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Delvers to Grow - fast character building for Dungeon Fantasy RPG and GURPS DF

woefulhc

Explorer
I ran a pick up game of Dungeon Fantasy Roleplaying Game earlier this evening using Delvers to Grow. I had four players. One had played GURPS before. One had played D&D but not GURPS. Two had never played a roleplaying game before. Each had a character within an hour. (I can probably speed things up by giving some more general instructions and background. It has been too long since I tried doing character building as a group.)

I think this is hugely important supplement. The types of templates and modules it has will be how I provide character build documents for future campaigns, even modern or SciFi ones.
 

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Emerikol

Adventurer
This is definitely a feature of GURPS. Everything is built to be customized. I often hear people refer to GURPS as an RPG Toolkit rather than a single RPG. (Though it does have a number of fully fleshed out genres like dungeon fantasy, action, post-apocalyptic, etc.) Despite playing GURPS for decades now, I haven't invested much time into the customizations. The primary draw of GURPS to me is the way the mechanics support building characters of all sorts. I like the way disadvantages and quirks can round out a character for role-playing purposes.

I know there are lots of people who customize the magic system, though. I've played in campaigns where there were multiple magic systems in parallel, each extremely different from the others. Cool stuff.


This is a fair hesitation, but it need not be an obstacle. The default combat system in DFRPG is simpler than full GURPS (especially with all the optional expansions from Martial Arts and similar books), but it can be simplified. I played GURPS for years in the '90s without using hit locations, for example. This reduced the number of tactical choices and brought it closer to D&D's hit point attrition model, but it also sped things up for a group of mostly new players. I've also often run it "theater of the mind" without using a combat map. (Though with VTTs during COVID, I've become fonder of using a battlemap.)

My players and I have been experimenting with ways of adjusting the granularity of combat to suit the scene. Dropping into "bullet time" for moments of high tactical drama and then zooming out to simpler combat when battling hordes of mooks and whatnot. It's an easy system to tinker with.
What I like
1. Robust advantages, disadvantages, and quirks.
2. Universal system
3. Solid bell curve in approach to chances.
4. Skills that vary in difficulty IQ-4 vs IQ-3 for example.
5. Tactical battlemat decisions.

It's an excellent system for all those things.

What I dislike
1. Too fine grained a combat system. So I don't want three or four decisions every time someone swings a sword or fires a bow. Attacking, blocking, aiming, etc... Maybe I just need to play this more and get better at it and maybe it wouldn't be so bad. I realize GURPS appeals to a crowd desiring a bit more realistic system. It appeals to me for different reasons. I like the flexibility.
 

Douglas Cole

Explorer
If you read only a SINGLE post for Delvers to Grow, read this one.

https://www.kickstarter.com/.../delvers-to.../posts/3192914
This goes through a complete worked example of making an eldhuð ("I'm totally not a tiefling!") swashbuckler in six quick steps using Delvers to Grow for the Dungeon Fantasy RPG.

This is the best quick-start recruiting tool for Powered by GURPS published to date. One of my patrons went to his Favorite Local Game store yesterday with an advanced copy. Ran a pick-up game using the Boxed Set for one total newcomer to RPGs, two D&D players, and someone from his regular group. All had characters quickly, and the game store employees asked him to come back and run a Dungeon Fantasy RPG game in the store every week.
 

woefulhc

Explorer
This is the best quick-start recruiting tool for Powered by GURPS published to date. One of my patrons went to his Favorite Local Game store yesterday with an advanced copy. Ran a pick-up game using the Boxed Set for one total newcomer to RPGs, two D&D players, and someone from his regular group. All had characters quickly, and the game store employees asked him to come back and run a Dungeon Fantasy RPG game in the store every week.
One from my regular group, one D&D player and two total newcomers.
 


woefulhc

Explorer
What I dislike
1. Too fine grained a combat system. So I don't want three or four decisions every time someone swings a sword or fires a bow. Attacking, blocking, aiming, etc... Maybe I just need to play this more and get better at it and maybe it wouldn't be so bad. I realize GURPS appeals to a crowd desiring a bit more realistic system. It appeals to me for different reasons. I like the flexibility.
The pick up game I ran was fairly low resolution combat. Roll to hit, roll to defend if able and roll damage if the hit landed. While we did use minis and a map, I was not using every rule available for encumbrance, poor footing, cost for changing facing, target locations.... I'd say I was at a lower level of detail than what is presented as "Basic Combat" in the GURPS Basic Set.

Over the last two to three years I have focused on NOT opening the books during a game. I've got some tables (crit hit, crit miss, reaction table) on a GM screen and pretty much everything else handled "roll and shout".

I realize ^that^ style of running a game is not for everyone. However, I get enough issues of GM brain lock to want to introduce additional ones.
 

Douglas Cole

Explorer
[With my permission, Kreios cut images from the sample draft and posted them to his site showing the wrestler build he used. I'm going to let you link over there so you can check out his stuff too...but you can more than get the gist of it from what he's written below.]
Delvers to Mow Down II Supplement: Example Wrestler Build
The following is the Wrestler I built for Exxar’s meatgrinder game (session report). It is based on a prerelease version of Gaming Ballistic’s Delvers to Grow project (written by Kevin Smyth, whose work is again amazing). And when I say prerelease I mean basically done content-wise, with only edits and interior art missing. It’s essentially ready to go.

First off, I want to stress how amazing that book is. The following character was built at the beginning of the session and took about ten minutes to build (most of which was spent to build the sheet into GCS). I cannot stress this enough: To me, the book is a gamechanger. I will not only use this for my own DF games (including introducing new people to DF), I will also likely build similar modules for other games I’ll run. They won’t be as good as Kevin’s (which are well-built, amusing, and quite evocative), but they’ll make building characters so much faster.In fact, even in DF games I’ll play in that don’t use those modules, I will still build my character using them. Ten minutes to build a character and another twenty to finetune them is far better than spending an hour building my character and then finding out in the first session I forgot to buy the climbing skill.

The book is available on kickstarter. Back it, enjoy it. This post’ll wait.

See the rest of the post here: Delvers to Mow Down II Supplement: Example Wrestler Build
 

One of the things I have appreciated as I've built characters with draft versions of Delvers to Grow is that even with the simplification, you don't lose the ability to differentiate similar characters with interesting disadvantage packages.

In Exxar's meatgrinder, for example, roleplaying wasn't the point. We took points for quirks, but didn't bother defining them. My characters were named "Dalin the Wizard," "Dalin the Knight," and "Dalin the Swashbuckler." Characters were expected to die. But even so, while building the swashbuckler, I was browsing the disadvantage packages and came across Accursed:

1621720590070.png


Not a typical set of disads that I would choose for a swashbuckler, but given that the adventure premise was that we were attempting to recapture a city from a demonic horde, this suggested that my character might have some demonic baggage. Maybe he's not quite a Tiefling, but has some diabolical heritage. Or maybe he became cursed while messing with demonic treasures that he shouldn't have. Or he made an ill-thought-out pact. Plenty of ideas. Suddenly the fact that he was heading into a battle where he would likely die started to make more sense. Maybe he wanted to prove himself (to himself or to others) as a staunch foe of Muspelheim. Or, perhaps he was attempting to atone for past sins. Or, selfishly trying to slay the demon who cursed him or perhaps find something to lift the curse.

Despite having no need to craft a well-rounded character for role-playing purposes, my mind was abuzz with ideas for how Dalin the Swashbuckler might fit into the world. I'm definitely going to keep him in my back pocket for future games!
 



Douglas Cole

Explorer

The Last Pitch​

The Kickstarter for Delvers to Grow is ending at 9 pm Central Time on Tuesday, May 25. It has funded, and the next steps are stretch goals for more included content with backer pledges. Delvers to Grow offers character generation for the Dungeon Fantasy RPG with two important features:
  • It covers lower power levels than the near-epic characters provided in the Dungeon Fantasy RPG boxed set: If you like "zero to hero" play, this is your book
  • It enables getting to the table fast. It usually takes people 5 to 15 minutes from opening the book to "ready to start play."
  • It includes an adventure tuned for the power levels covered in the books. Make characters, start play. Right then.
It is, and I say this without hesitation, the greatest recruiting tool for Powered by GURPS games like the Dungeon Fantasy RPG that has ever been created.

One blind-tester took it to their favorite local game store, and ran an amazing pick-up game on the fly.

With the Dungeon Fantasy RPG. He was asked back to run more.

If you've wanted to try a Powered by GURPS game, if you love the Dungeon Fantasy RPG but can't get folks to make characters because it takes too long, if you prefer starting as a lower-tier delver and working your way up to epic during play...Delvers to Grow is the book for you.
 

With six hours to go, the Delvers to Grow campaign is over $30K (more than $8K over the goal). I'm still hoping another 163 backers come out of the woodwork to get us to the 600 backer stretch goal.

I'll talk up one more bit that I like. This sidebar in the section on disadvantages:

1621970610347.png


One of the things I like about the way GURPS/DFRPG handles attributes is that you can decouple secondary from primary attributes. Typically, as you buy up your IQ, your Perception (Per) and Will go up at the same rate. But, if you want to play a brilliant but unobservant wizard, you can lower your Per. Similarly, you can be a weak-willed cleric or a surprisingly speedy couch potato.

I assumed this sort of thing would be reserved for "advanced character building," but Kevin Smyth found an elegant way to include it in his DtG section. This has the added benefit of providing a way that someon
1621972156657.png
e can replace a disadvantage from a package with lowered secondary characteristics. For example, maybe I like the basic idea of being disinherited but I'm not keen on playing a lech. Great. Replace lecherousness with three levels of Weak Will. This still fits the concept—the character was at the brothel because of peer pressure or temptation, not because they're especially lecherous—and maintains the point balance.

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Would I do this as a first-time player? Probably not... I might not yet be clear on what a secondary characteristic is. But after my first game or two, I'm definitely ready to start taking the training wheels off. This book provides such a graceful on-ramp to the system. Even as an experienced player who knows most of these traits well, these packages help me quickly refine a character concept. I can't wait to get a couple of print copies to pass around my gaming table.
 

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