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Old 09-17-2017, 07:57 AM   #2
GM Joe
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Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Chicagoland
Default Re: First Impressions

Great topic!

Having received my Dungeon Fantasy RPG boxed set, GM Screen, and Companion volume on Friday, I share many of your impressions. It is truly a wonderful physical product, no doubt about it. The box, inserts, dice, cardboard heroes, bases, GM screen...all that physical stuff is industry standard or above. Some well above! They donít appear to have cheapened out on anything.

As for the books: the layout, colors, and fonts are all well-chosen (and will be reassuringly familiar to GURPS aficionados). The art varies from average to top-notch. The covers are gorgeous! As for the interior art, I almost never say this, but I wish there had been room for a little more. The books are somewhat text-heavy at points, and a bit of well-chosen and -placed art would have broken it up nicely.

I do appreciate the one biggest difference from typical GURPS books (and, indeed, RPG books in general): the back cover of each book is a quick reference sheet for the most-needed charts and tables. What a great idea! Thatís something that wasnít seen much even back in boxed setsí heyday. Yet it makes so much sense! The books are sold in a box, so thereís no need for marketing text on the back covers. Most game producers simply left the back pages blank. But not this time! The folks at Steve Jackson Games used that space to the greatest advantage, and I'm sure many gamers will be thankful for it every time they play.

And now, we come to the contents of the books. What's in there? Well, what you get is partly what an experienced GURPS GM could make with the GURPS Basic Set, GURPS Low-Tech, GURPS Fantasy, most of the GURPS Dungeon Fantasy line, and a few other bits of the GURPS product line. But what you also get is the expertise of the Steve Jackson Games team in simplifying, clarifying, distilling, and presenting the rules. In other words, it's a pre-made fantasy dungeon exploration and adventure RPG that is definitely GURPS but which is also easy to learn and use, especially for those new to the game.

Dungeon Fantasy RPG has all the rules you need, and none you don't. There are logical simplifications where the more general-purpose rules of GURPS proper would be overkill. There are also simplifications by way of implementation. One example is the Fright Check rule. Where the Basic Set has a table with 33 entries, Dungeon Fantasy has one with seven entries. It provides the severity of effect in terms of Disadvantage points inflicted, then leaves the specific choice of Disadvantage to inflict on the character up to the situation and the GM's discretion. This simplified rule makes perfect sense for the game.

But the great thing is that a GURPS GM could absolutely substitute the rule from the Basic Set without any issues whatsoever. The same is true throughout. Pull out the magic system and substitute one of GURPS' others. Add some monsters. Use different combat rules. You can do those things because it's still GURPS!

But as-is, it's GURPS that's been finely honed to the dungeon fantasy genre, and presented with an eye for helping those new to GURPS learn the system. And that's a great thing, because GURPS has the finest tactical combat system I've ever seen in all my decades of GMing. It also has one of the most flexible and logical game engines ever created. And, bottom line, it's tremendously fun. So if this introduces GURPS to more people, the gaming world will be better for it.
GMing Since 1982.
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