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Cover to GURPS Technomancer

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Cover to GURPS Technomancer - Funny New Guys.

Merlin-1, 2004
Current Affairs
In a world of magic and technology, the United States faces the challenges of the new millennium with the best of both.
Divergence Point
1945; Trinity detonation unleashes the Hellstorm, a massive, permanent banestorm raising global mana levels. A second detonation in Antarctica unleashes an even larger one in 1949.

Major Civilizations

Western (empire with rivals), Chinese (empire), Orthodox (empire with rivals), Indic (empire).
Great Powers
  • United States (representative democracy, CR3)
  • People’s Republic of China (dictatorship, CR5)
  • Russian Republic (oligarchy, CR4)
  • Mexico(representative democracy, CR4)
  • India (representative democracy, CR4)
  • Argentina (dictatorship, CR5)
Worldline Data
Tech Level (7+1) magitech
Mana Level high (within 200 miles of Alamogordo, New Mexico and within 1,600 miles of Queen Maud Land, Antarctica); normal (everywhere else)
Quantum 3
Infinity Class Z2
Centrum Zone Inaccessible

GURPS Technomancer is a 3rd Edition worldbook written by David L. Pulver in 1998 for GURPS.

Now I am become Death, destroyer of worlds.
  ,— Robert Oppenheimer, witnessing the

Trinity atomic test, July 16, 1945



Changes in 4eEdit

Magery 0Edit

Magery 0 didn't officially exist in 3e so statements like "only about one person in 10,000 had magery, but as many as one in 100 people born in Trinity's Shadow would be mages" were built around Magery 0 not existing and have to be adjusted accordingly. For example, the statement "Beyond Trinity's Shadow, one in 1,000 people has Magery 1, one in 10,000 has Magery 2, and one in 100,000 has Magery 3." (sidebar pg 70) implies that at least one in 100 people have Magery 0.

Ritual MagicEdit

On page 77's sidebar it is stated that Voodoo's Ritual Magic doesn't exist on Merlin-1. The problem is not only is the later Spirits version of Ritual Magic substantially different from Voodoo's but both are different from the version in 4e. Voodoo used Initiation, Spirits used Ritual Adept to reduce components, and 4e split aspects of Voodoo's magic system: Power Investiture took the idea of eliminating mana (but replaced it with Sanctity) while Magery (Ritual) took the path mechanics but retained the mana requirement.

In short they are different enough that saying Initiation Ritual Magic doesn't exist on Merlin-1 is NOT the same as saying Ritual Adept and Magery (Ritual Magic) don't exist on Merlin-1. The setting itself gives two examples of ritual magic: Penguin Collective on pg 66 and SS on pg 119 calling up Hitler's spirit.

In fact, on page 14, GURPS Technomancer expressly states "Some spells predated the Hellstorm: prayers, the oral rituals of shamanism and Voudoun, formulae from old grimoires and Books of Shadows, etc. Many were useless, but a few worked as is, and more were modified into working order. Old Tradspells often invoked the power of ancestors, spirits, saints, angels, demons or divinity." (pg 14)

This paragraph shows the possible existence of Clerical, Path/Book Magery, and Symbol Magery on Merlin-1 before the Hellstorm. In fact, as GURPS Thaumatology explains on page 121 under Paths and Books "Traditional magic little resembles “adventuring magic” that rains down destruction at the snap of a finger. Most of it involves lengthy rituals and ceremonies – often effective over considerable distances – that give subtle results. Such magic is highly atmospheric, good for a less- flashy game . . . and still extremely powerful, when worked intelligently."

Basically this is saying that if traditional magic did work it would be by its very nature handled by the Paths and Books method rather than the "normal" magery system.

Setting peculiarities Edit

GURPS Technomancer has some interesting aspects that produce some profound changes....and other that have really silly/illogical aspects.

  • Japan surrendering on August 14, 1945 as in OTL
  • With the atomic bomb not working as intended, the USSR seemingly stringing along Japan, and a bunch of Japanese hardliners who wanted to fight until the last person how does this happen?
  • The detonation of the Russian Atomic bomb in Antartica
  • Before the Antarctic Treaty (1959) the only nations that had claims (which went from the edge of the continent to the pole) were down there were Argentina (1942), Australia (1933), Chile (1940), New Zealand (1924), Norway (1939), and United Kingdom (1908). So for the USSR to detonate an atomic bomb anywhere in Antarctica they would effectively be bombing another nation's territory--an ACT OF WAR. Worse the region expressly stated in Technomancer where the Soviet bomb was detonated "between Enderby and Queen Maud Land" belongs to Norway, Chile, Argentina, Australia, and United Kingdom. Great, an act of war again against five countries at once--an act of total brilliance. (sarcasm level at 11 here)
  • Given what we know about Stalin does it makes no sense for him to explode an atom bomb that would seem to generate an 'magic field' in Antartica.
  • The Killer Penguins. If the USSR detonating an atomic bomb in Antartica is illogical the Killer Penguins are just silly. To quote Wally West regarding fighting Killer Penguins: "..what has to be the STUPIDEST case in the history of superheroes" (Justice League International Annual #4 (1990) Page 52 panel 4).
  • A thousand butterflies
  • Killing off the acting cast of The Conqueror (1956) means that the movie industry on Merlin is going to go a different path, (how that happened given there were no above ground testing Nevada Test Site is never really explained) You bet your sweet projector it does. Valley of the Dolls (1967), Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970), and The Man with the Golden Gun (1974) all had actors who originally starred in The Conqueror in supporting roles. Then you have people like Norman S. Powell (an uncredited mongel guard) who becamse directors and producers in their own right. Without Powell there is no "Johnny Ringo" (1959) TV Series, The Big Valley series never is made, as is the 1985 revival of "The Twilight Zone".
  • The effect spells like Truthsayer and Detect Lie will have had on 'landmark' cases like the Dr. Shepard case is profound. In that case the man was tried in the court of public opinion and his appeal some 10 years later result in the 'supposed' and 'alleged' you see in today's newpapers. Those spells would have short circuited the whole media circus and forced the judge to give a directed verdict of innocence (DNA evidence haa indicated that yes there was a third person in the house as Sherpard claim all those years ago.) Similar miscarriages of justice which took a while to clean up would have never happened in the first place and the resulting changes in the law if they got the Supreme Court would have similarly never happened.

Spells Edit

Many of the new spells published in this book were reprinted in 4th Edition GURPS Magic and GURPS Bio-Tech with the following exceptions:

Air Spells Edit

  • Purify Signal/TL (Regular)
  • Static Charge (Regular)
  • Ether Static/TL (Area)
  • Seek Emitter/TL (Information)

Body Control Spells Edit

  • Partial Mechamorphosis/TL(VH) (Regular)

Communication and Empathy Spells Edit

  • Delete Commercials/TL (Regular)
  • Seek Number/TL (Information)
  • Borrow Number/TL (Regular)
  • Wrong Number/TL (Regular)
  • Identify Caller/TL (Information)
  • Magical Switchboard/TL (Regular)
  • Speed Data/TL (Regular)
  • Broadcast Spell/TL (VH) (Regular)

Enchantment Spells Edit

  • Spellprocessor/TL (Enchantment)
  • Curse Virus/TL (Enchantment)
  • Video Entity/TL (Enchantment)
  • Electric Power/TL (Enchantment)
  • Soulburner Gestalt (VH) (Enchantment)

Weapon Enchantments Edit

  • Mana Warhead/TL (Enchantment)
  • Spell Targeting/TL (VH) (Enchantment)

Fire Spells Edit

  • High-Explosive Fireball (Missile)
  • Shape-Charge Fireball (Missile)
  • Detonate (Regular)
  • Mass Detonate (Area)

Food Spells Edit

  • Guns to Butter (Regular)

Knowledge Spells Edit

  • Necrovision™ (Regular)
  • Divinations
    • Cybermancy
    • Plutomancy
    • Quantumancy
  • Televisomancy (Information)

Light and Darkness Spells Edit

  • Infrared Flash (Regular)
  • Coherent Light Jet (Regular)
  • Disruption Bolt (Missile)
  • Invisible Sunbolt (Missile)

Making and Breaking Spells Edit

  • Immediate Action (Blocking)

Mind Control Spells Edit

  • Game Addict (Regular)

Movement Spells Edit

  • Homing Missile (Special)
  • Hail of Lead (Regular)
  • Reduce Recoil (Regular)
  • Magic Bullet (Regular)
  • Steady Hand (Regular)

Protection and Warning Spells Edit

  • Blind Sensor (Regular)
  • Spoof Sensor (Regular)
  • Prismatic Mist (Area)

Sound Spells Edit

  • Volume Control/TL (Regular)

Technological Spells Edit

Energy Fatigue Equivalent
1 kWs 0.00277 fatigue
9-volt cell 0.05 fatigue
12-volt cell 5 fatigue
1 kWh 10 fatigue
3,400 btu 10 fatigue
1 MWh 10,000 fatigue
1 kW 0.00277 fatigue/second
Household outlet Up to 0.01 fatigue/second
Household fuse box Up to 0.1 fatigue/second
360 kW 1 fatigue/second
965 hp 2 fatigue/second
1 MW 2.77 fatigue/second
18 MW 50 fatigue/second
Industrial power line Up to 250 fatigue/second
Notes: kWs = kilowatt-second (or kilojoule); kWh = kilowatt-hour; btu = British thermal unit; MWh = megawatt-hour; kW = kilowatt; hp = horsepower; MW = megawatt.:Values for 9- and 12-volt cells assumes TL7 non-rechargable lead-acid batteries. The 12-volt cell is a typical car battery. Rechargeable cells or batteries contain half as much energy.

Energy Spells Edit

  • Water to Fuel/TL (Regular)
  • Hotshot/TL (Regular)
  • Purify Power (Regular)

Machine Spells Edit

  • Program/TL (Regular)
  • Guide Missle/TL (Regular)
  • Confound Firearm/TL (Regular)
  • Upgrade Computer/TL (Regular)
  • Animate Machine/TL (VH) (Regular)
  • Mad Machine/TL (Regular)

Metal and Plastic Spells Edit

  • Seek Metal (Information)

Radiation Spells Edit

  • Particle Beam (VH) (Missile)

Water Spells Edit

  • Elemental Plumbing (Regular)


See also Edit

Note: GURPS Technomancer is not connected in any way with the White Wolf MAGE: The Ascension roleplaying game and does not in any way challenge the copyrights and terms used therein.[1]


External Links Edit

References Edit

  1. http://www.sjgames.com/gurps/books/technomancer/