Dungeon Rules: Holmes Dungeons & Dragons + GURPS Dungeon Fantasy

I am a big fan of GURPS DF. I also have very special place in my heart for the Holmes D&D Boxed Set. My original experience with D&D back in 1977 was with the first printing* of the Holmes boxed set. My little thought experiment today is mashing these two together, using the race and class configuration of Holmes D&D to create the list of GURPS DF templates.

My boxed set of Holmes D&D goodness did not contain an adventure module. Instead, it came with dungeon geomorphs and monster/treasure lists. The two lasting effects of this were: (1) Each person in my original group created a dungeon to use when it was their turn to DM...my first year of D&D was homemade megadungeon only; and (2) We never used adventure modules (it is only in the last 10 years that I have even owned an adventure module).

GURPS Templates
Here is what I think a Holmes-inspired GURPS D&D game would look like in terms of templates:

  • Dwarf Templates: Dwarf Cleric, Dwarf Fighter, Dwarf Fighter/Cleric.
  • Elf Templates: Elf Fighter, Elf Fighter/Magic-User, Elf Magic-User.
  • Halfling Templates: Halfling Fighter, Halfling Fighter/Thief, Halfling Thief.
  • Human Templates: Human Cleric, Human Fighter, Human Magic-User, Human Thief.

If my math is correct, that is 13 different templates, which I think still gives players a fair amount of choice. The beauty of GURPS DF is that the template for an Elf Fighter can be very different from a Dwarf Fighter.

A key part of GURPS is determining the starting points players receive to create their characters:

  • 250 Points: This is the default number of points for character creation in GURPS DF. There are some good reasons for it as 250 points provides more options in character building and more tactical options in play. Characters are tough but still vulnerable.
  • 200 Points: Characters are still hardy but would have fewer options and more vulnerability.
  • 150 Points: This would more closely mimic the experience of low level Holmes D&D but GURPS doesn't have the same kind of power curve, meaning more experienced GURPS characters are left in the dust by their D&D counterparts. The dual class character templates could be particularly anemic at 150 points.

Eric Smith has some additional thoughts on what GURPS DF character templates could look like at different point levels.

Right now, my schedule is not allowing me to do much gaming. Weekend evenings are filled with music performances and weekday nights are spent on other things. It is fun, however, to do some thought experiments and blogging as a substitute.

*I wish I still had my copy of the Holmes rule book as it was the first printing. "Hobbits" were one of the four races and this was later changed to "Halflings" in later printings.

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