GURPS · Solo

What should Temian spend his money on?

Journeys - Pack and goods
Sure, this looks like it ought to be the right image to use here – but in fact, up to this point, Temian hasn’t even been able to afford a proper backpack!  Hopefully we can remedy that now…

So, having received some good advice from many of you, I’ve now spent all of Temian‘s new character points.

My next job: to spend his money!

The various hoards of treasure that Temian found during the last adventure have left him with a massive 1400sp or so saved up.

(Recall that Temian started out with just 500sp worth of equipment, so 1400sp is  lot of money, by his standards.  This means he’s in a position to make some serious equipment upgrades! )

The dilemma of the day: what should he buy?


Here’s his current loadout:

  • Cheap Thrusting Broadsword    240sp, 3lbs     sw+1 cut, thr+2imp.  (This sword was once quite a good one, but it’s been in the family for two generations, and is starting to get a little rusty…).
  • Heavy Cloak  50sp, 5lbs    DB2, DR1/HP5
  • Mail Shirt   150 sp, 16lbs        DR 4 (only DR 2 vs crushing).
  • Personal Basics  5sp, 1lb
  • Small Sack 15sp, 1.5lbs   Holds 20lbs of gear   (Note that I extrapolated the stats for this from the larger two-handed “Sack” in GURPS Dungeon Fantasy 1: Adventurers, p24.)
  • Canteen  10sp, 3lbs
  • Blanket  20sp, 4lbs
  • A finely-wrought silver circlet that used to belong to the Baroness of Heirloom Peak.  200sp, neg.  (Acquired during Episode 4)
  • A crystal vial containing an as-yet unidentified liquid.  ?sp, 0.5 lbs (Acquired during Episode 5)

Grand total of weight: 34 lbs (light encumbrance)


That’s a very minimal loadout!

So what are his options now?

  • He needs a backpack – that’s just basic.  (During his first adventure, he managed to get away with a refurbished potato-sack, but really, that was hardly in keeping with his dignity).  But what kind of backpack?   GURPS has a few options here:
    1. The small backpack?  (60sp, 3lbs, holds 40lbs)
    2. The big backpack with frame? (100 sp, 10lbs, holds 1100lbs)?
    3. Or should he splurge on the deluxe quick-release backpack from Dungeon Fantasy 1: Adventurers – assuming we’re allowing such things?  (300sp, 3lbs, holds 40lbs)

I’m not yet sure.  Right now I think maybe the big pack is too heavy, so I lean towards either the small pack or the expensive-but-handy quick-release pack…. but I could probably be convinced otherwise.

  • Sword
    Yes, Temian, if you leave your sword on the grass, it will get rusty.

    His broadsword is a rusty family heirloom.  In GURPS terms, it’s cheap, and thus liable to break on heavy parries.  Should he upgrade to a shiny new one?  That would cost a chunk of change – 600sp, for the thrusting version – but then, a good sword is pretty important.  Hard to decide.  On the one hand, how often do you parry heavy weapons, really?  Not that often.  On the other hand, a broken sword at the wrong time could spell doom.  Hmmm….

  • What about armor?  Up to this point, he’s just had his mail shirt.  No helmet; no limb protection; no gloves or gauntlets.  This has been ok, since so far I’ve been playing with a pretty simple (some might say simplistic) version of the GURPS combat rules, ignoring hit locations entirely, and just assuming that all hits are to the torso.  So in a way, the question of whether to armor up is also the question of whether to move to a less simplistic version of the combat rules…  Which is a big question.  So far I’ve been playing it very simple because I think the session reports are already mechanically complex enough, thank you very much.  Showing how the GM-less play system works eats up a lot of words!   But it might be fun to move to a less simplistic combat system, in which case, Temian is going to need some limb armor, and a helm, at least.  Hmmm again….
  • Funny-Horse.jpg
    This friendly fellow, maybe?

    So this is a big one: what about a HORSE?  According to pB. 460, a riding horse would cost him $1,200.  Plus he’d need tack and harness, which would eat up pretty much all his hard-earned cash.  But he’s preparing for a big journey to the North-West, to find the Lost City of Lara Ithuil, so a horse could really be handy.  Plus who doesn’t want a horse?

Those are the obvious things.  What else?  Books, maybe?  Books are nice.  Minimal game-mechanical effect, though, unless we go for the rules in GURPS Dungeon Fantasy 4: Sages.  Or a bow?  He’s got no bow skill, but he could start to practice.  No doubt there are other things I’ve missed.

Well, I’ll have to decide soon, so I can get the next session rolling.

If you have any advice to offer here, please do!

Later edit: here’s the post in which I actually make the new purchases.  But don’t forget to read the excellent advice people offered me in the comments below!



7 thoughts on “What should Temian spend his money on?

  1. Here’re my thoughts on what Temian needs most (Also, just binge-read the whole series so far! I’m very interested in this project of yours, can’t wait to see how far you can take it!)

    1) He definitely needs to upgrade from that potato sack. A small backpack is probably enough for now (maybe keeping the potato sack around for hauling loot?); I don’t see Temian the type to get bogged down with a lot of gear, especially this early.

    2) His broadsword, cheap though it may be, will parry fine against 90% of basic set weapons (only the halberd, maul, (a really long) whip, and poleaxe will give us cause for concern, and they’re all frightening weapons on their own, with or without breaking your weapon!), and it isn’t likely that he’ll be parrying slam attacks often. I say keep it for now, but…

    3) Speaking of bows, get a crossbow. Easier (Easy skill, and higher Acc!) for the poor bloke whose points are already spread so thin, and he can carry it around pre-loaded in case he needs to fire off a shot.

    4) CLIMBING GEAR! He’s in the mountains so much, I’m surprised he didn’t have any already! Should make future cliff encounters safer, right?

    5) A first-aid kit! It was silly of him to go off without even basic medical supplies! Must be that Impulsiveness of his working aginst him.

    6) If you do wind up using more complex combat rules (I’m comfortable with how complex the combat is already – it’s fast and lightweight, which keeps things moving fast!), a helmet! Maybe a coif, so he can protect his face and neck, too.

    7) There’s no way a horse would survive the cold, cold Snowsprawl, right? Not to mention he has to keep it fed and healthy, and mountains aren’t the best terrain for horses to be traversing. Maybe he could get some sort of horse-sized mountain goat? 😛

    Wow, that’s a long post! I’m really glad you’re talking with your readers about this stuff, though! It makes the whole adventure a lot more fun 😀


      1. These thoughts are very useful, you two. Thanks greatly!

        Evidently there are no takers for the horse, despite how chipper he looks! In fact I think John makes a very good point there – the Snowsprawl is hardly he place for a horse. Plus, as you say, the journey to the Lost City is going to be either through mountains or along rivers and coast, for the most part – so a horse may not be the most practicable means of locomotion in any case.

        Climbing gear! First aid kit! I can’t believe I forgot *both* of those. You’re both right – surely they’re must-haves?

        The big decision now facing me is about armor – and as I noted above, it’s really a decision about combat rules. Do I want to use the more complex rules? I really don’t know. I appreciate your supportive words about the speed of the simplified rules I’m using now, John – that was the idea, and so I’m glad to see it’s coming off ok at the other end. I don’t want to swamp the reader in mechanical details, and there’s already a real threat of that…

        But then I think: hit locations are pretty basic, really – and fun to use! And then I change my mind again and think: but really, what generic fantasy hero ever really wore a helmet? In the movies they’re always running around with a bare head, so the camera can see them… maybe my fairly cheesy fantasy campaign ought to mimic that somehow? Cinematic rules for less deadly head damage, maybe? “Swordproof nudity” rules for the head only? That’s a very silly idea. Hmmm… could be fun!


        1. I think there are a few options you could take here:

          1) Don’t use hit locations at all. It might make combat less interesting in the long run, but it’ll keep combat easy to do, and makes these posts good for introducing people to GURPS combat.

          2) Use hit locations and don’t include any special rules for it. Raises the stakes, and makes combat even more exciting! Maybe too exciting… although an unlucky roll for Temian can be Luck’d.

          3) Don’t include the Skull hit location, and remove the x4 wounding modifier for eyes. This makes it so that he can still be knocked down by a good punch to the jaw, but he won’t insta-die from a good punch to the noggin (or swipe at the eyes). If you do random hit locations, maybe hitting the ‘skull’ makes it a critical hit to the torso?

          Just my two cents!


  2. Not buying a backpack would seem foolish.

    He should have a tinderbox and a winter- or oilskin cloak if he’s going into somewhere called the Snowsprawl. And probably a tent.

    Maybe a decent fighting dagger as a backup weapon.

    But I wouldn’t spend it all. If I were him, I’d want to be carrying some gold coins around just in case — it’s lighter than piles of silver and useful for information, bribes, and emergency purchases.


  3. I concur with the importance of getting a quality backpack. Even a small one is better than nothing.

    However, if it were me, I would also definitely do something about that pig-sticker, and it has nothing to do with parrying heavy weapons. Basic’s Critical Miss Table has a fairly common result (9-11) that is “You drop the weapon. Exception: A cheap weapon breaks!” Now, I know, how likely are you (especially with Luck) to get a Critical Miss and that particular result? Probably not very likely… yet I’ve had it happen to the same character twice in the span of something like four combat encounters, and both times he had a Cheap Thrusting Greatsword.

    So if you aren’t going to splurge and get a Good-quality Thrusting Broadsword, I would recommend at least picking up a backup weapon for Damien. Unfortunately, his skills don’t lend themselves to a natural backup weapon, so the best you might be able to do at a reasonable weight would be a Jo (LT.65, can be wielded with Broadsword, 2 lbs.) or a Long Knife or Baton (LT.69, Shortsword skill, so he’d be using Broadsword-2 for the default; weigh 1.5 and 1.0 lbs respectively).

    If you end up using hit locations, you should definitely pick up a helmet, even if it’s just a basic pot-helm. It’s true that Generic Cheese Fantasy Heroes (especially in visual media) hardly ever wear helmets… but in the case of visual media, that’s usually so the viewer can see their face more easily. Not to mention that Gimli almost always is wearing a helmet, and if your ultimate goal isn’t “Be more like Gimli” then I just don’t even know what the point of life is.

    Depending on what you do with hit locations, some basic/simple limb armor would also be advisable… the Random Hit Location rules love to hit limbs, and getting a crippled leg in the middle of a demon-infested castle is a great shortcut to giving this campaign a premature end.

    I’ll second John’s suggestions of Climbing Gear (he lives in the mountains and is often “off-roading” it) and a First-aid Kit. A ranged attack option is definitely something to look at eventually, but since he has no skill in it right now it seems like buying a shortbow or a light crossbow would just be a waste of money and encumbrance.

    I’m also in the “No horse, at least not yet” camp. A horse might be useful for his eventual travel to Lara Ithuil, but that doesn’t seem to be on the immediate horizon if he’s going to focus on taking out the Witch of Dunmoss. And if he [i]does[/i] end up leaving sooner rather than later, he can always try to find alternative (read: less expensive) means of transportation-facilitation.


  4. Enjoying the blog.

    If I understand it correctly, Temian’s sword is an heirloom and “cheap” as a function of neglect (rather than intrinsically poor quality) so you could allow him to get it refurbished rather than replaced. If so then you could reasonably discount the cost of the refurbished blade by the value of the current blade (rather than selling the old blade for maybe half it’s value and buying a new one). This isn’t at all implausible as unexpected breakage is usually a function of improper tempering which can be easily remedied without requiring new raw materials, extensive re-shaping etc. An heirloom sword could loose it’s temper easily over time (especially if it is used to poke the fire, or as a spit).

    If the sword is just cheap then you probably can’t justify this (but you could still trade the old one in).

    He is an adventurer and even if he never uses that sword, it is a tool of the trade (bandits and hunters use bows, only warriors have swords). He owes it to his profession and his ancestors 😉


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