Monday, July 16, 2012

Dungeon Fantasy 15: Henchmen

It my turn next to run a campaign for the Monday night group and we are returning to GURPS and the Majestic Wilderlands. It will set Nomar as outlined in a previous post on this blog. I will share the details and handouts in a future post.

As I sat down to work on this. I stated pulling together the stat cards and templates I will be using to create the possible NPCs and creatures the players will be running into. Just I started I noticed that there was new Dungeon Fantasy release. DF 15: Henchmen.  Written by Peter V. Dell'Orto of Dungeon Fantastic and Sean "Kromm" Punch, GURPS Line Editor; it gives advice and templates on constructing henchmen/hirelings to run around with GURPS Dungeon Fantasy characters.

I was looking forward to this because this particular DF was spawned in part by the positive reaction to the NPC stat blocks found in the back of the DF Adventure 1, Mirror of the Fire Demon. And of course as  usual for SJ Games the resulting product is far more useful than just a collection NPC stat block would have been.

After a brief introduction and some commentary on the roll of henchmans and hireling it dives into the templates. They are presented in two sets, 125 point Henchman and 62 point Bargain Hirelings. The standard henchman includes ones like Agents, Archers, Brutes, Killers, Sages, etc. The Bargain Hirelings 62 point characters include cultists (for those characters with megalomania :-) ) Guards, Laborers and of course the Torch-bearer.

The 2nd half is talks extensively about the use of henchmen in a DF campaign. First section is using them as allies i.e. D&D style henchmen. Next is using them as hireling with commentary on loyalty. Following is one of the sections that make this supplement shine how to use these templates as low powered delvers. DF version of first level.

Then another excellent section about making custom delvers. Basically in GURPS you have templates which are a menu that distill the myriad character options into a simple menu so that you can build a specific archetype for your character. There is no rule saying that you have to remain in the template but rather it is an aid to quickly make new characters. In addition to template there are lens which modify a template to add abilities or complex options that cut across various archetypes.

In the Custom Delver section Peter and Sean detail a dozen or so lens that when combined with one of the standard or bargain henchmen makes a character equal in power to one of the DF Hero templates. For example taking the Standard Initiate plus the Priest custom lens will create a character equivalent to a Hero Druid.  Add a Veteran Lens to a Standard Squire will create a Hero Knight.

This transform the Henchmen book from a limited focus on NPCs to one that is useful for both GURPS Dungeon Fantasy and GURPS Fantasy.  There is support for referees quickly making NPCs that ran from 62 point to 250 points (With DF 1 Adventurers). You could add one of the lens to a 250 pt hero template to create a 375 point character.

I put this to immediate use in the handouts I am creating for help the players make characters for my upcoming campaign. At $8 it is a great deal for GURPS Referees and at 43 page can be easily printed as booklet. It also reads well on my iPad tablet.



Cole Jenkins said...

My apologies for the pedantry, but the plural of henchman is henchmen not "henchmens".

Peter D said...

Thanks for the review! I'm glad you liked the book.

And "Henchmens" would make a great band name.