Title, Rating, Rank. 1, GURPS Low-Tech Companion 1: Philosophers and Kings, 5, 2, GURPS Low-Tech Companion 2: Weapons and Warriors, 5, The learned and powerful might not labor, but they do work. Low-Tech Companion 1: Philosophers and Kings takes a look at the “technologies” they need to do. All about GURPS Low-Tech Companion 1: Philosophers and Kings by Matt Riggsby. LibraryThing is a cataloging and social networking site for booklovers.

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Wednesday, January 27, Review: This book isn’t exactly new, but it was new to me! I bought Companion 3 a while tefh, and having 3 without 1 and 2 just seemed awkward to me, so I decided compxnion get them. Let’s see what we get from Philosophers and Kings. Overview Table Of Contents I like to start with a look at the table of contents to get an idea of what is all covered in this book. Etch section on kings covers ways that governments have historically organized throughout the historic periods covered by Low-Technamely, through human prehistory to early colonial timesand then segues a bit into economics and book-keeping technologies.

The philosophers section covers a wide array of intellectual pursuitsand details, how, for example the development of mathematics and typical understandings of concepts by Tech Level.

GURPS Low-Tech Companion 1: Philosophers and Kings by Matt Riggsby | LibraryThing

The book itself is a companion to the main Low-Tech book but gyrps easily valuable as a resource without the main book. It does make a few call backs to the original bookbut not in such a way that this book lacks the information to understand it.

This book is more informational than mechanicalbut it does answer the type of questions gurrps often come up in game with regards to the subjects of ” how can I represent this government? What kind of hoops does he need to go through to have his concerns heard? The kings section of the book mostly describes the evolution of the state and social structure over TL0 through TL4. We get details of how leaders deal with the increasing logistical problems of expanding empires and domains as information travels very slowly at these tech levelswithout innovations like semaphorestelegraphsetc.

We learn about critical civil infrastructure issues and how some countries dealt with themlike transportation systems and communication systems.


The section pow up with discussions of evolving legal systems gurrps then economics. The information provided is very system agnosticand makes very few references to GURPS mechanicsmaking it very usable even in other systems.

However, if one is interested in mechanics for what is described, Social Engineering: Pulling Rank or Boardrooms and Curia might be a better place to look.

I liked the Philosophers section more than the Kings section.

It starts off with a section on religious monuments and templesand has some rules for modelling the appropriate costs of constructing such and how to handle endowments to the church. Beyond the monuments section, it describes in a fairly mechanical manner how some people arrive at divine inspiration through altered states of mind or religious ritual in the section ” Technicians of the Sacred “.

This was a section I found interesting and useful for describing some ways to make use of some fairly esoteric abilities. The next section gives an early history of musical instruments and gives some slightly more complex Musical instrument rules for campaigns where resolution of minute differences between different instruments is important.

It ends with an interesting quirk and technique. In the mathematics sectionwe are given a summary of the history of mathematics from the original low tech bookand then introduced to some mechanical means of emulating mathematical skills compsnion interesting ways, with several applications for timekeeping and astronomy. The fech big section covers early alchemy and eventually chemistry.

It describes capabilities and skills a typical alchemist or chemist would need to have and which skills could accomplish which tasks.

Although short, I liked the discussion on the maturation of the science and slow rejection of outdated theories as new evidence came to light that eventually solidified modern chemistry. The section on Medicine is generous and has a good balance on background information and tecy useful application.

I really liked the section on religious applications in medicine and the long table for herbal pharmacy pairing certain herbs with usages and symptoms that were treated.

GURPS Low-Tech Companion 1: Philosophers and Kings

It compannion with information on public health awareness and explains how as people slowly became aware of more accurate scientific theories of diseasehealth slowly improved throughout the early ages; it wasn’t until even fairly recently in the history of mankind it became apparent that surgeons should wash their hands for sanitary reasons.


As one can guess, this was a very slow process. The next section is about learningwhich is a very important concept to a lot of GURPS campaigns in a mechanical manner of speaking, and explains the evolution of written recordslearning by memorizing songsand eventually, the classroom.

This section is mostly informationalbut has a few small ideas on how to implement certain memory recall techniques.

A discussion of more advanced learning mechanics can be found in Social Engineering: Back to Schoolif desired.

Low-Tech Companion 2

The next section copanion even further into the development of schools in the form of intellectual institutions. The section is near purely informational and substantialbut it briefly discusses things like typical European University Curriculum in terms of GURPS skills. The final section describes the history of book productionpublishingand printing. It has a few rules to determine how much information can be found on a bookshelf of a given sizehow long it takes to create a book at a given point in historyand how difficult it is to write before writing becomes a near ubiquitous skill.

The pull quotes aren’t very humorous, but I guess I can forgive that given the material.

I think it is a pretty interesting piece, all-in-all, but it is a little light on the mechanics for my personal taste. The Philosophers section is just barely outside of that feeling of ” This is what Cmopanion wanted “, but the book does not lie about what it promises to deliver. None of the material is boringand even the non-mechanical background information is almost certainly useful in any low-tech campaignwith the added benefit that perhaps since it isn’t tied down by GURPS stats very often, it is more freely system agnostic.

For a slow paced, slice of life campaign dealing with men of learning commpanion, or a campaign dealing with complex political structures in the low tech levelsthis book is a valuable resource. For anyone else, it is merely an interesting read. Posted by Benjamin Gauronskas at 1: Newer Post Older Post Home.