Borderlands/Character Creation

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Basic Character Building

Starting Point Total: 275 (but see below for various details)

Starting Disadvantage Limit: -60 points plus 5 quirks (racial disadvantages do not count towards the disad limit, quirk points are counted separately, extra disadvantages over -60 are probably a terrible idea)

Starting Money: $1500 (plus a free "Adventurers Kit")

Starting characters will receive 200 points to spend on a character template from DF Adventurers, DF Scholars, DF Clerics, DF Summoners, DF Ninjas, or from the Pyramid articles regarding Mystic Knights and Justicars. 150 and 200 point versions of the templates are available Here courtesy Eric Funk (Includes GCA files). Players may also choose to "roll their own" 200 point character, but please use existing templates as a guideline to attribute levels and skills (the GM certainly is when writing encounters and hazards).

Once a character template is selected and payed for, you will receive a further 75 points for a racial template from DF3 or from the wiki, or a "multiclass" job lens from DF 3, or on upgrading your class template and powerups to a 275 point version. Point deficits from expensive templates should be made up from removing template discretionary advantages, taking more disadvantages, and/or efficiencies/savings on primary template skills, not by reducing template attributes. Left over points should be spent on Power Ups or trading more points for cash.

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. This means that Catpeople Thieves and Swashbucklers are more graceful, Kaberoi Barbarians are stronger, and Half-Ogre barbarians are stupider and stronger than their human equivalents. Humans are more diverse and skill focused than the other races.

Free Trait(s)

Everyone starts out with two languages for free: Greek (spoken and written) at Native comprehension for free, plus your own choice of secondary language.

"Barbarian" characters (with Savage, Minority Group, Uneducated, or another appropriate Social Stigma) may buy down literacy in both Greek and their second language. Buying down literacy in Greek does not count against the disadvantage limit, but buying down literacy in their second language does.

Foreign characters may buy down spoken and written fluency in Greek - if you do so, you must already have a relevant Social Stigma (Second Class Citizen, Minority Group, or Barbarian are good ones), but the points for buying down the language itself do not count against your disadvantage limit.

Languages and Cultural Familiarities


All PCs are literate by default, as per normal 4e rules. Illiteracy is a disadvantage available to anyone, but especially appropriate to Barbarians. Greek women are often illiterate but literate women will merely intrigue, not amaze.

Everyone starts with Native Greek fluency for free, and a free second language. Foreign and Barbaric characters may "sell back" Greek without counting towards their disadvantage limit. Foreigners are not required to have a different Native language - there are neighboring cultures that speak Greek with a funny accent (a valid quirk). They still get a second language for talking to less Civilized neighbors.

The various Races do not have "ethnic" languages, instead speaking languages appropriate to their culture.


Naturally, the best and most widespread Cultural Familiarity (CF) is Greek, and is the default for Civilized people. Most characters get Greek CF by default.

Being Foreign precludes your native CF from being Greek - instead choose something else appropriate to your background. This tends to penalize social and cultural skills the most, meaning that most Dungeon Fantasy characters can probably ignore this; Foreign Bards, however, should watch out for this as it amounts to a blanket -3 to almost everything mundane that Bards do regarding civilized folks. You may always buy Greek CF to avoid this.

The various races do not have "ethnic" cultures either, but some other cultures are dominated by nonhumans. Players are encouraged to invent colorful details to entertain the GM and other players.

A helpful list of languages and cultures is at Language and Culture

Wealth and Starting Equipment

All characters start with an Adventurers Kit appropriate for his or her SM, and $1500. You may trade up to 5 character points for money, at a ratio of $500 per character point. The Wealth advantage is not available, nor is the Poverty disadvantage - instead see the Connections advantage and related disadvantage. Earned wealth will be "free" with no point cost associated, but will not be "plot protected" either and can be wasted, swindled away, or stolen.

You may upgrade items from the Adventurers Kit for the list-price difference - for example upgrading to a Frame Backpack would cost only $40. This is done before play starts, and thus is done in the nebulous realm of "before I came here" using listed costs.

You may also sell items from your Adventurers Kit if you don't want them, but these items will be sold in play - you will have to use the normal rules for selling things (need to find a buyer, Average characters get 40% back on the dollar, etc).

Available Gear

Characters may buy equipment up to TL 3, using the TLs and statistics listed in GURPS Low Tech, except where otherwise modified by the Houserules.

Exception: Characters may buy TL 4 fencing swords as Signature Gear.

Equipment from the Dungeon Fantasy books generally doesn't have a TL assigned. All equipment from DF1 and the various ornamental or trade goods from DF8 will be considered acceptable starting equipment.

TL 4 equipment does exist in the game, you just can't start with it.

Signature Gear

Remove the Signature Gear advantage from Basic Set, and replace it with the Signature Gear Perk. Plot protection for something you already own is cheap, free money is expensive - Dungeon Fantasy is about going on adventures for wealth.

Crafted Equipment At Character Creation

If you have the skills to make an item at character creation, as per "Getting Stuff Cheap" in DF2, you can start with it at reduced price as if you had succeeded on the roll. This is to save a lot of annoying rolling before play even starts. See pages 3-4 in DF2 for details.

Magic Items At Character Creation

Any magic item or alchemical concoction from DF1 may be purchased at character creation at the listed cost, except the Deflect enchantment, which is not available at character creation. Note that armor enchantments are still subject to destruction by armor damage (as per the usual rules, repeated below) and the player will be expected to keep track of this. The GM suggests keeping a tally sheet for tracking penetrations.

The drawback is that when the item is badly enough damaged, the spell also vanishes. Keep track of the number of times the item is penetrated by enemy blows. When it has been penetrated (DR×5) times, using natural DR, it is damaged enough that the enchantment leaves.

-- GURPS Magic, page 66.

See also Armour Enchantments for some houserules and new enchantments available.

Difficult Racial Templates

Any race with a racial reaction modifier worse than -3 (coleopterans, corpse-eaters, gargoyles, goblin-kin (except half-orcs), half-ogres, minotaurs, ogres, reptilians, and trolls) will generally be very poorly treated in Town, and this bad attitude will rub off on non-creepy party members. The city guard will also tend to believe decent citizens over brutes and agrioi (savages), even if the citizen started it by mugging the savage. Premodern justice is a popularity contest.

Expect to get poorer rewards and worse job offers unless the character manages to improve their reaction above -3 with personal reaction bonuses or by buying off particularly debilitating disadvantages.

Social Stigmas can be bought off - the requirement for removing Social Stigma: Savage entirely is at least Accented Greek (Spoken and written, to prove you're an educated foreigner) but it can be replaced with a -5 point Stigma (Second Class) with only Accented Greek (Spoken).

Racial Appearance penalties are difficult to buy down, but Social Regard (for being a respectable Cleric/Holy Warrior/Wizard/Scholar/something, or a powerful warrior, or whatever), a personal Reputation, Honesty, and other positive reaction modifiers can help significantly.

Those reaction penalties that help pay for the combat powers need to catch you somewhere...

Races with uncorrected lesser penalties will still have trouble, but will be less likely to be run out of town just for breathing in a citizen's airspace. See DF3 p11 for the details.

Particularly Important Character Roles

This is a small list of "things the party should be able to cope with". A specialist in these tasks isn't necessary - but someone should be able to cope, somehow. Skills, advantages, spells, or equipment are all perfectly valid solutions. I won't avoid using these hazards just because you can't deal with them (if that situation comes up, I suggest hiding, running, or negotiation).

Healing yourselves.

Healing spells, alchemical potions, medical skills, and even basic First Aid (if you remembered to pack bandages) all are very useful for keeping body and soul(s) attached. Consider ways to treat disease, poison, crippling injuries, and flesh-eating worms. The mad rush back to town for a cure is nice and dramatic, but you might not make it.

Traps, secret, and locked doors.

There will be traps, secret doors, locked doors, puzzle clockwork automata, etc. If spotted in time, some traps can be avoided or broken, but some are protected and must be disarmed, and some are not easily avoided without avoiding an entire area.
One-way doors, secret/puzzle doors, concealed doors, and locked doors exist.
All else fails, taking it on the chin and fixing the victim up with Healing if they survive (see above) is some kind of a strategy...

Large groups of 'scrubs'.

I love Diablo and Diablo II, and played a lot of Nethack too. Hordes of disposable monsters are the GMs way of saying "I love this game". Multiple attacks, area attacks, or ways to shape or exploit terrain to restrict large groups of attackers avenues of attack are all a good idea.

Insubstantial, diffuse, or supernaturally tough opponents.

There are some monsters which are just plain hard to hurt.
Resisted direct effects (like Regular spells) and area effect attacks are usually good here. Silver coated weapons, Turning, and holy water are helpful against some creatures, meteoric iron, magebane potion grenades, and elemental spells or effects are good against others. And of course some things can only be killed through a shot to the heart, brain, back of the mouth, or left heel.
Unusual damage types (burning, corrosion, fatigue) are more effective against Diffuse enemies than physical damage types (crushing, cutting, impaling), as are Area attacks.
Note: A holy water grenade typically does 1d injury (bypassing DR) to affected creatures, but may as well/instead disable some of its powers or act as a Dread, Revulsion, or Fright Check trigger. Some creatures are more Vulnerable of course, and take 2x, 3x, or 4x injury. All else fails you can try to stuff the grenade down the hell-beasts throat.

Weird Junk.

Curses, on areas, people, and objects. Weird thaumatalogical hazards. Trans-dimensional slime. Flighty fey demands. Titanic remnants. Illusions. There will be Weird Junk.
Exorcism skill, Hidden Lore skills, Hazardous materials handling skills, heavy leather gloves, goggles, long tongs, specialized magic items and alchemical talismans... sometimes you'll have to get creative to handle Weird Junk. Generally there will be two ways of dealing with Weird Junk - the Easy Way (have a specialist on hand with Just The Right skill/spell/equipment) and the Hard Way (the way everyone else has to use, and what you do when the Specialist flubs it). The Hard Way isn't guaranteed to be immediately achievable.

Note from the GM on Templates

The templates, and to a lesser extent all of my character creation guidelines, consist of an inclusive list of conveniently pre-approved options, not an exclusive list of "There can be no other way!" Mucking about with a template is not verboten - but tell me what you want to do (and why you're doing it) so I know what you're aiming for and I can help out.

I suggest not building an entire completed beloved character around a tinkered template (or off template) and THEN telling me about it, because I may change a bunch of stuff or forbid the occasional thing. I don't know about you, but I hate tearing apart a polished character and redoing it.

I don't mind building entirely off-template either - but the request to discuss your plan with me before getting too involved goes twice for this option. Some concepts are going to be harder to fit into the game or will need some advance planning by myself. I also want to make sure you end up with a character that doesn't have hidden weaknesses.

Please pre-declare! I probably will say "Yes, go ahead" (or at worst "Yes but..." or "No, but how about this, it'll work better for you").

Note from the GM about character creation "surprises"

Please DON'T hand me a character without highlighting what you've done "off template", either assuming I'll be able to figure it out myself upon review or trying to "sneak" something by me. It's rude.

If I find things like that later on that I missed on review and that weren't declared, I'll probably be irked at you as a human being, and your character risks revision mid-game, or falling in an improvised pit trap. I try not to be an adversarial GM, but treat me like one and I could subcumb to the temptation.

If you think you've found the super-mega-Monster-Destroying-Combo, please tell me about it - it may not work the way you thought it did (especially due to errata or rules clarifications) and being disappointed by that sort of thing right after your dramatic reveal to save the day is pretty disappointing. And if it totally does work the way you think it does but there's some complicating factors, I can warn you about them in advance.

Most importantly, if I KNOW you have the super-mega-Monster-Destroying-Combo but it doesn't work on Fire Elementals (for example), I won't accidentally make the first adventure all about the fire elementals and ruin your day. But I also won't make the first adventure about anything BUT fire elementals, and ruin everyone elses day. Everyone should get a chance to do cool stuff.

I'm not against super-mega-Monster-Destroying-Combos, so you don't have to hide them. There's a long tradition in Dungeon Fantasy of trying to collect as many "plusses" as possible!

See Also