RogerBW's Blog

Pyramid 77: Combat, edited by Steven Marsh 09 May 2015

Pyramid is the monthly GURPS supplement containing short articles with a loose linking theme. This time it's combat: fighting of all sorts.

Combat Writ Large (Sean Punch) deals with large things: trolls, giants, killer robots, and so on. This is a collection and expansion of existing rules, and while there's a focus on the hex-grid combat that many GURPS players like there's plenty of good material elsewhere. When I next have an outsized monster in a game I'll certainly want a copy of this available. All of this is given in terms of relative size modifier, so the same material can be used for tiny combatants too. (Not that I would be translating The Small Folk into GURPS. Really.) High value, medium applicability to my games.

Low-Tech Armor Loadouts for the New World (Dan Howard) is an extension of GURPS Loadouts: Low-Tech Armor (on which I was a playtester, and boy it was hard work). It gives detailed armour for Spanish conquistadors and their foes in the Americas. Medium value, low applicability: I'm not planning any games set in these cultures or regions, and generally I don't need this level of detail anyway, though it's certainly nice to have.

Eidetic Memory: Ancient Egyptian and Roman Armies (David L. Pulver) is an extension to GURPS Mass Combat which gives details for those two armies, the specific units they can include, and some typical combinations of those units. High value, low applicability: Mass Combat is one of those supplements that I will find indispensable if I ever have PCs involved around the edges of a big battle, but the situation doesn't seem to have come up yet.

On Target (Douglas H. Cole) extends the Aim manoeuvre, a usual combat tactic but sometimes a bit of a poor relation as it's resolved quite simplistically. This replaces it with a skill roll, based on the Guns skill but with some different modifiers. High value, medium applicability: I will probably offer something like this in my Weird War II game, which has seen some notable sniping incidents, but for Torg it would be too cumbersome.

It's a Threat! (Christopher R. Rice) brings back memories of the Monstermark from White Dwarf #1-#3: it boils down adventurer and monster statistics into Offensive and Protective ratings, and combines those to give an overall Combat Effectiveness which should give some indication of how much of a problem an encounter will be. Medium value, low applicability: in a complex system like GURPS there has to be lots of room for the GM's discretion when it comes to weird powers, and I'm not running a dungeon bash at all.

Random Thought Table: Faster, Combatants! Kill! Kill! (Steven Marsh) is, as usual, short on game-mechanical detail and long on ideas. It suggests various ways in which combat can be made to run faster: by having a defined breakpoint after which minor bad guys will give up if they aren't seriously hurting the PCs, restricting descriptive bonuses (we're looking at Exalted here, which specifically rewards players for flowery speeches about what their PCs are up to), and having a set of random rolls prepared for NPCs to save time at the table. High value, high applicability; it'll be easy enough for me to add some pre-generated rolls to my NPC listings.

Pyramid 77 is available from Warehouse 23.

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