RogerBW's Blog

Pyramid 112: Action II 19 February 2018

Pyramid, edited by Steven Marsh, is the monthly GURPS supplement containing short articles with a loose linking theme. This time it's the Action series, a set of rules for streamlining GURPS to fit the sort of story one finds in action films.

More Skill Sets for Specialists (Christopher R. Rice) expands on the hidden gem that is Action 4: Specialists, a compromise between the quick but restrictive templates of the Action series and full-complexity GURPS character generation. It presents 34 modular skill sets, including animal handlers, various sorts of celebrity, and priests of the boring old non-supernatural sort; it also brings in magical and psionic skill packages, which I don't think really fit well with Action, and some ultra-tech ones which do. Definitely worth using.

The Thrill of the Chase (Kelly Pedersen) expands on the chase mechanics from Action 2, adding modifiers for different sorts of terrain (mostly in terms of how easy it is to manoeuvre in it), and random events such as obstacles and innocent bystanders. I like this a great deal, and I'm likely to use the chase rules more as a result of having this available.

Eidetic Memory: Black Gemini (David L. Pulver) is an adventure that sees the PCs (some sort of government-funded covert operators) tracking down an antiquity looted from a war zoneā€¦ but things rapidly escalate. The plot looks suitably twisty, but is actually straightforward: a neat trick that's very much in-genre.

The Football (Jason Brick) looks at adding secondary consequences to fights: yes, the PCs are going to win, but will the hostage or artefact be saved? It's setting goals in a fight that go beyond just killing or neutralising the enemy; basic, perhaps, but written interestingly.

The Grinder (Andy Vetromile) is an adventure location: a chop-shop for cars, organised by someone who's given some thought to his defences and methods of operation. It's a good setup, and interfering with it will be hard work for PCs.

Random Thought Table: Focusing on the What and the Now (Steven Marsh) looks at two aspects of campaigns: making sure everyone's on the same page with regard to styles of action, and being willing to drop campaign elements that haven't worked (perhaps literally, using index cards).

There's good solid stuff here, and I'll use several of these articles next time I'm running an action game. Pyramid 112 is available from Warehouse 23.

See also:
GURPS Action 4: Specialists, Sean Punch

  1. Posted by David L. Pulver at 12:05am on 21 February 2018

    Thanks for the detailed reviews! I'm really pleased you're regularly reviewing Pyramid - it's nice to get thoughtful feedback and insight on what worked and what didn't.

  2. Posted by RogerBW at 11:40am on 22 February 2018

    Just as long as you don't take me seriously as What The GURPS Buyer Wants - for example I'm really not interested in most fantasy gaming, but lots of other people are.

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