Thursday, December 4, 2014

GURPS101: Dungeon Fantasy and Flying Carpets

So I've been running a Dungeon Fantasy game for a while now - it's a helluva lot more fun than I would have ever thought! - and one of the things that's popped up twice is the flying carpet (Dungeon Fantasy 8: Treasure Tables, p. 39). It follows the normal rules for the line ($20 per point of energy required to enchant it), but the Flying Carpet spell is kind of ...well it lacks some customization. I wouldn't have a issue with it in most cases, but the 25 lbs. per square foot rule kind of sucks. The easiest thing to do would be to just say "it works this way now," but I'm not a huge fan of that approach. So I got to thinking...using basic GURPS magic, how would I make this spell better? Why by making a "higher level" spell of course! So here are a few new spells and a couple new magical flying conveyances.

Flying Objects Appear Closer Than They Are
A couple of ideas for this interesting (and useful spell).

Greater Flying Carpet
As per Flying Carpet (GURPS Magic, p. 146), except as noted below.

Duration: 10 minutes.
Cost: 1 per square foot of surface. Each square foot will carry about 25 pounds (or less, of made of flimsy material). Optionally, you can pay double the cost to carry 50 pounds or triple the cost to carry 100 pounds per square foot. Add +1 energy per point of Move that exceeds the caster's skill (up to twice his magery). Half that to maintain.
Time to cast: 1 minute.
Prerequisites: Magery 3 and Flying Carpet.

Staff, wand, or jewelry. Usable only by mages; only affects the wearer. Energy cost to create: 500. A conveyance may be permanently enchanted for 200 times casting cost.

Dungeon Fantasy Flying Objects
Using the above spell, delvers might find carpets that are much faster or stronger than normal (Dungeon Fantasy 8: Treaures, p. 39). In such a case, maximum Move becomes 2d+14 (this increases the cost of the object normally). Additionally, roll 1d every time a flying object is rolled, on a 1-4 it holds 25 lbs. per square foot (as normal), on a 5 it holds 50 lbs. per square foot, and on a 6 it holds 100 lbs. per square foot! Notate this as "normal," "strong," or "titanic." This increases the costs, however.

Flying Object                          Weight         Maximum Weight Carried      Cost
Broom, Normal                        2 lbs.            200 lbs.                                        see DF8, p. 39
Broom, Strong                          2 lbs.            400 lbs.                                       $8,000
Broom, Titanic                         2 lbs.            800 lbs.                                        $12,000
Carpet, Small, Normal             9 lbs.            450 lbs.                                        see DF8, p. 39
Carpet, Small, Strong               9 lbs.            900 lbs.                                        $144,800
Carpet, Small, Titanic              9 lbs.            1,800 lbs.                                     $217,200
Carpet, Large, Normal             27 lbs.          1,350 lbs.                                     see DF8, p. 39
Carpet, Large, Strong              27 lbs.           2,700 lbs.                                     $434,400
Carpet, Large, Titanic             27 lbs.           5,400 lbs.                                     $651,600
Gazebo, Normal                      2,000 lbs.      4,050 lbs.                                     see DF8, p. 39
Gazebo, Strong                        2,000 lbs.      8,100 lbs.                                     $1,292,000
Gazebo, Titanic                       2,000 lbs.      16,200 lbs.                                    $1,938,000

Optional Rule: Encumbered Flying
If the GM dislikes how the Flying Carpet spell ignores encumbrance, he could optionally rule that it has a Basic Lift equal to half its maximum weight allowance. So a small carpet could carry 225 lbs. without a problem, 450 lbs. at Light encumbrance (-1 to Move, Dodge, etc.), 675 lbs. at Medium encumbrance, and so on. The benefits (being able to carry more, albeit slower) and drawbacks cancels each other out.

Levitating Vehicles
A classic staple in fantasy, but oddly absent from GURPS is the enchantment that can "levitate" a object permanently. Probably the easiest way to get this effect would be to say that Apportation can permanently make a object float in one spot. This costs 100 energy times the casting cost. This allows the enchanted object to move at a rate of 1 on its own - or at the rate of whatever creature is pushing or pulling it. A example is below:

Levitating Wagon
Like a regular wagon, except its wheels are removable (and stored on the side of the wagon), is completely walled in, and floats about three feet off the ground. On its own it can Move at a rate of 1 as long as someone with Magery is directing it, but it's usually harnessed to beasts of burden. It requires a odd set-up in that it needs at least one animal in front of it and behind it (to keep it stable) and inflicts a -4 familiarity penalty on Teamster rolls until the driver gets used to it. Its move is equal to the move of whatever being it's harnessed to.

TL Vehicle ST/HP Hnd/SR HT Move LWt. Load SM Occ. DR Range Cost         Locations
3^   Wagon 35†       -3/4         12c Spec. 1.14    0.8    +2   1+3   2     F         $175,080  2DE4W

Picking Over the Bones
I'm not saying that the base Flying Carpet spell is bad - I just like the idea of a improved spell with better capabilities. The levitating wagon thing was also something I ad-libed in one of my game sessions and the idea stuck. They are insanely expensive - but allow quick travel through any sort of terrain. You could even use it over water if you had some domesticated animals would would pull it. It's not going to be for all Dungeon Fantasy games though - some folks might be running mega-dungeons or the like - I'm one for the hex-crawl and adventures taking place outdoors as much as underground.


  1. It bypasses random encounters. :( Well, most of them.

    1. Not really. I can think of a half dozen nasty ways to through a random encounter: elven clothesline (DF 16), ranged attacks from those below, wizards tossing fireballs, no-mana or low-mana areas. Plus it's always fun to let the PCs think they're getting by and THEN hitting them with a encounter.

  2. I suppose it's why I put "utterly random encounter" in the chart, then.

    1. I've been using a constructed chart for the area - seems to work good with a single entry listed as "special encounter."

  3. This is remarkably similar to - but a bit better than - how I put flying carpets into my DF game. I'm using the Encumbered Flying approach. I'm going to modify my approach with a lot of what you have here. Good stuff Christopher.

    1. Thanks, I've got a ton of notes on paper so whenever I get this bloody damn laptop (it shipped today. YAY!) I can put out some more stuff. I even wrote up a full adventure (well, several) for my campaign with maps, charts, and new information. It's pretty impressive at 14k...but highly doubtful I can get SJGames to take it. You know how adventures are. You want I should send it your way and you can poke it with a stick?