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Sphinx Lock: A Combination Gadget for GURPS Cyberpunk/Ultra-Tech

Sphinx Lock (TL 9): This device fits onto a normal suitcase or trunk and seals it with a biometric scanlock. While the subject is being scanned, a non-volitional AI (IQ 6, running on a fast small computer) engages him in simplistic conversation. The childish question-and-answer may confuse an intruder, but an authorized user will know that the AI is simply fishing for pass-phrases. Anyone not delivering the proper pass-phrase in the 10 seconds needed to complete the scan fails the test, and the unit locks down completely. The lock can be programmed to accept multiple authorized users, each with one or more unique pass-phrases. $3,800, 1.32 lbs., C/4 days. LC4.

Some models deliver a high-voltage shock similar to a zap glove (p. 165) if the subject "fails. " $4,120,  2.12 lbs. C/4 days and B/10 "zaps." LC3. Other models include a built-in pneumohypo (p. 199) and 10 doses of morphazine (p. 205).  $3,916, 1.4 lbs., C/4 days. LC3.

(Page references are to GURPS Ultra-Tech
Recent posts

Noir World Launches on Kickstarter

Game designer and editor extraordinaire John Adamus has been working on Noir World, a film noir RPG powered by the Apocalypse, for a few years now, a real labor of love. I had the pleasure of testing an earlier version of it a few Metatopias ago, and I had quite a bit of fun. I know he's done a lot of work on it since then, and this morning he pulled the trigger on the Kickstarter. I don't have a lot more to say about it that hasn't been said on the Kickstarter page and in the podcast interviews and actual plays that will be coming out during the campaign. Check out Noir World, which as of this writing is already funded. And watch the video—it's pretty slick!

Slime: A New Race for GURPS Dungeon Fantasy

Slime0 pointsChoice Professions: Bard, Druid, Wizard.
Marginal Professions: Barbarian, Holy Warrior, Knight, Martial Artist, Swashbuckler.

A slime is an animate blob about 1 yard across with large, round eyes and a wide grin. Slimes typically move by bouncing, but occasionally they are known to roll. They have no limbs, being a blob, and therefor cannot use much in the way of equipment. (It might be possible for a slime to swallow rings, amulets and things and utilize them from within their body.)

Attributes: ST -1 [-10].
Advantages: Appearance (Attractive; Universal, +25%) [5]; Injury Tolerance (Homogenous, No Blood, No Head) [47]; Pitiable [5]; Telecommunication (Telesend; Racial, -20%) [24].
Disadvantages: Cannot Speak [-15]; Curious (12) [-5]; No Legs (Bounces) [0]; No Manipulators [-50].
Quirks: Loves new food [-1].


Adapting GURPS Dungeon Fantasy to Karthun

If I were going to run a GURPS Dungeon Fantasy campaign in the world of Karthun, I would replace the traditional GURPS magic system with the rules in Divine Favor and Thaumatology: Sorcery. These changes require a few adjustments to some of the templates in DF1.

Bards cannot use spells (remove options for spells from the template). Bardic Talent does not add to Communication and Empathy spells or Mind Control spells and therefore only costs 5 points/level. Spend the 6 points this frees up in the template on either Bard-Song abilities or special skills.

Clerics and Holy Warriors should use the Saint and Warrior-Saint lenses from Pyramid #3/36, pp. 8-9.

Druids do not use spells. Replace Power Investiture (Druidic) 3 with Druidic Talent 3 (p. 22 of Dungeon Fantasy 1). Spend the 15 points this frees up plus the 20 points allocated to spells on more Druidic abilities.

Wizards must take the Magebound lens below, using the 30 advantage points in the template.

Magebound 30 pointsAttributes: I…

On Designer Notes

I love designer’s notes. As sidebars, articles, blog posts, or podcast segments, I love when other designers talk about their games, their decisions, and why a system went one way instead of another.

Designer’s notes serve a few purposes. They can expand on the design by offering additional material or alternate systems that were cut from the finished product for some reason. They provide insight into the designer’s process. And finally, they are historical documents that record a particular moment in the evolution of game design.

In the designer’s notes for GURPS Powers, Sean Punch provides outtakes and optional rules that didn’t make it into the final book. A number of these were options suggested during the book’s extensive playtest process. Others, such as the system for pricing power talents, were legitimate outtakes cut from the manuscript. For over a decade, Steve Jackson Games released designer’s notes for nearly every GURPS release in their magazine, Pyramid.

In October 2007,…

Let's Read Vampire: The Masquerade, 1st Edition, Part Five

Chapter Eight: Chronicle We've reached the first Storyteller chapter, and it may be the best of the lot. This chapter contains the beating heart—pardon the expression—of VTM, one bit that sums up what makes this game different from the editions that descend from it.

"The characters in Vampire are expected to be heroes—they must care about what they have become and about what they may soon be. … [F]or the Vampire character to find some way to "win," they must somehow become heroic. They must defeat the monster within by exerting self-restraint, nurturing the impulses of human virtue, and displaying genuine courage. Sometimes the tragedy of Final Death is the Vampire's only hope of heroic escape."

This blew me away when I first read it. All of my previous experience with Vampire had been about duplicity, backstabbing, and generally reveling in being monsters. Here this book was saying, "Grow up. Be better than that." When did that sentiment die, an…

Let's Read Vampire: The Masquerade, 1st Edition, Part Four

Chapter Six: Drama This chapter expands on the very simplified rules we saw a few chapters earlier. Right away, it talks about breaking your game down into scenes, advice which shows up in just about every game these days. An interesting thing VTM does is suggest running action scenes—even ones without combat—in a structured way with each character taking turns resolving their actions.

This is followed by systems for various common actions—physical and social. Combat is just stuck in the middle of the section on physical actions. Combat is … different. There's no initiative system; actions are described and resolved in whatever order you like. In hand-to-hand combat, it's assumed that attackers pair off. If you are punching someone, it's assumed that they are punching or biting you back. And whoever wins the opposed roll does damage to the other. In a firefight, you just roll to shoot whoever you'd like. Damage and "soak" rolls work like in later Storyteller…