RogerBW's Blog

Pyramid 117: Hot Spots 05 August 2018

Pyramid, edited by Steven Marsh, is the monthly GURPS supplement containing short articles with a loose linking theme. This time it's a tie-in with the recently-released Hot Spots: Renaissance Venice, dealing with areas on a slightly larger scale than last month's Locations issue.

City of Lights, City of Blackouts (Jon Black) deals with Paris from the start of the twentieth century to the end of the Second World War. There are three suggested campaign bases: the Bohemian, the Resistance, and the Underworld. A quick guide to the layout of the city is followed by four broad eras defined by the First and Second World Wars; each one has events, locations, people, and adventure ideas. (And we finally get stats for the Apache revolver, a bizarre combination of gun, knuckleduster and knife that I've met in the Royal Armouries in Leeds.) This isn't necessarily something on which to build a campaign (at least it would take a fair bit more work), but rather a solid basis for a campaign that can spend time here.

East Berlin (Matt Wehmeier) describes that city in the early 1980s; there's not much geography (unfortunate, since there are substantial differences from modern maps), but it's a good brief introduction to the look and feel of the place. There are campaign suggestions, and even four alternate worlds with the city as a theme. This is good solid stuff.

Eidetic Memory: Victoria 2100 (David L. Pulver) covers the city in the Alberta-British-Columbia Union, for Transhuman Space. It's noticeably more liberal in respect of the rights of arguably-sapient beings than the rest of the Pacific Rim Alliance, but there's not much detail here; it's only a three-page article.

Villa del Trebbio (Matt Riggsby) describes the Medici villa outside Florence; this is purely physical, with plenty of maps but only sketchy notes on the people one might find there.

Revolutionary Cuba (Nathan Milner) covers that nation in the 1950s and early 1960s, through the revolutionary war and the tense relationships afterwards – as well as the organised crime connection. This is probably something that deserves a campaign in itself rather than a brief visit, and I'd like to see more about the time and place.

Furbo Venezia (Matt Riggsby) is four adventure seeds for Renaissance Venice, closely tied to the setting.

Random Thought Table: Stealing History for Fun (Steven Marsh) deals with borrowing things from the real world for an invented setting: appearances and mannerisms for NPCs, and either whole cultures or interesting elements for settings. This is another piece that needs much more space, but it's a great starting point.

This is the sort of issue I buy Pyramid for. Game mechanics are all very well, but not my first priority: actual places and people that will give me ideas for future adventures and campaigns are much more interesting. (What a shame that it should come out around the same time as the announcement that the magazine will be shut down at the end of the year.) Pyramid 117 is available from Warehouse 23.

See also:
GURPS Hot Spots: Renaissance Venice, Matt Riggsby


  1. Posted by Owen Smith at 04:09pm on 05 August 2018

    I'm not surprised Pyramid is closing down. I game a lot and half of that is using GURPS, and yet Pyrmaid doesn't appeal to me as a player. I have quite a few issues, either gifts or DFRPG I Want It All level and I haven't read most of them. I suspect it only appeals to GMs and that is not a large enough market.

    Hopefully this means the resources used for Pyramid will now be used for other GURPS things like supplements and core books that I am more likely to buy.

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