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Old 09-17-2017, 01:19 AM   #1
Tom H.
 
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Default First Impressions

I received my copy of the Dungeon Fantasy Roleplaying Game yesterday Sat. 16, 2017 and wanted to share my first impressions and excitement.

Obviously after more inspection, a full review may change, but its hard to contain my comments to later.

(You can also leave your first impressions in this thread if you think it's an appropriate place.)

The development of this game was a long time coming, and there were so many directions that could have led to a final singular outcome. There were so many opinions being shared on the forums and doubtless within the company.

I'm sure that I won't be satisfied with every decision made, but I reminded of a David Letterman feature where they would raise the curtain and ask, "Is This Anything?" The answer for the DFRPG is that it is definitely something!

There is a unique, original, and somewhat epic quality about this product.

Because some existing Dungeon Fantasy material can tend toward more dense formatting and content, I was very relieved to see that the books inside were clear, easy to read, and provided an introductory guidance that was crucial to this product.

The most interesting aspect was how the content resisted (for better or worse) the introductory simplification of rules in many boxed sets. This is no-holds-barred GURPS directed at a single genre.

So it seems a bit refreshing that this product solidified its own identity against many competing goals.

If this item wins awards or sets a standard, it will be because it provides a thorough, rules-centric approach to covering all the basic aspects of putting players, characters, and GMs through the hobby.

In the current roleplaying milieu where narrative seems to trump mechanics, the DFRPG seems to reinforce that rules and mechanics are the tools that initially separated this hobby from other forms of fiction, acting, and creativity.

It'll be very interesting to see how this game is received long term (and I'll be including myself in that anticipation.)

Last edited by Tom H.; 09-17-2017 at 01:24 AM. Reason: Grammar and formatting
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Old 09-17-2017, 06:57 AM   #2
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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.
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Old 09-23-2017, 05:48 PM   #3
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Default Re: First Impressions

So, I got my copy with the GM screen on Thursday, and I only got a chance to look at it today. Good bits and bad bits as follows-

GOOD BITS-
*Production quality is high. I mean, really, really high. Kudos to SJ Games.
*Everything is well laid out and the first adventure is a perfect setup for second and third and fourth adventures.
*The rules are clear, straightforward, and coherent.
*Lots of potential for neat expansion materials.
*The game feels like a classic form of "Dungeons and Dragons" and that is a good thing.

BAD BITS-
*The cardboard bit in the bottom is too big. I'm going to have to do surgery to make it a bit smaller so that I can fit in the GM screen....except I won't be able to fit in the cardboard heroes if I do.
(Slight revision after looking at it again...maybe if I pop the cardboard heroes out of the sprune and put them in the spacer box that is there to hold things up, I can maybe squeeze in the GM screen.)
*The Delvers To Go should have really been a part of the boxed set, not the GM Screen.
*The moment I even suggest this game to the people at the (only) nearby FLGS, they will be running, screaming to the hills about "GURPS! MATH! IT BURNS!"

(The local gaming groups all seem to play only fratboy Pathfinder.)

So, finding people to play this with may be a tad difficult.

Hopefully with find somebody to play it with soon.
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Old 09-23-2017, 05:59 PM   #4
adm
 
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Default Re: First Impressions

Quote:
Originally Posted by zakueins View Post
...
BAD BITS-
*The cardboard bit in the bottom is too big. I'm going to have to do surgery to make it a bit smaller so that I can fit in the GM screen....except I won't be able to fit in the cardboard heroes if I do.
(Slight revision after looking at it again...maybe if I pop the cardboard heroes out of the sprune and put them in the spacer box that is there to hold things up, I can maybe squeeze in the GM screen.)
I threw the interior card board away, I now have space for the extra dice, CBH stands, I ordered along with the stuff with the GM's screen, plus screen, a note book, pencils, and a tablet in my box.
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Old 09-23-2017, 10:07 PM   #5
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Default Re: First Impressions

Quote:
Originally Posted by zakueins View Post
*The Delvers To Go should have really been a part of the boxed set, not the GM Screen.
That certainly would be nice, though I imagine it'd raise the boxed set price above a desired target point.

Also, while only SJG can say why the GM Screen got what add-ons it got, I'd guess that including something with brand-new content was a goal, to boost the value of what's otherwise a compilation of existing content. Delvers fits that bill.

That said, I suppose one could wish that the "bonus content" included with the GM Screen was pure GM-centered stuff. Delvers has some value there, giving the GM instant NPC adventurers, though I don't know how much use GMs will actually make of these as NPCs...

Hmm, what else might have been good as part of the GM Screen package? A booklet of NPC-only characters? (Bandit, Orc captain, city guardsman, cultist, serf, hirelings, etc.) A booklet of adventure seeds / mini-scenarios? A pack of small battle maps (individual dungeon rooms, a bit of cave, some forest trail, etc.)?
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Old 09-23-2017, 11:05 PM   #6
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Default Re: First Impressions

I really wish the cardboard figures had the monsters in the monsters book and the pregens in Delvers to Go.
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Old 09-24-2017, 03:07 AM   #7
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Default Re: First Impressions

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Originally Posted by sir_pudding View Post
I really wish the cardboard figures had the monsters in the monsters book and the pregens in Delvers to Go.
I had exactly the same feeling when I realized they didn't mirror the Monsters book. Hadn't really thought about the Delvers to Go, but now that you mention it... I wanted that too and didn't know it.
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Old 09-24-2017, 04:49 AM   #8
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Default Re: First Impressions

Quote:
Originally Posted by zakueins View Post
"GURPS! MATH! IT BURNS!"
Sigh. Welcome to modern American society. It's even worse teaching students at a liberal arts college -- people in college mind you -- and they get angry when you have the audacity to think that they should know how to do basic algebra and fractions.

The ironic thing is that to GM or play GURPS, the amount of actual math you do is less than what you do in a typical Pathfinder game, particularly at higher levels. Once you get to a moderate level (6 or 7), buffs and conditions come and go very regularly, and you're adding a whole bunch of penalties. Your attack bonus is likely two digits as well.

In GURPS and Dungeon Fantasy, almost always the penalties are single-digit. When you're creating your character, most of the time you're adding +1 to +4 to your attribute to get your skill. (Or -1; subtraction is hard, though, right?) OK, the 80% for figuring out your Move when you're at light enumbrance is a bit harder... but you do it once, whereas the 1.5x damage bonus to vulnerable creatures is something you're doing all the time in Pathfinder or D&D. (To be fair, you're doing 1.5x for cutting damage a lot in GURPS as well... but again with smaller numbers.)

If you sit down to design systems or things like vehicles, then, yeah, the math in GURPS (which is nearly always still arithmetic, sometimes a wee bit of very simple algebra) becomes frequent. But for GMing and playing, the reputation GURPS has as being more mathy than the most popular games is entirely undeserved.
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Old 09-24-2017, 09:07 AM   #9
BrianEye
 
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Default Re: First Impressions

It's a really fun looking / feeling box and set, from a 1st impression standpoint. The cover really sells the set for me.

I also get a very old school SJG and even sort of a Fantasy Trip done awesome when I look at it, especially the GM Screen.
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Old 09-24-2017, 11:26 AM   #10
zakueins
 
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Default Re: First Impressions

From the FLGS gamers perspective, I suspect that it's less "math" and more "thinking". But, the math is an excuse to run for the hills.

(And, I've run and played and taught people to play HERO FRED-once you can teach them that, everything else is easier.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by rknop View Post
Sigh. Welcome to modern American society. It's even worse teaching students at a liberal arts college -- people in college mind you -- and they get angry when you have the audacity to think that they should know how to do basic algebra and fractions.

The ironic thing is that to GM or play GURPS, the amount of actual math you do is less than what you do in a typical Pathfinder game, particularly at higher levels. Once you get to a moderate level (6 or 7), buffs and conditions come and go very regularly, and you're adding a whole bunch of penalties. Your attack bonus is likely two digits as well.

In GURPS and Dungeon Fantasy, almost always the penalties are single-digit. When you're creating your character, most of the time you're adding +1 to +4 to your attribute to get your skill. (Or -1; subtraction is hard, though, right?) OK, the 80% for figuring out your Move when you're at light enumbrance is a bit harder... but you do it once, whereas the 1.5x damage bonus to vulnerable creatures is something you're doing all the time in Pathfinder or D&D. (To be fair, you're doing 1.5x for cutting damage a lot in GURPS as well... but again with smaller numbers.)

If you sit down to design systems or things like vehicles, then, yeah, the math in GURPS (which is nearly always still arithmetic, sometimes a wee bit of very simple algebra) becomes frequent. But for GMing and playing, the reputation GURPS has as being more mathy than the most popular games is entirely undeserved.
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