kickstarter

It’s a life update! 4

First of all, I want to apologize for the dry month on my blog. It’s good news, not bad news. I’ll start by saying that I have started GMing tabletop RPGs again! (Oh wait. I said that in my end of April report.) More on that a bit farther down.

Well, my new mechanical keyboard did finally come in a couple of weeks ago. It’s an HK Gaming × Durgod Hades 68 with Gateron Silent Brown switches. I love it so much. It’s like my Vortex Pok3r but quieter, better quality, and with arrow keys. Maybe I’ll do a more formal review sometime!

As the COVID-19 era continues, I have remained quite politically charged. At some point, it’s not even about politics. I bought two reusable masks for me and my partner, and we wear them whenever we go out. I’m not a sheep. No one’s rights are being infringed. It’s uncomfortable, sure, but I am an unselfish person, so I am willing to sacrifice a tiny bit of comfort to help in the effort of taking care of humankind. Furthermore, I wear mine for those who can’t wear one. It’s like vaccines all over again. Don’t even get me started.

My arm is just about back to its old self, but I am now doing physical therapy for pelvic floor dysfunction. It seems like the pain from my infection has my nerves and muscles all in a bind where they just don’t want to chill out, and trying some physical therapy sounded like a better option than jumping straight into nerve surgery. I’ll freely admit that I’m a wimp about that stuff. Ick. I was actually the one who suggested it to my urologist (it was an informed idea backed by medical papers—I’m not one of those patients). He was totally on board with the idea! Which was great for me. I’d much rather do stretches and yoga, and my physical therapist is awesome. I’m continuing virtual therapy and Al-Anon as well. It’s wonderful as always. It’s important to accept and seek help. Doing so can sometimes be a better show of ‘strength’ than just trying to go it alone.

I haven’t played any video games. It’s been weird.

I have kept up on my coffee game. I just got a bunch of pre-ground coffee from an international market. Don’t get me wrong. I love grinding my own beans. I just also love not having to take the time to grind beans whenever I want coffee. Plus, I like cheap Cuban espresso for café cubano. My espuma has been consistently good, so I’m really happy with that, and I’ve been experimenting with chicory to make New Orleans iced coffee as well. I also donated some coffee to local front-line workers with the little extra money I do have to spend right now.

I’ve been re-watching Star Wars: The Clone Wars with my partner. We’ve also been watching a lot of Psychology in Seattle and James Hoffman videos on YouTube.

Oh, and the Steve Jackson Games Summer 2020 T-Shirt Collection has three days left on Kickstarter. You know I’m all about that Basic Set shirt. Plus, they’re supporting a local printing company to get these shirts made. It’s worth every penny.

On that note, yes, the rumors are true—I’ve been GMing again. It started out as Fate, but I quickly missed GURPS. So, I started integrating some rules. Well, then it turned into GURPS with some Fate rules integrated. It’s a fun system, and I will have to go into more detail soon. Well, what about the setting? I mean, obviously, I went with Deadlands. More on that later too!

I’ll try to squeeze out another post between now and my end of the month report, and I will make good effort into getting a bit more published in June!

Quick Review of The Citadel at Norðvorn from Gaming Ballistic for the DFRPG

The Citadel at Norðvorn (Kickstarter) for the DFRPG came out last year in 2019, so I’m a little late to reviewing that as well. It is a lot like Hall of Judgement with more experience and content behind it, and I really couldn’t have asked for more. My favorite parts were (as they always are) the worldbuilding and the information about said world. Furthermore, it gives examples of villages and gives the GM the tools they need to create more villages. I love a good bestiary. Learning more about history and geography and holidays is a GURPS specialty, and I’m glad to see it represented here. And that’s not to say that Hall of Judgement was barebones—it certainly wasn’t! But The Citadel at Norðvorn does it all and then some. With more polish too! I’m talking in circles a bit, though, but it really deserves the praise. Oh, and the bestiary—that’s another favorite. As it always is. It’s great-sized book of great work (and great art!) that fleshes out what is now one of my favorite RPG settings of all time, so, yeah, it comes heavily recommended.

Other Quick Reviews:

Quick Review of Hall of Judgement from Gaming Ballistic for the DFRPG

The Hall of Judgement (Kickstarter) for the DFRPG came out back in 2018, but that isn’t going to stop me from reviewing it now. 120 pages of a norse-themed setting and adventure for the dungeon fantasy sibling of my favorite table-top RPG ever? Yeah, I’m interested (and I was very happy to learn that it was only the tip of the norse-themed iceberg). The Warehouse 23 page describes the book in more detail than I would be willing to do in a ‘quick review’, so read it:

Hall of Judgment is set in the barbarian lands of the north (predictably called Norðlönd). It is designed to evoke the feeling of a nordic/viking culture without specifically invoking Norse myth and legend.

  • This product is a micro-setting and scenario for the Dungeon Fantasy Roleplaying Game (Powered by GURPS)
  • It features non-linear adventuring for 4-6 250-point characters
  • Explore a Viking-flavored world trekking through cold, harsh mountains, facing dangerous faerie, and searching for a lost holy place, and the priceless relics within
  • Easily portable and usable with any GURPS Fantasy campaign

What’s in the book?

The book contains:

Preface. Contains a brief discussion of the original volume and how it came to be converted to the Dungeon Fantasy RPG.

Isfjall. The town is described in enough detail to serve as a base for further adventures.

The Journey. This section is broken out and expanded from the original volume. Random encounter tables, weather hazards, and other difficulties that arise when nature itself rises against you.

Lögheimili Ruins. A dangerous place. Full of evil it is. In you must go. A micro-dungeon! You don’t have to go in. Or come out.

Domstollinn. The core scenario. It is presented as a set of encounters that can be tackled (or not) in any order. An encounter includes a set of Challenges, telling the GM what must be overcome, Concealed information the players don’t know initially, Alternative ways to short-circuit, bypass, or otherwise not just Leroy Jenkins one’s way through a challenge, and Rewards, where appropriate.

Bestiary. Each monster that may be encountered in the scenario is given a description, statistics (including brief stats used with the Fantastic Grappling Quick-Start), and combat tactics to make each one unique. Over 30 creatures, nearly all of them new.

Fantastic Grappling Quick-Start. Even if you don’t have the book, you can still use the rules. Two pages of grappling the way it should be: fast, fun, and well-integrated with the Dungeon Fantasy RPG mechanics, using the control damage type first introduced in GURPS Martial Arts: Technical Grappling, but refined and simplified after years of play in multiple systems.

Pre-Gen Characters. Sixteen 250-point characters will be provided to allow the scenario to be played with minimal preparation; this adds to the excellent pre-gens already provided in the Dungeon Fantasy RPG boxed set.

All together, this is a complete adventure that can be run on its own or dropped into an existing campaign.

And that says nothing of the production quality of the book itself and the art within (especially the maps), which is great because I was a bit let down by some of the art in the DFRPG itself. It’s a great book, and it really whet my appetite for the books that would come next. Really, though—at this point, supporting Douglas Cole is like supporting the DFRPG and GURPS themselves. Even if his content wasn’t absolutely amazing (which it is!), I’d probably still be supporting him and his work. At least, this way, I am doubly happy about it!

Other Quick Reviews:

Quick Review of the Dungeon Fantasy Roleplaying Game (Powered by GURPS), the GM Screen, and the Dungeon Fantasy Companion from Steve Jackson Games

This has been a long time coming. The Dungeon Fantasy Roleplaying Game (Kickstarter) came out way back in 2017, which is already crazy for me to think about. I think I would best describe is as the younger sibling of GURPS that is really into fantasy, which meant it was perfect for me.

5 books, 2 large double-sided maps, cardboard figures, and 6-sided dice.
Suggested Retail Price $79.95 ▲ Stock number 01-1005
UPC 091037863317
Available Now – click here to order!

430 pages. PDF. ▲ Price $40.00 ▲ Stock number 31-1005
Always Available – Click here to buy!

Just look at that. 5 books, 2 large double-sided maps, cardboard figures, and 6-sided dice. That’s 430 pages of an offshoot of my favorite tabletop RPG. I really don’t need much more in my life. It helps that the books, the maps, the figures, the dice, and even the box that it all came in are of really nice quality. I enjoy displaying them on my shelf. In fact, the DFRPG has its own section. That says very little of the content, though. I want to keep this review quick, but I will go through each piece of the box set. And then some…

Adventurers is about 123 pages, and it’s all about the characters. Chapter one (Basics) covers the basics of the point-buy system (so you’re buying traits with points instead of picking from a few cool options), the attributes (Strength/ST, Dexterity/DX, Intelligence/IQ, and Health/HT), the secondary characteristics (HP, Size Modifier, etc.). Chapter two (Professions) covers the professions, which are like classes in D&D, and many of those professions have their counterparts in that other game. Unlike D&D, because this is a point-buy system, there is a lot more flexibility, and you can spend your 250 points however you’d like on the traits available for your profession. Chapter three (Races) covers the races, which are fairly standard as far as fantasy races go. Chapter four (Advantages) covers traits that cost points, which is anything from Ambidexterity for 5 points to High Pain Threshold for 10 points to Unfazeable for 15 points. Chapter five (Disadvantages) covers the traits that give back points, which is anything from Callous for -5 points to Oblivious for -10 points to Very Unfit for -15 points. Chapter six (Skills) covers the skills that characters can use, and almost all characters can use almost all skills since they have default levels. There are dozens of skills, but the DFRPG makes choosing easy by offering packages of skills in the profession templates. Chapter seven (Cash and Gear) covers, well, cash and gear. I’ve been a bit redundant. Anyway, this is my favorite part, especially because there is so much great equipment to choose from, and the weapon and armor tables have been updated quite a bit from the original tables in the GURPS Basic Set (thanks to GURPS Low-Tech).

Exploits is about 107 pages, and it’s all about playing the game. It covers skill rolls, combat, poison, fire, treasure, character advancement, you name it! Being powered by GURPS, the rules lean toward being fairly simulationist, which means there can be a lot of them. But my emphasis in on canGURPS has received much flak for being so rules-heavy, but you are free to take what you like and leave the rest, and the DFRPG even supports that right away! Take a look at page 6:

“. . . With Spikes”

A quick-and-fun way to assess penalties is to apply a cumulative TDM of -1 per nasty qualifier that describes a task. For instance, whatever the normal modifier is for climbing or balancing on something, making the surface slimy, twisting, and smoke-obscured adds another -3. Intensifiers count! If the surface is horribly slimy, wildly twisting, and smoke-obscured, that’s -5 instead.

Furthermore, if hit locations and distance penalties are too much to remember, you can start without them. If the slam rules are too much to remember, get over it because they have been streamlined from the original rules in GURPS. If using a hex map is too much, use theater of the mind—most of my GURPS/DFRPG experience has been with theater of the mind.

Spells is about 79 pages, and it’s all about using magic. It uses the standard GURPS Magic system, which I’m not the biggest fan of, but it gets the job done, and I still much prefer it to how D&D handles magic. There are spells for almost everything—dozens and dozens and dozen of them.

Monsters is about 63 pages, and it’s all about that sweet bestiary. There are plenty of classics (or takes on classics), but there are plenty of new monsters that make it a fun read for that alone. There aren’t as many illustration as I would like, and even the illustrations leave a bit to be desired, but, on the flip side, those 63 pages are packed with monsters.

I Smell a Rat is about 24 pages, and it’s all about those first dungeon feelings. I don’t want to spoil the adventure, but it is quite fun. It’s short and sweet, and it’s easy to drop into just about any fantasy setting. With the quality map and cardboard figures, it’s really fun to set up and play.

Oh, and the Eye in Pyramid Dice are also great. I have a bunch of sets at this point.

Also, something that I love about the first couple of pages from Adventurers, Exploits, Spells, and Monsters is that they make up a little GM Screen. Of course, I went in for the physical GM screen on Kickstarter, which is not part of the boxed set, but it is unquestionably helpful.

Last but not least, there’s the Dungeon Fantasy Companion, which is Traps, Magic Items, and Against the Rat-MenTraps is about 24 pages, and it’s all about traps and puzzles with plenty of fantastic examples. Magic Items is about 24 pages, and it’s all about magical items, potions, and unique rare and very magical artifacts. Against the Rat-Men is also about 24 pages, and it’s another fun dungeon about—just kidding, no spoilers.

I backed at the $250 tier because I wanted it all (which is much more than is just listed here), and I must say that it’s probably the best $250 I’ve ever spent. To be very honest, my boxed set has not gotten a lot of use, but that is only because I run a lot of GURPS homebrew stuff. If I weren’t, however, I would probably stick to the DFRPG (with some homebrew rules that I can’t live without), and I would certainly choose the DFRPG over D&D any day of the week (not to say that D&D isn’t a fun game, but I can’t go back at this point). Still, even then, even though I don’t get much use out of it, I don’t care. I really don’t. Let me be blunt and real. For the hours and hours and hours and hours I’ve gotten out of GURPS, I would’ve gladly paid $250 to let all of those great books collect dust, knowing that I had spent good money in a good place. Because I love GURPS and I love the DFRPG so very much. They are great products made by some really great people. And I plan to play some more DFRPG, especially because there is a great setting for it that I am dying to play to its fullest: Norðlond. And I plan to get into that a whole lot after my GURPS hiatus.

Other Quick Reviews:

It’s a life update!

This is mostly for me, really, but you might learn some fun things too!

The weather was warm today! That was nice. I’m slowly recovering from my cervical radiculopathy, I think.

I’ve been listening to the My Brother, My Brother, and Me podcast as well as the audiobook for A Memory of Light from The Wheel of Time series.

What about video games? Grim Dawn just got its Forgotten Gods update. I love that game and I’ve been meaning to get back to it once the update came out! Deep Rock Galactic also just got a substantial update. It’s been a minute, but I’ve also been enjoying Stardew Valley a lot. Also, both Borderlands 3 and Borderlands: Game of the Year Edition were just announced, so that’s really exciting. It’s also Pokémon season—supposed leaks about Pokémon Sword and Shield have been everywhere. Super Mario Maker 2 and Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled are both coming out in June. There are rumors about two new Nintendo Switch console versions being released. I’ve been meaning to play some more of Wargroove ever since the update for that came out. And I’m always on Metroid Prime 4 and Animal Crossing watch. I’ve got a bunch of other games in my backlog like Divinity: Original Sin 2, which I’ve been dying to give another shot. And they just announced Divinity: Fallen Heroes, which looks pretty cool. And there’s Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire which is getting a turn-based mode reminiscent of what I love so much about the Divinity series. And what about Dwarf Fortress and Halo: The Master Chief Collection coming to Steam? And what’s this about Risk of Rain 2? That looks really interesting, though I couldn’t much get into the first one. It’s a good time to be alive… and I’m starting to think that this post was just a subconsciously-created excuse to talk about all of the overwhelming feelings about video games I apparently have. I don’t even consider myself a gamer, but look at all of those great games!

I’ve been reading the manga of and watching the anime of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventures, and, boy, has it been an incredible journey. オラオラオラオラ! Not only do I finally understand all of the memes, but it has been deeply inspirational.

There’s also The Great British Bake Off, which I’ve been watching with my girlfriend. And Daredevil, which I’ve been watching with her and my dad—it’s been a bit disappointing. I still need to watch Get Out and also The Cat Returns. My girlfriend also told me that Legally Blonde is on my list. Like, she told me that just now. Oh, and we just watched Incredibles 2! That was nice.

The GURPS-related DFRPG Kickstarters for Dungeon Fantasy Monsters 2 and The Citadel at Norðvorn were both big successes as far as I could tell. I’ve also been watching the development of Ooblets over on Patreon, which could also go under video games, but talking about Kickstarter is what made me think of it. Oh, and, likewise, I’m also watching out for Littlewood.

Lots of (Powered by) GURPS Kickstarters

On the off-chance that someone sees this and then on the further off-chance someone thinks, “Wow, wait, I love GURPS too”, I have some news. There are currently two active Kickstarters where you can show your support for GURPS as I have done so: SJ Games’ Dungeon Fantasy RPG Monsters 2 as well as Douglas Cole’s 3rd party (though it doesn’t make it any less better—perhaps, it makes it even more betterer to see high-quality 3rd party support, but now I’m rambling in this parenthetical) The Citadel at Norðvorn.

Maybe I’ll come back around and do a review for the DFRPG box set as well as Douglas Cole’s previous supplement—Hall of Judgment. Before I do something like that, however, I need to add some more language stuff and also work on my own personal GURPS campaign—Project Sirocco.