RogerBW's Blog

Pyramid 102: Epic 07 May 2017

Pyramid, edited by Steven Marsh, is the monthly GURPS supplement containing short articles with a loose linking theme. This time it's things to make the players say "that's amazing".

Crafting Imbuements (Christopher R. Rice) extends the Imbuement system, a method for allowing individuals to make any piece of equipment they carry special in some way, into crafting skills: in other words the Imbuement user can now make a supernaturally good item that's usable by other people. In other words it's yet another approach to an item-building system, and it's not just as the author of one of the others (The Daughter of Necessity, Pyramid #3/46) that I think this feels unnecessary; it doesn't seem to me to add much that the other systems didn't already provide.

Dungeon Fantasy Goes to War (Matt Riggsby) fills the gap between the small-unit fights of a typical dungoneering party and GURPS Mass Combat, by listing various historical and faux-historical units in terms of their cost as Allies, their basic stats (which template to use and how to modify it), and their Mass Combat stats. If your hero might be followed around by a file of hoplites, a barbarian war party, or a plague of locusts, that's covered here. Monstrous allies get less detail. Matt suggests a low frequency of appearance for these allies, or the game becomes about them; I'd be more inclined not to worry about their point cost and use them in one-shot adventures. (Those of us who played the Lone Wolf books may recall the way that, for a while, our hero would be sent off at the start of the book with an escorting military force… all of whom would be killed off before he got into the "real" adventure.) Designer's notes here.

Eidetic Memory: The Harvest – Invasion Earth (David L. Pulver) has secret cooperation with aliens starting in the 1980s, which turns into invasion in the modern day. There's a lovely backstory involving the nature of hyperspace and the resource the aliens are interested in, and listings for conventional tanks, submarines and fighters upgraded with supertech to go up against the aliens. Alas, there's no room for development of the actual shape of the campaign, but I find this intriguing and I could certainly see myself building on it.

Götterdämmerung (William H. Stoddard) is a puzzle-world for the Infinite Worlds setting: it has super-powered heroes with a variety of sources for their powers, deriving from distinct underlying realities. This makes for four separate "clusters" of superpowers and a distinctly mixed setting; again there's not much room to develop what might actually happen here, but it has potential.

Many Lives, One Adventure (J. Edward Tremlett) explores reliable reincarnation in an epic fantasy setting, with PCs having an eternal task and a power linked to it. This isn't an overall campaign frame, but a setup for examining particular incidents along the journeys of specific souls. And gods are, of course, capricious.

Random Thought Table: The Sense of Ahhh (Steven Marsh) examines what makes things epic. It's not just more stuff, it's a different sort of stuff: maintaining the sense of scale by putting humans in the picture at the same time as cosmic forces, and making even side-effects different and strange.

There's nothing here that immediately inspires me to run a game based on it, and only Steven's piece makes me say "wow", but there are quite a few articles that I'll mull over and probably steal from. Pyramid 102 is available from Warehouse 23.

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