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Old 03-08-2021, 02:22 PM   #11
J. Edward Tremlett
 
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Default Re: Pyramid #4, thoughts?

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I know a few people didn't like at least some of mine. *shrug* I liked them. Particularly Fraxinetum.
I tend to go by the wise words of noted American philosopher Erick Lee Purkhiser - "If you can't dig me / you can't dig nothin'"
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Old 03-09-2021, 10:17 AM   #12
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Default Re: Pyramid #4, thoughts?

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Originally Posted by Christopher R. Rice View Post
Yeah, I'm in the same boat. I've had people privately tell me or tell me on the Discord for GURPS they liked it, but no "public" reviews or even stuff on the forums so I have no idea what folks thought about my stuff.

How I felt about each article in Fantasy:
Toxic Grimoire: Its the standard magic system. Not terribly interested.
Utatsumi: One of those weird and beautiful flowers that comes out of gurps periodically. I'm not sure that I'll ever use it, but I'm glad I read it.
Demonic Temple of Felltower: not terribly interested. Its a single encounter, and a fairly sterotypical one at that. The layering of modifiers in interesting, but DF really isn't my thing.
Healing and Purification Magic: This is really dense, and I haven't unpacked it yet. I've played in this RPM space before and I'm scowling a little because I can see at least one spell (ressurection) that I disagree strongly with. I'm sure there are some fun little gems in there. One I've noticed is using alternate abilities on Greater Restoration.
Fraxinetum: One of those weird and beautiful flowers that comes out of gurps periodically. I'm not sure that I'll ever use it, but I'm glad I read it.
Tactical Looting: Earlier, I said DF wasn't really my thing. Tactical looting makes we want to give it a shot. It brings some focus to the dungeon I want to investigate.
Stilpnotia, City of Lamps: I loved this. I want to run Planar elemental fantasy now. It paints a setting very evocitively.
Supernatural Energy: I'm still unpacking this, but as I said, I loved it. I'm especially interested in applying some of the limits it gives to various magic systems, and for running games where magic is an external resource.
Pandemonium: I like infinite worlds, and I like worlds fighting demon invasions, but something about this both rubbed me wrong and made me shrug. I think I would have preferred a single zoomed in part of pandemonium with a single blurb talking about elsewhere on the globe.
Fusion Alchemy: Another dense article to unpack. It doesn't excite me, but I see some really broad and general usefulness here. The balancing of the point value, costs, skill penalties, and time taken looks fairly robust, though I haven't tried to break it yet. I'm glad we have this article.
The Cube: One of those weird and beautiful flowers that comes out of gurps periodically. I'm not sure that I'll ever use it, but I'm glad I read it.
The Random Thought: Useful advice to Remember. Its mostly useful in a DF context, but as tactical looting has me looking at running a one-shot speed dungeon, I read with a fair amount of interest.
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Old 03-09-2021, 03:18 PM   #13
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Default Re: Pyramid #4, thoughts?

With the Modern Issue, I found myself wondering "When would I use this?" while reading this issue. some of of it is stuff I think I can use, some of it I know I will use, but nothing makes me start dreaming up games that use the article.

Into the Forbidden Zone: I tell myself I'll probably never use this, but I'm not convinced. These just might come up as useful one day. You never know when you need an old uranium mine. And Once its in your brain, you're more likely to find a reason to use it. I'm not going to rave about this, but its likely to end up useful sometime
The Pheonix Program: A really solid article providing rules I suspect I'll eventually use. The history is really interesting but ultimately I won't use it because I find vietnam carries a lot of baggage. The basic information and rules for running generic counterincergency look really solid, based around that workhorse of the monthly "Job" roll. Strangly, I think I'm most likely to use the rules in an infinite worlds / reign of steel cross over I've wanted to run for a while but has been difficult to structure right.
Three Steampunk Monsters: Not really my thing. I like steampunk, but these sorts of monsters don't interest me very much.
Secret Masters: Not really my thing. I'm also not seeing any new ground being traversed here, more like worked examples.
The Checkpoint: Nice article. The best thoughts are about how the personality of the people in charge matters, along with some examples.
The Company: The organization itself doesn't excite me, and it feels kind of bland and generic. The company BAT, on the other hand, grabs my eye.I love action 4, and I love new toys to go along with it. It also strengthens a thought I've had for a while: that fewer BAT packages with higher base stats make stronger characters.
Derelicts on Ice: Not bad, and surprisingly flexible. I wonder when I'd use it though.
The Hunter's Reliquary: Very specific, but not bad stuff in there. Its suited for Monster Hunters, which is what I run when I'm on short notice and don't have anything more elaborate planned. All of the items seem generic enough to fit into a campaign without being earth-shattering, which is nice.
El Rancho Fin del Camino: too much history, too little floorplan, and its in an area I feel comfortable enough winging. I've been wanting more modern floorplans for gaming, but this article did not scratch that particular itch
Highway Stars: Very simple, very solid. I'll use this.
The random Thought: Its fine. Its mostly advice, but its not bad, and a certain kind of campaign needs it. I have drifted away from that sort of campaign though.


Thoughts on the Technology Magazine:

Putting the Science in Your Fiction: Its good and solid. I know exactly where I want to use this. I was hoping for a work of genius, and its not that, but have no idea what genius on that topic would have looked like.
The Divine Pacific Republic of Datastan: Its a setting piece, and I didn't really get into it. Its a piece of cyberpunk in the middle of nowhere, and while that should have made it feel unique and engaging, it didn't. But if I have to read three of these for each Stilpnotia, City of Lamps I get, I will keep reading enthusiastically.
More Options for Memetronic Generators: I love this article. Especially the knobs for turning cost up and down. That has given me a whole new enthusiasm for Memetronic generators. I realized about two weeks ago that I am already using what are essentially memetronic generators in a game of mine, and with the cost knobs, I can talk about them as such and leverage all the thought that have gone into memetronic generators before.
Space Zombies: I strongly prefer my zombies to be undead rather than "scientific", but the Zeaters made me laugh. I don't think I'll ever use them though, and the other two aren't my cup of tea.
Lord Kelvin's Icebox: I love the seed, and I never would have thought of it on my own. Having official seeds for IW is important, because it gives us a shared setting. I'm sort of ambivalent about some of the decisions made in developing the seed.
Chronokinesis: Narrow, but solid. I like power sets, and this one feels like it did more than list existing advantages. I wish it did more with time travel, but I suppose that's a different powerset.
Ghost Planets: two of these worlds are those weird and beautiful flowers that comes out of gurps periodically. I'm not sure that I'll ever use it, but I'm glad I read it.
Reign of Action: Perhaps this article wasn't for me. I like reign of steel, and I think action is a good fit for it, but the only part of this that I didn't already mentally have is the gear section and the survivor lens.
The Toughest Race in the Solar System: This made me want to run a game featuring an adventure race, or adventure race elements. It took something I had vaguely in my mind and made it something I could use in a game. Great Article.
The Murrines Portals: This edges on weird flower territory, but I design enough world hopping games that I just might use it. The best part is thinking about how different tech levels would interact with the same gate technology.
Play Stupid Games, Win Stupid Prizes: This one wasn't very inspiring for me. There may be some good gems hidden in there, but if so, they are hidden. I don't feel like designing a sport to inflict upon my players, and I'm not sure if I have any more tools to handle classic sports.
The Random Thought: A reread of this made me appreciate it a lot more. Random thoughts should not be read quickly, so you may want to read them first, not after you've consumed the rest of the magazine. It explores a fun and useful idea.
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Old 03-09-2021, 04:53 PM   #14
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Default Re: Pyramid #4, thoughts?

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W
Ghost Planets: two of these worlds are those weird and beautiful flowers that comes out of gurps periodically. I'm not sure that I'll ever use it, but I'm glad I read it.
Glad to hear! Mind if I ask which two caught your fancy?
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Old 03-10-2021, 07:43 AM   #15
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Default Re: Pyramid #4, thoughts?

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Glad to hear! Mind if I ask which two caught your fancy?
Badlands and Cathedral. The different options for what is going on were what really made them tick for me.
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Old 03-10-2021, 02:36 PM   #16
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Default Re: Pyramid #4, thoughts?

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Originally Posted by ericthered View Post
Badlands and Cathedral. The different options for what is going on were what really made them tick for me.
Glad to hear, and thanks for the feedback! I hope they bring hours of fun for you and your players at some point in the future.
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Old 03-11-2021, 06:18 AM   #17
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Default Re: Pyramid #4, thoughts?

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Supernatural Energy: I'm still unpacking this, but as I said, I loved it. I'm especially interested in applying some of the limits it gives to various magic systems, and for running games where magic is an external resource.
Glad to hear it, thank you. I was proud of most of the content and hoped it covered a variety of needs

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Secret Masters: Not really my thing. I'm also not seeing any new ground being traversed here, more like worked examples.
You should see the examples I took out to save space. I'm really curious what people think of the pricing for new material like Illuminated Master.
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Old 03-11-2021, 11:37 AM   #18
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Default Re: Pyramid #4, thoughts?

Thank you muchly for the quick reviews, Ericthered!
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Old 03-11-2021, 01:57 PM   #19
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Default Re: Pyramid #4, thoughts?

I now have downloaded all three and I'm doing a close reading of the Fantasy volume, mostly for inspiration of my DFRPG campaign. The others will be read in coming weeks as time allows, since I'm not currently running any adventures or campaigns in those.

Toxic Grimoire: Always nice to get some extra Magic goodness, especially for Nasty Villain Colleges. Coupled with GURPS Magic: Death Spells (Dr. Kromm, 2014) and perhaps GURPS Magical Styles: Horror Magic (Dr. Kromm, 2020), this can give a GM both some dangerous NPC powers, as well as the angle of temptation for PC casters as well. Especially dangerous with undead, constructs, demons etc. which can use these at will against PCs (and also potentially makes Air College spells, Healing spells, and Poison College's own counterspells very useful).

Utatsumi: Beautifully written article, though I'm doubtful I'll get to use it unless my campaign takes a Far East flavored turn. (And given that I and one of my players are ethnic Chinese, this is entirely possible.) File this under "potential future flavor".

The Demonic Temple of Felltower: Very useful, especially for a GM relatively new to DFRPG (though experienced with D&D) and looking for worked examples of a cohesive, coherent compound. I've found it's much easier to adapt existing DFRPG/GURPS Fantasy encounters to my own campaign's flavor (see the many adventure outlines in Pyramid). This adventure location continues the N calculus pioneered in Dungeon Fantasy Adventures 1: Mirror of the Fire Demon (Matt Rigsby, 2017) and it provides useful worked examples of lizard folk and their slorn variant servitor species, as well as a strong poison theme (with potential crossover with the Poison College spells, above). A handy sidebar of special environmental effects on p.15 is a helpful aid to GMs trying to come up with similar plans for their dungeons and battlefields. The author's introduction describing his own Felltower campaign hints darkly at the mystery of the hidden treasure, which I failed to crack while reading this article. Could well be used wholesale, or possibly repurposed as a dragon cult or similar mighty reptilian-themed low-tech organization.

Healing and Purification RPM: My campaign does not use RPM, but one of my older campaigns did, and the players liked the flexibility, though they felt the Spells-As-Skills option was more familiar. My current DFRPG group is getting their feet wet with GURPS' flexibility, so for now we're using the more-familiar S-A-S Magic. Potential future crunch.

Fraxinetum: An inspiring (and delightfully weird) chapter of medieval history, this could serve both as a setting for a grand battle, PC keep, or campaign base camp. Likelihood of use in my campaign is high.

Tactical Looting: Perhaps a familiar trope to fans of Gloomhaven and other "race against the clock" challenges, my gaming group probably won't use the main concept of this article. However, its rules can apply well to any time sensitive encounter (sudden hostage situations in battle, timed traps, etc.). Dr.Kromm goes into excellent "rules you can use" analysis in pp. 27-28 for common PC actions, so it's definitely useful even if you're not running a Gloomhaven style "dungeon in a hurry" adventure.

Stilpnotita: An intriguing setting with a strong emphasis on underground/earth-aspected society for literal beings of stone, and with a deft subversion of the anthropocentric assumptions of many fantasy settings. The cultural and geographic conceits of this article are as far-out as the Sigil setting of Planescape, and the section on dealing with The Deep King's consulate is an enjoyable mix of the fantastic and the logical.

Supernatural Energy: This article starts with a breakdown of the Spells-As-Skills default components of the Magery advantage, providing extra granularity for PCs and NPCs who need it. The rest of the article is more focused on Spells-As-Powers (aka Sorcery), which takes it beyond the immediate realm of my campaign's assumptions. (Part of this may be due to the fact that Sorcery's CP costs are fairly high... or conversely, the standard GURPS Magic Spells-As-Skills system has CP costs that are generously low.) As an editorial aside, it's gratifying to see how GURPS as a system is scrupulously balanced at its initial design assumptions, such that "back calculating" the separate components of a bundled base advantage like Magery is eminently doable, as proven by this article. Roundabout 3.5 Ed of D&D, me and my friends decided to try to make it a points buy system, attempting to balance the levels and base classes, and that was not a rewarding or fun experience (though it directly led to my entry to GURPS so it ended well for me at least).

Pandemonium: An intriguing concept - 1000 CE Earth has experienced an outbreak of demons, which have manifested differently worldwide. It also translates rather nicely to "each culture makes its own gods and demons", something that Judeo-Christian-exclusive dramas like Constantine and The Prophecy struggle with somewhat (an Asian society may be less culturally resonant to a manifestation of the Archangel Gabriel than a European or Middle Easterner, for example). Potential future crunch.

Fusion Alchemy: This feels like a Powers- or Sorcery-equivalent meta-approach to the alchemy system, i.e. taking points values of traits and pricing the cost and difficulty of alchemical elixirs accordingly. Although my campaign does not (yet) use elixirs, I'm toying with having one of my high level campaign NPCs do so. It also occurs to me that the "External/Internal" divide of these elixirs could also lend themselves very well to GURPS Thaumatology: Chinese Elemental Powers (William Stoddard, 2013) as well. Combined with the Utatsumi article above, this could enrich a Far Eastern style element of a DFRPG campaign.

The Cube: A short but sweet Portal-esque "weird locale" article, this pairs up well with Dr. Kromm's Dungeon Fantasy Encounters 2: The Room dungeon encounter (in fact, this crossover is acknowledged in-article). Great concept for an out-there mind-bending quirky challenge for a maniac's lair or demigod's playpen.

The artwork is once again top notch, too. It's the equal of the art commissions done for the Summer 2020 Kickstarter campaign, and given the current environment of Virtual Tabletop gaming, I'm finding plenty of inspiration and thumbnails that could be pushed into service in my online DFRPG games.

Last edited by SolemnGolem; 03-11-2021 at 02:19 PM. Reason: Somehow omitted Demonic Temple of Felltower, now restored. Faulty Gate magic suspected.
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