Spellslinging for Wizards

Players and GMs alike sometimes don’t like the cast – (aim) – attack cadence of 2-3 rounds for missile spells cast by wizards using the default GURPS magic system.  It is similar to the draw – (aim) – shoot mechanic for archers with Fast-Draw (Arrow), but while the latter can be circumvented by investing into Heroic Archer and Weapon Master (Bow), the former can’t. For a lot of games that is fine, it flavors this kind of casters not as artillery platforms but as utility casters, buffers/debuffers, crowd controllers and those who sometimes bring the whole house down before fainting due to spending all of their FP on a fat spell. And in some games archers really do shoot once every 3 rounds while melee combatants don’t hit every round or maybe even (gasp) evaluate.

In other cases, players would rather do something else than 2 rounds of nothing but stepping and then unleashing their spell on the third. Sure, a lot of regular spells have a cast lime longer than 1 second, but those can be brought down with high skill, especially at the point levels of Dungeon Fantasy. Missile and Melee spells can’t. When this is perceived as a problem, GURPS sourcebooks don’t really offer much except switching to another magic system, such as for example Sorcery. So let’s see what can be done about it.


Let’s start with the Spellslinger advantage, worth 25 points, published by Christopher Rice in Pyramid #3-66. It is intended for use with the Ritual Path Magic so it doesn’t completely suit the default magic system, but it has some parts which can be ported to spells-as-skills quite literally:

  • It effectively lets the character claim Accuracy for a spell without aiming
  • It lets them use the Mighty Spell perk from GURPS Thaumatology: Magical Styles with all spells
  • For spells requiring both a casting roll and an attack roll, it lets them cast the spell and attack with it in a single round instead over a course of two, albeit at a penalty equal to that for performing Rapid Strikes.

It also facilitates casting blocking spells with RPM which is hard in that system but not an issue with default magic, and it lets the caster use DX-based path skills instead of Innate Attack to hit. The former could, if the GM deems it necessary, be replaced with allowing the character to apply the Blocking Spell Mastery perk to all of their spells, just like they may already do with Mighty Spell. The latter is a bit trickier to port to spells-as-skills magic, since using a DX-based spell skill instead of Innate Attack would not really be advantageous for most wizards. Even with Magery applying to spells but not to Innate Attack, most spells only ever get one point put into them and the difference between a spellcaster’s IQ and DX is generally rather significant. Another option would be to use standard IQ-based spell skills to attack, but personally I’m leery of it as being too strong. A middle ground would be to apply Magery as a bonus to Innate Attack. That isn’t far fetched since it already works that way for Sorcery.

Spellslinger is a nice option with several dials to turn according to taste, but the penalty to cast and attack in a single round could make it unattractive to some. That is of course yet another dial to turn, but let’s see what else is out there.


Compartmentalized Mind taken with No Mental Separation, -20% and Limited, Magic, -5% for 38 points would let a character both cast a spell and attack with it on the same turn, without any kind of penalty. But it also effectively doubles the casting rate of the character for all spells since it allows two Concentrate maneuvers per turn for the purposes of casting. This may be too much.

We could increase Limited to “only Missile and Melee spells” and eyeball it at -30%. That would be more in line with what we want at a cost of 25 points, the same as Spellslinger. We get rid of the Rapid Strike penalty, but also miss out on some other benefits. Again, adjust to personal taste.


The final variant I’d like to discuss is a “native” feature of the GURPS Magic system. High skill reduces the casting time of spells, but not of Missile and Melee spells. If we have a problem with not attacking every round, we can easily ignore this exception. We’ll also ignore the technicalities of the case, such as these spells actually having a casting time of 1 below which reduction through high skill is impossible. Just smooth it over with “high skill reduces the time needed to cast and attack with Missile and Melee spells, down to 1 second for the attack itself”.

So at skill 20 a character could both cast the spell and attack with it on the same turn. At skill 25 they could also aim “for free” or invest additional energy into that fireball. Once more, a GM should turn the dials as they prefer. I would personally not allow the reduction for investing additional energy in spells but would allow the reduction for aiming.

The nice thing about this approach is that it doesn’t make special snowflakes out of Missile and Melee spells but instead handles them the same as all others (including jet spells, which complete the trinity of typical attack magic). Sure, mages must invest points to get spells to level 20, and I doubt any will go for 25, but that’s no different than with the Spellslinger and Compartmentalized Mind solutions. Of the three, I am most inclined to use this one in my Dungeon Fantasy game.

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Martial Artist buffs for Dungeon Fantasy

The Martial Artist profession in GURPS Dungeon Fantasy (and Dungeon Fantasy RPG) has long been known for having a lot of problems when it comes to their primary role of whacking stuff on the head. Unlike any other combative profession, they must take extra care not to injure themselves while attacking, their performance at 250 points is lackluster and they need a lot of additional points to get reliably good at fighting. Motivated by my observations and player experience during my Dungeon Fantasy campaign, I decided to introduce some changes.

Big thanks to Kyle Norton of Dungeons on Automatic for ideas and bringing the building blocks to my attention.

My solution consists of the following:

1. Trained by a Master costs 5 points and is just an “enabler” for chi abilities.

It lets you buy all of the skills such as Power Blow etc. which have it as prerequisite in the Basic Set, as well as Chi Talent and the various abilities with the Chi, -10% modifier.

It also allows you to make a Per roll with a bonus equal to your Chi Talent level to detect when you enter a space with “broken chi”. These are places where the natural order is disturbed, such as heavily polluted areas (but not merely urbanized ones or most others viewed as unnatural by Druids), places under the influence of Elder Things or where reality itself is somehow disturbed. Low/no mana zones, unholy places or those affected by extraplanar energies specifically don’t qualify, since such things all have their place in the order of the world. Vacuum would also qualify, but is unlikely to be encountered by delvers and is otherwise highly noticeable.

2. Chi Talent costs 10 points per level, but is otherwise unchanged.

This makes TBAM and Chi Talent functionally the same as Magery, both in benefits offered, cost and effect. It seemed rather odd that Martial Artists paid 15 points for their power talent while Wizards, Clerics and Druids paid only 10 while getting its bonus to a lot more skills. I could have just left TBAM being an Unusual Background without the extra detection benefit, but it felt unfair to me to be charging points for it when Magery 0 offered the same plus the detection of magic items.

Clerics and Druids, by the way, don’t have such a “gateway” advantage yet still have a similar detection benefit and get access to loads of skills you normally can’t access, all rolled into their power talent. In fact, a technically correct solution would be to increase the cost of Magery and Power Investiture to 15 per level because that’s the cost of talents that affect so many skills, but that would cause too many ripple effects and I’m a fan of “buffing” underperforming traits with patch notes instead of “nerfing” the overperformers.

3. Martial Artists get Weapon Master (Unarmed) [25] as a mandatory advantage on their template.

Together with TBAM this costs exactly the same as before, gives all the same benefits, but also give Martial Artists an additional +2 damage per die if they have Karate at DX+2 or more, cumulative with Karate’s innate bonus for a total of +4 per die.

I have not made a permanent decision for my campaign yet, but I would currently not allow the per die bonuses to damage from Karate and Weapon Master to stack with further ones such as those from Claws and Seven Secret Kicks (GURPS DF11) or Unarmed Master (Pyramid 3/61). Speaking of the latter…

4. Martial Artists get Rules Exemption (Cannot hurt self) as an optional perk on their template.

This is what gives Unarmed Master the component of not hurting oneself with unarmed strikes anymore. The perk has TBAM or Weapon Master (Unarmed) as prerequisite.

I have included it as optional and not mandatory primarily not to mess with the total point cost of the Martial Artist template. Theoretically, you could build a Martial Artist who focuses on weapons instead of unarmed skills, but this being just a perk is a steal even in that case. Martial artists wielding weapons? Well…

5. Martial Artists get Weapon Master (Martial Artist weapons) [35] as an optional advantage on their template.

This replaces Weapon Master (Unarmed), and includes it. Martial artist stereotypes in fiction often use much more than their bare hands. This enables such builds.

Weapons covered are baton, blowpipe, bo, brass knuckles, cestus, club, hatchet, heavy sling, javelin, jo, jutte, kama, katar, knobbed club, kusari, large katar, large throwing knife, monk’s spade, naginata, nunchaku, quarterstaff, sai, short baton, short spear, short staff, shortsword, sling, small falchion, small throwing knife, shuriken, spear, throwing dart, tonfa, unarmed strikes and grapples.

Add Polearm, Spear and Thrown Weapon (Spear) to the list of primary skills Martial Artists may choose from.

This list only includes weapons published in the Dungeon Fantasy RPG. Additional weapons may be included at the GM’s leisure.

Some of these weapons may be used with the Karate skill. Karate adds its per die damage bonus to weapon attacks only if they deal thrust damage.


And that’s it. TBAM has always seemed off to me, costing more points than Weapon Master (Unarmed) but missing the damage bonus. Sure, Karate has an innate damage bonus, but doing purely thrust attacks with unarmed strikes doesn’t really amount to much even with that. Effectively doubling that bonus through these changes puts Martial Artists on a much more even footing with other fighter-types, and hurting yourself when attacking really isn’t something you should worry about in Dungeon Fantasy.

Note that this solution makes Unarmed Master, Claws (Blunt) and Seven Secret Kicks redundant. Well, Seven Secret Kicks can be repriced to 2 points and be bought just for the Kicking technique.

Loot distribution in Lair of The Invincible Legion of Evil

Because of its open drop in / drop out format, Lair of the Invincible Legion of Evil requires a non-standard loot distribution system with some things abstracted in order to make it fair for all participating players. For the purposes of these rules, a “delve” is a single journey to and from the dungeon, beginning and ending in Caverntown. A single delve may last for multiple sessions, and different characters may be present on each of those sessions as part of the same party, their exchange between the sessions simply handwaived away. Loot is distributed within the scope of individual delves, with all characters participating in a delve for at least one session getting a portion of the proceeds. Characters who weren’t present for a specific delve do not get to take part in its loot distribution.

The basics

  • Will be tracked on a Google Sheet.
  • On each session, characters present for that session decide among themselves who gets to keep which item, among the items found during that session. Keeping useful items a character can’t reasonably use isn’t allowed (no hoarding).
  • All other items get thrown into the “pot” to be sold after the delve is completed.
  • All loot retrieved from the dungeon is converted into $. See below how the nominal $ value of items is determined.
  • Each character gets a take ($) in proportion to how many sessions of the delve they were present for. Total delve take is based on sale price of items which itself is a percentage of the nominal value adjusted for Wealth (see below).
  • Low-value items left in the pot can be directly kept by any character present for the delve.
  • More valuable items (magical ones, very high value nonmagical gear) from the pot get put up for auction (see below).
  • The sale price of any item directly kept by a character (during a session or from the pot) gets deduced from their take.
  • Caverntown gate tax (based on nominal worth of items) is applied to each character’s take in proportion to how many sessions of the delve they were present.
  • After this process each character must pay a single weekly Cost of Living (150$) unless they can avoid it (see below).

Determining the nominal value of items

  • For most loot except coins and completely off-the-rack items, knowing their value is not automatic.
  • For such items, a character present on the session may roll the appropriate skill when the item is found, but if no present characters have the appropriate skill, after the delve the GM will roll for the character with highest skill who participated in the delve.
  • On success, the item will be sold at the appropriate price. On a failure, it will be sold at a sub-par price determined by the GM (not by a lot on an ordinary failure, but very underpriced on a crit miss).
  • Each class of items requires a different skill, as per DF2 p. 14 or DFRPGE p. 74-79. The GM will tell you which skills to roll.

Adjusting the take for Wealth

  • Wealthy characters increase the whole take for the delve in proportion to their level of Wealth and how many sessions they attended.
  • A reaction roll is made for the delver with highest Wealth for each session, on 16 or more their Wealth effectively increases by 1 (up to Very Wealthy) for that session only for the purpose of the above calculation.
    • If noone has Wealth for a given session, roll for the person with the best reaction bonus.

Valuable item auctions

  • Starting price will be the sale price of the item as determined on the take sheet.
  • Bidding will be in increments set by the GM individually for each item (you can count on a minimum increment of 100$).
  • Auctions will last for about a week of real time after a delve’s last session. Items without bids end up being sold in Caverntown (this is alrady included in the takes above; winning an auction effectively means compensating other delvers for the portion of the take they would “lose” if the item wasn’t sold).
  • We’ll still have to see how exactly we’re gonna do this, options are in the game’s channel on the GURPS Discord server, or through Google Forms and Sheets (place bids though the form and see all placed bids on the sheet)

Avoiding the weekly Cost of Living

The following options are available:

  • A successful Urban Survival roll. Failure still avoids CoL but the character also starts their next delve with 1d HP injury. It can’t be healed by First Aid since it is considered that it has already been applied.
  • Rolling 14 or less if you have Clerical Investment. You must pay CoL on failure.
  • Serving a week in the Town Watch:
    • Roll 3d. On 3 or 18 the character starts their next delve with 2d HP of injury (~1% chance). On 4-5 and 16-17, with 1d HP (~8%), on 6-7 and 14-15 with 1 HP (~22%). As for Urban Survival, this can’t be healed by First Aid.

Using Survival (Underground) is not possible because you’d have to camp in the tunnels outside of Caverntown and would get eaten by monsters.

Lair of The Invincible Legion of Evil campaign prospectus

This is an update of the original campaign prospectus for my GURPS Dungeon Fantasy open game. It is no longer a limited series mini-campaign, but will instead go on for as long as there is interest.


  • Campaign Name: Lair of The Invincible Legion of Evil
  • GM: Myself
  • Start Date: ~ 2018-09-22
  • Genre/Ruleset: GURPS Dungeon Fantasy
  • Themes: Focus is planned to be equally on combat and dungeon exploration.
  • Tech Level: TL3 with some TL4 elements (Dungeon Fantasy)
  • Power Level: 275 points, awarding 1-3 CP per session
  • Realism Level (Grittily Realistic / Realistic / Cinematic / Over-the-Top): Cinematic
  • Medium/Technology: Text-only in Roll20. Characters should be submitted in GCS. Communication between sessions via the GURPS Discord server.
  • Campaign Synopsis: You’re a previously acquainted band of adventurers based out of Caverntown, a fortified underground settlement and hub for adventures in the surrounding dungeons and subterranean tunnel networks. The town is a cosmopolitan center where many kinds of folks mingle, focused around a service industry catering to adventurers.

    Recently, you’ve come into possession of directions leading to a lost dungeon complex. A group of powerful villains calling themselves The Invincible Legion of Evil (TM) constructed a complex consisting of multiple individual dungeons connected by caverns as a staging ground for their attacks against the Kingdom and the forces of Good. However, only half a dozen years after construction was complete and the complex fully staffed, internal bickering and a happenstance intervention from an adventuring party resulted in the villains either being destroyed or running into hiding, and their troops disbanding.

    That was several generations ago, and the location of the complex was since lost… until now. You have heard of this dungeon before, of the villains’ riches and magical items still left somewhere inside. When you noticed a crazed prospector rambling about finding the way to one of the supposed back entrances of the complex, it seemed too good an opportunity to pass up, even in case his info was wrong. You bought a map to the place from the guy, and set out on your journey.

  • Format: Open game with freely drop in/out play. No lasting commitment required, attend as often as you like or can. Characters can be switched in or out on a per session basis without a lot of fuss through blatant retcons, reinforcements however implausible, etc. Even if your character wasn’t present on every session, they are aware of what has passed as if they were there the wole time. Games take place a couple of times a month, each individually advertised about a week in advance. Attendance is on a first come, first serve basis with a maximum of 5 players per session. I’m also taking on last-minute players if unfilled slots remain.

  • Important Notes
    • Characters should be submitted at least several days before a session so I have time to approve them and request possible adjustments. In case we don’t manage to finalize your character in time for a session, you may choose between playing your character with the traits I objected to simply stripped out, or playing a pregen.
    • Players who join in the last minute without a preapproved character will be able to choose from a small roster of pregenerated characters.
    • I allow a generous degree of changing a character’s traits during the first couple of sessions as you get a better feel for them, especially if you were in a hurry to finish writing them up, as long as you don’t change the concept significantly. If you played a pregen for your first session, you may both modify the character drastically or replace them with a completely different one the next time, and carry over your earned CP and loot.
    • Shopping and character improvement are resolved via Discord between sessions.
    • Due to the freely drop in/out nature of the campaign, loot distribution will follow a model based on shares, with any kept items coming out of your share.
    • You will be able to return to town any time you like between sessions (unless you end a session locked up somewhere, but I don’t plan on causing that myself). That might not always be a good idea however, since alerting an organized force of bad guys without wiping them out will allow them to regroup and be better prepared for your next encounter.
  • Social Contracts
    • I do not support intra-party conflict of any kind besides reasonably roleplayed in-character disagreements. Don’t steal from party members. Don’t pull pranks on them unless you know the other player would like to engage with you in such roleplay. And definitively don’t do anything more serious than that. In the best of such cases I will flat out refuse your actions and ask you not to continue that course, or remove you from the game in the worst. The idea is for the the players collaborating to achieve a common goal and have a fun time doing it.
    • No solo acts. If you want to wander off and do your own thing without the rest of the party (except stuff like scouting ahead, doh), the result will simply be you missing out on playtime.
    • No rules lawyering. I am willing to hear rules disputes, especially since I haven’t run a GURPS game which isn’t radically house ruled for a long time, but in order to facilitate quick play I will not let such things turn into discussions and waste playtime.
  • Setting
    • General Info: The campaign takes place within the titular Lair of The Invincible Legion of Evil, a complex of dungeons connected by caverns and other interesting underground biomes. It is a (probably magically) hidden area only a couple of days away from Caverntown, a fortified underground settlement and hub for adventures in the surrounding dungeons and subterranean tunnel networks. The town is a cosmopolitan center where many kinds of folks mingle, focused around a service industry catering to adventurers.
    • Currency: GURPS $, keep it simple
    • Major Centers of Power
      • Caverntown
        • Ruler: The Mayor. Owes fealty to The King.
        • Population: ~50000, 3/4 of which taken up by humans, dwarves and gnomes in equal measure. The remaining 1/4 is “everybody else”, including a wide range of exotica.
        • Terrain: Cavern
        • Hygiene: Clean (public sewage & plumbing)
        • Mana: Normal
        • Languages: Common, Dwarven, Gnome, Halfling
        • Literacy: Mostly literate
  • GURPS Books Used
    • Basic Set
    • Dungeon Fantasy 1: Adventurers
    • Dungeon Fantasy 2: Dungeons
    • Dungeon Fantasy 3: The Next Level
    • Dungeon Fantasy 7: Clerics
    • Dungeon Fantasy 11: Power Ups
      • Every single power up will need to be individually approved by the GM.
        I do not recommend to base your character concept on a power up or otherwise get emotionally invested prior to approval.
    • Dungeon Fantasy 12: Ninja
    • Dungeon Fantasy 14: Psi
      • Instead of essentially producing random encounters when a Psi fails their 6 or less roll after using their powers, they must instead roll on the Fright Check Table as if they failed their Fright Check by 5.
    • Dungeon Fantasy Denizens: Barbarians
    • Dungeon Fantasy Setting: Caverntown
    • Low-Tech
    • Low-Tech Instant Armor (only hit locations from Basic Set, armor must cover all of a hit location but front-only is ok; only the armor tables, no optional armor rules)
    • I’m willing to consider Dungeon Fantasy related stuff from other supplements if asked nicely, well in advance, under the condition that the material in question would not slow down play
  • Optional Rules
    • Extra Effort in Combat, B357
    • New Options for Extra Effort in Combat, Martial Arts p.131
      • Heroic Charge only allows movement in a straight line towards the enemy
    • Dual-Weapon Attacks, B417
    • Last Wounds, B420
    • Random hit locations can’t intentionally be targeted
    • Telegraphic Attack, Martial Arts, p.113
    • Quick-Shooting Bows, Martial Arts p.119
    • Tricky Shooting, Martial Arts p.121
    • Cross Parry, Martial Arts p.121
    • Defense While Grappling, Martial Arts p.121
    • Fencing Parries, Martial Arts p.122
    • Limiting Multiple Dodges, Martial Arts p.123
    • Parrying with Two-Handed Weapons, Martial Arts p.123
    • Multiple Blocks, Martial Arts p.123
    • Retreat Options, Martial Arts p.123
    • Rapid Strike, Martial Arts p.127
    • Slams, Tramples and Overruns, DFRPG Exploits p.40 – these are used instead of the GURPS rules
    • Evaluate gives +3 for first turn, no extra bonus for additional turns.
  • Character Creation
    • Starting Points: 275
    • Disadvantage Limit: -50 plus -5 from quirks
    • Suggested Character Concepts: Appropriate for Dungeon Fantasy. You’re a band of adventurers seeking fame and fortune.
    • Profession Templates: Templates from listed Dungeon Fantasy books must be used. Smaller deviations from the templates are allowed for the first 250 points with GM approval. The extra 25 starting points may be invested in any traits appropriate to Dungeon Fantasy, including off-template, but all of those 25 points must be listed on the character sheet in a separate section to make character approval easier for me.
    • Racial Templates: All racial templates from Dungeon Fantasy 3 are potentially allowed with GM approval, except Ogre and Half-Ogre. Those are off limits. You may buy them using the discretionary template points and the 25 extra points.
    • Attributes and Secondary Characteristics: As per Dungeon Fantasy.
    • Social Traits:
      • Low/High TL: off limits
      • Status Levels: min 0, max 3
      • Rank: Only Honorary Rank
      • Wealth Levels: no min, max Very Wealthy
      • Starting Wealth: as per Dungeon Fantasy
      • Cultures: not relevant
      • Languages: as per Dungeon Fantasy
    • Advantages: As per Dungeon Fantasy.
    • Disadvantages: As per Dungeon Fantasy, but off-template disadvantages are allowed.
    • Allies/Contacts/Patrons/Enemies: off limits
    • Magic/Psionics: as per Dungeon Fantasy
    • Trading Points for Money: up to 5 points may be traded
  • Character Improvement
    • Spending points is allowed normally between sessions, except if a session break happens in the middle of a fight. In that case you’ll be able to spend points directly after the battle.
    • Learning off-template skills requires either of the following:
    • A party member present during the last session having the skill and passing a Teaching roll
    • Finding a teacher in town between sessions (who may ask for a tuition fee). A party member present during the last delve having both the skill in question and Teaching qualifies, no roll required.

Dungeon Fantasy campaign recap

I have finally committed myself to continue occasionally running the GURPS Dungeon Fantasy campaign I started as a limited-series back at the end of September. You’ll see several posts about it in the coming days, but for now, a summary of what has transpired so far (pretty much what I give to new players):

A brief “story” exposition

You’re a previously acquainted band of adventurers based out of Caverntown, a fortified underground settlement and hub for adventures in the surrounding dungeons and subterranean tunnel networks. The town is a cosmopolitan center where many kinds of folks mingle, focused around a service industry catering to adventurers.

Recently, you’ve come into possession of directions leading to a lost dungeon complex. A group of powerful villains calling themselves The Invincible Legion of Evil (TM) constructed a complex consisting of multiple individual dungeons connected by caverns as a staging ground for their attacks against the Kingdom and the forces of Good. However, only half a dozen years after construction was complete and the complex fully staffed, internal bickering and a happenstance intervention from an adventuring party resulted in the villains either being destroyed or running into hiding, and their troops disbanding.

That was several generations ago, and the location of the complex was since lost… until now. You have heard of this dungeon before, of the villains’ riches and magical items still left somewhere inside. When you noticed a crazed prospector rambling about finding the way to one of the supposed back entrances of the complex, it seemed too good an opportunity to pass up, even in case his info was wrong. You bought a map to the place from the guy, and set out on your journey.

For players who weren’t here the last time: we’ll just “reality warp” the whole thing and say that you guys were here all along instead of the characters who are now absent (least fuss that way)

Recap of previous sessions

Session 1

Date: 2018-09-22

Player Characters:
Felicia, dwarf druid (275 points)
Florentian, wood elf thief (275 points)
Rod Steele, human cleric of war (275 points)
Thundarr, minotaur barbarian (275 points)

You’ve followed the map you acquired through the tunnels around Caverntown, eventually reaching the dungeon after only one day and a bit of travel instead of two, thanks to your navigational and survival skills. The entrance was located in a small cavern which also contained a lake (this was, according to the info you got, one of the back entrances into this dungeon complex). You’ve pushed aside the massive door, avoided the trapped entryway, and found yourselves in the dungeon. Inside you discovered some kind of a water reservoir, but the way forward led to what appeared to be a hobgoblin storehouse, judging by the 3 hobgoblins guarding it. While planning how to deal with them, Thundarr lost his patience and went to the trapped entryway, bellowing at the top of his lungs, pretending to have fallen into the traps and luring the 3 hobgoblins. The rest of the group quickly prepared an ambush, and executed it flawlessly. The hobgoblins were dead in just a couple of seconds, and you tossed their bodies into the reservoir.

Session 2

Date: 2018-09-24

Player Characters:
Bhaz, lizardman barbarian (275 points)
Bramor Stonecutter, dwarf cleric (275 points)
Myrddin, wood elf mystic archer(275 points)
Thundarr, minotaur barbarian (278 points)

The storehouse contained various hobgoblin military, survival, camping and similar gear. You eventually continued through one of the corridors past it, reaching what appeared to be another storehouse, but completely dilapidated and unused for a long time. While looking for leftover treasure, you alarmed a nest of giant rats, and set the whole room on fire (the old shelves and crates were very flammable). You ran out of the room the way you came, shutting the door behind you. After a bit of a discussion on what to do next, you decided to proceed through the room after all, and exit through one of the doors on the other side. You rushed in, thankfully not wasting any time because you were starting to cough from all the smoke, and exited on the other side. There you found a tunnel leading further away. Following the tunnel, you found a relatively large, empty room. Choosing one of the two doors on its other side, Thundarr sprung a trap, but was uninjured and you proceeded further. In the next room, you killed a lone hobgoblin archer who was waiting in ambush for you. Following the way, you entered another big room, where a band of hobgoblins waited for you and a fight ensued. Half a dozen turns into the battle, a bunch of hell hounds joined it as well. Due to some good tactical decisions and a timely countering of a Darkness spell cast by a hobgoblin cleric by your own Sunlight spell, you defeated your foes without serious injuries on your side.

Session 3

Date: 2018-09-28

Player Characters:
Bramor Stonecutter, dwarf cleric (278 points)
Myrddin, wood elf mystic archer(278 points, GMPC’d)
Thundarr, minotaur barbarian (281 points)
Vaeril Yesthana, half-elf knight (275 points)

After the battle with the hobgoblins, you decided to retreat outside of the dungeon and rest for half an hour. The journey outside, the rest, and getting back to the site of the battle was uneventful. Instead of going in the direction where the hellhounds came from (west), you took the way north, and after following some winding corridors you found what appeared to be a refuse pile/toilet. Getting back to the battleground, you encountered yet another band of hobgoblins, and a second fight ensued. This time, their heavily armored leader was with them, along with a half-orc wizard who made some trouble for you with smokey and stinky clouds. The battle started of well, with you taking down a hobgoblin heavy and their archers slaughtering one of their frontliners, but during the second half their leader proved to be rather hard to take down and seriously injured several of you. Nevertheless, you were victorious. Exploring the area where this second group came from you found a hellhound pen / alchemy lab, another barracks, and the leader’s finely appointed chambers. In a corridor beyond, there was a heavy metal hatch on the floor. You looted the area, and took a short rest.

Session 4

Date: 2018-10-01

Player Characters:
Bramor Stonecutter, dwarf cleric (281 points, GMPC’d for healing between battles)
Kilrad, dragon-blooded knight (275 points)
Kruux, lizardman knight (275 points)
Myrddin, wood elf mystic archer(278 points)
Thundarr, minotaur barbarian (284 points)

After looting the hobgoblins, the group decided to take a look at the hatch beyond the leader’s quarters. It led into some caverns deeper below, and that’s where you went after demolishing the hatch so that it can’t be bolted from above (thus trapping you). Underneath were a set of natural cavernous tunnels, and you proceeded to explore them. This, of course, started by scaring a nest of bats, but luckily no other subterranean denizens were in the vicinity. Following the “left for loot!” strategy of exploration, you ended in a damp cave where a difficult battle against a large ooze ensued. It had even gotten backup in the form of a large, stinking grub, though that one was dispatched very quickly, unlike the ooze. Eventually you prevailed, but instead of destroying the creature it split in two and proceeded to retreat! Giving no quarter, you pressed the attack and reduced the two new oozes into puddles of dissolved matter. Thundarr also decided to take a look at the pool on one end of the cave. Even though the waters stung and burned, he managed to retrieve a couple shiny coins from its bottom. You rested a bit with Bramor healing your wounds.

Session 5

Date: 2018-10-01

Player Characters:

Kruux, lizardman knight (278 points)
Rod Steele, human cleric of war (278 points)
Rognir, dwarf scout (275 points)
Thundarr, minotaur barbarian (287 points)

While his companions were finishing their rest, Rognir the dwarven scout checked out the tunnels around the damp cave. The closest one led to a small cavern reeking of rot, coming from several animal and humanoid corpses in various stages of decomposition. Through his skill with tracking he deduced that this must have been the lair of the giant grub you slew. After examining the corpses, he returned to the rest of the group who were preparing to head on. In the tunnels beyond the grub lair you found more tracks, determining that one of the tunnels was an occasionally used underground “road”. There were also several relatively recent sets of tracks leading into a tunnel branching off from the “road”, so you decided to explore it. Several caverns down you encountered a mudbowl, but instead of trying another way around which seemed a bit narrow, you decided to brave the mud. It didn’t prove much trouble thanks to Thundarr leading the way and setting up a rope “ferry”. After startling another colony of bats and avoiding a suspicious webbed alcove, you encountered a cavern with a huge pit and a narrow walkway besides it. Rognir noticed something below, and skillfully scaled the jagged pit walls down without a scratch. He found the remains of a dwarf not as fortunate as him, although examination revealed he had wounds caused by blades or claws, not by sharp rocks. He took the fellow’s axe and the group continued on. There was a large lake in the next cavern, and Thundarr dove right in. The lakebed was covered in layers of bones! But even though the water was crystal clear, he found nothing of value among them. After taking a short rest to dry off against flaming weapons courtesy of Rod the cleric, you continued down the tunnels.

Hidden Suns session 6: Heat of Battle

Date: 2018-08-21

Player Characters (344 points):
ESA1000 45460 (4-5 for organics), humanoid engineering robot
Gaichu Koschei, android infiltrator/assassin
James Titus Kane, human legendary starship Captain of the Stewards Navy (retired)
Alva von Kirchess, aasimar diva / Captain of the Knights of Golarion (retired), breach and clear specialist
Julianne Margeurite Sadayo Aletta Mackenzie Kawakami-Rose-Albert III (or just Jill), human brilliant inventor / industry mogul, dilettante adventurer/explorer

The group spent a day in their crashlanded ship, resting from the previous delve into the jungle pyramid. Gaichu’s familiar, Greg, healed Gaichu, while Jill repaired 4-5 as well as Gaichu’s and 4-5’s gear which was corroded by the gelatinous cube. The next morning they made their way to the pyramid again. From now on, there would be five people but only two of whom could pilot a hoverbike. So the solution was for Gaichu and Alva to ride with Jimmy and 4-5, while Jill was towed on another hoverbike by 4-5.

Along the way, while flying over the savannah, the group noticed a band of natives on what looked like a hunting trip. They were human-sized but big and burly, pale blue-skinned and wearing patchwork metal armor. They did not seem to have noticed the party. That changed soon, however, since Jill took a pot shot at one of them out of “curiosity”. He dropped into the grass and didn’t get up again. The others noticed the group, ducked in the grass, and started aiming towards them with what looked like primitive slughthrowers. They didn’t shoot, because the party was rather far from them and moving rapidly away on hoverbikes. A discussion ensued on what to do with the natives, but no conclusion was reached before the group flew out of eyesight.

Reaching the pyramid, the party did what became their standard procedure – they left the bikes a hundred yards away, camouflaged them, and stealthily approached the building. Everything was clear, so they proceeded below. They went through the tunnels to where they blew up the gelatinous cube, encountering nothing new on the way. They didn’t continue down that corridor, however, opting instead to go through the stone door in the north-western corner of the room. It was a bit stuck, but 4-5 effortlessly budged it open. The corridor beyond was very snaky, and even though its majority was spread to the north-east of the previous room, it eventually led to a door to the nort-west. Gaichu checked for traps, but didn’t find any.

Beyond was an 8×8 yard room, with a small dried-out fountain in the north-west corner and a stone balcony on the east side. There were stairs leading to it on its south side, and stone beds carved into the wall could be seen on top. A stone door was on the north side, under the balcony. Alva decided to take a look at the balcony, and climbed the stairs. Reaching the top, she noticed four corpses on the floor of the balcony, previously unseen because the balcony’s railing was blocking the view from below. As she approached, they started raising up and she opened fire.

She did some minor damage to one of them, and then again on the next round, when the remainder of the party could also start shooting since the corpses were now in sight having fully stood up. One of them attacked Alva, while the other three jumped in huge leaps down at the rest of the party! They went for Gaichu, 4-5 and Jimmy, attempting to impale them on the sickles they had instead of hands. Jimmy and Gaichu managed to dodge or parry their attacks, but 4-5 was “hooked”. The corpses were tough, but could for the most part not get through the party’s defenses. Jill was free to pick targets with her holdout laser while the rest were engaged, and they eventually blasted them down suffering only minor injuries, except for 4-5 who received a nasty impale from the initial jump. But Greg took care of that after a quick retreat to the surface in order to facilitate the casting of healing spells (the entirety of the Pyramid has so far been a low-mana zone).

The corpses had nothing of value on them, but there were a couple of gems in the corner of one of the stone beds. The party proceeded through the north door. The tunnel beyond was basically a big, snaky U-turn, but it was nowhere near as long as the previous one. It effectively led to a room which was directly to the west of the one where the battle against the corpses took place. The door to it was a bit stuck, but 4-5 took care of that.

Immediately after opening it, the party noticed an orange glow coming from within the chamber. It was quite large, a some 20×20 yards, with a 3-yard wide chasm at its center. The glow emanated from it, and it was crossed by a 1-yard wide stone walkway. Ancient tapestries covered the walls, and contrary to all others encountered so far, they were completely untouched by time. As most of the team were examining the tapestries (they seemed to be depicting some abstract motifs) Jimmy approached the chasm and looked down. He didn’t like what he saw – there were five giant, orange-scaled lizards clinging to the chasm wall. They hissed at him and climbed up, just as he opened fire on one of them.

The others joined the fight when the lizards were already on top. Alva advanced with her gauss shotgun, Gaichu started shooting plasma projectiles with his gauss crossbow, Jill with her plasma pistol, and 4-5 with his modified arc cutter. The beam weapons and Gaichu’s projectiles seemed to have little effect. As the lizards advanced, they breathed fire on the party. Jimmy started to retreat since the lizards were ganging up on him. Gaichu shot a tangler bolt at the biggest of the lizards, which occupied it for a couple turns. When the lizards closed in, they caused a few nasty cuts with their bites. Gaichu eventually switched to cryo and piercing bolts when he noticed his plasma bolts were ineffective. Half a dozen turns in, Jill and Alva went into melee with their knives and 4-5 with his wristblade. Jill eventually retreated, Alva kept the lizards busy but didn’t inflict much damage, while 4-5 went all-out crazy stabbing lizard skulls. Eventually, the lizards were defeated, but the party was seriously injured by bites and burns. They retreated outside of the pyramid for healing provided by Greg, and that’s where we stopped.

Multimillionaire characters in Space Dungeon Fantasy

A new player joined us last session. Their character is a multimillionaire, having invested 100 points into Wealth. This gives them 100,000 times the average starting wealth, or 5,000,000,000 GURPS $ in this case. Such characters seldom have the motivation to go raiding ancient ruins, and also kinda beat the point of Dungeon Fantasy type games where loot is one of the main goals if not the main goal of the game. But I allowed it anyway.

Why would such a person work for a “questgiver” who offers little besides a monetary incentive, in this case the explorer Archibald Grey? They wouldn’t. I instead simply retconned the character into Archibald’s place. So Jill is now the person who hired the other players, whose ship they crashed (pocket change, it’s insured anyway), and who’ll pay them at the adventure’s conclusion. After that, they’ll simply go on further adventures together. Why does she risk her life on such endeavors? Well she’s bored! It’s her hobby.

But what about the elephant in the room, what do we do with the important element of loot acquisition when Jill could simply equip the whole party with the best gear money could buy, including magical items in the case of this setting? I allowed those 100 points of wealth only under the condition that they would be used exclusively for personal purposes or for flavor. So Jill has about one million GURPS $ in her personal gear. Her armor was constructed from a tailored (Ultra-Tech p. 174-175) light hardsuit adjusted by a pile of modifiers such as Ornate, Super Fine and other, house ruled ones. Her knife, holdout laser and plasma pistol were constructed and paid for as Metatronic Generators (Pyramid 3/46) which Jill made herself since she’s also a Quick Gadgeteer. She doesn’t really have much aside from that, she simply doesn’t need it. And since I didn’t want her bankrolling the other characters, the gadgets she makes may only be used by her – it’s Weird Science after all!

For some, a setup like this could go beyond what they’re willing to accept as plausible or internally consistent or could require too much suspension of disbelief. That’s fine, I myself would not allow something like this in other campaigns. But now, for me and my current group, this is a win-win solution. A player gets to play out their fantasy, no pillars of gameplay are broken, and the GM gets some nice hooks for the story.

Hidden Suns session 5: Kaboom!

Date: 2018-08-14

Player Characters (342 points):
ESA1000 45460 (4-5 for organics), humanoid engineering robot
Gaichu Koschei, android infiltrator/assassin
James Titus Kane, human legendary starship Captain of the Stewards Navy (retired)
Alva von Kirchess, aasimar diva / Captain of the Knights of Golarion (retired), breach and clear specialist
Julianne Margeurite Sadayo Aletta Mackenzie Kawakami-Rose-Albert III (or just Jill), human brilliant inventor / industry mogul, dilettante adventurer/explorer

At the end of the previous session Gaichu found and disarmed a trap on the eastern door of the room lit by soft magical glow where they found the stone tub and a halfling corpse. Eventually, 4-5 recovered from his water-induced psychodelia, and the group started along the corridor beyond.

The corridor pretty much made a 20-yard long U-turn, and ended in an iron door facing westwards. It was rather atypical for this place, as all doors have so far been made of stone. Gaichu found two long, thin cracks in the wall, one to each side of the door, at neck’s height for an average person. He also discovered a trigger mechanism underneath the plate used as the arm rest while pushing the door to the side for the opening motion. He disarmed the mechanism, but couldn’t open the door as it was stuck. 4-5 stepped up as usual and swiftly opened it.

The room beyond was roughly 12×16 yards across, with no distinguishing features at first look aside from some remains of tapestries on the walls and minor rubble on the floor. A squared archway led into a corridor to the south, while a stone door stood on the west wall opposite the door the group just came through. They spent some time searching the room, but didn’t find anything of interest. Eventually, they decided to go through the archway and explore the way beyond.

As Gaichu turned the corner just beyond the archway, he felt as if he bumped into something big and got stuck seemingly in the air. Stuck of the sticky kind, unable to move. The rest of the group were luckily right behind him as they just entered the corridor, and they opened fire around Gaichu. Jimmy didn’t see any effect from his gauss pistols, but Alva’s gauss shotgun caused the air to “splash” at the points where she shot it. 4-5 and Jill also managed to singe the air with their weaponized plasma cutter and custom holdout laser pistol, respectively. It was a gelatineous cube! What ensued was a slowly retreating curtain of fire against the cube, as it made the slow but steady progress of 1 yard per turn towards the group. Gaichu was stuck on it but in no immediate danger since the cube’s corrosion had a way to go until it would eat significantly into his armor. He struggled to break free, fruitlessly, but managed to free his arms just enough to shoot at it every now and then. At some point, 4-5 didn’t retreat, and the cube bumped into him so he got stuck on it too. Shortly thereafter, the cube absorbed both him and Gaichu into itself.

The whole time, Alva was querying the group via their Tacnet if she should throw a plasma grenade into the cube. Now she has had enough, and finally threw it with a three-second timer. What ensued was a frenzied struggle to get Gaichu and 4-5 out of the cube before the grenade went off. They couldn’t break free from within the cube, but they did manage to hold on to their weapons and shoot the cube from the inside. But alas, it wasn’t enough and the grenade went off with Gaichu and 4-5 still inside the cube. Fortunately, the cube was big, and the grenade was stuck just far enough from them so they only received significant but not mortal damage.

When the air cleared from the explosion, the two were laying scorched on the floor, while the cube was reduced to chunks of gel scattered around the corridor. They themselves were injured, and their armor was damaged by the cube’s acids, so the group retreated back to the ship for repairs and recovery.


Short session, but the fight against the cube was hilarious. After the session, I thought that I forgot to take into account the x3 wounding modifier which is applied for internal damage, and that Gaichu and 4-5 would have been able to destroy the cube from within before the grenade blew. But taking a look at the paragraph which describes that case on B415 (Explosions in Other Environments, Internal Explosions), I see that this modifier is a result of treating the damage as an attack on the vitals, which Homogenous targets lack. So it evened out after all, and I learned something.

GURPS Dungeon Fantasy campaign prospectus

I plan to run a new minicampaign during some free time I’ll be having soon. A campaign planning form originally from the How to be a GURPS GM book by Warren Wilson has been popular on the GURPS Discord server lately, so I thought I’d give it a go and see how useful it is.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: The campaign is no longer a limited run. After the initial 5 sessions, I have decided to continue running the campaign indefinitely. An updated version of this prospectus is available here.


  • Campaign Name: GURPS Dungeon Fantasy Dungeon Romp
  • GM: Myself
  • Start Date: ~ 2018-09-22
  • Genre: Dungeon Fantasy
  • Tech Level: Dungeon Fantasy
  • Power Level: 275 points
  • Realism Level (Grittily Realistic / Realistic / Cinematic / Over-the-Top): Cinematic
  • Medium/Technology: Text-only in Roll20. All characters must be submitted in GCS.
  • Campaign Synopsis: A limited-run Dungeon Fantasy campaign consisting of five sessions. The players are a previously acquainted band of adventurers exploring a dungeon in the vicinity of Caverntown. Focus is planned to be equally on combat and dungeon exploration.
  • Format: This is a mini-campaign I plan to run within the span of two weeks with a session every couple of days. Players may attend as many of the sessions as they like and characters can be switched in or out on a per session basis without a lot of fuss (blatant retcons, reinforcements however implausible, etc). Attendance is on a first come, first serve basis – whoever contacts me to sign up gets a slot in as many sessions as they wish, provided those sessions still have slots available. I will also be taking on last-minute players if a session doesn’t have all the slots filled. I’ll take a maximum of 5 players per session.
  • Important Notes
    • Characters must be submitted at least several days before a session so I have time to approve them and request any possible adjustments. In case we can’t agree on a final version of a character in time for a session, the player will play a version of the character with all the traits I objected to simply stripped out.
    • Don’t be late for a session! If you’re not there half an hour after session start, your spot will be given to someone else.
    • Players who join in the last minute without an approved character will be able to choose from a small roster of pregenerated characters.
    • The campaign will probably start in medias res, in the middle of a dungeon or similar. At the time of this writing, I’m not sure if you’ll get a chance to restock or buy gear during the campaign at all, so spend your money as if it’s your last.
    • Spending points will be allowed normally between sessions, except if a session break happens in the middle of a fight. In that case you’ll be able to spend points directly after the battle.
  • Social Contracts
    • I will not support intra-party conflict of any kind besides reasonably roleplayed in-character disagreements. Don’t steal from party members. Don’t pull pranks on them unless you know the other player would like to engage you in such roleplay. And definitively don’t do anything more serious than that. In the best of such cases I will flat out refuse your actions and ask you not to continue that course, or remove you from the game in the worst. The players should work together to achieve a common goal and hopefully have good fun doing it.
    • No solo acts. If you want to wander off and do your own thing without the rest of the party (except stuff like scouting ahead, doh), the result will simply be you missing out on playtime.
    • No rules lawyering. I am willing to hear rules disputes, especially since I haven’t run a GURPS game which isn’t radically house ruled for a long time, but in order to facilitate quick play I will not let such things turn into discussions and waste playtime.
  • Setting
    • General Info: The campaign will take place around Caverntown, a fortified underground settlement and hub for adventures in the surrounding dungeons and subterranean tunnel networks. The town is a cosmopolitan center where many kinds of folks mingle, focused around a service industry catering to adventurers.
    • Currency: GURPS $, keep it simple
    • Major Centers of Power
      • Caverntown
        • Ruler: The Mayor. Owes fealty to The King.
        • Population: ~50000, 3/4 of which taken up by humans, dwarves and gnomes in equal measure. The remaining 1/4 is “everybody else”, including a wide range of exotica.
        • Terrain: Cavern
        • Hygiene: Clean (public sewage & plumbing)
        • Mana: Normal
        • Languages: Common, Dwarven, Gnome, Halfling
        • Literacy: Mostly literate
  • GURPS Books Used
    • Basic Set
    • Dungeon Fantasy 1: Adventurers
    • Dungeon Fantasy 2: Dungeons
    • Dungeon Fantasy 3: The Next Level
    • Dungeon Fantasy 7: Clerics
    • Dungeon Fantasy 11: Power Ups
      • Every single power up will need to be individually approved by the GM.
        I do not recommend to base your character concept on a power up or otherwise get emotionally invested prior to approval.
    • Dungeon Fantasy 12: Ninja
    • Dungeon Fantasy 14: Psi
      • Instead of essentially producing random encounters when a Psi fails their 6 or less roll after using their powers, they must instead roll on the Fright Check Table as if they failed their Fright Check by 5.
    • Dungeon Fantasy Denizens: Barbarians
    • Dungeon Fantasy Setting: Caverntown
    • Low-Tech
    • Low-Tech Instant Armor
      • Only the armor tables, and only for hit locations from Basic Set. Armor must cover all of a hit location but front-only is ok.
    • I’m willing to consider Dungeon Fantasy related stuff from other supplements if asked nicely, well in advance, under the condition that the material in question would not slow down play.
  • Optional Rules
    • Extra Effort in Combat, B357
    • New Options for Extra Effort in Combat, Martial Arts p.131
      • Heroic Charge only allows movement in a straight line towards the enemy
    • Dual-Weapon Attacks, B417
    • Last Wounds, B420
    • Telegraphic Attack, Martial Arts, p.113
    • Quick-Shooting Bows, Martial Arts p.119
    • Tricky Shooting, Martial Arts p.121
    • Cross Parry, Martial Arts p.121
    • Defense While Grappling, Martial Arts p.121
    • Fencing Parries, Martial Arts p.122
    • Limiting Multiple Dodges, Martial Arts p.123
    • Parrying with Two-Handed Weapons, Martial Arts p.123
    • Multiple Blocks, Martial Arts p.123
    • Retreat Options, Martial Arts p.123
    • Rapid Strike, Martial Arts p.127
    • Random hit locations can’t intentionally be targeted
    • Evaluate gives +3 for first turn, no extra bonus for additional turns.
  • Character Creation
    • Starting Points: 275
    • Disadvantage Limit: -50 and -5 from quirks
    • Suggested Character Concepts: Appropriate for Dungeon Fantasy. You’re a band of adventurers seeking fame and fortune.
    • Profession Templates: Templates from listed Dungeon Fantasy books must be used. They will be strictly enforced for the first 250 points. The extra 25 starting points may be invested in any traits appropriate to Dungeon Fantasy, including off-template, but all of those 25 points must be listed on the character sheet in a separate section to make character approval easier for me. Disadvantages on the profession templates count against the disadvantage limit, but you are allowed to swap them for disadvantages not listed on the template. You are limited to the Suitable Disadvantages list on Dungeon Fantasy 1 p. 15-16, however.
    • Racial Templates: All racial templates from Dungeon Fantasy 3 are potentially allowed with GM approval, except Ogre and Half-Ogre. Those are off limits. You may buy them using the discretionary template points and the 25 extra points. Disadvantages on the racial templates do not count against the disadvantage limit!
    • Attributes and Secondary Characteristics: As per Dungeon Fantasy.
    • Social Traits:
      • Low/High TL: off limits
      • Status Levels: min 0, max 3
      • Rank: Only Honorary Rank
      • Wealth Levels: no min, max Very Wealthy
      • Starting Wealth: as per Dungeon Fantasy
      • Cultures: not relevant
      • Languages: as per Dungeon Fantasy
    • Advantages: As per Dungeon Fantasy.
    • Disadvantages: See above (Profession Templates).
    • Allies/Contacts/Patrons/Enemies/Dependents: off limits
    • Magic/Psionics: as per Dungeon Fantasy
    • Trading Points for Money: up to 5 points may be traded

Hidden Suns session 4: Drugs Are Bad, Mmmkaaay?

Date: 2018-08-07

Player Characters (340 points):
ESA1000 45460 (4-5 for organics), humanoid engineering robot
Gaichu Koschei, android infiltrator/assassin
James Titus Kane, human legendary starship Captain of the Stewards Navy (retired)
Alva von Kirchess, aasimar diva / Captain of the Knights of Golarion (retired), breach and clear specialist

After healing up and resting for a short bit (no more than half an hour) at the pyramid’s entrance, the party decided to head back in. This time they took the door near the staircase, since they have explored everything they could reach through the opposing corridor. The door was very large, made of stone and rather thick by what they could estimate. A cursory check revealed that it was stuck. Since Gaichu was at it, he decided to investigate the opening mechanism. He found access to it in the tight space between the door itself and the wall, where the door would move sideways into the wall as the opening motion. Inserting a snakecam, he discovered that some of the gears in there were jammed by chips of stone. Improvising some tools from his lockpicking set, he managed to free the gears. 4-5 stepped up and pushed the door into the wall.

Beyond was a large hall, some 15×20 yards across and almost 10 yards high. There were two other doors leading out, one on he east side and one to the south (the players entered through the north door). Those were much smaller than the door they just came though, of the “regular” door size so far encountered within the pyramid. There was a large stone table in the center, some remains of long-ago rotted away furniture and tapestries along the walls, and a bit of pebbly rubble here and there on the floor. The ceiling seemed rough and uneven, not straight-cut like the rest of the place. It seemed uninhabited.

Taking just a cursory look at the room, the party grouped around the eastern door. It was locked, so Gaichu got to picking it. Soon after he started, Alva (who was standing watch) noticed something shifting on the ceiling. Six winged humanoids with coloration/texture of stone were flying down, long spears at the ready. She fired a three-round burst at one of them, but missed.

What followed was a relatively one-sided battle where the gargoyles rolled extremely poorly and didn’t manage to inflict any serious injury on the characters. Them actually being undead didn’t help either, it just protracted the fight due to Unliving. They kept their distance from the PCs by hovering while poking them with spears, all the while being whittled down relatively reliably by guns. There was an interesting bit, however. Alva decided to use her Judo Parry for her defenses, and started throwing the gargoyles into each other. While it didn’t do any significant damage, it resulted in a couple of them being grounded and even knocked down.

After the scuffle, they found a pouch containing some ancient coins on one of the gargoyles, and a tome bound in fur on another. It was written in common, but contained completely nonsensical content. The sentences contained words which had nothing to do with each other, and the group determined that it was surely written in code. Just which code, they couldn’t determine.

Gaichu eventually finished picking the door, and the party continued down the corridor which presented itself after taking a turn to the right directly beyond the door. Some 35 yards down there was a T intersection with the party coming down from the base. The right path took another right turn immediately, eventually leading to a door. Gaichu checked it for traps, finding tiny holes on the walls on each side of it. He found a triggering mechanism on the door “handle” and disabled it. After picking the lock, it turned out (as expected) that these were the south doors in the gargoyle room.

The remaining way from the T-intersection led down a corridor which started to wind several times after a while, leading to a metal portcullis revealing a large chamber to the north. A couple of the characters tried raising it with no success, but then 4-5 stepped up and did it almost effortlessly. The chamber beyond was similar in size to the previous one but the ceiling was much lower. A heavy stone door was on the west side, and a regular one on the east. It seemed to contain nothing of interest – some empty stone shelves, an empty fireplace, and some scratches on one of the walls. The group didn’t think much of it and proceeded to the east door. Not willing to wait for the rest, 4-5 attempted opening it but it was stuck, so he just bashed it open as many of the doors so far.

A roughly 8×15 room opened beyond. Unlike most of the pyramid so far, there was a soft magical glow within, almost producing the effect of a light fog. There were some niches in the walls, and a large stone tub against the east wall. North of the tub a “normal” stone door seemed to lead further. 4-5 approached the tub. It was filled with water! Upon closer inspection, he determined it was fresh water, filling the tub via thin, long incisions on its bottom, coming from some kind of an old plumbing system. He sampled the water and… critically failed Perception. There must have been some silicon-transmitted computer virus in that water, because he started seeing many-colored stars everywhere. He was useless for a while, and in the meantime the others searched the room. In one of the alcoves Gaichu found a small skeleton with an appropriately sized what appeared to be a polearm, specifically a horse cutter. It was of Fine quality and branded with an intricate design. While examining the skeleton they also found a pouch with a couple precious stones in it. The group determined that it did not in fact belong to a child but to a full-grown halfling instead.

While 4-5 was still indisposed, Gaichu took a look at the eastern door. He found a trap – a set of holes on each side of the door, presumably firing some kind of projectile once the tripwire before the door was triggered. He disabled it, and we ended the session there.


The session took place three weeks ago at the time of this writing, so that is one factor to me not writing out the undead gargoyle battle as detailed as the previous ones. The other is the fight being the first one against multiple opponents, and remembering which one of the monsters did what exactly each round would be impossible for me even directly thereafter. Since we play via voice, there are no detailed recordings of what took place.

I am also considering stopping doing such detailed writeups of sessions and producing just summaries, since I need about 2 hours per report. With life having kicked in after the first couple weeks of this blog, I’d rather spend that time on other things I’d like to write about (campaign/setting/rules ideas etc). But I don’t want to give it up just yet, since reading such detailed reports was one of the reasons I started this campaign after a long gaming hiatus, and the primary inspiration for starting this blog. So I’d like to give back.