jerril: A cartoon head with caucasian skin, brown hair, and glasses. (Default)
Precis – Why low/funky mana areas aren't (always) unfair. Nonstandard mana levels are sometimes regarded as the GM "screwing over the players", but only like any other hazard.
Ed Note: This post is based on previously posted material (by yours truely) which I have edited and expanded upon. If you get deja vu, that's why.

A cruel, bored or irritated GM can abuse their editorial powers to heap misery upon suffering on their players, up to and including terminating the game via horrible in-game events: Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies. This kind of adversarial play style is pretty unpopular these days, but sometimes I wonder if we've over-corrected for sins past. Making things more difficult for your players is not the same as using the magnifying glass of your GMly powers on their ant-like paper men.

This concern comes up quickest in GURPS when Low Mana zones, or other weird magic areas, are discussed - "-5 to all your spells" is a pretty purified "Here, lets make all the wizards lives difficult today" mechanic, and it only gets worse if you have something like Twisted Mana, where even succeeding can be worrying.

Read more... )
jerril: A cartoon head with caucasian skin, brown hair, and glasses. (Default)
Precis – A random enchanted fountain table for Dungeon Fantasy!

Enchanted Fountains

Magic fountains and pools are classic dungeon features, dating back to some of the first published adventures for D&D. DF Exploits talks about them quickly, and suggests a table of random effects might be fun. So here's a table!

Enchanted Fountain Table

Roll (2d) Effect
2 Healing magic! Roll 1d; 1-5: Heals 4d6 injury; 6: Roll HT for each affliction affliction or crippling injury to have the affliction removed or the crippled limb restored. Roll HT-5 for severed limbs.
3 Teleports the character to a nearby (within 50 yards) room (choosen at the GMs whim, or randomly).
4 Random attribute increase! Enjoy a (1d) bonus to a random attribute for (2d) hours. Roll on the random attribute table (below) to pick which one.
5 Monster disguise! For (1d) hours you are magically disguised as a monster from the wandering monster table for this dungeon, as if a Simple Illusion spell and an Illusion Disguise spell were cast on you (DF Spells p. 40). Unlike the spells, this illusion is not dispelled by touch! If there is no wandering monster table, pick a monster type found in the dungeon.
6 Gain Magic Resistance 5 for 1d hours (or increase existing Magic Resistance by 5). This is not Improved Magic Resistance and will prevent spellcasting!
7 Nothing happens... this time! (The magic is on the fritz!)
8 Invisibility! Grants invisibility for 1d×10 minutes, or until user takes offensive action (e.g., attacks) or casts a spell.
9 Random attribute decrease! HT-4 or suffer a (1d) penalty to a random attribute for (16-HT) hours. Roll on the random attribute table (below) to pick which one.
10 Sleepytime. Roll HT-4 or sleep for (16-HT) hours (as per the Sleep Potion).
11 Corrosion! (1d-1 corrosion damage for a dip, 3d HP of injury if swallowed)
12 Dangerous poison! HT or take 2d+6 tox HP of injury (HT-4 if swallowed!)

Random Attribute Table

Roll (1d) Effect
1 ST
2 DX
3 IQ
4 HT
5 Perception
6 Will

While written for the DFRPG, this material is fully compatible with GURPS DF (and GURPS in general)

jerril: A cartoon head with caucasian skin, brown hair, and glasses. (Default)
Precis – Two new magic items: the spiked shield Warding Horns of the Prince, and the flail Crushing Hooves of Thunder.

These are still a little rough compared to the last two. My GM uses an enchantment system that is based on advantages to go with the Sorcery magic in his game. Hloomawl, Minotaur prince, and General of the Resistance has acquired these.

Warding Horns of the Prince

This spiked shield is extremely large, made as a full-body (DB +3) shield for a SM +1 warrior; SM 0 characters are at -1 to Shield skill and to any weapon skill when using it, along with the usual -2 for being a Large class shield. It is made from black-oak planks laminated together and faced in leather, with a spiked iron shield boss. It is Fine (Balanced), like the weapon quality modifier, giving +1 to Shield skill (for attacks like slams and bashes, and for calculating blocks).
It weighs 34 pounds, has object DR 4 and has 36 HP. These are much higher than expected!
Warding Horns of the Prince lives to defend, and gives the wielder a +1 to Block.
If the wielder of Warding Horns of the Prince has Shield Wall Training, their blocks for others accumulate multiple-block penalties on a separate "track" from their own. E.G. If Hloomawl blocks for himself, and then blocks for Attivi, the block for Attivi is not at -5 for repeated Blocks. If Hloomawl then needs to block for himself a second time before his turn, he blocks at only -5. If he then needs to block for Skyler, that block will be at -5 as Hloomawl has already blocked for Attivi. Hloomawls blocks for himself don't count when calculating the penalty for shielding Skyler.

Under the Hood:

Enhanced Block +1 [5]
Warding Blocks:
Effectively this provides a second, "virtual" shield; I've put No Signature on because there's no visible second shield, but in this case it's obvious that the wielder is making "real" blocks. The Payload is to "carry" a copy of the shield without suffering encumbrance.
* Extra Arm 1 (No Signature, +20%; Only to defend others, -20%; Shield Mount, -80%) [4]
* Payload 4 (No Signature, +20%) [5]
Note that this Payload is for a ST 22 character! A less mighty character will need to buy more Payload.
Glamour:
New perk. Shield appears to be a "light" shield, but has the stats of a heavy shield.

Crushing Hooves of Thunder

This great Flail is easily a two-handed weapon for a normal warrior, but Hloomawl the minotaur prince wields it one-handed. It counts as Balanced and Fine quality, belying its utilitarian exterior.
Whenever the wielder of Crushing Hooves of Thunder menaces someone, he is dramatically punctuated by a grumble of distant thunder (+1 to Intimidation vs non-deaf foes; exceptions made for creatures with ties to storms/thunder e.g. storm spirits).
Whenever Crushing Hooves of Thunder knocks down or kills a foe, it emits a terrifying clash of thunder. The wielder gets to use either the Flourish perk or the Follow-Through perk.
Crushing Hooves of Thunder loves to smash in the skulls of its foes. +4 to attack the Skull hit location.
Those hit by Crushing Hooves of Thunder are forced to the ground by a bolt from above (2d cr nw dkb, delivered from above when determining direction of knockback).
Those hit by Crushing Hooves of Thunder are deafened by the bolt, and often knocked out entirely. (If damage gets past DR, make a HT roll at -1 per 2 points of penetrating damage. If the victim fails, they're deafened. If they fail by 5 or more or critfail, they're knocked Unconscious for 20-HT minutes).

Under the Hood:


+1 to a skill (Intimidation) [2]
2 Perks: Flourish, Follow-through[2] - both are specialized in whichever Flail skill you are using to wield Crushing Hooves of Thunder
Targeted Attack Technique (Swing/Skull) +4 [7] again, specialized in whichever Flail skill you are using.
Crushing Attack 2d (No Wounding, -50%; Double Knockback, +20%; Overhead, +30%; Followup Crushing Hooves of Thunder Swing, -20%) [8]
Modified ST-Based Damage 2d+4 (base points 16; Side Effect, Thunderbolt, +110%) [18]

Sidebar: Thunderbolt Side Effect, +110%


Side Effect, +50%
  • Disadvantage, Deafness, +20%
  • Unconsciousness, Secondary, +40%
jerril: A cartoon head with caucasian skin, brown hair, and glasses. (Default)
Precis – a paired set of Artifact style magic items: the javelins Shock and Awe. Includes description, a bit of history, and stats.


This was my submission to the GURPS Dungeon Fantasy Magic Items contest; these definitely qualify as artifacts under the 40 Artifacts guidelines :)

Shock and Awe



This pair of Balanced, Fine, Orichalcum javelins have a mysterious provenance, rumored to be the handiwork of a great dwarven craftsman empowered by an airy spirit whoes heart he captured (by romance or by trickery, the stories do not say).

Both are fancifully decorated, counting as Ornate +3. Shock is edged in electrum and the javelin head is in the shape of a stylized lightning bolt. Awe is gilded, and the javelin head portrays the sun, with the blade formed from the suns rays being twisted together.

In combat, Shock and Awe have dazzling features. Neither can be parried or blocked, only dodged. Once either hits or misses, it disintegrates and reforms in its wielders hand on his next turn, instantly ready.

Shock transforms into a lightning bolt when hurled, coursing across the battlefield with a flash and a bang. Whatever it strikes suffers Linked 2d burning damage with the Surge, Arcing enhancement (Psionic Powers page 20), and it produces a Thunderclap (as per the spell, Magic page 171) with itself as the subject.

Awe transforms into a blast of sunlight when hurled, with the fury of a thousand desert noons. The entire line of hexes between the thrower and whatever it finally strikes are lit as per the Sunlight spell (Magic page 114) for one minute. Whatever it strikes suffers Linked 2d tight-beam burning damage, and it produces a Flash (as per the spell, Magic page 112) with itself as the "caster".

Shock and Awe together are a 13 FP Power Item. They cannot be separated for long; at the stroke of noon if they are not in the possession of the same person, both Shock and Awe vanish with a Flash and a Thunderclap.

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