Borderlands/GURPS DF Borderlands

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Game Premise

Classical Dungeon Fantasy in more than one way. A GURPS DF game with strong Greek mythological influences, and undertones or themes from Norse mythology and probably a few pages stolen from Lovecraft's Dreamlands because why not.

After the Titanomachoi, the great war wherein the Gods threw down the Protogenoi and freed the world from slavery, the world lay in ruins, and all the races were struggling to cope with their new-found freedom. With the help of the Gods and three centuries of time, some of the Achaean city-states have rebuilt themselves enough to send out explorers and settlers into the darkened ruins on the edges of the civilized world.

One such infant settlement has established itself in the Énaspétrinos Pýrgos, a great fortification shaken to ruins when Athena dropped the entire Pindus mountain range on Erebos, Protogenos of Darkness, trapping him beneath. The Pýrgos ruins still stand in the eastern foothills of the Pindus range, on the path used by titanspawned monsters come to wreck havoc among the cities in Aeolia, the region east of the mountains.

Scouts from the new settlement (now called Froúrio sta Sýnora) tell rumours of a cave or cave complex in the hills that may be used as a base by the more civilized monsters.

The GM fully intends to use random treasure, random encounters, random weather, and various other blaaasts from the paaaast.

World Background

Full details at the Background page

The Protogenoi built all creation as a playground, spawned the Gods as their messengers and servants, and populated the world with living races as playthings, dictating their every action. The Gods eventually rose up in rebellion and fought a great war against the Protogenoi, and their shattered bodies fell into the seas and onto the land of the mortal world.

The potent blood of the Protogenoi, filled with the power of creation, changed and twisted many things, bringing both power and monsters.

The world still rings from this conflict, three centuries later.


The Blood of Khaos, Protogenoi of the Void outside creation, seeped through the cracks in the earth and is rumoured to flow in great rivers underground. The ebb and flow of magic is blamed on the movements of the Blood of Khaos deep beneath the earth, as is the taint and power of the monsters which have been emerging from the caves in the centuries since Khaos' fall.

Mana is, literally, the Blood of Khaos.

Required Reading

You should have available to you the following GURPS books (either yours, or from someone you can borrow them from regularly)
  • GURPS Basic Set: Characters
  • GURPS Basic Set: Campaigns
  • GURPS Dungeon Fantasy 1: Adventurers
You will want to have access to parts of the following under some circumstances.
  • GURPS Dungeon Fantasy 2: Dungeons (you only need to read over the first half, but you really need to read over the first half)
  • GURPS Dungeon Fantasy 3: The Next Level (contains all the nonhuman races and the 50 point "Multiclass" lenses - not necessary if you're playing a human and are happy with the templates as presented).
  • GURPS Low Tech: I will be using the weapons and equipment from this book over those in the Basic Set. However, you can get by with just the GCA data file and my cheat sheet if all you need is the weapons and armor.
  • GURPS Magic

Recommended for every physical or equipment-based character, and probably useful for everyone else:

  • GURPS Martial Arts
  • GURPS Low Tech (Everything Else In It).

Required for any spell caster

  • GURPS Magic (no negotiation on this point - buy a PDF or hard copy if you have spells on your character sheet)

Recommended for divine characters:

  • GURPS Dungeon Fantasy 7: Clerics


  • GURPS Powers Divine Favor (Clerics may choose to substitute Divine Favor for Power Investiture + spells and the usual Holy Might powers - or supplement one with the other, but this option is expensive. See New and Adjusted Traits for more notes on Divine Favor).
Anything "Dungeon Fantasy" is generally useful, but may not be useful for everyone.

Character Creation

Full details at the Character Creation page

200 points for a character template from DF Adventurers, DF Scholars, DF Clerics, DF Summoners, or from the Pyramid articles regarding Mystic Knights and Bounty Hunters. 150 and 200 point versions of the templates are available Here courtesy Eric Funk (Includes GCA files). Free-building is also acceptable, but check out Character Creation for some guidelines.

50 points for a racial template or job lens from DF 3 or on upgrading your class template to the 250 point version; point deficits from 75 point templates to be made up from template discretionary advantages and primary skills, not from class template attributes.

The result should be that your racial attribute bonuses add to your template attributes, rather than subsidizing them. In GCA you can achieve this effect by apply the racial template after the class template.

See the full Character Creation page for details about free traits, starting wealth and starting equipment (including both equipment restrictions and free equipment!).


Full details at the Advancement page

CP Rewards

Character Point rewards will be associated with various goals and tasks that PCs accept, based on the GMs estimation of how difficult or significant they are (not based on how difficult the PCs manage to make them). CP rewards for tasks may range from 2-5 per character for "simple" tasks, up to 20 or more for amazing ones. Players will have the opportunity to pick up between 20 to 50 CP in a single "expedition", but if PCs can't find or complete the task, no reward will be provided.

Cash Rewards

Successful expeditions will have plenty of opportunity to earn valuable prizes, either "in the field" or as rewards upon your return, but many sources of valuables will require skills to exploit fully (or even recognize).

Information about Currency is available for the morbidly curious.

Spending CP

Players may freely Buy Successes as per the Influencing Success Rolls box on Basic page 347; Player Guidance (same box) is also available but the GM will often incorporate sufficiently "cool" ideas without charging character points, and may flat out refuse "lame" ideas. In either case, character points must be available to be spent - point debt is not an option.

Note that normal CP spent on successes, player guidance, and points spent on extra cash at character creation will be considered "Spent" points and part of your point total, for purposes of charging for Allies and for making replacement characters.

"CP that can be used for successes only" awarded by NPCs as a mechanic to handle "luck" or "blessings" earned in play will not count towards the character point total, nor will looted cash, temporary spells cast by NPCs on PCs as rewards, and various other misc things. Ask the GM if you need clarification in any particular instance.

Spending earned CP on character advancement takes a week's rest in town, and costs money - spent on rental of training facilities, hiring sparring partners and tutors, access to training materials, etc. Knights and Clerics may not buy new skills in the field "on the fly" for free, despite what it says on their templates (but see the full Advancement page).

House Rules

Full house rules at Houserules

I'm accumulating all of "Campaign specific options" like alternate racial packages and etc, "clarifications and expansions" and actual variant rules in one page. One Stop Shopping for "what's different from the books".

Of particular note:

  • Some advantages have had their rules or prices changed.
  • Many racial templates have changed slightly because of the advantage changes, and some have had more significant changes. There are also three new races (grotlins, centaurs, kaberoi).


The gods overthrew the Protogenoi in the Titanomachy, the great 10 year war over the nature of Free Will that rocked the world three centuries ago. The civilized races sided with the gods, for their support of independence and Free Will for all.

The gods are split into two major groups: the celestial gods, who dwell high on Olympus and are worshiped beneath the sky with raised sacrificial altars, and the cthonic gods, who dwell beneath the earth and are worshiped in caves with sacrificial pits. Neither group is particularly "Good" or "Evil" or particularly interested in morality - the choice of good or evil is a concern of mortality, not divinity. The gods make terrible role models for ethical people.

The gods do actively concern themselves with things they find annoying, however, and have a clear sense of honor which they seem willing to enforce with lightning bolts, curses, and monsters. Atheist characters qualify for a Delusion (because the Gods are real) and Excommunicated (the Gods only help those who ask nicely, and nobody else wants to be in lightning bolt range), and may rapidly acquire Unlucky or Cursed if they're actively disrespectful.

Gods Available for Worship

The gods are categorized below according their associated types of Cleric and Holy Warrior, as per DF 7. You may always play a standard Cleric or Holy Warrior instead of one of the variants from DF 7 for any of the gods. All of the gods use the Holy power and templates - Unholy is the power modifier for Titanic worship and the occasional unstable minority cult.

Characters without divinely-invested powers generally respect all the gods, sacrificing to whomever seems most relevant to the problem, and celebrating at every significant festival (everyone likes a party). Picking a 'favorite' god is a little unusual for characters without Holy entanglement, but not completely unheard of.

Olympian Gods

The Olympian gods rule from atop Mount Olympus. All the gods in this category are worshiped in the open air and from the highest point available. Sacrifices are presented atop an altar (to raise the sacrifice even closer to the gods) and preferably during the day. All Clerics of Olympian gods suffer with lower Sanctity at night (Druids of Artemis use the normal Druid wilderness rules, and therefore are not affected by this).

These gods are not "good", they just have a particularly good vantage point for throwing things at irreverent mortals.

  • Zeus - Storm God
  • Hera - City Goddess.
  • Poseidon - Sea God (But also see Ennosigaios, below)
  • Athena - War Goddess (or City Goddess, players choice of template)
  • Ares - War God
  • Demeter - Agricultural Goddess
  • Apollo - Sun God
  • Artemis - Hunt Goddess (use Druid template as per the last paragraph on DF7 p. 17)
  • Hephaestus - Artificer God
  • Aphrodite - Love and Fertility Goddess
  • Hermes - Messenger and Rogue God
  • Dionysus - God of Frenzy (no template in DF 7, but I'm working on one)

Cthonic Gods

The Cthonic gods dwell in the deep places of the world, either in the Kingdom of Hades (Hades and Persephone) or in their own kingdoms in deep caverns (Hecate and Iacchus) or in the depths of the ocean (Ennosigaios/Poseidon). All the gods in this category are worshiped in enclosed temples, preferably in caverns or artificial mines. Sacrifices are presented in a sacrificial pit (to lower the sacrifice even closer to the gods) and preferably during the night. All Clerics of Cthonic gods suffer with lower Sanctity during the day (Druids of Persephone use the normal Druid wilderness rules, and therefore are not affected by this).

These gods are not "evil", but they attract more loony cults than the Olympians do as they have a harder time spotting misbehaving mortals from underground, and all the dirt tends to ruin their line of fire when throwing curses at people who have their worship all wrong.

  • Hades - Death God (Holy version only, no Zombie creation spells. Clerics of Hades may learn the Resurrection spell at PI 6, as per DF7)
  • Persephone - Agricultural Goddess (use Druid template)
  • Hecate - Night Goddess
  • Iacchus - Fire God
  • Ennosigaios - Earth God (Poseidon's alias)
  • Various ascended heroes - dead heroes of particularly notable valor are venerated as City Gods, and are especially protective of the location of their tombs or memorials.

Worldly Gods

These gods dwell in rivers, springs, waterfalls, or the wild and remote places of the world. Most are served by Druids instead of Clerics, but all can muster (very) small groups of Holy Warriors. Typical spheres of interest are Agriculture, Earth, Hunt, and the Sea (as a stand in for "water"). Their worship and temple design is idiosyncratic.

These gods are usually more "minor" than the other groups, and more interested in local affairs, reflected in the Sanctity rules for their Clerics - instead of being tied to the day/night cycle Sanctity for these gods is lowered anywhere away from their centers of worship. There are a couple of notable exceptions, who's clerics are more suitable as PCs:

  • Asclepius - God of Healing (Served by Clerics of Healing). Replace Hidden Lore on the Secondary Skills list with Animal Handling (Serpents) (A) IQ-1 [1]-13, and add Hidden Lore (Demons, Spirits, or Undead) to the list of Background Skills. As Asclepius is the son of Apollo, his priests follow the same cycle as the Olympian gods.
  • Pan - God of the Hunt, served by both Clerics and Druids of the Hunt, and by standard Druids. Pan's Clerics must take the Song, Dance, or Musical limitation on their Power Investiture, as per the Magery limitations.

Scripture, and Divinity

There is no scripture, holy writings, or big carved stone tablets with the rules and words of the gods written on them. Other than for historical interest, there isn't much point as the gods are prone to changing their minds, contradicting themselves, or suffering moments of emotional (or drunken) passion. They also are particularly annoyed by people throwing their words back in their faces.

A Theology roll (trained or default) can give a character an educated guess about "What Would Zeus Do" - many questions or points rate positive Task Difficulty Modifiers as the gods tend to be relatively straightforward in their demands on their worshipers, so default use will be favorable and trained use nigh guarenteed. These rolls will be made in secret by the GM with results relayed to the player.

Blessed characters have a hotline to the gods and can get an official answer, as can any character using Divination spells. Note that as the gods are subject to changing their minds, even "canonical" answers may become out-of-date, especially when it comes to inter-divinity relations.

See Also