Hall of Judgment – a Dungeon Fantasy RPG Supplement (Kickstarter Preview)

Gaming Ballistic is THRILLED to be the first third-party vendor to be granted a license to produce material for the Dungeon Fantasy Roleplaying Game (Powered by GURPS) from Steve Jackson Games.

This product directly supports the excellent DFRPG Boxed Set. It provides a mini-setting and adventure, in full color, bookmarked and layered for the PDF, and with a print copy available for backers who wish a high-quality tangible reward.

Below is a preview of the Kickstarter, which will launch at 10am CST on Tuesday, June 19.

The Kickstarter Pitch

  • Hall of Judgment is a micro-setting and scenario for the Dungeon Fantasy Roleplaying Game (Powered by GURPS)
  • It features non-linear adventuring for 4-6 250-point characters
  • Explore a Viking-flavored world trekking through cold, harsh mountains, facing dangerous fae, and searching for a lost holy place, and the priceless relics within
  • Easily portable and usable with any GURPS Fantasy campaign

Odd that the basis of law and justice would come out of the savage barbarian lands. Yet out of the Norðurlönd came law, order, and indecipherable conjugation of word forms.

Deep in the mountain peaks where even the wild berserkers of Norðlond fear to travel was the Hall of Judgment, the famous Dómstóllinn.

Here the God of Law himself was said to guide the Norðlending in the ways of honor, law, retribution, and justice – both in war and life. It was a place of deep learning, and underpinned by its teaching and wisdom, the Norðlending (Northlanders to everyone else: Barbarians) carved a swath through neighboring realms, raiding and making gleeful war. Then the way to the Hall was lost, and the teachings lost with it.

The hall itself was hidden by the power of the Gods from those without permission to enter. Until now . . . a mystical skilti, sometimes called a Tyrstakn, has been brought to the town of Isfjall in the wild north. It is an item of true-seeing, a wayfinder, that helps to guide pilgrims and seekers to the Hall.

Who will take up the Tyrstaken – armed with their wits, their weapons, and an ancient riddle – and rediscover the lost Hall of Judgment? The clerics and guards in the city of Isfjall have been hard-pressed for years to keep the wildfae from reaving the quarries, forests, and farmland surrounding Isfjall, and cannot spare the manpower for the journey. It must fall to bold adventurers to find the Hall, and return with the location and any artifacts of historical significance.

Great rewards, and even greater renown, await.

Hall of Judgment is an adventure micro-setting for four to six 250-point characters, made under license to Gaming Ballistic, LLC for use with the Dungeon Fantasy Roleplaying Game (which is required and referenced in the book).

Hall of Judgment is an adventure scenario for the Dungeon Fantasy RPG, set in the barbarian lands of the north (predictably called Norðlönd). It is designed to evoke the feeling of a nordic/viking culture without specifically invoking Norse myth and legend.

It was originally written for Fifth Edition in the same fictional setting in which the Dragon Heresy RPG is based, but is a perfect fit for DFRPG-style exploration and delving. It started out as a convention scenario to demonstrate the alternate Fifth Edition/S&W book Dungeon Grappling, optimized for two hours of play at GenCon in 2017, which was expanded into the Lost Hall of Tyr adventure.

This book represents a conversion and expansion of the original work to be better suited as a micro-setting. It has town, where adventurers can rest, heal, buy and sell goods and equipment, and find rumors and quests. It features more agency, in that there are many pathways to the Domstollinn and the players are free to avoid or embrace any methods achieve their goals. Finally, the adventuring possibilities are expanded with ruins to explore, additional random encounter possibilities, and more.

The original volume was 60 pages. Hall of Judgment will be at least 80 pages, possibly more if the content drives it there.

The book contains:

Preface. Contains a brief discussion of the original volume and how it came to be converted to the Dungeon Fantasy RPG.

Isfjall. An overview of the local geography and the situation that characters entering Isfjall will find themselves in upon arrival. The local geography and what is known of the events leading to the quest to rediscover the Dómstóllinn. The introduction also provides some inspiration to use the adventure in other flavors of campaign. Isfjall is described in enough detail to serve as a base for further adventures; the Norðlönd is a place of constant strife and danger.

The Journey. This section is broken out and expanded from the original volume. Random encounter tables, weather hazards, and other difficulties that arise when nature itself rises against you. The rumored location of the Domstollinn will require weeks of arduous travel through mountains and into the fae-touched Frostharrow.

Lögheimili Ruins. A dangerous place. Full of evil it is. In you must go. A micro-dungeon! You don’t have to go in. But aren’t you curious about a town that appeared out of nowhere by the light of a harvest moon?

Domstollinn. The core scenario. It is presented as a set of encounters that can be tackled (or not) in any order. Each might be a riddle, combat, or a physical feat. An encounter will include a set of Challenges, telling the GM what must be overcome, Concealed informationthat the players don’t know initially, Alternatives that explore about ways to short-circuit, bypass, or otherwise not just Leroy Jenkins one’s way through a challenge, and Rewards, where appropriate.

Wilderness Travel. Travelling overland, especially carrying an adventurer’s usual load of gear, is hard work. This short chapter discusses ways to make that work dramatic and fun, including guidance for food, water, hunting, preserving meat, and rules for cold weather and climate. Not all challenges have talons and teeth. These provide an expansion and alternates to rules already in Exploits.

Bestiary. Each monster that may be encountered in the scenario is given a description, statistics (including brief stats used with the Fantastic Grappling Quick-Start), and combat tactics to make each one unique. At least a dozen creatures are presented.

Fantastic Grappling Quick-Start. Even if you don’t have the book, you can still use the rules. Two pages of grappling the way it should be: fast, fun, and well-integrated with the DFRPG mechanics, using the control damage type first introduced in GURPS Martial Arts: Technical Grappling, but refined and simplfied after years of play in multiple systems.

Pre-Gen Characters. Eight 250-point characters will be provided to allow the scenario to be played with minimal preparation; this adds to the excellent pre-gens already provided in the DFRPG boxed set.

All together, this is a complete adventure that can be run on its own or dropped into an existing campaign.

Much of the original scenario was fine, and was retained.

Some has been expanded, and some changed.

Mildly De-Norsed. The original scenario was explicitly based in Norse mythology set in an explicit fictional land. The Hall of Judgment conversion files that off a bit, so that the barbarian north feel of venturing into the wild lands is retained, but Odin, Tyr, and the other Norse gods are only present if you wish them to be – Tyr becomes the God of Law, while wild berserkers worship the God of Storms (Thor), and all pay homage to the Snow Queen (Skaði).

Increased Agency. As a convention scenario, there were certain things you were going to do. You were going to find a shortcut to the Hall; you were going to have certain fights that featured grappling, and so on.

That has been completely relaxed in Hall of Judgment, allowing wide latitude in approach and outcome based on the players’ choices – much more of a setting than a pathway.

Certain locations have been added. Others (such as the goblin warrens) have been expanded.

There’s a lot more to do and explore.

An Amazing Map. And we have an amazing new map, courtesy of Glynn Seal. The original scenario didn’t care much about where the Hall was located, and assumed the GM would just put it somewhere interesting. Hall of Judgment plunks it down in a specific location in the Frostharrow, and it will be the PCs job to find it, go there, kill things, and take their stuff.

Isfjall, the Vesturham Range, and the Frostharrow
Isfjall, the Vesturham Range, and the Frostharrow

The map already features layers for labels and different pathways to the Hall, so that the GM can flexibly allow nearly any approach.

Powered by GURPS. The biggest change is of course that the entire book, and all of the new material, are re-written and adjusted for compatibility with the Dungeon Fantasy RPG.

Creature stats, skill tests, and the like are all based on the DFRPG boxed set.

While there is much to do, there’s also much that is already done.

The main encounters of the campaign are already written. The only thing required for these is to tweak them into proper game-mechanical shape for use with the Dungeon Fantasy RPG. Perhaps 60-70% of the book is already in this state.

Layout template is complete; it had better be, since this is, in fact, a conversion, not a brand-new book. The color scheme has been tweaked to differentiate it from Lost Hall of Tyr, but the following spreads show some of the actual arts and the evolving look of the new book.

and, of course, if you saw the April 1 announcement, you’ve already seen the cover!

There will be tweaking! But much of the hard and expensive parts of the production process – the layout and the art – have already been handled.

The money, goes to three places.

More Maps. The new maps and locations aren’t yet finished, and the first bit of Kickstarter funds goes to having Glynn make more beautiful maps. I anticipate at least two, possibly as many as four or five, depending on how quickly we fund and what strikes me as an interesting addition to the book.

Printing Costs. Much like the Lost Hall of Tyr version of the scenario, the book will be offered in softcover, perfect-bound, full-color as one of the rewards. This will use a high-quality POD vendor for short runs, which has the advantage of very rapid turn-around time. See Potential Stretch Goals for more here.

A Vote for More. This project is an exciting experiment for both Gaming Ballistic and Steve Jackson Games. SJG graciously approved my request for a license to provide quality supplemental material for the amazing Dungeon Fantasy RPG. The better this campaign does, the more likely they will give the nod to further third-party work.

Hall of Judgment will fulfill physical product in the USA through a fantastic POD company. It will feature a 12-point cover, and 70# matte white paper as the base. This is now the default print offering. International orders will be fulfilled through DriveThruRPG’s POD service. This cuts down shipping cost and time as international orders (even to Canada!) are printed in the UK. It’s much cheaper, and faster.

The basic funding goal will get the maps paid for and cover the cost of printing.

There’s really only one stretch goal for this campaign. If things go really well, I will investigate either short-run digital printing or an offset print run. This will require at least 200 print copies to be ordered for digital short-run printing, and at least 500-750 for full offset printing.

Either case will push the print delivery out by months. A typical full offset run occurs on a 14-week order-to-delivery cycle and given needs for communication and processing would probably push delivery into November or early December. A digital print run can be done faster, but is still much slower than POD.

13 thoughts on “Hall of Judgment – a Dungeon Fantasy RPG Supplement (Kickstarter Preview)

    1. No, massive DX penalties instead. One legit knock on TG was the constant recalculating of ST. I might (?) add back in a penalty to control points on a per-die basis, but that’s all. No fiddle. Roll, shout, and move on.

          1. Candidly? Probably not. Technical Grappling isn’t new. The rules that are already written aren’t new to me, nor to playtesting, and I’ve been on both sides of the screen on those in multiple systems. The “Fantastic Dungeon Grappling” rules will be eminently suitable for tweaking, and every group will have their preference on how it’s tweaked, I suspect.

            So no rules-writing democracy on this one, sorry.

  1. Caught an erratum: “the players are free to avoid or embrace any methods achieve their goals.” There should be something between “methods” and “achieve”.

    I am delighted to see a GURPS adventure being published.

    Maybe as a stretch goal you could add GURPS Dungeon Fantasy stats/conversions?

    1. Erratum: fixed.

      In all seriousness: is there anything to convert? I’d assume a DFRPG character/statblock can be used 100% with DF, but not necessarily the other way round.

      1. I was thinking something like the “Using These Rules in GURPS” box text at the end of Sean Punch’s article “Five Easy Pieces”, Pyramid #3/113, p. 11.

          1. I suspect while you may need to repeat some of that text, you will have additional things to add as well.

            At some point, maybe they will come up with official GURPS DF to DFRPG and DFRPG to GURPS DF conversion sheets, like their official GURPS 3rd to 4th ed. conversion.

          2. Perhaps they will continue to expand the conversion guidelines for DFRPG–>GURPS DF. And I’ll look forward to that!

            But one thing needs to be kept in mind: I wasn’t given a license to rewrite or adjust the DFRPG more than I’m already doing with the Fantastic Dungeon Grappling quick-start. Unless it’s in the actual DFRPG material, I don’t have permission to reproduce it. I have no wish to taint my ability/case to do follow-on publications, or taint the case for *others* to do follow-on publications should this one prove successful, by going off the reservation and making the “D” in DFRPG stand for “Doug.”

            I’m going to do what I said when I asked for the license: Make Lost Hall of Tyr into Hall of Judgment by keeping the core of the adventure, but learning from history and giving more agency, more things to do, and then offer up some unique monsters and pre-gens for supporting the box set as it stands. I will certainly ask about the box in Pyramid #3/1113, because Kromm wrote it and it’s already passed editorial muster. Adding to it on my own hook isn’t something I’d want to do, if for no *better* reason than “not the book’s mission statement,” which is a pretty good reason by itself. “I have a LOT to write/edit in a short time” is another good reason, and much like Charles’ comment: everyone is going to have a different idea of what a “proper” set of conversion notes looks like, just like everyone has their own idea of what “good” grappling ruless are.

            For now: it’s “to the word mines!” and get the unfinished parts of the book written and edited, and the mechanical aspects of conversion and NPC/monster generation under my belt.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *