Friday, June 3, 2011

GURPS Dungeon Fantasy Monster I Review

SJ Games just released Dungeon Fantasy Monster I for GURPS. The Dungeon Fantasy line implements the GURPS system to run dungeon crawls in a style familiar to most D&D gamers. It is somewhat high powered with 250 pt characters compared to the normally recommend 150pt characters for regular GURPS campaigns.

Part of the increase is that the character are somewhat more survivable and each of the templates cover one of the traditional niches in a dungeon party. The line has been supported by 12 books so far and most of them have been excellent in quality.

But...

There was no monster manual. Scattered throughout the 12 books were various creatures one could use but nothing systematic.

Dungeon Fantasy Monsters 1 is designed to cover that lapse. It is written by Peter V. Dell’Orto and Sean Punch. There are thirty monster with each author contributing 15 from their personal campaign. That gets +1 old school bonus from me. There is a chapter on Monster Traits which means more options to personalize monster. And the at the end there is a index to all the monsters in the DF series to date.

Overall it is a very good product, 5 out of 5 starts. The format and advice is outstanding a 1000% improvement over previous GURPS bestiaries. The collected index of all DF monsters is very handy as well.

It's only quirk, if you can call it such, is that the monsters are drawn from the author's home campaign. Which generally means that they are crafted to the specific circumstance of the author's setting. For example one of the two really likes to mix his Cthulhu with his Dungeon Fantasy :D. But sometimes it means an interesting take like the bugbear, or a lot of experience with a standard monster like a troll.

This quirk can be a major plus for many gamers, in the revival of older D&D editions several products, including my own, include monsters that are product of a specific campaign. Many gamers look for this and is an important reason to buy them.

Also this quirk means that these creatures are developed from actual play. Which gives credibility to the excellent advice found with each creature.

I recommend this highly for GURPS Fantasy referees, and recommend legacy D&D gamers to take a look as well. The interesting monster descriptions and much of the tactical advice can be used for those games. You see a preview which has a complete entry here.

I would like to see future DF monster supplements to continue to include treatments of standard D&D style monsters like the Troll entry in this one.

Finally, I have a sneaking suspicion one of the authors subjected their party to the Tomb of Horrors, Horrid Skull anybody?

1 comment:

Peter said...

Thanks for reviewing the book, and I'm glad you liked it.

It would be interesting to see if people can unerringly pick out which 15 monsters are originally mine, and which are Sean's. Probably not hard if you know us, but I'd be curious to see how that shakes out.