RogerBW's Blog

Pyramid 108: Dungeon Fantasy Roleplaying Game III 11 November 2017

Pyramid, edited by Steven Marsh, is the monthly GURPS supplement containing short articles with a loose linking theme. This time it's the last of the three issues promised during the Dungeon Fantasy RPG kickstarter. (It's well timed, as hardcopies of the books were reaching Kickstarter supporters as it came out, and they're now available to the public.)

Monster Modding (Sean Punch) reminds me of articles from 1980s White Dwarf: "My players have memorised all the monsters and their weaknesses! How can I surprise them?" In this case the suggestion is not just to use new monsters (which will make cautious players prolong the fights) but to change the abilities on existing ones. The article itself consists of meta-traits like Demonic, Spectral, Driven, Strong, as well as "elemental" imbuements and something approximating classes for monsters. I can't help feeling that this is solving the wrong problem - if you want players to wade into fights rather than being cautious, why not just reward them for doing so? - but it solves it effectively.

More Mythic & Magical Monsters (Peter V. Dell'Orto) has Cerberus (both the original and some cut-down version) and the Bull of Colchis, as well as giant beetles, centipedes, etc. This would have been dead handy for my Last Days of Atlantis campaign had it not gone all warped and eldritch at me.

Eidetic Memory: Hydra Island (David L. Pulver) is a scenario that sees the adventurers hired to catch another, well, small adventuring party. It's all fairly straightforward, though talking to people will produce an easier path than the Dungeon Lawnmower approach.

The Hand of the Demon (Christopher R. Rice) is a set of six mini-dungeons linked by a common thread, and a time limit. Oddly, the thread (which is apparently meant to be a sting in the tail) is unresolved: it's all about the fighting and looting.

Random Thought Table: If Not You, Then Who? (Steven Marsh) looks at the problem of player character involvement: why is an adventure their job? Perhaps they're the best able to deal with it, there's a cultural assumption that it's what heroes do, there's an adventuring guild or similar organisation, there's no time to get in the experts, or everyone else is tackling harder problems. (A box notes excuses that a quest-giver can use to avoid going on the quest.) Essentially this is all about social context, and arguably a purist Dungeon Fantasy game wouldn't care about any of this stuff, but it works well for me.

Designer's Notes: How to Be a GURPS GM (Warren "Mook" Wilson) is essentially a description of how the book came to be, and what's in it; it's more of an advertisement for the book than designers' notes usually are.

Well, as expected, this is another Pyramid that isn't a great deal of use to me. I'll steal the classical monsters at some point, and the Random Thought Table is definitely a good starting point for considering PC involvement in all sorts of campaigns, but otherwise it's all about the dungeon bashing – which is fine if that's what you want. Pyramid 108 is available from Warehouse 23.

  1. Posted by Peter Dell'Orto at 10:31pm on 11 November 2017

    Thanks for the review; we really get so little feedback as authors so reviews like this are much appreciated!

    Actually, Cerberus is the original one, not a cut down one - it was originally meant for a lower-point game. The upscaled one one is adjust to make it a better boss creature for DF. There is a big difference between a game where people end up in the skill 20-24 range and cap out at ST 18-19 and a game where everyone starts in the skill 20+ range and ST 17+ is commonplace!

  2. Posted by RogerBW at 02:23pm on 17 November 2017

    Thanks, Peter! (I know I always like to see reviews of my own articles… whether they admit I'm perfect or, teasingly, suggest that perfection is only for the Gods and I am merely the next best thing.)

    By "the original" I meant "the mythic, baddest doggie in all creation", as opposed to just a three-headed fire-breathing dog.

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