RogerBW's Blog

Pyramid 121: Travels and Tribulations 24 November 2018

Pyramid, edited by Steven Marsh, is the monthly GURPS supplement containing short articles with a loose linking theme. This time it's travel, and its perils and adventurous possibilities.

The Department of Unconventional Philosophical Resolutions (Phil Masters) is a Steampunk/Action setting which Phil has used for a convention scenario: like the world of A Miracle of Science, this one suffers enough from mad scientists that a government department has been built up to deal with them (and, like many interesting organisations, it has its roots in the Royal Engineers). It's 1868 and TL5+2, with plenty of scope for superscience and Fright Checks From Social Disorder. This is a setting to itself, though there's a box for dropping it (carefully) into an Infinite Worlds campaign.

Merlin's Magnificent Menagerie (Christopher R. Rice) is a bestiary for the world of Technomancer. Some are interesting (the lizard that generates dazzling laser light), some are just dangerous animals. There's not much information on integrating these with campaigns.

Eidetic Memory: The Klinik Nova (David L. Pulver) is an adventure for Action, set in the modern world, to kidnap a Russian mobster from a private Swiss clinic. While I don't want to include spoilers, there's lots of detail about medical procedures which somehow fails to be integrated with the adventure proper. Still, the maps could be useful – and there's an interesting innovation with two map handouts for players, one with what they could gather from walking through the place and another in case they go for blueprints.

Have Game, Will Travel (Jason Brick) is the first article that's really about travel as such: how can one take the experience of travelling to unusual places, like unusual food, the small nuisances of travel (with appropriate PC agency and consequences), and so on. No game mechanics, but some good ideas here.

Random Thought Table: Knickknacks and Notions (Steven Marsh) suggests finding out what PCs' objectives for leisure travel might be, and potentially building adventures round them; and looking into local peculiarities and quirks. This doesn't seem to have as much to say as usual.

In fact that's my feeling about this issue in general; there's only really one article about travel as such, the bestiary and adventure don't do much for me, and while the setting is one I'm distinctly tempted to use for a one-shot adventure it doesn't have much relevance to ongoing campaigns that aren't already world-hopping. Pyramid 121 is available from Warehouse 23.

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