Thursday, June 21, 2018

Review: Pyramid #3/115 - Technomancer

Last month's pyramid.
So, it's been out a whole entire month. I've liked this issue so much, that I went and got the two other Technomancer books in the sale on warehouse 23 that's ending soon. I need to write something, and I don't have a lot of time, and I'm not feeling well, so hey, a review of something I really really liked for the first time in a while. To summarize the theme of this issue, it is updating the GURPS 3e setting of Technomancer to 4e. The articles have a bunch of different ways to integrate it with existing material. Even though the issue is focused on Technomancer, it is interesting in that a lot of the content is setting agnostic, and useful without that book. Feel free to keep reading and I might explain why.

Technomancer Needs Hunters!

This is a seven page article by Kelly Pederson on integrating the Monster Hunter background and Technomancer. For the most part, this is pretty straightforward, but as Monster Hunter is somewhat coupled to the Ritual Path Magic system, and Technomancer is somewhat coupled to the default GURPS magic system, it has a few adapters to get magic using champions on that page. A few updated stats to thematic 3e equipment, and a few extra small motivation templates, and two monsters round out the article. Peppered throughout are helpful hints for reconciling the peculiarities of the two lines.
I like the idea a bit, and it was a fun article, but I have a few "eeeehs" about the default magic system. I think maybe if I were to try this, I'd rather say for the sake of my comfort that maybe NPCs function according to the basic magic system (that way, all the assumptions about magical industry and what not aren't shaken) but that players would use Sorcery. Maybe I should just try it out with the regular magic system first and see how it goes!

El Paso Vice

This eight page article by Paul Stefko, is similar to the previous, but adapts the Action line to Technomancer instead. This is a bit of a bigger adaptation than the Monster Hunter article though because Action, by default, doesn't have supernatural abilities. To make it work, it starts by recommending you allow a slightly bigger point budget for each character, and then adapts most (if not all?) of the Action occupational templates by adding a few appropriate spells. Stats for a handful of new spells, abilities, and a Tactical Flying Carpet vehicle are included. The article gives an explanation of an adventuring premise: you are a bunch of cops in El Paso, Texas, on the border of Mexico, where a bunch of cooky supernatural crimes and complicated political fiascos occur on the regular. The article ends with a magic style using the concept from Thaumatology - Magical Styles describing spells and abilities legendary magic cops might find useful in the day to day.
A very enticing setting, and a lot of neat extras even if you don't like it. I like that it rightly mentions the especially useful article, More Skill Sets for Specialists in Pyramid #3/112, which enables supernatural abilities for characters built by the methods in Action 4.

Eidetic Memory - Merlin Declassified

The monthly feature, 10 pages, by David L. Pulver, is a kind of a bridge of the tech breakthroughs that have occurred since where the original Technomancer left off in the 90s. Merlin, fyi, is the Infinite Worlds term for the Technomancer reality. So about two decades in 10 pages. Pretty tricky. The article starts with some newly discovered spells, useful for anyone using the default magic system, (and they helpfully come with enchantment stats as well.) There's a small section on "e-magic companies" which while slightly amusing, feels more like a bunch of corny web 2.0 jokes (where does the wizard buy scrolls online? Where did the witch meet her lover? etc. etc.) A few good entries are at the end of the list and might actually have gamable implications. The article ends with several historical anecdotes, which don't actually seem to do much for the earlier mentioned two decade gap. Nonetheless, they are all entertaining reads with a lot of gamable content or springboards for adventure planning.
The article feels a bit scattered, but I guess covering a bunch of odds and ends of two decades in 10 pages will give you those kinds of results.

Revised Templates, Come Forth

An encore by Kelly Pedersen and David L. Pulver, 5 pages of 20 racial templates (or meta-traits) from Technomancer. For the technomancer fans, this article covers most of the important races (except dragons? Any others?) for anyone else, this gives some good supernatural contemporary race templates that aren't sky high powerful like those in the Monster Hunter series. Pretty useful article, but not interesting to review in detail. One interesting thing that appears right at the beginning of the article is a retractable enhancement for binding. I hope I don't lose that, because I'll probably need it in the future.

Random Thought Table - Questions and Technomancers

Three page long monthly feature by Steven Marsh. It's a kinda editorial exploration of the idea of settings that are the same, but different, like Technomancer. Why is this good, why is this compelling, how can it be useful, how can GMs use that to their advantage? And so forth. I mostly like these articles, and this month's was no exception.

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