Thursday, December 29, 2016

Review: Pyramid 3/95 Overland Adventures

I picked this issue up during the big GURPS sale over on Warehouse 23.

Pyramid 3/95 Overland Adventures
by Steve Jackson Games
$7.99 in PDF

The Emerald Hell
by Timothy Ponce

This is a very detailed look at adventuring in jungles - especially tropical rainforests - in GURPS. It has a lot of two things needed to really make an adventure in jungle terrain pop - realistic detail and specific rules. By realistic detail, I mean saying a jungle is "an ecosystem with average monthly temperatures exceeding 64°F year round and average annual rainfalls of at least 66”, no single month of which averages less than 1/25 of total annual rainfall." Precise information you can use. Not, "hot, wet, rainy" but specifics you can use. The rules are pulled out of the exiting rules and collected into one place for you - the effects on overland travel (on foot, on water vehicle, ground vehicle), the climbing rules, bad footing and terrain adaptation, and so on. It's very complete, and with a quick read through you'll be ready to set up a jungle adventure. I'd like to see more of these - swampland, mountains, desert. The rules exist and the data is out on the internet, but having it all together in a few pages is what gaming material is for. it even has a random weather table that would have been handy when I was running the Lost City!

Low-Tech Transportation
by Christopher Rice

The best way I can describe this is - Chris runs all of the numbers for you on transport. Bearers carrying your stuff? Using wagons over rough terrain? Going by ship? Want to figure out the cost per mile or per trip? This is the article for you. It will require some math, but if you're playing the kind of game where trade occurs or trekking across country with goods for sale (or recovered treasure), this will be very useful. It seems like it would be more useful with prep than on the fly, though, which isn't a criticism - just an observation. Good stuff, and it's nice to have someone remember that horse furniture has weight, porters have to eat, and that cost of transport affects prices on the far end and account for that.

Eidetic Memory: Monster Caravan
by David Pulver

This is a fully statted caravan run by monsters. Specifically by Ghorak One-Fang the orc. It's all ready for a hostile encounter with PCs, down to the contents of the wagons with weights and costs. The power level is probably good for a very small DF group (so the orcs have numbers to threaten the PCs) or for a more normal-sized 100-150 point group . . . especially one looking to pull a fast raid or a caper on the fly instead of brawl out a victory. Good and useful, I'll probably grab it when I need an encounter on the fly.

The Village Green
by Jon Black

Using a TL3 English Village as a base, this is a "what's in the village?" article. It discusses the depth of attachment to the outside world, defensiveness or lack thereof, the people of the village, specifics of particular buildings you'd find, etc. It's well written but since I rarely use villages I just couldn't get much from this one. I go right for cities. But this has enough tools to help you put together a village with some verisimilitude, even when you change "English peasants" to "elven woodfolk."

Random Though Table: Keeping Reins on the Wilds

If I'd read this before I wrote my GM advice article, I'd have pointed to it. Basically, how to bound a sandbox and ensure the players stay in it and want to? Steven goes over that in detail with excellent examples and hints. I use a lot of these techniques and I highly recommend it. Bonus points for using B2 and X1 as his examples. And yes, X1 is a vastly better bounded sandbox. Are you surprised?

Overall: Good issue. It would be worth it to me for the jungle and overland travel articles alone - the monster caravan, village, and bounded sandbox articles are just icing on the cake. They are all well done. I will use things from this issue and it will improve my gaming (or at least, speed my prep!)


  1. Since treasure/risk/reward has been a big topic as of late, what do you think on the risks/loots ofthe Monster Caravan?

  2. Looks like my kind of jam - will have to get a copy. Thanks!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...