lost chapters of important commentaries? G…

All Is Revealed!

Well, something is revealed. A recent update for the DFRPG Kickstarter finally revealed the authors of the three companion works. Peter is doing the magic items volume, Christopher is doing traps, and I'm doing the adventure. It's a follow-up to the adventure in the box, so you can continue the storyline which comes with the game. I don't think I can say much more now, but I will say that I've seen the map, and I think it's lovely.


Oh, and I'm not saying that the adventure is about getting the best seat next to the duchess at tea, but I'm not not saying that the adventure is about getting the best seat next to the duchess at tea.

The Occasional Dungeon: Crypt, Ground Floor, Part 3

6) A group of monsters have collected near the hidden doorway and antechamber leading into the crypt. Roll twice on the wandering monster table. As ugly as this might seem, if adventurers retreat a bit, the pursuing monsters will have to come after them through two separate doorways, making them relatively easy to isolate and overwhelm, and it's still fairly close to the cave shrine, so spellcasters can stay in an area where they can speak, if they need that in order to cast spells.

7) This niche is set off from the corridor by a set of sturdy iron bars. Treat as X-Heavy metalwork (GURPS Dungeon Fantasy 2, p. 18); the bars are permanently fixed in place and cannot be unlocked. The area beyond is blacked out with the Darkness spell. It's also difficult to use magic to pick out what's in the space; it's protected by a variant of the Pentegram spell (cast at level 20, if it becomes important). Breaking the bars breaks that spell.

The space contains N/3 Demons From Beyond…