“Level 1” Adventurers

I’ve always liked low-level play. There is something about starting out with a relatively weak character that grows into power. That feels more satisfying than starting out as a powerful character that just gets … more powerful.

Additionally, with more points and more character options, creating characters can get to be quite an ordeal. Even with templates, it’s going to take awhile to work through the options. This is particularly true for newer players.

There are a few things out there for lower powered play: the templates in Dungeon Fantasy 15 Henchmen, and Eric B. Smith’s Dungeon Fantasy on the Cheap. But these didn’t quite fit what I wanted. The Basic Set lists 50-75 as “Competent”, and “Exceptional” at 75-100. This is closer to where I’d like to see characters start, so I decided to try and create 75 point templates that could work for a DFRPG “zero to hero” type game.

Luckily, GURPS Fantasy has quite a few 75 point templates that overlap with DF. Still, Fantasy isn’t DF, and the templates need a bit of tweaking to make them align to the assumptions of Dungeon Fantasy. So here is my attempt at those tweaks. Use at your own risk, as these characters will likely be squishy till they get some CP gained… but that’s exactly what I want.

For this I’m using the rules from DFRPG unless stated otherwise. As such, any trait that is not listed in DFRPG should be removed from the templates. I try to call this out, but may have missed some.

(A note on Disadvantage Limits: The templates in Fantasy have their negative cost totals all over the place, ranging from -20 to -55! I wanted to normalize amount of negative costs, in order to make sure that each template has the same amount of points spent on “positive” traits. The -50 from DFRPG seems a bit high for 75 point templates, so I’ve decided to go with -40. This breaks the recommendation in Basic Set of 50%, but just by a few points.)

Archer 75 points

Add options from the Dungeon Fantasy Scout template.

Advantages: Pick 20 points in advantages.
Disadvantages: Take -20 more points (for a total of -40) of disadvantages.
Secondary Skills: Replace Soldier with Traps (A) IQ [2]-10

The archer works as a starting Scout, but lacks some of the outdoorsy skills and cinematic options. It’s tempting to spend the 20 points on Heroic Archer, but without Weapon Master, this means a skill of 11 to ready, and (before modifiers) to hit. Consider other options and think about saving up for Heroic Archer. A generous GM might drop the 19 points of required Advantages, and let a player pick HA+WM (with a point from Quirks).

Barbarian 75 points

The Barbarian template has a total of -55 points in negative traits (-20 from Attributes, and -35 in Disadvantages). This exceeds the limit for DF, but with some tweaks we can manage.

Add options from the Dungeon Fantasy Barbarian Template.

Attributes: Lower DX to 10
Secondary Characteristics: Basic Speed becomes 5.50
Advantages: Choose 20 points (not 15) worth of additional advantages.
Disadvantages: Select only -20 points worth of disadvantages.
Skills: Remove Teamster from the Plains option, and it’s probably best to just drop the Seafaring option all together.

Spending the extra points ST or HT will help stand out as the strong tough one. The lower DX makes for a more "clumsy" character, and it might be worth while to boost DX skills starting out.

Bard 75 points

Add options from the Dungeon Fantasy Bard template.

Advantages: Replace Musical Ability 2 for Bardic Talent 1. Remove Bard, Channeling, Cultural Adaptability, Legal Immunity, and Status.
Disadvantages: Remove Alcoholism
Skills: Drop Literature and Hidden Lore/Bardic Lore. Remove Area Knowledge, Games, and Religious Ritual from the options. Spend 6 points on some combat skills (4 on melee, 2 on ranged is recommended).

Ouch, the bard is going to have a hard life ahead. Picking Bardic Talent and a couple of spells is tempting, but it might be better to focus on some support skills and save up points for Songs. The Song of Humiliation is cheap, but could leave the bard as a “one trick pony”.

Holy Man 75 points

Add options from the Dungeon Fantasy Cleric or Druid (but not both).

Advantages: Remove Blessed, Channeling, Medium, Allies, Devotion, Sensitive, Reawakened, Religious Rank, and True Faith.
Disadvantages: Remove Pacifism
Skills: Remove Mental Strength, Persuade, Sway Emotions, Administration, Architecture, and Dreaming.

To build a starting Cleric, pick Clerical Investment, and for a Druid add Green Thumb. Both need to take Power Investiture. Consider spending extra points to pick a primary weapon skill and a ranged option as well.

Knight 75 points

Add options from the Dungeon Fantasy Knight template.

Advantages: Drop Status and the requirement of Wealth. Instead pick up Combat Reflexes and spend 35 points on advantages (not 15). Remove Independent Income and Legal Enforcement Powers.
Disadvantages: Remove Debt and Duty
Skills: Drop Lance and spend 4 extra points on weapon skills. Remove Games and Falconry. 

The Fantasy Knight is a real knight with the status and wealth needed for that role. Since that doesn’t fit the DF setting, we’ll just strip that out and allocate those points to other things.

Peasant Adventurer 75 points

Add general options from Dungeon Fantasy.

Disadvantages: Drop Illiteracy, or reduce the additional disadvantages to -27 points. Remove Alcoholism, Delusion, and Pacifism.
Skills: Remove Farming, Games, Sports, Carpentry, Leatherworking, Masonry, and Meteorology.

The main flavor of this template is it’s background… which DF doesn’t support very well. Once we strip out all the “job” skills, this ends up a pretty generic template. Still, some players might make it work.

Spellcaster 75 points

This is another template with a lot of negative costs (-55 again). It needs a bit of tweaking to get down to -40, and that means it will be less powerful than it’s original design.

Add options from the Dungeon Fantasy Wizard template.

Attributes: Lower HT to 10.
Advantages: Pick only one extra advantage.
Disadvantages: Only take -15 points in disadvantages.

This character is going to be squishy with low HP and HT. The loss in HT also lowers our FP, so consider a decent Power Item.

Thief 75 points

Add options from the Dungeon Fantasy Thief template.

Advantages: Remove Contact and Contact Group
Disadvantages: Drop Secret and remove Trademark. Pick one of Greed, Kleptomania, or Trickster. Select -25 points in other disadvantages.

The thief works pretty well as is. Just remove some of the non-DF traits and your good to go. --- 

What about the others?

The other 75 point templates (Artificer, Bandit, Hedge Wizard, Merchant, Scholar, Village Sage, and Wardancer) are a mixed bag. None are designed for adventuring out in the wild and dungeons. Even the bandit relies on many social traits. I might try to hack them a bit more to fit DF, but I’m not sure that the result will be recognizable.

As for the 125 point templates, it’s going to take a lot to trim them down to 75, and at that point they may not be every useful at all. I might try converting them at their 125 point level, The Assassin works as an Assassin, and the Slayer might be a proto-Holy Warrior. If anyone once to give it a go, let me know what you find.


  1. I did something very similar. The is a calculation or two that is off; basic speed for fighters is a point too high.

  2. The Assassin template in Fantasy is super-easy to cut down to 75 points, so much so that I wonder why they published it at the point level they did. Remove 1 point each of DX and IQ and get rid of the Wealth advantage. It's still functional at those skill levels, and Wealth should, for zero to hero anyway, be something that comes with time in any case.

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