No one is an atheist in the dungeon…

Greetings, Pilgrims, please come in and have a seat. Perhaps its time we had a talk about the Spiritual. We have concerned ourselves too long with the mundane,and the banal, focusing on material wealth, or worse, the waging of war. Perhaps we should give some thought to what comes after.

Normally, after a game I want waffles, but that’s not what I mean today.

But man, don’t waffles sound good?

Sorry, I digress.

When that party first began to make their characters, I asked if anyone worshiped any particular god, and mostly, I got shrugs. Jianjun’s player knew he wanted to be a cleric of the war god, and went hunting to find one that looked good, finding Erlang Shen. Frau’s player simply asked if there was a god of beer, and I went looking, and found Hanseath. From there, the question went unanswered, for the rest of the players, and I let it go. But I never really forgot about it..

When I started paying D&D, it was just a rule, that everyone worshiped a god, and its what you did. I asked, when I made my first character, why no one was an agnostic, or atheist, and it was explained that unlike in the real world, where religion is a matter of faith, D&D wasn’t. Gods interfere in folk’s lives, they come to earth, and they give TONS of people the ability to work legit miracles. Its not a question of “Do they Exist” it’s a question of “Which one do I hitch my wagon to?”. I liked that. It made it easier that everyone has a good option, thieves have a thieving god. Sailors have a sea goddess. Orcs have an Orc god. It’s great. When I asked Zen’s player again later, she still wanted to be an atheist, because Zen doesn’t deny that there are gods, she just doesn’t care. Zen doesn’t need any all knowing spirit watching out, telling her she’s naughty or nice. She needs a sharp knife, and a full thermos. I liked that answer and left it alone. But I didn’t extend that logic to the rest of the party, and I went back to asking folks who it was, that they tipped their hat to, when they thought about the chances of not making it out of the dungeon.

GURPS Dungeon Fantasy has some distinct advantages, not being heavy with fluff. We have rules for the hard stuff, what wizards get, as opposed to clerics, or what a fighter does in relation to a barbarian. But what it doesn’t give us, is the flavor. As written, Clerics worship “Good” deities, demons worship “Evil” ones. That’s all well and good, and there’s always the tasty morsel that is GURPS Dungeon Fantasy 7: Clerics, to fill in some of that, but in the spirit of full disclosure, I don’t really use this book myself. Not to say I don;t enjoy it, because I do, and in The Old Game, I played a cleric myself and wanted to use it, but I use GCA, and coding it is hard..

When it comes time to add the flavor, I say the sky’s the limit! But what do we use? A pantheon of gods is great, but do we use Greyhawk? Faerûn? Dragonlance? Perhaps the Pharaohic or Norse gods?

Why not both

Sure, let’s use it all! Now, I know that seems to crowd heaven up a bit. But we’ve dealt with this before. My cleric back when, worshiped Anubis. Our holly warrior revered Saturn. We didn’t have any trouble, it was just understood by me that his people gave a strange name to Min, and he thought the same of my relationship with Hades. Gods are already aspected in most RPG’s, so it’s easy enough to make the various pantheons work together. You can even throw something new into the mix, I believe my Bard-Wizard worshiped The Godfather of Souls…
When asked during the last game, Grognak’s player seemed pleased enough to worship Crom, No, not Kromm. The Red Lady made no such firm decision, but I’m willing to bet that despite being human, she would be more likely to worship an elven deity, given her penchant for all things pointed ears. (Knowing that Everynne’s Power Item is known as “The Ember of Sashelas”, it’s very possible that she would say her prayers to the elven god of magic, Deep Sashelas herself.) The remainder of our current party, however, makes it a bit more tricky, as both of our holy-rollers worship variations on the god of war.. Perhaps we should delve deeper into the 1-2 combo that is Jianjun and Frau Blucher..

Clerics and Holy Warriors are only one step away, on the wheel of character classes, and DF, there is a wider divide than in some of those other games. In modern D&D, a cleric is a heavily armored warrior of god, calling down holy fire and raising wounded allies from the brink and sometimes past the brink, of death. Paladins are basically fighters that can lay on hands, and smite evil. It’s perhaps a little more in depth than that, but no one can deny those descriptions. In GURPS, a Cleric is basically a holy wizard, not meant to be up front in a fight, despite my poor handling of both cleric and wizard, doing just that, preferring to stand back, and call their miracles from the rear. Holy warriors walk the middle line. Given a wide range of powers, some similar to the cleric, in spiritual warfare, some more meant to bolster their own fighting prowess. They neither excel as well as the fighter in battle, nor the cleric in magic, but work their own brand of perfection in their role, hunting down and destroying Undead, Demons, or both. (Note: I find the Holy Warrior of DF, to remind me more of the ranger, from D&D.. a favored enemy, range of arms available, animal companions, just matches on many points.)
I was thrilled to have both a cleric, and a holy warrior in the party, knowing that they could work side by side, and not step on each others toes, if given enough room. And then, they both chose war gods.. I began to sweat. Hanseath was far different from Erlang Shen, and I hoped that would be enough, but it turned out the players had far different ideas for their roles, and saved me any prodding to preserve shtick protection. Jianjun chose a stoic, reserved god, and his cleric followed suit. While his cleric could march with the army, he was the standard bearer, sending out his blessings, his personal mission was to root out and destroy the true enemy of His Lord, the Demon. (In game, this is reflected by Jianjun’s disadvantages, hatred: Evil religions, and an obsession with slaying Demons, in addition to his stubbornness, and sensibilities of a solider) Frau blusher, on the other had, worships a god of battle and revelry, sent forth oh her quest to spread his name, and help all those in need, be they enemies of her god, or any other within The Church. (Frau has her vows skewed more to enjoying battle, rather than hating her enemy, and a sense of duty to all good gods, calling her to travel the land, helping all those who need it.) A surprising diversion with the two similar builds, that has only deepened as play goes on.
If you looked at the two of them, based on D&D alignments, I would consider Jianjun Lawful Neutral. He understands that battle is a force for change, and that it should remain a mortal endeavor. Frau, is as Lawful Good as ever I’ve seen. She prefers to find joy in all things, if she can, but is never afraid to finish her drink and call forth the fury of her god, if injustice is present. Frau is the more likely to call out her companions for shady dealing, which could become a problem as we move forward, especially with the task they have just undertaken..

So, worship is fun, and for most, is little more than flavor text on the character sheet. If anyone decides later to play an Unholy Warrior, or excommunicated Demonologist, that could change, when it comes time to dole out healing. I’m curious to see if these feelings change moving forward. I’ve heard rumors that Frau is looking to take on an acolyte, but it remains to be seen what form that will take, and if more divine influence will change the parties outlook. Who knows, Zen took on an illusionist, maybe Frau will enlist a priest of Tyr, and add a third flavor of war god to the mix. Let’s hope not.


Nice Greatsword, are you overcompensating for something?

Welcome back, readers! First, let me say, I’m pleased that you have stuck with me thus far, as we’ve talked about the tools used by both wizards, and barbarians, and yet, we have continued to step over dollars, to get to dimes. It is time we tackled the meat of the arms and armor discussion, those things favored by Fighters, paladins, and thieves, not to mention basically anyone in this fantastic world, looking to defend themselves.

I should first start with what we DO know. Wizards tend to favor the staff and baton, which makes sense, not only as a trope, but also mechanically in GURPS, as a character that invests fewer points into the martial, benefits from the staff’s better parry score. (Note: for info about parrying scores, and weapon skills, see GURPS Basic Set 1: Characters p208.) But knights like swords, dwarves have their axes, even those strange druids use a Sickle.. Why, and whats the difference? What makes one better than the others? That’s the tricky question.

A staff isn’t a bad cheap weapon for anyone with only a few points, but it does limit you to Crushing damage, much the same as you get from punches, hammers, maces and the like. Crushing damage is fine, it certainly kills things as well as anything else, if not as quickly.. As we start to look for improving out damage, which, let’s be honest, is the whole idea, right? We can look to three other options, cutting, piercing, and impaling. Each of these has its place, though in fantasy, we deal less in piercing damage than higher tech games do, so I’ll deal with that first. Piercing is typically small parts that enter you, making small holes, like one would expect. Some arrows do this, but arrows and bows have yet to make much of an appearance in our game, and I think that I can leave them for their own post. Short version, Piercing is mainly for bullets. Cutting and impaling both give you a modifier on your damage, if any of it gets through your targets armor-style defenses, and that can make all the difference, when bringing down a foe.

Cutting weapons are the bread and butter for a civilized fantasy world. Swords, axes, many polearms, are all fine examples. If it could cut off an arm in a movie, it’s right at home here. Impaling weapons are the ones that jam a big part of themselves into you, and then hopefully, pull it back out, doing more damage when it happens, in many cases. Grognak’s warhammer, and the spiked end of Brody’s burner both do this, and while Grognak’s never had trouble yanking it free, with his ridiculous strength, it’s possible Brody may have to lug around the unlucky goblin from time to time, who refuses to come free.

Swords, being the shining example of the fantasy weapon, can double dip, if made right. Cutting when swung, but impaling when thrust into its target. It’s a delicate dance, because often swinging gives more raw force, but impaling can leave greater injury, to certain locations. In the former campaign, the archer was fond of putting an arrow in her prey’s eye, which worked to great effect.

Now that the lesson in games mechanics is out of the way, let’s discuss the fun part, what we can get our hands on, and what we can do with it, once we have it.


Swords are popular for a reason. (Note: My Sifu has said this bit before, and while its good info, I don’t see it exactly the same way. Read his bit, and then understand that what I say is the law in my game.) Swords are the height of technology, giving you options in the attack and damage department, and can range in price and size, from low, to incredibly high. As I see it, Elves made the first swords, and if you asked one, still make the best ones. It’s hard to disagree, seeing as they have hundreds of years to master their craft at both the creation and use of the blade. The flip side of that, is that elves take them very seriously, and do not share their secrets, nor do they make anything but the best. If you want and elven blade, you had better be friends with an elven smith. Good friends. (Note: Elven blades aren’t a specialty found in the GURPS books, but I found a ruling from Kromm, and I’m moving forward with it, because I think it fits, and the flavor was just too good.)

Humans might have been late to the party, but they make up for it with enthusiasm! Humans will make all manner of swords, cheap, expensive, and in between. Despite not being elves, a human can make you a blade fit for a king, and charge you the ransom of one for it.

Dwarves. Dwarves can make swords, and I’m sure they do, but from what I read in the many GURPS books, and my experience in fantasy, I’d have to say that Dwarves really feel more at home with the Axe/Mace skill, and we’ll get to them soon..

Gnomes, halflings, orcs, and the rest aren’t particularly known for their swords either, thought many have carried them, or their ilk, in game and literature alike. Orcs tend to fond of the greatsword, and I seem to recall a hobbit having a particularly fine elven short sword, in some book or another.. Hmm what could that have been.. Swords can be small, short, broad, and great, and for most definitions, also include daggers and larger knives. There are a special range of swords known as Fencing weapons, these tend to be on the very light end of the scale. Just because the name is one thing, doesn’t mean that’s its skill. Zen’s fancy new backsword uses the Broadsword Skill, which, incidentally she didn’t have, before finding the sword. Swords main drawback, is price. If you want one of even decent quality, its gonna cost you.

Options for swords are many, Cheap, Fine, Balanced, Elven, and even Very Fine, are available, it should be noted that only swords can carry the Very Fine title, and can be made from most metals found in the land. People will enchant a sword with any number of beneficial spells. Extra damage, a boost to your skill, even the ability to cut through armor. One could even wreath a blade in flame, or lightning, both short and long term. So many choices, so few hands….

-Axes, and maces, and flails oh my!

Axes might not be as popular as swords, in the myths. Maces even less so. And yet, I’m certain that they outnumber swords, if only because they were tools first, and weapons second, every smith, farmer and woodsman has at least one lying around. Don’t let that fool you. In GURPS, the high damage weapons are often in the Axe/Mace world. Frau started out with a mace, mostly because it was cheap. Despite crushing her foes, she upgraded pretty quickly to the axe, and I’m betting that’s where she’s gonna stay. No surprise that Frau happens to be a dwarf, and dwarves, love them some axes. Beside the heavy armor, which we will get to at a later date, Dwarves only specialize in the creation of axes and maces, which tells me, at least, that it was their weapon of choice, and after a bit of trial and error, they fixed the one downside to a big heavy weight on a stick, it’s inability to parry, and started mass producing them. The Family here is as broad as swords. And extends from the simple knobby club, to misused chair, to Tetsubos, and greataxes all the way up to, but not including Flails, which we will get to next, as it’s pretty clearly the next step in the weapon’s evolution. In addition to the Dwarven upgrade, unlike Elven blades, which is a widely known technique, axes and maces can be fine, or balanced, made from all manner of materials, and even equipped with an additional head, such as Frau’s hammer/axe, and Grognak’s Axe/Pick. Versatility comes at a cost, as it takes time to switch between sides, but it can be a lifesaver in the field. Enchantments are the same options as swords, thankfully.

Humans, orcs, dwarves, and many other races, understand the benefits of a simpler weapon, not to mention a much reduced cost. A Maul only sets you back $80, and gives you swing damage +4, for the trouble. It may only be a big rock on a stick, but it does the job!

Flails, aren’t really axes or maces. They are their own special kind of weapon, but I find it easier to talk about them together. A flail, is a handle, with a chain or rope, on the end of which is a heavy thing to hit people with. If you’ve ever played Castlevania, you are familiar with the GURPS Morning Star, which is probably the best example available. Handle, chain, spiky ball. A thing of beauty. One smaller flail is known as the Nunchaku, and most of us have seen these in the hands of a giant reptile (no, not the one who hates Tokyo). There aren’t a ton of weapons in the skillset, a couple single-handed, and one double, but they have the distinct advantage of being hard to defend against. You can dodge just fine, but parrying and blocking get tricky. I myself played a Gnoll Knight who used a big flail to great success, swinging it over the heads of my shield-bearers and ally in front of me. Good times. Flails can be given all the same benefits as any axe or mace, and enchanted thusly. Gnolls are the only race generally associated with the flail, unless you count the Belmont Clan, but I don’t. Anyone CAN use one, but it tends to be a stylistic decision, more than anything else.

Playing a fun character rather than a min-maxed munchkin, tends to make a better game for all involved, but maybe that’s just me. I game to have fun, and I realize not everyone has their fun the same way. Right then, moving on.

-Fresh baked miscellaneous?

There are always more weapons. Whips, spears, polearms of all makes and models. Even the Kusari from the mysterious east. All of these are available to adventurers in the game, some can be a bit harder to find, depending on who you are, but they are out there. I’m sure that if Zen decided she needed a Dragon Hide whip, she could drum up someone to make it for her, like you do.. But where’s the fun in that?

-But I don’t want to spend a fortune on that!

Way back, when I started this game, I told my players that if there was something they wanted, some special bit of cool or rare equipment, all they had to do was tell me, and I’d happily craft one up, and cast it out, somewhere into the world. Frau’s player made just such a request, and good to my word, the item is out there, waiting to be found. There are even rumors in the drum, waiting to be pulled out, with hints as to its location. Intrigue! I’m still happy to do this. Jianjun wants a spear that burns demons? No problem, maybe it’s guarded by a statue of a lion, deep in a jungle temple. The Red Lady seeks a bloodstone necklace that protects her from fire being used against her? Of course! Defeat a pack of lizard-men in the old lighthouse! Perhaps Brody seeks a long-lost dwarven Teddy Bear that sings battle songs to make him brave? There’s one rumored to be in possession of a local lord whose daughter has run off. It’s just that easy. Maybe you can’t afford that magic dagger, doesn’t meant you cant have one. That’s part of my job as GM, and frankly, a part I really enjoy. I know there are things out there now, that while the party might not know they want, I know they do..

Part of why I write these posts is to give my newer players a chance to learn what options are out there. Maybe you don’t know that potions are used as grenades, but you’d like the idea of having some around. Maybe you didn’t know that they could use Nunchucks. Unlike me, not everyone enjoys reading the Pdf’s on the- Bus.. yeah, that’s it, bus.. And I understand that. I’m the freak here, but I;m ok with it.

Now, you will notice that I only mentioned Brody and his burner once, and briefly, at that. There is a reason for this, and its simple. That is secret knowledge, and these posts are meant mainly for mass appeal. The party has certainly asked the dwarf what the heck he’s been carrying around, and I’m sure he’s given them the rundown, but we’ll see more of his tools as we go.

Well, thank you for joining me on this long-winded and meandering trip. The more I fill out the basics, the more I can answer questions if and when they come and build on them from here. Maybe next time I’ll bring out a few magic weapons, giving an idea of what’s out there. Or, maybe’s ill write a scathing piece about elves and how those pointy eared freaks think they’re better than everyone.. but probably not.. I still want a good bottle of that elven brandy, after all..

Days & Nights, Nerds!


These are the people in your neighborhood 2: Electric Hullabaloo

I thought it time to revisit the movers and shakers about town, see some new faces, and put names to some we’ve seen before.

Ah what a lovely spring day in Arica, let’s take a walk into the market square, and see who we can meet! Market day is always Odinsday here, some foreigners might call it Wednesday, but that’s just crazy talk. There’s always a brisk trade in the shops, and you can find most things any day of the week, should you possess the skill to hunt a bargain, but Market day brings folks from all over, even those dealing in the strange, and sometimes, in the forbidden. In a town run by wizards, you see more of these things than one might imagine.

Lord Derby Eland – Lord Eland is the proprietor of Arica’s most successful mageware shop, (The aforementioned “Eland’s Enchanters Emporium”) despite having, as is often said, no magical ability of his own. Regardless of his standing as a wizard, Eland is a highly skilled merchant, with a reputation that he can discern an ancient artifact from even a skilled forgery, at 100 yards. Many would-be thieves have sought to sell Lord Eland a stolen bauble here and there, and yet, none ever seem to return from his premises. Never found without an immaculate suit of clothes, and perfectly coiffed hair, it is clear to all who meet Lord Eland that he is a man of means, and he prefers to associate with such.

Lady Kefira Grayward, Paladin of Torm (300 Point Knight/Holy Warrior) – Lady Kefira, born the 6th child of local farmers, was decided to be one mouth too many, and was therefore given to the church for a life of service. Taking quickly to the ideals of the church, though not the devotion of the nunnery, Kefira arranged to train as a page, and later squire to several local knights, showing both humility and aptitude in the task. When she reached age 14, rather than take her holy orders, she petitioned the high priest for leave to become a knight herself, and serve the church in this way. Sponsored by local legend Godwin Longblade, for whom she had squired years earlier, Kefira was granted this boon, and began to train as a warrior. Completing her training a full year earlier than expected, and gaining fame for a valiant battle during a recent siege of the town, she was knighted shortly thereafter. When not away on duty, Lady Grayward is often found training the younger squires and knights, and working in the smithy, which she claims deepens her devotion to Torm.

Simone De’Scoiattolo, Perfected Sifu, Students of Fluidism A well known local wizard of indeterminate middle age, Simone is one of few such illustrious members of high society that has no interest in claiming the title of Lord. A highly respected teacher, and ranking member of the Fluidist philosophical order, De’Scoiattolo is nothing so much as well liked. Friendly and kind, Simone takes the root of his philosophy to heart, refusing to be part of the rigid structure that society clings to, preferring to follow his own heart. Always seen with a smiling face, and adorned the flowing blue robes of his order, Simone is never without a faithful apprentice in tow, all of whom are considered among the most fortunate, to study under such a knowledgeable master. No Student remains long, as the Sifu considers only the brightest young men for training, and seems to change them with the seasons. None have failed to reach great heights, however, as even a short time with Simone can teach more than a lifetime with another tutor. In addition to his deep knowledge of the arcane, Simone is also the finest Alchemist for hundreds of miles, and, it bears noting, the finest dancer as well.

Annabelle Lutin (125 Point Druid Initiate) Though not a resident of Arica herself, Annabelle is one of the most sought after vendors in the city. Bringing all manner of vegetation and herbs to market, Annabelle lives deep in the forests, preferring nature to the bustling city life, the fact of which she is known to share with all she meets. Perhaps the most skilled herbalist around, she is sought equally for her medicines and poultices, as she is her fine vegetables. Annabelle has been known to sign on with adventurers or work for members of town, but only when their cause is in defense of nature. She claims not to care about the money, but never turns down coin for a job done. Kind and always cheerful, some folks avoid her, citing her flighty nature, and tendency to talk more to plants than people. These prejudices are easily overcome, however, when they have need of her considerable skills.

Zayn & Jaynia – Identical twin High Elves, it is hard even for constant companions to tell brother from sister, as even their adventuring gear is the same, both outfitted in long blue robes and carrying matching pristine white quarterstaves, carved from dragonbone. The only saving grace is that one carries a spellbook, and the other a holy tome. Both are members of local adventuring party ”The Wyvern’s Wing” and have been making a names for themselves as capable adventurers, over the last year.

      • Zayn (***1 Point Wizard) The elder twin, Zayn is the more bookish of the two, preferring study over socializing, he rarely involves himself in others business, unless it is his sister. A capable mage, trained in the old world, Zayn prefers water magic, and has been seen studying in the libraries of the local Fluidists. Rumor has it that he will petition for membership soon. Zayn has no trouble working as part of the team, when given a job to do, though he tends to butt heads with its leader.

      • Jaynia (***2 Point Cleric) If Zayn is quiet as a mouse, his sister Jaynia, is bold as a lion. Cheerful and friendly, The priestess of Deep Sashelas is often the spokeswoman for her party, using charm and her elven beauty to their advantage. Zayn finds her work with The Wyvern’s Wing exhilarating, spreading the word of her God, as she supports her comrades with his miracles. She excels when working with her brother, as they have trained for years to at as one. She has recently been in talks with the church about taking on an apprentice, but has yet to find a candidate.

Welton Rightlarder (125 Point Servant3) – New to town, and already on the move, this dapper gnome has come from the new world to ply his trade to one of the local lords, if he can convince one to hire him. What Welton’s trade turns out to be, is professional manservant to the stars. His resume states he is well trained in cooking, sewing, and the ”Gentlemanly Arts”, and is also capable of maintaining one’s arms & armor, as well as performing any odd task that may be asked of him. He has been staying at the local in, waiting to find his place, picking up work here and there as a cook and bartender.

Well, I hope this quick addition to our cast was enjoyable. As always, if a player has a particular need for an NPC, I’m willing to roll them out, given a few days notice. There are certain to be more such posts as we go along, and I continue fleshing out the world. Come back and visit again!

Adios, Nerds –


1 This point total is redacted, your security clearance is not high enough.

2 This point total is redacted, your security clearance is not high enough.

3 Servants are normally 62-Point templates, this is an improved version, with 63 additional XP.

Dungeon Fantasy Interlude – Rude, Crude, and maybe a third thing, but probably not: A barbarians guide to arms & armor!

Hello again, friends!

You may have noticed a lack of recap this week, which is sadly due to illness. That doesn’t mean I’ve put my GURPS books on the shelf, however, as they still liter my kitchen table, as is is proper for a gentleman!  In the free time from planning the session, I’ve turned my eye to the needs and wants of my players, and decided to take a look into Grognak’s world this week, and find out exactly what he was up to with those shinbones, iron ingots and such.

You’ll recall last session, rather than partying and gathering rumors at the bar, Grognak spent his days sweating over the forge under the steady eye of Jianjun, crafting his new precious, The Gatecrasher.  Popular with the local barbarians and less sophisticated fighters, a Gatecrasher is an oversized greataxe, outfitted with the spike from a warhammer on its back side. (Note: despite its name, a Warhammer is more akin to a mining pick than what The Mighty Thor carries. I didn’t write that up, it is the will of Kromm, and that’s good enough for me, if a bit misleading.. Let’s move on.) Giving Grognak the ability to switch between cutting and impaling damage at will is of great use, especially coupled with his new investment in the perks; Grip Mastery, Reach Mastery and Weapon Bond – all focused on the Two-handed Axe/Mace, as is his way. In addition to the extra spike, Grognak loaded up on mundane improvements, making his Axe both Fine and Balanced, as well as Dwarven. (I have decided that the “Dwarven”on weapons can denote a style, as well as nation of origin, dwarves just get the discount. More on this in a future post.)

With high prices still a sticking point to the party, despite good paydays of late, Grognak went shopping with both power and price in mind. Spending several of his XP, the barbarian learned the way of the forge (SK: Armory: Melee Weapons) to save the 20% by crafting the weapon himself, as well as the Perk: Crude Armorer, from the James Beard Award nominated GURPS Dungeon Fantasy Denizens: Barbarians , which allows him to craft “Crude” items, saving an additional 20%, and giving the visual appeal his refined pallet requires. Crude weapons don’t appeal to the upper crust, and thus don’t sell for much, but are every bit as capable in the field.

Between sessions, while discussing the upgrade with Grognak’s player, both of us slightly intoxicated, he was asking me about ways to make his weapon better, and maybe magical. I told him pretty flatly, that magic weapons are expensive, and even with his coinpurse full, he wasn’t that rich… Yet.. I did, however, slip with a secret way to make his crafting easier, by way of paying a wizard, and while he agreed to take that bit of advice, he was unable later to recall the exact trick I had divulged. Good for me, bad for him.. I was good to my word, and let him use this shortcut, but failing an IQ check later, neither Grognak nor his player recall the steps to repeat the feat. Yes, this is shady business on my part, but as a player, I’d be happy to share my tricks, as a GM, they have to do the research themselves. So, in the end, he ended up paying $20 for the Fine improvement, rather than the $1296 it would have been, traditionally. Perhaps one day he will remember how, and share it with his friends.

If you recall, way back in session 3, The Red Lady attempted to cast Flaming Weapon on Grognak’s old hammer, only to be shouldered aside by Jianjun, who informed her that doing so would destroy the warhammers wooden handle. This is true, apparently, and I might not have known so, had he not brought it up. Thankfully, Grognak specified that the new handle was to be made from bone, and therefore no longer in any such danger. I expect we shall see many a flaming axe, in the future.

The books with GURPS are clear that the cost deferment for self-creation of arms and armor, is 20%, but I find it difficult to find a ruling about how long it takes to do. Failing to find any firm ruling, I have looked to others such as myself, and have instituted rules thus1.

  • A melee weapon is created in a time which equals its weight (in kilograms) times 16 hours. A long-range weapon takes a time equal to its weight times 24 hours. Thus, a two-handed sword takes on average 40 hours to be created (about 5 working days), and a composite bow takes 96 hours (12 days).Armor takes a building time equal to its weight in kg times 2 hours, if made of metal, or four times its weight if made of leather or fur. Thus, a steel breastplate takes 36 hours to be created (about 4 1/2 days), and a leather armor takes 40 hours (5 days).The same time to create armor is used in the creation of shields.

    A character can change the creation time of weapons or armor to get a bonus or penalty in their creation roll. A 100% increase in the creation time grants a bonus of +1, and each 8% reduction in time yields a -1 penalty. Thus, a character with “Armoury” at skill level 10 could create a two-handed sword (which takes five building days) of fine quality rolling against 10 if he spends 16 days more to create it.

    The maximum bonus or penalty that can be achieved with time modifications is 10, which corresponds to a 10-fold increase in time or a decrease of 80%.

Sadly I found this ruling in its entirety too late to save good Grognak some time, but we will play it correctly going forward. If he reads this, I’m sure he will understand, running a DF game is new to me, and it uses only some of the standard GURPS rules.

Speaking of smithing going forward, there are a few more items that might interest our brawny brother. And let’s look at some of them now! All items herein are oversized for SM +1 adventurers. Weight and cost are adjusted for this.

  • Horned Helm – For all of you Lost Vikings fans out there, we have the classic look, A simple Pot helm, with horns added to give it that authentic viking feel! The helm protects only the skull, with DR 4. Horns can be either decorative, or functional, giving you a bonus to your head-butt attacks, Either variety gives you a bonus to intimidation, but make it easier for foes to grapple you by the head. W/ Small Decorative horns, $220, with Small Functional or Large Decorative, $280. Large Functional Horns will set you back $520. Oh, but the fun you’ll have!
  • Bear Skull Helm – To commemorate any mighty foe fallen, skilled barbarians can craft a helmet from the dead beast’s own skull! DR wont be quite as high as good steel and leather, but it will give you a reaction bonus with animals, monsters and anyone of the “Savage” variety. Those in civilized society have an adverse reaction, bu who needs them? This example is made from the skull of a Dire Bear. Helm gives DR 3 to the face and skull, and counts are Crude. – $192. Never let a fallen beast go to waste! Speaking of…
  • Dire Bear Cape – Is your savage warrior friends with an arduous archer? Clean kills mean more spoils! If you manage to bring down such a mighty foe cleanly, take your time to skin the beast, and preserve the fearsome hide for yourself! A heavy cloak made from a whole Dire Bear skin counts as a barbarian sized heavy cloak, that while being Crude, also counts as a +1 Fetish, highly prized, with the right crowd. Pair with the above helm, for an impressive visage.
  • Dragon’s Head Helm2: For the truly exceptional barbarian, we have, direct from the finest northern smiths in Tembledera, a helm crafted from young dragonhide, and styled to resemble a dragon’s head, complete with small combat horns. Provides DR 4 to the face and skull, and counts as Ornate +2. $2,000; 1.5 lbs. Warning, everyone will want one, excluding any dragon you might meet..

Tales tell of a version of the Dragon’s Helm which breathes fire, but surely nothing so fearsome could exist.. Or could it..

There is room for me to include all manner of barbarian weapons in today’s post as well, but I feel that I’ve given you a decent amount to work with here, and I am planning a post focusing on martial arms coming soon enough, in its entirety, I have just not reached the end of my research.

For many more ideas, I still recommend checking out the elder tome GURPS Dungeon Fantasy Denizens: Barbarians, because, again, I can not say this enough, any roleplaying book that lets you pay points for your beard, is WORTH READING.


Now, if you will excuse me, I’m going to weave some sticks and bones into my beard, and drink some mead.

Later on, Nerds


1This article uses material from the GURPS/Smithing article on the RPG Wikia Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

2 Though very similar to one used in The Other Blog, this build is slightly different, and thus has adjusted costs. My compliments to the Sensei.

Who says murder hobos cant be pretty?

And welcome again, faithful readers, to another thrilling installment of our 70 part in-depth look into fun with math! Or, as I call it, GURPS. Let’s go!

As far as socializing goes, thus far, our party has gotten by on luck and a prayer, but not without ruffling their share of feathers. “Town” as a concept may be safe, but the quick lie, and 1000 lbs of backup that do so well in the wild, don’t exactly get you invited to dinner with the local lords, who have both the interest, and coin, to fund a party for longer, bigger, and most importantly, more profitable delves! At some point, someone is going to have to do some talking for the group, and currently, this A-team has more “Howling Mad” Murdock, and not so much Templeton “Face man” Peck. It’s not that no none in the party can talk to people, day-to-day, they have obviously been able to buy gear and secure lodging. But if a crazed dwarf covered in facial tattoos, and a 7’10” tall Grizzly Adams follow Zen into tea with the duchess, it makes her job harder, if she’s trying to impress.

I was recently talking to another GM/Player I know, who was lamenting that his group is strong on “Gaming”, but reluctant to get into “Role-playing”, and the module he’s running requires both. If this confuses you, please, allow me elaborate. When The Red Lady met with the trio of wizards, way back in Episode 3, I knew that the wizards wanted her book and had information to trade to get it if they had to, but really, they wanted those girls.. And they wanted them bad. I was curious to see how she would deal with them, and was looking forward to the exchange. I wanted her to Role-play.. All she knew, was that the wine was free, and she wasn’t giving away her new book!

In other games, all that the GM cares about, and the players want to know, is “Do I roll Diplomacy Skill or Merchant for this?” They don’t care about haggling with lecherous wizards, they want to get the quest, click accept, and get to adventuring. This, is how we define “Gaming”, for this example at least.. Sometimes, this just has to happen. Maybe it’s someone who isn’t that great with words, and wants to play a bard. Maybe I want to play a genius and have an IQ of 11.. On a good day. Sure, your character can do things you can’t.. That happens all the time. But the effort makes it personal. I’d always prefer a player tell me the lie they give a guard to let them past the city gates, than just rolling fast-talk, even if they still have to roll, a good lie is more likely to work, and a great lie, is more likely to get a bonus.. I reward the role-play, its how I do. Not that I’m always good at it..

In the previous DF game, our party met with a manservant of a local lord, named Mamu. Mamu informed our group that his lord, Dekter Strang, a local wizard of some renown, would be interested in offering the party a variety of assistance, foremost being some work, for coin, and also, perhaps the loan of other monies, to be repaid with interest. The party, or perhaps just me and by extension my character, eyed this Mamu with suspicion. Our GM was known to be crafty, and I’m known to be straight up paranoid, so the theory was; this guy is up to no good, and looking to get us involved in some kind of pyramid scheme possibly with real pyramids, so no thank you, sir!

By the next session, it had been explained.. This Mamu should basically have a golden question-mark over his head. A quest-giver was a game mechanic, not intrigue and deception. I/We had been Role-playing maybe a little too much for this instance. Strang would go on to be a major influence on the party as we went, and while still basically being an NPC, was actually played remotely, by a friend of the GM. I’m actually considering using this model of remote-play myself, but we shall see.

Long tangent over, I debate how well expecting the interactions from the party will go, not for lack of skill or interest from the players, but ironically, because of the mechanics that GURPS has for such things, mainly, “Reaction Modifiers”. Actually, despite none of the characters being focused on the schmoozing, giving careful look to the party’s sheets, they actually aren’t on bad footing.. Most of the group stands between about a +5 and a -4 for reactions, with Frau Blucher being at the top with a possible +9, all things being in her favor, and Grognak at the bottom end, at a -5 if it’s a bad day. These are all conditional modifiers, however, not one person in the group has an all-the-time bonus. Standard bonuses are from appearance, charisma, voice or fashion sense etc. (And yes, I do see fashion sense being worthwhile in the Dungeon Fantasy game. My bard wore a spider-silk tuxedo.). None of the party’s detractions are enough to get them barred from town, which is nice, because having to make plans while one of you group lives in the sewers, is a pain.

The party gets their bonuses mostly from talents, Grognak getting a whopping +4 for those who see him use his Outdoorsman skills (Mind you, +4 is what Captain American gets as a reputation bonus for being Captain America) and several of the group get a +1 from anyone in the bar, when they party.. However, lords and those more sober-minded, see this as a drawback, so it’s all about picking your audience. The church looks favorably on Frau and Jianjun, and for somethings, their bonuses can translate into higher rewards and sale prices, if they were the ones doing business.

There are two other bits of game mechanics in play, or maybe just two sides of one. Zen, despite being sneaky and adorned in black leather, has the Perk, “Honest Face”. This isn’t powerful enough to give her a bonus to reactions, but it does mean that she’s never picked out of a crowd, or a lineup. Good thing to have, if you might be carrying, or covered in stolen goods. Brody, on the other hand, has the Quirk, “Dishonest Face”. Covered in tattoos and burns, he is always picked out of a crowd, even when he’s just out taking his caveman for a walk.. It’s a damn shame..

All said, I want to run the game people enjoy playing. I would prefer that they enjoy exploring the nuance and depth of a cast of dozens, developed over months of painstaking work. OK, maybe not that deep, but any time you put in the work, its nice to see it pay off. In the end however, its their game, I’m just reacting to it. I recall years ago, in a HERO System Supers game, our group threw the GM a curve-ball when we asked a former foe, Foxbat to join our party, hoping to bolster our ranks. The GM called a 15 minute break, went outside to smoke, and figure out how to pull out of this descent into madness. (Note: Foxbat did join us, only to make us later curse his sudden but inevitable betrayal.)

Sometimes, they have to get the quest, and my job is to get them there. Whether it’s a spirited debate, or they make their Savoir-Faire roll, it’s going to happen, and the quest awaits. However, it’s not my job to warn the party when the right person doing the talking is going to get them a better deal, or when they can haggle for a better price. It’s not a requirement for the story, or their survival, just a bonus. But the possibility is out there. Or, you know. Just buy up your merchant skill, and wealth. That works too.

Buy a fella a drink some times, Nerds, I can go on for days. Thanks for listening.


Dungeon Fantasy Interlude: Is that a wand your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?

Let’s just get it out in the open. If GURPS has one standard complaint, and trust me it does, its overabundance of options. It’s true that being given 10,000 random Lego bricks and told to build something can be daunting, if what you are used to is getting the 150 exact bricks you need, and detailed instructions. GURPS is the same. Before my DF game, I ran a short-run 400 point “Vigilantes” game, with 2 of the 5 players having only played Pathfinder, and that only twice. The results were a mixed bag, with some folks happier than others.

When I decided to put together the DF game, I chose it for several reasons; A, its fun, and I just played it myself so it’s fresh in my mind. B, its got hard Limits, and depth. Being heavy on templates, but still deep with options, its a great way for new players and veterans to get what they want from a game. & C, Fantasy is the standard. Even if you’ve never rolled a die or owned a players handbook, you know that orcs are green and wizards shoot fireballs. Easiest way to get new players is to not scare them.

Grognak’s player, who had been a pop-and-locking martial artist in Vigilantes, knew right away “I want to be huge, and just smash people!”. Barbarian was exactly what he wanted, and he’s never looked back. The Red Lady, on the other hand, had played a high-ST hand-to-hand fighter, but found it repetitive, and wanted to branch out into a wizard. I knew this would be exactly the opposite, but brought its own set of complications.

Wizards, of all the templates in DF, can suffer from an overload of available options. Early on, she had little idea of how things would play out, so we started with the standard Fireball-flinging mage.. Granted, fireball has actually become her signature spell since then, but shes learning that there are a lot of other places wizards can put their points, to allow them to perform the miraculous. Now that the group will have a tag-along magic user as well, I thought it time to talk a bit about the things wizards need, which maybe aren’t as apparent as the spellbook.

Today, to do just that, we’re taking a trip to the Ye Olde Magic Shoppe, “Eland’s Enchanters Emporium” (formerly “Wally’s Wizard World”, formerly “Tim’s House of Magic & Pies”) the only place in Arica to outfit your mage about town.

OK, honestly, with high enough of a skill level, one doesn’t even need to point and chant the words, you can just stare into space and make things explode. But for those of us without a skill of -20 in lightening bolt, the tools can help. And let’s be honest, everybody in the dungeon needs at least a bit of armor.. Everybody.

Wizards can use one of a few different weapons out the gate, so unless you want to spend points and money in taking up an axe, this is going to suit most of them fairly well. If you are choosing the smallsword option, you can feel free to follow suit of warriors, and study the standard equipment lists. I’ll get to magic swords eventually.

Staves, & wands & batons, oh my!

“Staff” is the most basic of weapon enchantments, allowing casting through any staff, baton, or wand, on which it is enchanted. The enchantment itself costs $30 and is easily purchased in town. (Note: normally, I require at least a +1 CF on any item before it can be enchanted, but this one spell is the exception. Anything can carry “Staff”, even cheap, throw-away staves.)

The standard “Wizards Staff”, is nothing more than an off the shelf quarterstaff, with the “Staff” enchantment cast on it, costing $40. Not a bad investment for any adventurer, with the added bonus of remaining affordable even with some embellishments. (A cheap price tag can be an issue later, but we’ll get back to that.) When a staff is used to cast your spells, it negates up to -2 of range penalties, if any exist. And with Regular spells at -1 per hex, this can make all the difference!

Batons, despite being shorter than the staff, are a bit more expensive, starting at $20, but are a good option for the wizard who doesn’t mind mixing it up with a bit of swordplay, as it uses the Shortsword skill, and can still do a fine job in the magic department. Batons, when used for casting, negate only -1 of range penalties.

Wands, are basically useless as weapons, maybe as a fist load if your GM is softhearted. (Hint: I’m not.). But they DO give you the ability to extend your reach a bit, using the Knife or Main-Gauche skill, if you had to reach into a melee and give someone a boost, or zap them. Wands have no bonus for range, sadly, due to their short size. All in all, having a weapon around to cast through, is a good idea, no matter which you choose.

Wizards who have the coin, and want a better weapon, can easily upgrade. Fine and balanced staves, giving a bonus to both hit and damage, are easily affordable. Given just a bit more money, can can find a staff loaded up with both military and mundane upgrades. Shall I show you something in your size? (Note: All weapons below are enchanted with “Staff” unless stated otherwise.)


  • “The Lemon” – $34
    Perfect for any wizards first Staff. This cheap old reliable can be carved from any rotting wood you might find in the forest, given nothing in the way of detail or upgrade, this budget-friendly model is likely to break if its ever used to do anything other than pointing and waving about. Cheap, but good enough for government wizards..
  • “The Grandolph” – $260
    Just like grandpa used to carry! Carved from rare white ash, this remarkable walking staff is topped with grasping twist of branches, holding a 3 carat milky white Chalcedony, usable as a low-cost power item, and easily used as the focus for a Continual Light spell. Counts as Ornate +1.
  • “The Grande Dame” – $760
    Like a little black dress, this elegant Wizards staff goes with everything in the closet! More for show than combat, this magical accessory is carved from Ivory, inscribed with arcane runes along its entirety, tipped and capped with silver bands, and topped with a 4 carat Onyx, set into its head. Sure to turn heads at the ball, and the dungeon alike. Counts as Ornate +2, and is likely to get you robbed.
  • “The Slayer’s Choice”(tm) – $5410
    Built for the serious adventurer, this model has it all! Crafted from specially treated dragonbone, this fine, balanced quarterstaff is extensively engraved with sigils and runes, capped with sterling silver, bringing both power and pizzazz to the party. In addition to it’s standard staff enchantment, this model comes complete with the Puissance enchantment as well, packing that extra punch a true connoisseur requires. Can be set with the owners choice of gem(s) at additional cost. Counts as +2 Ornate, +1 to hit and +2 to damage.

Batons are equally as upgradeable, and perfect for a gentleman wizard trying to look sharp in the tower & the dungeon. The party recently took a solid silver model off Arcanoth The Unknown, not long before his untimely demise.. Here’s one quality example owned by a Bard-Wizard from the north.

  • “Mississippi Jed’s Walking Stick” – $1060
    Carved from beautiful Southern Magnolia, this 3′ long walking cane is both fine and balanced, tipped at the bottom and capped at the top with silver, the handle cast the image of a fist, inset with an $800 ruby, set into the fist’s pinky ring. Good for the throwing of lightning and the smashing of goblin’s bones, you’ll look good doing it all!  Counts as Ornate +2, and acts as the wielders power item.
    Now, a fine weapon is great, but a wizard can’t go digging in the depths naked. We have laws about that kind of thing..

Standard robes for a wizard, cleric, druids, hippies, that kind of thing, are easily come by. In standard white, robes are $72

If you want them dyed, that’s simple enough, a dull colored robe, Brown or Black will set you back $180. Bright robes, Red, Purple, Blues and the like, are $360.

Now, perhaps spun wool, and cotton weave aren’t your thing, Silk or satin robes are also available for $216 in white, and $504 for vivid colors. We can also custom embroider the designs of your choosing, for a nominal fee, if course.

And last but not least, we have the truly exceptional, Robes spun from Giant Spider Silk! Sold dyed any vivid color of your choice, these are a steal at a mere $7488! get yours now while supplies last!

Any of the above regalia can be enchanted with additional protections, by your local wizards guild.

Now, you might wonder why anyone would bother with silk and satin, the extensive embroidery on robes or the engraving on their staff, if they didn’t have gold coins falling out of their… Hats.. The reason is actually simple. Power Items.

Wizards, along with any other caster in DF, may possess a single item capable of storing magical energy, to be used for spells only. The storage formula and more can be found in the award winning GURPS Dungeon Fantasy 18: Power Items, but it’s suffice to say, the more you spend on your power item, the more Fatigue Points it stores.  Fun how that works!  Any single item can be used, a holy symbol, a ring, even the big gaudy jewel in your wizards turban! Staves and spellbooks are prime examples in DF and beyond. It’s simple to add value to as you go, throwing on gems and the like, as long as you possess the skill or a willingness to pay someone who does. Just remember, if you lose it, your stuck without your backup. Power items can only be recharged in town, at a cost of $5 per point. A point of note, enchantments don’t count towards value, and staves start out cheap, so the price goes up slower than with something like a broadsword.

Hats carry the same options as robes, and if you’re that kind of wizard, you can find hooded robes as well.

I hope this gives you some idea of the wonders out there that wizards can waste- I mean spend, their money on, given the chance. Custom items are always available for those with coin, and the imagination to go with it. For further options in the fall line, feel free to steal ideas from That Other Blog, because let’s be honest, I do. 😉

Thanks for reading, Nerds!


Dungeon Fantasy Interlude: One bourbon, one scotch, & one beer. And for my 2nd course, I’ll have…

Between Episodes 3 and 4, the party took a little time out to initiate Sad Harry as the newest member of the team.

Once it had been decided that Zen would take on the mopey apprentice, Brody informed the group of a solemn dwarven tradition that must be observed, on such an occasion. “To the bar!” Once arrived, the group took their normal table, adding a new seat for Sad Harry, and a stool for Ugh, who was happy to drink from a bowl of beer, and gnaw on bone. Ordering “Dwarven Shots” all around, the party were each given a large tankard of rum, aside from Frau Blucher, whose own holy tankard was filled with what Tessreene informed them was her last bit of dwarven spirits. The bartender then slid into Frau’s lap, and began to nibble at her ear, as the parry began the ritual. Brody informed all gathered of the rules. “Alright, this is simple. Last one standing wins. Drink up!” Everynne and Jianjun declined, citing a preference for wine and tea, respectively, and having no wish to end up stumbling out of the inn, sick.

Excited to have his first drink of alcohol, Sad Harry upturned his mug, took a deep swallow, and…. Fell over backwards,  eyes rolling back in his head, and foam erupting from his nose and mouth. (When I made the HT check to see how he handled the strong drink, the dice came up 18. on 3 dice. A Critical failure, and in my humble opinion, worth adding the quirk “Alcohol intolerance” to his character sheet.) Being a stout dwarf, Brody fared much better, showing no effects, and calling for another round. Both Frau and Grognak coughed and sputtered, failing to maintain their feet, but finishing the rest of their drinks.  Zen was able to match the dwarf drink for drink, but left the battle unfinished as she was responsible for returning the unconscious boy-wizard to bed. Brody, invigorated by strong drink and the victory over his compatriots, left the bar, taking Ugh out for a bit of late night mining. Zen, distracted by a stranger at the bar, left Sad Harry to sleep it off on a table, tipping Tessreene to cover him with a blanket, allowing Frau the chance to escape. Half an hour later, Zen left the bar, admiring her new sword, and sipping on an expensive glass of elven wine. Her new ward forgotten.

I am certain, that this contest will happen again, to its full and horrible conclusion, but I was quite pleased how a short round of drinking went. It also seemed like a fun bit of content for its own post, and perhaps a chance to flesh out folk’s choice of beverage.

Tessreene offers a long list of fun things to imbibe, but here’s a short one of the standards, and a bit of info for those interested about such things.. I’m guessing Frau and Grognak’s players might benefit from this most..

First, who makes what?

Humans, like ya do, make a lot of booze. Ale, wine, and a wide array of distilled liquor. What they lack in centuries of practice and esoteric lore, they make up for with quantity. You can always find human made hooch. The stout humans from the far north prefer to ferment honey, rather than grain or grape, to make Mead. It’s strong and sweet, and often found served by the cup, mug, or gallon.

Elves, the nature loving, pointed ear hippies that they are, make wine. And they make the best stuff available, if you don’t mind paying for the pleasure. While wine isn’t the only thing elves make, it is the most common.. If you know the right people, and have “Lord” or “Highness” before your name, you can, on occasion, find very fine elven brandy, but like the British, Elves save the good stuff for Christmas and Coronation Day.

Dwarves don’t bother with the weak stuff, preferring distilling to all other forms of booze. While Dwarven whiskey and rum are more widely available, made by the dwarven equivalent of hipsters, the stout stuff, called simply “Dwarven Spirits”, is made from mushrooms. Various specimens give you different results, but its all about 180 proof, and the consistency of gravy.  Dwarves don’t mind selling their wares to the rest of the world, so if you’re in a place with a good community, it’s not hard to come by…

People do talk of “Dwarven Brewmasters”, but these shadowy figures are more akin to alchemists than bartenders..  Not that Dwarven potions aren’t all at least 80 proof, because they are.

Now, on to the important part.  Here is what you can buy, most times, from your standard inn, such as the Salacious Unicorn. Note: these are prices for drinks purchased for the road.  The party’s day-to-day drinking is covered in their $150 a week cost of living. 

  • Ale: $5 /gallon
  • Distilled Spirits: $16/pint
  • Dwarven Spirits: $32/pint
  • Grog:  $8/pint
  • Mead: $11/gallon
  • Wine: $9/gallon
  • Wine, Elven: $20/gallon
  • Tea, Black $2.25/oz. – $1/pint
  • Tea, Green $2.25/oz. – $1/pint
  • Tea, Tarbean: $10/lb. – $2/pint

This short list is mainly for the day-to-day, so I can make sure my players mark off what they buy.. There are, however, other more potent potables available, discussed at length in the Grognak’s Beard Award-winning tome; GURPS Dungeon Fantasy 10: Taverns, but due to their specialized nature, and diligent creators, I will refrain from posting them here.
So join us next time on Dungeon Fantasy Interlude, when we visit Eland’s Enchanters Emporium, “The local shop for all you wizard needs” to learn all about staves and wands, and why exactly, you want a robe. Hint; it’s because wizards hate pants..

Thanks for reading, folks.

– Conner

Dungeon Fantasy S01E04: Apprenticing, for fun and profit!

Welcome back to the show! It’s gonna be an exciting second round, Let’s meet our contestants, starting with the Center Square!

Everynne, The Red Lady – Schmoozing her way into all the best towers in town, and ready to get down to business.

Frau Blucher – Willing to sacrifice a good weapon to destroy an arch nemesis, and pretty sure that some ghost is being unnecessarily mean.

  • GunterWilling warmount for life, but NOT going up in no basket..

Grognak – Spending his days shirtless and sweating, spending his nights with the priest. No, no, it’s totally normal.

Jianjun – Teaching the ways of the steel, and learning the ways of the soul. This cleric is ready for action!

Zen – Overflowing with love…. For her beautiful new sword. Also this kids she adopted or whatever. This sword, though..

Brody MacFlarnatarnastan – Not afraid to feed the animals. Oh damn, it’s time to feed the caveman again. “Here boy, here boy! Good boy!” Now where did I put that bomb?

Also Introducing:

Ugh – From a secluded tribe of caveman, Ugh was pressed into service after declaring a Life Debt to the dwarf with power of fire

Sad Johnny – Newly freed wizard boy, just looking for love in all of the places.

Before leaving town, our party gathered a handful of interesting rumors, from barrooms, libraries, and back alleys, there was news to be had!

  • “Word on the street is, that a bard came through town, telling tales of a lost treasure, and had need of a wilderness master to locate it, he was willing to share some of his loot for the help..”
  • “There is a dwarf, living off in the feet of the mountains, who brews spirits what can make you, among other things, breathe fire, if you like that sort of thing..”
  • “Be wary of the cat running the store here.. He’s a liar and a cheat, but we cant find our old shop-keep anywhere.”
  • “Can you be lied to by a ghost? ‘Cause I think one took me for all my coin, a few days ago..” *passes out drunk*
  • “Buy that bar wench a drink, she might make it worth your while… Just.. Don’t actually let her hear you call her that… Ever..”
  • “I fell into a well once, and when I looked up, I all I saw were stars, shining in the dark. I thought I had slept ’till night, but it turned out to be silver stars on a banner. I dropped it climbing out, and could never find it again when I went back.”
  • “I found this tiny bit of metal, like a broach or pin, and some lord paid me TWENTY gold coins for it.. *Burp* this rounds on me!”
  • “A witch fell in love with a solider from Arica, but was spurned by him. She cursed him, saying his heart of stone would be his downfall, as it had been hers.”
  • “Lost to the ages, there is reported to be a set of magical items, worn like clothing, that give the owner inhuman strength.”

So, right after I post about hirelings, two of my players decide magically to take on help, bulking up the groups “unlucky bastard” quota. As the new week beings, Brody spent a few days of his time hunting a tribe of Wildmen, basically throwbacks to a less evolved human, that roamed the deep mountain valleys, outside of town. He brought with him the secret of fire, and one of the burly locals fell down in worship. What this really means, is that Brody has hired on a caveman, named Ugh, to be his loyal pack-bearer. Not very bright, but strong of back, Ugh follows wherever Brody goes, just waiting to help. Until he gets scared, and runs up a tree, like a cat, on all fours. To me, this is the quintessential hench. Hides in the background and carries things silently. Sometimes someone throws them a treat. Given loan of a carrying yoke and some some empty sacks, Ugh isn’t burdened down with things like clothes. As befits his status, Ugh wears only a fur loincloth and strap-harness, for pulling sleds full of his Boss’s treasure. I’m sure Brody has plans for fleets of henchmen and a company logo, already drawn up..

Up next, Zen becomes a mommy!

Sad Johnny, the wizard’s apprentice the party apparently emancipated last session, just kind of followed them into town, and waited around for someone to tell him where to go. When the party asked where he came from, Sad Johnny claimed to have come, “About 9 or 10 days by ship before someone sold him to the elf, for 80 bucks, and they’d throw in a jug of cheap wine. Which he then carried, a days walk, to that shitty old house. Out in the woods. His job was to do the wizard’s chores, get drugs for the girls, and go get groceries in town. It occurs to me, as I write this, Sad Johnny is a low level character in an MMO.. He gets one daily quest, be it, “Go out in the field, and bring me 12 of these special mushrooms. It’s for my magic! Yeah.. My magic….” or “Go into town, and shoplift from 6 different markets, so we have food!” maybe even “Go down to the arboretum and kill those pesky dire-gophers!”. That’s life for hench.

Apparently the pathetic little wizard’s story touched the rogue’s heart, because Zen offered to pay for the kid to stay in town a week, before making it official, and taking the boy on as her Apprentice. “Yeah, of course I can train him as a wizard.. !” Unfortunately Sad Johnny, (Now and forever to be known as Sad Harry, FYI. ) seems to have a different idea about what is going on. What HE saw, was these great people take him out of that shitty house, and then gave him a week in a hotel where he gets to drink liquor, nap on the table, and then get some breakfast. AND THEN, this really nice lady in the fancy purple cloak tells him, he can come and live with her! Isn’t that great!? Gonna be way better than working for that crazy wizard, and his terrifying orc manservant..

So yeah, if this won’t turn into a sitcom, I don’t know what will. We get prefect strangers, AND My two dads, both just kinda.. not..

When the party decided to set the captive elf lose in the woods, rather than pay his bill at the inn, Sad Johnny asked for the right to kill him. He had treated the boy very poorly since his purchase, and the party seemed OK with justice being done. As Johnny led the old wizard away from town, bound and gagged, he started to wonder aloud where to take the elf, before quickly stabbing his borrowed dagger into his captives kidneys from behind, over and over. He then began to cry for his mother, taking several hours to recover.

In lighter news, When not mothering the foundling, Zen spent her free time with her sword-master, learning to handle the new elven backsword, which she never let away from her side. When she wasn’t in a lesson, tightening up her parry, Zen would be polishing her blade, and oiling the leather on its scabbard.

Grognak gave The Red lady a list of supplies he would need for his next project, and thankfully, she was able to find a large load of iron ingots, a hide of warg leather, and the shinbone of a giant. Asking no questions, Everynne delivered the parcels, and watched as Grognak tipped a short wizard for some help, stripped to the waist and began hammering on an anvil, owned by the local blacksmith. Spending the next 30 hours hammering away with the help of Jianjun, finally crafting a new weapon, nicknamed “Gatecrasher(s)” by the local barbarians. Tipped with a wicked spike one on head, and a greataxe blade on the other, Gatecrasher is nearly 6 feet tall, more weapon than a lesser man could wield. Sadly, with all his time spend at work, Grognak had no time for carousing and gathering rumors this week.

Jianjun split his time between assisting Grognak at the forge, using his knowledge of steel, and deep in study within the library of the church. Mastering the ability to drive out demons through exorcism, Jianjun Developed the power dismiss them with a wave, not the hours it would take a lesser priest.

Frau Blucher, impressed by the martial upgrades of her comrades, was honored to donate a small sum to the church, who then bestowed upon her a holy silver axe. A dwarven battleaxe with a hammerhead on its back side, the weapon is cast in silver, and blessed by a a high priest to deliver extra damage to the Undead. The Frau graciously accepted “Ghoulsbane”, and pledged to “Hold her heathen hammer high”, which seemed to please a group of priests dedicated to Tyr that toiled nearby.

The Red lady spent her days networking. Wanting to find a way to utilize the manuals the party recovered from Arcanoth, Everynne arranged an appearance with local Scholar of note, Eben Everstar. A renowned keeper of knowledge, and knower of things, Everstar is also heard to be a patron to another up-and-coming delving party here in town. He invited The wizardess to meet with him just after lunch on Thorsday. Hoping to impress the lord with good company, Everynne brought charming Zen, and prim Jianjun along as her entourage. Upon her arrival, Lord Everstar informed the wizardess (And only the wizardess, as he ignored the rest of the assembled party completely, aside from once referring to “your servants”) that he was interested in the manual as well, and agreed to teach Everynne the dead language, if she would give him the book in payment. That seemed reasonable, as the party still would own the other manual, which was damaged, but still mostly intact.

This would be contingent on something the Lord wanted the party to accomplish for him first, an audition, of sorts. Willing to go along with the plan, The Red Lady questioned Zen, known to be able to detect liars, and received the rogue’s thumbs up.  Lord Eben stated that his request was simple. He wanted the party to bring him a woman. This particular woman would not want to go with the party, but she must be made to do so. He wanted her alive, and relatively unharmed. Complete this simple task, and they could do further business, perhaps for another item, which he just happened to have on hand, and thought the party might find interesting. *Clap clap* Lord Eben’s servant Raul entered the room with a small box, and opened it to display a black dagger, with a wavy blade and the image of a black sun on its pommel. It matched the two daggers already in the parties possession. Raoul was released,and left the room. After telling the party that the woman they needed to find was known as Elsea the Crone, but he had no idea where she was. That, he droned, was why he hired them. *Clap clap* Raoul returned with a matching box, containing a long, dirty gray dreadlock. The cleric took the lock of hair, nodded to Lord Eben, an act that went unacknowledged, and led the party as they left the room.

Gathering the remainder of the party, and informing them of the plan, the only question came from Brody, “So we have to bring them the woman, what about anything we might “find” along the way?” convinced that the party could turn any recovered goods into cash, the dwarf was more than willing to sign on. “Let’s go make that money!” And off they went.

With no trail for the barbarian to track, the party looked for a more esoteric way to locate their prey, turning to The Red Lady, asking for a magical solution. Everynne said there WAS a spell, but she had never added it to her repertoire. “Erlang Shen has granted me such miracles” stated the Priest, startling the party, all around. After attaching the dreadlock to the end of his quarterstaff by a thread, Jianjun prayed to his lord for guidance, and the lock of hair began to pull in a single direction, pointing the way.

Grognak began to bushwhack their way though the dense forest, making slow by steady progress, must lamenting that the spell directed them as the crow flies, rather than along any formed path. Several hours in, the barbarian found a mostly dry creek-bed, leading in mostly the right direction, and making for a much easier journey for him, specifically. Brody, showing a rare moment of caution, wondered aloud, “should be be walking in this big ditch? Seems like a good way to get ambushed..” Convinced this was likely solid reasoning, the party climbed up onto one of the banks, and stopped briefly for a snack.

As Jianjun called forth a pot of miraculous noodles for the party to feast upon, Brody scoffed at their “magical human slop” and ordered Ugh to fetch him a dwarven ration from his now considerable reserves. While the group ate, Brody ordered Ugh up a nearby tree to scan for anything nearby. Once up the tree, Ugh peered about, and asked “Want Ugh get bag?” pointing further along the riverbed. This grabbed the parties attention, and and sparked a resounding reply of “Bag? What bag? Yes go get the bag!”. Ugh seemed happy to oblige, but had one question first.. “What about big bug?”.

Ugh pointed to something just out of sight down the creek, which prompted most of the group to draw weapons, unsure what a big bug was, but more than ready to test their new upgrades against whatever it was. Until Grognak identified the wet looking over-sized anteater that shuffled into view. “Oh Krom.. Rust Monster…”

I had begun planning ahead for wandering monster rolls, hoping to make them more balanced and enjoyable, for both me and the party. When I realized that I could throw in the occasional custom made beasty, I immediately went in search of this one, hopefully created in GURPS so I didn’t have to make it myself. I found that someone had, in fact, statted them up for me, and the write-up looked perfect. Then I saw it. It had been posted by one of my players. Can’t have one of the inmates designing the asylum, that just would not do. So the first thing I did was to beef it up.. I should have made it faster too… But hindsight and all that. Also, it should be noted, Rust Monsters were described to me the first time as an ant eater, with long nose and antennae, rather than the crustacean that is so common, so that’s how mine look.

As the creature sniffed its way down the creek, the party heard Grognak’s warning, and began to rethink their new toys. Dropping his axe, the barbarian picked up the largest rock he could find, while Zen thought better of this fight, and flitted from tree to tree, hiding best she could. Frau readied her old mace, waiting for the beast to come into range, hating to destroy the weapon, but willing to do her part.

The Red Lady began to gather energy for her favorite Fireball spell, while Brody began to put his own plan into action.

Removing his hat, Brody removed a bomb, round, black iron, with a short fuse, and threw it down into the mud a few yards ahead of the rust monsters nose. Seeing where this was going, Jianjun began to power his own spell, and waited.

The rust monster withstood the impact of Grognak’s boulder, and the flaming magics of The Red Lady, if only holding onto life to satisfy its hunger for the delicious-looking iron sphere in front of it. Finally limping its way to the prize, it opened wide, scooped it into its mouth, just as Jianjun shot forth a beam of holy light into its face, igniting the bomb. There was a muted explosion, which launched the beast’s shell straight up into the air, leaving a pile of stew meat below. It landed with a squishing sound, causing the party to cheer, and the music to play.

Sadly, the damage was such that even though Zen wanted to eat some of the beast, Grognak couldn’t find the pieces he knew to be edible. I worry about my players, sometimes. I really do.

Once the party rested, and recovered from the fight, Brody took Ugh to look at this bag the caveman mentioned earlier. Traveling a hundred yards or so down-river, so to speak, he did indeed find a backpack, sitting alone in the middle of the creek. “Yeah, that seems legit, I’ll head back to the party and let them know it’s totally normal.” When given further inspection, Brody noted a simple rope trap surrounding the pack, that would fling whoever attempted to take it, into the air. Summoning Ugh to head back, the Wildman’s attention was taken by a squirrel running in the creek, leading him at a sprint back towards the party. As Ugh neared his prey, with Brody close at his heels, an arrow struck the squirrel, and caused the wildman to burst into tears, and Brody to burst into, well.. Flames.

Brody took the skewered Squirrel to mean only one thing, the party was under attack, and they were under attack by elves. Seeing this as the only course of action, Brody ignited his burner, (the fantasy version of a dwarven flamethrower) and began to blast his stream of fire into the trees all around him, while screaming, wild eyed, that everything needed to burn, deaf to the cries the rest of the party around him.

Looking about for what foe could have set off her dwarven brethren, Frau, atop her trusty mount, pointed skyward, alerting her companions to the small village of huts, built far above in the trees, just as a familiar voice rung out “GIVE ME BACK MY SWORD!!!”

This is where our episode ends for this week.. perhaps not exactly here, but in the effort of good storytelling, we will end here for today, but come back next week, when we return for the thrilling conclusion – “I Ain’t Afraid of No Ghost!”

While no XP was rewarded for a mission half finished, Brody once again earned the Cool Point, for his use of his bomb as Monster Main Course.

And now for something completely different!

It’s a fair assessment to say I’m a fan of Professional Wrestling.

OK, I know, that reading that last line, at least some of you, perhaps 50%, just muttered to yourself, “Man, he knows it’s not real right?” I will deal with this once, and just once, and we can move on and put this all behind us. I could go into pages of long-winded diatribe about exhibitionism and athletics, but I’d rather you took 20 minutes out of your day to watch this explanation, that says it better than I ever could. Please note that this contains much adult language, so it’s likely NSFW.

That said. I’m a Fan of Professional Wrestling, and while the American version is my bread and butter, the really good stuff comes from Mexico. (Yes, and Japan) Lucha Libre is far more than just a Spanish-language version of the Monday night cable TV fare, it’s a part of the culture, if not a culture in and of itself, to our southern cousins. The heroes and their villainous counterparts more analogous to comic book super heroes. It was not uncommon in days past for Luchas to be movie stars, fighting monsters and mad scientists alike, before going back to challenge for the tag-team titles.

When I started playing GURPS 4th edition, it was a variation of Weird West, which transitioned later into low-level supers, and moved on from there. What I ended up playing, in that 2nd game was a gun slinging martial artist, because my first idea was beyond my skills to create to my satisfaction, a super-powered luchador. In the 5 or so years that have passed, I have learned the ins and outs of the system, playing a variety of characters, in power levels from 50 to 1200 points. While I’ve enjoyed being a stoic gigantic space engineer, a flamboyant growth brick, an albino cleric and a blues harmonica playing bard-wizard, I’ve never lost my yen for the martial artist in the mask.

We came to GURPS after a couple of years playing in HERO System, and even after the transition, I kept my toe in that pool, because I liked the cartoony feel of the game. I still refer to HERO as “GURPS the Animated Series”, because that’s how I see it. In 2009, HERO almost won me back, by publishing Lucha Libre HERO. More than anything else I and encountered, it showed me that Lucha could be done, and “Bah Gawd”1 I was gonna make it work in GURPS too.

In that time I have worked off and on, to recreate the style and feel of lucha for a workable GURPS character, if not a campaign.

The plan is over-arching. First, I need to follow suit of the HERO conversion, and make my master list of maneuvers and moves, which thankfully, GURPS has a solid system of already. About a year into this project, they threw me a curve-ball, and released the deep-grit masterpiece GURPS Martial Arts: Technical Grappling, giving me much more detail to work from, and more importantly, the knowledge that I wasn’t the only one who wants this kind of thing. It just took me a while to realize it…

I heard about this new supplement while discussing my project with my own GM, (now a player, in my DF game) who had, since its release, been in some discussion with his peers about a particular set of moves that they had seen in the major motion picture; Iron-Man 2. In the scene, the Black Widow, showing off her great skill in ass-kickery, leaps from a crouching position to grapple an opponents head with her legs, only to use said grapple to throw the unlucky fella to the ground.

I had heard him talk about this bit before, and certainly I had seen the movie, but once I watched it, and really paid attention, I realized it… She was wrestling! The move he had been so taken with, and broken down to the sequence and combat modifiers of, was basically a Hurricanrana, a staple of Lucha Libre, and fantastic way to bridge what I had been doing, with what this new supplement was offering. Not everything in my conversion needed the level of detail that Technical Grappling offers, but others could not be done properly without it.

After the realization involving the Widow’s Hurricanrana, I found a move that had been giving me a hard time, known as a Backslide Pin, and tried to get his take on it. Not being inn depth with the new rules, I may have undersold my question when I asked “How do you grab someone behind you?” knowing he was not a particular fan of the wrasslin’ as maybe me and some other of our cohorts are. This was my failure, at this point. What followed was my GM Taking. Me. To. School.

Suffice to say, I still work on this conversion. Currently I’m still cataloging moves, be they throws, grabs or strikes, and converting them into GURPS rules. Most of the simple ones are easy, a punch is a punch, a kick is a kick. Sometimes the differences are a matter of semantics, is clothesline a strike or a sweep? Once you know that, is there a difference between that and a lariat?  Personally, I list clotheslines as sweeps, and the lariat as a strike, mainly because one is used more as a damaging attack. Just don’t tell Bradshaw I said so. Sometimes, like the Backslide, its more a matter of how do I turn the intricate dance that is wrasslin’, into numbers and 1 second segments. Thus, I struggle on. I have a day job, and other hobbies, but this is my long-term goal. Think of it like a 5-point obsession. It’s not all I do, but it’s almost always on my mind.

You can expect to see this feature pop up a lot in the coming months as I begin new phases, first beta-testing my theories in conversions, then in template creation. I’m willing to bet you will all know the difference between a Technico and a Rudo before I’m done. Who knows, maybe one day You’ll see GURPS Martial Arts: Lucha Libre Adventures.

I’ll keep my boots laced, and my fingers crossed.


1See commentary by Jim “Good Ol’ J.R.” Ross for the audio version of this phrase.

These are the people in your neighborhood

Now that our intrepid adventurers have been in town a couple of weeks, bringing in steady coin and impressing people, they’re going to start noticing other faces around Arica. Truth be told, they have already caught the eye of several members of the populace, some we’ve met, and others yet to introduce themselves. I’m going to cover a few different class of citizens, both to familiarize our readers and the party, with who they’re likely to run into. These people are are, with possibly one exception, NPC’s (Non Player Characters) and are controlled by the GM, Me.

In the Dungeon Fantasy game I played in, most recently, town was described to be much like the “town” screen in a video game. Think Diablo. There are people there, but basically they only have a few dialogue options, such as “Buy”, “Sell”, or “Heal me, Please” and do little else. These options still exist in my world, because such things are important, and even I don’t want to flesh out the personalities of every newsboy and cleric in the village. I consider town to be a safe place, you don’t get attacked while there, as long as YOU don’t make trouble first. (Note: This is the golden rule. Don’t MAKE trouble, won’t BE trouble.) Because these folks are docile and simple, I’ll deal with them first.

First, The Church in town has a number of faceless priests around to sell people goods and services, such as healing potions, holy water, and blessings among others. As well, they offer healing and restoration magics, for a contribution to the church. Healing a few Hit Points will be cheap, but bringing a dead companion back from the death will cost several thousand gold. The only real difference is that when you sell holy relics and such to the church, the reward isn’t in cash, but credit within the organization.

Additionally, there are wizards in town. Many of them, in fact. Arica tends to be a haven for wizards looking to experiment, and in that vein, enchanters are always looking to sell off their projects, useful and.. Otherwise. If you want random magical items, there are plenty around to chose from. There will be posts to come here, just give me time.

For more mundane goods, the town has a general store, geared more towards adventurers than townsfolk, but let’s be honest, who cares about them? The main store in town is run by a Catfolk merchant named Khajiit, I never said I was original. Who sells weapons and armor, dungeoneering gear and minor magical concoctions such as alchemist’s fire, Luminous Dust, and Siege Stones. These items and more can be found in GURPS Dungeon Fantasy 1: Adventurers. Khajiit is more than willing to buy all manner of treasures off returning adventurers, for a fair price. (Note: Herein lies the value of the advantage “Wealth”. After character creation, Wealth is mostly business contacts, and raises the percentage of Full Market Value that you can sell things for, adjusted only by your Merchant Skill. Standard wealth nets you only 40%, generally. We will revisit this some other time.)

Also in and about town, we have other, more well-defined NPC’s, who offer more than just 3 conversation options, which is good, if they like you, but also means that what the players do, can make or break these relationships. These characters would have an exclamation point over their head, if in a video game. They give quests, hand out rewards, and might even be helpful in an adventure or two themselves.

First, an old friend,

-Elan A young initiate priest of Mishakal, serving the local Church, Elan has been gifted by his goddess with the powers of an Oracle. Granted the ability to glimpse the future, Elan has provided our party more than one adventure, and has even survived one of them himself! The priest was impressed by the group, showing that while he is far wiser than his age might imply, he is still a young man.

-Tessreene Called “Tee” by most, this forward and impassioned young woman is the proprietress of the local inn & tavern, The Salacious Unicorn. Prone to fall deeply and instantly in love with anyone she might fancy, only to move on at a whim, Tee is always a source of knowledge and fine ale, and on rare occasions, has a task or two that might pay well. One thing that you should never do, is refer to Tee as “Wench”. Unless you aren’t fond of your teeth.

Lady Penelope The eldest daughter of Lord Winslow Aberdeen, the towns magistrate. Lady Penelope is well known about town, but not for really doing much, aside from spending her fathers money. With their wedding soon approaching, the lady is never seen without her groom-to-be;

-Emry Longblade A sickly young noble who holds some position in town, if only in name. Emry comes from a powerful local family, but as the youngest son, has little aside from his name. If the boy had a sword, he would likely be unable to lift it. Most often Emry is referred to as “Milktoast” around town. The party met Emry once, but the boy never said a word.

Lord Theos De’Scoiattolo; Respected Sensei, Brotherhood of Echos
one of the three mages who met with The Red Lady in Episode 3, Lord Winslow is a well respected member of the magical community. Being a high ranking Brother of Echos, Lord Winslow wears the green robes of his order, and maintains a seat on the local Court of Nobles. Most of Lord Winslow’s time is spent in study of the Mysteries of the Old World, and it’s said he has a rivalry with others in town.


Last on our tour of the populace, are Hirelings! These folks are townsfolk that while looking for adventure, aren’t really on par with our players. They can be hired for coin, to join the party in or out of town, but mistreating the help will not only make it harder to find a willing henchman the next time, but also incur thier wrath, which might be bad when they’re watching your back..

Let’s see who’s hungry for coin? (Note: Humans being the most common race in Arica, all hirelings are human unless otherwise noted. Most of the listed henchmen are 125 or 62 points, but 250 point versions DO exist, and can be stated up if a player requests.)

Hoss; 62 point Laborer(Real name: Stephen Stalwart III) Hoss was born and raised on a farm near Arica, but having little inclination for farming, and too little intelligence for much else, he decided to make do with what he had, a strong back and an empty wallet. Hoss signs on with adventuring parties who need things carried, and don’t mind paying for it. The only thing Hoss really cares about is a full belly and a comfy place to nap, so if you want a hireling who doesn’t ask questions beyond “When’s lunch?”, Hoss is your man.

-Lady Elsea, Initiate of Sarenrae; 125 point initiate  Lady Elsea is a priestess in training of Sarenrae; a goddess of redemption and healing. Not a combat cleric, Lady Elsea is happy to call on the goddesses blessing to cure wounds, perform first aid, or surgery, but she has taken a vow never to kill, even to save her own life. She would be willing to wear armor on a delve, but doesn’t own any herself, as she tithes most of her coin to the church, such is required by her training.

-Abner Stoutfist; 125 point Squire – Abner is a young dwarf, seeking a knight to squire for, or, failing that, a stout warrior from which to hone his art. He has little interest in partying, and tends to be more of a downer, preferring to talk only about “His Craft”, even when no one cares to listen. Abner is decently skilled with his mace and shield, but doesn’t always have a level head in battle, and can be hard to reign in once he’s gotten started. Green as grass but willing to learn, Abner wants only to be a hero, even if he doesn’t really know what that means yet.

-Ralphio Je’an; 125 point Agent –  A local schemer and businessman about town, Ralphio claims to be a Half-Elf, but in truth its maybe more like a 16th.  Always working on his next score, Ralphio does have some skill in buying and selling, but is more often more interested in a “Big Score” than doing his job and making his employers any coin.  Burdened with both a compulsion towards spending and partying, he rarely keeps any coin in his pocket, whether or not it was his to begin with. Ralphio might bring you a good return on your investment, or a day wasted tracking him down trying to collect.

-Tough John & Skeeves A pair of “Sailors” who ended up stuck in Arica when they lost their money in a card game instead of getting back on their ship, the two have taken to mercenary work, but only together.

  • Tough John; 125 point Brute; Tough John is the bigger of the two, but certainly not the smarter. Head and shoulders taller than most humans, Tough John tends to remain quiet and wait for instruction, but given insult, he takes his own initiative in righting the slight, most often with violence. Not prone to using melee weapons, John prefers to throw his trusty harpoon, and pull the target back to him for up close pummeling. Letting him get his hands on you is always a bad idea.
  • Skeeves; 125 point Cutpurse – Skeeves is as surly a gnome as you’re ever likely to meet, is the thinker of the pair, and most of the time, what he’s thinking isn’t good. Skeeves is only interested in how make money, and where to spend it on women and strong drink. Skeeves prefers not to fight, if he can help it, simply taking what he wants before his target knows he was there. When it does come to a fight, he prefers to slip up from behind, and take down his prey fast, with either a knife to the kidneys, or a garrote around the neck. He leaves the heavy stuff to his partner, who he never works without.


This is a basic glance at henchmen available for hire if the party wants to pay their going rate. Any player can hire their own custom henchmen paid for with character points, costing from 1 to 12 points, if they like, from among any of the templates in the Hirelings Book, and given their input I will craft one (or more) to suit their requests. For a basic overview, I can provide a list of templates in person, but don’t think doing so here is fair to the people that publish such fine books. If the party wants to hire other laborers, apprentice wizards, or shield bearers, I’m happy to stat those up for hire as well, but don’t expect them to be as specialized, or created 5 minutes before a session. 😉


Next time: Good vs Evil, as far as deities are concerned. If you have questions or request, feel free to leave comments in the box below.

Later nerds


– Conner