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GURPS Dungeon Fantasy 16: Wilderness Adventures, Sean Punch 30 July 2016

This Dungeon Fantasy supplement gets away from the cycle of dungeon to generic-town and back again, and moves adventures into the great outdoors.

The book looks back over all the previous Dungeon Fantasy volumes and adds detail relevant to wilderness adventures. It's split into three roughly equal parts, beginning with Who Goes There?; this starts by examining every character template, from Assassin to Wizard, laying out the sort of thing they can do with their standard abilities in an occasional outdoor adventure as well as the roles they can take in a campaign dedicated to the wilderness and how they should modify character generation and improvement if this is what's planned. There's a 15-point Wilderness Training package to add the basics to other characters, then a section on allies, human, animal, and magical. A final section notes useful abilities of pre-existing equipment, and adds some more, ending with mounts and vehicles.

The second part, Braving the Wilderness, is the rules meat of the book, working in the style of Action 2 or Dungeon Fantasy 2 to give the specific skills needed for common wilderness tasks such as planning a route, covering ground, finding a camp site and so on; it then goes on to cover natural and unnatural threats, as well as the sort of thing an enemy can do to confound pursuers (obviously also available to PCs who are being pursued), and culminating in how combat differs from the reliable footing of a stone-floored dungeon. A final section covers foraging and makeshift weapons.

The final part is Outdoor Adventures, taking a step back from the close-up view of part two to examine how wilderness-based adventures should be inserted into the game (travel to a dungeon, guarding a caravan, hunting for bad guys, then moving into "hedge maze" adventures (essentially outdoor dungeon bashes) and general exploration. The next section deals with basic world mapping (something that's not really necessary in a town-dungeon campaign), mostly advising on how to minimise the preparatory work for the GM. A final section expands on the earlier list of natural hazards, considering when to throw what sort of challenge at the players, so as to avoid either upstaging foes with natural disasters or making the wilderness seem too easy to cross.

This is a very meaty book, and even as someone who isn't running a Dungeon Fantasy game I think there's a fair bit of material to use here; next time I have a group of PCs away from civilisation, I'll have a handy reference for what they need to do and how they need to do it, even if I don't use every single rule here. Dungeon Fantasy 16: Wilderness Adventures is available from Warehouse 23.

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