Pyramid 3/83: Alternate GURPS IV

by mshrm

The new Pyramid‘s out!  The new Pyramid‘s out!

“Pointless Monster Hunting” (Christopher R. Rice)

My group hasn’t had a Monster Hunters game yet, and we’ve never experimented with this whole “pointless” business, so I’m really not the target audience, here. That said, I am terribly intrigued by the “pointless” method. I would think it would be a fantastic way to define a campaign world.

If you haven’t seen “Pointless Monster Hunting”, or “Pointless Slaying and Looting” from Pyramid 3/72: Alternate Dungeons, the general idea seems to be that you take all the complexity of the GURPS character creation system and lump it together into bigger chunks so as to cut down on the number of decisions that need to be made to create a character. Instead of fiddling with Attributes and Secondary Characteristics, the player chooses a package based on the character’s archetype. (“Strong, fast, or smart?”) Instead of choosing from an infinite menu of Advantages, there’s a set of abilities suitable for the genre. (“Are you a mystic? A gunslinger? A healer?”) And so on.

“Pointless Monster Hunting” not only boils GURPS character creation down into a streamlined “one from column A, two from column B” system, it bakes in the concept of Destiny Points, a meta-game currency used to buy and sell successes and role-playing complications. This isn’t just a new number to track, scribbled into the margins of the character sheet; it’s something that’s built in to the character creation system from the beginning.

I think the “pointless” method really demonstrates GURPS’ claim to being a toolkit. You could take this article, redact all the GURPS crunch, type up a clean copy, and hand it out to novice players who would never know the system they’re really using. I couldn’t say why, exactly, but after skimming this article, I find myself wanting to convert my old copy of Feng Shui… (Whoa, there’s a new edition?)

Probably won’t use it directly, but I might be plundering it for parts.

“Knowing Your Own Strength” (Sean Punch)

Logarithmic Strength, where, when you add X to your score, it multiplies the weight you can lift by Y. It reminds me of how they do it in HERO System. If I were thinking of running Supers again, I would have to consider using it. I found that Super ST worked fine in practice, when we used it, but it did draw some funny looks. It might be less jarring to re-scale ST and be done with it.

“Eidetic Memory: Playing With Health” (David L. Pulver)

This article digs in to Health. It spends a lot of time exploring the idea of basing Perception on HT rather than IQ and oh my goodness that is such a great idea…


Let’s just say I see quite a bit of merit in the idea. I’m contemplating adopting it for the upcoming campaign. That would ruin the whole “running straight from the core rulebook” vibe I was getting into, but it might be worth it. It wouldn’t be too hard to set up the GCA files, would it?

“Schrödinger’s Backpack” (Douglas H. Cole)

Awesome: A middle ground between obsessive equipment tracking and full-on gonzo Gizmos!

Of course, the upcoming game is all about the obsessive tracking of equipment, so nothing I can use immediately. Some day, though, for sure. My players seem to have latched on to the idea of Gizmos doing the impossible (“I got a gun through the strip-search!”) more than Gizmos simulating planning and forethought in packing (“Good thing I thought to bring the shark repellent!”). I think the Backpack would open up some space between the two concepts, so we might have characters who know what to bring even when their players don’t, without outright breaking the laws of physics. (And/or decency, as the case may be.)

“Possessions Under Control” (Timothy Ponce)

Adding more depth to attempts at possession and exorcism, replacing “Roll. You fail. You’re possessed. Have a nice day.” with a system with more give-and-take. I don’t expect many possessions in TEOTWAWKI (or do I?), so I doubt I’ll have cause to use it, but I still like it. If I were running some kind of “Tomorrow People”/”Scanners” psi-conspiracy game where everything third villain has mind control powers, though, I would definitely consider it.

Hmm. Come to think of it… Strike that. Reverse it. Considering the article has me thinking about running…

Also, the cover art is really awesome. The game room wall really deserves a copy.