View Single Post
Old 05-23-2013, 03:20 PM   #1
Tzeentch's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2004
Default Pyramid #3/55: Military Sci-Fi Overview

-- I haven't had the time to do overviews of Pyramid issues like I had intended (but it's a good kind of busy) but I'll make an exception in this case.

Pyramid #3/55 covers a pretty wide swath of the genre, and includes new gear, extensions on Tactical Shooting, wormhole logistics, the Vree warrior-monks, plus the usual random thought goodies.

The cover was a perfect selection - recycled from the GURPS Starships book showing a classic 80's sci-fi space battle scene.

Tactical Shooting: Tomorrow (Hans-Christian Vortisch)
The lead article, and it's obvious why. This extends the heavily TL8-biased Tactical Shooting into TL9, and also makes some updates to Ultra-Tech to help bring it in line with the tech books that were published after it. However, most of this article is rules-agnostic. Let's look at the major headings (B-HEADS if you know your way around the SJG template).
A Better Kind of Gun: Ultra-tech smallarms at TL9 still generally fire a projectile using some form of low explosive. This extensively cross-references Ultra-Tech, Tactical Shooting, and High-Tech for those wanting to know how those puzzle pieces fit together. It also buffs liquid-propellant guns by increasing their bullet speed and allows them to fire in a low-power mode.

The BOX on Guns in Space should answer a lot of questions, even if it is rather vague as to why the rules work like they do (maybe this can be expanded into a future work on space operations or something).

You may have noticed I'm skipping a lot of stuff - there's just too much here to mention it all. But if you had a question about how Tactical Shooting would be extended to TL9 or how Ultra-Tech stuff worked with combat stances and optional rules it's probably answered. A good example is the section on IFF interrogators which provides a bonus to Situational Awareness, as does the TacNet program.

Finishing off the article are two new shooting styles (Battlesuit Shooter, Space Marine).

Chrome Commandos: TL9 Elite Tactical Gear (W.A. Frick)
This is a gear catalog that extends TL9 tactical gear. I'm usually sort of ambivalent about new gear because Ultra-Tech is already pretty generic and adaptable - so there's a degree of redundancy that can irk. This does sort of duplicate existing UT gear in the sense that it has a lot of combo-items but the value-added part here is really the various BOX text sections scattered around. It also has a slightly different perspective compared to my loadout article which can be useful.

Particularly, I liked the Secure-Link and TacNet Server texts and will be looking at that closely in the future.

Eidetic Memory: The Vree (David Pulver)
TL9 religious fanatics engaging in interstellar holy war. They are not very impressive from a template standpoint but David has given them a lot of background detail. I suppose the only problem here is that it may seem a bit too close to the more heated discussions about Crusades and restoring Caliphates and so on.

If it was just a template and background I would just skip over this, but he does have a good section on the pointy end of their spears (which is good as they are intended to be relentless adversaries for the (different god fearing) heroes. THis includes a Rank table, brief organization of their military, a Spaceships design for their destroyer warships and combat walkers.

All in all I'm a bit ambivalent since I don't generally do much with aliens. But it's a great pocket adversary with motivation, templates, and gear that can be popped into a large number of campaigns.

Mobile Wormhole Logistics (Adrian Tymes)
LOGISTICS. Wait ... wormholes on a mobile starship? Ok, this is interesting. Although it relies on a rather specific combination of assumptions about your setting, it could be plopped into a TL9 campaign as something the enemy uses or as a technological artifact and so on. The basic idea is that you have a large mothership in orbit and rather than ferry supplies around it can attach a wormhole to smaller assault ships and funnel supplies that way.

I'm torn on this article. It's too embedded in specific tech assumptions to be generally useful, but it is an excellent example of working through a basic idea. I sort of find the idea to be problematic (losing the dropships is a big problem as the mothership can't ferry supplies except through them) but its the sort of problematic stuff you see in every sci-fi show when you try to work it all out.

Note that the mothership and dropships are full Spaceships designs.

Future Soldier (Kenneth Peters)

A TL9 rifleman loadout with a bare minimum of new items beyond what is already in High-Tech, Ultra-Tech, and Tactical Shooting (and Han's article, which I saw in draft form). That was basically my design goal. I actually had a chunk of this written even before I saw the issue theme, as part of a larger loadouts proposal I've been working on. The TL9 stuff was a bit ancillary so it was an easy decision to cut it out.

Some of this is based on pie-in-the-sky stuff that RAND and the research arms of the armed forces love to talk about but can never get to actually work. So, in that respect, this is highly optimistic as it discounts the ability for procurement to pull defeat from the jaws of victory. I wrote this based on what I think is fairly reasonable for 20-30 years out, and only the battle agent AI is probably on the optimistic side. A lot of the other stuff already exists in some form or isn't that improbable.

The core of the article is a full Loadout for a TL9 infantryman using High-Tech, Ultra-Tech, and Tactical Shooting. I avoided created anything totally new for this article, where possible but I did follow the lead of Hans and add new functionality to old gear to make it consistent with newer books (e.g. the Near Miss Indicator).

NOTE: There is an Ultra-Tech errata sort of buried in here. That is, lower body exoskeletons cancel their own weight. This was approved by the chain of command so keep it in mind.

Random Thought Table (Steven Marsh)
Good ideas here about making humans (and the characters) relevant in a sci-fi military world with lascannons and alien bugs around every corner.

Odds and Ends
"Battle dresses." 'Nuff said

Last edited by Tzeentch; 05-23-2013 at 03:27 PM.
Tzeentch is offline   Reply With Quote