RogerBW's Blog

Pyramid 105: Cinematic Magic 25 July 2017

Pyramid, edited by Steven Marsh, is the monthly GURPS supplement containing short articles with a loose linking theme. This time it's magic inspired by large-scale filmic stories. Is it just going to be a rerun of #102 Epic? Not quite.

Super-Sorcery! (Kelly Pedersen) modifies the Sorcery subsystem (magic as powers) for use in a superhero game: expanding extra effort, allowing simultaneous spells, and allowing more flexibility in ritual procedures. There's also a 500-point template for a superheroic magician in the Dr Strange style, with various options on skills, and three new power-based spells (summoning, travel to other worlds, and a defensive power). Well, I am working up a superhero game at the moment, but I'll probably downplay the magical element of it.

Chi Sorcery (Christopher R. Rice) takes the Sorcery subsystem in a different direction, to empower a cinematic martial artist. This is impressive (and point-expensive) stuff, and I'd love to see a lower-powered version for a campaign I'm running; at this level it's not of immediate use but I can certainly see it becoming relevant in the future.

Eidetic Memory: Theo-Necromancy (David L. Pulver) looks not at the idea that gods can die – that's already been done back in #41 – but at whether they can be resurrected, or perhaps more to the point revivified. There are several options, with the main one being summoning them, for reasons which doubtless seem sufficient at the time. Most of this is the same as any sort of summoning of a powerful spirit, but some of the adventure ideas get a bit more interesting… for example, the remnant cult of a dead god trying to keep up the impression that he's still a going concern. (Though I'd have liked to see more on the idea of what form an undead god might take, and how it might act.)

Gourmet Alchemy (Michael Kreuter) offers a gateway item to make brewing of alchemical potions easier; in other words, it brings potions into the magic-as-powers system (most of them being Afflictions, i.e. giving an advantage or disadvantage to the user). This is great for a high-magic fantasy game, but would be hard to use elsewhere.

Random Thought Table: Third-Reel Magic (Steven Marsh) looks at how to apply some cinematic tropes to magic: in particular, having to abandon an old magical system in favour of a new one, standard effects not working and having to come up with something new, and ill-advised dangerous things that save the day.

Appendix Z: Lights! Camera! Magic! (Steven Marsh) offers a zero-point feature that allows access to one-shot special abilities (from Power-Ups 5: Impulse Buys), but makes them mana-dependent, and only usable on other people who also have this feature. I don't want to take the narrativist approach that this is designed to support, but as a means of getting villains to fight heroes rather than killing off the mundanes I think it has some potential.

I'm not running a high-magic campaign at the moment, and I have no particular plans to do so, so there's not much here of immediate use. I may well do something with the Chi powers, though. Pyramid 105 is available from Warehouse 23.

Comments on this post are now closed. If you have particular grounds for adding a late comment, comment on a more recent post quoting the URL of this one.

Tags 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s 3d printing action advent of code aeronautics aikakirja anecdote animation anime army astronomy audio audio tech aviation base commerce battletech beer boardgaming book of the week bookmonth chain of command children chris chronicle church of no redeeming virtues cold war comedy computing contemporary cornish smuggler cosmic encounter coup covid-19 crime crystal cthulhu eternal cycling dead of winter doctor who documentary drama driving drone ecchi economics en garde espionage essen 2015 essen 2016 essen 2017 essen 2018 essen 2019 essen 2022 essen 2023 existential risk falklands war fandom fanfic fantasy feminism film firefly first world war flash point flight simulation food garmin drive gazebo genesys geocaching geodata gin gkp gurps gurps 101 gus harpoon historical history horror hugo 2014 hugo 2015 hugo 2016 hugo 2017 hugo 2018 hugo 2019 hugo 2020 hugo 2021 hugo 2022 hugo 2023 hugo 2024 hugo-nebula reread in brief avoid instrumented life javascript julian simpson julie enfield kickstarter kotlin learn to play leaving earth linux liquor lovecraftiana lua mecha men with beards mpd museum music mystery naval noir non-fiction one for the brow opera parody paul temple perl perl weekly challenge photography podcast politics postscript powers prediction privacy project woolsack pyracantha python quantum rail raku ranting raspberry pi reading reading boardgames social real life restaurant reviews romance rpg a day rpgs ruby rust scala science fiction scythe second world war security shipwreck simutrans smartphone south atlantic war squaddies stationery steampunk stuarts suburbia superheroes suspense television the resistance the weekly challenge thirsty meeples thriller tin soldier torg toys trailers travel type 26 type 31 type 45 vietnam war war wargaming weather wives and sweethearts writing about writing x-wing young adult
Special All book reviews, All film reviews
Produced by aikakirja v0.1