Tuesday, August 11, 2020

GURPS PDF Challenge Reviews: How to GM: Ritual Path Magic

 Even before we start, this book comes at two disadvantages.  First, its title starts with the letter "H" rather than "G" which messes with my alphabetical ordering of my folder. Second, I don't use RPM for a variety of reasons. Thus, for me, this was definitely in the camp of "I got it in a bundle" rather than something I would buy if it showed up on Warehouse 23. This will doubtlessly color my review and make it hard for me to objectively judge the quality of this book, but I'll do my best!

The book breaks down into

  • Tips, Tricks and More, which covers what you'd actually expect the book to be about
  • Ritual Path Magic Ultra-Lite, which was quite a surprise, but not an unwelcome one
  • Examples, a list of pre-rendered spells.
Overall, from my biased, uninformed perspective, it looks like a pretty good book.  I  mean, I've looked into RPM, and I had questions and concerns, and this book addressed those.  It didn't make me rethink my position on RPM, but that wasn't its purpose.  So I'd call this work a success: If you actually do want to use RPM, but you find you struggle with it, this may well be a book for you, if you don't mind paying $3 for some GM advice (which, we must admit, is a pretty small asking fee.)

Monday, August 10, 2020

The GURPS PDF Challenge Review: DF Adventures 3: Deep Night and the Star

The fourth PDF to unlock in the GURPS PDF Challenge was Dungeon Fantasy Adventure 3: Deep Night and the Star.

Now, this one leaves me at a disadvantage.  Yes, I've played Dungeon Fantasy, though no more than a few sessions at a time.  While I own most of the books, and I wouldn't hesitate to run it, I'm not the sort of man that runs many adventures out of a book.  I also tend to lean more heavily towards "Tell a heroic narrative" side of the fantasy spectrum than the "kill monsters and take their stuff" side of the spectrum, which means that people like Dell'Orto will probably do a better job of telling you if the adventure is well balanced and such.  Thus, with that caveat, let's explore!

The book is broken up into two chapters (though in practice it feels like three)
  • Prologue
  • Atoep
In Atoep, they have a final section on "new monsters" which I would have treated as its own (one page) section.

The prologue explains the premise: the stars are misaligned and demons and eldritch things pour out of the darkness.  These come from some eldritch space-think, and the wise old sage has created a portal that allows the heroes to reach it.  They must go there, and kill it by delving into three different living dungeons. That will end the eldritch incursion.

I like the premise of the adventure well enough, but I feel like the execution falls flat and risks being repetitive.  I think it's a good idea, but it feels more like the seed of an adventure than a proper adventure.  Would I recommend it? I'm less confident in it than the others, but for $3, it's hard to say no.  I just wouldn't expect too much out of it.

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Wiki Highlight: Maradonian Technology

Psi-Wars has three major branches of humanity.  The branch from whence came the psychic elites and space knight aristocracy were the descendants of the war torn Maradon and their hero, the brutal crusader Alexus Rex, who conquered the galaxy thousands of years ago.

In Tall Tales of the Orochi Belt, we had several space knight pilots who wanted a slim, fitting, fashionable alternative to the generic vacc suit. Thus, I set about creating the Chevalier suit, a cross between a space knight "duelist" armor and a vacc suit.  The result, is a slender, form fitting armor that, I hope, pleases them.

But while working on it, I decided to see if I could pull together a few scattered bits of Maradonian technology I had wanted to do for awhile:
  • A tweak to force swords
  • The Maradonian Signet
  • The ARC pilot suit
And a unified page for everything.  True, you can find their technology on the collected, singular page, but I think some people would like to explore the technology of a single group and look at its implications.  This was inspired by Traders, who have quite some detailed elements that would best be served by having their own page, but if they have one, why not the other cultural groups?

So, today's post is a grab-bag of Maradonian elements. You can find the Maradonian Tech page here.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

GURPS PDF Challenge Reviews: GURPS Template Toolkit 3: Spaceship Crew

Following the unlock order of the PDF challenge, we come now to Template Toolkit 3: Starship Crew, which turns out to be exactly what it says on the tin.

The book is split into two parts (nout counting the introduction).

  • Job Openings (a list of templates)
  • Assembling Crew (suggestions for using the templates)

Briefly summarized, this is exactly what you'd think it would be, providing us with several templates for building a spaceship crew. It's also very good, which means that we're batting 3 for 3 with the releases and reviews.

Also, as an side: this is some of the best art I've seen in a PDF.  SJGames invested more than I would have guessed into these PDFs (though you'll see some art re-used as you go through all of the PDFs).

With that, there might not be much more to say about it, but if you know anything about my process, you likely know I find this a very interesting book.  But I think it's more interesting than you likely realize, because of what it signals about the intentions of GURPS.  Why is it a Template Toolkit, and what can you do with it?

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

The GURPS PDF Challenge Reviews: The Incense Trail

Continuing my reviews of all the GURPS PDF Challenge, we move on to Hot Spots: the Incense Trail.  By Matt Rigsby, one of my readers commented "It's Matt Riggsby, of course it's going to be good," and the executive summary here is that they're right: this is exactly the sort of thing we'd expect from Mr. Riggsby.

The book breaks down into:
  • Geography and Land Use
  • History
  • Economy and Culture
  • Gazeteer
  • Campaigning 
Ultimately, this is about the pre-Muslim Arabian Peninsula, primarily from roughly 500 BC to 500 AD, which makes it an interesting time period because it isn't covered by most GURPS books (the closest he can get are GURPS Egypt and GURPS Rome, both of which are merely adjacent to the region in question).

Monday, August 3, 2020

The GURPS PDF Challenge Reviews: Tricked Out Rides

So, in the beginning of July, Warehouse 23 ran a Kickstarter, the "2020 PDF Challenge" which included 12 PDFs.  I'm going to try to review all twelve (in the order they were released).  If you missed the challenge and want to pick them up, I think you still can, and I believe the price is around $3 apiece.

The first to drop was Action 6: Tricked-Out Rides.  TL;DR: This is totally worth getting for anyone who follows the Action Line.  It's not GURPS Vehicles by any stretch, but it's more than enough for most action games. It has a few holes (it really should have jump jets for cars), but by and large, it'll let you build almost any car (not motorcycle, tank or fighter jet) that you'd like to see in an Action game.

Friday, July 31, 2020

Reminder: Backer Poll on the Fourth Bounty Hunter Lodge

Whenever I introduce a new faction, I like to run a Backer poll on it too. Once the poll is done, I'll cobble together the results, and turn them into a faction that is present in the setting.  Previous polls have resulted in:
  • House Tan-Shai
  • The Traders
  • The current depiction of House Alexus
  • The Emperor and his organization
  • Domen Khemet and Domen Tarvagant, the competing Death Cults of the Divine Masks religion
Now we have a poll on the Bounty Hunter Lodge.

Of course, my real purpose with these polls isn't to come together and create a particular, cohesive faction. Instead, the intent is to inspire you, to show you some of the things I think about when creating these groups, and to get you to think about creating your own.  Thus, even if you don't want to vote, it might be worth reading over the ideas, just to create your own faction.

The current leaders in the polling are:
  • They are located in the Sylvan Spiral
  • They primary hunt Communion users (they are "anti-Templars")
  • They hunt for money, and only for money
  • They are trained experts in Neurolash weaponry
  • They are secretive (you don't contact them, they contact you)
  • In addition to Bounty Hunters, they make heavy use of Spies
  • Unsurprisingly, most of the Galaxy has never heard of these guys.
But there's a lot more nuance than that in the polling results and the comments, and your own vote could change that too. The poll is open to $5+ Backers. If you're such a backer, remember to vote!
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