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