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Old 03-31-2016, 05:09 PM   #1
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Default Pyramid #3/89: Alternate Dungeons II

Brave Heaven and Hell
Then journey to the Far East
To slay the Titans
— Ye Olde Travel Agent
(Our apologies for this issue's delay, but apparently taking a momentary break from our newest series so that we could support our oldest one caused a rip in the gaming space-time continuum, and we've spent the last week running from irradiated, enchanted, mutant dragons. Lesson learned.)

Gamers are a lot like hackers; the moment we become comfortable with a system or genre, we just have to start tweaking and customizing it. Sometimes it's just a house rule, other times it's a total deconstruction of a genre. And since the dungeon crawl has been around longer than any other RPG genre, it's only fitting that it's been hacked (and slashed!) the most. So since it's been far too long since our last foray into this topic, let's delve into the matter again with Pyramid #3/89: Alternate Dungeons II.

This month, we tried something new in including three huge articles rather than several smaller ones. We've experimented with a "mini-supplement" or two before, but this is the first issue full of them. So we definitely want to know what you think -- whether you miss the variety of a sampler platter, or like the added detail and depth of the following full meals:
  • Is it possible to break half the assumptions involved in dungeon-crawl fantasy while still retaining the feel of the genre? Creator of GURPS Dungeon Fantasy Sean "Dr. Kromm" Punch thinks so, and Havens and Hells is the proof. Imagine a world crafted by the Gods as part of a wager, where humanity just barely survives in Havens while the rest of the world is a monster-ridden Hell. Haven life is without crime, wealth, or pain -- except for the brave Collectors who must journey into Hell to obtain the resources needed for their Haven to thrive. Death just returns you to the Haven, naked, but your gear and part of your life-force now fuels the monsters of Hell. Can you find a way for humanity to finally prevail in this game of the Gods?

  • From its beginnings in GURPS Dungeon Fantasy 1: Adventurers, the GURPS Dungeon Fantasy series has painted the world in broad strokes: a pseudo-medieval kingdom (or collection of them) in the center, with barbarians from the "Frozen North" and martial artists (and later ninja) from the "Mysterious East." Now, taking a cue from old-school RPGs, Christopher Rice has opened up the possibility of true Eastern Adventures. Add some Asian flavor to your existing heroes or turn your fighters into samurai with a new lens. Adjust your nonhuman races or consider playing a hengeyokai shapeshifter or tengu sword-saint. And expand combat with new power-ups and gear options, including katanas that really can cut through an opposing parties' "tank"!

  • It's a tale as old as time: the plucky heroes climb to great heights, to face a giant in his own home. But the giants here work for a family of even-more-powerful titans, this home is built atop what's left of a dragon's horde, and there's more going on in The Titan's House than your delvers may be prepared for. In this month's Eidetic Memory, David Pulver takes you from the history of this mountain to its current outsize owners, with full stats for all of the threats the PCs may face -- and full details on the loot they can grab! From giant bees to family squabbles to secret rooms and power plays, there's enough here to keep a party busy for quite a while . . . assuming they can survive.

  • And there's no alternative to our usual features, including a Random Thought Table that posits a different deconstruction of delving, in which killing monsters is done as much to keep the secret as for loot, and a Short Bursts that lives up to the name with five fun and unique places to hold your autoduels.

Store Link: http://www.warehouse23.com/products/SJG37-2689
Preview PDF: http://www.warehouse23.com/media/SJG37-2689_preview.pdf
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Old 03-31-2016, 05:40 PM   #2
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Default Re: Pyramid #3/89: Alternate Dungeons II

It's cool that there's some more support for "Eastern" DF campaigns, but is there a DF character template based on Chinese Elemental Powers anywhere?
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Old 03-31-2016, 05:46 PM   #3
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Default Re: Pyramid #3/89: Alternate Dungeons II

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Originally Posted by PK View Post
Is it possible to break half the assumptions involved in dungeon-crawl fantasy while still retaining the feel of the genre? Creator of GURPS Dungeon Fantasy Sean "Dr. Kromm" Punch thinks so, and Havens and Hells is the proof. Imagine a world crafted by the Gods as part of a wager, where humanity just barely survives in Havens while the rest of the world is a monster-ridden Hell. Haven life is without crime, wealth, or pain -- except for the brave Collectors who must journey into Hell to obtain the resources needed for their Haven to thrive. Death just returns you to the Haven, naked, but your gear and part of your life-force now fuels the monsters of Hell. Can you find a way for humanity to finally prevail in this game of the Gods?


From its beginnings in GURPS Dungeon Fantasy 1: Adventurers, the GURPS Dungeon Fantasy series has painted the world in broad strokes: a pseudo-medieval kingdom (or collection of them) in the center, with barbarians from the "Frozen North" and martial artists (and later ninja) from the "Mysterious East." Now, taking a cue from old-school RPGs, Christopher Rice has opened up the possibility of true Eastern Adventures. Add some Asian flavor to your existing heroes or turn your fighters into samurai with a new lens. Adjust your nonhuman races or consider playing a hengeyokai shapeshifter or tengu sword-saint. And expand combat with new power-ups and gear options, including katanas that really can cut through an opposing parties' "tank"!
Considering I spent about 6-7 hours researching and converting the Kenku race from that other game for use in my DF game, you had me at Tengu. But what kept me is all the nice new power-ups for Dungeon Fantasy use and the alternative class features.

Not to mention that even with a quick glance through Sean's article caught my interest so completely, I need to read it and use it for a game setting. I'm definitely calling this well worth the money.
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Old 03-31-2016, 05:46 PM   #4
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Default Re: Pyramid #3/89: Alternate Dungeons II

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Originally Posted by lhelf View Post
It's cool that there's some more support for "Eastern" DF campaigns, but is there a DF character template based on Chinese Elemental Powers anywhere?
No, just a Monster Hunters template. That said, Ghostdancer/Christopher Rice has a Patreon and Compulsive Writing (6) . . . :)
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Old 03-31-2016, 05:56 PM   #5
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Default Re: Pyramid #3/89: Alternate Dungeons II

Speaking of "Eastern" DF - and Eastern Fantasy in general - is the Eastern Adventures article Japan-centric or does it delve into Chinese, Mongolian, Korean, Indochinese, and Philippine style fantasy as well?
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Old 03-31-2016, 06:42 PM   #6
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Default Re: Pyramid #3/89: Alternate Dungeons II

I'm looking forward to reading this one. It sounds like Krom is providing rules for almost video-game-like DF, and David is offering up the opposite side of Combat Writ Large. I'm not entirely certain how "Eastern DF" is particularly alternate considering we already have the Martial Artist and Ninja templates and templates themselves aren't particularly unusual in DF, but knowing CR, there's some cool new alternate rules or something to sink my teeth into. I'll try my hand at a more proper review after I actually get to read it.
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Old 03-31-2016, 06:48 PM   #7
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Default Re: Pyramid #3/89: Alternate Dungeons II

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Originally Posted by lhelf View Post
It's cool that there's some more support for "Eastern" DF campaigns, but is there a DF character template based on Chinese Elemental Powers anywhere?
No, not really. I didn't have room for the monsters and magic items I planned, much less integrating a new magic system.

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Originally Posted by PK View Post
No, just a Monster Hunters template. That said, Ghostdancer/Christopher Rice has a Patreon and Compulsive Writing (6) . . . :)
*looks at files* *Tony Stark face* ...Agreed.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ternas View Post
Considering I spent about 6-7 hours researching and converting the Kenku race from that other game for use in my DF game, you had me at Tengu. But what kept me is all the nice new power-ups for Dungeon Fantasy use and the alternative class features.
I figured the power-ups would be useful for folks. I got a few more in my Designer's Notes. Tengu were a must when I was writing. I got rid of the ninja section for them - it was that important to me.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Phantasm View Post
Speaking of "Eastern" DF - and Eastern Fantasy in general - is the Eastern Adventures article Japan-centric or does it delve into Chinese, Mongolian, Korean, Indochinese, and Philippine style fantasy as well?
It's all in there. ALL OF IT. Peter Dell'Orto said "Whatever you do, make it yours, Christopher" (paraphrased a bit) when I asked him what he thought. So that's what I did. If you need a direct correlation: The Central Provinces are Chinese-inspired, the Icy Steppes are Mongolian-inspired, the Island Nations are Japanese/Korean/Philippine-inspired, the Green Lands are Indian/Malaysian/Indochinese-inspired, and the Great Desert is the Gobi writ large.

I very intentionally did not describe any cultures or the like since that's against Dungeon Fantasy Design Philosophy. (If folks want that latter part changed they'd REALLY need to make some noise not just on the fora, but Twitter, via email, and any other avenue).
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Old 03-31-2016, 06:52 PM   #8
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Default Re: Pyramid #3/89: Alternate Dungeons II

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Originally Posted by Humabout View Post
I'm not entirely certain how "Eastern DF" is particularly alternate considering we already have the Martial Artist and Ninja templates and templates themselves aren't particularly unusual in DF, but knowing CR, there's some cool new alternate rules or something to sink my teeth into. I'll try my hand at a more proper review after I actually get to read it.
Because it's ICSWTNGFIMC,BITC.:-)
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Old 03-31-2016, 06:59 PM   #9
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Default Re: Pyramid #3/89: Alternate Dungeons II

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a Short Bursts that lives up to the name with five fun and unique places to hold your autoduels.
Ten points to the first one who spots the rather specific literary reference.
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Old 03-31-2016, 07:13 PM   #10
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Default Re: Pyramid #3/89: Alternate Dungeons II

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I figured the power-ups would be useful for folks. I got a few more in my Designer's Notes. Tengu were a must when I was writing. I got rid of the ninja section for them - it was that important to me.
And for that I'm very grateful. I love the touches you've given them and the divine curse does seem quite interesting. Unfortunately in the campaign I'm a part of, it wouldn't come up too much in play just rendering it free points for the most part. I do like how you give them the ability to pick up Druid or Clerical powers considering the large amount of racial templates from just DF3 that can easily pick up Wizardly magic and it wasn't until I actually read the Tengu that I realized how unbalanced/unfair that had been.

Ultimately, I'm probably going to continue using my Converted Kenku template, if only because it's an NPC race in the setting anyhow. But at least now I have some sort of idea what it would cost for getting that 1.5x vulnerability to crushing damage so I can finally get change that to something reasonable.
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