RogerBW's Blog

Pyramid 96: Tech and Toys IV 18 December 2016

Pyramid, edited by Steven Marsh, is the monthly GURPS supplement containing short articles with a loose linking theme. This time it's high technology and the things one can do with it.

High-Tech Buildings (Matt Riggsby) extends the building construction rules from Low-Tech Companion 3 into the present day and the future, with lists of building materials and amenities. It feels a little skeletal, but next time I need the rough cost of a building this is where I'll look. It covers TL5-10 with some superscience extensions.

The Arrow of Progress (Kelly Pedersen) looks for new roles for bows in an ultra-tech setting, with TLs 9-11 catered for. Not only can bows be made tougher, more damaging, or vastly more concealable, arrows can be made quieter, given shape-changing heads with memory materials, or carry sensors.

Eidetic Memory: Ultra-Tech Armor Design (David L. Pulver) complements David's earlier low-tech and modern armour design articles in earlier issues: choose the armour's coverage, determine what it's made of, choose a thickness, and add accessories. Generally I've been happy with the stock armours from Ultra-Tech, but next time I need to customise a suit, this is where I'll come.

Hexopersonality (J. Edward Tremlett) is a variant of netrunning where the user sends out a digital image of his personality, cutting himself off if it gets damaged. Really, the only question is how it's all going to go horribly wrong; those of us who've read Greg Egan's short story Learning To Be Me will not be surprised.

Random Thought Table: Building an Interesting Tomorrow With Technology (Steven Marsh) looks at how personal feelings can used as an influence in campaign design decisions: what if FTL jumps require the ship to consume stars? Or human memetics makes everyone more socially responsible, but aliens are far more alien because it's harder to get individual ideas in or out of the human memeplex?

Appendix Z: Titan Fightin' (Timothy Ponce) is a short article that aims to support giant robot fights, in particular to produce dramatic situations rather than stalemates or easy wins; it does this by scaling strength, hit points and armour down to standard GURPS values, then calculating actual damage at the end of the fight.

Unusually for an ultra-tech issue, there's nothing here that I want to drop straight into a game or that inspires a new campaign. I'll probably use the armour construction rules at some point, and the rest will lurk in the background waiting for a relevant situation to arise. Pyramid 96 is available from Warehouse 23.

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