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Old 05-28-2021, 11:31 PM   #1
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Default [DF] A Portal Fantasy within a Dungeon Fantasy: Where's Alice?

Somewhere along the timeline within the DnD setting of Greyhawk, young Alice ventured from that land into a portal that led her to an alternate plane of existence, an alternate version of Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland known within the Greyhawk setting as “Dungeonland”. Just like in the original stories of Wonderland this alternate reality version of Alice had her own adventures in Dungeonland. The two modules, Dungeonland and The Land Beyond the Magic Mirror, appear to take place sometime after Alice’s own adventures; she never makes an appearance within the modules and is only mentioned in the text read by the GM to inform them of the premise of the modules. Anyone who has read these modules would also know that they are… well, deadly. The Wonderland of Lewis Carroll’s imagination was never a very nice place to begin with, but Gary Gygax’s interpretation of it for the dungeon fantasy genre just turns all the dials all the way up. Which begs the question: how on earth did Alice survive through the perilous encounters she experienced in Dungeonland? I naturally concluded that just like Wonderland was dungeon-fantasified into Dungeonland, so to was Alice.

I figured I might make her an NPC within my future campaign and adapt Gygax’s Dungeonland and The Land Beyond the Magic Mirror modules to have her included. Say, the PCs are wrangled into tracking down a noble’s runaway daughter (Alice!) and must bring her back. Now hot in pursuit of her, the PCs track her into the nearby dense woodland. They are right on her heels as she suddenly plummets down what appears to be a bottomless pit! They peer down only to see her floating down into the darkness and out of sight… what follows is the PCs always being one step behind as they track her through Dungeonland. They serendipitously catch up just in time for her trial at the palace after the prince has planted the tarts on Alice and the queen screams “Off with her head!”. Alice witnesses the prince snatch up the tarts off a nearby table and runoff during the ensuing chaos, as do the PCs. This is no doubt a good time to mention that there’s the possibility of a TPK that could occur here as the Dungeonlandians present and the royal guards will be all over… Alice, up till that point surviving on her own is likely at least a 250 point character. If things work out like I would hope the PCs are just short of that (it’s looking like these modules will be taking place just before the finale of my campaign, Tomb of Horrors).

So… what does Alice’s character sheet look like? I am thinking she could be built with the Swashbuckler template (so she can later wield the Vorpal Blade… with style!), with the Swashbuckler-Wizard Lense. Or she could possibly be built off-template using the advise in DF’s Adventurers? I’m open to any suggestions. She might not make the final cut for when I run the modules as I otherwise want it to be faithful to the material Gygax wrote, but I'd like to entertain the idea anyways.
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Old 05-28-2021, 11:58 PM   #2
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Default Re: [DF] A Portal Fantasy within a Dungeon Fantasy: Where's Alice?

If you Google "GURPS Seventh Son" you'll find a DF template on PK's site. It's for a farm boy who isn't obviously powerful but keeps surviving.
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Old 05-29-2021, 12:31 PM   #3
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Default Re: [DF] A Portal Fantasy within a Dungeon Fantasy: Where's Alice?

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If you Google "GURPS Seventh Son" you'll find a DF template on PK's site. It's for a farm boy who isn't obviously powerful but keeps surviving.
You mean this? Looks pretty good, and honestly fits better than what I've roughed out in my head so far. Undoubtedly she'll have need of some plot armor in the form of some level of Luck and Serendipity. Although I might want tinker with it to suit a daughter of upper class upbringing. I'll see about working out a sheet with this and share it for some feedback.
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Old 05-29-2021, 11:28 PM   #4
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Default Re: [DF] A Portal Fantasy within a Dungeon Fantasy: Where's Alice?

Part 1

Alice

250 points

Primary Attributes:
ST 8 [-20]
DX 13 [60]
IQ 13 [60]
HT 13 [30]

Secondary Characteristics:
Damage 1d-3/1d-2
BL 13 lbs.
HP 8 [0]
Will 13 [0]
Per 13 [0]
FP 13 [0]
Basic Speed 7.00 [10]
Basic Move 7 [0]
SM -1

Advantages:
Fit [5]
Honest Face [1]
Rapier Wit [5]
Ridiculous Luck (Game Time, +0%) [60]

Disadvantages:
Callous [-5]
Curious (12) [-5]
Selfish (12) [-5]
Social Stigma (Minor) [-5]

Skills:
Acrobatics (H) DX [4]-13
Brawling (E) DX+2 [4]-15
Climbing (A) DX+1 [4]-14
Diplomacy (H) IQ-1 [2]-12
First Aid (E) IQ+1 [2]-14
Gesture (E) IQ [1]-13
Hiking (A) HT-1 [1]-12
Knife (E) DX+1 [2]-14
Knot-Tying (E) DX [1]-13
Navigation (Land) (A) IQ [2]-13
Public Speaking (Repartee) (E) IQ+1 [2]-14
Running (A) HT [2]-13
Savior-Faire (High Society) (E) IQ+2 [4]-15
Scrounging (E) Per [1]-13
Shortsword (A) DX+3 [12]-16
Stealth (A) DX [2]-13
Survival (Woodlands) (A) Per [2]-13
Swimming (E) HT [1]-13
Throwing (A) DX+1 [4]-14
Weather Sense (A) IQ [2]-13
Wrestling (A) DX+2 [4]-15

Last edited by Tymathee; 06-03-2021 at 07:03 PM. Reason: Updated skills.
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Old 05-29-2021, 11:30 PM   #5
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Default Re: [DF] A Portal Fantasy within a Dungeon Fantasy: Where's Alice?

Part 2

Designer’s Notes

Here is my first draft of Alice’s stats, sans equipment loadout that I can hem and haw about later. Conceptually it only makes sense that our dungeon-fantasified Alice have at least some nods to the original source material, which I made sure to include. I cannibalized the “Seventh Son” template to build her stats as I saw fit.

For a fantastically competent child fitting for DF, she has mostly good primary attributes. At some later point I will stat-up the Vorpal Blade (sans the sentient part, but with the usual abilities plus more) for her to have that will likely more than compensate for her lackluster damage. Hmm… say, she just happens upon it while on the run through Dungeonland before she is taken into the palace. I will have to modify some scenes with T. Diumm and T. Deeous in The Land Beyond the Magic Mirror though since that is where the Vorpal Blade is found normally, but that should not be difficult.

For secondary characteristics, she is small and fast, two good things to have if you have little to no protection in the form of armor. At least how I’ve envisioned it so far her father had taken her to a trip to “Town” and she was only equipped with what you would expect for a day trip to the market, then got in a spat with her father which led to her running off just as the party of PCs happen to be nearby for the father to ask them to collect her (he’s a jerk and has a lot of disposable money to throw at adventurers for petty things).

For advantages, most notably I will talk about Rapier Wit and her Ridiculous Luck… and the absence of Serendipity.

Rapier Wit because I figure our dungeon-fantasified Alice has quite the sharp silver-tongue, with skill in making witty insults that sound like she might have repurposed local children’s limericks for. The skill Public Speaking (Repartee) is interesting in that it is specifically just for insulting… intended to be used in place of regular Public Speaking. Seems fair, right?

Ridiculous Luck has the Game Time modifier which I will have convert to a 1 for 1 ratio. She can use her Ridiculous Luck every ten minutes in game time., which will let her use her Ridiculous Luck once per 30 in-game minutes (Edited as of 5/31/21. See later posts for relevant context).

I felt conflicted about Serendipity. I’ve no real empirical evidence to back this but from what I observe is that to some extent GMs, consciously or not, will have “Serendipity X [0]” for all the PCs as a campaign switch turned on for the typical game in the form of “convenient coincidences” as the GM has a soft bias for the players. For my campaign, to some extent I have got scripted sequences in mind like the previously mentioned bit of how the PCs just happen to catch up just in time for Alice’s trial at the palace. Even though she is an NPC it feels awkward to have her pay points for something the PCs get for free. Granted those serendipitous moments are wholly at my discretion because otherwise they should almost feel like the world is out to get them and there is no guarantee of happy coincidences. I know, harsh, but I am trying to invoke that kind of atmosphere with my style of dungeon crawl fantasy. Alice will have the same sparse amount of Serendipity as the PCs get for free, as in what I think is convenient to nudge the plot in the right direction.

I kept her Disadvantages compact, just enough to get that feeling of “this is Alice” which I did not think needed the full -50 for. Callous is much less “uncaring sociopath” and much more “self-absorbed child”; “… she frequently shows unkindness in her conversations with the animals in Wonderland, takes violent action against the character Bill the Lizard by kicking him into the air, and reflects her social upbringing in her lack of sensitivity and impolite replies.” (a quote pulled from her Wikipedia page)

She has got a pretty good swath of skills suited for helping her survive the wilds of Dungeonland. It would seem implausible for a real seven-year-old to have such skill, but we are talking about a fantastically competent child that is somehow capable of surviving Dungeonland, where pretty much everything is inevitably out to kill you.

Last edited by Tymathee; 05-31-2021 at 06:54 PM. Reason: Update regarding Game Time modifier.
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Old 05-29-2021, 11:39 PM   #6
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Default Re: [DF] A Portal Fantasy within a Dungeon Fantasy: Where's Alice?

When you say "Ridiculous Luck (Game Time, +0%) [60]", do you mean time in "real life" or "inside the game"?
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Old 05-29-2021, 11:45 PM   #7
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Default Re: [DF] A Portal Fantasy within a Dungeon Fantasy: Where's Alice?

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When you say "Ridiculous Luck (Game Time, +0%) [60]", do you mean time in "real life" or "inside the game"?
Inside the game, rather than real life time. Even with the 1 for 1 ratio I've mentioned in my "Designer's Notes" I think it is perfectly fine since I, the GM, dictate the flow of time in my game. Ten minutes passes when I say so. It suits the pacing I like.
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Old 05-30-2021, 12:07 AM   #8
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Default Re: [DF] A Portal Fantasy within a Dungeon Fantasy: Where's Alice?

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(...) Ten minutes passes when I say so. It suits the pacing I like.
Then your Alice is a 310 CP character.

As I see it, Alice has a cosmic (+100%) enhancement, similar to "wishing" from GURPS Powers P.59; time is inherently tied to your will.

You have to give players the same ratio of luck as Alice will have or the advantage would be fickle.

From a player’s perspective the modifier is not a 0% feature.
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Old 05-30-2021, 12:19 AM   #9
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Default Re: [DF] A Portal Fantasy within a Dungeon Fantasy: Where's Alice?

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Then your Alice is a 310 CP character.

As I see it, Alice has a cosmic (+100%) enhancement, similar to "wishing" from GURPS Powers P.59; time is inherently tied to your will.

You have to give players the same ratio of luck as Alice will have or the advantage would be fickle.

From a player’s perspective the modifier is not a 0% feature.
Hmm, maybe I'm stretching the spirit of the modifier but I think Kromm's wisdom still holds up. Of course if the players want to dish out 60 points for Ridiculous Luck than I shall give them it.
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Old 05-30-2021, 01:32 AM   #10
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Hmm, maybe I'm stretching the spirit of the modifier but I think Kromm's wisdom still holds up. Of course if the players want to dish out 60 points for Ridiculous Luck than I shall give them it.
The point is this:

Quote:
You have to give players the same ratio of luck as Alice.
It does not matter if it is "normal" or "ridiculous" luck, when you put "Game Time 0%" into play it should apply to all who bought luck or the balance will be broken.

The rationale behind the "game time" modifier resulting in 0% is the fact that it works as an "universal meta-enhancement" it is a feature of the world. For example, if everything in the universe is completely invisible, then being invisible is not an advantage at all; and the cost is 0. It is roughly the same for other advantages in GURPS

In that Kromm's post it is explicit that the modifier encompasses all the players; it is not reserved for a single character.
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