Ready for the dungeon! (image source)

So you found a passage to fantasy world full of magic and wonder at the back of your grandmother’s old walk-in closet. You’ve read about things like this before, and you’re thinking of going in and raiding the place for treasure having a wholesome and memorable sightseeing trip. What should you take in your expedition?

The first thing that comes to a lot of player’s minds in a game like this are guns, but we’re not going to talk about that here. Plenty of other people already did, for once: there’s at least one Pyramid article about it, and GURPS Loadouts: Monster Hunters gives you a very complete treatment of what guns to take to fight monsters. No, we’re going to talk about all the other stuff that plays a role in keeping you alive: camping and expedition gear!

That sort of equipment is vital to every traditional dungeon fantasy adventurer and no less important for modern PCs venturing into such worlds. In fact, the less combat your game features, the more important this gear becomes. Even if the game is a pure dungeon crawl, that closet portal might not open directly into the dungeon. And even if it does you might have a hard time coming back home and might have to stay on the other side for a while. And who knows, maybe your game actually is about a wholesome and memorable sightseeing trip, making the journey the whole point.

Modern camping gear is often much lighter and better at its job than the TL 3 equivalents, and can give you as much of a comparative edge to traveling and survival as a brace of guns would give for combat. The loadouts described below are supposed to be modern versions of the Minimal, Deluxe, and Group kits described in GURPS Dungeon Fantasy 13: Loadouts. They assume an incursion into the fantasy realm might take several days but won’t last forever, so taking things that require batteries or fuel is allowed. All modern gear and attending rules are taken from GURPS High-Tech.

The goal is for these loadouts to be at least as effective and no heavier than the originals - if possible they should be both lighter and better. They’re inevitably going to end up being more expensive, but even a “settled” modern character has access to four times the entire life savings of a starting medieval adventurer, so keeping price down isn’t as big of a priority.

A Note on Clothing

If you follow the rules from High-Tech, your weight savings start with the good old set of Ordinary Clothing every character gets! The totally generic set from Dungeon Fantasy weights 1 kg (2 lbs.), but TL 8 garments weight half that. It might not seem much, but every pound you save is another pound of treasure you can bring home! The same savings would apply to winter and arctic clothing, which is good news if that portal opens into a winter wasteland.

A Note on Food

After looking at the options for travel-ready food in High-Tech, it turns out the generic “Traveler’s Rations” from Dungeon Fantasy are already as close to optimal as you can get in terms of weight per meal at 0.25kg/0.5lbs. Few of the “realistic” rations presented in High-Tech weight less than that. I went with Survival Tablets for travel rations here because they feel high-tech, weight about half of what the generic rations do, and can be eaten on the move just like those rations.

World-hopping delvers who insist on eating actual food and don’t mind doing a bit of campfire cooking can instead pack meals of Freeze-Dried Food (p. HT 35) and bring along a titanium Personal Mess Kit (p. HT57, $45, 0.15kg/0.3 lbs). The price and weight per meal of the two types of ration is close enough that the only difference for the whole loadout is the price and weight of the mess kit.

Minimal Modern Delver’s Kit

$424, 7.05kg/14.10 lbs

This kit provides a 30% weight savings over its medieval version, a much better light source, a much stronger rope, and a +1 to Survival rolls because of the sleeping bag.

The included batteries can last you for days. A set of spare batteries for all powered equipment here costs $4 and weights 0.4kg (0.8 lbs.)

  • Sleeping Bag (p. HT56) [Torso]: +1 to Survival. $100, 1 kg (2 lbs.).
  • UV purifier (p. HT 59) [Torso]: Holds 1L of water, which it purifies in 1-2 minutes. Given weight is for a full container. $100, 1.25kg (2.5 lbs.)
  • Batteries for UV purifier (p. HT 13) [UV purifier]: 4 XS batteries, good for 20L. $2, weight already included.
  • Backpack, Small (p. HT54) [Torso]: Holds 25kg (50 lbs.). $120, 1.5kg (3 lbs.).
  • Personal Basics (p. B288 or HT53) [Backpack]: $5, 0.5kg (1 lb.).
  • Bottle of Survival Tablets x 2 (p. HT35) [Backpack]: Provides nutrients equivalent to 12 meals in total. $50, 1.5kg (3 lbs.)
  • Rope, 1cm (3/8”), 10m (p. HT56) [Backpack]: Synthetic. Supports 325kg (650 lbs.). $25, 0.8kg (1.6 lbs.).
  • Flashlight (p. HT52) [Backpack]: 10m beam. $20, 0.5kg (1 lb.).
  • Batteries for Flashlight (p. HT 13) [Flashlight]: 2 S batteries, good for 50 hours of illumination. $2, weight already included.

Deluxe Modern Delver’s Kit

+$393, +6,41kg/12,82 lbs

Like the original version, this is an add-on to the corresponding minimal kit. It weights a little over a quarter of the corresponding add-on kit and it’s cheaper, though the basic and deluxe kits combined are still a bit more expensive than the originals. The tent included here combines with the sleeping bag from the basic kit to add a combined +2 tool bonus to Survival. The price of the whole package ($817) also falls well within the budget of even a “settled” TL8 adventurer.

Further sets of spare batteries for the lantern add $4, 0.66kg (1.21 lbs) each.

  • Backpack, Large (p. HT55) [Torso]: Replaces the minimal kit’s Small Backpack. Holds 50kg (100 lbs.). $200, 2.5kg (5 lbs.)
  • Dive-Certified Electric Lantern (p. HT 51) [Backpack]: 5m radius. $60, 1.5kg (3 lbs.)
  • Batteries for Lantern (p . HT 13) [Lantern]: 4 S batteries, good for 20 hours of illumination. $4, weight already included.
  • Spare Batteries for Lantern (p. HT 13) [Backpack]: $4, 0.66kg (1.21 lbs.)
  • Load-Bearing Vest (p. HT54) [Torso]: $30, 1kg (2 lbs).
  • Bottle of Survival Tablets (p. HT35) [Backpack]: Provides nutrients equivalent to 6 meals. $25, 0.75kg (1.5lbs).
  • Rope, 1.25cm (1/2”), 10m (p. HT56) [Backpack]: Synthetic. Supports 2 tons. $90, 1kg (2 lbs).
  • Tent, Personal (p. HT57) [Backpack]: +1 to Survival. $100, 0.5kg (1 lb).

Modern Group Kit

+$563, +29kg/58 lbs

As I write the modern version of DF’s Group Kit, I notice it gets harder to find high-tech replacements for some of the stuff here. First-Aid Kits cost and weight the same, though obviously the TL8 version is a lot better than the medieval equivalent. We can replace the crowbar and shovel with titanium versions from Low-Tech for a little weight savings, but there’s no listed high-tech substitute for the good old pickaxe. High-Tech also doesn’t talk about Group Basics, opting to break that convenient abstraction down into its components. However, I believe it’s safe to assume that like Personal Basics the modern version costs and weights the same but includes more modern items (like a camp stove and its propane tank).

The resulting kit is still quite a bit lighter than the original because TL 8 tents are awesome, and fits entirely into a single large backpack with some room to spare. The party can still opt to split its items among themselves if they don’t manage to make a half-ogre barbarian friend in the fantasy realm.

  • Backpack, Large (p. HT55) [Torso]: Holds 50kg (100 lbs.). $200, 2.5kg (5 lbs.)
  • Crowbar, Titanium (p. HT30) [Backpack]: $50, 1kg (2 lbs).
  • First-Aid Kit (p. HT221) [Backpack]: A modern first-aid kit. $50, 1kg (2 lbs).
  • Group Basics (p. B288, see above) [Backpack]: $50, 10kg (20 lbs).
  • Pickaxe (p. B288) [Backpack]: $15, 4kg (8 lbs).
  • Pole, 3m (p. B288) [Torso]: $8, 2.5kg (5 lbs).
  • Shovel, Titanium (p. HT26) [Backpack]: $40, 2kg (4 lbs).
  • Tent, Dome (p. HT57) [Backpack]: +2 to Survival. $150, 6kg.