RogerBW's Blog

Pyramid 83: Alternate GURPS IV 31 October 2015

Pyramid is the monthly GURPS supplement containing short articles with a loose linking theme. This time it's a grab-bag of alternative and house rules for GURPS.

Pointless Monster Hunting (Christopher R. Rice) removes character points from the Monster Hunters templates, just as Pointless Slaying and Looting did for the Dungeon Fantasy setup in the last Alternate GURPS issue. Of course, it still has "slots", which are basically lumps of ten character points, but I suppose if you have the sort of player who wants to pick a few package deals off a short menu (D&D-style) rather than fine-tuning a specific character this might answer your needs. Medium quality, low applicability; this doesn't have anything to say to me or most of my regular players. Designers' notes here.

Knowing Your Own Strength (Sean Punch) redefines the strength characteristic to be logarithmic: each +10 ST multiplies Basic Lift by ten, and intermediate values are calculated accordingly. So a character with ST 20 is ten times as strong as a normal human. This has some problems at the low end of the scale (where tiny creatures can't hurt each other), but makes ST-based attribute rolls much more sensible for stronger PCs. High quality, low applicability; it's interesting but I don't see myself using it.

Eidetic Memory: Playing With Health (David L. Pulver) attempts to make the the health characteristic more important: it bases Perception on HT rather than IQ, and bases mêlée combat and related skills on Speed×2 (i.e. the average of DX and HT) rather than DX alone. High quality, medium applicability; I'm more likely to try this than the ST changes, particularly since there tends to be a drift towards maximising IQ in the games I play in and tun.

Schrödinger's Backpack (Douglas H. Cole) is a variant of preparation rules: rather than writing down every single thing you put in your backpack, you define a cost and weight of "stuff" that you're carrying, make a Scrounging roll (or other relevant skill) to find the thing you're looking for, and deduct its cost/weight from what's left in the pack. The higher a proportion of the remaining cost/weight it will take, the lower your chance of getting it. Specialised packs can only be used with a particular skill (e.g. Hiking) and for things relevant to it, but get a +2 bonus. Medium quality, medium applicability: I have no immediate plans to use this but could easily see myself dropping it into a game.

Possessions Under Control (Timothy Ponce) looks at the Possession advantage through the lens of GURPS Martial Arts: Technical Grappling. Yes, really. You have Trained Will, which is willpower that gives a benefit to resisting possession, and someone trying to take you over builds up Mental Control Points which gradually decrease your ability to control your own actions, and can be spent to get particular advantages. Exorcism becomes an outside attempt to regain control. High quality, low applicability: unless I ran a game about possession I can't see myself wanting this much detail.

Random Thought Table: A Different Side of Dice (Steven Marsh) looks at using non-transitive dice for GURPS success rulls. Steven's done similar things before (e.g. using d4+d6+d8 rather than 3d6) and I confess I can't really see the appeal compared with good old modifiers.

There's not much here I'm planning to use, but it gives me ideas for things I might well drop into a future game. Pyramid 83 is available from Warehouse 23.

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