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Old 01-19-2017, 04:21 PM   #1
PK
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Default Pyramid #3/99: Death and Beyond

Life? Death? Heaven? Hell?
Reject the dichotomy
And forge your own path.
— Ezekiel Bonesmith's last words
Death is the great motivator of most roleplaying games. It drives our epic campaign arcs ("You must destroy the bioweapon or humanity will perish!"). It's the benchmark by which most threats are measured ("Beware the orc queen, for she has killed every hero who stood against her!"). And on a more fundamental level, it's the closest thing that RPGs have to a "win/lose" condition; you have the right to play your PC until he or she dies, at which point you have to make another one.

That's why so many games explore the nature of death, to add interesting philosophical (or even tactical) elements to a setting and campaign. What exists after death? How can we avoid it, alter it, better embrace it, or even weaponize it? These are the questions asked and answered by Pyramid #3/99: Death and Beyond . . .
  • Necromancy has long been associated with magic and unholy spiritual power, so why not Necro-Psi? Christopher Rice expands the catalog of GURPS Psionic Powers with Necrokinesis, a new power for manipulating souls (Animakinesis), corpses (Thanatokinesis), and the dark (Umbrakinesis). Use these detailed abilities, including new psi techniques and perks, to add a touch of death to your next psi campaign.

  • Everyone has different opinions about what makes GURPS Dungeon Fantasy fun, but "killing monsters" and "powering up my character" are nigh ubiquitous joys. After all, What Doesn't Kill Me Makes Me Stronger, right? Scott Rochat shows how a few simple calculations (or just looking on the included table) can turn any monster into "Kill Points" which empower your delver with powerful combat capabilities and/or new traits -- the better to defeat even more threats!

  • Psychopomps have been a part of our religious culture for millennia, and modern urban fantasy has finally started to embrace these Soul Reapers. In this month's Eidetic Memory, David Pulver shows how these "Death's helpers" fit perfectly into your GURPS Monster Hunters or GURPS Horror games, with four 200-point inhuman racial templates, a new ally (Spectral Steed) and a new Reaper power with six potent abilities.

  • There are many otherworldly realms devoted to death, and not all of them are afterlives. At least one is a pocket dimension where unlucky participants engage in constant battle, not for honor or glory, but for strange and esoteric wagers. J. Edward Tremlett takes you to The Slaughterealm, a dangerous arena where the PCs are subject to the whims and needs of mysterious Patrons -- but for potentially great reward.

  • And even the peaceful dead will stir for a chance to read our Random Thought Table that explores and codifies the "Death Level" of different campaigns -- or of worlds within a campaign.

Store Link: http://www.warehouse23.com/products/SJG37-2699
Preview PDF: http://www.warehouse23.com/media/SJG37-2699_preview.pdf
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Old 01-19-2017, 04:53 PM   #2
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Default Re: Pyramid #3/99: Death and Beyond

My friend Scott Rochat (aka Rocketman) was published in this issue. Scott's article is perhaps one of the finest things I've ever seen come out of the Dungeon Fantasy line to date. And while I had a hand in helping him write it, it was his idea.

Moreover, his idea firmly cemented one of my own that'd I'd had trouble putting into words: Combat Effectiveness Rating. At first I wasn't going to publish the system. I wrote it and put it aside, but Scott said I should. We talked about how similiar the two wore and I worried that there may have been cross-pollination of ideas. (I try to be very scrupulous on giving credit where it is do and am mindful of my work as much as I can be.) Scott convinced me and I polished up "It's a Threat!" and sent it off. It was published eventually in Pyramid #3/77 Combat. That would never have happened without Scott.

So here's to you, my friend. As I said I would almost two years ago: "What Doesn't Kill Me Makes Me Stronger" is an amazing article and "It's a Threat!" would have never happened without you. I'm so happy to see it published and I hope you get all the accolades that you truly, honestly deserve.

(I reposted this from my Facebook because I think it sums up everything I want to say on the matter.)

I also rather like David's Reapers article, but Steven's "Death Levels" blew me away and got me REALLY thinking. I wonder what else you could apply such a thing too?
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Old 01-19-2017, 06:56 PM   #3
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Default Re: Pyramid #3/99: Death and Beyond

On the whole, this issue is a nice grab bag of ideas around death and death-themes. If you're running horror, Dungeon Fantasy, or Monster Hunters, it's worth your consideration.

Necro-Psi is a solid, well-crafted article. All of its abilities are both nicely thematic and mechanically interesting, giving the death and darkness oriented psis a good set of abilities to work with. And if psi isn't your thing, it's all very easily reflavored as magic or divine abilities.

What Doesn't Kill Me Makes Me Stronger is interesting, but without trying it out in play for a while, it's difficult to say how it will turn out. Still, it provides a way of providing rewards commensurate with difficulty. I'd be interested in seeing how a treasure-oriented variant would work.

Soul Reapers is a nice addition to the Monster Hunters line, offering a new origin, a new focus, and a new set of abilities for Crusaders and Inhuman champions. Definitely worth a look if you're looking to do something new in a Monster Hunters game.

Slaughterealm is a delightful place to drop into any suitable campaign, whether it be Monster Hunters, Dungeon Fantasy, Horror, or something else. I can see this being used as a one-off event, a recurring location, or even the campaign setting itself. Even if the player characters never visit the Slaughterealm itself, its Patrons can turn up in their campaigns, whether on their own business or for some Slaughterealm-related activities.

Death and How to Avoid It is great as a thought experiment on how the seriousness of death affects a world, a way of classifying settings, and a gauge to tweak your own. If nothing else, it provides some nice food for thought.
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Old 01-19-2017, 10:07 PM   #4
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Default Re: Pyramid #3/99: Death and Beyond

I've not fully read the issue yet, but I'm already really, really liking the expanding on Obscure in Ghostdancer's Necro-Psi article, especially the idea of reversed Obscure.
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Old 01-19-2017, 10:34 PM   #5
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Default Re: Pyramid #3/99: Death and Beyond

Congratulations to Scott Rochat (aka Rocketman) for What Doesn't Kill Me Makes Me Stronger! I've used this in play to award character points Diablo-style, and it works fantastically! The other uses are every bit as solid in terms of mechanics and awesome in terms of butt-kicking-ness. The issue is worth buying for this article alone, so go buy it now!
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Old 01-20-2017, 04:28 PM   #6
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Default Re: Pyramid #3/99: Death and Beyond

Thank you, Christopher and Humabout! "What Doesn't Kill Me" was a long time in the making ... not least because new opportunities for Kill Points kept suggesting themselves as I and others began plumbing our primal memories of dungeoneering! The Pyramid Write Club in general was a great help, but I especially want to call out Douglas Cole and Christopher R. Rice for mentorship, playtesting, and the occasional kick-in-the-you-know-where to get things moving again. :)

All right, enough of the Oscar awards speech. Go forth and enjoy thy monster-slaying!
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Old 02-22-2017, 02:38 PM   #7
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Default Re: Pyramid #3/99: Death and Beyond

I utterly missed this announcement, likely due to a busy January. Just wanted to bump it up in case anyone equally missed it. There's some good stuff in here!

Soul Reapers is cool (although I will be altering the dullahan if it ever hits play, luckily I already have one half specced up - they are still meant to have a head, even if its not attached anymore!) and has spurred me back into the musing that I should get around to running a MH game already.

The Slaughterealm is well packaged and fleshed out, and although I could never use it directly as it flies too close to a plot arc I've already used, there's still ideas worth mining in there.

I've skimmed the rest, and whilst I've other things stealing my attention, there doesn't seem to be any articles I wouldn't give a full read up. So if anyone else missed it, perhaps its worth looking over?
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