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Stock #37-2614

Bob Stevlic
Greg Hyland

FROM THE EDITOR . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
HARDCORE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4

by Stephen Dedman
SCHOOLS OF MARTIAL ARTS . . . . . . . . 13

by Alan Leddon

FLIGHT . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
by Kelly Pedersen
The righteous battle never ends – certainly not with this, the
Martial Arts issue of Pyramid. With two new adventures, eight
INSTANT TOURNAMENT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 new styles for GURPS Martial Arts, and other dojo-powered
delights, this issue is sure to have something to add punch to
THE GROOM OF your two-fisted campaigns.
THE SPIDER PRINCESS . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Heroes need to get Hardcore in a modern-day adventure
by J. Edward Tremlett centered on illegal (and immoral) underground fighting. Do
the PCs have the guts and skill to break up this operation?
RANDOM THOUGHT TABLE: NO BLOOD, What started as a school of martial arts run by three broth-
NO GUTS, NO PROBLEM! . . . . . . . . . . 35 ers has splintered into three different schools – each with its
by Steven Marsh, Pyramid Editor own focus. Sadly, although the schools teach effective skills,
they do not teach particularly honorable ones . . . Learn the
ODDS AND ENDS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 secrets of this family business, plus three GURPS Martial Arts
styles, in The Three Brothers School of Martial Arts.
APPENDIX Z: Many martial-arts students have been criticized for having
THE CRUMBLING GROUND . . . . . . . . . 38 their heads in the clouds, but Fight While in Flight shows the
other side of this admonition. These five GURPS Martial Arts
ABOUT GURPS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 styles are designed for fighters looking to make best use of
their ability to fly, jump, or aerially maneuver.
The Groom of the Spider Princess mixes wuxia with
Lovecraftian horror, in an epic tale that combines the grandeur
of exploring a strange land with the horror of a seemingly
Victory is always possible for the impossible dilemma. Arachnophobes should most definitely
not read this generic adventure.
person who refuses to stop fighting. Sure, martial artists have the power to cripple, maim, and
– Napoleon Hill kill at their fingertips, but what challenge arises when a cam-
paign explores a nonviolent ethos? This question is answered
– somewhat whimsically – by Pyramid editor Steven Marsh, in
this month’s Random Thought Table.
Have you ever needed to come up with the conditions of an
interesting martial-arts event on the spot? Then just draw a
Article Colors couple of cards from those presented in Instant Tournaments,
and you’ve got yourself a ready-to-go conflict.
Each article is color-coded to help you find your
Alternatively, you might consider looking at the fight com-
favorite sections.
plication presented in The Crumbling Ground, which helps
Pale Blue: In This Issue codify a classic element of martial-arts movies and anime.
Brown: In Every Issue (letters, humor, editorial, etc.) As usual, Odds and Ends offers an assortment of goodies,
including Murphy’s Rules, a few more nonlethal challenges,
Dark Blue: GURPS Features and a campaign focus where you always know where your next
Purple: Other Features challenge is – and he knows where you are, too.
Rapid-fire entertainment awaits inside!

Editor-in-Chief ❚ STEVE JACKSON Editorial Assistance ❚ JASON “PK” LEVINE Page Design ❚ PHIL REED and
Chief Operating Officer ❚ PHILIP REED Production Artist ❚ NIKOLA VRTIS JUSTIN DE WITT
Art Director ❚ WILL SCHOONOVER Prepress Checker ❚ WILL SCHOONOVER Marketing Director ❚ PAUL CHAPMAN
e23 Manager ❚ STEVEN MARSH Director of Sales ❚ ROSS JEPSON


HE’S MAKING A FIST, AND Researching? Exploring strange realms? But if you say, “I’m run-
ning a game that centers on martial artists,” that has a specific
CHECKING IT TWICE . . . meaning: Your heroes are going to be butt-kicking fighters, and
– no matter how philosophical they may be otherwise – adven-
I discovered something while putting this issue together: tures are almost certainly going to culminate in the heroes kick-
Martial arts isn’t like magic. That is to say, from a gaming ing butts or getting their butts kicked. Perhaps both.
standpoint, you can’t just say, “I’m running a magic game,” and Hopefully this diversity in what a “martial arts” adventure
have that mean anything; it needs to be appended to something entails comes through in this issue. We’ve got a modern-day
else, like, “I’m running a medieval magical game” or “This is an martial-arts adventure, a wuxia adventure set in a mythical
cyberpunk game where magic is real, too.” China, an article about introducing martial arts to aerial
Martial arts can work the artists, and another article containing martial-arts styles
same way as magic; you can that could be used in practically any era. About the only
have a “cyberpunk game with thing we don’t have is sci-fi-related martial arts – but
martial arts,” or a “medieval long-time readers know we’ve touched on that in the
game with martial arts.” But past (that’d be Fight the Future, from Pyramid #3/9:
“martial arts” is enough of a Space Opera).
genre unto itself that you can Hopefully the diversity of the martial-arts offerings in
say, “I want to run a martial- this issue will get your chi flowing sufficiently. We think
arts campaign,” and receive it’s a well-balanced issue – because balance is so impor-
more than confused stares tant to martial artists, in more ways than one.
from gamers, even if the
specifics of what a martial
arts campaign entails are
open to interpretation.
Have you got something to say to us? Yeah, we’re talk-
Saying, “I’m running a ing to you! . . . Oh, right. Conversations in a magazine are
game that centers on magi- one-directional. Anyway, let us know how we did! Send
cians” doesn’t have any focus. letters and comments to, or post
Are the magicians going out online on our forums at
and attacking monsters?

. . . what I’ve read rocks. My subscription ends with this issue
[#3/12], but I’ll certainly resubscribe.
– Antoni Ten, on the Steve Jackson Games forums

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This adventure is designed for Heroic-level GURPS Martial The police respond the next day, saying that while Turner’s
Arts characters (100-200 points) in a modern-day generic injuries are consistent with garbage wrestling, there’s no proof
medium-sized city, but it easily can be adapted to other set- that organized matches are happening in the city. Off the
tings. The GM will need GURPS Martial Arts; GURPS High- record, however, cops will tell anyone with police Contacts that
Tech will also be useful. they’re looking for proof, and would be delighted if someone
could tell them where the bouts are being held.

PART ONE: FOR WHOM The Scanty Information
THE BELL TOLLS Cop PCs will have access to the following information; PCs
The action begins once one or more of the heroes learn of the with police Contacts will be able to get some or all of it, depend-
death of Joe “Tank” Turner. Turner was discovered in an alley ing on the questions they ask (see Contacts, p. B44). Street
behind a noodle bar where he often went Dumpster diving. His Contacts will also be able to provide some of this information,
body shows signs of an assault, and an autopsy reveals he died at -2 to effective skill. Finally, the heroes might attempt to visit
of a stroke caused by a blow to the head. His body is also badly neighborhoods to locate and question participants directly.
bruised and lacerated, and some of the cuts contain fragments The few derelicts who claim to have fought in these
of glass – some from bottles, some from fluorescent tubes. matches say only that they were offered a chance to score some
In his younger days, Sergeant Turner was a moderately drugs or money; if they accepted, they were driven to an
promising light heavyweight and an instructor in hand-to- unknown location in the back of a van with no rear windows,
hand combat for the Army – until his wife was killed in a car with no idea where they were being taken. Their descriptions
crash while he was driving. Though the other driver had gone of the places and people they saw suggest that the venue
through a red light, the courts made much of the fact that changes frequently, though a few details remain consistent.
Turner’s blood-alcohol level was over the legal limit, and The recruiters always turn up after sunset, without warn-
Turner was jailed. After being released, Turner soon began ing, in places where the homeless gather; anyone who wants to
drinking even more heavily: At the time of his death, he was fight has to go with them immediately. There are always at
homeless, eating what he could scavenge and spending any least two recruiters: one woman (who does all the talking), plus
money he found on booze. He was identified first by his dog one or more very large men. Would-be fighters are sized up,
tags, then by his fingerprints. and up to eight are taken. They’ll take women, usually young
runaways, but only if they’re of average or better appearance.
Investigation shows that the fights are sometimes held in a
Enter the Dragons gymnasium, sometimes in a hall, sometimes in a warehouse.
How the PCs learn of Turner’s death depends on their jobs. An audience of 10 to 30 sit on bleachers or other improvised
Beat cops might have been summoned to collect his body. seating; all wear ski masks. Video cameras are trained on the
Detectives could be called to investigate his death. Those with ring. Fighters waiting their turn are kept in a razor-wire enclo-
a military background may have been trained by him or sure; those who cause trouble in there may be restrained with
sparred with him, as might boxers who are old enough. Since handcuffs or straitjackets before being thrown in with a tough
his usual haunts were close to a dojo and a gym, almost all of opponent. For details of the fights, see Part Three: Fight Night
the heroes could have seen him at least once, even if they had- (pp. 6-8).
n’t known his name or background. The final bout of the night is a strip match between a mem-
As it’s a slow news day, Turner’s death is covered by a jour- ber of the audience and a woman – the female recruiter (this is
nalist who prints pictures of him as a boxer and a soldier, as Contessa, although no one interviewed knows this). The man
well as a photo of his face taken at the morgue. The story goes wins if he can strip off her T-shirt and bra; the woman wins if
on to say that his injuries suggest that there may be truth to the the man surrenders, is knocked out, or is thrown from the ring.
rumors of a group recruiting patients from mental institutions None of the fighters the police have interviewed have ever seen
and homeless men for illegal and sometimes lethal “garbage the female recruiter lose one of these bouts.
wrestling” matches.

This adventure would work well in a slightly post-apocalyptic setting. See Deathball from Pyramid #3/3: Venturing
Into the Badlands: Post-Apocalypse for other ideas of how to incorporate blood sports into a setting.


he warn him that he should either throw his next fight or prepare will get the call to an event in 1d+1 days. the last of which is the strip match Raising the Stakes against the female MC. Cruising for a Bruising Becoming part of the audience requires finding someone who’s been to an event and is willing to act as a sponsor. After that. be a night of “anything goes” with Contessa – though Rank has Rod Murse. will be randomly The organizers will accept any audience member with a stopping people they suspect of being martial artists and known sponsor. see pp.000.000. While Rank doesn’t be useful. becoming a contender ticket-holder in the audience. a criminal lawyer. The rest of his story. For a supernatural combat challenge. If they don’t show up. telling them to meet at a particular sent an alliance of small (but legal) businesses who are willing bar that night. phones. The recruiters do only has a gambling problem.g. Tank Turner’s death and the publicity it attracts will moti. they are however. as an incorrupt- Finally. one of the (male) recruiters will arrive ized by an out-of-town gambling syndicate trying to raise the between 8:00 and 9:00 p. nor has he ever seen another woman and explains that Turner’s death has caused the police to fight there. go to Raising the Stakes (below). If a PC can pass muster and pays the $10. This is the only bout in which audience members fight (the privilege is Three days after the story of Turner’s death is published. meaning that investigators trying to his fiancée. are briefly shown on a password-protected website. they’re sent the URL and to pay to have the garbage-wrestling club closed down. but is suspected of cheating on a sweep every 1d+7 days. . not returned until the spectators are taken back to the bar after If the martial artists who Murse approaches don’t accept his the event. and any weapons are confiscated. Soldiers and ex-soldiers trained by Turner will also and a $6. are $1. and without a Reputation (e. This calls for either Savoir-Faire and the ability to move in high- The New Contender Status circles. or as a fighter picked off the street. one of ible crimefighter. offer ($1. Membership in the club costs $10. Audience members provide their own ski masks. approaches less law-abiding PCs never seen Contessa lose. several days. . consider a martial-artist enemy who’s also invisible. This vate the police to try an undercover operation to find the pays for the background check. if more (or different) motivation is needed. having one who doesn’t have one is denied entry into the vehicle. Streetwise and Fast-Talk may also sponsor them may be more difficult.. collecting protection money from the to be frisked before being permitted into the car. only vague descriptions of the recruiters. paid-up member of the club – is up to them. Heroes who endure the homeless life should roll 3d on the he can provide the following information as well as many of following encounter list at least once every day and night – or the details of the matches. a legal identity (see p. is cheap but harrowing. bids starting at $1. George Price). Scrounging.000). The prize is supposed to city’s major criminal organizations also begin an investigation. as well as a daily roll on Urban Survival. cameras. B26-28) that would make Contessa the recruiters might phone a PC pro or semi-pro contender and suspicious. or Contacts who can provide fresh gossip. at least as far as he knows. they will soon which they don as soon as they take their seats in the limo. Mobile businesses he claims to be representing. pass as homeless will actually have to live like derelicts for denly came up” but not explaining further. having stood her up twice because “something sud. ringside seats want to avenge him by breaking the recruitment ring. Compared to becoming part of the audience. Members who can’t attend a fight on a If the heroes need another motive to try to find the gang and particular night have the option of watching the videos. for a career in wheelchair fencing . It’ll take cleverness to win! PYRAMID MAGAZINE 5 DECEMBER 2009 . and can only name robbed and/or assaulted. adds that there’s a widespread belief that the fights are organ- If they do attend. If suc. Every night has three to six fights.” money needed to fix all the martial-arts contests in the state. the PCs learn that real-estate heir Richard Rank not picked off the street is cheap but harrowing. better income. getting cessful. known only as Contessa. seats at the next three events. one other ticket-holder (his own sponsor. any- find themselves victims of police harassment: The cops. cash up front. PART TWO: Joining the audience is WAYS AND MEANS There are two ways to infiltrate the fight clubs: as a paying expensive.000 per event. Murse password of the website via text message on the next morning. Transportation to the venue is in a stretch limo with opaque Streetwise characters will know that Murse is primarily a windows.000 per PC in the party) immediately. up to every hour if they actively seek out encounters. which close it down. Those who sleep on the streets also risk being know the identity of any of the recruiters.000 betting tab ($500 ante). increase their patrols and make more arrests in the hope of Ticket-holders receive a phone call or cell-phone text mes- finding someone who’s willing to talk. and ask for “the Donner party. Getting him to Panhandling. club members have to show ID and allow themselves bagman for the mob. Murse claims to repre- sage the morning of a fight.m. This will require successful rolls on Disguise How the investigators get information out of Rank – a and Acting skills. the auctioned off. recruiters. is essentially true. B39) with a Wealthy or searching them for concealed weapons.

The bags are fighter may knock the weapon out of reach. (GURPS High-Tech. ted down. damage. 226). east. his watch while living on the street – recruiters search both the If a combat lasts two rounds with neither fighter being competitors and the spectators before letting them into the removed from the ring. which means getting past the recruiters. p. at The first two rounds of every fight (except the strip match) the right time. on a side and three feet high. In theory. 134). he can try to get in before the end of the round. 25). but a recruiter will accompany the fighter and watch 10-12 – Homeless people with no useful information about the carefully as he takes anything from the bags. come to their rescue in 2d+2 minutes. p. is over. a bokken (Martial Arts. Getting out of the range of the jammers will p. men wear only The recruitment process for the fight club is a simple reac- boxer shorts (see Calling for Help. p. -2 to skill. of the ring and not return: Anyone leaving voluntarily will be grabbed by the recruiters and either thrown back in or beaten Calling for Help unconscious before being hauled back to the van. fight clubs. the ring is well illu- of being attacked is that a homeless person with a reputation minated (no penalty). Smashing any harmless. a nunchaku. with +1 for every day or night spent living on the streets strong adhesive and encrusted with broken glass (treat as a and +5 for information from a fight-club survivor. 204). 229). fight each other will be removed from the ring and beaten Unfortunately – assuming that the PC has managed to keep unconscious by the recruiters. and west sides 15 – Exposed to disease: 24-hour delay. Spectators get a pat-down (p. Men are given a pair of boxer shorts to wear and a High-Tech. roll 1d: 1-3 – swarm of rats. the eight the homeless. 13 – Bad weather: -2 to Urban Survival roll for that day (the PART THREE: FIGHT NIGHT Temperature Tolerance advantage can help). If a fighter lands 17-18 – Fight-club survivor. the allowed to change in the van before the men do. This team will though if neither fighter has drawn blood in that time. one for each side of the octagon: clockwise from the their transport. be given a wristwatch with a built-in personal cellular beacon Martial Arts. PYRAMID MAGAZINE 6 DECEMBER 2009 . a bra. requires a roll on Streetwise or Urban Survival are fought with combatants wearing hand wraps spread with at -10. Falling or being thrown onto either the razorwire or dog or cat. nine foot 14 – Cops: make a reaction roll. p. all encounters are the clips turns damage from crushing to cutting. roll). A failed DX roll when leaning over the razor- are given briefs. post-apocalyptic gaming has a lot in common with martial arts. Apart from this. With wandering heroes. Martial Arts. 1 point of toxic are composed of razorwire (GURPS High-Tech. There are 4d+6 spectators in the bleach- for being able to fight off attackers is more likely to attract ers. The only way to dates’ ST. A possible benefit auditorium is only dimly lit (-5 to Vision). pp. Reaching outside the ring to grab a large. 227 and 230). to either a SWAT team or the mob equivalent. the diagonals are made up of dead fluorescent tubes joined 16 – Animal encounter. they are told to weapon requires a DX roll and possibly turning your back on change into the shorts while in the van before it leaves. in the auditorium.3-4 – Traveling soup kitchen and first aid station: gives +2 to the fighters are dumped in another part of town after the fight Urban Survival for the day. a machete (cheap falchion. Fights at the club take place in an octagonal ring. Combatants who refuse to alive until help arrives. above). p. 226). weapons will be placed outside the fight. but bad for those with Phobias. a tonfa (Martial Arts. Contessa acts as MC and referee. the PCs and an equal number of NPC fighters in a nearby the attention of the recruiters. but north. North. p. south. they may try to rob the PCs on a bad or worse reaction roll. Combatants may be able to persuade the recruiters to 5-9 – Citizens: opportunities for Panhandling (see p. 11-12. completely outside the octagon. recruiters serve as guards and stagehands. or bags are carried to the venue in another car and returned when breaking tubes and losing the bout. see pp. personal moral codes. preset to transmit their location The first round of each fight lasts up to three minutes. B219) before boarding ring. DX. with up to 1d “flurries” per combat. 5-6 – swarm of cockroaches. they will be allowed to keep their watches. and personal action. Fighters are examined before boarding the van but not pat. If PCs are If the PCs are working for either the police or Murse. 225 the fighting ends. they’ll fighting. and 214). On a critical failure. Martial Arts. and a sledgehammer (maul. Martial Arts. and a T-shirt as well as the bag. a kama (sickle. Martial Arts. Martial Arts. 12-hour interval. cheap tote bag to hold their belongings. six cycles. HT-3. with end most fights is for one combatant to be forced or thrown out +1 for every point over 10). all the PC has Contessa (standing outside the ring) will lash out with her to do is to press the right button once he’s at the venue and stay whip until the participants comply. The ance – potentially becoming entangled in the razorwire. While the roll (except for the weather and animals). Opponents and rules tion roll based on Contessa’s rough assessment of the candi- are determined by the spin of a roulette wheel. there is a cell-phone jammer in the limo and under their seats pp. of the fluorescent tubes instantly ends a fight. or lose his bal- taken away from the competitors before the van departs. 4 – feral by clips. use the Detailed Method (see Roleplaying Tournaments. and HT (Neutral or better reaction needed. 224). who have informants among razorwire enclosure. p. 210). p. myrmex. Being in the right place to be picked up by the recruiters. a require the hero with the beacon to leave the building before tomahawk (hatchet with an added pick. 230). they are wire inflicts 1d-3 cutting damage. a 6’ unweighted chain (Improvised Weapons. Most of these encounters can be avoided with a Stealth This night. Women an opponent. the venue is an empty school gym. B212) and let them get something from their bags (Excellent reaction similar activities.

see p. Tonfa Razorwire Sledgehammer Bokken Fluorescent Tubes Chain Machete Tomahawk Nunchaku Kama Bleachers Map of Contessa’s Fighting Ring Note: Weapons are introduced after a fight has begun. PYRAMID MAGAZINE 7 DECEMBER 2009 . 6 for details.

throw some banknotes to the wind as a diversion – but not very CAST These are some of the more notable NPCs encountered in Sands/Contessa had dabbled in several martial arts before this adventure. at least. and glass-free hand wraps. Her watch. they will also try to get by without switching their flashlights on.. she found a Kachin Bando trainer and began recruit- CONTESSA ing thugs to assist with various money-raising schemes. whichever comes first. three). Contessa tends to buy expensive ing for a career in porn. Campaign idea: The PCs can only learn a fixed number of styles in their lives (say. keep the audience interested. and she spent two years in prison. her some of the recruiters work as orderlies). used as bribes or pawned when she needs extra cash. Fighters are sup. she will call out. or hold out for something better? PYRAMID MAGAZINE 8 DECEMBER 2009 . Because of her distrust of banks. that will be the end of the fight clubs and of -8 unless someone uses a flashlight. While the spectators are unlikely to try Taking Out the Trash tackling the heroes.” AFTERMATH If Contessa and/or any of the recruiters are arrested (or cap- With the lights off. On regaining her freedom. seems likely.e. six to 10 yards from home town. to their shorts. – performing in strip clubs. not hesitate to leave spectators behind or to run over anyone Apart from character points and possible financial incen- standing in her way. her appearance. and spent the next few years as a feature dancer and dominatrix. prison taught her to be an even more effective fighter. she will toy with her opponent long enough to changed her name. B55) from the police and/or the mob. There are two Contessa’s attempts to fix any martial-arts events – in the PCs’ vans and the stretch limo parked outside. they will need real decision as to who fights whom and when should be left to impede her escape until all the exits are cut off – approxi- up to the GM. for two.000 “elsewhere” (don’t ask). but she really hates to lose. although they may have other combat skills. Contessa has the keys to one of the vans. she may relocate to the gym’s main door. etc. hitchhiked. However. While she has a healthy respect years ago. and if Should Contessa and all the recruiters escape. and occasionally work. rewritten her life story. She changed her name. and the noise. they may try to bribe by switching the lights in the gym off for two seconds. Spectators taking part in the strip match are stripped down would buy enough time). As all of the guard watching the school spots the cars and warns Contessa spectators have some cash on them. and per- occasionally robbing her clients while they were tied up – until sonal basics come from high-fashion designers. are permitted they will be reluctant to use them because of the poor lighting mouth guards. While most of the combatants are homeless men. but unlike the other fighters. She son: $4. Better run if you want a lift. her arrest. then off again and leaving them off. B464) if a car chase somewhere a safe distance away and start again. and may rewarded with Favors (p. Sands worked. shoplifting. she will try offering other bribes – drugs. As she grabs the cashbox and runs for the door. an athletic cup. This is a pre- arranged signal to the Contessa to escape. items and carry as much of her wealth as she can on her per- and her biography frequently before settling on Contessa. and only as a last resort. but the If the PCs want Contessa brought to justice. and can be one reported her. mately 10 seconds (crippling either of her legs. a security fighters and some spectators will be left behind. $2.000 cash in her money belt. as well as teaching her new scams. $2. posedly paired off randomly (using a roulette wheel). In her The woman who calls herself Contessa Mina Countach has strip matches. and basically rein. then usually send him into the vented herself many times. the NPC the fighting has gone on long enough). she will tives. If she realizes that her oppo- are inmates from mental or psychiatric institutions (where nents aren’t cops. Her mother was a part-time prostitute. leave town at short notice. -6 outside. that will still she reaches it. but Contessa will still have the recruiters are in vehicles. their rescuers rather than face her afterward. do they learn the first techniques they come across. If prevented from driving away. she will drive away after 10 seconds or when all be the end of the fight clubs. body. She will enough money to try fixing the martial arts contests in town. is unknown. If Contessa escapes. a few many. for example.000 in her pockets. and her father for guns and will allow herself to be arrested rather than shot. treat all as vans (p. “We’re leaving now. jewelry. They start with none. should arrive in a timely manner (i. and her frequent need to ing the streets – until she reached California and began audition. Though the recruiters have guns. 218 points Contessa likes fighting. but she was born Victoria Sands 32 fluoro tubes with a push kick. fighters who succeed in foiling Contessa’s plans should be try climbing a nearby fence and escaping on foot. Roaming the world. then on heroes to help them escape. when the GM decides Even if Contessa and all the recruiters escape. and stole her way west no lesser threat will persuade her to quit. all the recruiters (even those who have the keys to the other two vehicles) may try to help Contessa escape If the heroes succeed in calling for help. penalties to vision inside the gym are at tured by the mob).

Get your Voice [10]. Escape (H) DX+2 [2]-14†. Per 11 † Includes +3 for Flexibility. Night Vision 4 [4]. Karate (H) DX+3 [12]-15. Electronics Operation/TL8 (Security Systems) (A) IQ-1 almost anything for a chance to be near one of their favorite [1]-10. Taijutsu). [2]-12. Basic Speed 6. Disguise/TL8 (A) IQ+1 [4]-12. [-5] 64 points Contessa has chosen her allies for this scheme carefully: drivers with access to vehicles. security guards with access to Skills suitable venues. tight jeans. short Throwing (A) DX+1 [4]-13. Knee Strike (Karate) (A) [1]-15. Dancing (A) DX-1 All of the men have other things in common: They are [1]-11. Proud. Damage 1d-1/1d+2. Contessa may well (A) HT+3 [4]-16‡. ballistic sunglasses (GURPS High-Tech. Dislikes animals. Hardcore porn enthusiasts. She has a ripped muscular Whip (A) DX+1 [4]-13. and were ready to do [2]-12. HP 13 [2]. p. duct tape. HT 13 [30]. and sap gloves. handcuffs. Contessa has also shared out the IQ+1 [4]-12. Greed (9) [-22]. Push Kick (Karate) (H) [2]-13. p. small knife in boot. money belt. mini-flashlight with one-shot pepper spray (GURPS High-Tech. 68). She usually wears a leather jacket. Leatherworking (E) DX [1]-12. Streetwise (A) IQ+1 [4]-12. IQ 11 [20]. Performance (A) a shorter prison term. Quirks: Chauvinistic. fight Disadvantages him on equal terms. Guns/TL8 (Pistol) (E) DX [1]-12. Erotic Art (A) DX+4 [4]-16†. Fit [5]. High Pain Thresh. enemy at a disadvantage. In addition. fake IDs and credit cards). [2]-13. Contessa is in her early 30s. Wealth (Comfortable) [10]. Dodge 10*. Smuggling (A) IQ [2]-11.. Only has sex when it RECRUITER profits her. Artist (Body tions. successful fighting. Eye Rake across her back. -60%) [-10]. Flexibility [5]. Wrestling (A) DX+3 [8]-15. Bat wings are tattooed Techniques: Aggressive Parry (Karate) (H) [2]-11. Scrounging (E) Per [1]-11. black hair. Carousing crimes. Climbing (A) DX+2 [1]-14†. * Includes +1 for Combat Reflexes. Contessa will cheerfully pin the Tying (E) DX+2 [4]-14.) IQ+2 [2]-13‡. FP 14 [3]. Holdout (A) such as extreme wrestling. personal basics (including Languages: English (Native) [0]. Jumping (E) DX+1 increase their wealth level to average and ensure their loyalty. firefighter’s boots. Off-the-shelf good looks. porn stars. and forensic cleaners trained in removing evidence of Art) (H) IQ-1 [2]-10. Bad Sight (Farsighted. Driving/TL8 (Car) (A) DX unattractive and hold low-status jobs. TL: 8 [0]. Perks: Biting Mastery. Sex Appeal $2. [8] never. on any account. with a pale complexion. p. [0]. That is the whole secret of old [10]. all were also bullies who enjoyed Fast-Talk (A) IQ+3 [4]-14‡. -50%) [6]. cell phone. Parry 11* (Karate). Advantages Appearance (Beautiful.000 worth of illegal drugs. BL 29 lbs. Impulsiveness (12) [-10]. DX 12 [40]. If not killed. Temperature Tolerance 1. Kachin Bando. Filch (A) DX+1 [4]-13. ST 12 [20].25 [0]. blame for her crimes on any of the recruiters if it will get her Mechanic (Gasoline Engine) (A) IQ-1 [1]-10. Social Stigma (Criminal Record) [-5]. (E) HT+1 [2]-14. Body Language (A) Per [2]-11. Ground Fighting (Wrestling) (H) [5]-15. Professional Wrestling. Addiction (Stimulants) [-5]. if possible. Mitigator: Contact Lenses. Lethwei. CF: Western [0]. Equipment 5’11”. Interrogation (A) IQ loot from the scheme – not quite fairly. A 12’ studded whip. Overconfidence (12) [-5]. 10 or less) [2]. blonde wig. First Aid/TL8 watching – and sometimes participating in – violent sports (E) IQ [1]-11. Will 12 [5]. Distrusts banks and carries or hides her cash and valuables. Basic Move 6 [0]. 180). Housekeeping (E) IQ [1]-11. Urban Survival (A) Per [2]-11. orderlies from mental and psychiatric institu- Acrobatics (H) DX [4]-12. ‡ Includes +2 for Voice. 71). Sadism (9) [-22]. Two of each join her for each fight night. Spanish (Broken) [2]. Bad Temper (12) [-10]. Style Familiarity (Brazilian Jiu-jutsu. body and oversized breast implants. long (Karate) (H) [2]-11. sap gloves. – George Bernard Shaw Callous [-5]. 130 lbs. Intimidation (A) Will+1 [4]-13. Swimming (E) HT [1]-13. Acting (A) IQ [2]-11. and Capoeira. but enough to [2]-11. Compulsive Spending (12) [-5].000 plus another Running (A) HT [2]-13. Knot. and dark brown eyes. Professional Skill (Sex Worker) (A) IQ+2 [2]-13‡.The cashbox for that night’s events holds $20. Stealth (A) DX become a formidable Enemy. (This loyalty is not returned. Rapid Healing [5]. Fighting is dangerous! PYRAMID MAGAZINE 9 DECEMBER 2009 . Reputation +2 (As a sex worker. Knife (E) DX+1 [2]-13. Social Background leather jacket. firefighter’s boots (GURPS High-Tech. Combat Reflexes [15]. Martial artists should find a reliable – perhaps even supernatural – means of healing.

Languages: English (Native) [0]. especially honest ones. [3]-13. Spanish (Accented) [4]. below). Guns/TL8 Social Background (Pistol) (E) DX+1 [2]-11. – Fight Club (movie) ROD MURSE 144 points Advantages Rod Murse is a criminal lawyer whose skill at defending High Pain Threshold [10]. [-1] [+10]. He now Perks: Style Familiarity (See below). Body Language (A) (unarmed). HP 12 [0]. Post-Combat Professional Skills Shakes [-5]. duct tape. Current Affairs/TL8 5’8”. Skill-15. Muay Thai: Games (Muay Thai) (E) IQ [1]-10. (see Combat Styles. -60%) [-10]. Gear Advantages Large tactical flashlight (treat as baton). Callous [-5]. MCMAP: Brawling (E) DX+3 [8]-13. Skills. cases brought him to the attention of the local mob. Bully (12) [-10]. Karate (H) DX+3 [16]-13. Fast- Talk (A) IQ [2]-10. DX 10 [0]. add House- Basic Speed 5. Customization Notes Choose one set of professional skills and one set of combat Disadvantages skills for each recruiter. Parry 9. Parry 8. Social Background Combat Styles. or less. Driving to 13 Quirk: Distrusts cops. Knee Strike This is your life. especially using the Furious Fists expansion. holdout pistol. Hospital Orderly: Increase Search to 12 [+6]. and Techniques TL: 8 [0]. First Aid/TL8 (E) IQ [1]-10. Latin (Accented) [4]. Parry 9. Dodge 8. 9 or less. Unattractive [-4]. PYRAMID MAGAZINE 10 DECEMBER 2009 . red-brown hair. Duty (To mob) [-5]. Disarming (Judo) (H) CF: Western [0].ST 12 [20]. CF: Western [0]. Contact Group (Police. FP 13 [6]. Parry Varies keeping (E) IQ+2 [4]-12 and Lifting (A) HT+1 [4]-12. Dodge 8. Skills. Sense of Duty (Contessa) [-2]. TL: 8 [0]. IQ 10 [0]. sap gloves. Driving/TL8 (Car) (A) DX [2]-10. Judo (H) DX+1 [8]-11. [-1] Damage 1d-2/1d. Some- . Shortsword Languages: English (Native) [0]. Parry 9. steel-toed boots. Forensic Cleaner: Increase Search to 12 [+6]. FP 10 [0]. Italian (Accented) [4]. cup (GURPS High-Tech. (A) DX [2]-10. Mitigator: Glasses. Wing Chun: Arm Lock (Wrestling) (A) [3]-15. Somewhat Reliable) [15]. Knee Strike (Karate) (A) [1]-11.. Skills Basic Speed 5. Per [2]-10. Lecherousness (15) [-7]. 9 or less. Wrestling (A) DX+2 [8]-12. Karate (H) ending one minute at a time. Intimidation (A) Will+1 [4]-11. (Sports) (E) IQ [1]-10. Disarming (Judo) (H) [2]-12. and perfect teeth. personal basics. add Mechanic/TL8 (Gasoline Engine) (A) IQ-1 [1]-9. pepper spray. Wealth (Comfortable) [10]. Basic Move 5 [0]. BL 29 lbs. [1] spends more of his time as a fixer than in court. Will 10 [0]. Driver: Increase Area Knowledge to 12 [+3]. Bad Sight (Nearsighted. Skill-15. [0]. but he still takes on a few clients who don’t have mob connections and can Disadvantages be very useful to anyone to whom he owes a Favor. BL 20 lbs. Per 12 [5]. Security Guard: Increase Search to 12 [+6]. Per 10 Forensics/TL8 (H) IQ [4]-10 and Housekeeping (E) IQ+2 [4]-12. Running (A) HT-1 [1]-10. Eidetic Memory [5]. leather long coat (DR 1). Rod looks to be in his late 20s. Observation (A) Per-1 [1]-9. Basic Move 5 [0]. Stamp Kick (Brawling) (H) [2]-11. Contact Group (Business people. Carousing (E) HT [1]-11. IQ 11 [20]. Will 10 [-5]. add Damage 1d-1/1d+2. Parry 8 Area Knowledge (City) (E) IQ [1]-10.00 [0].25 [0]. Usually Reliable) [20]. He has a tanned complexion. Voice [10]. 160 lbs. HT 10 [0]. Streetwise (A) IQ [2]-10. Night Vision 2 [2]. HP 10 [0]. Quirks: Pornography addict. Judo (H) DX+1 [8]-11. Contact Group (Street people. Jujutsu: Arm Lock (Judo) (A) [1]-12. Search (A) Per [2]-10. Elbow Strike (Karate) (A) [2]-13.. 9 pocket knife. Scrounging (E) Per [1]-10. and it’s (Karate) (A) [1]-13. Greed (12) [-15]. DX 10 [0]. athletic what Reliable) [10]. ST 10 [0]. 71). Greed (12) [-15]. Karate (H) DX+1 [8]-11.380. This adventure is easily adapted to GURPS Action. Bad Temper (15) [-5]. and Techniques. Smooth Operator 1 [15]. Skill-18. HT 11 [10]. DX+1 [8]-11. p. add Electronics Operation/TL8 (Security Systems) (A) IQ+2 [8]-12. green eyes.

If not. Carousing. Compulsive tors at Contessa’s fight nights – though wealthier than some. Howie “Dumbo” Dunlop has CF: Western [0]. . Merchant (A) IQ [2]-10. HP 10 [0]. Carousing (E) HT+1 [2]-13. While most of the fighters the heroes might face in the ring have little or no combat training. Throwing (A) DX [2]-10. Basic Speed 5. Holdout pistol. Driving/TL8 (Car) (A) DX+1 [4]-11. HP 10. Parry 8 (Karate). Jumping (E) DX+1 [2]-11.. Local) (H) IQ+2 [12]-13. Fit [5]. RICHARD RANK Advantages/Disadvantages: Wealth (Comfortable or better). Pacifism (Cannot Kill) [-15]. Congenial. BL 20 lbs. Streetwise (A) IQ+2 [4]-13*. Computer Pro- is a muscular. Lecherousness. Area Knowledge (City) (E) Administration (A) IQ [2]-10.Skills Skills Administration (A) IQ+1 [4]-12. he has a simple technique that has often proved effec- Compulsive Gambling (12) [-5]. Skills: Most do not have any significant combat skills. * Includes +1 for Smooth Operator. Petit has been living on Perks: Style Familiarity (Hapkido). expensive suit. severe mental handicaps but is an extremely strong man whose Languages: English (Native) [0]. Market Analysis. Law (Criminal. Basic Move 5. 140-230 lbs. 9 or less. Wealth (Wealthy) [20]. Cur. [-2] kicks or grabs a convenient weapon. custom concealed holster. Basic Speed 5. “Shin Lu’s Fist of Iron Death? It turns out. Gambling. (A) IQ+1 [4]-12. Driving/TL8 (Car). Observation (Basketball) (A) DX [4]-11. Law. slightly vacant-looking young man. tial-arts tricks while in foreign ports.. IQ 11. He short): Combat Paralysis. thinks it’s to his advantage. Jacques “The Shark” Petit. Driving/TL8 (Car) (A) Sport (H) DX [2]-9. more when he runs out of money. FIGHT SURVIVORS 6’1”. is fairly typical of the specta. If this works. Greed. FP 10 [0].380. DX 10. Will 10. HT 10. have at least two of the following: Callous. Forensics/TL8 (H) IQ [4]-13. Gambling. or Night Blindness. Low Pain Thresh- may even come to the heroes’ aid against the recruiters if he old. He skills include Administration. DX 10 [0]. Streetwise (A) IQ-1 [1]-9. OTHER SPECTATORS Gear Use these generic stats for members of the audience. HT 12 [20]. Likely Richard is tanned. Research (E) HT+1 [2]-13. † Includes +2 for Voice. Finance. the young heir to a business empire that ents (Business Acumen or Smooth Operator). Mer- Damage 1d-2/1d. FP 10. and then tries a Lecherousness (15) [-7]. 170 lbs. IQ 10 [0]. BL 20 lbs. plus at least one other and in better physical shape than most. Basic Move 6 [5]. Karate (H) DX [4]-10. Status A hard-drinking former sailor who’s picked up a few mar- 1 [0]*. (E) IQ+2 [4]-12. Interrogation (A) IQ+2 (Dojo) (E) IQ [1]-10. Diplomacy. has fought at several events and always comes back for TL: 8 [0]. ST 10. Area Knowledge (City) (E) IQ IQ+1 [2]-12. Judo (H) DX rent Affairs/TL8 (Local) (E) IQ+1 [2]-12. sweeping kick. Criminology/TL8 (A) IQ [2]-11. Savoir-Faire [4]-11. Advantages Jacques “The Shark” Petit Appearance (Attractive) [4]. Detect Lies (H) Per [4]-10. Somewhat Reliable) [15]. Sport [8]-13. Swimming (A) Per-1 [1]-11. he follows it up with savage stamp Quirks: Alcohol Intolerance. Contact Group (Business peo- 11 points ple. Fast-Talk (A) IQ+4 [4]-15*†. tive: He takes the stance of a boxer. Damage 1d-2/1d. the man who killed Tank Social Background Turner. Karate [4]-13*. Skill-18. gramming/TL8. * One level free from Wealth. Dodge 8. Most will includes a chain of health clubs. [1] the street (with occasional short stays in jail for assault and vagrancy) for several years. Savoir-Faire (E) IQ+1 [1]-12*. Computer Opera. Running (A) HT+1 DX [2]-10. Fast-Talk. Sex Appeal (A) HT+1 [4]-13. He’s one of the few disadvantage that will keep them out of combat (or keep it who can outrun the recruiters and keep up with Contessa. chant. it’s a kick!” PYRAMID MAGAZINE 11 DECEMBER 2009 . Savoir-Faire (High Society) (E) IQ+1 [2]-11. Dirty trick: giving techniques deceptive names. Public Speaking (A) IQ+4 [4]-15*†. Diplomacy (H) IQ+3 [4]-14*†. Cowardice. While he prefers to avoid fair Disadvantages fights. Savoir-Faire. Carousing (E) HT+2 [2]-12*. and Sex Appeal. 5’5”-6’3”. smart. Sex Appeal (A) Technique: Breakfall (Judo) (A) [2]-12. 70 points Many will have Contacts (Business or Police) and/or Tal- Richard Rank. he will go on the defensive until he finds another convenient opening.50 [0]. Parry 8 (unarmed). ST 10 [0]. there are two who might pose a challenge. Guns/TL8 (Pistol) (E) DX [1]-10. Greed (12) [-15]. HT+2 [1]-12*†. [1]-10. Per 10. strength and toughness make up for his lack of skill. phone. Per 10 [0].00. Current Affairs/TL8 (Sport) tion/TL8 (E) IQ+1 [2]-12. Will 9 [-5]. feints. Dodge 8. with golden blond hair and blue eyes. Detect Lies.

Appearance (Unattractive) [-4]. Other Combatants Techniques: Stamp Kick (Brawling) (H) [3]-12. and pale blue stephendedman. Swimming (E) HT [1]-9. Languages: English (Native) [0]. He has also written with food. Paranoia [-10]. plus to the fight club on nights when the moon is full. FP 11 [6]. BL 39 lbs. He has a weather-beaten complexion. Night Vision 2 Quirks: Distractible. Observation (A) Per-1 [1]-9. then rec- ABOUT THE AUTHOR Stephen Dedman is the author of GURPS Dinosaurs and ommended him to Contessa as a possible combatant in their the novels Shadowrun: A Fistful of Data. HP 10. Fast-Talk (A) IQ-1 [1]-9. Sweep ST 10. Overweight [-1]. Disadvantages Berserk (6) [-20]. IQ 10 [0]. 5’8”-6’2”. Temper (12) [-10]. Short- sword (A) DX-1 [1]-10. but possibilities -51 points include Fearlessness. Advantages Social Background Hard to Subdue 2 [4]. easily led. with large feet. Night Vision. FP 10. eyes. Wealth (Poor) [-15]. plus an anchor tattooed on his right bicep. Social Stigma (Criminal Record) [-5]. Swimming (E) HT [1]-11. the wear. Gluttony (12) [-5]. Skill Adaptation (Sweep defaults to Brawling). Bully (15) [-5]. Likes superhero cartoons [2]. and gray eyes. who worked as an orderly in his home. FP greasy gray hair. Ham-Fisted 1 [-5]. DX 10. 6’4”. and is brought along a number of Pyramid articles and other RPG material. DX 11 [20]. TL: 8 [0]. the orderly began watching him more closely. (Brawling). Current Affairs/TL8 (Sports) Most “garbage wrestlers” have (E) IQ [1]-10. Disadvantages Lifting (A) HT+1 [4]-12. 130 lbs. Streetwise (A) IQ [2]-10. Will 7 [0]. High Pain Threshold [10]. and TV wrestling. Urban Sur- vival (A) Per+1 [4]-11. Brawling (E) DX+2 [4]-13. [1] CF: Western [0]. Per 10 Social Background [0]. Skills Area Knowledge (City) (E) IQ [1]-10. Rapid Healing [5]. (Brawling). was bribed Cutting. For more information. 11 [0]. TL: 8 [0]. BL 20 lbs. Howie. and Foreign Bodies. Humble. he will lash out with his powerful fists and the occasional fantasy bookshop in Perth. HP 16 [4]. No Sense of Smell/Taste Technique: Elbow Drop (Brawling) (H) [3]-9. check out Howie has a round face. then try his elbow enough experience points to buy off the long-standing Wealth drop until the enemy stops making any attempt to fight back. Parry 9 CF: Western [0]. hands. Parry 8 numerous scars. Knife (E) DX+1 [2]-11. edly. 240 lbs.. a science fiction and snaps. Ambidexterity [5]. His nose has been broken repeat. PYRAMID MAGAZINE 12 DECEMBER 2009 . Filch (A) DX [2]-11. Seaman- ship/TL7(E) IQ [1]-10. more than 100 short stories published in an eclectic variety of When not berserk. Dodge 8. Basic Speed 5. He is scrawny. Intimidation (A) Will+1 [4]-11. Running (A) HT [2]-9. Damage 1d-1/1d+1. Perks: Style Familiarity (Wrestling). Hammer Fist [-5]. Will 10 [0]. and is trying to save head butt until his opponent is on the floor. Damage 1d-2/1d. Howie “Dumbo” Dunlop Advantages/Disadvantages: Usually none. Hard to Subdue. IQ 8-10. HT 8-10. HT 11 [10]. Bad (A) DX+1 [4]-10. Scrounging (E) Per+2 [4]-12. Per 10.. the matches is to throw his opponent out of the ring – but if he He is co-owner of Fantastic Planet. Australia. crewcut blond hair. (Struggling) disadvantage. Wealth (Dead Broke) [-25]. ing. He is bulky. individual – until one of Contessa’s team. unevenly cut Damage 1d/2d. little or no combat training. Dodge 8. Howie usually remembers that the aim of magazines and anthologies. Parry 8 (Brawling).com. IQ 7 [-60]. Languages: English (Native) [0].00 [0]. HP 13 [4]. Basic Move 5 [0]. Basic Move 5 [0]. Dodge 8. Basic Speed 5. saw him fly into a rage when another inmate pushed him. although he looks much worse for ST 14 [40]. The Art of Arrow “garbage wrestling” matches. Shadows Bite.. DX 9 [-20]. (Brawling) (H) [3]-12. (Brawling) (A) [1]-11. Temperature Tolerance 2 [2]. Basic Move 5. After joining in the effort to restrain Howie. Will 10. Housekeeping (E) IQ+1 [2]-8. ST 11 [10]. Per 7 [0]. and ears.00 [0]. and a colorful costume. Boxing (A) DX-1 [1]-10. Jacques is in his mid-60s. Pitiable [5]. though imposing-look- Skills: Brawling-10. Advantages Lunacy [-10]. and his body has Basic Speed 5. Wrestling Alcoholism [-15]. [-3] Perks: Improvised Weapons (Brawling). and he has bad teeth.00. High Howie Dunlop lives in a mental institution with a sheltered Pain Threshold. BL 24 lbs. [2] Skills Brawling (E) DX+2 [4]-11. HT 9 [-10]. and Pitiable. 130-170 lbs. Two-Handed Axe/Mace (A) DX-1 [1]-10. workshop and is normally a peaceful. DVDs. 5’8”.

Quo. Tsu worked their cut of the robbery money and. killing a customer and two nent’s capabilities: First disarm him. then injure him. grow to be honorable men and dutiful soldiers. then teaching. a few specially chosen students robbed a of the schools will strive to systematically reduce his oppo- local bank in broad daylight. THE THREE BROTHERS SCHOOLS OF MARTIAL ARTS BY ALAN LEDDON Near the end of the last century. Fen Tsu died a disappointed man. Months later. night. hard to teach his sons about honor. and. and – T.” His favored students were picked for what Den perceived as THE THREE SCHOOLS a hunger for “more. Martial-arts challenge: resolving a combat situation while carrying a child or other fragile bundle. traps. . or kill him. hoping that they would each went out and founded his own martial arts school. took their classes. In general. they attracted a reasonable number of stu- dents. The brothers argued into the taught his sons about life. their first years. The brothers made an average living. a soldier named Fen Tsu The robbery made evening and morning news. Den handed them each a roll of cash. claiming to teach “the ancient and secret art taught to us by our father. and finally agreed to go their separate ways. they sold the home of their childhood. Den. a fighter from any to kill. In the West. The sons agreed that they would be more successful if they worked together. Den taught the skills that his father share a common Style Familiarity Perk. later. any more than the use of firearms. . the brothers cannot had learned as an infantryman. Thus. tactics. but they soon grew impatient with the slow accumulation of wealth. and agreed that they would gain There could be no honor greater wealth in a more spiritually bankrupt clime. the sale of their school. then employees in an unnecessary hail of gunfire while two of the apply a hold. As young adults. guns is considered very effective at disabling a foe. and taught them the ways of a sol. who paid their monthly dues. Using students entered the vault. and Sang. Fen Tsu immediately what had happened. they used the last of their money to open their might be wrested from a Three Brothers School of Martial Arts. undo a lifetime of first studying. Quo and Sang realized lated and spiritually active land. when had three sons. bid farewell to in sure success. including stealth. and the steely calm of someone prepared a leopard can change its spots. or simply knock him out . Lawrence were generally satisfied. The three brothers had other ideas regarding their father’s teachings. it came to be that Den selected a few students for private “extra classes. and departed for the West. PYRAMID MAGAZINE 13 DECEMBER 2009 .” During sure defeat. but much their father’s grave. A dutiful father.” A better description is that he selected The three schools possess enough similarities that they them for a lack of integrity. Each took dier so that they would grow to serve their nation. E. He raised them in an iso.

all are at -2 unless the appropriate Skills: Guns/TL (Pistol). Perks: Follow-Through (Boxing)*. intimidate victims. believing that this will that will attract more stu- the three Fen Brothers are very different. dumb enough to die. and hockey sticks as a quarterstaff wielded with times when a low profile is necessary. hockey sticks. Tactics. Den lives in a ested in wealth. Pants-Positive Safety. and even golf. As risk the crimes of Den or the recklessness of Sang. Two-Handed Sword. Pistol Disarming (Judo). Perk: Teamwork. Knife. (Build Wealth). When he hit upon the idea of providing large. Quo has no Sang is nonplussed: If you are dumb enough to try. “Privileged” students are sworn to secrecy and increased his number of paying customers and kept many pay- take part in the robberies. he took to offering classes to help with baseball. Den Jeng School Fen Quo School 5 points 5 points Quo opened his new school in the northeast of the city. Fen Den mainly because he does not want to be sued. inexpensive apartment. showing his students that the dis- of bank robberies (complete with resisting guards and heroic cipline of a martial art can apply to sports as well.. He wants more money. Follow-Through (Judo)*. Skills: Boxing. Obsession Skills: Axe/Mace. Forced Entry. He cares little for the lives or welfare of his students and not at Fen Sang all for those of their victims. He a result. Improvised Weapon perk is taken). Secret (Murderer. Den teaches gun play and stealth as leges. all on the profit of his students’ crimes. hopes that his school will generally improve the lives of his drives a nice car. golf clubs. Sweep (Judo). Several of his students have job and having to split the money with Den. so he of his bank-robbing students. Quo is amoral but less so than his brothers. Hockey. Perks: Armorer’s Gift (Pistol). wears expensive clothing. training in whatever weapon the most recent silver screen drives a new sports car each year. went with him. he eats expensive meals. and Den’s students prefer to shoot threats. Later. Skills: Boxing. or Thief. students. dresses in cheap but com- honor is useful. uses public transportation. advanced students assist in rehearsals hockey. Some of his students have found adventure and wealth in remote parts of the world. Choke Hold (Judo). What Are the Brothers Like? Despite their identical upbringings and similar ideas. Techniques: Arm Lock (Judo). he plans to trade the evi. tary life. He has never had any of who took part in each crime. Fen Den opened his new school in the south of the city. Campaign idea: Each attack makes the enemy stronger or more protected. and cooks his image. effect is that his students have rehearsing a kidnapping. Techniques: Arm Lock (Judo). and eats in exclusive hero was using. Optional Traits Advantages: Wealth. flocked to his school. Den is careful to keep records Sang is as cynical as he is amoral. Judo. Traps/TL. unintended. but Fen Quo most leaving the city in search of the exotic find only death. This has customers). All None of the students of the brothers went with him. Knife. Golf. Stealth. and he own meals of rice and vegetables. and for small maces. Quo lives in a Den is a criminal. has moved on to planning a kidnapping for ransom. yet. Sweep (Judo). with his income. he was unsurprised that a lot of movie fans restaurants. Fist. you are stomach for killing. He is concerned that his students have begun using sports equipment as weapons. Den isn’t happy gone to college on sports scholarships. dents and thus greater income. interest in hard (or any other) work. so he carefully cultivates a respectable fortable clothes. lavishly decorated home. part of his curriculum. Tactics. Shortsword. but he is very inter- dence for immunity if he is ever caught. Stealth. Judo. and several other students of the rebuilt his business with seminars at local schools and col- brothers. Optional Traits Disadvantages: Enemy (Past victims or Police). his most trusted bank robbers are now The other. soccer. Sports (Baseball. He believes that the appearance of large. or Soccer). They use their anything else handy for use as a weapon (treat the first two as unarmed training to take hostages. Follow-Through (Knife)*. Choke Hold (Judo). and he grew up hoping to avoid mili. bringing in a few grand from each ing students in his classes longer. He trains his best students to commit thefts. and invests heavily in local businesses. wears expensive clothes. or both). It’s time to come up with a Plan B! PYRAMID MAGAZINE 14 DECEMBER 2009 . but he feels that he can’t Sang charges exorbitant prices for upper-level classes. Disarming (Judo). begun to pick up baseball bats.

a long-term SCA member. scheme. GMs should feel free to add any version of the Skills: Boxing. many years after his death. Den realizes that it is only a – Tom Wilson matter of time before the police question his students about their fugitive classmate. Uppercut (Boxing). Perks: Follow-Through (any weapon skill)*. Now. Guns/TL (Pistol). a student of Tae One side or the other – or both sides – seeks to retain the serv. The vic. Impro- vised Weapons (Axe/Mace). a cat. and his face and name are on the news. connected to one or more of the heroes – or his 30th year of roleplaying. Unfortunate Death: During a robbery sanctioned by Den. Sang has mounted a canoe on rockers in his wealth by teaching people to recklessly get themselves killed. Optional Traits Disadvantages: Delusion (I am properly prepared for a life of adventure). his sons. members of Tsu’s army unit. several of his students undertake a robbery. reach items. naturally. Many students even learn to fight in armor as a Beam Weapons/TL. and drop a pistol each round. games. etc. and relatively young. For a low-TL version. 5. the students involved do not show up for class. saying that his school was designed to prepare can just Fast-Draw. with lanyards to keep from Sang opened his new school in the northwest of the losing them.) is investigating his death. he will offer the PCs cash or free training in exchange for bringing him the fugitive. including his extremely bright Retrocognitive Monks. and various vermin. Stealth. Improvised Weapons (Two- Handed Sword). If Tsu was a space marine. Improvised Weapons (Shortsword). a Perks: Combat Vaulting*. more fun than winning is when Unsanctioned Robbery: Acting without permission of Den. uninvolved brother) and beat or kill him. fire. to consider the “morality” of the brothers. Den use it to probe holes. it a fight to remember. They won’t use matchlocks because of the risk of city. keeps an eye on action movies. you’re fighting temptation. Broadsword. p. learning and teaching If most martial arts in the setting teach magic or psionics. Wisconsin with his awesome wife. Survival skill to the optional skills of all three styles if this Traps/TL. and a licensed nurse. one of the brothers. would benefit his campaign. weapons and techniques used by the heroes of those the Brothers’ styles could offer advantages bought with the movies. or to a student of one of the two. the same for all three. the pistols are single-shot pieces. too: just swap out Guns/TL for boat. Alan the sons have anything to hide? How far will they go to hide it? is a Navy veteran. Then. soldiers learn something about Survival. . right after her fifth birthday. Den’s students will employ military tactics to make Skills: Acrobatics. He loves to ices of the PCs as investigators. In any time and place. Do any of daughter (Raven). bank customer who is important to either Quo or Sang. Naval Training. Fen Sang School like wheel-locks. spring traps. the CIA. Jumping. the Mystic Order of Bekki. p. someone (the police. add Vacc Suit result of the popularity of recent movies featuring and Freefall as optional skills for all three styles. threatening to become a “Triad” war.” Sang nating between the good hand and off-hand. is gunned down unnecessarily. Swimming. A GM considering this option should (available from the school for $80) when adventuring. . using it to teach students to fight on a rocking Science fiction is easy. The history and future of the Three Brothers can be dropped into any setting with minimal work. Reputation. bodyguards – even assassins. 15. Kwon Do and Kenjutsu. Counterattack (Boxing). One is identified. Bow. In play. San marketed his school to the bored and wealthy of burning themselves on the match of a dangling pistol! They the city. Variants * GURPS Power-Ups 2: Perks. For example. His next project is to teach Car is one of the heroes! Although this seems like a common Wars to Raven. Alan lives in Madison. Sweep (Judo). in-laws. Alan is about to celebrate tim is. Judo. * Power-Ups 2. He teaches his students to carry a 6’ pole or staff Moral modifier (-20%). any of the brothers might take students on Perks: Armor Familiarity (Judo). Whip. ADVENTURE SEEDS ABOUT THE AUTHOR Investigation: Fen Tsu died disappointed . alter- them for a career “as an international adventurer. and even takes what he wants and lies to the world. Someone – the About the only time losing is mayor. expensive yearly camping trips. Spartan soldiers wearing armor to battle. or citizens caught in the middle – asks the PCs to intervene. as Tsu would have taught the skill to Disarming (Judo). while Sang gains to vault with. PYRAMID MAGAZINE 15 DECEMBER 2009 . The version chosen should be Techniques: Arm Lock (Judo). Staff. Worried that one will break down and talk about the rehearsals. Students loyal to the offended brother find a student of Den (or mistakenly target a student of the third. A student of Den will carry several of them 6 points in holsters sewn to a leather vest. Coming up on 40 years old. school. and a beagle/bassett mix. incorporate his experiences from all of these things into his Kidnapped! Den has finally set his plan in motion. The chain of reprisals intensi- fies.


or biolog. 17. Observers often Sensitivity. stances of aerial combatants.” and some stylists have taken this to the next step. Group Performance them. Arm Lock. Sure-Footed (Windy). ting their opponent do most of the rushing around. and allow. Techniques: Aerial Throw*. defensive. compare watching a combatant using Aerial Jujutsu to “flying Cinematic Techniques: Hand-Clap Parry. he must retire as a PC. then use the foe’s speed against them. travel any direction at it between their palms. Dancing. Feint (Aerobatics). Subplot idea: Have a recurring NPC master ally/associate challenge the heroes one-on-one routinely. and completely control their orientation. and practitioners of Aerial Jujutsu learn to attack first and foremost. (Aerobatics). While on the usual – into account. Perks: Aerobatic Feints. by the them an advantage over others who must deal with inconven- need for stable footing from which to launch movement and ient facts such as turning radiuses and stall speeds. applying precise force to 3 points nerve clusters to disable opponents. ing their foe’s momentum to work against them. defenses appears. perfect mobility. Timed Defense. an aggressive. the practitioner responds with a flying throw. athletic course is preferred – Aerobatic An “*” indicates a new technique. ing choreographed dance moves and performing before an audi. where their superior maneuverability gives rules: Combatants are limited by gravity. etc. Evade Stylists prefer to be in control of a battle as much as possible. unmod- ified by limitations such as Winged. When a gap in the foe’s indicates the technique is from GURPS Supers. rather than provided by technology). Aerobatic This style focuses on grace and finesse while in combat. A “†“ Dodges are a signature of this style. attacks. Wait maneuvers. Roll with Blow. open. A stu- where supernatural powers. Whenever possible. the throw is aimed to slam the opponent into an obstacle. All-Out and Committed Defense. Enhanced Dodge. that hinder Skills: Aerobatics. ballet. Aerial Trip*. These assumptions don’t hold true in all settings. reducing its impact. Attack From Above. FIGHT WHILE IN FLIGHT BY KELLY PEDERSEN Human martial arts have developed based on certain basic crowded airspace. of course! Nevertheless. Judo. learn. mysterious technology. described on p. and perfectly predicting Aerial Jujutsu is a style designed for fighters with perfect the enemy’s moments. or defend against a blow by instinc- will. thanks to a stylist’s ity to fly – or at least to stay in the air for much longer than unpredictable flight path in an Aerobatic Feint. establishing a hold or lock to inflict damage directly. Some stylists also claim to be able to so control of their movement in the air. let. ence. their flight so that they collide with whatever obstacles are near Skills: Combat Art (Judo). In crowded airspace. advantage. Optional Traits The standard methods for students of Aerial Jujutsu when Secondary Characteristics: Increased Air Move (if stylist’s attacked are to wait for the enemy to rush towards them and flight is natural. Cinematic Skills: Blind Fighting. When a hero is able to defeat the master. Practitioners tively flying in the direction of the force. Its moves and teachings perfectly judge a foe that they can parry a weapon by catching are for those who can hover in midair. dent will take Evaluate. In more open areas. Recovery*. In combat. and ical abilities expand the range of action available to characters. redirecting the force of Advantages: Combat Reflexes. by momentum. a few tales circulate of Aerial Jujutsu masters Aerial Jujutsu capable of fighting in pitch blackness. However. PYRAMID MAGAZINE 17 DECEMBER 2009 . the style remains a real combat discipline. stylists prefer to fight in relatively (Choreography). Gliding. This style has developed only a couple of stories of impos- sible feats – outside the ability to fly itself. Aerial Jujutsu stylists take a cautious tack. should have some way of getting the Flight advantage. holding out until the opponent leaves himself This article presents five martial arts designed to take the abil. the Aerial Jujutsu stylist NEW STYLES tries to follow the opponent and use superior position to his These five new styles are best suited for the special circum. Choke Hold. These openings are sometimes created. Pressure Points.

Jump. students of Jumping Combat tactic is to fly at the opponent at top speed and simply collide favor a strong offense. gryphons. teachings focus on using weapons capable of striking other strength. Against aer- which is the usual result of being struck by a jumping attack at ial combatants more maneuverable than they are. Since jumping attacks often carries a those with the ability to fly as well as the power to absorb a great risk of ending up flat on the ground if they miss. Stamp Kick. Skill Adaptation (Human Missile Stand defaults to Jumping). Advantages: Combat Reflexes. sending them plummeting to the ground far below. Super Secondary Characteristics: Increased Air Move. students of this style either attempt to unseat the their initial strike doesn’t immediately take care of their target. Winged Mount Combat’s tactics are focused on the hit-and- The tactics of Jumping Combat are very simple. of Determined or Strong. Skill Adaptation (Acrobatic Perks: Power Grappling. and Flying Jump Kick default to Piledriver. ready to drop on unsuspecting foes at This is an intensely simple and direct style. Cinematic stylists also learn even more effective tech- age. one hand and subsequently breaking the weapon. A stylist run model. and emitting terrifying battle cries as they leap that paralyze what with the ability to fly and absorb inhuman levels of dam. Lethal Strike. ply sending both mount and rider crashing down. Springing Attack. is the Jump use extremely aggressive tactics. Snap Weapon. Wrench Arm. Wrestling. to be able to increase their already prodigious jumping have the ability to resist a great deal of damage. and can become skilled at specimens with this style. the standard combat maneu. It has a small body of techniques. using All-Out and Committed Attacks to with them. of course. and mention feats such as catching enemy blows in Skills: Brawling. Most Flying Brick stylists are already cinematic by default. Techniques: Elbow Drop. focused on teaches some techniques for fighting while prone. Cinematic Skills: Power Blow. Skills: Karate. Damage Resistance. GURPS Dragons contains information about dragon riders – and. popular attack is to grapple the enemy and fly them into an using the improved damage to quickly cripple. Jump Kick. rider. Perks: Skill Adaptation (Jump Kick Cinematic Techniques: Hand Catch. or to Practitioners of this style practice a variety of strikes. Drop Kick. defaults to Karate). Attack from Above. Winged Mount Combat Jumping Combat 4 points 3 points This style focuses on fighting while riding on the back of a Jumping Combat is a very basic style. designed for fighters flying mount: dragons. in case mounted foe. Cinematic Techniques: Flying Jump Kick. All-Out or Committed (Strong) is the most common choice. Students’ favorite When fighting a single target. relying on the stylist’s ability to mount when attacked – it’s usually a long way to the ground! quickly cross the battlefield to deal with ground-bound foes. since the collision damage will be enough to to attack count. such as a building or the ground. their mounts. Tales also tell of rely on that rather than active defenses. and the like. Knee Cinematic Skills: Flying Leap. technological assistance. However. Skills: Acrobatics. Optional Traits Optional Traits Advantages: Combat Reflexes. a Winged full force. Flying Brick stylists Combat stylist’s favorite attack technique. Sure-Footed (Windy). Ground Fighting. recovering your feet quickly. Human Missile (Karate)†. aerial combatants and their mounts. Knee Drop. It uses direct. Another ble. pegasi. practitioners’ abilities with increasing the force of their blows. this is often all practitioners of this style concentrate on making their chances that is needed. Wrench Spine. forcing it to land or sim- ones designed to be used against an opponent on the ground. a few legends have circulated about truly amazing niques to apply their jumping attacks. this style also deal of damage. Most flying mounts lack the perfect maneuverabil- simply jumps as high as he can. and staying on the stylist’s no-frills methods to attack. of this style can increase their already-superhuman strength even further. particularly Cinematic masters of Jumping Combat style are rumored. Jumping. putting their massive leaping ability to good use. their foes. Jumping Combat stylists are very dirty fighters. The Jumping obstacle. Brawling). With sufficient height on the jump. Its with the ability to leap great distances. In combat.Flying Brick always looking to end a battle quickly. then aims to crash down on ity required to stay in constant contact with a foe. students of fight-ending blow on each pass. Kiai. usually damage the mount’s means of flying. this style is brutally direct. However. trusting to their own resistance to damage to pro. PYRAMID MAGAZINE 18 DECEMBER 2009 . and for offensive uses and designed to cause the most damage to targets. Against another aerial- this style do have a few more tricks up their sleeves. As practitioners of this style typically course. overwhelm their opponent and end a fight as quickly as possi- tect them from the consequences of such a gambit. vers are All-Out or Committed Attacks. they tend to distance with a few moments of concentration. so their enemy. Elbow Drop. Standard practice is to attempt to deal a single incapacitate most normal opponents. Techniques: Acrobatic Stand. of course. Injury Tolerance (Damage Reduction). It is practiced by the opportune moment. Kick. whether through super. Power Blow. They are also skilled at using their superior movement abilities to place themselves in 3 points good ambush positions. Drop. Such stories make claims that masters leaping attacks at the start of a jump. or other means. rather than just the finish. Enhanced Move (Air).

Victory student turns on him and attacks. A Winged Victory student is constantly maneuvering for an advantage. Flying. however. Winged Victory is a style designed for those who fly under Techniques: Aerial Sweep (Karate)*. blow quickly. Skills: Axe/Mace. Evaluates. Attributes: Increased HT. rendering the stylist invisible. With a able to be able to increase the force of their blows beyond their foe of equal facility in the air. Tactics. Practitioners of Students of the Winged Victory style really have no favored this style are rarely in a position to use the Evaluate maneuver. to wear down the foe while avoiding any serious blows. If pos- sible. simple Attacks are the tactic of normal limits. Finally. the foes’ movements – even when in pitch blackness or invisible. their own power with wings. Opponents with better maneuverability encourage a Winged Victory student to use Defensive Attacks. practioners usu. a because they leave the stylists too open to a counterattack that Winged Victory practioner opts to stay close in. practitioners take a hit-and-run approach. Evade. since it adversary into tight situations where the maneuverability hand- allows a Winged Mount Combat stylist better odds of getting in icap is an ever greater disadvantage. this style makes heavy use of the Aerial Sweep technique. attempting Skills: Stealth. whereupon the Winged between them. 6 points Skills: Aerobatics. Winged Victory stylists prefer to take a balanced approach Perks: Neck Control. either large or small. Against other mounted aerial opponents. the enemy’s mechanism of flying is targeted. combat maneuver. They have no real stories about strange combat choice. however. it also permits them to always put themselves in the spot Winged Victory their enemy isn’t looking. Targeted Attack (Karate Punch/Wing). It teaches various strikes for Precognitive Parry. ing against a less-agile enemy. Spear. Broadsword. the start of combat to use their tactical skill to evaluate the attempting to Evaluate for the maximum possible bonus to opponent and the situation. Wing Buffet*. they try to take a turn or two at in the rare cases where they are (a close chase. trusting to his can knock them from the saddle. emphasizes the war of maneuver and endurance.Mount Combat stylist will usually attempt to open the distance tion reduces his combat effectiveness. Cinematic Skills: Blind Fighting. when dealing with a foe who is both more maneu- ally rely on the Committed Attack (Strong) option if they are verable and faster. fighting another opponent with a similar level of maneuver. PYRAMID MAGAZINE 19 DECEMBER 2009 . and Waits. try- Cinematic Skills: Power Blow. particularly the stop thrust option. into an endurance contest – if they can’t fly better. Increased FP. When Secondary Characteristics: Increased Air Move. sible. Invisibility Art. skilled in using the terrain. Claims of cinematic feats by masters of this style abound. for example). Targeted Attack (Lance Thrust/Wings). Wrench Wing. Hands-Free the foe or reduce his flying ability enough to put him in a dif- Riding. Optional Traits most are tactical experts. This is an unarmed style. When fighting a winged foe. the Wait maneu. but at the time. effective arc of the enemy counterattack. Elbow Strike. Skills: Lance. a practitioner of Targeted Attack (Spear Thrust/Wings). Technique Mastery (Staying crashing into an obstacle or the ground. and trying to force his ver is preferred. and applying their tactical mastery to anticipate Advantages: Combat Reflexes. avoiding attacks while trying to land a decisive blow to destroy Techniques: Cavalry Training. Seated). even extends to allowing them to parry normally unparryable attacks. ability. nent’s weaknesses. When an aerial opponent is superior agility to enable him to attack while staying out of the obviously coming in for an attack of his own. an attack before the opponent moves past him. then turn and make an attack pass. Push. Advantages: Combat Reflexes. teaches students to outfly the Their legendary ability to predict what the opponent is doing Techniques: Mounted Shooting. ing to disrupt the enemy’s movement and hopefully send him Perks: Form Mastery (Spear). The ground-based versions all rely on controlling an enemy’s If you don’t have the GURPS Martial Arts Techniques Cheat-Sheet. trips. All-Out and Committed Attacks Cinematic masters of Winged Mount Combat are said to be take advantage of the foe’s inability to easily respond. All-Out Attacks are not favored. Quick Mount. both in maneuverabil. the oppo. Staying Seated. Wrestling. Shield. If at all possible. NEW TECHNIQUES able opponents. Against more maneuver. stylists prefer to go to ground. However. avoiding the sacrifice of either offense or defense. Riding (Appropriate Mount Specialty). they’ll at and throws – work differently or not at all in aerial combat. they rely on whatever tactics work the best since they are usually too far from their opponent to do so. Lasso. Timed Defense (Karate). you need it! It’s free from e23. ity and endurance. specializing neither in offense or defense. Karate. Cinematic Techniques: Lethal Strike. trying to deliver the hoped-for fight-ending to hide and ambush the opponent at the first opportunity. quick attacks and grapples for close fighting. and plan accordingly. seeking a place on the offensive. and to cripple the foe’s ability to fly if pos. When fight- ensure a solid hit is a common strategy.sjgames. Enhanced Move (Air). techniques. Combat Riding. The enemy is goaded into chasing until exhaus. when fighting an enemy with poorer maneuverability. Rapid Retraction (Punches). Tales include stylists using wing buffets to shove their opponents Optional Traits into the terrain. least fly longer. ferent category. in an attempt to bring him crashing down. Sure- to battle. This style Footed (Windy). Winged Victory stylists prefer to turn the fight Several standard techniques – specifically sweeps. The style Exotic Hand Strike. and other factors whenever possible.

cannot exceed Aerobatics+6. To recover control. for more details). on controlling the foe’s momentum. while maintaining the same amount of horizontal move- bat skill. ABOUT THE AUTHOR Aerial Trip Kelly Pedersen lives and works in Saskatoon. and often rely on manipu. See the Aerobatic tim’s method of flight is subject to maneuverability restric. he must roll against DX or Aerobatics each turn (see the Aerobatic Recovery technique. against Wing Buffet to hit. Every turn that a thrown enemy fails to recover to A Wing Buffet is a strike with one of your wings. Aerobatic Recovery below. Default: Prerequisite skill-4. regain control takes your full turn. tions that would not permit staying aloft under such conditions. If the vic. unless he was thrown on a rising tra. below. He feels that writing for Pyramid is a good Prerequisite: Judo or Wrestling. an lating his wings (or whatever mechanism he uses to keep aloft). opponent moves in any direction you choose (including verti- cally). in the same direction. and throw – as well as loses control of his flight. cannot exceed Judo skill. you can Trip than the opponent landing prone if he fails to resist an Aerial an enemy moving past you if you have a free hand. If example. Aerial Throw Aerobatic Recovery allows you to recover control of your flight after losing it. standard training in these techniques do not work out of control. but he remains committed PYRAMID MAGAZINE 20 DECEMBER 2009 . you roll against DX-4 or Aerobatics+2. if you throw someone so that he moves two yards the DX roll fails. The only excep- Hard tion to this rule is if he was climbing before losing control. If the opponent’s method of flight is subject to An Aerial Sweep is designed to disrupt an enemy’s flight pat. Canada. An Aerial Trip functions like the Trip technique. he must roll some other useful techniques – are presented below. he immediately loses control of his flight and stops any need to use your foot. forcing him to continue on the same course but As a result. for more details. (see the Aerobatic Recovery technique. However. then he begins to fall. It functions identically. You will con- up and six yards along on the first turn. tion originally thrown. An Aerial Throw is the mid-air equivalent to the standard If you have points in this technique. range of game systems and styles. you do not Sweep. staying aloft when stopped. An attempt to Default: Judo-1.balance on his legs – an issue that becomes rather moot in An Aerial Trip allows you to use a foe’s own momentum midair where the feet are not likely supporting anything at all. Roll against DX after you traveled while keeping the horizontal distance the same. above. for more details). As long as he is Aerial Sweep uncontrolled. Roll control. he continues to move the same distance in the direc. then. ment. gaming sessions. the thrown opponent temporarily loses Defaults: Brawling or Karate-4. an Aerobatics roll to regain control. maneuverability restrictions that would not permit staying tern. Rather than falling prone. If the opponent’s method of flight is Average subject to maneuverability restrictions that would not permit Default: Aerobatics+2. where he continues to search for a job that will both pay for Hard gaming books and allow him enough free time to participate in Default: Prerequisite skill Parry-2. An Aerial Sweep functions aloft when stopped. with the following exceptions. a successfully thrown control of your flight. In addition. until you can make yard up and six yards along. with the following exception: Rather Since an Aerial Trip does not depend on feet. He enjoys a wide Parry. halve the upward distance dangerous – you risk losing control. Prerequisite: Aerobatics. Normally when you need to recover con- Hard trol. ment. he continues to move in the same direction and speed as the last turn before he was tripped. control of his flight. like the Sweep technique. cannot exceed prerequisite step toward fulfilling both of these goals. control at the end of your turn. against DX or Aerobatics each turn (see the Aerobatic Recovery technique. against him. Every uncontrolled turn after the first. hopefully sending him falling. cannot exceed prerequisite skill. halve the upward move- Prerequisite: Appropriate Melee Weapon or unarmed com. whether you succeed or fail. and he must roll against DX or Prerequisites: Brawling or Karate. below. for a number of yards equal to half the distance he Wing Buffet moved in the turn before he was thrown (minimum one Hard yard). you recover Prerequisite: Judo. A successful strike does thr damage. you can roll against Judo Throw. Recovery technique. opponent who has been successfully Aerially Tripped simply The aerial versions of the sweep. on the second turn they will move another one ing on the last turn before you lost control. Each turn after the first. forward movement. The equivalent techniques depend regain control. with the following your Aerobatic Recovery level instead of Aerobatics to regain exception: Rather than landing prone. To recover control. For attempt a Wing Buffet attack. you lose control of your flight. hopefully to crash into something before he can when fighting a flying foe. If you succeed. using your wings in this manner while in flight is jectory. then he begins to fall. trip. he begins to fall instead. cannot exceed prerequi- Aerobatics on his next and each subsequent turn to recover site skill. for more details). if he does not tinue moving in the same direction and speed you were mov- regain control.

For easier shuffling. 3 No Set-Up. See also Kn falling draw. 23) define what is different about the get to figure out how they want to use any of these conditions. each with nine cards. Unfortunately. across a tournament. The fighters Variables cards (p. The ground covering isn’t desirable or doesn’t make sense (for example. If using Complications. “Death” in is loose. print out the two pages on different-col. although – again – the GM should use this as a guide. plunging half the barn into shadow. The GM rolls on the table above and gets “1 Set-Up. decide when they will occur – espe- cially if using more than one. each page on its own GM to think creatively . Unless the GM knows the format of the tournament ahead of During the match. he might draw one to use as : T a a Complication only if it seems like the fight is getting stale. Alternatively. card and four copies of each of the other eight cards on p. 2 Complications rules on sand in the eyes. at least one of these cards should be drawn – although decides that one of the lanterns used to light the event has two of the results require the drawing of additional cards. INSTANT TOURNAMENT Martial-arts games often revolve around tournaments of If desired. 1 Complication. . 2 Complications Complication: Sand or grit is intro- 4 1 Set-Up. 76. the fighters might use it to his advantage later. (For easier sorting. penalt ility rules o 1d Variables see vis ib on Ground 1 No Set-Up. no Complications Set-Up: The fighting area contains sand or grit. It’s s s i v e ly entirely possible that a tournament can happen without any Exce enue er Knocko Variables of any sort. fighters can presumably plan accordingly and know what they’re getting into. he draws Excessively Dark Venue. no Complications duced to the area. Une ies of 0 Sand/Grit -5 to -1 n p. the GM decides it won’t cause any problems for now. p. . the GM should ignore it or draw another card.) The heroes are in a remote farming village when they come You should end up with two decks. with a little straw combined with some dirt and sand. allow- various sorts. 22. such as “To Knockout” and “First Blood. ing the GM to “stack the deck” with more likely results – for and it’s not always possible to come up with interesting ones at example. repurposed for this event. what is supposed to be a friendly gathering of martial artists). He time. or the GM might draw one before the V ut Darhke fighting area is dknocThkede oufigt. HT each turn to avoid Comp mer or eve f lighun incns t co cio o. which can reduce stability 2 No Set-Up. Set-Up d. either print out on cardstock or glue the paper sheets on cardboard before cutting them out.” He draws Knockout from the Terms Terms cards (p. fighting experience. and Sand/Grit on Ground as a Set-Up. That’s where the Instant Tournament cards might make a deck consisting of only one copy of the Death come in handy. but one of redraw or remove the card before drawing in the first place. B394. g are meon fightin ckSo V xpecte tion: The itchARIABLES e with zero or Here is a possible table to determine how many cards to a n e -bla st! roll vs mu fewer HP left th lica np urs . not a straitjacket. Obviously.ning. multiple sets of cards can be printed out. VARIA T ERMS It’s up to the GM how he wants to use these cards. if any results are determined that don’t make sense. 1 Complication See GURPS Martial Arts. He decides the fight will be. SETUP seemingly incongruous or unusual results might challenge the Print out the cards on pp. many tournaments are different. burned out. if death matches are much rarer than other continues until someone is ark start of the match. e s d im s s o A ls n). or the fighters maneu- ver to a portion where there is sand/grit. Each card contains two possibilities. for 6 1 Set-Up. 22) define what the fight-ending conditions deck. The Complication option defines a BLES change in conditions that takes place during the fight. 5 1 Set-Up. ockdown and becom xpected lo (GM’s optiSt oun line. sheet.” PYRAMID MAGAZINE 21 DECEMBER 2009 . us. p. he a moment’s notice. 1 Complication and provide dirty-fighting opportunities. A good guideline is “whenever the fight is getting repetitive or there’s a lull in the action. 22-23.” If a result will be in a barn. However. B4 20. EXAMPLE ored paper or cardstock. The Set-Up option defines what the fighting area is like ahead of time.

B420): After each matic at -5¥HP. at -1 380) and Death (p. “To Knockout. All rights reserved. A number of combatants are expected area is “out. but it could apply to mine if that condition applies to one just one (say. deter. the victim is bleeding. scious. B378. p. blood. B423). disarmed. 138) You may copy or print this page for personal use only. If no weapons are being used. HT each turn to avoid falling unconscious. Injuries of at least 1 HP from cutting. TERMS TERMS TERMS First Fall First Touch Knockout The first fighter to touch the floor The fight lasts until one person makes The fight continues until someone is with something other than his feet loses. an immediate HT roll to avoid dying. that condi- to work together. p. B400-401. it does damage or not). TERMS TERMS TERMS Last in Teams Full Brawl the Ring (Draw Again) (Draw Again) Any fighter forced out of the fighting Rather than a one-on-one match.” or draw a different con. or one team is knocked out? . until one combatant dies). To determine if other injuries draw 2¥HP. a successful attack (regardless of whether knocked out. Likely possibilities are either only one no regard for “teams. B420. Copyright © 2009 Steve Jackson Games Incorporated. Death is auto. and -4¥HP. See Effects of Injury (p. or piercing attacks always Another HT roll is needed at . fighter or all fighters – for example. -3¥HP. to fight each other at the same time. ignoring Full Brawl. See also Knockdown and Stunning. dition. Anyone at full negative HP must make See Striking at Weapons. per 5 HP lost. On a failure. the victim makes a HT roll. treat as impaling.” fighter at a time (“tagging” to swap out to Draw again to determine the victory a partner) or both fighters are permitted condition. for example). tion probably applies to all fighters (until Draw again to determine the victory everyone is knocked down or uncon- condition. TERMS TERMS TERMS Death Disarmament First Blood The fight continues until someone The fight continues until someone is The fight continues until the victor dies. with one person remains. B injury. use Bleeding (p. p. ignoring Teams.” The fight lasts until only fights are two-on-two (or perhaps more). See also Severe Bleeding (GURPS Martial Arts. bleed. must roll vs. Rules for knockback are on p. B420. does a Teams fight to “Knockout” mean until one person is knocked out. Someone with zero or fewer HP left rules for knockdown are on p. draws blood on his opponent.

among raging fires. p. B434. or icy. etc. 76. Fighting penalized. Also Rules for flame are on p. 1 per second as eyes adjust. or the fighters maneu. before Available Venue midnight. (Whether or not this is known or notice- ous pebbles. etc. for careful footing. or icy has been introduced to the maneuver to an area where there are Effect: Poor footing causes a -2 penalty venue (water. B433-434. or the fighters ver to a portion where there is sand/grit. dangling from a floating log. in the center of the ring. though Night Vision will help much colder or hotter than expected while facing a bright light incurs penal. from -5 to -10. unexpected penalty. weapon should not obviously favor one becomes unstable or smaller! (Supports Effect: Remember that each turn competitor over the other. etc. etc. a resolved in a certain time (match organ. marbles. reduces maneuverability. in some fashion (on a swaying bridge. izer is getting bored. other actions to attack and -1 to defend due to the need sand in the eyes.) rocks or glass.) Set-Up: A weapon is available but not Set-Up: The fighting area is unstable Complication: The match must be immediately accessible inside the fight. B394).). B430. Effect: When using battle maps. etc. offset this. Vision) to avoid blindness for seconds otherwise. wet. A weapon closed off or hazardous. authorities are rope. ties of -5 to -9 (GM's option). blood!. than expected. Effect: For a sudden. for rules on to attack and -1 to defend. jagged rocks. . Complication: Sand or grit is intro. to attack and -1 to defend. Also. Set-Up: The fighting area contains vari.). Rules see Visibility (p. Complication: Something slick. everyone is How much preparation the fighters have flare. see Effect: Poor footing causes a -2 penalty Effect: Fighters with bare feet are at -2 GURPS Martial Arts.). beneath the floor are collapsing. B394) – is up to the GM. previ- “300 turns”! sized icicle breaks loose. Effect: The GM sets the new visibility a snowstorm. all vision and combat rolls are Complication: The temperature gets equal to the margin of failure. etc. ing area (atop a pillar. Protected Vision adjust instantly. reduced by storm. (roof is ripped off of arena during a You may copy or print this page for personal use only. etc. fire equals one second. At -10. Change Complication: The fighting area has Complication: The fighting area Set-Up: The temperature is much become much brighter. don’t set a time Complication: A weapon or weapon. slip- introduced to the area. Copyright © 2009 Steve Jackson Games Incorporated. VARIABLES VARIABLES VARIABLES Hard. High Pain Threshold or DR 1 on the feet avoids this.). VARIABLES VARIABLES VARIABLES Time Limit Weapon Unstable Set-Up: The match must be concluded by a certain time (30 seconds. for heat are on p. may be similarly penalized (GM's option). All rights reserved. which can reduce stability Set-Up: The fighting area is slippery. pery. loose glass. and provide dirty-fighting opportunities. making footing treacherous. etc. fighters roll HT (+5 for Protected effectively blind – see Visibility (p. VARIABLES VARIABLES VARIABLES Excessively Excessively Extreme Bright Venue Dark Venue Temperature Set-Up: The fighting area is much Set-Up: The fighting area is darker brighter than normal light. air conditioning breaks. The Complication: The fighting area approaching. etc. a katana is ously available areas might become tossed into the ring. Anyone thrown to the ground takes an extra point of damage. momentarily or becomes dimmer or even pitch-black! colder or hotter than “normal” – battle in for the duration. those with Effect: Rules for cold are on p. Sand/Grit Slick or Unstable on Ground Icy Area Ground Set-Up: The fighting area contains sand or grit.) Complication: Rocks or glass are duced to the area.) limit of “five minutes” unless you mean like object becomes available (a sword.). might be given to the underdog (to make a more exciting fight) or to the favorite (to end a match quickly). able is up to the GM. etc.

and the spider armies of the One Who Wears No Mask would give them time to raise enough to feed themselves. That time is now. he heard a distant rumbling. There are some things man was not meant But one season. The spirits of the land. weary of being laid waste to year after year. burned fields. with them. long before the first Emperor In the confusion. dragging food and victims back master. And he required much. ancient cities in the mountains. Thus the army went further and warning. a small and humble group of men made their to know. To get there. Mask laughed at them. And the Demon King of All Spiders howled in anger to the horrible fury and hunger of the armies of the One Who and rained punishment down upon his foolish servant. This story has been told. he commanded an endless Emperor. who was always hungry. Could he not disease. to even write the word “Leng” is to invite the attention came further south each and every year. Who were they to challenge his in time and space. saying that they were fools to ask such a Those creatures left behind in the cosmic shift were stranded question of the likes of him. and the men had bidding him to return when the stars are right once more. caused the flat ground The Groom of the Spider Princess gives a small group of to become a wide and tall range of mountains that no army somewhat-experienced wuxia fighters the chance to be witness could cross. it was a wise request. THE GROOM OF THE SPIDER PRINCESS BY J. in ancient times. and no one hero could stand against. until nothing remained of the North but If the tale is true. and many challenges that no battle could solve. From his Dread Monastery. to plead for mercy on behalf of the people. that the Mandate of Heaven is a sword with two edges. there resided the One Who Wears No The mountains to the north are a reminder to all. This went on for able. PYRAMID MAGAZINE 24 DECEMBER 2009 . come with righteousness on their side. whose Wears No Mask. Their names are lost. without laying waste to the land and its people. degenerate things with horror as the land itself was raised up against him. father to son. some places he was not meant to see. many battles. And the burning Indeed. they sought audience with the One Who Wears through the dark and unexplored parts of the cosmos like a No Mask. through endless gen- So the people also went hungry. none now dare speak of. All Spiders. haughtiness had now cost him everything. the men left the Dread Monastery and trav- received the Mandate of Heaven. instead of every one? This China. practiced every day. even to the mighty and vast armies of the Emperor. there was a darkness upon the eled home safely. it was “contracted” by the North of demand tribute every three seasons. and his scuttled over the mountains. becoming a part of the mythology of the people. filled with the unburied dead. This went on for many years. they faced many dangers. They either settled in the mountains – carv- authority? Who were they to expect mercy? He should feed them ing vast and horrible cities deep within them – or wandered fur- to his master for even daring such an outrage! ther inland. of unpleased spirits. Unfortunately. EDWARD TREMLETT They say that. when a humble stranger intervenes on behalf In the lands far to the north. after a fashion. GURPS Dungeon Fantasy 5: Allies might prove useful for cinematic animal companions. but the One Who Wears No Leng moved away once again. for they could not raise erations in the North of China. long ago. for he served the Demon King of to bend like a reed in the wind. and then stopped as Indeed. many generations. and when lands. in a vast and blasted plateau of righteousness. then build animals for each character. even the Mask. As it stands as both parable and enough food to feed themselves. The dread Plateau of Leng is constantly in motion – shifting When they arrived. In But as he laughed. Campaign idea: Each PC has a pet companion! Build PCs as normal. army of creatures to come and take what he required from the One must know both when to be as inflexible as iron. and watched those titanic. but their wisdom is still land that no fire could rout. Once. Heaven had taken notice of the people’s plight. none care to speculate on it for long. way to the Dread Monastery. it is true. so too does the mountain range stand tall and impass- further in to acquire enough to feed their master. For still perform abominable rites to the Demon King of All Spiders.

they are charged with pursuing his abductors and finding a way to stop these incursions from happening again. Wuxia Meets Lovecraft Wuxia are tales of chivalrous Chinese martial artists who Armed with ancient knowledge and their budding defend morality and goodness. dancing. but stacked squarely against us. and no one dares to ask. meanwhile. with the governor of Xinjiang and many of his min- which he recently had enlarged and refurbished at no small cost. long ago. the GM might play out a test round using the PCs’ stats and his major NPCs. the less they can be States. The harvest is a good one this year. one can almost hear a song. PYRAMID MAGAZINE 25 DECEMBER 2009 . both because of it and because of the upcoming See Considered Configurations (p. five li (about 1. the characters must trek though the dangerous order in the world. Even evil and Men to reach the strange Plateau of Leng. from which all Earthly order descends. The weather mountain range.” but is truly overseen by the nearby small city of U NWANTED UESTS G .P. as well as increase the standing of the family of the B EAUTIFUL ASTURES P . they seek to uphold the Mandate valleys and forests to the northern mountains. It’s rec. The only son of Urumqi’s governor is to be mar- of key opponents. Qin: The Warring physical darkness. Perhaps the heroes are wandering through has been unpredictable lately. The further the heroes go. No one will say any more than that. 32) for general capabilities celebration. clammy coldness to the skin. low hisses and the forms who retired. Lovecraft’s writings. It is not a song that makes one feel at ease. What at first appears games based in a wuxia setting. the people are happy. Can they remain as they were after leaving the world as they enced or created at mid-level. If possible. and less powerful characters can be given objects of power by vari. whom no mere mortal may humanity. half-human creatures – Surely no one could have asked for a better day to put these tend to keep the curious at home. portray a bleak. Xinjiang. thatched-roof houses overlooking farmers’ fields T ERRIBLE ATTLE B and livestock pens. has been observed in the Northern Mountains. Many speak of the pairing as a true love match as well. they longer have the Mandate of Heaven on their side? The dichotomy between these two. late at night. The governor lives in a stone mansion in the In spite of the dire portents. schedule. governor of Urumqi. Present when his creatures kidnap the groom from a politically important wedding. two souls together in matrimony! Knowledge of the PCs’ styles. in the mountains – peopled by strange. It could be used with to be a rescue operation turns into a trip into physical and meta- GURPS Martial Arts. with strange and sudden waves of after their last adventure. most farming village on the way to the massive northern There are other signs of trouble on the horizon. The weather is nothing between the village and the Northern Mountains beautiful. and can be called to cross it and get to the Dread Monastery in time to account by the righteous if they lose their way. Feng Shui. but some say that the traditional auguries H O APPY CCASIONS proved to be muddled. and unusual abilities is the first step in designing appropriate challenges. to that village for reasons he does banging and clanging of metal on metal. and the people are in a ous NPCs to even the odds in their favor. happy mood. or else unfavorable for some uncertain The story starts in the large village of Urumqi. and in which traveling through the perilous undercity of the Spider all things have a role to play and a master to serve. and no one starts any fights or except ancient forests and deep ravines. the wedding goes according to center. so they can grow in time knew it? with the escalating challenges of the campaign. and most of the universe’s laws are not only Can they carry out their mission once they realize incomprehensible to our minds. sung teacher who resides in Urumqi – a venerable master of many far and away. . the northern. often-mindless gods who care little for King of All Spiders. but there’s really men and the entire garrison of soldiers. At their best. and the less their previous understanding matters. Urumqi – “beautiful pasture” in the language of the people who once lived here – is home to perhaps 500 people. They may also be paying respects to the nameless martial-arts when the wind shifts just so. . close to the largest shrine to the Buddha in the village. opposite viewpoints is This campaign is intended for use with martial -arts what fuels The Groom of the Spider Princess. along with a few police- There is a token wall around the village. ried to the daughter of one of Xinjiang’s minor ministers – a strategic marriage that will strengthen the ties between city and village. Tales of a cursed city quarrels – even when the drinking. It seems to be made with deep. not wish to say . aid them in paying their annual just an unsettling. or they have been asked by friends or dark clouds and high winds from the north that bring no rain – family to help with the harvest. techniques. or take some part in the marriage of the governor’s son. uncaring Princess? How will they bargain with the Demon universe overseen by titanic. among others. and singing starts. More powerful characters can be accommodated by giving their adversaries more powers or magical weapons. isters visiting for the joyous occasion. reason. It has a “governor.5 miles) away. before of Heaven. Will they malicious gods must recognize the Mandate. Our values and beliefs have no meaning outside what we destroy? choose to give them. Weapons of the Gods. The village consists of many small. ommended that the heroes be either somewhat-experi. Silent lightning taxes. sure of. stop the groom’s forced wedding to the Spider H. seeking to maintain some sense of skills.

heroes. ordering his men to fall back to the governor’s mansion.” Those who know the martial arts master or mimics fire. and spir- think to get to cover. though. Alternatively. getting louder and louder as it approaches. Following that is a horde of perhaps 20 mounted soldiers RESPONSIBILITY the likes of which no sane eyes have seen for ages. and the grieving.” he This battle may seem hopeless.) and trampled under. uneven numbers of multiple arms swinging cruel for he begins to tell the story of the One Who Wears No Mask. each of the heroes hears of the many fires that burn. “One must know both to counterattack and protect the governor. giant. nents. and indeed wilt and flee when a voice whispered in his ear: “Be ready. the silken webs and bite them into a poisoned stupor. Along with the wind comes top of the situation when the walls and ceiling are so easily that horrible.” it says. Unfortunately. It is the son of the Governor of ders. dark purple cloudlets that swiftly envelop them in As soon as the last spider-rider vanishes. trailing the At first. and the small group of humble men that brought the distended backsides that spew webbing behind them. swiftly which leaps through the windows and smashes its way from approaching the village from the north and blocking the view room to room. swift. no matter where they may be standing. write the word “Leng” in the dust scabbed faces boiling with asymmetrical arrangements of at his feet. . The governor’s mansion isn’t much of a barrier to the horde. no one seems to be in charge. or if envy you this path. people think it’s raining. it will allow no one within it to attack those outside: Even in Then the promised darkness comes. and the sun comes back again – if only to They are the lucky ones. Someone must teach them humility. This warning gives them a chance to prepare herd survivors into. one who once lived here: “We’re coming down – we’re coming seemingly effortless strike at a time. but take heart in the fact that you are not they just throw themselves into the fight to seek out the boss. interlinking plates of the horror they released in the name of the Demon King of All armor that grow right out of their diseased skin. the Spider down for you. to remind these NPCs the heroes know or have befriended die instead. In reply. At the worst moment of the battle the martial-arts master It is a song sung in the language of the ancient people appears from nowhere. This lets them take unreal levels of damage . Mounted on Of course. dark-purple spiders are men who demand answers. Those poor souls quickly fall.” Men turn about and head back the way they came. which makes it the only truly safe place to compelling. particular aloft in victory. None dare put a hand on him for sacrilege. no time to scream or run before being set upon by the follow- ing swarm of hideously large and swift spiders – the size of large dogs – that quickly bite such poor souls before wrapping WISE WORDS. to fend off if they seek to protect the wedding party – especially today. are allowed to return. wind dies down. the master will grab a stick and.) Campaign idea: The heroes are enchanted as defenders of the land – each person saved directly by the heroes bestows another temporary Hit Point. seem the worst parts of man and arachnid: black. the face of a slaughter this is still a place of peace. PYRAMID MAGAZINE 26 DECEMBER 2009 . and so they have clearly lost their way. I do not the groom – than if they try to protect ordinary people. Nor will you be the last. one or more The wheel of ages has not turned around to the time when they heroes might be knocked down or dazed by hurried oppo. instead of killed. once again. Some of those who yet stand have shine upon the dying. in the wind. but the GM should take continues. clanging song. “I tell you now that the ancient darkness has returned. but only so long as they keep protecting people. (Oddly. a shadow moves along with the wind. At some point during the height of the celebration. when It soon becomes obvious that the spiders are staying clear just about everyone is swept up in joy. any surviving authority figures are outraged and swift-moving. swords and brandishing small shields. with bold. . They will have twice the amount of enemies chosen you for this task. It is why I have waited here all these seasons. holding one body in that the shadow was a massive cloud of tiny ballooning spi. black eyes.and purple. the priest who maintains themselves or try and warn others. edge of the crowd feel their skin begin to crawl. however. He begins to whittle the odds down. and the captain soon calls it. judgment of Heaven upon him. the clouds part. but now broken through by mounted assailants. and those who do not still find it to be very of the Buddha. and cold wind comes.” How many adversaries they get to fight depends on what He then points to each adventurer in turn: “The spirits have they choose to do. Let with silent lightning: “It is time. bloated. They realize A clutch of enemies brings up the rear. and a horrible. the serious wounds on their behalf. GREAT them in webs. None of the enemy is approaching the shrine recognize his voice. unafraid strokes. but it is soon clear when to be as inflexible as iron. and when to bend like a reed that this enemy has them outnumbered and overwhelmed. the first to have walked it.” it is as though he is speaking directly to all the Retreat is the only sane option. day sky. This time. Those on the northern web-wrapped bodies of villagers behind them as they go. still crackling care not to seriously injure or kill any heroes at this point. (This is a good time to share Any who stand in the way of these Spider Men are cut down the introductory story with the players. “for the ancient threatened with fire or any technique or power that generates darkness is coming. covered in ited away faster than the eye can track. sky. Any heroes there are hard-pressed to keep on of the sun. now slathering themselves upon villagers who didn’t Urumqi – screaming for help as he’s wrapped in silk. It is why you were brought here. and mountains. pointing to the Northern Mountains. Clouds cover the late. the wounded. and large and Spiders. The soldiers and policemen do their best When he concludes the tale with. only half-heard before. Not long after. crawling. taking spirits that the Mandate of Heaven weighs heavily upon them.

and will eggs on the verge of hatching. on that night. with “My place is here. as they leave a gruesome mess behind. or perhaps a creature of duty whose master has abandoned rightness. one word at a time? For three of those five days on horseback. other wandering and stranger the landscape becomes. strange creatures and Those treated improperly may leave in a huff or impart dark monsters stirred out of their holes by the resurgence some magical humiliation upon the rude that last until of Leng. along with a storm or two of ballooning spiderlings. though they will be in the form of riddles and counter-questions. rival martial artists. They may encounter gangs of bandits or an escaped villain at It is my path to remain here. This is not the time for him to return. unless the adventurers fought within the dark of the moon for his rituals. PYRAMID MAGAZINE 27 DECEMBER 2009 . with the occasional small forest to go through or around. but call it to rightness. long ago. The only direct advice What must we do? he will give is “Consider the spider. Any authority figures yet remaining was taken for a reason. but the way gets harder as they go further in. again. they can be given them now. they may attack unsettlingly large black-and-purple spiders scuttling to and fro. bandits and murderers. The groom of this wedding it during the battle.” tions on where to find the special items. police. but wear to hoofed creatures. add a fruit cart. may leave the characters alone – or not. the heroes can You will find the answer as you seek the answer. Consider it well. long-lost temple between Urumqi and the mountains? Rightness? Or maybe a spirit holds them in safekeeping. Unkind spirits. and master. involved – or make the players feel like their characters have vince the Demon King of All Spiders.” sometimes tossed aside like trash. and must be per- “He has lost his way. But if the GM wants to make the quest a little more call him to rightness once more. above. Blessings from the priests of the When in doubt. Stations Along the Way: Mountains The atmosphere of the first leg of the journey is one of a pleased at the current state of things. The closer they get to the Northern Mountains. he may yet give them. and the GM should stress how much the evil. but NORTH TO THE MOUNTAINS cannot disobey. Perhaps they lie in a ruined.” The first leg of the journey should take the PCs 10 days total. If the characters need to be fortified with special weapons where the spirits of the earth confined it long. Drained bodies wrapped in webs are left by the How can we be victorious against a demon king? side of road – sometimes rudely webbed to rocks or trees. as they are loaded with The characters have only this night to prepare. treated properly. you must con. This is the action of an insane monster. and I must see to it that they go no further than this place. They can What can we do against that? ride horses for five days before the path becomes impassable “What does the rain do against the mighty stone. Failing that. now.” their quest. “But you must hurry. See also Stations Along the “With luck. and the mercy of the Buddha. They may also encounter kind spirits upset by the incursion of Leng’s armies has warped the landscape. or a small gift before vanishing. “Consider the spider. know. they wouldn’t be able to take their horses it away slowly. You or magical items.” “You must go to the plateau beyond those mountains.” Tracking the army isn’t difficult. who no mortal man may earned something – the master can instead give them instruc- fight and survive. You must discover which he is. receive whatever they need. one drop at a time? What does the Buddha do through the mountain peaks. swarms of mid-sized spiders. possibly by the must seek an audience with the One Who Wears No Mask. Kind spirits treated properly usu- Enemies along the way to the mountains include wild ally offer advice. Consider it well. and no doubt it will be put into motion begrudgingly give them whatever weapons they may ask for. the deadlier Possible allies include soldiers. healing. and small groups of Spider Men What might happen to the groom? left behind to throw off pursuers. suaded to let them go? Nor is this the action of a being in balance with the Mandate of Heaven. If they attacked once. but only if you travel on the well-trod paths the soldiers of Xinjiang follow follow the right path. anyway. if steadily slowing march into the heart of unknown darkness.” this point. The Demon King of All Spiders favors shrine are also available. The PCs are going “off martial artists. we will never Way: Mountains. incursion of the plateau. and unkind spirits who are they make amends. perhaps twenty days from now.” through the scrub and rolling hills. animals. Care must be taken while burying or cremating these bodies. and bandits who feel threatened by the new the map” here. against the world. There seem to be a lot of spi- Can the master come with us? derwebs in these forests – large webs cover entire trees. It is yours to go forward. There is truly no If the heroes seek additional answers from the master about time to lose.

there’s still the entirety progress is being watched by something worse than anything of the city behind the spiders to consider! they’ve yet encountered. The script is untranslatable to humans. and the creepy structure and the mountains. extra details are mysteries they will have to ponder. A dimmer switch can be a good way to set the mood as this adventure progresses. ziggurat-like structure has appeared. and raise their hands in what appears to be panic and lamentation. Tying the horses the seventh. judging not only What the Spider Men Said The bas-relief tunnel carvings of the Spider Men are in series of eights: from tracks and bodies left at the forest’s eight pictures line the walls. producing more Spider Men to join in the invasion. with a man coupling with the androgynous On the fifth day. army after days of picking off small groups at a time. large spiders. and the spider-thing is producing an egg from which rises an ders lurk here. but getting should avoid making too much of a ruckus sneaking through. things that loosely mirror the spiderweb-like shape of the tination becomes horribly clear. the forest gives way to human figure. no amount of waiting will While it might seem a satisfying thing to attack an entire produce the villain. . In the eighth. and fusillades of well-placed Every so often. toward the entrance and the center. and every so often. the Spider Men are mat- back the way they came. deep canyon leads up to the mountains. eat the heroes! charges of mounted Spider Men. (This is the One Who Wears No Mask. crumbling After 10 days following the trail of the spider army. huge cloud of ballooning spiderlings rushes killing the men and taking what may be food and victims back over the toward them. another The third has the Spider Men and large spiders over on the left side. but now – on the right of the The way becomes darker and more mountains – a creepy. At times. tation continuing on the left. It’s clear the spider army went back this way. the horse-trod path goes into the deep. which may lead to ways around the enemy. final picture. The fourth has the Spider Men and large spiders continuing in and medium-sized swarms of mid-sized spi. hurried scuttling of itive houses on the left side of it and nothing on the right. story and the Spider Men’s history. is of the same mountains. busy city above. A very large. somewhat bent men around way through threatens to be engulfed by it. or navigated around. On the third day. the clear armored Spider Men. the battle might not be heard by any but the posts. animals. creatures. they seem to be more concentrated corpulent spider. . with a considerable number of Spider Men posted at all occasional patrol. The second picture large. waves of webs. something has happened: a bolt of lightning comes spiders and their victim-strewn webs. with many gaping caves and terraces above it. hungry At the end of that canyon squats a massive carving of a horrific. In over. nothing is on the right side. The cult. tracking the army becomes more diffi. androgynous human figure surrounded by a spidery outline. are no bird calls or animal sounds in the The first picture is of a craggy mountain range. though the details are in dispute. Spider Men are trapped on the left dark chasms that must be leaped. the primitive men are rebuilding here would be a death sentence for the poor their houses on the left. unseen spiders. and the Spider Men are now in the mountain range. but not impossible. The darkness is coming . Its bottom and boarded. However. PYRAMID MAGAZINE 28 DECEMBER 2009 . amount of spidery detritus that litters this The PCs should see the obvious parallel between the village’s ancient area. breaking the ground between walkways overlooking sheer drops. Fortunately. ugly looking spider-thing squats atop the structure. wisdom observing their progress from afar and laughing silently. There but fortunately the Spider Men of old believed in illustrations. and three or more gigantic spi- ders – which may choose to fight one another over the right to enemies into the fray – waves of mid-sized spider swarms. The fifth has the devas- size of a fully grown elephant. they raise the alarm and bring scores more raising an immediate alarm. through it may be a problem. Encounters from here include large swarms of mid-sized spiders. Small groups of Spider Men mountains. with ancient men in prim- forest – only the quiet. this activity. the adventurers will get the feeling that their arrows. which means that the heroes will have to move and sides are completely covered by generations of spiderwebs. houses. More large truly gigantic specimen of spiderhood the spiders rise from the feet and hands of the figure. ancient forest that bor- ders the mountains. THE PIDER S M EN The tunnels beneath the city proper are ancient. rocky ravines crawling with massive In the sixth picture. who investigate the strange noise instead of times. bridged side.) and prudence suggest a different approach. but they’re spooked enough to run building a city within it. The building has uncertain from there. for now. larger groups of Spider Men. which means once the Those who know their legends may recognize this as the party gets past the front – and if they stick to the edges – they entrance to the cursed city of the mountains. carefully to avoid being swamped by a horde of large. along with the occasional. and men. and strange. Careful observation reveals that the canyon’s spiderwebs cover more caves in the sides. thin from the sky on the right side of the picture. If the heroes get through that. with eight lines of script below each telling edge but also the jungle of active webs that what is happening in the pictures. If attacked. The adventur- T C HE ITY OF ers could slip into the edges of the lower city without being seen by the Spider Men guards up top. The spider’s many eyes are guard Even if they do. its des. Given the high ing with humans inside their city. deep. producing somewhat bent Spider Men. covers entire trees along their route. This is where the large spiders are bred A long.

However. This also means that characters who or what disasters befall them. The nature spirits the PCs may have dealt with in the and the heroes feel a definite sense that if they aren’t fast past are not to be found here. giving them a full day to deal with the One Who the undercity. time to either win or lose. That grey spiritual sterility to this land. in the ruins. Indeed. there is a horrid and enough. 28). six arms and two legs. exotic danger hampered by Wears No Mask and his dread master. PYRAMID MAGAZINE 29 DECEMBER 2009 . aid them. Every so often at night. ancient. Men. strange swords and shields. dust. malformed adventurers become aware of three things: The air that rushes things the characters have encountered thus far. the city. . they may not reach their destination in time. as if they were leaving behind the proud. lost civilizations and surreal sights bandits and murderers. and the bottom entrances they see sailing ships flying from the earth to the moon. after fighting through the forest and moon. all of which are rather dusty. . or how slow they think they’re going. Stations along the Way: Leng The narrative now. The Plateau of Leng is crawling with peril – often quite Enemies along the way to the Dread Monastery literally – but it’s also rife with strangely beautiful things. Some rescent gems set in the ceiling. with a symmetrical arrangement of multiple odd and unfamiliar smells. spiced with formed beings. jagged outcroppings of onyx. increased at least two-fold. wind. and they wear light. At night their path Leaving the city of the Spider Men is a lot easier than get. They are well- through the undercity is becoming steadily drier. and longer fingers and toes. If the characters move quickly and carefully. all in the strange language of the shiny fabrics with large turbans. but these Spider Men are not the scrabbling. with crumbling carvings. is one of dreamy. include giant spiders. The weird feeling of being watched they had before has have never seen before. leaving only ter how fast they go. crumbling ruins and possibly something even larger. Each junction chamber is filled of the fresher ones are still semi-clothed. and tered with crumbling. wild animals. permanent stoop to the spine. The seemingly endless landscape is lit. dry table- webs. here. Leng however decayed. turned into vague. small groups of The back side of the mountain has yet another giant spider slightly smaller spiders. and advice to those who teries to unravel. and they won’t leave them. but that’s as far as their charity extends. The wide and tall thoroughfares of the tunnels meet others in with smaller eye-sockets and small horns above the hairline. much less understandable loca. (horizontal rockslides. Numerous even smaller spiders. get through the undercity within a day. the moon wanes more and more each night. Spider Men of Leng: a feathery. yet see no sun in the sky. small groups of Spider Men herding carved into it. phospho. Slithering. There is a strange. Wandering warrior-monks might be called upon to settle disputes in foreign towns when the local magistrate needs assistance. a large junction chambers. water. savage tribes of human nomads. The adventurers tially hidden settlements. They are most likely unwholesome suggestion by the dust. are hardly watched at all. cursive hand with words like The world on this side of the mountains is a flat. and hidden If they take the time to examine the creatures’ webbed lairs. as if its power and per- said. gigantic skeletons turned into cities. The main entrances on the other side are not larger than it should be. the likes of which the characters tion. They should get the sense that there are countless ancient mys. There is no way for the characters to have any hope of land that stretches on until a brown. lurking in webbed pits. By day they will walk in the sweltering heat and THE PLATEAU OF LENG dust of the plateau. patrols of true Spider Men. otherworldly eyes. p. spidery backsides. they can just make out the shapes of an interesting story (see What the Spider Man Said. and feel to their surroundings. These short humans have larger skulls piles by the water. The only allies they will find are humans who live in par- statues that speak riddles in the wind). They carry world they knew for another. large. to encounter: giant spiders in their lairs. The path of the spider army is still clear: The PCs must leave the vale of onyx statues and begin their trek to the Dread Monastery. directions. but much more fancy and grandiose. wet monsters jealously guard some of they discover that the skeletal structures of some of their more the rare oases and leave the noxious remains of their prey in recent victims are wrong. and stone. dusty haze obscures the translating the carvings. will provide food. That will be enough time running out. they may think guarded by hordes of Spider Men. but the intact pictures above them tell view. sonality had been sucked out of it aeons ago. and the occasional undercity patrol. they should and more threatening further away. Off in the distance. and are dimly lit by strange. the characters will arrive at rely on meditation or communion with the land to regain the Dread Monastery on the day before the dark of the power may have difficulty here. is lit by the ever-waning light of a moon that seems much ting into it. Giant spiders the tunnels from the undercity with only a token encounter are everywhere – scuttling behind wind-smoothed boulders and with a large spider or two. whole armor growing from their skin. The heroes can probably slip out of The plateau is a harsh and unforgiving land. impressive onyx statues of Spider Men lining the way into the As they get closer to the other side of the mountains. With discipline comes wisdom . time isn’t always a meaningful thing in Leng: No mat.

but the sight of a number of Leng Men creeping away try to walk away. Hopefully. siders stay for more than a day unless they have some. fetid breath. the Spider Men come from searching for slaves and try to take the adventurers. the PCs will recognize the they hike over a small rising to find a table filled with what tactic from the attack on Urumqi. and patches of curly hair all over their bodies. ancient ruins. When the adventurers are staying over at one of the human tion. who regard the reach the Dread Monastery. That them for fear of attracting their attention. . These nameless people are moral and unbroken. displayed about the ship. the Leng Men whisk away the table and ing in the dusty wind. dog-size spiders runs ahead to disorient the city’s On a day when the heroes are nearly out of food and water. bolts of iridescent cloth. and makes the true Spider Men go from trying to kill them appear to have died in the wreck were left alone. Their inhabitants – gone. boxed text). The party hears their bat- tle song (“We’re coming down – we’re coming down for you. only now they can actually understand it. sitting in comes after. preordained prices. let anyone enter unless they can prove they’re not Leng They also have very long fingers. of course. and brace themselves for what appears to be appetizing food and drink. and Dread Monastery. thankfully long which were built around oases. They do not their penchant for sadistic cruelty. killed. the city comes under attack by a raiding party of 30 this land. The PCs may wish to chase the Leng Men and punish them for their wanton cru- elty. and that is all they need to know. given illiterate and ignorant of their history. otherworldly entities. quickly stripping the skin off an unprotected victim in minutes. They usually want to slightly more distinct with each new day’s journey. the heroes As soon as the PCs make it clear they won’t pay. as does their evil. and unknown. but their thing to buy or sell in their sparse. they know many gods but worship none of someone to hide behind when vengeance comes to call. on sight to offering to take them to the Dread Monastery. They won’t let out. if artfully. and “the of it. Holding They also find the remains of the crew – cruelly butchered these aloft causes anything less than a truly giant spider to back and gruesomely. but they will be long gone by the time that they do. If they attack and defeat the Leng treasure chests filled with strange coins. Then a wave of The Buffet smaller. They wear turbans to hide the horns from the unwary. its sails flutter. like “your unborn child. As they see it. speak of the past and have destroyed all carved records They serve things even more hideous than they. Men. “your liver. chortling. before The humans’ call it “Sarkosa” and will not speak more he is named”. when no longer you need it”. are a number of disguised Leng Men. pathetic markets. they have said. The Wrecked Ship Then the heroes realize what the food is made out of . except to say that even Leng Men are afraid to go face of the lover you no longer wish to see. but no amount of trying on the heroes’ part will give them cause to investigate. and anthropophagy. them.”). growing slightly closer and sions as they travel to the Dread Monastery. vived were tortured. While their order should remain characters as one might regard a long-awaited customer. but only after they agree to their creepy. weak slaves. At the table. most of of human and strange. the days that pass between them are up to the GM. A few days out from the city of the Spider Men. that none may look upon them. true Spider Men astride large spiders. Human habitations are dusty but colorful tent cities The Men of Leng The horned and bent men of the plateau are a weird hybrid clustered around crumbling. and fingernails often give them away. they are careful in their dealings with the One Who Wears gone so far as to wrap their statues up. fold them up. and used as toys. The heroes could encounter these creatures on many occa- Ever in the distance. painful magic. There are three things that will happen to the PCs before they chairs. it will be useful in trading with the less sadistic natives of habitations. is the try and sell them strange objects or mewling. And as they get closer. How it could have gotten here is chairs as though they were a single tablecloth. offer the goods for creepy prices. which have purple-red. They sequential. Inside the splintered wreck are get the tablecloth to work. They are curve-spined and small-eyed. opportunities to slake their unnatural desires and to have Likewise.” They may also be out there. slavery. They could still be attacked and from it – chortling evilly and lugging plundered treasures – may killed. copper necklaces with carved-onyx spider pendants. but These twisted beings have no welcome anywhere. faceless master and his god. the feeling of being watched increases. fingernails they take pride in making as hideous as possible. There are also deadly dust storms – thankfully infre- quent – that seem to have a mind of their own. with weird bladed weapons and dark. Those who away. whose speech is understandable to the characters – won’t serrated teeth. . violence for this affront. so No Mask. as his favors often come at a dangerous price. jagged Men (see The Men of Leng. The Raid of the Spider Men They will have to take the recovered treasure as consola. or threaten come across the broken wreck of a sailing ship. those who sur. both to have of it from the broken cities they cluster around. eyes. or bury them. just beyond the cloud on the horizon. or those near Sarkosa. Any campaign with a martial-arts master who trains people needs to resolve one question: Why isn’t the master out having adventures of his own? PYRAMID MAGAZINE 30 DECEMBER 2009 . indicate that they will allow the characters to eat and drink to their heart’s content. with small horns. they do find interesting and useful things on their persons: and exotic hand weapons. along with some food and water. defenders and cause panic.

though.). several places at once. The heroes should have advanced enough by this point that However. creating a cloud of them within its walls. own in abundance. It has many windows filthy robes. and appear anywhere within it. The main entrance leads to a short but wide hallway. They do not speak. as if the lates them on their long journey. waiting. they collapse into do his bidding. the focus of the journey is in sight. before the ceremony. alien eye. until their master revives them. which leads in turn to the massive central chamber. threats would be downright unnerving. too: ter. He cannot be killed so long as the Although she is powerful. Your Hosts for the Evening The heroes meet these beings at the Dread Monastery. faceless “monks” dressed in mid seemingly carved from living onyx. lame limb. fully ready to fight anew. so as to have a the throne are ghosts in filthy robes. even in equal to the one that ravaged Urumqi. almost-entirely wrapped in long. or shiny trinkets she will one day Fortunately. takes place outside Sarkosa’s onyx walls. imposing. sickly green light. from any spot of bare skin. laughing things one does not wish to stare into for long. The guards quickly part to let them pass at well as a guided tour to the Dread Monastery. Hideous and unfamiliar music wafts on the On that throne. change back and forth from her but he is Sarkosa. She Who Clicks Her The One Who Wears No Mask Fangs and Feet Together The creepy master of the Dread Monastery is tall and The child of the Demon King of All Spiders is short. is the One Who Wears No Mask. Failure at this their approach. beaten down and destroyed. is a jagged onyx throne. He bids the adventurers welcome. accompanied by what may be cries of pleasure or pleas robes. etc. she could almost be mis- His namesake is his smooth. and congratu- The feeling of being watched is now at its strongest. move when he speaks. she is still young and naive. Her fat face is devoid of expression. hear – though. with all that entails. dusty yellow squat. He can only observe – with a powerful blow while distracted. rags for a time. itself. he cannot leave the con. entangling webs Wears No Mask a deadly fighter and formidable sorcerer. whose notes sound like pleading or moaning human voices. The Demon King of All Spiders. which stretches THE DREAD MONASTERY all the way to the roof. human form to that of a spider – tiny or gigantic – and gen- ings. Around the throne are chained. They may also use the copper-and-onyx necklaces they from the masses of Spider Man guards and their accompany- got from the Leng Men and win a cessation of hostilities as ing giant spiders. pale. This is why he The Monks serves the Demon King of The chained. mobile army of Spider Men to and if they are fought or manhandled. They shake crotala and play strange. He can walk on its walls and ceil. who looks forward to something large and unseen. for all his power. He also informs them that ziggurat was a massive. on it then is truly hideous. them. and they all shine with a bilious. He likes the music they make. for mercy – perhaps both. A master might choose not to adventure because of a physical ailment (blindness. Hers is the To fight him is pure folly. Dread Monastery still stands. yellow winds. not see – all that goes on erate hundreds of spiderlings. twisted horns and doors on its terraces. surrounded by tall bra- At last. by name. which does not taken for a male dwarf. music-making creatures that surround All Spiders. Killing her would and not directly affect – what bring angry attentions. two things the GM doesn’t have to pull punches or throw NPCs in front of are definite: They arrive the day before the dark of the moon. the heroes get to the Dread Monastery. and does not change its expression except when she’s doting on her helpless groom. and beetling across the landscape is a massive. She is a demigod. draped in massive layers of dusty. and androgynous – but for her long black hair robes that drag some distance behind him when he walks. Alternatively. lifts. and do not answer any violent acts with vio- point should be costly but would also underscore the need to lence. or and they are allowed to enter freely and without hindrance back. the look from one of sardonic bemusement. that will one day be hers. for not only is The One Who dominion of spiders: She can weave thick. They may succeed in beating the Spider Men down. She could also be knocked unconscious fines of himself. white face. their arrival was foretold by his mas- above it have the feeling there is something else there. he might decide to protect the area he resides in – that town is a safe haven! PYRAMID MAGAZINE 31 DECEMBER 2009 . His eyes are dark. She can be fooled – distracted with tales of far-away places he walks out of a nearby wall. and feminine robes of white silk. interestingly. In the center. A final dust cloud ziers burning with evil green fires. Those who look in the air they have been expected. Their calm passivity in the face of the heroes’ rage and confront their true enemy and complete their mission. step pyra. meeting with them tomorrow morning. hanging in space.

to fire. of the Demon King of All Spiders have eight eyes. and their poison will liquefy their appearance. but as they are as inept that are only half as strong as a large spider’s. 31. and a very poisonous bite. short distances and pounce high. in order of webbing is as strong as steel. there are Food. six arms. Campaign idea: The heroes each have been born with the “soul of a cat” – they can each die nine times before leaving the mortal coil. even if they were on a different floor. drink. where it their respects. – every eight turns returns them either to a balcony overlooking The groom? Oh yes. suck dry. They aren’t worried ous bite is only half as strong as a large spider’s. elsewhere in the filled with carved octets like what the heroes encountered back Monastery. They are highly susceptible to fire. They have the ability to generate strong spider- They have a varying number of advantages: 1d+2 eyes webs. or to the ground floor of the central cham- been promised to the daughter of the Demon King of All ber itself. he is still to be married. and a room for the night is theirs for the asking. and She Who Clicks Her and have no skill with magic. which are labyrinthine. but they are too large to outrun a human. and twice the damage capacity of the average Degenerate Spider Men human. and bursts. They aren’t easy to damage directly. Their their general capabilities are provided below. Their bite will kill the nents at once. Their bite will put the aver- age human into a poisoned stupor. quick on the special adversaries. took eight whole panels to explain what took place. given their inbreeding. painful magic. trot for considerable one who fights him. he can be distracted by several oppo- distances. They can project webs They are of average intelligence. human-sized victim in a few seconds and can bite the aver- age human into a poisoned stupor so he can’t flee or fight Leng Men back. her average human. Their exoskele. The horse-sized spiders the Spider Men ride into battle but not killed. only two needed: one to tell the story of when Leng took hold of and the adventurers are invited to explore the Dread Monastery someplace. at magic as their degenerate cousins. and pounce very high. These well-bred children of humans and the children ton provides light armor. They are no more susceptible to fire than A cubic yard of ballooning spiderlings can wrap up a the average being. when they get a chance. whereupon they wrap True Spider Men him up to drag off. Spiders – She Who Clicks Her Fangs and Feet Together. But he has the central chamber. Some notes Elephant-sized spiders can rush forward in short. though with encum- Spiderling Cloud brance penalties. but it’s difficult to get lost in them groom from his previous life. Considered Configurations This adventure has been presented in generic terms in Gigantic Spiders order to provide maximum flexibility for GMs. alent of heavy armor with no encumbrance penalties. the insides of the average human with one bite. whereupon they wrap him up to drag off. But unlike before. They are moderately susceptible to fire. but they are highly Slightly weaker than the average human. Although the princess is mortal. smooth onyx walls of the central chamber are now they are enjoying each other’s company. age capacity of a normal human. carapace has the equivalent of medium armor without the encumbrance penalties. make up for this with a propensity for bladed sneak attacks and dark. and lay eggs in. So long as they are gracious enough to accept his hospitality to their hearts’ content. Black stairs lead to the many different they are to be treated as honored guests. Their exoskeleton provides heavy armor. The master of Sarkosa can be defeated. Their exoskeleton provides make a fight with her. too. Fangs and Feet Together Huge Spiders They are described on p. and lay eggs in. medium armor. Even The polished. How does this affect their outlook or adventuring? PYRAMID MAGAZINE 32 DECEMBER 2009 . unique to this campaign. and while he can make short work of any- can run slightly faster than a horse. Their about fire at all. They’re of low intelligence. and one when it left to wander once again. these entities susceptible to fire: A torch lights the mass up in seconds. They also have the equiv- and 1d+2 functional arms. The PCs should drop by their chamber and pay in the undercity of the Spider Men. They are moderately susceptible The One Who Wears No Mask. well after they should be dead.5 times the dam. along with 1. toughness is dependent on how difficult the GM wants to suck dry. as they know the levels. Their poison. and stats for either aren’t really important. Once they have someone Large Spiders helpless they know several ways to keep them in horrible The dog-sized spiders run twice as fast as a human over agony.

The Now that they are back to Earth. and their moral authority evaporated as soon as they der created from black. and also pleased to point If the adventurers can somehow distract the Princess. but it will stop the ceremony from reclines in as she feeds him spoonful after spoonful of squirm. lying under a green sky dotted with black. massive cloud of They would lose face for the loss of the groom. Stepping onto the web is clearly a bad idea. and wishes them prudence. everything they’ve seen. some strange and inhuman. as told in the story. hoary garments. land – one filled with life and strange beauty. check out Martial Arts: Gladiators. Scrub the Romans. He meal. mate might become more intimate with one another. Hopefully The One Who Wears No Mask is a rather gregarious host. leaving their hosts The walls of the bridal chamber are carved with illustra. is how the marauding armies are generated. Leng was once a THE DEMON KING thriving. none of the mood for long conversation with others. and so turning way to a great. her horrid. keep the fighting! PYRAMID MAGAZINE 33 DECEMBER 2009 . their “Mandate of Heaven” doesn’t factor into it. but they make it clear Deal With the Demon King that the true Spider Men are the result of such a union. they discover he is being held in the well-lit but somber bridal chamber of the Princess. they are roused But long stretches away from “suitable” worlds left the Spider in the morning. the characters have a few world could have spawned them can only cause insanity. This. at this time. beyond any issues of army building. The more honorable course is still open to them. which provided some of One Who Wears No Mask indicates that this is where they their best hunting grounds. and who has eight pointed feet show- of deterrent against the Spider Man hordes and their god. they do not wish to leave it again. then. poisonous also the two lands. the Demon King of All Spiders. At any rate. giving the One Who It is littered with the delicately arranged bodies of thousands of Wears No Mask an eternal gateway to Earth. given breakfast. but finding a way to set one of its thick strands vibrating attracts the atten- Escape tions of the Demon King. Unless one of the heroes was to be married. dying shriek brings the One Who Wears of Heaven on their side – that clearly means nothing on this No Mask and all Spider Men to her chambers instantly. They could return home and warn those they left Emperor in ancient. going forward. The separation could sneak the groom away. and considered in the long. Perhaps fleeing is what the ancient story of being stuck in place as something truly horrible comes meant by knowing “when to bend like a reed in the wind”? closer – unable to even move your mouth to scream. choices open to them. He appears as many things at once: a truly gigantic spi- is doomed. they might just get outside the was not an act of furious and insulted gods. and thereby stop the melding of Leng and ing spiderlings from her long. the gathering of intelligence. eloquence. the Demon King of All Spiders. whose flowing beard is a behind of the dangers they now face. he’s happy to hear the heroes talk about his place deadly trek from Urumqi to here have taught them something. a purple-black. experienced. They could It was the simple moving of cosmic forces far beyond the also attack and subdue the princess – no mean feat. their wanderings would have led them to before now. Men with nothing to devour but what they found here. Neither of them is in Earth. such as trying to some so abstract and unearthly that pondering what bizarre kill the One Who Wears No Mask. a decent that their rules and laws have no meaning here in Leng. which is could do them wonders with their morning audience. but possi- heroes’ understanding. For a different-flavored campaign. black eyes. in the larger. He’s also happy to explain why the groom has been brought INTHE WEB OF here. who is doting upon her “beloved. resulting battle will not go well for the PCs. They shall be conjoined forever more. them can take the groom’s place in the spell. If the heroes find the groom. However. Dread Monastery before their trickery’s discovered. There will be little the evil beings can do tions of the many ways that a spidery demigod and its human except kill the adventurers for this “ungrateful” act. the feeling cannot be helped. Rescue the Groom acters to the pair that speak of Earth. and luck. but forever. an entered Leng. stars. lacquered iron and violet glass. The side of the Northern Mountains. and create some kind web filled with dead flies. This is true reason the One Who Wears No Mask has arranged But something about his tone indicates that he does not want for this marriage between a man of Earth and the daughter of nor expect them to return. ing under the hem of his robe. Unless the heroes choose another option. unable to improvise. The spell to be worked at the In the space beyond the hole is a sheer cliff that stretches on ceremony tomorrow will marry not only the two people. they that no thunderbolt marks Leng’s departure. need to go. moral scheme of things. and Outside of obviously suicidal maneuvers.” The poor fellow is insensate with Kill the Groom shock – wrapped up in a web next to the one his intended This is a harsh decision. The One Who Wears No Mask is happy to direct the char. if they kill the The PCs can no longer threaten that they have the Mandate princess. Beyond the cliff’s edge is a web that stretches unto infinity. Over dinner. who very quickly scuttles over to the The PCs may decide they’re in over their heads – the groom heroes. ble if they strike swift and well. black hole in the wall that none of they devoured too much. and then explain to them and that’s to learn to bend like the reed. and a good night’s sleep only answers to those gods he has pledged fealty to. black hair. if harsh. creatures: some clearly human. None of them seem to end well for the human. but perhaps it spiderlings that burns with eight huge. and then led the twisting.

lack of confrontation. Michigan. and the artful arrangement side of the Northern Mountains – canyons and ravines. as if something large for prey to enter it. now. though. If the group can convince the Demon King that his servant Displeasing him in this regard would be very foolish indeed. Survival at this point – if not success – is entirely based on That said. depends on what they been the editor of The Wraith Project and has seen print in The agreed with his master. J. the Mandate of Heaven will weigh down upon their The heroes can offer something “better” than the groom. the PCs may leave and claim what ABOUT THE AUTHOR By day an unassuming bookstore clerk. Then there is a further complication: Now that they have lodge Leng from the Earth unless the would-be replacement traveled beyond the realm of the Mandate of Heaven. and how angry their now-cheated host End Is Nigh and Worlds of Cthulhu. No roll of the dice or a much easier thing than the trip there. But whether the One Who Wears his words upon the world. or they have to fight to such exotic locales as South Korea and Dubai. Or perhaps they can use their increased power to right truly titanic wrongs. However. His bizarre lifestyle has taken him No Mask lets them pass without incident. the heroes may have realized that just because the Mandate of Heaven means nothing in Leng does not make it meaningless on Earth. who makes careful trap. and the web too easily. it must be carefully phrased and to join his evil cause? fully agreed upon. and that the pow. Currently. are his source of purpose and strength. If they even try to onyx spider pendants. the waiting for its fulfill. how will this affect them? Will they wake in the night. and directly stipulates it. they see only the lands on the other ment. give the heroes a very wide berth and send the degenerate ones ize they’re dead. Hopefully they can just take the groom and go. The PCs may be able to trick the Demon Can they ever be happy and secure again. (It also depends on whether the GM thinks they got out of of Terror anthology. or a secret that will decision will have truly epic consequences. they will be pounced on and devoured before they real. He’s their way through his entire army. And what is time to such as he? groom or without him. Following up this campaign may be difficult. nightmare realm of Leng is still out there. and he will gladly teach them whatever secrets he has left A Spider Is Careful to impart so long as they promise to behave honorably. the rewards They may be able to convince the Demon King that the wheel and praise are nearly endless. the devouring that follows. running for cover. caught in nightmares of the horrible but strangely beautiful lands they have visited? The Outcome Will they hear the call of the One Who Wears No Mask. They must be even more careful than before. knowing that the King. Mask is totally gone. A lapse of judgment or a poor such as a treasure they may have found. patient and still.) PYRAMID MAGAZINE 34 DECEMBER 2009 . Now the char- ers that be on their side will be unhappy at this dark sorcery. what else could be a he may agree to not let the marriage go forth. they will be castigated for failure by the authorities. As soon as they enter the city of the Spider Men. their own as an exchange for the groom. old forests. In fact. The creation of the trap. If they return without the of ages has not turned enough for him to have returned. it may be their best weapon. AN ENDING . waiting to come back? Also. heavier than ever. was flying away in the wind. and done what they Most for the Least Effort have done. If they acquired the mega-power is going to get them victory. coming back from the Plateau of Leng should be what the PCs say. and they will help the Demon King. UAE. where they came from. Now A Spider Will Take the that they have been where they have been. and then pounces on it with swift and cer. The Demon King of All Spiders is a spider: a cos. and hopefully the However easily they get back. he might not agree become masters themselves. waits strange whistling noise behind them. shoulders. He’s also part of the Echoes is.” the master advised. Whether they return with the can come back later. to let the groom go. . they hear a mic predator. but he will see any loophole and exploit it ruthlessly. heroes have. A Spider Is Patient AND A BEGINNING If they return with the groom alive and well. they will have earned his respect for all time. Plus. or rout entire armies or enemy nations. the result will be the same. No matter what agreement the adventurers and the Demon searching for them to exact his revenge? Will he call to them King of All Spiders come to. except for other Demon Kings? Perhaps they can withdraw Leng from the Earth. he’ll pounce right on at least one of them as soon as the agreement’s done. with his wife and three cats. or promise. “Consider the spider. acters have stood down a Demon King. seen a world where it does not apply. and of the victims’ remains are all rituals to be followed. or the players seem a little let down by a lives in Lansing. or even give the heroes time to escape. offer. and they beyond it beautiful. they can force the true Spider Men to fight. . When they turn to look back tain hunger. he writes for Op-Ed News. and that groom. has overstepped his bounds with this plan. Edward Tremlett they can. takes his ancient keyboard from its hiding place and unfurls preferably with all due haste. if they don’t stipulate they he must let them leave his domain alive. They may also be able to offer up one of have to consider their actions with extreme care. of course. training students in their ways. He may even challenge. These are qualities that The feeling of being observed by the One Who Wears No could be used against him. but that may not dis. With the deal struck. but he will face great resistance on their side of the mountains. He the master will understand.

Superman’s usual means of defeating adversaries is by beating them up. up before a punch is thrown. smashing windows or lifting heavy of thing is permissible. the audience. tronic babysitter to help raise my kid. featur. or Superman. “Whose butt do I kick?” GURPS Mysteries is invaluable for devising tales where the focus is on figuring out what’s going on. if my column 20 years from now begins objects offer the only viable demonstrations of strength. so this sort ing the bad guys. another beloved visual treat – one that. Energy creature? Destroy by 2. I may have problems. with their space monkey. PYRAMID MAGAZINE 35 DECEMBER 2009 . or otherwise outsmart- Man. heroes (and villains) are capa- Where was I? Oh. in a way that more mod- AHEM . loose teeth flying at of an adult – is that you have some of the strongest. Fortunately he’s three years old. They’re relatively blood-free. but I’m able to use DVDs to inflic – err. more two-fisted than SuperFriends (they actually show peo- ple hitting and getting hit and stuff). convincing. One of the 1970s kidvid experiences actually hitting anyone. In the comics. Batman-and-Robin (always treated as a unit). I’m sure he’s tough.” he might say. three-year-old who’s significantly less violent than when he ing Superman. But on the SuperFriends. turing. One quirk of this ble of martial-art-style maneuvers. . and so on. And over. fear or intimidation are demonstrated by having bad guys give Like every parent in the modern age. RANDOM THOUGHT TABLE NO BLOOD. many martial-arts adventures revolve around the question of. fortunately. NO GUTS. Similarly. who can recite it whenever he better than 1970s kidvid. the guy THE RPG CONNECTION shoots laser beams from his eyes. I couldn’t help but think of recited before each episode. recreate my child. Zan and quite different than more modern counterparts. BACK ON TOPIC? ern martial-arts films are not. and the Wonder Twins. Spider. It’s also short enough to be mem. but they don’t result in series – which I’d heard about but hadn’t watched with the eyes broken bones protruding through flesh.” But the upshot – besides making a I’m able to share with him is the old SuperFriends show. too. On and boots you in the head. Aquaman – heck. “The goon makes his Karate roll monster? Wrap it up in metal sheets.” Curiously. NO PROBLEM! BY STEVEN MARSH. Batman One trend in RPGs in recent years has been to encourage the attempts to inflict as much pain as possible without killing his players (and GM) to try to be more descriptive in their depic- enemies. Escaped Kryptonian villains? Nets. tricking. Anyone. Gleek. but none of them actually fight anyone. The Indiana Jones films are much wants. Jayna. . watches the 1966 Batman movie – is a television show that is Wonder Woman. this was some sort of conceptual edict that came households that doesn’t bother with cable or satellite televi. per se. Over and over and over. from who-knows-where: “We don’t want this show to be too sion. This entire roll call is Mulling over the SuperFriends. the heroes Never. violent. but they’re not violent. In the comics. erful superheroes in the world (and Aquaman). most pow. feats of with the same opening sentence. tions of what their heroes and the baddies are actually doing. Hit. holds up orized by a three-year-old. he hits you. right. PYRAMID EDITOR My son has a fascination with dressing up as Batman. I turn to the old elec. entangling. there was no threat that couldn’t be solved by cap. and so on. Aquaman. of your mouth and onto the outfits of your surprised friends. sending a shower of blood flying out SuperFriends. SuperFriends. so let’s make sure our unspeakably strong hero doesn’t hood for my youngling. “The goon leaps across the table the device powering him. Giant Thus instead of the GM saying. We’re one of those Obviously.

In the real world. West End Games. He lives in Indiana with his • Make unconsciousness easier. for heroes with a martial bent. don’t use in their actions. For example. wife. silly! damage-inflicting prowess? • Intimidation works! If someone makes a successful attack against something (other than a person) as a demonstration of power. or else they’ll enemies so they won’t make a third-act reappearance. In general. master. here are some Steven Marsh is a freelance writer and editor. or other respected elder one-on-one confrontation. Instead. Nikola Vrtis. this would give the GM – and players – a off a few shots at him. who is a little force of ally really difficult to knock someone out without the potential nature entirely worthy of his exclamation mark. without breaking their oath? assumed to be (mostly) nonlethal. the villains may well return the favor. but it doesn’t involve raising the believes the heroes have gotten too violent. He has con- more ideas. If the hero gives a dra- result in showers of blood. There can be a temptation for GMs to “turn up the heat” by intro- ducing deadlier. If the bad guys enter killing combat prowess. more violent threats. this time frame coincides with a mission where heroes who avoid escalating things themselves. they got an extra experi- likely become infected – and start fighting their former allies! ence bonus at the end. REALISTIC OPTION ABOUT THE EDITOR For gamers who might want to make a more full-fledged go at trying to keep the action but lose the violence. they need to become involved! Can they use their abilities to Mayfair’s old DC Heroes game required heroes to consciously knock foes unconscious. he challenges them body count on either side. it’s gen- become part of the problem! erally not heroic. figure out new ways to challenge the T R HE EALISTIC PTION O heroes that don’t involve making more dangerous threats. to live for one week (or day or month) without drawing blood. If the heroes enter killing • The adventurers learn of a particularly virulent pathogen combat when their enemies hadn’t.There are tables and charts to show exactly how much pain for serious brain injury. it’s more often than not going to cause people to surrender. Since many martial-arts settings revolve around ideas of honor and balance. Hogshead Publishing. PYRAMID MAGAZINE 36 DECEMBER 2009 . during that time System-wide he has won four Origins awards. and their son Sam!. No one bleeds. or otherwise decide to enter “killing combat”. He has been editing Pyramid for over nine years. chance to tinker with some of the other rules and options here. brainwashed or blackmailed patsies forced to attack the heroes. damage was resolve the situation. and others. (This invari- Ear biting? There’s a modifier for that.) many foes as your foot can reach. ably results in the bad guys simply leaving. if they didn’t. how can you make a character as interesting • No bleeding! If there are any bleeding rules. White Wolf. For groups who like to keep their options open. While it may be expedient to kill your The PCs better treat their adversaries gingerly. consider mak- ing a setting where various realms allow for different levels of vio- lence. here are a couple of examples by “foes” (similar to Batman Begins training sequence). they lost their experience that bestows equal parts psychosis and preternatural physical award for that adventure. maybe the heroes find themselves surrounded As an intellectual challenge.) Similarly. For example. only one of them is the real mastermind – the rest are all ing campaign. Resist this urge. what if you tone it back? What if the heroes in an “I’ll be back to clean up the remains after lunch” goal for players (and their heroes) is to inflict as little damage as deathtrap. tributed to roleplaying game releases from Green Ronin. • The expedient is seldom heroic. disabling possible – or at least to de-emphasize the damage as much as mooks is much easier. • The “dream world. As the GM. though. matic “you’d better surrender – or else!” speech.” where martial-arts acts of violence a low-violence philosophy. • Avoid escalation at all costs. The Varied World most attempts at intimidation work much better in the low-violence worlds. but to introduce this idea (temporarily) into a more-violent ongo. This example is definitely more challenging than a • The heroes’ mentor. akin to the Berserk anime series. reward Unfortunately.” where rules are as normal. and injury you inflict with a successful attack – or how you can though. In low-violence television and movies. For example. incapacitate them. To go further. it’s actu. one karate sweep can knock out as possible? (In such a game. excessive violence can be T N -S - HE OT O shown in the campaign as a path to corruption and evil. it’s usually trivially easy for heroes to get knocked out target people for specific damage. or else tying up the As a challenge. maybe the world consists of: Setting-wide • Reward pacifism. (or at least not punish) actions that serve to preserve • The “hyper-real world.” where bloody violence is discouraged (or then the baddies better not use those seconds to pop perhaps even impossible). If the heroes fight hard enough to draw blood. To rephrase. they’ll but the heroes refrain from doing so. you can reward • The “real world. Eye gouges? Groin kicks? – often by an adversary lurking in the shadows. without resorting to depictions of their them.

ODDS AND ENDS THE MARK OF THE MASTER someone 100 miles away who’s just cackling evilly but not doing anything.5-1.5 miles -6 3-6 miles -8 1. or action. It’s enough to get the PCs to the right area without a certain level of martial arts (say. or use his diamond-hard fingertips to climb the walls of a building to the top floor and save someone in distress. nor the precise 50-100 miles -0 person.” Here are two possi- bilities for incorporating that ethos into a game. the master is aware that there are powerful beings everywhere.5-3 miles -10 0. PYRAMID MAGAZINE 37 DECEMBER 2009 . a martial artist might exhibit his light- ning-fast reflexes by catching arrows fired at him. modified as follows: between the two fighters. it’s entirely likely that enemies who oppose the PCs ideals or actions may track them down with this! Campaign Ideas Random Thought Table (pp.” without giving them a direct detec- closer to them. It is also much stronger if the martial artist is opposed 25-50 miles -2 in philosophy. From a gaming standpoint.5 miles -12 Less than 0. This campaign premise can provide a structured frame. but not the distance. the Mark of the Master provides work to get the heroes into the action – or bring the action an idea of “where to go next. the farther away they are. opportunities frequently arise to show off those with martial prowess that don’t involve people beating up other people. This ability is inversely proportional to the distance Make a Perception check. skeletons. morality. † Only one of these apply. or other entities that don’t bleed.5 miles -14 Thought opposed by detector +5† Minor deed opposed by detector +10† Major deed opposed by detector +15† * At more than 100 miles away.5-25 miles -4 away who commits an atrocity will trigger the sense more than 6-12. The direction More than 100 miles No roll* of this detection is exact. These mooks are often ideal to unleash as many fists of rage as the heroes have handy.” is a system that lets you do so. This premise assumes that everyone who has tion device. For example. • Release the inorganics! In low-violence shows. 35-36) discusses the idea of “high action. low violence. characters often get the chance to use powers in ways that don’t involve actually attacking anyone. an evil warrior 10 miles 12. he may. Remember that detection is a two-way street. should he wish to pick BY GREG HYLAND a direction and start wandering. styles and related techniques) can detect others who had Although the broad idea can be used without needing dice achieved a similar level of mastery – they have acquired the rolls (“You sense you should meet someone to the north”). One of the most common methods is to utilize (say) bunches of robots. more than 25 points in obviating the need to do investigative work once they get there. • I can get us through this wall! In low-violence shows. here “Mark of the Master. golems. the better each is able to get a sense of where the other is.

17). It’s up to the GM how many tions. to keep one or more different hex. Counted these as hav- challenges and opportunities – especially for martial artists ing been occupied. (He might building. The dark gray hexes all have two dots. etc. Conversely. place a visible dot on that hex. then slight) danger of falling into the abyss. see p. a combat situation that provides unusual the combatant skids across the ground). What happens of the fighters from just walking off the edge of the map. there are three combatants. the top of a small office require a roll against Perception to see if he notices. and 3 are all in (currently. The light gray hexes all have one dot. respectively). Penalty for Falling sumably to a bad fate! For this scenario to work. next depends on which option the GM chooses. Each option has precedent in martial-arts tales. This scenario can artificial one designed for this purpose). it all been occupied once. needs of the encounter. these numbers can be tweaked depending on the that’s breaking apart. an ice floe Obviously. then they’ll need to scramble each turn to safer attached hexes are required to keep a hex from falling into the ground. Option 1: Once a hex has a predetermined number of dots. they will fall away. roll 1d to see if pied three times. abyss even if it hasn’t been occupied enough to warrant it. and in fact probably shouldn’t be (unless the venue is an appearing while the combatants carry on. the more a hex can be PREMISE used. “standard” way. it falls to the depths below on the next turn. a floating platform on a lake. the fighting probably needs to be finite starting positions of the fighters. since it’s too easy to avoid on will be falling away very quickly. they’ll fall through the floor – pre. the more a bout becomes a battle to scramble to better position. etc. represent crumbling boards in an old warehouse. Thus fighters need to constantly move to “fresher” parts of the venue. The GM be safely stood on two or three times. PYRAMID MAGAZINE 38 DECEMBER 2009 . world. if falls into the abyss on the next turn! they are entered one more time. if they don’t. has determined that hexes fall into the abyss after they are occu- Option 2: Each time a dot is added to a hex. Good numbers EXAMPLE include three or four dots (in other words. have all been tagged at least once. The GM should decide ahead of time if standing on a hex Note that the hexes marked 1. including the death trap. it is unstable: The act of which other hexes are about to fall away – like the one an oppo- jumping around and even walking on it is causing it to fall nent is standing on!) apart. but GMs who like to keep the confines that make this interesting. causes it to have dots placed on it each turn. also allow Perception checks at a penalty to see if he can tell However this area is designated. It doesn’t work well on a limitless fighting area It’s generally obvious to the martial artist that the hex he’s (such as a wide-open sports field). lower floors are already so damaged that going below is a Define the physical boundaries on the map. If it doesn’t. The one black hex in the center has fallen away. (and perhaps jumping-related styles. Each time anyone moves to a in area and in some fashion constrained. 2. APPENDIX Z THE CRUMBLING GROUND Need an interesting battle? Then test your mettle at the Keep track of hexes that fighters are thrown through (where Crumbling Ground. they have that hex goes a way. the less likely the complications it causes will actually The Crumbling Ground is a venue that is defined in some matter in a battle. maybe the A vinyl dry-erase hex “battle mat” is ideal for this encounter. (If it’s the top of a burning building.) Similarly. Note that these needn’t be actually hex-shaped in the game Martial-arts tales abound where the fighting surface is dis. If it does. their surrounding hexes fighters can “catch their breaths” as they consider their posi. if you roll less than the number of dots. 39. Keep in mind that the fewer times a hex can be stood on. Those that are avoided entirely (by being with jumping or other extraordinary movement techniques jumped or thrown over) should not be marked. the penalty for falling “off the board” needs to be suitably significant to keep one side or the THE MECHANICS other from just letting their hex fall and hopping down to a lower level. Examples of such some mystery – especially with the second option – may defined areas include a combat arena. each hex can only In the example on p.

2 3 1 Crumbling Ground Example PYRAMID MAGAZINE 39 DECEMBER 2009 .

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