Monday, December 17, 2012

Character creation

I've decided that new characters start off at 150 points, as that seems roughly consonant with an AD&D first level character. This is a little bit of a problem because the Dungeon Fantasy Adventurers' templates cost 250 points. There are a few ways around this:

  1. Pick a template from Adventurer’s and build your character on 250 points, then scale back to 150 using "Dungeon Fantasy on the Cheap". Players can also/instead scale back other abilities in the template; DF on the Cheap is pretty much focused on ability scores.
  2. Pick a 125 point template from DF 15: Henchmen that mimics an acceptable template from Adventurers, then spend the extra 25 points for any of: a race, part of a 50 point occupational ‘cross-class’ lens from DF 3, or the complementary 125 point lens from DF 15: Henchmen

Acceptable Templates:

(From DF 1)
·         Barbarian
·         Bard
·         Cleric
·         Druid
·         Holy Warrior
·         Knight
·         Scout
·         Thief
·         Wizard

(From DF 15)
·         Any. However, note there are restrictions inside the templates so that they won’t mimic unacceptable templates. Generally, they’re common-sensical, here are a few:
o   Apprentice: Can only choose wizard package
o   Initiate: Can choose Druid or Good Cleric
o   Sage isn’t allowed, since there’s no point to it
o   Any ‘Eastern-flavored’ portions of the templates should be ignored

The lenses to add on top of them follow the same rules.


Races can be found in Dungeon Fantasy 3: The Next Level. Acceptable races include Human, Halfling, Wood Elf, High Elf, Dwarf, and Half-Orc. Half-orc isn’t liable to be a good idea, at least at first.

Advancement (aka why would I use a henchman template?):
The optional rule, “Changing Professions” in DF 3 on pg 42 will be in effect. In brief, you're stuck with the template you've chosen until you have all the primary abilities that template grants.

Using Dungeon Fantasy on the Cheap usually scales back core stats to remove points from the templates. This can make advancement fairly boring. To alleviate some of that, when you use such a template, only half of your earned points at any given time need to go into attribute advancement; the other half can go into various abilities already provided by the template, whether you took them or no. So, for example a Knight could increase his primary sword skill or his Born War Leader Talent; a wizard could purchase more spells or increase Magery or Energy Reserve.

The henchmen templates, on the other hand, are only 125 points, so you aren’t locked in for as long a journey, and the lenses provided offer more interesting choices than just putting points into attributes.

Also, more generally, the rules under Adding New Abilities (starting on DF 3 pg. 42) and Training Costs (ibid.) are in effect.

Notes for Magic Users including druids, clerics, and wizards:

(Taken in large part from Peter over at Dungeon Fantastic, by way of this post on the SJ Games Forums.)
Instead of the standard fatigue-based magic, we’ll be using Threshold magic. Standard Threshold is 30, and you can buy more at 1 for 1 point. Recovery rate is high enough. You cannot buy Energy Reserve except via a familiar. Other energy sources – power items, paut potions, etc. – still exist. Also, wizards can burn HP for spells at standard rates (and penalties), but druids and clerics cannot. Further, you can concentrate while grappled, if you make a Will-6 roll. If you attempt and fail, you must Do Nothing

  • Shape Earth and Earth to Air only work on unworked stone
  • Walk Through Earth can only be cast on yourself
  • Wizard 'appendages' (Wizard Eye, Wizard Ear, etc) do not exist.
  • ‘Mass’ versions of spells take no longer to cast than their Minimum Costs, in seconds.
  • Geas and Enslave require ceremonial casting on a helpless target, and they take an hour per point
  • Only a small number of Meta college spells exist: Ward, Counterspell, Great Ward, Dispel Magic
  • Counterspell requires you to know the spell countered or five spells in the same college; same with Ward. Further, these spells require that the source of the spell be the same as your source; e.g. clerics cannot counterspell wizards.
  • The Machine, Metal and Energy colleges don’t exist. If their spells are part of another college, then those spells can still be learned.
  • Magical missiles get a save chance vs. Missile Shield and Reverse Missiles
  • Force Dome and Utter Dome, along with their Wall types, don’t exist.
  • See Secrets only works on things that are within plain view. Thus, if there’s a secret door that you can’t detect because it blends in with the wall, See Secrets will show it. However, if it’s hidden behind a tapestry, See Secrets will not work.
  • Explosive spells (Explosive Fireball, Explosive Lightning, etc) use the old 3rd edition explosion rules, meaning that for each hex out from the center, you drop the highest die, rather than dividing by 3 x distance


I don’t have room here to do the subject justice, so here’s the basics. The gritty details must needs wait on another post.

 Halflings and Humans get Common Native/Native, and Tengwar (Common) at Native (it’s written only).

Elves of both types get Elvish Native/Native and Common Native/None. If it ever matters, the Elvish written form is Tengwar (Elvish). They don’t have another sort.

Other races get their native tongues at Native/Native and Common at Native/None. Note that for other races the native writing form is not Tengwar.

Finally, Barbarians of any race only get Spoken proficiencies. Thus, barbarians of any type have 3 points to spend somewhere else. Human barbarians get to choose another language to speak natively, if they so desire.


The Outdoorsman talent costs only 5 points, and doesn’t include Fishing.

Druids and Wizards can consider animal companions/familiars as part of their starting templates, if you so desire.

Healing potions are 1/5th the cost if bought at start.

In Dungeon Fantasy, trading cash for points gives you the same amount of money as buying signature gear. Why would you ever do the former? Well, for one, the cash from Signature Gear must needs all be spent in one place, on one piece of gear. If your signature gear doesn’t cost some multiple of $500, too bad. Also, Signature Gear cannot be used to purchase perishables such as rations, torches, or healing potions. Finally, Signature Gear provides protection, but it also ties you to the item, meaning you can’t easily upgrade later. If you find a better sword, you can’t just leave your Signature Gear sword at home, sorry.

Last note:
The point totals above are for beginning characters. Once the median point value of the party is 200, new characters will start with 200, and so on – the starting value will bump for every 50 points the median increases.

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