Monday, December 31, 2018

The Blasted Lands

A key part of the Chalice World is the Blasted Lands and I have started a page for it here.
The Blasted Lands

This harkens back to the first iteration of this setting where humans came to the world on a great ship to escape earth just before the apocalypse. That was a White Wolf Vampire and Wereolf type game my group played in and I created this world as a sort of "What If" setting for GURPS.
Shadownaughts were inspired by mummies and led the evacuation, taking mages and wildkin with them. I have long held a fascination for Egyptian mythology and thus it plays a key part of the background and history of this world.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Social Advantages in GURPS

Allies, Contacts and Patrons

These are social advantages that represent people or organizations that can help you. Briefly an Ally is a companion who will adventure with you, Contacts are people you know who will provide small favors or information, and Patrons are powerful people or organizations who can provide assistance, possibly including loans and equipment. Also Allies and Contacts have a group variant.

All these are purchased as a base cost with a multiplier for extras and frequency of appearance.
Allies are generally agreed upon as about right in pricing, though they can be abused.
Patrons also see few objections, though they can be pricey they can have significant benefits. I personally allow the Informal, -50% limitation designed for things like Rank and Status to apply to Patrons. It represents an organization your not really able to call on for big stuff but now and than its helpful. This is good for ex CEO's or retired military who maintain a good relationship.
Contacts tend to get the most debate, they start off cheap but frequency of appearance and high skills can make them fairly expensive. Especially since they are supposed to be a once a day kind of thing.

The base cost determines effective skill level, which is I think a good value and often better than the same points in a skill would get you. However once you start modifying the cost by frequency of appearance and reliability the price can go up significantly!
I find many people focus on a high reliability, but that can get very expensive so I go for the "Somewhat Reliable" level which  means they only lie to you on a critical failure. Increasing reliability means they will keep trying to get the info you need, nice but rarely worth the extra price tag, especially since you could buy two or three for the same cost.
Frequency of Appearance is a tougher call, I help my players by calling it a general guideline and rarely roll for it.  If the player does not call on the Contact every game they can safely take a lower frequency and know they still have a good shot at access.
Another trick I do is to have the player roll against an appropriate skill to reach their Contact and I assign modifiers based on frequency of appearance and circumstances. This lets social types leverage other abilities..
Finally, Wild Talent can substitute for a Contact.  This grants more versatility but is more limited in how often it can be used.

Some additions I suggested in a Pyramid article that shall not get published...


With GM permission you may apply this to the base cost of Contact or Contact Group. This Contact or Contact Group is the opposite of discreet and news of your request will be widely reported on very quickly. If you overreach your authority and privilege, or have foes that may benefit by this knowledge, things may get ‘complicated’. This reduces the base cost by 1 point (minimum of 1).
Examples: The Homeless Network, Royal Court, Secretary Pool, or many bureaucratic and competitive organizations.

Highly Accessible

The Highly Accessible option from Patrons (p. B73) can be applied to Contacts and Contact Groups. This makes a Contact reachable beyond normal means for the setting. This may be psychic or supernatural, or simply a spy network that constantly monitors you, +50%.


Applied to Contact Groups this allows a change from one local facility to another. This could be a chapter house or a new organization that recognizes and accepts the previous one as a bona fide, very useful for far flung campaigns with a lot of travel. This is inspired by the same enhancement for Special Rapport (GURPS Powers, p. 78), + 100%.

Social Skills in GURPS

One of the strong points of GURPS is the attention it pays to social interactions. Though it has its detractors and things that could perhaps have been done a better way. So lets take a look at them.

Influence Skills and Reaction Rolls

Influence skills are a way to persuade someone to do what you want and come in several forms.
  • Acting is the skill to lie successfully and pretend to be something your not.
  • Administration is not just aboy how to process paperwork but also getting along with and understanding bureaucrats and convincing an administration to give you what you want.
  • Body Language is the skill of understanding nonverbal queue's and can help you know when your approach is working or not. 
  • Carousing is the skill of being popular and liked at a party and helps you get information or make friends in that environment.
  • Detect Lies is of course learning how to spot when someone is lying.
  • Diplomacy is a safe and polite way that even if you fail your unlikely to cause a real problem.
  • Fast Talk is the skill to overwhelm and confuse someone, often with meaningless asides and changing of topics so they don't even realize what your really after. Often gets a bad reaction but after you got what you wanted and moved on.
  • Intimidation is the blunt instrument of social skills and relies on bullying and implications of harm or perhaps just difficulties if they do not give you what you want.
  • Public Speaking is the skill to talk to a crowd.
  • Savoir-Faire is the skill of knowing the rules and mannerisms of a specific type of social group and how to behave and hopefully impress. This includes Nobility, Mafia, Police, and the Military but any group could have a specialization.
  • Sex Appeal is the art of appealing to a person in a sexual manner, it not only helps you get a date it might get you out of a ticket.
  • Streetwise is kind of a mix of Diplomacy, Intimidation, and Savoir-Faire in that it helps you know where to find and how to talk to the criminal element.
Reaction Rolls are a simple roll 3d6 to see how well someone you just met likes you. Higher numbers are better and various things can add or subtract from the roll. Also the GM can set a predetermined result or range.
Various advantages can help or hurt you such as Appearance, Charisma, Social Status, Voice, and more.
Overall its a pretty simple system but has enough options to suit almost any situation and is good in play. The GM should watch fora Face Man type who piles on a lot of benefits and is thus almost always sure of a great result. But that depends on the style of campaign too.

This week in Chalice World

Updated and added some martial arts styles
Added a stub for Shadows, mostly as a bit of lore for my players
And added to my Mystics page with Ren getting some love here

Friday, December 28, 2018


Updated my nomadic race of swashbuckling kangaroos!
They are very limited in a dungeon or thick forest, but well adapted for the grasslands and plains they call home. Should be good for most overland adventures as well.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Wolf Pac

So some news on the political side of my life as we wind down 2018.

  • I was recently made a State Organizer for Oklahoma Wolf Pac.
  • Democrats won 40 seats in the House, a record year! A significant number of those were true progressive candidates, several Justice Democrats and Brand New Congress reps whose campaigns I worked on.
  • A lot of Progressive grass roots candidates lost, but more won than mos people expected. True grass roots candidates are at a huge disadvantage because they dont accept corporate or foreign money so they are at a huge financial disadvantage. This is made worse because big media tends to ignore them and talk about the candidates with the biggest war chests. Also most of these were first timers and up against incumbents. So any win is a big deal, and we had 11 of them! Next time it will be a little easier as we learn from mistakes, improve our resources and volunteer base and candidates name recognition.
  • I was unfortunately wrong in my prediction that Trumps impeachment proceedings would start by end of 2018. However I was fortunately wrong in that he would have us n WW III by now.
  • The GOP has shown time and time again that they are Anti-American and more people are waking up to that every day. Despite one of the most favorable political maps in history they took a huge beating in 2018 and the 2020 map will be less favorable as more Republicans than Democrats will be up for reelection. Plus they will still have the Trump effect to deal with, even if he resigns or is impeached it will now be part of the 2020 election cycle,

So for 2019

Wolf Pac and Brand New Congress will have my focus. Other groups and candidates I volunteered for in 2018 and 2017 are free to reach out to me as needed. I will help wherever I can and there are a lot of issues I believe we must effectively address to keep America strong and improve every Americans lives. Climate Change, Universal Health Care, Living Wage, Voter Suppression, National Security, Economic Security, Criminal Justice Reform, Immigration Reform, Tax Reform, and more are all important! However the number ONE issue is election Reform and Campaign Finance because until we fix those problems our politicians will continue to put the desires of the Special Interests, Corporations, Billionaires, and even Foreign Governments that pay for their election campaigns instead of the American People!

Friday, December 21, 2018

Pyramid #3/122 All Good Things Review

Well the last issue of Pyramid dropped on Thursday.
I am sad to see this series end but this was a great issue to end on. So what does it have for us?
First off, that is a nice nostalgic title.

Sufficiently Deranged by Phil Masters

This one is about Mad Scientists...
This can be a fun trope but hard for the players and GM to pull off. Its hard to say if this article manages that without a play test but I think it does. It uses Realm Magic as the basis and is an intriguing idea. I was inspired by the article and will probably use it in a Supers game and thinking about it for some wacky insane race of mad scientists for my fantasy campaign. At the least its worth considering for my Banes (Dr. Frankenstein type villains).
I wish I could talk more about it here but, spoilers...

Undead Hunter by Sean Punch

The best part for me was the NPC example. Ever see a movie called Mystery Men?
My least favorite article as it has no new rules or builds but the template is a solid add for an Undead heavy campaign.

Chevaliers and Commanders by Christopher Rice

Two templates for Dungeon Fantasy in this one, but both are useful outside that genre.
The Chevalier is a mounted horseman and a very effective one at that. The template is still useful off his horse but a terror on it! I didn't really like Signature Gear (Mount) as if you but it as an Ally most of the value is useless and I think what amounts to a perk should not keep it from death. Had it left that last bit off I would have liked it better, but thats a subject for the Steve Jackson Games GURPS forums. The Weapon Master is interesting but I think too powerful for grappling weapons like the lasso, again a topic for the forums but I look forward to comments, especially by Douglas Cole (author of Technical Grappling) or Dan Howard (overall weapons expert).
Then he follows up with several power ups that are interesting and useful.

The Commander is next and this one is really full of useful ideas for any genre. A friend announced he is considering it for our Supers game. On reading it I am considering it as a cinematic martial style for my fantasy setting, something like West Point for a few elites.
This was probably the thing most likely to get put into my settings and includes Techniques, new looks at some old powers, a new Power Modifier that I really like and some Enthrallment skills.

I personally dont appreciate the Enthrallment skills in Basic, almost entirely because they lack a good design system. This article has me looking at them again...
It also has some nice Afflictions and adjustments for Rapier Wit.
This is the most crunch heavy article in the issue and probably my favorite.

Eidetic Memory The Bouncers of Caradoc by David Pulver

A Sci Fi setting or alien world to explore.that includes 4 very intriguing species.
I found this to be a creative article and intend to use the Bouncers for sure, and probably the rest.
Seriously, Bouncers are scary! Telephants are pretty interesting.

British Rhodes by Matt Wehmeier

A world for Infinity Worlds. This is a very well written article with good detail, however I found it uninspiring and not personally useful.
Thats the darn trouble with setting and adventure articles, cant please everyone and too many options and possibilities to cover every GURPS gamers areas of interest.

Native American Crusaders by Christopher Rice

Greedy guy got two in this issue, but since both were my favorites, I cant really complain now can I?
This is for Monster Hunters and ties in nicely with PK Kittys Monster Hunters 6: Holy Hunters which came out earlier this month. Good background info to start off.
Medicine Bag is a hefty Affliction and includes an interesting new modifier.
2 new Divine Vessels are included (good choices) and then 2 rather terrifying monsters, followed by a nice bibliography.

Random Thought Table "Final Thoughts" by Steven Marsh

Rather long one this time and full of solid campaign advice for players and GMs to consider and remember.


A really solid issue, and I hope something for everyone. Personally I found 4 articles worth the issue price on their own.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Chalice Wold updates

Primarily in response to a players questions I fleshed out more for this setting. In particular I...
  • Updated Khemites to Fourth Edition. This is a race loosely inspired by the An Phar from GURPS Aliens and take a lot of the role of halflings from other settings. I have tried to shy away from certain races I felt overused and too stereotypical. Khemites are mostly a background race of farmers, cooks, and servants but can actually make good martial artists or bard types.
  • Started work on Commonwealth Guilds and organizations. This work is largely based on DF 17: Guilds which is a book I overlooked earlier in my setting update. Its really a good book for this kind of thing with plenty of ideas for making them useful to the players.
  • Added and updated some maps.
  • And put in a bunch of work on the primary Commonwealth religion called Beschaving which is a polytheistic religion, consisting of mostly minor gods and goddesses.
  • Also cleaned up a lot of material for the Lantern Guild. Primarily this was cleaning up the information for political power (Rank) and magical power (circles, based on skill and ability) and updating a lot of the material from earlier versions of the magic system. There is still a lot of work needed for some of the guild branches in giving them example rituals.
  • And one last item for the night!!!  Added some detail for the Heralds Guild, including under the section "Getting the Story" a quick mechanic for players to try to glean that hot tidbit from the local keeper of news.

Khemites, humble and polite cooks and farmers


Despite their appearance khemites are a peace loving race and get along with pretty much anybody not trying to kill them. They tend to stay close to home and rarely travel, but can be found in all the lands. They tend to blend into the background socially and make great servants as they get along very well with everyone, don't like to cause trouble, and pretty much mind their own business.
They are excellent farmers and cooks, though most aren't very imaginative. They are also considered great wait staff and sometimes protectors and caretakers of a nobles children,
They are rarely seen as adventurers, and when it happens they are most often servants of a wealthy patron or party member.


11 points
Secondary Attributes:
Advantages: Absolute Direction [5]; Acute Taste and Smell 2 [4]; Alcohol Tolerance [1]; Blunt Claws [3]; Breath Holding 1 [2]; Burrower [1]; Damage Resistance 2 (Cant wear armor, -40%) [6]; Deep Sleeper [1]; Discriminatory Smell (Emotion Sense,+50%)[23]; Discriminatory Taste [10]; Fur [1]; Honest Face [1]; Hooves [3]; Plant Empathy [5]; Social Chameleon [5]; Temperature Tolerance 2 (cold) [2]; Vibration Sense [10].
Disadvantages: Bad Sight (Nearsighted) [-25]; Chummy [-5]; Hidebound [-5]; Incurious (12) [-5]; Pacifism (Self Defense Only) [-15]; Sense of Duty (Civilization) [-15].
Quirks: Broad-Minded [-1]; Responsive [-1].

Power Ups

Charisma; Green Thumb [5/level]; Profiling to Smell [+7] or Taste [+5]. Some, especially cooks buy off Hide bound. Some can afford magical glasses to mitigate their extreme nearsightedness, though most humans find the look very amusing for some reason.
As player characters khemites tend to Bards or the face man role, but do best in a subtle mode. They are generally assumed to be not very bright (Hidebound and Incurious) or threatening (Pacifism and Sense of Duty), yet you dont want to back one into a corner. Also they are typically assumed to be someones servant, and often able to go places others might not. Most people know they have keen senses of smell and taste but are not aware of the empathy aspect.
Another good option is the humble martial artist. This makes good use of their natural weaponry and inability to wear armor and works well towards their natural unassuming and nonthreatening appearance and demeanor.


Khemites are bipedal but otherwise look a lot like a badger, They are heavier built but shorter than human average, about 5 height and 200 pounds. They have blunt retractable claws on their hands and heavier claws on their hind legs. Despite their appearance most people react to them positively and are not afraid, due in large part to how they carry themselves and their uncanny ability to sense the mood of those around them.
They wear minimal or no clothing,typically aprons and carrying belts or a small knapsack for working.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Review GURPS Monster Hunters 6: Holy Warriors

24 pages, including Cover, ToC, Index, and advertising, for $6.
This is the latest volume in the Monster Hunters line, (why is that page not given its own entry in the main GURPS Books page?
Basically the MH series is about monster hunting in the modern world, mostly a secret activity.
For examples think  Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Shadow Hunters, Supernatural, Men in Black, and others that could be fit into this line.

Chapter 1: Comparative Theology

Briefly summarizes all the major or well known religions. Devotes about a page to each with an emphasis on how they fit in with gaming in this kind of world.
There is some great material here, even if your familiar with a religion it likely adds ides you can use to enhance play.

Chapter 2: Miracles

Adds new crunchy bits for example powers for players to add to their mystics. Most are pretty obvious to the creative and tinkering GM but most people will appreciate the time savings of having them already worked up.  And its very likely that there will be some ideas here that would have been missed by most GMs and players. I personally appreciated bringing forward some Totems from GURPS Voodoo (Third Edition) and several new ones.

Chapter 3: Unholy Adversaries

Some monsters from various religions that give serious foes and help with the "This is our earth!" atmosphere. A few classics but most of these are very rarely written up anywhere I have seen and certainly new to GURPS.


I loved this book!
A little something for everyone here. I do not often run modern games in the MH setting myself but there is a lot here I can adapt to my fantasy games. Even Chapter 1 will have some uses there.


PK (the author) wrote a brief outtake on his livejournal

Thursday, November 29, 2018

GURPS reprinting more classics

So Steve Jackson Games announced more reprints of various books.
GURPS Spaceships which is a simple vehicle design system for spaceships. Basically you have 3 hull sections (Front, central, and rear) holding a total of 20 systems making up about 5% of total mass each.  This makes very a pretty simple yet flexible modular design system.

GURPS IOU which is a fun setting on a very weird college campus and GURPS Illuminati, an exotic conspiracy setting both talked about in a previous months blog
Also GURPS Ogre and a number of non GURPS stuff
And upcoming in Dec is another print run of How to be a GURPS GM

These days I mostly buy PDF which allows me to get a fresh copy if my computer crashes and carry all my GURPS books on my phone or a USB stick for reference at the game table. I would need a couple of suitcases to do that with my printed books!
However new print runs mean sales have been and are expected to be good on these books.
That's great news for GURPS.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

The Transporter character in RPG's

So my group has decided to travel a decent distance in my campaign and I started going over some details.
The Chalice World is about 15,000 miles radius so 7.07*10^8 or (I think) 707,000,000 sq miles in surface area (the disc portion) which at TL4 is pretty hard travel.
A possible new player was asking for what would be useful and I suggested a traveler and came up with some options. There pretty expensive so we shall see but the thoughts led to this blog entry.

The ability to travel vast distances and take passengers is expensive, and I think it should be. On the other hand tying up a lot of points for the transporter type makes the character less useful in other circumstances and possibly less fun to play.
Being a pilot, driver or ships helmsmen is cheap enough but providing an expensive vehicle can eat up most pf the characters points. One of the reasons I wrote up The Captains Boat was to address that issue, at least in part.

The Transporter character needs to be either built on more points, able to apply those points in multiple situations, or willing to be inferior and carried by the other players in combat and perhaps social or other situations.
The Captains Boat is an example of a cheaper option and applying those points in other situations.
 For this fantasy campaign I came up with ...
Warp (Area Effect,+50%; Can Carry, Extra Heavy, +50%; Dimensional, -10%; Immediate Preparation Required, 10 minutes, -45%; Slip travel, -25%; Tunnel,+40%; +60%)  160 points.

Warp (Area Effect,+50%; Can Carry, Extra Heavy, +50%; Dimensional, -10%; Granted by mount, -40%; Immediate Preparation Required, 1 hour, -75%; Requires  Skill Roll (Symbol Drawing), -10%; Slip travel, -25%; Tunnel,+40%; -20%)  80 points.

Slip travel is a modifier to Warp that means you cannot travel instantly, Take the penalty for distance and match it to the identical IQ bonus for preparation time and that is how long the journey takes.

The second build in response to the players suggestion of the mount granting the ability, which I liked and added to the setting even if the player opts not to play that option.
I envision divine steeds (maybe even 8 legged ones...) capable of traveling between dimensions and riders that bound with them and learn to use Symbol Drawing to expand that ability to create a warp tunnel.
Its too cool to discard!
Now 80 points is a lot on a 250 DF level budget, and the mount needs to be bought as an Ally as well, we can lower the advantage with other limitations. Player suggested extra FP, not wanting the character to pass out on arrival (or worse) I countered with an ER granted by the Mount to help.
As we work out the details its still likely to cost a decent amount of points.

Alternative abilities can be our friend here. Leveraging the points spent on Warp can provide attack or other powers for 1/5 cost. Is that good enough?  We will see, but the exercise is one I wanted to share.  Transporters come up in many campaigns and are often vital but make for a weaker support type character.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Learning GCA

So I have been messing with GURPS Character Assistant (GCA) and gotten wonderful help from the author and chief data file coordinator Armin and EricBSmith respectively.
I am working on entering stuff for my Chalice World campaign.
Completed two race templates, Coatl and Stonekeepers
Completed one of my custom magic systems Affinity Magic (that was the hardest job) and entered Affinity lists for Lanterns, Druids, and Gems. Its a pretty versatile system that covers and converts Book/Path Magic, Ritual Magery, and Realm magic with simple rules for Book/Path rituals and more complex for more standard spell casting. I liked the original systems but people complain they dont have good spell design rules so your limited to whats already printed or guesstimates.
This takes care of that and gives a nice system I can use for magic, mysticism, and religious casting.

I plan on putting up a few videos on using GCA, hopefully later this week.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Inscription Magic

Developed by stonekeepers who maintain vast libraries inscribed into gemstones and crystals this subtle mystic system relies on stored information and bringing out the essence of the substance its inscribed up. Most call it magic,though it is closer to chi abilities than magic. It works well with Sigil magic and Stonekeepers have taught it to scholars and sages of many races, though most need to rely on bigger and bulkier books. Dwarves and Stonekeepers have invented a jewelers loupe that acts as 1 level of Microscopic Vision and sells for $150.

Inscription Magic Basics

3 points
You have the ability to write on objects, including very fine details as long as you can see clearly. Stonekeepers are effectively using microfiche with this ability.  This also includes the lifting of small objects. Statistics: Telekinesis 1 (Mystic, -10%; Visible, -50%; -60%) + Accessory: Micro Tools [2 +1].

Book Learned Wisdom
5 points base plus 2 points per point of abilities.
 Based on Dungeon Fantasy #4: Sages,  Takes 2 hours reading per point, halved with successful Speed-Reading roll and points are limited by the lower of whats in the book or the slot.

Invoke Gem
26, 33, or 36 points per level
Allows the user to invoke the essence of a gem, crystal, or jewelry and briefly possess one skill or even ability that is related to the items nature.
Statistics: Wild Talent (Accessibility, appropriate gem, -10%; Mystic, -10%; No Advantage Requirements, +50%; +30%) [26/level]; or add Retension, +25% [31/level] or add Wild Ability, +50%. [36/level].


Stonekeepers spend a lot of time inscribing and studying gems and other stones, hence their common name, As a side effect of this they developed their own Affinity lore based on precious stones. A few rare stonekeepers have a Reflection for a certain type of stone and if so that is added to their surname as an honorific. The effects tend to be more subtle than most magic and the sheer variety of stones (as well as many overlaps) mean few truly master all but a handful of them.
  • Agate: Earth, gentle, nourishing and strengthening. Steadiness.
  • Alexandrite: Beauty and joy.
  • Amazonite: Harmony, balanced emotions, resolve conflicting motivations. Truth
  • Amber: Sun, warmth, life and well being. Also plants.
  • Amethyst: Spiritual protection. Protection, Cleansing, Intuition. Prevents drunkenness. Aids against compulsive behaviour.
  • Apatite: Communication, Initiation, Wisdom; Blue open to psychic awareness, Green soothes the nerves.
  • Aquamarine: Calming, centering. The sea.
  • Aragonite: Emotional strength.
  • Aventurine: Green aventurine is for luck and prosperity.
  • Azurite: Stimulates the Third eye and enhances dreams, inner vision and psychic or chi powers.
  • Bloodstone: Courage, determination, and nobility.
  • Calcite: Chakra stone coming in several colors; Blue=Throat; Green & Pink=Heart; Red-Root.
  • Carnelian: Action, works on first three chakras.
  • Charoite: grants wider perspective, Illuminated, Discernment.
  • Chrsophrase: Heals a broken heart, Empathy.
  • Chrysocolla: heart stone, Empathy, sharing of feelings, feminine energy.
  • Citrine: Dreams and willpower
  • Diamond: Light, clarity and truth.
  • Emerald: Heart chakra, plants. improve eyesight and fertility.
  • Fluorite: Clears away confusion and mental clutter.
  • Garnet: Visualization, self healing, Work.
  • Golden Obsidian: Removing obstacles, divine will. Third Chakra.
  • Hematite: Grounding, clearing away negative energies.
  • Howlite: Calming, live and let live.
  • Iolite: Shamanic journeying; inner vision, past lives, soul retrieval.
  • Green Jade: Earth and nature,
  • Jasper: Grounding and stabilizing, patience and persistence.
  • Kyanite: Communication and energy transfer.
  • Labradorite: Telepathy and Prophecy.
  • Lapis Lazuli:  Royalty; Inner nobility.
  • Larimar: Diffusing anger, speaking from the heart.
  • Lepidolite: Relieves stress and anger.
  • Malachite: Strength and willpower.
  • Moldavite: Spiritual awakening and personal evolution
  • Morganite: Heart chakra.
  • Obsidian: Root chakra, grounding.
  • Ocean Jasper: Removes depression.
  • Onyx: Helps work toward goals and restore energy ater prolonged illness.
  • Opal: Amplifies emotions
  • Pearl: Chastity, purity. Protect from fire.
  • Peridot: sunshine, positive energy. Protects against nightmares.
  • Picture Jasper: Journey to the past, Psychometry.
  • Prehenite: Confodence
  • Rose Quartz: Love
  • Ruby: Passion, confidence; fire
  • Sapphire: Blue sapphire is a stone of air and mental focus. Wisdom.
  • Serpentine: Natural connection. Earth
  • Snowflake Obsidian: Courage
  • Sodalite: Intuition, enhanced creativity, analysis and observation.
  • Spineal: Hope, revitalization.
  • Sunstone: Creativity, leadership.
  • Tanzanite: Aligns the heart and third eye chakra, compassion.
  • Tiger eye: Centering, dealing with conflicts.
  • Topaz: Magnifies; Blue enhances psychic abilities, White helps with short term tasks and Visualization, gold helps with long term tasks.
  • Turquoise: Serenity, Throat chakra. Protect from possession and the evil eye.
  • Yellow Sapphire: Helps with wealth building.
  • Zircon: Pain relief, sound sleep.

Related Info

Books (Dungeon Fantasy #5: Sages, p. 13-14)
Primer: 1 point, $25, 3 lbs; Textbook: 2 points, $50, 6 lbs; Thesis: 3+ points, $25/point, 12 lbs.
Modifiers: Obscure, +1 CF; Esoteric, +2 CF; Magic, +3 CF; Dwarven, +4 CF, doubles weight (Metal pages); Fine, +8 CF, doubles weight; Very Fine/Luxurious, +17 CF, doubles weight; Stonekeeper gem/crystal, +25 CF, negligible weight but requires Microscopic Vision to use.
Final cost is base value * (1 + total of CF).

Stonekeepers, Gnomes of the Third Eye


90 points
ST -3 [-30] DX +1 [20] IQ +1 [20]
Advantages: Acute Vision 2 [4]; Ambidexterity [5]; Arm DX +1 [16]; Eidetic Memory [5]; Enhanced Tracking 1 [5]; Fit [5]; Flexibility [5]; Hyperspectral Vision [25]; Magery 0 [5]; Manual Dexterity +4 [20]; Microscopic Vision 2 [10]; Nictating Membrane 1 [1]; Penetrating Vision 1[10]; Sensitive Touch [10]
Disadvantages: Easy to Read [-10]; Hemophilia [-30]; Light Sleeper [-5]
Quirks: Artsy [-1], Curious [-1].
Skills: First Aid [1]

Common Advantages: Double Jointed from Flexibility for +10; Extra levels of Microscopic Vision, Penetrating Vision; High Manual Dexterity (Cosmic +50%) up to +10 total [7.5/level above 4]; Inscription [3].


Thin and wiry, stonekeepers are about 3 tall with grayish skin. Their most distinctive feature however is a large third eye on the forehead. Stonekeepers have an extremely developed sense of touch and dexterity as well as unusual vision abilities which while making them good scouts and sentinels, makes it harder for them to sleep due to the sensory input. They also have an unusual cardiovascular system that lets them recover fatigue faster, but makes them more vulnerable to bleeding and show physical responses to emotions (like blushing) or sensations.


Stonekeepers live chiefly among the dwarves though are commonly found in large human cities as well. They are generally peaceful people and known for their scholarly, jewelry, and medical skills. These benefit greatly from their combination of dexterity and vision abilities. Their hemophilia makes them cautious of combat but everyone is trained in First Aid as a youth. Around 20% continue to become full surgeons, but most focus on jewelry which is a better money making skill and allows them to work with pretty things and get paid for it! A few become police investigators or other services making use of their enhanced sight.

Magic and Special Abilities

Stonekeepers can readily learn dwarven Sigil magic but also have their own form of Affinity magic based on gems. They also lean chi based abilities, most typically Chi Sorcery (Pyramid #3/105) blended with Chinese Elemental Magic. However the ability they are most well known for is Inscription Magic.


Because of their low ST and HP, not to mention hemophilia, they would seem to be poor combatants. However those that do train for combat have some unique advantages that play into their own custom styles and specific tactics.
Penetrating Vision grants +2 to Diagnosis and Physiology for spotting internal injuries or uses like Pressure Secrets.  They rely on precision in combat and will typically fight with bare hands or small throwing weapons. They can be very deadly in the dark and attacking from cover as well, using Penetrating Vision to see through thin cover while they attack around it or use popup tactics.  Finally where they become extremely dangerous is those who choose to master Ki (Chi) abilities.

Martial Style: Stones Breath

Skills: Karate; Meditation, Running
Advantages: Ki Investment (Pyramid #3/105) 15 points for level 1, +7 points/level. Ki Talent
  • Level 1 (15) Chi Sensing; Light Walk; Mental Strength; Breaking Blow; Concealment; Invisibility Art; Lizard Climb; Zen Archery
  • Level 2 (22) Anatomic Control; Immovable Stance; Phoenix Heart; Power Blow; Precognitive Parry; Push; Sensitivity; Kiai; 
  • Level 3 (29) Iron Skin; Breath of Life; Hypnotic Hands; 
  • Level 4 (36) Flying Leap; Pressure Secrets
  • Level 5 (43) Blind Fighting;  Dim Mak; Throwing Art
  • Level 6 (50)
  • Level 7 (57) Pressure Points

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Mystics in Chalice World

There are several kinds of mystics in Chalice World, varying philosophies and mechanics make this an eclectic bunch. The primary thing they have in common is that they rely on philosophy, which guides not just their powers but also their actions. They seek to understand the universe and how it works, a key difference between them is in  how they go about this more than the end result. Most people simply call all mystics a mystic rather than use the names below.


Philosophy (Aesthetics): The study, creation and understanding of beauty.
Very common among the elves where appreciation of and creating beautiful things is an important way to cut down on boredom.


Philosophy (Elementalism): The study of the primal elements and how they fit together to make up everything.
Powers: Primarily based off GURPS Thaumatology: Chinese Elemental Powers
This is the most well known and common philosophy as the six elements have a profound and visible effect on the world. Dragons study it, indeed it is said that mastery of this philosophy is how a dragon becomes a Grand Dragon.

Inscription Magic

A mystical awakening related to gems developed by the stonekeepers. Its a very intellectual system, relying heavily n mental enhancements.


Philosophy (Logos): Also called the Way of the Word teaches that language is the key to understanding and practitioners strive for accuracy and precision in their words.
Powers: Primarily based off GURPS Powers: The Weird
Probably the most social of mystics they wander civilization and often earn a living telling stories or singing.


Philosophy (Noumena): The observation or perception of reality. Things are not always as they appear and correctly perceiving them is key to understanding the universe and your role in it.
Powers: Primarily based of Noumena in GURPS Powers: The Weird
This is probably the second most common philosophy, though often misunderstood. It is a key part of Fae civilization and culture, though few others understand it.


Philosophy (Pathos): The study and understanding of emotions and strong desires. Words, material concepts, even logic and rational thought are al distractions that keep you from enlightenment.
Powers: Pathos system
These mystics are perhaps treated with the most wariness and least respect, and its more popular among the youth and rebellious. Practitioners tend to focus on one emotion or desire and use it as their driving force.


The idea that everything has a name and knowing somethings name lets you control it. This is not strictly a philosophy, though some people think it is a part of Logos. Historians know it was a key aspect of magic in The First Kingdom.

Comments and Suggestions Welcome

This covers most of my ideas but I am on the lookout for more, especially ideas that are gameable. So please feel free to comment below or message me directly.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Green energy means LOCAL jobs!

Listening to an interview of Christine Hallquist, candidate for Governor in Vermont and she mentioned something I hadn't really considered from quite the same way before.
Most states pay other states, and even other countries for their energy needs.
Think about that a minute.
What if the money paid for out of state energy (coal, gas, oil, even hydro or nuclear) stayed in state and created local jobs?
Every state can provide energy see the Solutions Project for some options. Conservatives tend to prefer the old ways of doing things and many still do not think climate change is a serious issue. Those wanting to address the climate change system need to tailor the messaging to better reach the current audience.
If warmer weather causing rising sea levels, more severe storms, and billions in bailouts and recovery efforts for increasing natural disasters is not enough you can add jobs to the mix.
Fossil fuels will of course fight you, even if in another state but if you can create new permanent jobs, while lowering consumer energy costs (That means your utility bills) that should win some people over.


Clean energy is a practical and desired goal because...
  • Reduces the damage were doing to the environment. This saves lives and money.
  • Cuts down on health costs because the air and water will be cleaner.
  • Increases USA national security due to less reliance on foreign oil.
  • Increases our exports if we go green before most of the rest of the world.
  • Provides local jobs which helps economic growth.
  • Reduces the negative effect of seasonal layoffs in oil jobs as the price of oil fluctuates.
  • Eventually oil and gas will run out, or simply become too expensive to use or sell. We already see this as a temporary problem whenever prices drop people get laid off till they rise again.
  • Likely results in spin off technologies if we get serious and develop the tech before everyone else does. If were too late to the game we may have to pay other countries instead. China is making significant efforts to place themselves as the go to tech source in this industry.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

GURPS Attributes Revisited

With the latest issue of Pyramid introducing a new alternate attribute the SJG forums discussion has hit on an old topic. GURPS has just 3 Primary attributes, several figured ones and advantages to modify all this. Still sometimes people want to change things around a bit.
First lets look at what we have.


This determines how much you can lift, damage you do with muscle powered attacks and how many HP you have, HP are assumed to be based off mass and strength is largely related to mass.
Arm ST: Increased ST but for limited parts of your body.
Striking ST: Explosive muscle force, buying this up lets you hit harder and do more damage.
Lifting ST: Lets you carry more and pull a heavier bow.  Also increases your wrestling strength.
Extra HP: You can buy up or down your HP which indicates how much damage you can take.


This is an overall measurement of agility, quickness and coordination. Mostphysical skills are based off DX and it figures into your Basic Speed. Basic Move, and Dodge scores.
Arm DX: Limited increase to DX for your arms only.
High Manual Dexterity: This increases your finger dexterity and ability to do fine work, great for watch makers and surgeons.


This is representation of overall mental ability, it covers awareness and the ability to notice things, willpower, and knowledge. Many consider it to be too cheap for its costs and I think it sees the most house rules, such as separating Per and Will from it.
Acute Sense: Increases you Per for 1 specific sense.
Charisma: Adds to Reaction Rolls and stacks with IQ for some social skills.
Fearlessness: Increases your Will for the purpose of resisting fear.


Representing physical health this attribute is the base for few skills but aids certain figured attributes and is rolled against to resist disease, poison, and death.
Hard to Kill: Adds to HT in death checks.
Hard to Subdue: Adds to HT in rolls to avoid being knocked unconscious.

Secondary Characteristics

HP, Per, Will, and FP start the same as their core attribute, while others such as striking damage and Basic Lift are calculated with a chart. Basic Speed is figured using DX and HT and that is used for Basic Move.

Talents and Secondary Characteristics

Talents were created so you could have specialists, people who were good at certain things that used several attributes or even a limited set of skills based off one attribute. This allows a lot of variety and customization in GURPS. The ability to rise or lower secondary characteristics or even some of the narrower versions of the primary attributes above further increases player choice and makes it easier to design exactly the character you want more than most game systems,
Anti-Talents introduced in GURPS Power-Ups 3: Talents actually lower effective attribute score for certain sets of skills which allows even further individuality.

But sometimes people want more or a different direction, so here is another idea....
Inspired by the Quintessence article, this thread, and many many others here is an idea I am pondering as a house rule.

New Attribute

Inspired by the Uses or Affects Different Attribute enhancements, talents and the idea of new attributes that gets talked about here is a solution that can be used in the game with GM approval.
Create a new attribute, suggested cost is 10/level and base value is 10.
This attribute will be the base for certain skills, resistance rolls, and possibly other things that were covered by the original attribute. GM discretion.
This is similar to Talent in that you can increase multiple skills without buying up the underlying attribute but is not limited to 4 levels and can have additional effects.
Presence for Social skills and resisting Influence skills, Spirit for shamanic skills, energy and resistance (working similar to QN), and Chi for cinematic martial skills will be others I am adding as player options for my Chalice World setting.
I may come up with more,or my players may do so.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Trump helps Russia, Again

Trump said he is considering pulling out of the nuclear arms deal President Ronald Reagan made.
Some of the media will over the coursew of the next few days talk about it, some will in trying to "analyze" it will say its a distraction to change the topic from the Khashoggi murder by the Saudis.
I'm sure that is partly true.
Fox will undoubtedly play it as a bold move to strike a better deal and say it proves Trump is not under Putins thumb. Putin will of course bluster about how dishonorable America is and that we cant be trusted to keep our agreements and honor treaties.
Under Trump that seems obvious.

Congress could block it, but as we have seen the GOP controlled Congress is unlikely too.
However regardless of what happens countries will lose trust in America, knowing any President can come in and throw out or otherwise sabatoge previous agreements or treaties. That hurts our national security going forward.
Maybe the deal wont be canceled, in which case we gain nothing but lose credibility and power. Maybe the deal will break down and Russia will improve their nuclear capability. Maybe they wont bother since they are still hurting financially. They never really recovered from the Cold War and all that military spending. Maybe they will even use that to get new concessions from the USA to avoid nuclear escalation they cant afford anyhow.
Maybe even Trump will manage to get a better deal than President Reagan was able to, though seriously who really believes that last option?

In the meantime we continue to see a passive GOP weakening our country, increasing the national debt, killing business and weakening alliances while China and Russia gt more powerful and take advantage of the weakness were showing under failed leadership.
Meantime they distract the American people with scandals and divide our country up. While they weaken it so they can retain and grab more power and further line their pockets, they weaken us against our enemies without.

We must stop this nonsense and replace Congress with people who put the country first!

Saturday, October 20, 2018

GURPS Magery Revisited

This is an article I submitted to the last Alternate GURPS issue of Pyramid. Since it did not make the cut and I wont be able to resubmit it I post it here in hopes some people get some use out of it.
There is one section of the article I am leaving out as I might be able to submit it for something later.

Magery Revisited
By Rory Fansler
Carlos mentally reached for the nearest Ley line and was rewarded with a surge of power that blurred his vision and staggered him. A moment later, he reached again and found enough power to lift his car out of the swamp. His happiness over not waiting for a tow truck almost erased his chagrin at missing the turn in the first place…
The existing Magery advantage is largely a holdover from earlier GURPS editions. What might it have looked like if it was created from scratch for the Fourth Edition? This article explores ideas about breaking that up into components so different styles can be modeled.
Manipulating Mana
Magery has the effects of a Detect, ability to cast spells and a Talent that improves spell casting ability, which is quite a package. We can break that up into Detect Magic, Magic Power, and Magic Talent (see below) which allows mages to vary between their ability to control, empower, or sense magic. Magery 0 [5] is replaced with Detect Magic [4], which is a little better and it can be improved. Magic Power replaces Magery for Ritual Path Magic, while Magic Talent replaces Magery for the system in GURPS Basic and GURPS Magic. However, either type can increase capability by adding levels in either advantage. The GM can choose to use this for any of the systems in GURPS Thaumatology and even apply it to priests with little effort, simply replace mana with divine, grace, or piety for the Energy Reserve. A 10 point Talent may be to cheap for spells, on the other hand spells could be considered different specialties, or even Techniques (In fact, Ritual Magic, p. B242 already works that way).
Detect Magic
4 points
Most casters learn how to detect magical energies, in some settings this may even be a prerequisite to manipulating magical energies. While the initial build is very limited it can be enhanced, especially buying off Vague and adding the Reflexive and Precise modifiers.
Statistics: Detect (Magic, Occasional) (Magic, -10%; Vague, - 50%) [4].
Magic Power
10 points/level
You have the ability to manipulate, and store mana! Each level provides 3 FP that can be used to power your spells. These FP cannot be used for Extra Effort or other purposes and can not be drained by normal means, only powers specifically targeting mana. Each level also grants an increase of 1 for spells and rituals capped by Thaumatology or other core skill (such as in GURPS Ritual Path Magic, p. 5), as a prerequisite for spells requiring multiple levels of Magery, and overpowering spells (where effect is capped by Magery) such as in GURPS Magic. Statistics: Energy Reserve (Mana) 3 [9] + Increased Cap [1]; 10 points.
Magic Talent
10 points/level
You have unusual skill with spell casting and magical theory. This affects Thaumatology and the spells of one system or tradition of magic. Talent with additional magic systems or traditions can be purchased as redundant abilities using the alternative ability pricing (GURPS Powers, p. 11). Instead of a reaction bonus use alternative effects to increase the effect cap on spells that list one based on Magery (such as missile spells). Other Talents such as Natural Caster (GURPS Ritual Path Magic, p. 12), or the ones from Ritual Path Specialists, pp.18-20 in Pyramid #3/66: The Laws of Magic may be used instead. Use the higher of Magic Power or Magic Talent for increasing effect caps, do not stack them.
Powers Based Magic
Sorcery is the signature powers based magic system and uses Sorcerous Empowerment [20 + 10/level] instead of Magery, while Alternative Ritual Path Magic in Pyramid #3/66: The Laws of Magic uses Magery for a core ability. PK suggested on the Steve Jackson Games GURPS forums using Ritual Adept in this manner. Other advantages can be used for a core magic ability with various spells as alternative abilities. However, unless you are going for minor spells they need to be expensive advantages such as Jumper, Morph, Snatcher, Warp, or a leveled advantage. The core or foundation advantage should reflect the nature of the magic, Jumper or Snatcher for summoning things or energy, Morph for body control and shape control abilities, or Warp for movement magic. The potential is only limited by your imagination, for example Trained By a Master for a combat magic system. For a versatile mage Control (Mana), which manipulates magic as a form of energy is thematic.
Control (Mana)
20 points/level
This is the ability to manipulate the raw energies of magic (mana) itself. Each level can grant a +1 bonus or penalty to casting or resisting the effects of a spell if the target (or targets) are in the area (radius equals level in yards). It can also grant +1 to energy gathering or recovery skills for magic, including the Recover Energy spell where it adds to effective skill level. See Ritual Path Specialists in Pyramid #3/66: The Laws of Magic for another take on this idea.
Additionally, this ability can be used for Power Blocks (GURPS Powers, pp. 168-169) to resist spells cast on anyone in the area. This adds +1 to resist or doubles an appropriate defense, if successful. The rule for only one Block per Turn remains in effect, however each Block can protect everyone in the area.
Common limitations and enhancements can include....
Dance or Song -40%, Aspected 1 College only -40%, see Magery for more ideas.
Natural Phenomena +100% for some gods, typically aspect limited such as fire magic.
Ranged +40% for gods and powerful meta mages.
Reliable +5%/level aids in skill contests of Control vs. Control but not spells.
Persistent +40% lets the effects persist for 10 seconds after concentrating.
Optional techniques
Bind Power M/A Default to IQ -3, Max IQ
Used to bind another mages powers using a contest of Will + l per level of Control (Mana) and if successful it pins the power with a +3 on any attempt to break free. Requires a Concentrate maneuver to maintain, unless the Persistent enhancement is added. This will make Magic Power unusable, and possibly other abilities.
Counter Spell  M/A Thaumatology - 5 Max Thaumatology
By combining your knowledge of magic with your ability to control the flow of mana you can disrupt spells, either by taking a Wait maneuver for a new spell or a Concentrate for an ongoing spell. This costs 2 FP to counter a spell within range and is resisted by the spell.  Range is 10 or Control, whichever is greater.
Mana Bolt
9 points/level
This is a bolt of magical energy tuned to disrupt the targets stored magical energy reserve. It has no effect on normal fatigue. Statistics: Innate Attack (fat) 1d/level (Magical, -10%) [9/level].
Tools of The Trade
Staves and wands are colorful additions in fantasy fiction, but what do they really do for a GURPS mage? Standard mages can use them as power objects or they could be gadget based Energy Reserves. Purchasing a separate reserve saves points and it recharges separately from personal reserves which results in less down time. Both can be used as weapons (p. B240) and to fire attacks from. As pointing devices wands should increase ACC +1, and do not require separate Innate Attack skills which already work with something in your hand.
Ceremonial Casting
Mages combining their abilities is an intriguing staple of fantasy and rules for it are included in various GURPS magic systems and additional supplements such as GURPS Thaumatology and GURPS Thaumatology: Urban Magics. But, how do powers based mages help each other? Sharing energy could be house ruled, but we do have some options for those wanting specific builds. Leech and Neutralize (see below) are obvious options, but very expensive and Affects Others on Energy Reserve is not much better. Dedicated Controls (p. B43), while designed for machines or vehicles can be used to allow other mages to use your energy reserve. Apprentices with Sorcerous Empowerment (GURPS Thaumatology Sorcery) could be required to have this as a known spell and sorcerers or other power's based mages could learn it as an Affliction (p. 00). A version of Raise Cone of Power (GURPS Thaumatology, p. 51-52) or Mass Magic can be done using the rules for Combining Powers (Powers, p. 170-172) to combine Energy Reserves. Once everyone is linked up the leader has an effective Energy Reserve of the highest individual Energy Reserve plus 1/2 the total of everyone else's, though it only has his own energy to start. Each participating mage would determine how much of their own FP to contribute at any given time and each recovers their FP normally.
Want mages to recover energy faster? Consider Breath Control (p. B182), a version of the Psychic Recovery technique from High Psi in Pyramid #3/97: Strange Powers, or Regeneration (ER only) with Accessibility.
Start box
Steal Energy
You can draw the mana out of another mages Energy Reserve or appropriate things, possibly including powerstones and mana basins. Each of these builds requires touch, though mages involved in ceremonial casting are considered as touching each other. To use these at range requires both Malediction and Ranged modifiers as per Leech (Powers, p. 96).
Absorb Mana: You absorb all the mana from a single target at once, refilling your own reserve or use to power a spell. The energy quickly fades, lasting one second for each point of success. Statistics: Neutralize (Magical, -10%; One Ability, -80%; Power Theft, +200%; Reduced Duration 1/60, -35%; +75% [88].
Drain Apprentice: Affliction 1 (IQ; Dedicated Controls (ER), +100%; Sorcery, -15%) [19].
Siphon Mana: Leech (Accelerated Healing, +25%; Accessibility, magical ER only, -40%; Easily Resisted 1, -5%; Malediction 1; +100%; Mana Sensitive, -10%; Only heals FP, -20%; Ranged, +40%; +100%) [50 +8/level].
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Thursday, October 18, 2018

Review: GURPS Pyramid #3/120 Alternate GURPS V

As Pyramid nears the end of its run we today got the last of the Alt GURPS issues.  It was a hearty one with a lot of substance.

Opus Longa, Pugna Brevis

Sean Punch
Prolonged Work, Fight Shortcut according to Google Translate. I was thinking Long Work, something brief so my Latin got me in the ballpark but that is about it :)
The first article is my favorite of the issue. Kromm took a look at an interesting problem and came up with some interesting solutions.
Some tasks are boiled down to a single skill roll that represents minutes of time while the other PCs are doing more interesting stuff.  It also adds drama to rolls, beyond the simple pass/fail.
Its 4 pages that include optional rules for haste and speeding up tasks, ways to add drama to longer tasks, etc. The best part to me though was the Life is a Battlefield section which offers a skill resolution system that is sort of a mini-game. I can see using it for solving mysteries, computer hacking or infiltrating an enemy base with just a little work. He gives good examples to help the GM figure out the numbers.
I loved this article and think it would make a great Action supplement, or even better a Power Up supplement that combined with the existing skills resolution systems and more examples would be a valuable item in the GM tool kit.

Eidetic Memory: Describing Vehicles

David L. Pulver
A solid article that just makes me salivate for GURPS VDS (Vehicle Design System), as if I wasn't already!
My first thought was this is useful, shortly replaced with darn I would rather have had another article instead and just wait for this material in VDS. However it occurred to me as I write this that we might not see it in VDS as this is more of a way to help you eyeball a vehicle and aid in quickly stating one. David, if your reading this and this material wont go into VDS please consider combining it with the Spaceship as building rules from an earlier Pyramid and give us Quick Vehicles and Bases book. I have some other material to suggest for it too if you need to make it bigger, such as rules for paying for them with points (Such as The Captains Boat and the rules in GURPS Supers).
Probably my second favorite article and one that will keep me in good stead should I want some simple stats for say a sailing ship before VDS is out. Or maybe even then for building things in an even easier way than the GURPS Spaceship series.

The Fifth Attribute

Christopher R. Rice
People have talked about a possible Fifth attribute for quite awhile to separate IQ from magical power. Personally this was the most disappointing article to me but that is not a knock on the authors writing. Nitpicks, I wish he had used a different name for the attribute and that he had referenced RuneQuest which with its POW attribute was a close comparison and came out years before the other referenced works. I also wish he had referenced his article How Very Tempting from Pyramid #3/67 as thematically I think they could be good fits. However, even he had thought of that he may not have had the room for it here. Something for later or a Designers Notes article?
How was the new attribute handled? It helps resist supernatural influence (discouraging people buying it down), replaces IQ for a lot stuff, and gives supernatural FP similar to HT for normal activity. Overall thats pretty good, I think it is balanced and achieves the goal (for some) of separating IQ from magical ability. Something that a lot of people have wanted for awhile.
Resilient Quintessence is an inspired version of Fit and Very Fit, Calling out the Based on Different Attribute and Requires Attribute modifiers here was a nice touch, as is the use of Pact.
Live Like You Were Dying was an interesting idea and much of the skills and using with other systems were pretty useful. The Ritual Path Magic section seemed a bit off to me, but maybe I did not understand it. It seems like it effectively kills anything beyond Magery 0 which I'm not sure I like.
Magery is reasonably replaced with the standard system and for some reason that bothers me less, though it has unmentioned effects on a lot of spells, prerequisite issues and powering up spells for example.
I may use some of this but it will require tweaking for my campaigns.

Conditional Injury

Douglas Cole
This is the hardest article for me to review and give my opinion on. Its a great article, very well done and has at least two key benefits.
It solves the glass ship problem if applied to vehicles, same as death by house cat. Normally we just abstract tiny wounds away, but this provides a solid system that gives us good wounding, including long term effects.
It gives a more visual and intuitive idea of how hurt someone is, including debilitating conditions and I like that.

A lot of work obviously went into this article and I like the detail. Nitpicks, Recovering Maximum FP would have made more sense under the Deadly Fatigue section. I was confused on first reading it, read it twice to be sure I understood it and still thought it out of place in the article till I read the next section. The other and minor nitpick was not mentioning Injury Tolerance: Damage Reduction though its effects can be figured easily enough using the Vulnerability entry. I really like how Douglas managed to incorporate existing healing methods into this in a very clean manner.

Ok, now to read an email I been putting off...
Ok, thats done. I had a friend send an email specifically about this article but wanted to make my initial review unbiased by other points of view. He likes it but I dont want to post his comments without permission.
This kind of gives me a Mekton feel (If I remember the right game) and overall I like it, not sure if I will use it as it might be too complicated in play. I think some testing is in order but I really like it as an idea for dealing with really large creatures and ships. The Parting Shot section on the last page summarizes the benefits, including non deadly boxing matches.

Random Thought Table: Fluid Skills

Steven Marsh
An interesting idea for skills changing over time but around a baseline, the goal being limited improvement.
Not much to say here, its interesting but not to my style of play so hard to give an opinion on.


A really good issue, with two outstanding articles likely to see use in the near future and two that bear looking at but may require some fiddling to fit into one of my games. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Updates on Lantern Guild

Starting the Menagerie campaign tonight and as one of the players wants to be a mage from the Lantern Guild I have been updating that.
Most of the rules are offline but I wanted to share the concepts here and will be updating some of the guilds as we make new spells.
The Lantern Guild is a professional and academic oriented guild. Members include 50 point NPCs, 250 point adventurers and even higher point guild leaders.
How do you have an effective system that fits within a magic based economy. yet is also suitable for adventuring or even epic style campaigns?
I wanted a flexible system to give my players options and to keep my GM workload down. So I started with GURPS Thaumatology which has some great flexible magic systems but due to limited space was weak on spell creation.

So the Lanterns use 3 separate but related systems, with very similar rules for creating spells.  That similarity makes life easier for me and my players.

Tier 1 Book

The Lantern Guild is organized into several sub guilds.with different themes or functions. They share the same Magic (Lantern) skill which makes cross training easier. This tier uses Book magic with structured lengthy rituals that do not require magery to use, though magery adds to ritual effect. It uses cooperative collaboration so weak mages an achieve useful effects. Not really suitable for adventuring due to the casting time but the books make good background rituals.

Tier 2 Affinity Magic (Path with inspiration from RPM)

Each guild has a handful of Affinities/Paths and what I think is a simple to use spell design system. A caster would have Magic (Lantern) which caps the Affinities which are full skills with spells being Techniques. Magery is required and adds to Affinity skills (and hence spells) but not Magic (Lantern) which is basically Thaumatology (Tradition). Spells are fast casting and this tier is a good one for adventurers. I feel they are comparable to Ritual Magic from GURPS Basic in game play and hope to have players use both systems in the campaign to test this.

For those interested in under the hood bits the spell design system has 18 spell types, most with about a paragraph of individual modifiers and guidelines for designing spells. Types: Attack, Barrier, Bonus and Penalty, Calling, Communication, Concealment and Observation, Control and Shape, Create, Healing and Restoration, Information, Movement, Protection, Purify and Refinement, Seek and Identification, Special Effect, Summoning, Transformation, Work

Tier 3 Thaumaturgy (Realm)

Each Realm costs 10 points (with a few possible exceptions) and work pretty much like the Realm system in GURPS Thaumatology with 6 possible levels. Spells are designed with the same rules as Affinity, just some different modifiers. Magery is not required but adds to spell skill and this tends to be a more point intensive system but unlocks more raw power.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

GURPS Conspiracies

An interesting genre is the conspiracy game. GURPS put out out some great mateial for this, primarily back in Third Edition and most of those books require very little, if any work to update to Fourth Edition.

How does a Conspiracy Game Work?

A conspiracy campaign requires more than one side that opposes each other, preferably through political or social means, as opposed to direct physical combat. You can of course have physical combat but that is usually limited and something the lower ranks engage in. The higher ups tend to insulate themselves from direct involvement and vulnerability.
So a conspiracy game needs rules for social and political interaction,a strong setting that supports and encourages that sort of thing, and players who like puzzle solving and thinking their way through conflict.


  • GURPS Cabal Supernatural conspiracy in a world of hidden magic.
  • GURPS Conspiracy X Hidden Government activity vs. secret aliens.
  • GURPS Cyberpunk Not primarily a conspiracy setting as the PCs are usually mere pawns but it has possibilities...
  • GURPS Horror: The Madness Dossier Hidden government agencies vs. supernatural entities that want to remake the world. 
  • GURPS Illuminati The iconic conspiracy setting! The kitchen sink of conspiracy theories, its all here!
  • GURPS In Nomine Angels vs, Demons for the soul of humanity
  • GURPS IOU Life as a student on the weirdest college campus ever! Its not typically vast government or corporate conspiracies but campus intrigue can be quite confusing and as hard to deal with as it is funny.  This is a great conspiracy humor type setting.
  • GURPS Mage The Ascension Based on old White Wolf Licence, hard to find though.
  • GURPS Monster Hunters A secret magic setting where the players are often agents set to fight off evil or keep the peace. Combine with GURPS Cabal for a campaign more focused on conspiracies than monster slaying.
  • GURPS The Prisoner Based o the television series of the same name, your goal is to figure out why your there and possibly how to escape.
  • GURPS Transhuman Space A futuristic cyberpunk kind of setting with political and corporate conspircies and propaganda taken to a whole new level! 
  • GURPS Vampire: The Masquerade Based on old White Wolf Licence, hard to find though.
  • GURPS Voodoo Works well with GURPS Cabal. A good spirit based conspiracy setting.
  • GURPS Warehouse 23 Think Indiana Jones, Men In Black, The Librarians, and Warehouse 13. Not necessarily a serious conspiracy setting,but a fun one.
  • GURPS Werewolf: The Apocalypse Based on old White Wolf Licence, hard to find though.

Useful Books

  • GURPS Espionage Third Edition, but still good material for a spy vs. spy type conspiracy.
  • GURPS Mysteries Mostly geared towards detective adventures it has material that can help bot the GM and the players with conspiracy building and unraveling.
  • GURPS Social Engineering This series of books are highly recommended as they expand the details and offer worked examples for political and social intrigue.


As you can see GURPS has a lot of support for this kind of campaign and a good choice of settings for different flavor and style. I personally would like to see a Social Engineering: Conspiracies book that had a BAD type system and focused on using social skills and abilities as regrds to working with and against conspiracies. Also updated IOU, In Nomine, and Illumanti books and making GURPS Cabal a series that included integration with Monster Hunters.

What would YOU like to see added to this genre for GURPS?

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

The Menagerie

After a long delay due to school we made progress on the game set in Chalice World.
We have a human mage specializing in Light and Healing magic with some Mind magic after my recommendation who wants to hunt down Corrupters.  Evil spirits that possess and change people or other living things.
Also a young Coatl far from home, and a Cat Sith.
2 more players to go! Oneis expected to play a front line warrior type but we shall see.
So far its basically a traveling exorcist monster hunter type with two animal seeming companions.

I also updated the entry on Fae as part of explaining fae to the player

GURPS Review of Dungeon Fantasy Monsters 4: Dragons

The latest DF Monsters volume is all about dragons! Some of the material is reused from the DFRPG boxed set but most of it is new. It is a monster book so no point totals are included, nor costs for various abilities. However there isn't anything here that cant be built using GURPS, at least on my initial impression.
Yer Basic Dragon gives us several sizes of dragons Small, Medium, Large, Gargantuan, and guidelines for even bigger or between range sizes. Small dragons are pretty tough but I think most DF parties could handle one, Medium would be a lot tougher fight, and the bigger ones are headed to, if not already legend territory.
Dragons Breath gives us Clouds and Cones with a chapters worth of detail regarding options such as different types and how to use them. There is a real good mix here.
Chapter 3 Distinguishing Your Dragon goes over lots of ways to tweak dragons and reasons for doing so. Maybe not much for an experienced GURPS GM but it is nice having the main ideas laid out in one place. Also, let me comment that the writing style here was especially convenient, and cute. The first time a trait is mentioned it is bolded then normally used thereafter. That makes it easier to find what your looking for or just mine the chapter for ideas.  I really applaud this method!
The line headers under Bad Breath were funny, yet did not detract from the content.  So cute.
Dragons in Action is a solid chapter on tactics and  a good read.
Appendix: Not Your Average Dragons includes four unique fully detailed dragons. All are interesting, though Brother Jonas was my personal favorite.


At $6 this is I think a high value book for those wanting to add dragons to their game. Obviously its well written (Sean Punch aka Kromm always turns out quality) and there is a good chunk of meat here.  Much better than a bunch of stat blocks,the tactics and options for tweaking bring it all home.
Great book!

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Dr. Ford vs. The GOP

So I watched the whole thing today and here are my thoughts.
First, my respect to Prosecutor Mitchell. I figured she was brought in to do a hatchet job but look like it wasn't one while providing cover for the GOP members of the Judiciary committee.
She was very professional, probably why they gave her the boot early into Kavanoughs portion. She did go after Dr. Ford in a few areas, like the fear of flying and who is paying her legal fees. I think the fear of flying was a bad move, most people have fears of something that they can overcome. So why attack her on her preference not to fly to D.C. even though she does fly sometimes?
The money bit was probably put in her list by the GOP to see if they could label Dr. Ford as a political operative, a fair attack that failed.

The Committee

Pretty much a bunch of political grandstanding by both parties as expected. Special mentions...
  • Senator Harris Solid questioning, one of the more professional members today.
  • Senator Klobachar: Wow!!! Kavanough got personal there. One of his worst moments, challenging her if she got drunk.
  • Senator Durbin Probably the best questioning on why Kavanough didn't want an investigation.
  • Senator Graham Rich with hypocrisy and hyperbole.
  • Senator Grassley: Really needs to go, embarrassed everyone today.
  • Overall Members: Pretty much a lot of partisanship on both sides, little effort to reach the truth. Most of their energy was focused on attacking or defending political turf.


Came across as smug, rude and ill tempered. Most people who spoke that way to a committee would be hit with contempt of congress. Like his earlier interviews he was evasive way too much for me to believe his overall honesty. Basically he talks like a politician, I felt even his crying was faked.
Republicans obviously want a conservative judge who is going to overturn Roe vs. Wade and restrict workers rights in favor of corporations. I dont like it but elections have consequences so fair is fair. Even though the GOP has proven they dont extend the same courtesy.
However the GOP can and should do better. Find someone with more maturity, self control, and who will be honest.

Dr. Blasey Ford

She came across as very credible, even FOX was saying so.
She was mature, respectful and so obviously not a prepared political operative. Her memory falures were reasonable, if unhelpful. I had wondered why she did not remember the party address and other exact details but she made it make sense.
I mean really do you recall the address of every party you ever attended? Maybe a regular place but this was a last minute, hey want to come to a party tonight?  Also trauma can explain a lot.
I am betting some on the Right will attack her memory lapses and not knowing dates, but perhaps because I can relate to a poor memory for such things myself it helped her case for me.  Much better than one who can recite chapter and verse and rattle off a bunch of names and dates, except when its not convenient.

Who was More Credible?

In my view, she was and significantly so.
  • She asked for an FBI investigation, he doesnt want one. An innocent man would ask for one and maybe force the Senate and Presidents Trumps hand by saying he wants a clear name so would withdraw if they did not give him one.
  • Her lawyers stopped her from speaking several times, that struck me as her being both confused by some questioning and wanting to be painfully open and honest. However, he did a lot of filibustering and bragging or otherwise proclaiming how great a guy he is.  Came off like a used car salesman or seedy politician.
  • She came across as honest and trying to help, he came across as evasive.
  • I find the Renate Alumnus thing as being very un-credible, A bunch of jocks all declare that statement as a recognition they respected her? Seriously who believes that?
  • The never drunk to blackout, but fell asleep line, Devils Triangle was just a drinking game like quarters, and the conspiracy rants all tell me he is a liar.
  • He blamed his roommates comments about his drinking habits on a dispute between that one another roommate. Wierd


I believe her but she did not prove her case. Had the Senate allowed her to provide her evidence and subpoena Mark Judge the outcome might have been different. But this was not an attempt to find the truth, it was a political maneuver so the GOP can say they let her speak, now lets get on with the confirmation.
I think he should not be confirmed based on his behavior. What we saw today was no proof of illegality but it reflects very poorly as a job interview for one of the most important careers in the United States of America. I would not hire him to work for me at a call center, I would be worried about his behavior on the job.
In my opinion no reasonable person, regardless of their political views would vote for him except as a vote for party over country.
Anyone who does vote for him should be recorded in your notes and voted out of office at the next opportunity. And he should be investigated and likely impeached.
Those opposed to him should make that clear to their Senators, the GOP wants a long lasting conservative on the court. Tell them to find someone likely to be their longer and without a cloud over their heads.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Ford vs, Kavanaugh

Republican stance (Specifically, Senators Hatch, Grassley, and Cornyn)

We do not believe you but come testify in front of us so we can grill and try to humiliate you on national TV. Oh, and no witnesses (including the other guy in the room) and no investigation ahead of time. So it will be just you vs. Kavanaugh.

  • The GOP is already playing the blame the victim card here. From its a shame and unfair to Brett Kavanaugh to calling her a mixed up woman 
  • The GOP is still in rush this through mode and demanded she show up on Monday. The committee refused to consider that some people have jobs, family, and other obligations and made their timetable and convenience the priority.
  • IF the GOP wanted the truth above all they would ask for an FBI investigation instead of doing it with Grassleys staff, at least one of whom is a personal friend and professional associate of Kavanaugh.
  • GOP seem to be out of touch and stuck in the 50s as regards women's issues, including that a lot of women are afraid to come forward after an attack. Largely in part to harassment and slander like Trump and the GOP have started doing in this case. The GOP is truly the Grand Old Patriarchy!
  • Other defenses range from it was a long time ago, Its not fair to destroy someones future because of things they did in the past, to Boys will be boys, no big deal/

Democrat Stance

  • The Democrats are definitely hoping this scuttles the confirmation, but that does not mean Fords accusations are true or untrue,
  • No woman should trust Feinstein or the Democrats to keep their info confidential, this is a repeat of the Anita Hill situation.

Who is Telling the Truth?

  • Kavanaugh, I never did this. Hard to prove or disprove
  • Kavanaugh, I was never at a party. One could expect him to deny being t that party which would require finding witnesses to prove or disprove, but since her note did not specify the date and him claiming one would have tipped his hand he went all in and said he was never at any party at all. That is easy enough for the FBI to prove one way or the other.
  • Ford is not in politics and has nothing to gain here but a lot to lose. Death threats and harassment have already begun. Women know that if they come forward with sexual assault, rapeor domestic abuse charges they will rarely see justice done and suffer personally and often professionally for bring charges, even if those are in fact proven true. The Patriarchal nature of our society strongly discourages going up against white men, especially rich ones. 
  • The GOP had a letter signed by women from that time period ready to go within 24 hours. Imagine finding 65 women from your high school days, especially since you attended an all boys school and getting them to sign a note with 24 hours. Its clear the GOP had this prepared ahead of time. Not conclusive, they could have been prepping for a woman backlash because of his stance on abortion and other women's issues, but why did they happen to focus on that time period?
  • The FBI normally investigates these things and has done so before with many Judaical appointments when new things come up. This is in fact pretty standard for even basic security clearances. So why do the GOP and Brett Kavanaugh not want one but Ford does? This would only take a few days to at least confirm or deny major parts of each persons story.
  • Also to consider, if you were accused of something like this and were innocent wouldn't you demand an investigation to clear your name? Is he afraid of them proving the truth, or just finding other unsavory activities of that time period?
  • Why did Ford put Kavanaugh's friend Judge in the same room if shes lying? She knows he would deny it, if only to protect himself and not just his friend. Odd choice if shes lying. Also noteworthy that Judge refuses to testify under oath unless forced to.
  • Kavanaugh has credibility issues based on his under oath testimonies. Watch his answers during the confirmation hearings and according to his government emails he lied to congress in denying any knowledge of getting Democratic


The Supreme Court is one of the most powerful institutions in America and it is a lifetime appointment. We do not know for sure one way or the other what really happened here but the above would disqualify most people from most corporate jobs. I think the GOP owes it to America to find another nominee. It wont even be hard, they already have a list of other conservative judges vetted by groups that oppose Roe vs. Wade, Privacy Rights, and corporate agendas over employee rights.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Mapping Utilities For Your Gaming Pleasure

Creating maps can take a lot of time, especially digital maps.
So lets discuss some options.

Shadekeep Mapping Tool

This newcomer is what inspired this blog entry. The Fantasy Trip just finished a great kickstarter and among the many discussions it inspired one guy who created this handy utility.
Its a free online clean and simple tool for making hex maps. Start with a blank hexmap, name it and set your size and zoom then pick a palette and start filling in the hexes.
You can save your own copy as a text or PNG file. For a quick dungeon crawl or building layout its great. Even do some outdoor battle maps.
The components tray lets you fill in part of a hex so you can have straight walls,or any non hex shaped boundary, including corridors using the Channel and Junction components.
This is a great tool! I give it an A+


This creates pretty overland maps but is not very intuitive.  Worth a look for a fancy or artistic map like you might find inside a fantasy novel. It is free and lets you save your maps.


Fairly inexpensive this is an updated version of Hexographer and will eventually include Citygrapher and possibly Dungeonographer. Reasonably priced but can get expensive with all the addon sets for different icons. Some of it is pretty intuitive but a lot will require practice or actually reading the manual. Large maps can be hard on your computer but smaller ones load quickly.  It has two options to create a map. Paint using icons as brushes which is pretty easy and fast or randomly generated maps which you can then alter with the paint tool. He does have some Youtube videos to teach or demo it. You can imbed notes to locations and it has built in logic for populating cities and nations.
I prefer this one for most of my maps, especially ones I plan on reusing.

Hex Kit

Another paint brush style mapper rather than a CAD type tool.  It is less sophisticated than Worldographer in that it has no data sets or population mechanics. It is just a drawing tool,but one with a lot of icons.

Campaign Cartographer

This set has been around awhile and creates some very good maps.  It has a lot of nifty and powerful features but many find it very unintuitive to use so it has a steep learning curve. It has a world, city and dungeon version
My copy pretty much sits around unused,however other who invest the time find it a great tool.


Each of these tools have their own niche, with Worldographer and Campaign Cartographer being more direct competitors. 
  • Shadekeep is great for fast simple maps
  • InKarnate for your artistic overland maps.
  • Worldographer and Campaign Cartographer for more sophisticated and extensive mapping. The choice between them is based on budget and time investment.