RogerBW's Blog

Pyramid 109: Thaumatology V 18 November 2017

Pyramid, edited by Steven Marsh, is the monthly GURPS supplement containing short articles with a loose linking theme. This time it's a return to thaumatology, looking at magic and what to do with it.

Magnum Opus (James Amaral) expands alchemy to make it something interesting for player characters to do. There are four influences, based on the mediæval humours but not opposed to each other, each with a potential range of -2 to +2 (the author suggests that this should produce 608 combinations rather than 625, for no obvious reason). Multiple ingredients can be stacked together, but the ones that only give +1 or -1 to a single value are hard work to produce. Then they can be combined to reach the appropriate position in the coordinate space to produce a particular alchemical effect. There's less to this than I'd hoped for, but it certainly has potential not just as something for PCs but as a generator of odd clues for investigators.

The Mage-Hunter (Sean Punch) is a Dungeon Fantasy template for a non-magical warrior who can go up against magicians and survive – without having Magic Resistance, which makes him harder to heal. Much of this is done with new advantages to give defences against, and the ability to counter, spells; just how these are "non-magical" isn't really clear, but the principle is there.

Eidetic Memory: The Teramancers (David L. Pulver) deals with a group of magicians who specialise in monsters: controlling, and later breeding or otherwise creating, them. Mostly this is an excuse for strange monsters showing up, rather than something for PCs to get directly involved in, but one could readily put them on the other side and that might be rather more fun.

The Glorious Book of Valadir (J. Edward Tremlett) is a book of good magic to counter all those books of evil magic one reads about. It engages with casters' intent, but there are of course significant side effects. Um, yes, significant; this is essentially a campaign-defining artefact.

Designers' Notes: Incantation Magic (Christopher R. Rice and Antoni Ten Monrós) describes the genesis of the book (how it was adapted and modified from Thaumatology: Ritual Path Magic), and includes some material cut for space.

The All-Scroll (Alice Turow) delivers magical knowledge… as something like modular spellcasting abilities, but only once for each effect for a single user, and only for a limited time. It seems regrettably arbitrary to me, but may appeal to others.

Random Thought Table: Too Powerful for Your Own Good (Steven Marsh) looks at limiting magical powers by making them too powerful (long in duration, damaging, etc.) for convenient use, with great skill needed to restrain them.

This is a good one; I don't use much magic in games, but there are ideas here that I'll gladly take and incorporate into various of my campaigns. Pyramid 109 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.

Search
Archive
Tags 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s 3d printing action aeronautics aikakirja anecdote animation anime army astronomy audio tech base commerce battletech beer boardgaming bookmonth chain of command children chronicle church of no redeeming virtues cold war comedy computing contemporary cornish smuggler cosmic encounter coup cycling dead of winter doctor who documentary drama driving drone ecchi espionage essen 2015 essen 2016 essen 2017 existential risk falklands war fandom fantasy film firefly first world war flash point food garmin drive gazebo geodata gurps gurps 101 harpoon historical history horror hugo 2014 hugo 2015 hugo 2016 hugo 2017 hugo-nebula reread in brief avoid instrumented life kickstarter learn to play leaving earth linux mecha museum mystery naval non-fiction one for the brow opera perl photography podcast politics powers prediction privacy project woolsack pyracantha quantum rail ranting raspberry pi reading reading boardgames social real life restaurant reviews romance rpg a day rpgs science fiction scythe second world war security shipwreck simutrans south atlantic war squaddies stationery steampunk stuarts suburbia superheroes suspense television the resistance thirsty meeples thriller tin soldier torg toys trailers travel 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