As all my other reviews this one will be rated according to meat (rules, stats, game mechanics), cheese (setting, characters, story), sauce (form, writing, style, art) and generic nutritional substance (universal nature, adaptability). At the end you find a weighted average of those components and a value score that also takes into account price per page.
This week saw the release of another Dungeon Fantasy title and as Dr. Kromm’s blog suggested it’s another Matt Riggsby one. Dungeon Fantasy Treasures 2: Epic Treasures turns the Treasures sub-line into regular thing that actually needs the number in the title.
Author: Matt Riggsby (a.k.a. Turhan’s Bey Company on the fora)
Date of Publication: 04/02/2016
Format: PDF-only (Warehouse 23-only)
Page Count: 13 (1 title page, 1 content page, 1 index page)
Price: $4.99 (PDF), $ 0.38 per page of content; Score of 3/10
In contrast to the first volume in the series this one is a bona fide gear catalogue. There are rules to make solid gold and platinum weapons and armour (spoiler: they suck), but apart from that everything is a unique epic treasure. The book itself feels a lot like the item section from the Other Game’s Dungeon Master’s Guide with everything generic removed. Older gamers might also remember the Encyclopedia Magica from the same game. There is however one glaring difference: Epic Treasures is too damn short! At ten pages of actual content it’s even shorter than Power Items (which was at least of appropriate length for the subject matter).
This will not impact any scores except the Value Score, but I dearly hope the length is due to Matt Riggsby is holding back highly-specialised treasure troves for future supplements.
Required reading for this includes the usual DF 1-3, but also DF 6: Artifacts and DF 8: Treasure Tables, funnily enough DF Treasures 1 is not exactly needed.
As a gear catalogue the book is rather meaty, but in DF that is still rules light. We don’t get any behind-the-scenes deconstruction of the item’s traits, but that’s sort of the point. These are unique treasures. They don’t even get a price tag, though most come with a fully power-items-compliant Energy Reserve.
Most interesting rules-wise are platinum and gold weapons and armour. I’d like to see something like that done to the faulty rules for silver weapons presented in the Basic Set, but the rules given here are easy enough to reverse-engineer. The same goes for the energy costs for high-powered weapon enchantments that only need a dollar cost in DF.
The items themselves range from the very powerful/almost imbalanced (Whirlwind Swords, Spell Magnifier, Omnigates), over the powerfully specialised like armour that effectively gives you an elemental meta trait, to classic plot devices (Dungeon Torpedo, Nightmare Phaeton, Forest Clarion, Raiser of Mountains). There are two or three that are rather boring (both mechanically and power-wise), but things like the Universal Tool and the Cornucopia are the exception.
On the whole that comes out to a rather tasty meat snack. Not quite the top of the heap, but pretty good
Meat score: 8 (high-class ham)
As in the last supplement in this line Riggsby surprises us with a pretty atmospheric book by DF standards. Most of the items have an interesting touch to them. They don’t quite come with a backstory, but most certainly evoke a feeling of well the epic. Except a few silly ones like the Centarmor (yeah, exactly what you’re thinking off) all these items are a fitting reward for an epic adventure – not only in power, but also in style.
Additionally, the introduction has a very good explanation of what makes an item epic that is pretty helpful for campaign-building.
Cheese score: 6.5 (the stuff you just like on your pizza)
The art ranges from pretty good to serviceable without anything awful hidden in the pages. The only annoying thing is the repetition of the title image on the very next page. That’s unnecessary.
I already said a bit about the evocative nature of the items in the last section and Matt Riggby’s language certainly is good for that. There are few obvious jokes, but I really like the shout-out to DSA/Realms of Arkania with the Blades of Destiny (including invading hordes and a picture of a Viking).
Sauce score: 6.5 (Tomato is good with anything)
Generic Nutritional Substance
There’s no denying that this book is geared towards the Sword and Sorcery crowd, though many items will also work in an urban fantasy setting they do seem most appropriate for something where dungeons at least remain a possibility. That does not mean pure DF, though.
Generic Nutritional Substance score: 6.5 (filling)
A pretty good dang good gear catalogue that only suffers from its short length. Gamers on a budget might want to get something with a better value.
Total score: 7.25 (not quite epic, but helping you get there)
Total score is composed of a weighted average of Meat (40%), Cheese (25%), Sauce (20%) and Generic Nutritional Substance (15%). This is a meat-oriented book. A “cheesy” setting- or drama-orientied book would turn the percentages for cheese and meat around.
Value score: 5.125 (only slighty below the preceding volume)
Value Score is composed of the average of Total and Price.
GURPS is a registered trademark of Steve Jackson Games, and the art here is copyrighted by Steve Jackson Games. All rights are reserved by SJ Games. This material is used here in accordance with the SJ Games online policy.