Monday, April 4, 2016

Review: Pyramid 3-89: Alternate Dungeons II

Last week's release was the March Pyramid, which a follow-up to Pyramid 3-72.  It's focused on Dungeon Fantasy, and even though I don't run straight DF I find most of the releases for that series useful.  Here's my opinions article-by-article.

Havens and Hells by Sean Punch

A big article on a specific background for Dungeon Fantasy campaigns: the characters are citizens of Havens, totally safe zones where no-one can die except by old age or suicide, surrounded by a vast Hell of chaos.  The Havens are safe, but lack resources, so PCs are required to adventure in Hell to get stuff (including wood and other mundane supplies.)  If they die outside the Havens, they respawn in the nearest Haven minus their equipment (and 25 points.)

This would be a good basis for a MMORPG or Diablo inspired campaign.  I'll never use it myself but it's a solid setting.  So: this one was an enjoyable read, but not much practical use for me and not very inspirational for my purposes because it's very far removed from what I run.

Eastern Adventures by Christopher R. Rice

This one is essentially Oriental Adventures for GURPS.  There are notes on the basic Dungeon Fantasy 1 templates, a Samurai lens for Knights and Swashbucklers, new Races, and Power-Ups.  It goes to show that even the aggressively background-free DF line can use some tweaking to cover cultures removed from the "Medieval Europe with modern sensibilities" default of most dungeon-fantasy gaming.  It's good, solid advice and I could see similar articles for other broad scopes, like African or Arabian Nights inspired settings.

My favorite bit was a tweaking of the Duel of Wills from Martial Arts at the end of the article.  I've always found that a neat rule and this expands it a bit.  This was a good article and somewhat timely as my next campaign (all fighters all the time) may be set in my gameworld's East.

Eidetic Memory - The Titan’s House by David L. Pulver

A short adventure showcasing the stronghold of a really, really big giant (30') and his family and attendants.  I usually only find published adventures useful for inspiration, but a short and sweet one like this is an exception.  I think the enemies are a touch too stout for most of my starting characters as I normally run at 150 points.  It's an adventure which would probably take no more than a session to play out.

I liked this one. I could see myself throwing this at a party at some point, and I don't often use published adventures of any sort.  The shortness of it, the inherent danger present with high ST foes in GURPS, and the generous potential treasure (much of which is easily overlooked) makes it useful to me. The thought of PCs being savaged by a deadly giant chicken also had me chuckling.

Random Thought Table - The Secret of the Explorers by Steven Marsh

"What if adventurers were outlaws" is the best explanation I have for this one.  It's another setting framework, wherein the players can cause too damn much trouble by kicking in doors.  The world's in the grip of a supernatural Cold War and jerks like the PCs could make it hot again.

I found this one neat, though once again I doubt I'll ever use it.  The nature of the Explorers is a bit of setting background the gameworld would have to start with, and since I run in the same world I've used for twenty five years or so, it's not happening.

Short Bursts - Five Best Places to Nearly Get Killed Before You Die! by Matt Riggsby

Cool, Car Wars is coming back.

Final Grade: B-.  A solid issue, but there's too much in there I won't ever use.  I'd likely use some of it if I was creating a new campaign from scratch, but I run in the same world I've used for quite a while.  Still, the articles are thematic and it includes a rarity for me: an adventure I might run as written.

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