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Fri, Dec. 7th, 2018, 07:29 pm
An outtake from GURPS Monster Hunters 6: Holy Hunters

My book GURPS Monster Hunters 6: Holy Hunters came out this week. I thought it might be of interest to share a box that got cut in favor of some extra verbiage about Native American religions penned by the wise Christopher Rice. In the end, it was decided that we shouldn't give space to silly religions when there was so much more to be said about "real" ones. Hence this deleted scene . . .



Irreverent Reverends

While this supplement attempts to respect all faiths, there are some religions that couldn’t care less about respect! These tongue-in-cheek faiths exist more as a commentary on religion than anything, but if your group doesn’t take itself or religion too seriously, you could always play a crusader of . . .

Discordianism: According to the Principia Discordia, reality is a mix of order and chaos; those who try to enforce order on the universe are chasing an illusion. Discordians worship Eris, the goddess of chaos, via such nonsensical rituals as eating hot dogs on Friday. A Discordian crusader should take abilities from the Chaos power on p. 124 of GURPS Powers.

The Church of the SubGenius: The high prophet of the Church, J.R. “Bob” Dobbs, warns that a global Conspiracy of Normalcy is trying to steal everyone’s Slack (“happiness,” “joy,” or “giving-a-damn-ness”). The Book of the SubGenius promises eternal salvation via the intervention of aliens (the “Xists,” who are probably the Nordics from GURPS Monster Hunters 5: Applied Xenology) for every SubGenius who’s paid proper dues at subgenius.com (currently $35). A SubGenius is lucky, not smart; consider Probability Alteration (GURPS Psionic Powers, pp. 43‑46) with the Mysticism PM.

Pastafarianism: Although the baby of the bunch at barely a decade old, the church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM) became widely known after going viral on the Internet (venganza.org). Pastafarians wear colanders on their heads and have great respect for pirates. Those touched by His Noodly Appendage look forward to an afterlife with beer volcanoes and “stripper factories.” Use the standard Mysticism abilities, as the FSM takes the place of the Abrahamic God.

Sun, Dec. 2nd, 2018, 03:04 pm
New GURPS Ability: Omnicontact

Omnicontact
20 ponts/level


You know people everywhere. Once per session per level of this ability (if the GM permits multiple levels), you can declare that you have a nearby Contact. The GM must approve the Contact (no saying, "I just so happen to be best friends with the leader of the bad guys, so I ask him nicely to stop") but should take your needs into account for anything short of derailing the campaign.

Decide how high-ranking (effective skill) the Contact is when you use this ability; this affects their reliability. A skill-15 Contact is Completely Reliable. A skill-18 Contact is Usually Reliable. And a skill-21 Contact is Somewhat Reliable.

Statistics: Wild Talent (Wild Ability Only, +0%) [20]; Special Effect: Based on Contacts instead of power abilities.

Fri, Oct. 26th, 2018, 10:26 pm
Rufus Undertree, a Torg Eternity PC

Biography
Rufus was a Keefee Haroo, always a loner who never quite fit in in any tribe. When he heard of the tunnels between the Living Land's Merretika and Aysle's Land Between, he knew he had to explore them. Emerging into a world of fantasy and wonder, Rufus transformed into Aysle's reality almost instantly, and left his old life behind without hesitation. A circle of holy theurgists mistook him for a hobbit, and taught him their blend of magic and faith. Rufus experienced his Moment of Crisis when called upon to defend his laity from Utherion's dark forces, and  when the Storm Knights came, he saw an opportunity to make the world a better place.

Personality
Rufus is a devoted worshiper of Audros, God of The Storm, a dual-natured deity whose rains bring nourishment and life to the world, but whose swift lightning smites those with evil in their hearts. Rufus reflects this in his approach to most situations, either choosing a defensive and carefully measured tactic, or attempting shock and awe (which may mean anything from intimidation to flying above the enemy and raining death from above). Sometimes there's a fine line between bipolar disorder and true faith.

Notes
This character concept started when my train of thought ran from "I wonder of the Aysle sourcebook will have hobbits" to "Wait, we already have hobbits in another cosm." Rufus isn't particularly balanced, mind you -- I freely admit he's a somewhat silly, min-maxed, special snowflake. He's incredible at his areas of arcane mastery, but not much else, and one called shot could take him out. Still, the combination of his Very Small racial ability and halfway decent Dexterity keeps him surprisingly survivable despite his (heh) shortcomings.

Race
Keefee (from The God Box)

Home Cosm
Aysle: Magic 24, Social 16, Spirit 18, Tech 14

Attributes
Charisma 6
Dexterity 8
Mind 6
Spirit 14
Strength 6

Skills - Combat
Dodge +3 (Dexterity) = 11
Skills - Interactions
Intimidation +0 (Spirit) = 14
Maneuver +0 (Dexterity) = 8
Taunt +1 (Charisma) = 7
Trick +0 (Mind) = 6
Skills - Other
Apportation +3 (Spirit) = 17
Conjuration +3 (Spirit) = 17
Faith +3 (Spirit) = 17
Reality +3 (Charisma*) = 9

Perks
Miracles (Light)
Spellcaster (Mage)
Small Size (double clothing/armor cost, Small weapons only, often mistaken for a child)
Unique (only one per party, may draw attention)
Very Small (-4 to be hit, about 1m tall)

Defenses
Dodge 11 (effectively 15 with Very Small)
Melee 8 (effectively 12 with Very Small)
Unarmed 8 (effectively 12 with Very Small)
Toughness 9 (6 + 3)
Shock 14
Wounds 3

Miracles
Healing (Sp10)
Soothe (Sp7)
Ward Enemy (Sp8)

Spells
Fly (M14)
Lightning (M14)
Portal (M14)

Gear
Armor, Elven Chain, Keefee-Tailored ($1,000, Tech 12, Armor +3, Torso, Max Dex 10)



Advancement Track:
5 XP: Strong-Willed
7 XP: Mind 7
7 XP: Miracles (add bless)
8 XP: Mind 8
9 XP: Spellcaster (add shield)

* House rule. Recommended for reasons explained here. Actually, Rufus is a great example of how potent Spirit already is; if his reality skill were Spirit-based it'd be 17, making his Soak rolls ridiculous as well.

Fri, Jul. 27th, 2018, 04:05 am
Uraz Thirty-Eight -- a Torg Eternity PC

Biography
Uraz Number 38 was the result of one of the many Race experimentation programs implemented throughout Tharkhold. Engineered with occultech implants and a psychically enhanced brain, Uraz unhappily served their Tharkoldu masters in a wide variety of unsavory (mainly undercover) ways, including in the invasion of Core Earth. The Moscow incident was the first time that Uraz was able to see true weakness in the Tharkoldu, which gave the thrall the guts to abandon the cosm and seek out a better way -- which eventually turned out to be the Delphi Council.

Personality
Uraz is asexual, but comfortable faking attraction to others. They think of themselves as genderless, but don't particularly mind if others refer to them as "she" (since they are biologically female). Years of experience has made the former thrall a master of getting into places and extracting information (one way or another), but they still feel like an outsider in basically any situation, and constantly strive to find ways to truly empathize and fit in with the rest of humanity. They generally wear baggy clothing to hide the occultech implants, and rely on their slight frame (5'2" and 105 lbs.) to cause others to underestimate them.

Notes
Outside of Tharkhold, nearly everything exciting and fun that Uraz does will be a one-case contradiction! On the bright side, the Storm Knight is unlikely to do anything that would be a four-case. They use their psi regularly, particularly Mind Cloud (to get away with wearing demon hide armor) and Mind Sense (for a regularly updated mental map of everyone nearby).

Race
"The Race" (Human)

Home Cosm
Tharkhold: Magic 12, Social 25, Spirit 4, Tech 25

Attributes
Charisma 10
Dexterity 10
Mind 6
Spirit 7
Strength 7

Skills - Combat
Fire Combat +1 (Dexterity) = 11
Melee Weapons +1 (Dexterity) = 11
Skills - Interactions
Intimidation +1 (Spirit) = 8
Maneuver +0 (Dexterity) = 10
Taunt +0 (Charisma) = 10
Trick +2 (Mind) = 8
Skills - Other
Find +3 (Mind) = 9
Lockpicking +1 (Dexterity) =  11
Reality +1 (Charisma*) = 11
Telepathy +3 (Charisma) = 13
Willpower +3 (Spirit) = 10

Perks
Occultech ($10,000)
Psionic (Cloud Mind [So23], Mind Sense [So21], Read Mind [So23])

Defenses
Dodge 10
Melee 11
Unarmed 10 (almost never applies, thanks to Zan Slashers)
Toughness 11 (7 + 4)
Shock 7
Wounds 3

Occultech (all Tech 25)
Digan Darksight Eyes Mk III (ignore 6 points of darkness, $3K)
Thav Integrated Weapon Mount (with Thav-9 SMG, $500)
Vav Sensation Suppressor (reduce all Shock by 1, $6K)
Zan Slashers (melee weapon, Strength +2, $500)

Other Gear
Hands-Free Comms (Tech 23, $150)
Technodemon Hide Vest (Tech 25, Armor +4, Torso, Fatigues, $350)
Thav-9 SMG, Implanted (Tech 25, Damage 13, Ammo 60, Range 25/50/100, Short Burst, $500)

* House rule. Recommended for reasons explained here.



Advancement Path
5 XP: Stealth +2 (from +0), Reality +2
5 XP: Stalker (from Living Land Backer Archetypes)
2 XP: Fire Combat +2
7 XP: Trademark Weapon (Thav-9 SMG)
9 XP: Double-Tap
11 XP: Killshot (from Beta Player's Guide)
3 XP: Fire Combat +3
13 XP: Sniper

Thu, Jan. 18th, 2018, 04:14 pm
GURPS Dungeon Fantasy: Wrestler lens

Precis - A 50-point "cross-training" lens for the GURPS Dungeon Fantasy wrestler -- the template from the new issue of Pyramid.
One of my players came up with this simple "cross-training" lens (in the vein of DF3) for the wrestler -- a brand-new template from this month's issue of Pyramid. The Notes are a bit complex, but they have to be to keep this to a single lens, since it can interact oddly with certain templates (e.g., to prevent a shirtless savage barbarian-wrestler from ending up with DR in the teens).

Wrestler Lens (+50 points)

Attributes: +1 ST [10].

Advantages: Enhanced Parry 1 (Unarmed) [5]; Lifting ST 3 [9]; Damage Resistance 1 (Tough Skin, -40%) [3]; and Wrestling Master [10]

Skills: Brawling (E) DX [1]; Immovable Stance (H) DX-1 [2]; Push (H) DX-1 [2]; and Wrestling (A) DX+2 [8].

Notes: If you're already strong, you only need to buy enough ST and Lifting ST to get your effective ST to 18. If you already have 3+ levels of DR (Tough Skin) from a professional template -- not your race -- don't buy any further "wrestler" DR, from this lens or later on (your maximum from this profession is 3). If you already have any of the skills here, use the given points to raise them if possible. Any points left over after following these instructions should go toward further Lifting ST (up to 6) and Wrestling (no limit); if 1-3 points remain, use them to raise the other skills and/or to add Parry Missile Weapons.

The wrestler deserves some unique power-ups, but for now this template has access to Bear Hug, Bone Breaker, and Extra Option (Beefcake Protection) (all from Dungeon Fantasy Denizens: Barbarians) and Rolling Throw (from Pyramid 61).

Wed, Dec. 27th, 2017, 12:26 pm
Loot Crate Review: December 2017 ("EXPLORE")

I'm reviewing (in brief) each month's standard Loot Crate, so I have something I can point friends to when they're curious about whether to sign up. For the record, I'm also a member of Loot Wear Socks, which I think is an absolute must-have for any geeky sock fanatic; I've never felt like I didn't get my full money's worth there, so I'm not going to review them (consider them to consistently score B+ to A+).

Basically each review is going to state what value I feel that I, personally, got out of the box, compared to the $20 cost of it. The dollar amounts are not MSRP, but instead what I'd have been willing to pay for such a thing (or the value I expect to get when I trade it in).

(Sorry for skipping November -- though I doubt anyone else is reading these anyway, so that's more directed at myself.)

Loot Crate: December 2017 ("EXPLORE")

First, a note. They've gone from including a full "magazine" (booklet) in the box to just including a single postcard-sized checklist of what's in the box, with a link to an online version of the full booklet. I am 100% okay with this. Every month I read the booklet once and then throw it away, so why not save paper? The only weird bit is that neither version mentions the A.C. figure for some reason! So strange. Did they not have the right to sell it or something?

Destiny 2 T-Shirt: I'm not a fan of the game, and this shirt is only for fans of the game -- because on its own, it's kind of ugly and plain. I have friends who do like the game, but not sure if any are my size. I'll call this $5 for regiftability.

Assassins Creed Black Flag Edward Kenway FIgure: Really cute and kawaii, which is just weird for this game and character, IMO. I don't like it, but I'm sure some ACBF fan will. I'll be selling it to McKay's and estimate I'll get $6 for it.

Star Wars Adventures "Destroyer Down" Graphic Novel: I realize that everyone but me loves Star Wars, so this is probably worth $8 to most of you -- it's a 60-page graphic novel about Rey's origins or something. For me, I'll be selling to McKay's for an estimated $1.

Guardians of the Galaxy 2 Mini Wall Calendar: A 2018 calendar (with a single page at the end previewing 1/19-4/19) with surprisingly good production value. It's not just "pic above, calendar below," but has a cool design style throughout. We'll probably use this as our house calendar despite the small size. Worth the full value of a small wall calendar: $8

DLC: At first I was excited -- 90 days of free Pandora Premium? Awesome! Except no. First off, it's a 90-day trial and they demand your credit card. Second, it's only available on their mobile platform, where I mainly use Pandora at home. Lame. I feel that this is disingenous enough to take off -$2.

Retro Rocket Pin: I actually really like this. It's super simple, just a thin rocket ship, but it really works well. $2

Star Wars Spaceship-Battle Box: Obviously I didn't like this one, but I don't think even Star Wars fans will. Yes, you can turn it inside out as a gift box, but if you do the artwork is only on three sides, which isn't very impressive. $0

Total Value: $20 (100%)

Sun, Dec. 24th, 2017, 07:49 am
GURPS Dungeon Fantasy: Songs of Inspiration and Despair (new bard power-ups)

GURPS Dungeon Fantasy bards are arguably missing one of the most basic power-ups attributed to their profession: the ability to craft songs that inspire a particular person to do better or doom them to failure. Each "Greater" song complete supersedes the lesser version, but you can take the two different types of songs (Inspiration vs. Despair) as alternative abilities.

Song of Inspiration
18 points


As an action, you may encourage one of your allies via song; he must be able to hear you. Roll against Musical Instrument or Singing as appropriate, then divide your margin of success by 2 for non-combat tasks or 3 in combat. Your ally applies the result (minimum +1) as a bonus to a single skill or attribute roll that he makes on his next turn; he must choose before rolling. (You may later upgrade this song to Greater Song of Inspiration 1 by paying the 6-point difference.)

Advantage: Visualization (Bard-Song, -30%; Blessing Only, +0%; Hearing-Based, -20%; Reduced Time 6, +120%) [17].
Perk: Rules Exception (Minimum Visualization bonus is +1). [1]

Greater Song of Inspiration
24 points for level 1, plus 5 points per additional level


You may use the rules above, or give the bonus to all of your allies within a certain distance: Level 1 affects a two-yard radius, level 2 has a four-yard radius, level 3 covers an eight-yard radius, and level 4 (the maximum) influences a 16-yard radius.

Advantage: Visualization (Area Effect, 2 yards, +50%; Bard-Song, -30%; Blessing Only, +0%; Emanation, -20%; Hearing-Based, -20%; Reduced Time 6, +120%; Selective Area, +20%; Selectivity, +10%) [23].
Perk: Rules Exception (Minimum Visualization bonus is +1). [1]

Song of Despair
28 points


As an action, you may perform a dirge about how a particular foe (who must be able to hear you) is doomed to fail. Roll against Musical Instrument or Singing as appropriate, then divide your margin of success by 2 for non-combat tasks or 3 in combat. The foe applies the result (minimum -1) as a penalty to a single skill or attribute roll that he makes on his next turn. You choose what this applies to; if there's any doubt, it applies to the first such roll he makes on his turn. (You may later upgrade this song to Greater Song of Despair 1 by paying the 6-point difference.)

Advantage: Visualization (Bard-Song, -30%; Cursing, +100%; Hearing-Based, -20%; Reduced Time 6, +120%) [27].
Perk: Rules Exception (Minimum Visualization penalty is -1). [1]

Greater Song of Despair
34 points for level 1, plus 5 points per additional level


You may use the rules above, or penalize all of your enemies within a certain distance: Level 1 affects a two-yard radius, level 2 has a four-yard radius, level 3 covers an eight-yard radius, and level 4 (the maximum) influences a 16-yard radius. You may designate what the penalty applies to, if not, it affects the first roll each makes on their next turn.

Advantage: Visualization (Area Effect, 2 yards, +50%; Bard-Song, -30%; Cursing, +100%; Emanation, -20%; Hearing-Based, -20%; Reduced Time 6, +120%; Selective Area, +20%; Selectivity, +10%) [33].
Perk: Rules Exception (Minimum Visualization penalty is -1). [1]
Precis - Two new power-ups for GURPS Dungeon Fantasy bards, giving them broad means to inspire or doom others.

Sat, Oct. 21st, 2017, 03:59 pm
Lootcrate Review: October 2017

I'm reviewing (in brief) each month's standard Loot Crate, so I have something I can point friends to when they're curious about whether to sign up. For the record, I'm also a member of Loot Wear Socks, which I think is an absolute must-have for any geeky sock fanatic; I've never felt like I didn't get my full money's worth there, so I'm not going to review them (consider them to consistently score B+ to A+).

Basically each review is going to state what value I feel that I, personally, got out of the box, compared to the $20 cost of it. The dollar amounts are not MSRP, but instead what I'd have been willing to pay for such a thing (or the value I expect to get when I trade it in).

Loot Crate: October 2017

"80s" Ghostbuster T-Shirt: I like what they did with the colors, but I'm not really a big Ghostbusters fan. I'm torn on this one. $8

Stranger Things Diorama: If I were a fan of the show, this would probably be nice, but it's definitely a "fan-only" thing, so I'll trade it in and expect to get about $5.

Thor vs Loki Phatmojo Scene: Adorable! Chibi Thor and Loki fighting over a chibi Asgardian throne! I probably wouldn't buy it on its own, but I'm glad to have it. $10

Buffy TVS "Mr. Pointy" Bookmark: Neat, inexpensive, "filler item" idea -- a laser-cut wooden bookmark that looks like her stake. I like it, but can't give it a super high value. $2

DLC: As far as I can tell, all we get is a "free gift for Marvel Puzzle Quest" that's nothing more than what already comes with MPQ! That's so disingenuous that I'm taking off value: -$2

Vampire Pin: An ugly, generic vampire. Why? $0

Mjolnr Box: Much like last year's "Harley's hammer" box, this one becomes Thor's weapon. I like the idea, but wish the art were better. $2

Total Value: $25 (125%)

Wed, Sep. 20th, 2017, 12:47 pm
Lootcrate Review: September 2017

I'm reviewing (in brief) each month's standard Loot Crate, so I have something I can point friends to when they're curious about whether to sign up. For the record, I'm also a member of Loot Wear Socks, which I think is an absolute must-have for any geeky sock fanatic; I've never felt like I didn't get my full money's worth there, so I'm not going to review them (consider them to consistently score B+ to A+).

Basically each review is going to state what value I feel that I, personally, got out of the box, compared to the $20 cost of it. The dollar amounts are not MSRP, but instead what I'd have been willing to pay for such a thing (or the value I expect to get when I trade it in).

Loot Crate: September 2017

Wallace Corporation T-Shirt: Huh? Oh, it's from Blade Runner. I'm not enough of a fan to know the name of the company. I'll probably re-gift this. $0

Star Trek "Mirror Broken" Comic: The origin of Mirror Universe Data . . . man, that is a really specific origin story. Not something I really wanted, so I think I'll keep this sealed to maximize its trade-in value, which I'm guessing will be $1.

Wooden R2-D2 "IncrediBuild" Kit: Sometimes I feel like I'm the only geek in the world who doesn't like Star Wars. So, more than most crates, it's important that you assess your own value here. For me, it's the trade-in value which I'll peg at $5.

Alien "Queen Takes Bishop" Mini-Fig: A very cute figurine depicting a cool scene. I don't plan on keeping it, but it's definitely something I appreciate. Trade-in estimate of $3.

"Loot Bot" Pin: Surprisingly adorable! I probably wouldn't have bought it on its own, but I'll wear it. $2

DLC: Not working! Supposedly, there's a Ghost in the Shell comic, but it isn't up on the site yet, and no indication of what the other DLC might be. $0

The Box: Cog Crispies: This may seem weird, but I love this box! It's a faux cereal box that may be the greatest gift box ever -- so much detail, from hilarious Nutritional Facts to games on the back. I'm really impressed. $5

Total Value: $16 (80%)

Wed, Sep. 6th, 2017, 07:47 pm
GURPS Dungeon Fantasy: The Sorcerer revisited

Antoni Ten Monros' Pyramid 3/82: Magical Creations introduced the sorcerer to GURPS Dungeon Fantasy. It's a great article and well written template, but with the benefit of a few years' hindsight, I have some suggested changes to help maintain game balance. Please note that this is not errata, as nothing in the article is a mistake; think of this post more as clarifications and suggested house rules. In particular, this is how sorcery works in our DF games.

Rituals and FP Cost

Alternative Rituals (Sorcery, p. 7) are in effect. Optionally, the GM may allow the additional rituals from "Super-Sorcery!" (Pyramid 3/105: Cinematic Magic) on a case-by-case basis; note that this is a permanent change to how your character works magic.

However, experience has shown that it can be unbalancing for sorcerers to invoke alternative rituals to cast repeated spells with no FP cost in a fight. Because of that, the following rule is in effect: Every sorcerous spell with no FP cost takes the longer of normal casting time or (1d+1)/2 seconds to cast (round up). Roll for this when beginning to cast; if you don't like the result, you can abort, wasting your action this turn. In most noncombat situations, you can simply ignore this limitation.

Damage Limits

Instead of limiting dice of damage by Sorcery Talent, your limit is 1 + (Sorcerous Empowerment level)/2. Round down. (Exception: If your Sorcery is Limited in any way, round up; this makes focused blasters more viable.) A spell can do up to 1d+1 damage per level and still respect this limit; past that, the GM will need to adjust the limit proportionately.

Sorcery Max Damage Sorcery Max Damage
1 1d (2d*) 7 4d (5d*)
2 2d 8 5d
3 2d (3d*) 9 5d (6d*)
4 3d 10 6d
5 3d (4d*) 11 6d (7d*)
6 4d 12 7d

* If your Sorcerous Empowerment is Limited.

Secret Teleportation Spell

This can't be learned as a normal sorcery spell and should cost the full 100 points. (This might qualify as errata; I need to discuss it with Kromm.)

PK's "Costs Fatigue" House Rule

Per my house rules, Costs Fatigue should be -10%/level instead of -5%. Therefore, the version bundled into the Sorcery power modifier needs to be weakened slightly. As such, all indefinite spells cost 1 FP every 10 minutes instead of every minute.Precis - A few suggested changes to the sorcerer, a GURPS Dungeon Fantasy template from Pyramid 3/82: Magical Creations.

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