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.


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

    1. Yeah, I had a feeling when I statted that up, that it would be hinky.. Theory was that it would impress only other Barbarians and such, but I’m sure I can find another way. Thanks for reading, check back again, I am certain to rave about more books, and make even bigger mistakes in the future! “Of COURSE a Goblin is a type of elf, they have pointed ears, don’t they?!” v -Conner


      1. Use the Fetish prefix, instead. It’s probably what you are looking for, and definitely works with crude. Still has a resale value of $0, but that’s the downside to crude.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I had been thinking of fetishes as being their own item, not part of an armor or gear,not sure why I never made that connection. That’s exactly what I was looking for!


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