RogerBW's Blog

Pyramid 80: Fantasy Threats 20 August 2015

Pyramid is the monthly GURPS supplement containing short articles with a loose linking theme. This time it's about things that threaten adventurers in a fantasy game: some monsters, but also societal menaces.

The Gryndel Menace (Christopher R. Rice) describes a dragon-like creature with secondary life cycles involving the infection of hosts of other species: then they either grow in the manner of tumours, or gradually transform the host, giving him better physical capabilities, a ravening hunger, and eventually a retreat to the cocoon and transformation into one of the monsters. High quality, medium applicability (the things are blatantly a menace, which gives them only one mode of interaction, but there are good notes on putting them into various types of campaign). (Designer's Notes here.)

Gog and Magog (W.A. Frick) is an adventure setup: two tribes of goblins are fighting, and each will try to encourage adventurers to attack the other. High quality, high applicability: it's a one-off, but one that could easily be grafted into an existing campaign world.

Eidetic Memory: The Knights of the Iron Table (David L. Pulver) is a King Arthur-style setup turned dark, with a tyrant in the making and his loyal, at least for the moment, followers. High quality, high applicability; all I'd need to change is the names, and it would fit right into The Turbulent Century.

On the Bounty Board (Justin Yoder) considers how player characters can become outlaws with bounties on their heads, what sort of person might have it in for them, and how they can go about fixing the problem. High quality, low applicability, since it needs a specific sort of legal system and is better suited to high fantasy (where a player character may be able to out-fight a great many normal soldiers, thus the need for bounties) than to low.

More Psionic Threats (Cole M.B. Jenkins) is intended for Dungeon Fantasy, and adds to the roster of psionic foes. Astral Ghost, Astral Spider, Brain Worms… if you're after more monsters to threaten psionic adventurers, they're here. High quality, medium applicability, though with a bit of rejigging they might fit into my 1960s psionics campaign.

Random Thought Table: The Threat of the Unknown (Steven Marsh) looks at artefacts as non-intuitive items: what if they're from a completely alien culture, so that the only way to find out what they do is to experiment? Particularly if the designers weren't anything like humans? High quality, medium applicability (it's a bit specialised).

I'm not running a fantasy game at the moment, so I'm rating applicability in terms of the sort of game I might be likely to run: a fairly developed society, where monster-bashing is a relatively minor part of what a player character does. Score applicability down a step or so for non-fantasy campaigns. On the other hand, everything here is pretty good, so it might be worth the effort to port it across. Pyramid 80 is available from Warehouse 23.

See also:
Campaign Ideas

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