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!