Saturday, May 7, 2022

Setting Up GURPS Dungeon Fantasy

I like Dungeon Fantasy, I really do.

You can probably see where this is going.

But I LOVE character tweaking. Giving my dungeon fantasy character wings out of GURPS Bio-Tech? Um, well, in GURPS Character Assistant 5 you have to load the Bio-Tech library. Okay, cool, add that to my current Dungeon Fantasy library and, what's that?

I need the Flight advantage from the main GURPS rulebook. And that isn't compatible with the base Dungeon Fantasy book. So it throws an error.


Well, there is a solution. It took me a while to figure out, and it means understanding load order and copying and editing a file - but this works.

GURPS Dungeon Fantasy

Okay, we have to understand the difference between the basic Dungeon Fantasy rules and the GURPS Dungeon Fantasy rules. Wait, they are the same game, right? Well, not exactly.

Dungeon Fantasy is its own game, with standalone rulebooks. Spells have been removed and tweaked. The advantage and disadvantage lists have been cut down. The game is 100% focused on dungeon crawls, and that is a good thing.

GURPS is the superset game. It covers all genres. To get something roughly equivalent to Dungeon Fantasy you will need to combine a few books: GURPS Basic, GURPS Fantasy, and GURPS Magic. You will have more spells, more advantages, more disadvantages, and more of everything in this mix - even high-tech items that don't belong. Your experience will not be the same as Dungeon Fantasy, but it is a classic game.

There is a hybrid creation in GURPS Character Assistant users refer to as "GURPS Dungeon Fantasy," and this is essentially the same game but using GURPS Basic Set, GURPS Magic, and GURPS Fantasy as the base game instead of the Dungeon Fantasy rulebooks, and adding in all the Dungeon Fantasy world books in the character creator.

GURPS Character Assistant

The nice thing about the Dungeon Fantasy setup in GURPS Character Assistant (GCA) is it gets rid of a lot of the stuff you don't need, and only includes things from the base Dungeon Fantasy game. Let's look at a setup in the library of a standard Dungeon Fantasy game:

This is sort of how a library works in GCA. Load the base book first, and then your expansions, and the load order matters or you get an error. The thing to remember is the base "Dungeon Fantasy RPG" book is the rulebook you will use to create characters as your primary source.

But what if you wanted to use GURPS Basic Set, GURPS Magic, and GURPS Fantasy as your "base rules?" Just get rid of "Dungeon Fantasy RPG" and replace it with the three books, as shown:

Notice the first three books, the GURPS books took the place of the Dungeon Fantasy RPG! But also, look at the last file, this one called "Dungeon Fantasy Remove Unnecessary Traits." What is that? This is the file that removes all the modern, sci-fi, and other unneeded traits that Dungeon Fantasy does not include - but are in the main game. Functionally, your game will be equal to Dungeon Fantasy, but you will be using the original GURPS Magic spell lists instead of the Dungeon Fantasy ones.

It Removes Too Much!

But what if you wanted those sweet powers from GURPS Bio-Tech, like angelic wings? We would just add the GURPS Bio-Tech book in there, right? Well, you could, but you try and add those wings and the wings will have a missing dependency on a file that "Dungeon Fantasy Remove Unnecessary Traits" removed - the flight advantage from the Basic Set.

How do we add it back?

Well, we keep it from being removed in the first place.

The "Dungeon Fantasy Remove Unnecessary Traits" file still does a lot of great things, like getting rid of a lot of modern skills and gear so our character creator does not get cluttered up with stuff we never want to look at or ever use. But it is a hammer of a solution, and it removes a lot of cool advantages and disadvantages that we may want to use to create characters.

What if I want angelic (or demon) wings? A mermaid with a fishtail? A naga with a snake tail? Use the classic "Enemy (Formidable group)" disadvantage many GURPS players love when their character is hunted by others? Or make a rabbit or frog person with super jump? A one-armed pirate?

We need to hack the "Dungeon Fantasy Remove Unnecessary Traits" file and remove the section that adds all the cool base game advantages and disadvantages. This also enables add-on books that have requirements on this file (like Bio-Tech) to function correctly.

Hacking Time


With that warning out of the way, let's hack that file. You will the file "Dungeon Fantasy Remove Unnecessary Traits" file in:

C:\ProgramData\Steve Jackson Games\GURPS Character Assistant 5\books\worldbooks a default install. Open that up in a text editor, and I use Notepad++. First, save this file under a new file name. Now go in the file and scroll down to line 105, and you will see the script lines that delete the advantages. Clear out all the deletes except for the first three:

#Delete "AD:Ritual Magery 0"
#Delete "AD:Ritual Magery (%skill%)"
#Delete "AD:Ritual Magery ([skill])"

Those delete the Ritual Magery advantage, and we don't need that in our Dungeon Fantasy setup - so DO NOT delete those lines. Instead, delete lines 106-333 and 338-486 and save the file with a new filename, as instructed.

Now, instead of using "Dungeon Fantasy Remove Unnecessary Traits" in GCA, use your new file, and this will delete all the high-tech gear and skills, but keep that advantage and disadvantage list of the basic game intact. You will have some strange ones in there, like stretching, but hey, you may have a blob character that uses it, so it's all good.

My Setup

This is a custom setup I made, and this includes a lot of cool GURPS books, and you may notice the file on the end, "GURPS Dungeon Fantasy Remove Unnecessary Traits (Keep Advantages)" - which is my hacked file that removes the modern gear and skills, but keeps those cool and sweet advantages! I could add GURPS Supers to this list as well if I wanted since that has main rulebook dependencies.

My setup has since changed as I am adding in a lot of cool books, but you get the idea!

And best of all, this setup throws no validation orders on load and gives me an expandable (and clean) GURPS Dungeon Fantasy setup I can expand with any GURPS book I want and not worry about dependency errors with advantages or disadvantages.

Note, again, this is a "GURPS Dungeon Fantasy" setup, and NOT a "Dungeon Fantasy" setup, so you are using GURPS Fantasy and GURPS Magic for your game instead of the Dungeon Fantasy main rule and spells books. If you like base game compatibility and prefer the spells out of GURPS Magic (or Thaumatology), this is the way to go. And you WILL have ALL the Dungeon Fantasy 250-point templates to choose from, so you are not losing those. Very cool.

Personally, I would rather have the expanded magic list out of GURPS Magic, even if the spells are a little unbalanced for dungeon crawling. I get to use GURPS Thaumatology! My corruption magic GURPS Bio-Tech mutations are in there and work correctly! I have GURPS Low Tech! If I want to design monsters with superpowers, so be it!

And if there is anything else in the GURPS Basic Set I see missing, I know where to go and how to edit that file to bring it back. And, if you find some you are still not using or just don't want to see, like "Digital Mind" how to put them in your custom exclusion file to clean up your library, but the way you want to see it cleaned up.

More Soon...

I am still tweaking things and finding things in the base scripts I want to be cleaned up, like the reference to air traffic controllers they left in there (in the unedited script). Also, I am working on a recommended list of books to keep the skill list short and tweaking the load order to make things right.

I also don't want to eliminate Digital Mind since there may be automation-type characters in the world.

The tweaking goes on, and I will have more to post soon.

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