RogerBW's Blog

GURPS Dungeon Fantasy Settings: Caverntown, Sean Punch 07 July 2018

This first Dungeon Fantasy Settings book deals with a town - in other words, the very thing that Dungeon Fantasy tends to skim over lightly, as merely a place to heal up, sell loot and buy supplies.

In other words, it's looking at the conventions of the dungeon-bash as codified in Dungeon Fantasy and subverting them into something more interesting. This isn't just a place to buy and sell things; it's a place that makes some small degree of sense in a world where super-powerful beings roam the land answering to no master (and that's just the player characters).

Caverntown is deliberately not the standard faux-mediƦval town, or even the standard faux-mediƦval city. It explicitly caters to dungeon delvers; it's underground, near where the adventures happen; and it has defences against wandering monsters for when delvers aren't around. Through various contrivances, there's light and air in this cave, and the place is magically stable.

It's an odd blend of specificity and flexibility: there's no map, and the size and population of the place aren't precisely fixed, but the fee to enter or leave is calculated exactly, as well as how long the (golem-cranked) lift takes to get you in or out of the place. The walls and gates have DR and HP values in case someone takes it in mind to bash them down, because that's a thing you have to be able to do in this genre.

There are notes on residents and visitors, including what those visitors are likely to be doing; stats for important people, and more usefully a general idea of how governance and defence works; temples and guilds (including a barely-disguised thieves' guild that at least makes some sense of why such an organisation would be allowed at all), and some suggestions of which ones might hire adventurers to go after the others; and a chapter on what you can buy and sell, and for how much.

There's a lengthy section on crime and punishment, because Dungeon Fantasy is all about the murder-hoboing and some characters (and some players) can't leave that behind at the gates of civilisation; in particular, this deals with how to make punishments a deterrent without making the game non-fun. This is not one of those towns where people have to leave their weapons and armour behind (most Dungeon Fantasy PCs wouldn't stand for that).

There are brief notes on campaigns that happen mostly in the town, though it seems that the intended use of the setting is as a home base for exploration of surrounding dungeons.

This is a really interesting setting that does a good job of working up my enthusiasm for the blatant everyday magic of a Dungeon Fantasy campaign, even though it's not a style of play I normally favour. While I have no current plans to run such a game, if I do, this will certainly be a "town" that I use. Dungeon Fantasy Settings: Caverntown is available from Warehouse 23.

Add A Comment

Your Name
Your Email
Your Comment

Your submission will be ignored if any field is left blank, but your email address will not be displayed. Comments will be processed through markdown.

Search
Archive
Tags 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s 3d printing action aeronautics aikakirja anecdote animation anime army astronomy audio tech base commerce battletech beer boardgaming bookmonth chain of command children chronicle church of no redeeming virtues cold war comedy computing contemporary cornish smuggler cosmic encounter coup cycling dead of winter doctor who documentary drama driving drone ecchi espionage essen 2015 essen 2016 essen 2017 existential risk falklands war fandom fantasy film firefly first world war flash point food garmin drive gazebo geodata gin gurps gurps 101 harpoon historical history horror hugo 2014 hugo 2015 hugo 2016 hugo 2017 hugo 2018 hugo-nebula reread in brief avoid instrumented life kickstarter learn to play leaving earth linux mecha museum mystery naval non-fiction one for the brow opera perl photography podcast politics powers prediction privacy project woolsack pyracantha quantum rail ranting raspberry pi reading reading boardgames social real life restaurant reviews romance rpg a day rpgs science fiction scythe second world war security shipwreck simutrans smartphone south atlantic war squaddies stationery steampunk stuarts suburbia superheroes suspense television the resistance thirsty meeples thriller tin soldier torg toys trailers travel vietnam war war wargaming weather wives and sweethearts writing about writing x-wing young adult
Special All book reviews, All film reviews
Produced by aikakirja v0.1