Perky Post: Dungeon Faeries 6 – The Glaistig

Right before the end of the Dungeon Fantasy kickstarter, in jumps a new contender for Dungeon Fairy of the year:

Glaistig (15 Points)

Choice Professions: Barbarian, Martial Artist, Scout, Swashbuckler, Thief, Wizard
Marginal Professions: Bard

The goat-legged Glaistig are easily mistaken for tallish fauns – a fact that these very prim and proper faeries deeply resent. They used to be protectors of wild herd animals, changed towards domestic herds with the coming of the humanoid races and are getting more and more disenchanted by the modern world and its turning cows into iron-rations mentality. This pent-up anger makes them prone to joining adventuring parties who need someone to deliver a good ass-kicking.

Glaistig, especially female ones, try to disguise their goat legs with robes or skirts, but that doesn’t mean they can’t use them to shatter knee-caps and leap over high elves in a single bound. Glaistig enjoy wild nature, but would side with the careful farmer and caring shepherd versus the wild-haired druid. This and their “no fun please!” attitude make them pretty unpopular among other faeries, but well-liked among countryfolk. They often get offered small gifts or discounts on goods and services.

Attribute Modifiers [-20]: DX +1 [20]
Secondary Characteristic Modifiers [5]: Basic Move +1 [5]
Advantages [38]: Claws (Hooves) [3]; Magery 0 [5]; Super Jump +2 [20]; Talent: Good Shepherd* 2 [10]
Perks [2]: Glaistig Discount** [1]; Patience of Job [1]
Disadvantages [-50]: Dependency: Mana (Very Common, Constantly) [-25]; No Sense of Humor [-10]; Sense of Duty (Pastoral Nature)† [-15]
Feature: Leg and foot armour isn’t interchangeable with human armour – but, embarrassingly with faun armour. Tail (neither a manipulator nor enough of a problem to interfere with armour).

*Good Shepherd: You are naturally good at caring for livestock and keeping them safe from predators by clouting those with your crook. This talent aids: Animal handling (domestic herd animals only), Climbing (for finding lost animals), Staff, Survival and Veterinary. Reaction Bonus: simple country folk, pastoral nomads. Only Glaistig may have it and buy up to two more levels at character creation. 5 points / level.

**Glaistig Discount: This is Cheaper Gear (Simple Food, Drink and Lodging) for a 25% discount – an extra 5%, because it only applies in the countryside.

Sense of Duty (Pastoral Nature): Glaistig help inoffensive prey animals that don’t threaten to become a danger to farming. They don’t have any tuck with overgrown groves, but they don’t see a  problem with clearing a path for humanoids either. They do abhor twisted and corrupted nature  just like good druids and the other faeries. This Sense of Duty does not prevent them from eating meat of domestic animals, but they brook no cruelty towards living animals an feel pretty bad when they have to take their lives. Most Glaistig are vegetarians.


GURPS is a registered trademark of Steve Jackson Games. All rights are reserved by SJ Games. This material is used here in accordance with the SJ Games online policy.

Perky Post: Dungeon Faeries 5 – The Spriggan

The GURPS Dungeon Fantasy RPG kickstarter continues to grow and so do these faeries:

Spriggan (20 points)

Choice Professions: Martial Artist, Scout, Thief
Marginal Professions: Knight

Spriggans are the kind of people most folks can figure out at a glance: Their faces all look like they have been violently rearranged a couple of times and the greasy, stringy hair doesn’t help either. They aren’t quite your regular diminutive farie with an attitude though.

When threatened – or really whenever they feel like it – Spriggans can grow to the size of an ogre with the strength to match. They mainly use that to keep others from stealing their treasures or deliver a beating to those disrespecting mother nature. Their dual nature as miserly nature faeries, means they can often be found guarding far-out treasure troves or moonlighting as highwaymen.

Despite their predilection for treasure, Spriggans prefer to travel light. Their growth only covers very light equipment and given the chance Spriggans rather carry a big stick instead of a bunch of armour and heavy stuff. This can lead to problems, but Spriggans are rather harder to kill than most faeries. They like to pretend feebleness only to strike their foes in the back.

Spriggans are short, but stocky – not completely unlike halflings, but don’t tell them that. They aren’t fond of protection rackets and prefer straightforward robbery. Figure height normally for their ST, but multiply the result by 0.5. Multiply the corresponding weight by 0.6.

Attribute Modifiers [-20]: ST -3 [-30]; HT +1 [10]
Secondary Characteristic Modifiers [0]: SM -2 [0]
Advantages [105]: Spriggan Growth* [105]
Perks [3]: Giant Weapons† [1]; Iron Arms [1]; Patience of Job [1]
Disadvantages [-58]: Appearance (Ugly) [-8]; Dependency: Mana (Very Common, Constantly) [-25]; Miserlines (12) [-10] Sense of Duty (Nature) [-15]

*Spriggan Growth. By concentrating for 1 second a Spriggan can grow to SM +0 and gain +8 ST in the process (for a final racial modifier of +5). A Spriggan can stay at the increased size for any amount of time and revert back by concentrating. Equipment, weapons and armour up to no encumbrance are temporarily transformed to corresponding size. If dead or unconscious the Spriggan reverts back to their original form. 105 points.
Statistics: Growth +3 (Can Carry Objects up to No Encumbrance, +10%; Maximum Size Only, +0%) [33]; ST +8 (Size, -10%) [72]
†Same as the Halfling perk, but more powerful due to Spriggan Growth.


GURPS is a registered trademark of Steve Jackson Games. All rights are reserved by SJ Games. This material is used here in accordance with the SJ Games online policy.

Perky Post: Dungeon Faeries 3 – The Brownie

Household spirits work in the dark of the night and so do I. Let me present the Brownie in support of the GURPS Dungeon Fantasy RPG kickstarter.

Brownie (25 points)

Choice Professions: Innkeeper, Ninja, Thief, Wizard
Marginal Professions: Barbarian, Holy Warrior, Knight

These humble household spirits are often ridiculed by the more adventurous faeries like Pixies, Leprechauns and Fauns – the drab brown clothing doesn’t help either – but many an adventuring party has found them an unexpected boon. Given the chance Brownies would stay in their favourite household forever, but that’s hard to do if the tenants get torn apart by hordes of skeletons. Fortunately, they are quite adaptable. Traditionally acknowledged as masters of stealth, they are able to cook a five-course meal without waking anybody in the house. That their housekeeping skills are without par goes without saying, but only recently have adventurers woken up to the fact that this also applies to butchering monstrous foes…

Unusual among adventuring types, Brownies are not big on being paid. Many go so far as to regard payment as an insult. Fortunately even the most stiff-necked Brownies wouldn’t consider shares of loot to be payment and food given to them is always a gift, right? Brownies get along best with down-to-earth types, who enjoy good food and drink – like Barbarians and Dwarves. As domestic faeries nature comes a distant second to creature comforts, but they do feel some empathy towards animals and plants.

Brownies are strong for their size, but not quite as strong as Leprechauns. They are every bit as tough, though. Find height normally for their ST and multiply the result by 0.3. Weight is generally in the 5 to 10 kg range, but extremely fat Brownies coming in at 20 kg most certainly exist.

Attribute Modifiers [-10]: ST -5 [-50]; DX +2 [40]
Secondary Characteristic Modifiers [8]: SM -4; Basic Speed +0.5 [10]; HP -1 [-2]
Advantages [59]: Magery 0 [5]; Reduced Consumption 2 [4]; Silence 6 (Cosmic: Stealthy Work*, +50%) [45]; Talent: Household Spirit 2** [10]
Perks [2]: Alcohol Tolerance [1], Clothing Shtick: Sartorial Integrity [1]
Disadvantages [-34]: Bad Temper (12) (Only when deliberately insulted, -60%) [-4]; Dependency: Mana (Very Common, Constantly) [-25]; Vow: Do not needlessly or cruelly kill animals and plants. Use all the parts of those you do kill unless absolutely impracticable. [-5]

*The full skill bonus applies to manual work involving tools and up to full arm movements. Yes, this includes drawing weapons and aiming, but not actual fighting.
**Household Spirit: Your knowledge of household tasks is truly supernatural. You can literally turn monster entrails into gourmet food. This Talent aids Animal Handling: (for domestic animal types only), Cooking, Leatherworking, Professional Skill (Dungeon Butcher)† and Pharmacy (Herbal). Only Brownies may have it and buy up to two more levels at character creation. Reaction bonus: Innkeepers and ordinary, hard-working folk (a small group by Dungeon Fantasy encounter standards). 5 points/level.
†See Dungeon Fantasy 19: Incantation Magic p. 5.


GURPS is a registered trademark of Steve Jackson Games. All rights are reserved by SJ Games. This material is used here in accordance with the SJ Games online policy.

Perky Post: Dungeon Faeries 2 – The Pooka

Next in my series on faerie folk in the Dungeon, here’s another classic faerie in Dungeon Fantasy guise.

Pooka (20 points)

Choice Professions: Bard, Martial Artist, Swashbuckler, Thief; Wizard
Marginal Professions: None

Shapeshifters whose “natural” form resembles slightly under-sized, anaemic  elves, Pookas often join adventuring parties without revealing their fae nature. Elves do not appreciate these elvish impersonators. Unlike Pixies and Leprechauns, who got something to prove, Pooka retain much of their capricious faerie nature. They are easily bored and wont to play practical jokes on dangerous foes – a trait that doesn’t endear them to the more stolid professions. They are much more relaxed when it comes to saving nature, but don’t count on them standing back during your tree-felling spree. The myth that Pooka like to turn into black horses and go on wild rides are derided even by the most mischivous Pooka.

Pookas are slim, but not very tall. Find height normally ST, but subtract 20% from their weight. They take 10 seconds to change into another form. They can memorize up to IQ forms and must discard an old form to memorize a new one. None of this affects their stats in any way. The only exception is faking social traits the target might have and lowering their appearance – Pooka can’t convincingly imitate beings with Transcendent Appearance. Blemishes and imperfections tend to creep in. As a side benefit to their shapeshifting they can hide small objects of up to BL/10 in their body. Getting them out takes the usual 10 seconds for Shapeshifting, however.

Attribute Modifiers [10]: ST -1 [-10]; DX +1 [20]
Secondary Characteristic Modifiers [3]: SM +0; Basic Move +1 [5]; HP -1 [-2]
Advantages [61]: Appearance (Very Handsome/Beautiful) [16]; Magery 0 [5]; Shapeshifting: Morph (Cosmetic, -50%; Magical, -10%) [40]
Perks [3]: Forgettable Face [1]; Natural Pockets (Shapeshifted Flesh); Rules Exemption (Forgettable Face with Handsome/Beautiful Appearance) [1]
Disadvantages [-54]: Dependency: Mana (Very Common, Constantly) [-25]; Impulsiveness (12) [-10]; Pacifism: Self-Defense Only (Animals and Plants only, -60%) [-4]; Trickster (12) [-15]


GURPS is a registered trademark of Steve Jackson Games. All rights are reserved by SJ Games. This material is used here in accordance with the SJ Games online policy.

Perky Post: Dungeon Faeries 1 – The Knocker

GURPS Dungeon Fantasy has a nice little collection of faerie player races, but more options can never hurt. This is the first of new series of mini articles I’m calling Perky Posts. I hope to do one of those each day for the remainder of the Dungeon Fantasy kickstarter. So, without further ado, I present the knocker in DF format:

Knocker (20 points)

Choice Professions: Elementalist, Thief, Wizard
Marginal Professions: Barbarian, Holy Warrior, Knight, Martial Artist

Knockers are both a bane and a blessing to miners, alternately warning them of impending danger and stealing their stuff. While most of them stay in their favourite mine their whole lives, flooding, earthquakes or acute adventurer infestation will make them pack up their stuff and leave. With a penchant for deep places and carrying off other people’s stuff there’s little wonder that displaced Knockers take to dungeon-delving like fish to water. Especially their ability to locate any kind of underground metal is highly-prized among delvers – as even dwarves have to grudgingly admit.

As mining faeries they do not have a sense of duty towards nature, but instead act honourably towards miners and fellow underground dwellers when dangers like rockslides and collapsing tunnels are concerned. They won’t lure anybody into unsafe areas and won’t steal urgently needed survival gear. Of course, all bets are off, when they are aboveground.

Knockers look like wizened old men and women. To get their height start out with regular height for their ST (without taking into account their racial modifier) and multiply the result by 0.4. For body weight do the same, but multiply the result by 0.3 – they are strong and resilient far beyond their looks, but do not reach the level of leprechauns. A Knocker has SM -3 regardless of actual height. Tiny Tools (DF3 p. 8) applies to their gear.

Attribute Modifiers [0 points]: ST -2 [-20]; DX +1 [20]
Secondary Characteristic Modifiers [5 points]: SM -3; PER +1 [5]
Advantages [59 points]: Absolute Direction (Underground only, -40%) [3]; Danger Sense (Underground only, -40%) [9]; Detect: Metal (Underground only, -40%) [12]; Lifting ST 2 [6]; Luck [15]; Magery 0 [5]; Night Vision +9 [9]
Perks [1 point]: Penetrating Voice (Knocking only, Doubled Bonuses) [1]
Disadvantages [-45 points]: Code of Honor: Professional (Miner’s) [-5]; Dependency: Mana (Very Common, Constantly) [-25]; Kleptomania (12) [-15]


GURPS is a registered trademark of Steve Jackson Games. All rights are reserved by SJ Games. This material is used here in accordance with the SJ Games online policy.

Step-by-Step: DSA GURPS Conversion I – The Basics

Even the most dedicated GURPS fan has to admit that their favourite system is kind of lacking in rich, detailed settings that you can just lose yourself in. However, it offers all the tools needed to make every setting a GURPS setting. This guide shows you one way of doing such a conversion. It uses the German RPG Das Schwarze Auge (DSA) as an example.

1) Take a deep breath and think on why you want to convert this specific setting.

Whether the setting is another RPG system, a novel, a film, a computer game or a TV series you first need to be sure what you’re going for. A novel might be very good on its own, but not lend itself to an RPG experience. A film might not be so much fun if your players can’t think of cool one-liners and you have to imagine all the special effects. The intrigues and relationships that make up a TV series might not be so much fun if your characters never get to see what motivates them, because that happens in NPC-only scenes.

RPG settings are easier in this regard – they already work well for groups of PCs – but they pose an additional question: Why aren’t you just playing the setting using its original rules? Valid answers are lack of realism (D&D, DSA), plain shoddy rules (everything from Palladium), new editions every couple of years (D&D, Shadowrun, DSA), overly complicated rules (DSA), rules that don’t allow certain character concepts (D&D) or unwillingness of your players to try new things. The last point needs to be emphasised. If your players are happy to try the other rule system, at least give it a try. There’s no point in converting a whole setting if you are only doing it for yourself, even if you love converting settings.

I’ve already outlined the reasons why I think converting DSA to GURPS is a good idea here.

2) Start with what you need.

Converting a setting means you’re going to be in for the long haul, but that doesn’t mean you should disregard short-term needs. It’s best to start off with asking your players what they would want to play. Making those starting characters possible should be one of your first goals. But you also need to know what should happen with the rest of the setting.

In the case of our DSA campaign, we actually converted an existing group of characters:

1) Borlox, the dwarven mercenary. Racial stats for dwarves were an obvious start, but also rules for appropriate gear and such.
2) Kalman, the half-elven hunter. Besides racial stats for half-elves, I also needed to decide how to handle ranged weapons. I decided as a more realistic style than in my Forgotten Realms campaign and didn’t hand out Heroic Archer to a starting character. That meant none of the others got Weapon Master either.
3) Stiblet, the human priest of Hesinde. The main thing here was to figure out how to handle divine miracles and fortunately Powers – Divine Favor is a good fit. Apart from a number of custom-made learned miracles and a couple of tiny tweaks to dice rolls the system works fine.
4) Vitus, the human transformation mage. Apart from the two or three new spells there was also the issue of how to arrange the magic system. Nothing Thaumatology and Magical Styles couldn’t solve.
5) Woltan, the warrior. Nothing more than a fighting style for his academy and a decision on how to trade points of equipment was needed.

With the starting characters I knew I needed to flesh out two races, divine influences and standard magic as taught at mages’ academy.

Now all the characters also had an ethnic origin that was somewhat reflected in their disadvantages, language selection and even skills. Should this be converted into hard and fast rules? I am kind of averse to giving different cultures different stats and in the end I decided to use emblematic traits to give some flavour without mandating that every Thorwalian knows how to row a boat.

Some characters also had Special Abilities – DSA’s answer to D&D feats. These are almost exclusively used for combat, magic and supernatural tricks. They can be learned and most of the combat ones make more sense as techniques, manoeuvres and perks. I mean it’s hard to imagine why you have to buy a special ability just to learn how to feint. It’s not hard to just make ad hoc judgements about whether a given combat ability falls into the purview of a perk, technique or manoeuvre.

Magical abilities are harder to pin down and more likely to cause problems. There aren’t very many that are ubiquitous, but every mage starts out with a couple of those, including staff enchantment rituals and arcane meditation, which is a way to gain more magical energy. These were likely to be complicated so I decided to just use DSA rules without setting a cost for the first few sessions. This brings us to step three.

3) Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Not worrying about some aspects of the setting is absolutely fine. Things can work by fiat until you work out more detailed rules. Just don’t skimp on the points necessary to buy the rules-compliant abilities later.

That’s especially the case for minor things that are there mainly for flavour: minor social traits, the exact way some ritual or piece of equipment works, exact spell costs and the final contents of the magical colleges. If it’s not of vital importance for your starting characters, ignore it!

4) Paint with broad strokes.

Related to the previous step, but even more important: While it’s fine to ignore details, you should know where you want to go with the setting as a whole. Even if you don’t plan on using some aspects of the setting any time soon, you should know the general rules you want to work. This is always important for supernatural and exotic powers and abilities, but cinematic conventions and the influence of ultra-tech or superscience bear thinking about.

For a fantasy setting like DSA supernatural stuff far outnumbers all other considerations. The setting’s main kind of magic consists of skill-like spells. Mages, elves, druids, witches, geodes they all use some variant of this. Other ways to work magic exist, but they are far less prominent in the setting. Making this spell magic work well is the bulk of the conversion work. It’s also important to differentiate the different magical traditions from each other without making them completely incompatible. For this reason they will all use a core of GURPS Magic with switches and variants taken from GURPS Thaumatology. They depend on mana level, but those aren’t extremely varied with most of the world being normal mana. Of course, in DSA it is possible to construct low and no mana zones by using certain stones as building material, so this evens out.

Other magical traditions and the less common rituals of the traditions mentioned above will use other magic systems taken from other sources. One thing that is clear though is that the “Magic as Powers” approach will be used only sparingly. All magic uses up energy sources and powers don’t mix very well with a “spells as skills” approach in this case.

Divine powers on the other hand will be common, but fickle. Those don’t use energy pools and depend on sanctity instead of mana. Basically the system presented in GURPS Powers: Divine Favor is used.

There are some kinds of powers that seem to stand in between those two groups like shamans, the Gjalskerlander Beast-Warrior or the Ferkina Possessed. These special cases are set aside for a consideration at a later time. There might be a space for spirit-based or chi-based powers in DSA, even if the setting calls everything magic or divine agency.

Apart from the supernatural, there isn’t all that much out of the ordinary. Combat-oriented characters can be distinguished by skills, weapons, armour and martial styles. Social structures can be easily described with GURPS terminology, especially if you’re using GURPS Social Engineering. Races are rather straightforward to convert, even though their special legal statuses are often hidden in other publications (DSA doesn’t care for assigning points even to pretty hefty cases of Legal Immunity). Technology is an eclectic mix of TL 0-4 as is typical for fantasy settings, but nothing a base TL can’t handle.

The next part of this series will deal with how to handle the conversion of a setting’s races and give examples for the most important ones in DSA.


The material presented here is my original creation, intended for use with the GURPS system from Steve Jackson Games. This material is not official and is not endorsed by Steve Jackson Games.

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