RogerBW's Blog

Pyramid 99: Death and Beyond 06 March 2017

Pyramid, edited by Steven Marsh, is the monthly GURPS supplement containing short articles with a loose linking theme. This time it's death, and what might follow.

Necro-Psi (Christopher R. Rice) is a new psionic power group for interacting with the spirits of the dead: reading their auras, seeing the last thing they saw before they died, animating and controlling corpses, and taking on a shadowy form. This seems at times like a TV series pitch, and doesn't really fit with the feel of the other psi powers as I've used them, but for a more cinematic game it could work quite well.

What Doesn't Kill Me Makes Me Stronger (Scott Rochat) gives you points for killing monsters, just like classic D&D; they can be spent for one-off bonuses, and even integrated with the Combat Effectiveness Rating from Pyramid 77. I just don't see the, er, point.

Eidetic Memory: Soul Reapers (David L. Pulver) presents the idea of a psychopomp as a playable character in a Monster Hunters or Horror game, from the gothic Death of Sandman to the modern iteration of the shinigami in Japanese mythology. (Naturally, not all the souls they take will be willing to go, so they have plenty of nifty powers.) This seems really to deserve an entire campaign or at least adventure dedicated to it, rather than simply mixing a Reaper with other sorts of PC that fight monsters.

The Slaughterealm (J. Edward Tremlett) is a pocket dimension into which people are kidnapped, and then forced to fight to the death. The rules are arbitrary, and in effect this is a framework over a series of dungeon bashes, with only a half-page box explaining how people might escape without completing the series of challenges; to me this feels like a whole pile of Not Fun.

Random Thought Table: Death and How to Avoid It (Steven Marsh) defines eight levels of "seriousness" of death as a campaign setting, from absolute certainty that it is the end to its being an entirely alien concept.

This is a bit of a disappointment to me: there's nothing I'm likely to use immediately, though a necro-psi could potentially fit into my 1960s psionics campaign (as a foe) if I restart it, and several items are depressingly mundane. Pyramid 99 is available from Warehouse 23.

See also:
Pyramid 77: Combat, edited by Steven Marsh

  1. Posted by John Dallman at 10:07pm on 06 March 2017

    I suspect Necro-Psi makes more sense when psionics is part of the occult, rather than fringe science. There are a lot of people who don't distinguish between the two.

  2. Posted by Owen Smith at 01:32pm on 08 March 2017

    Your disappointment with this issue is what happens to me with pretty much every issue of Pyramid. As a player, an article is of little use to me unless I'm designing a character at the time or at least thinking about one, and the article is about something that would fit with the campaign or sparks ideas. The chances of those two criteria being met at any one time are very low.

    To be fair the same happens when I buy a GURPS book. I bought Mars Attacks because once the initial hardback print run is gone, if there is ever a reprint it will almost certainly be softback. But I won't need Mars Attacks unless we ever run a game in it or something close enough for me to steal character ideas.

  3. Posted by RogerBW at 03:28pm on 23 March 2017

    Yes, in a psi game where you also had witchcraft and twisted biology and so on – the gallimaufry sort of setting that Monster Hunters assumes – Necro-Psi would be a much better fit.

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