Say Something Nice About GURPS

edited October 2012 in Story Games
I dare you!
I'll go after a few of you have answered.

Next up - "Say Something Bad About Fiasco"


  • I am intrigued by the idea of mastering the system just in case I'd find some use for it down the road. This is pretty much the motivation behind my late discussion on the Hero system, which is a venerable competitor of GURPS and fills a pretty similar ludological niche. At this moment I have no clear idea of what I might do with such system mastery, but many people seem to get exactly what they need in roleplaying from GURPS, so I'm convinced that it's just a matter of hitting on the right creative agenda.
  • GURPS is just a straight up really, really good game.

    No joke - it is.
  • gurps books are great sources of information when designing other games
  • Having just 4 stats was revolutionary to me at one point in my life.

    Also, the idea that you could just, like, play any game you wanted to, that was pretty awesome.

    While much of the material in its historical supplements was about as accurate as the historical stuff in the World of Darkness (i.e. all very pulpy and exoticized), GURPS seemed to make a decent effort to find people who might be considered qualified to write about the various genres and settings it presented.

    Also, GURPS Steampunk came out back in 2000, before steampunk was even a thing. I owned a copy!
  • GURPS has some pretty sweet source books.
  • GURPS was one of the first games I ever played (along with Champions) that incentivized taking story-building disadvantages. My kick-ass soldier became a lot more interesting when I took that "one-handed" disadvantage, and realized he was a worn-out old veteran, returning home at last.
  • edited October 2012
    GURPS character generation is a great motivator to keep your character alive.
  • The GURPS Character Assistant was pretty cool. And it's a good game!

    GURPS is one of two games that taught me a lot about how to set up a campaign, pitch it to my group, and adjust the available character options to fit what we were trying to do. And then to turn around and do an entirely different campaign, with different options, that fit that different thing we wanted to do.
  • GURPS started the whole game-system name acronym fad. The first "game" I "wrote" when I was like twelve was titled the "Simple Intuitive Mechanics System" or SIM System. That was a blatant bite off of GURPS.
  • There's an official 32-page 'Lite' version which I'm pretty impressed by.
  • GURPS is moldable to fit almost any gaming preference.

    The granularity of character generation is just right for giving texture to a character without necessarily needing to sacrifice in-game effectiveness, and Disadvantages and Quirks are gold mines for character-centric play.

    Some of my favorite gaming experiences have been with GURPS!
  • edited October 2012
    I've got more time building a character in GURPS than I have actually playing it (my group did a single session that never got into a second session; I forget why, 'cause we all seemed to enjoy that session) so I can't say much about it. I do like complex, multi-option character generation, though. If I'd ever gotten into GURPS, I could easily see myself killing a lot of time in "lonely fun" character building, like I used to do with Shadowrun.

    Still, this thread's pretty cool. I know that Story-Gamers tend to have a lot of background with more traditional games, but it's nice to see positive talk about a good old crunchy game. Still, my first thought when I saw this: "GURPS character generation is a great motivator to keep your character alive." ...was "Nice trolling" until I realized that it was the same guy who started the thread!
  • Advantages boiled down to the things you could do and how well you could do them, putting a clear focus on what you actually intend to do with the character during play rather than silly things that would never come up (such as four and a half pages of your five page backstory).
  • I prefer The Fantasy Trip (proto-GURPS) but I have a bunch of GURPS books because their setting/genre specific books are well-researched and have great information for ideas about running games using a system you might prefer. The "historical" books are what I have the most of.

    Also what Steve_Segedy said, substituting The Fantasy Trip and Space Gamer #51.
  • GURPS has the 'War against the Chtorr' supplement, which is literally the game supplement I most want to own in the entire world.
  • It's easy to pronounce. :)
  • It got me started in RPGs, at least the Discworld varient did.

    I actually really, really like the philosophy behind the way the mechanics for Combat and other resolution systems are written. It gives the game a visceral, gritty feeling that I'm sure most 'realistic' games are going for but don't deliver on. Well, except for GURPS.
  • After countless years, the system is still going strong and is supported by an insane number of campaign sourcebooks -- if you want to run an RPG in a particular setting, it's the Core and That Book and you're off.
  • I like my GURPS Ogre book, don't own the RPG, but I like the Ogre-verse.
  • GURPS had that supplement book Reign of Steel. So dope.
  • edited October 2012
    What everyone else said. Plus, when I went to a game store in the 90s or very early 2000s, and there wasn't anything in the store that I planned on buying after a sweep-through, I'd at least spend a few minutes reading a GURPS sourcebook for the reasons Jon mentioned above.

    Also, GURPS: Voodoo: The Shadow War. An attempt, and a kind of badass one, to out-WoD World of Darkness. Ultimately I don't think it worked (it needed more background/setup stuff and less on rules), but it was literally the last GURPS sourcebook I kept (and I had a ton of them).


    Reign of Steel was another solid attempt, a great setup and cool world description, of a "Skynet Wins" style campaign. Really good stuff.

  • edited October 2012
    If I'd ever gotten into GURPS, I could easily see myself killing a lot of time in "lonely fun" character building, like I used to do with Shadowrun.
    This was the entirety of my experience in Middle School. Not just of RPGs ;-) ; all of my tween years were spent building GURPS characters. I'm only exaggerating slightly.

    It took me an embarrassing number of years to get the joke in the sidebar in the Basic Set about the "Hammel" versus "Fisher" type blasters.

    Also holy shit GURPS Fantasy Folk. Soooooooooooo cool. 25 playable fantasy races, and also a "race burner" that was extremely intuitive, balanced, and easy to use.

    The official GURPS Fantasy setting, Yrth, is quite cool. There's a different country for each subgenre of fantasy, interesting in-game reasons for "fantasy gun control," and a mixture of real-world religions (the backstory is that humans were transported there by this giant magical thing called the Banestorm) with fantasy races and monsters. I ran a somewhat successful Riddle of Steel campaign, as well as some related one-shots, set in Yrth.

    GURPS Fantasy II, meanwhile, was some weird crack-ass shit about monstrous gods. I totally didn't understand it at the time. Nowadays I'd probably hack up Sign in Stranger to do it right, what with the mutations and all. Maybe some sort of semi-GM'd SiS.

    But far and away my favorite thing about GURPS? How cheap it is to be Mozart! Musical Aptitude is only 1 point per level, and there's no cap. It's hilarious. Mozart is like a 25-point character, 50 tops. (Standard character is 100 points.) Especially with all his disadvantages of poverty and alcoholism and the like!

  • Is anyone here familiar with GURPS Gulliver? (I don't know if still exists, but it was a pretty amazing piece of work.)
  • Some of thé GURPS Books have really cool covers. GURPS Space 1st edition and CthulhuPunk to mention two.
  • Some of the source books are good. I particularly liked Space and Wild West.
  • Sourcebooks for genres and subjects that might not get one and done well enough to work as a jump off point for research.
    Also the rules are allright for that kinda system. I could work with them.
  • I know I use the phrase a lot, but it's got a great "kid in a candy store" style character generation, looking through sourcebooks (or even mainbooks) and seeing things that you totally want to build a character around. "Wow, 100 points for terminal illness? Sold! A mercenary with nothing left to lose!" "Weirdness magnet? Shouldn't I be... PAYING to get this?"

    (I actually remember a friend in high school who thought that Sadism and Weirdness Magnet were pretty much 'automatic buys' for any intelligent player, "because aren't all characters already?" Looking back on it she may have had more of a point that I thought at the time.)
  • Yeh, in my GURPS group Weirdness Magnet didn't count as a Disad, because of the "aren't all characters already" thing.

    Oh, The Voice remains my favorite Advantage from any game! It's so perfect for talkers-not-fighters, which I generally played in GURPS (playing a modern-day combat-oriented character seemed like a lot of work to me)
  • George R. R. Martin plays it.
  • Quick aside, what are other folks' favorite sourcebooks for GURPS?

  • edited October 2012
    I got into GURPS with the very first book -- Man to Man, which was basically the Melee & Advanced Melee for GURPS. The combat system, basic character creation (stats and combat skills) and some advice on running gladiatorial battles. I've got a stack of GURPS 3E sourcebooks almost as long as my stack of HERO books. I didn't play it nearly as much as HERO, but I have some love for the system. I didn't get back into it with 4E though; it was a pretty big investment when I still had lots of 3E stuff plus HERO.
    Quick aside, what are other folks' favorite sourcebooks for GURPS?
    All of them. To be more specific.. I preferred the new rules and genre sourcebooks (Psionics, Supers, Magic) over the setting specific worldbooks. Though a couple of exceptions to that were the Autoduel book and the licensed sourcebooks for The Prisoner and Wild Cards -- I loved the hell out of those. I loved the Callahan's Crosstime Saloon book also but realized it wasn't anywhere near as gameable as I'd hoped, at least not with GURPS.
  • edited October 2012
    Since I brought up Reign of Steel and DeBracy mentioned art...


    The cover art was seductive for me. I could come up with a whole world based around that single image.
  • GURPS Celtic Myth, Vikings, Cyberpunk, Egypt, Aztecs, Russia, Weird War II, Cliffhangers, Who's Who 1 & 2. All great.
  • I taught myself to game out of GURPS; if there was no GURPS, I would not game.

    The sourcebooks are, hands-down, the best setting guidebooks.

    GURPS Does What It Says On The Tin, and doesn't afraid of anything.
  • That cover is John Zeleznik, looks like, who does most of the Rifts supplement covers.
  • edited October 2012
    Yeah that dude did a lot of Shadowrun art. Definitely one of may favorites.

    Did he do this?

  • I dare you!
    I'll go after a few of you have answered.

    Next up - "Say Something Bad About Fiasco"
    On a side note, given the sassy OP, is GURPS really seen as that bad of a game system? And is Fiasco really seen as a perfect one? Granted, I'm not crazy about GURPS and from what I've seen and heard Fiaso is pretty damn great, but still.
  • edited October 2012
    And is Fiasco really seen as a perfect one?
    I can say plenty of negative things about Fiasco. But then I also hate Fiasco and I have a list of reasons I hate it. Let the lynching of me commence as I have now defiled Story Games Holy Bible.

    As to the original post: GURPS, as has been said, has super-great sourcebooks.
  • They made awesom GURPS Steampunk minis which included a wind up spring powered cat automaton in 25mm scale.

    C'mon people! A wind up springpowered cat automaton!!!!
  • edited October 2012
    Zeleznik didn't do the original Rifts cover. That's Keith Parkinson. Their styles are pretty distinct. Zeleznik's stuff is all shiny metal, ceremic plastics, and glowy auras.
  • edited October 2012
    C'mon people! A wind up springpowered cat automaton!!!!
    Truth! Though, when I think about it, this basically describes my real cat.
    Zeleznik didn't do the original Rifts cover. That's Keith Parkinson. Their styles are pretty distinct. Zeleznik's stuff is all shiny metal, ceremic plastics, and glowy auras.
    Well, score one for Keith Parkinson.
  • I still think GURPS is pretty cool, and I don't consider Fiasco to be all that perfect a game at all, so you're not the only one.

    Things I loved about GURPS:

    * The incredible sense of ambition. It really wanted you to be able to DO ANYTHING! And delivered fairly well. I always wanted to be able to play out stories like A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, and GURPS was the first game I encountered which really was ready to help you do that.

    * Along the same lines, the modular nature of many of the rules allowed you to dial up or down your level of detail, genre considerations, speed of play, and other things. "Here's a rule to turn your game into action cinema!" "Here's a rule to make the game more deadly!" Etc.

    * GURPS Vehicles, GURPS Gulliver and other similar projects were incredible pieces of work, informed by thoughtful principles and who-knows-how-many hours of labour and research.

    * I loved that character creation and character advancement weren't really different processes.

    * In theory, the lists of modifiers for different actions were so thorough that roleplaying details of the fiction and establishing your ficitonal positioning in careful ways really paid off. Do you have your other hand free, to help brace the pistol you're firing, or are you still carrying that suitcase? It matters.

    * The gritty and step-by-step nature of combat and character advancement were a huge change after games like D&D.

    As an example of that last point, I loved the idea of playing standard D&D modules with regular GURPS characters. It would change the feeling of the game so much as to be nearly unrecognizable, and force the players to reach new heights of planning and creative problem-solving.

    For instance, a regular "group of adventurers" can no longer simply wade in to a group of a dozen kobolds and slaughter them (or at least be safe knowing that they can retreat before they're killed if they feel overmatched), like they would in D&D. So what do you do? How do you turn the situation to your advantage?
  • It does what it was designed to do, and its sourcebooks are great. It turned me on to the Scarlet Pimpernel novels, which made the 7th Sea GM who was running a Pimpernel adventure at last year's Origins very happy. (He doesn't want to have to deal with "Who's Armand and why do we care about him?") I cited a couple of sourcebooks in my dissertation on modern Arthuriana.
  • I think I'm gonna start a new thread related to this one — Where GURPS goes wrong despite its manifest awesome, and how to get more consistent results.
  • edited October 2012
    Quick aside, what are other folks' favorite sourcebooks for GURPS?

    I really dig the GURPS Tech books (Low-Tech, Hi-Tech, Bio-Tech, etc.). They serve as a great reference for time periods you know little to nothing about and do a lot of heavy lifting for imagining time periods yet to come or completely imaginary.
  • I remember Low Tech fondly as well
  • Hey, Matt, that sounds like a great idea! I may be able to contribute, too.
  • I want to know what the OP thinks about all our GURPS adulation, or GURPSulation as we call it.
  • GURPS: Technomancer was a big fun mess.

  • edited October 2012
    I don't know why you would knock GURPS. Certainly not because it is complex, because it scales almost effortlessly to extreme lightness (ask anybody who has ever played GURPS with me). Not because it is badly designed or poorly written or carelessly edited, because none of those are even remotely true. Not because, in its day, it wasn't crazily well supported.

    Personally I really like GURPS and especially its old skool antecedent, The Fantasy Trip.
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