Saethor's Bane: A Dungeon Fantasy RPG Solo Adventure

Saethor's Bane: A Dungeon Fantasy RPG Solo Adventure

A Choose-Your-Own style adventure for the Dungeon Fantasy RPG. Four mercenary soldiers join the fight to overthrow the dark Overlord Saethor. Play it solo, as a tutorial, or a no-prep convention romp. Will you be Saethor’s Bane … or he yours?
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Sometimes things get in the way of gaming. Life happens. Schedules change. Maybe the world goes on lockdown for two years.

That doesn't mean you have to stop gaming.

Gaming Ballistic is pleased to bring a conversion of David Pulver's Dark Lord's Doom - previously available for The Fantasy Trip and Old-School Essentials - to the Dungeon Fantasy RPG community in the form of Saethor's Bane.

Branched Path, Programmed, or Solo Adventures

If you are familiar with the Choose Your Own Adventure stories, released by Bantam Books between 1979-1998, as well as the GURPS First Edition (and through Third Edition, I think!) solo All in a Night's Work, featuring Dai Blackthorn. Saethor's Bane has a similar structure.

You won't need a GM - you follow the branching pathways as you make choices. If these choices lead to violence, resolve conflict using the Dungeon Fantasy RPG rules.

You can still use a GM! This "solo" adventure follows the path of four mercenary soldiers who have signed up to oppose Saethor, the titular Dark Lord, by force of arms. One person can play all the roles, or several can play through the scenario, dividing roles as needed.

Use Saethor's Bane to:

  • Keep gaming when you can't get together with your usual group
  • Learn the Dungeon Fantasy RPG game rules at your own pace
  • Run players through a scenario with near-zero prep - they can experience roleplaying within moments of sitting around a table. Great for bringing in new players, or even stress-free convention play.

Saethor's Bane is a conversion to the Dungeon Fantasy RPG of David Pulver's excellent Dark Lord's Doom, available for both TFT and OSE by Gaming Ballistic.

It is designed to showcase the capabilities and options of the Dungeon Fantasy RPG, taking four martial characters - the spellcasters would be assigned to a different unit - through a full campaign arc.

The characters start at 112 points (Journeymen level from Delvers to Grow) and rapidly advance as the adventure progresses. Very rapidly. Artificially rapidly. Showcasing how the capability of characters grows, what options it affords, and giving an escalating scale of challenges.

The book wound up shipping at 52 pages with full color art. The TFT/OSE versions are each 28 pages and black and white or greyscale art.

A Work-in-Progress look at the layout of the first few pages.

Having achieved the stretch goal at $21,000 for colorizing the project - the above images are rather closer to what you'll get in the final product! I'll probably improve readability by using colors, more like my older projects.

So the core pledge is:

  • Saethor's Bane (with full color maps and interior in PDF)
  • VTT Map Pack (color)

The accessory pack (Foundry actors, tokens, quick-reference cards and PDF) will also be full color!


There are a minimal number of reward levels, to keep it simple.

Digital Solo Adventure ($10)

  • Saethor's Bane in color PDF only
  • Includes VTT Maps in color!

Print and PDF Solo Adventure ($20)

  • Saethor's Bane in color Print and PDF
  • VTT Maps in color!

Digital Solo and Reference/VTT Pack ($15)

  • Saethor's Bane in color PDF only
  • Includes VTT Maps in color!
  • Quick-reference file for PCs, NPCs, and monsters (PDF quick-reference card)
  • Token files with color tokens (unless we hit the stretch goal)
  • Foundry VTT Actor pack

Books and Cards ($35)

  • Saethor's Bane in color Print and PDF
  • Includes VTT Maps in color!
  • Physical Card Deck and Quick-reference file for PCs, NPCs, and monsters (4"×5" cards)
  • Token files with color tokens
  • Foundry VTT Actor pack

Digital Dungeon Fantasy RPG Starter Pack ($50)

If you are new to the Dungeon Fantasy RPG, this pledge level gets you the PDF of the rules and materials, plus the Saethor's Bane solo. The PDF for the core game includes, all for the Dungeon Fantasy RPG:
  • Adventurers (the character-making book)
  • Exploits (the core rules)
  • Spells (magic rules, spell lists, detailed descriptions)
  • Monsters (a book of creatures)
  • Dungeon (the I Smell A Rat adventure)
  • DFRPG Cardboard Heroes (PDF versions of the standees from the box set)
  • DFRPG Maps (the various maps from the adventure)
  • DFRPG Maps-Tiled (same maps but with a grid)

From Gaming Ballistic, this kit includes:
  • Saethor's Bane PDF in color
  • VTT Maps for Saethor's Bane also color
  • Fantastic Dungeon Grappling PDF was always color

DFRPG Boxed Set Starter Pack ($125)

If you don't yet have the physical version of the Dungeon Fantasy RPG, this pledge level gets you the Boxed Set AND the PDFs of the rules and materials, plus the Saethor's Bane solo. The Boxed Set for the core game includes, all for the Dungeon Fantasy RPG:

  • Adventurers (the character-making book)
  • Exploits (the core rules)
  • Spells (magic rules, spell lists, detailed descriptions)
  • Monsters (a book of creatures)
  • Dungeon (the I Smell A Rat adventure)
  • DFRPG Cardboard Heroes
  • Fold-out maps for I Smell a Rat
  • Fantastic Dungeon Grappling in PRINT

From Gaming Ballistic, this kit includes:
  • Saethor's Bane Print and PDF in color
  • VTT Maps for Saethor's Bane in color
  • Fantastic Dungeon Grappling PDF was always color

Due to size and weight restrictions, the DFRPG Boxed Set Starter Pack is shipping only to the USA. There are only a limited number of box sets available ... so if you're interested in getting the physical box, act fast!
In cooperation with Steve Jackson Games, Gaming Ballistic is pleased to offer several SJGames products available as part of the rewards.

Dungeon Fantasy RPG Core Rules

This is the core set driving the rules for the Powered by GURPS books published by Gaming Ballistic. Includes everything you need to play in the box itself - you don't need the GURPS Basic Set or anything else.

Gaming Ballistic has also been given permission to offer the companion PDFs to the physical boxed set volumes, or even just the PDFs by themselves.

If you want the core rules, please upgrade your pledge level to one of the two starter set levels: digital or physical.

Only 10 boxed sets are available during the campaign at the start ... if this pledge level is of interest, jump on it quickly.

The Dungeon Fantasy RPG Companions

Each of the three DFRPG Companions is also available as an add-on. In particular, Companion 3 contains the Shield-Bearer profession, which is given an even larger portion of awesome in Gaming Ballistic's Shields Up!


The original adventure format was all in black-and-white. This was in keeping with the parent games' aesthetic. Thus far, Gaming Ballistic has produced its Dungeon Fantasy RPG materials in color ... and we hit the $21,000 stretch goal, so as it was, so shall it ever be!

As of March 8, we passed the goal, so Gaming Ballistic is contacting the art team and beginning the process of getting the work turned to color. This may push out the physical product delivery depending on how busy the artists are, but we'll get it done!

Thanks for the strong support of the project! In the future, we'll just shoot for color out of the gate.
Every Gaming Ballistic product is listed in add-on in both print and PDF format. If you're looking for one, navigate to the Add-ons page and click away!

Character Building

  • Delvers to Grow  - get to the table fast with modular character building. Go from concept to table in as little as 10 minutes. Supports characters from 62 to 187 points, with easy growth pathways to up to 350-500. Core book is available separately ... and for the first time since the DtGr crowdfunding, the single-volume Delvers to Grow Omnibus Edition (96 pages) is available in both Print and PDF as an add-on!
  • Hand of Asgard - variant clerical templates. They're presented as Norse-flavored, but follow widely applicable divine domains and are easily (and intentionally) applicable to any genre of game.
  • Nordlondr Folk - racial packages. Some specific to the setting, but Elðhud (totally not tieflings), Himneskur (totally not aasimar), and trigers (who doesn't love a distractible three-headed tiger?) will fit almost anywhere.

Monster and Gear Catalogs

  • Nordlond Bestiary - 192 pages of creatures and rules, Gaming Ballistic has your monster manual right here. Hardback and full color. Includes a handy table "By Any Other Name" mapping many of the creatures to their counterparts in That Other Game. Only 60 copies remain from the original print run. When they're gone, they're gone.
  • Serpents of Legend - 60 pages of serpents and serpentine creatures, from the hydra and couatl to serpent folk. Look out for the not-an-homage-at-all snake-cult leader Dulsa Thoom.
  • The Bugstiary - 48 pages of things that swarm, crawl, sting, and fly. From the Mothman to totally-not-Mi-Go, as well as a spider that considers a full-size dragon a light snack.
  • Garden of Evil - if this wood comes to Dunsinane, just pack it in and flee. A 16-page supplement covering a variety of vegetative nightmares that might have you singing Feed Me Seymour. Some are more akin to traps, some are far too ambulatory.
  • Artifacts of Legend - A book of epic magic items, including both unique artifacts of great power, but also a random item generator and "build your own" metasystem based on the Named Item rules: items gain magical abilities as you do mighty deeds, earning the favor of the gods.
  • Artifacts of Saga - Enchantment and adventure aren't the only way to make a powerful artifact. You can also stuff an angry, vengeful, or powerful spirit inside, using the item as a tap to control and manipulate their power. What could go wrong? (Look inside and find out.)


  • Crypt of Krysuvik - Set in the Hunted Lands to the northwest of Nordvorn, this short scenario for 125-150-point characters has the party looking for the barrow of a long-dead Jarl. And we know barrows are filled with treasure. But what else are they filled with?
  • Hall of Judgment - Gaming Ballistic's first adventure for the DFRPG. Journey north from Isfjall to the Frostharrow to find the long-lost temple of the Nordlondr God of Law, visiting a ruined holy city in the process. For 250-point "starting" DFRPG characters.
  • Citadel at Nordvorn - If there's a "Nordlond Setting Book," this is the closest to it. Details the titular city, surrounding towns, and a relationship map of important characters. Should support adventuring at many power levels.
  • Forest's End - For years, maybe centuries, the lands beyond the Jotunnáin river have been closed to further settlement. It annoys the lizard-folk, and tends to bring raids and reprisals. Recently the King opened up settlement, and a bold noble has raised a town and settlement, defended it, and is ready to accept the King's patent as an enfiefed Jarl. But not all is well at Skogurenda ... and a visiting group of 250-300-point adventurers will find themselves with a lot to do.
  • The Dragons of Rosgarth - An adventure for 300-350-point adventurers. Journey to the ruins of the old castle at Rosgarth to figure out what has the oracles of the Fates all hot and bothered. Hint: The Dragon Maendrath has set himself up in Rosgarth, and that might be the least of Nordlond's problems!

Rules Supplements

  • Fantastic Dungeon Grappling - Grappling should be epic. It should be part and parcel with melee combat. And it should be easy to adjudicate and not cause table-flipping rage while you run it. Fantastic Dungeon Grappling turns "should" to "is." This book is included in the reprinted DFRPG Box Set in physical form (if you have that from the reprint run, you already have FDG).
  • Shields Up - Make your best defense that much better, taking the Fantastic Dungeon Grappling rules and applying them to active shield combat, in both offense and defense. Raise your battle-board, take cover behind your shield, and bind and smite your foes!

A project isn't a project without a schedule. Gaming Ballistic is making all efforts to have the project move along with due dispatch. The main writing already exists, leaving conversion, editing, and layout are still yet to be done, including placing old art in new spaces as dictated by the move to 8x10" format.

Estimated schedule:

  • Campaign Start: Tuesday, February 20
  • Campaign End: Saturday, March 9
  • Pledge Manager Start: On or before March 19
  • Backerkit Lock Orders/Charge Card Start: On or before March 26
  • Manufacturing/Printing of Softcovers and Cards: Color goal hit: Early May or before
  • Print Fulfillment Begins: Late May

Since We Hit the Stretch Goal (!!)

Since we hit the full-color artwork late in the project (March 8), we need to expect it may take 1-2 months to get all the pieces in place. Folks are busy and there are over 50 pieces of art in the book to re-do. Then the usual 2-4 weeks to produce the physical components. Pledges ran hot, so the quantities are more like what we expect to see. So we'll hopefully see the art before then, but we need to give the artists time to do their work. 

You'll have the digital files really fast, though.

Survey Waves

Pledge Manager: Once the campaign is complete, a survey will be sent out using Backerkit Pledge Manager to finalize add-ons.

Fortunately, Backerkit has improved their pledge and add-on integration with Pledge Manager. Choosing levels and add-ons will have the product associated with your choice in Pledge Manager. You won't have to do it twice. Shipping will also be charged at the same time - I've gotten adept enough at setting rates that it shouldn't be too far off.

Digital Product Delivery: Initial delivery of PDFs will be via Backerkit. After any errata are hammered out from the initial distributions, the finalized PDFs will also be sent out via Complimentary Copy distribution on DriveThruRPG.

Physical Product Delivery: There's always plausible opportunity for schedule slip in physical product delivery, especially on large successful projects. But it often takes about 2-3 weeks to print the books at Mixam, and 2-4 weeks to get the cards done (close enough I can drive to pick them up). US based shipping is then 1-2 weeks more; UK-hub takes a week to get there, and then 1-8 weeks depending on the destination country's mail system. Australia/New Zealand I have a collaborator that we use a Freight Forwarder to get a bulk delivery to them, then reship. It usually cuts shipping fees to there by 20-50%, but it's hard to say in advance.

"Ships to Whole World" is not free shipping. 

Shipping fees shall be assessed during the Backerkit Pledge Manager phase.

  • Domestic books will be printed in the USA and fulfilled from Gaming Ballistic via USPS Media Mail.
  • Boxed Sets and other SJGames add-ons are only available from the US hub
  • Delivery to Canada, Australia, and New Zealand will be shipped via USPS from the United States to avoid the usually egregious "handling" fees that couriers charge, which are frequently more than the shipping fee and sometimes more than the product itself. 

Shipment to an international freight forwarding service such as MyUS is strongly recommended for international parties who want more economical access to the full range of products. 

International Shipping

Softcover books from Gaming Ballistic may be printed at Mixam in the UK, and delivered for fulfillment by GamesQuest, if the project does well enough. Otherwise, I'll ship a bunch of product by DHL to GamesQuest and reship from there.

International Shipping is usually expensive and challenging. Be prepared.

International Duties and Taxes

Delivery in the UK uses Royal Mail and is usually reasonable. Delivery to the EU via GamesQuest uses DDP terms and is usually relatively smooth. Other nations should be careful: shipping is high, service charges are legion, and such transit is under DDU (Delivery Duties Unpaid) terms. GamesQuest does not currently ship to Russia. They only reluctantly ship to Brazil.

Any and all fees levied by your local country customs are the sole responsibility of the recipient. Refunds will not be offered for packages rejected for customs fees.

Furthermore, if a shipping address is not provided or shipping costs for physical product are unpaid in BackerKit after survey deadlines, Gaming Ballistic will revert your physical reward pledge to the digital reward pledge equivalent and refund 80% of the difference (accounting to funds lost to fees and other costs).
If you believe that this project is not in compliance with BackerKit’s Community Guidelines or Terms of Service, you can file a report by sending a message via this link: Report this project