Thursday, October 31, 2013

GURPS Renaissance

No, I'm not talking about a GURPS splat book set in 14th century Florence.  I'm talking about my renewed interest in GURPS.  Steve Jackson's rpg isn't exactly old school, first appearing 12 years after D&D reared its little head., but I still count it in the first wave of role playing games.  It's not exactly OSR, so I'll just call it GURPS Renaissance in a category all by itself.

I first picked up GURPS in a boxed set at the comic book store while I was still in high school  I loved the whole generic universal slant on gaming, and liked the gritty combat, but really - I had no idea what to do with it.  It wasn't until third edition GURPS came out that a bell went off in my head and I could see playing something beyond "Caravan to Ein Arris" style fantasy games.  The 90s saw me flexing my GURPS muscle, and it turned out to be the rpg that I would spend more time GMing that any other one - ever.  But eventually, I  abandoned GURPS to go chase simpler, more 'pure' games.

Okay, yeah, well I'm back.  I made the mistake of saying I'd never play GURPS again - which my players basically consider a dare to get me interested in playing something again.  In two months I've amassed, through a well timed birthday and some horse trading at the FLGS, eleven GURPS books (GURPS Horror is not in the picture above, but instead, sitting beside me as I type.)

I like the new 4th edition.  Honestly, I don't know which is better - 3rd or 4th - all I can really say is that 4th isn't so different that I can actually remember what has been changed, and nothing about it bugs me so far.  What I am sure is the same is its effect on me.  It's superbly written and researched.  I can read just about any random paragraph and it sets my mind off is a creative fugue of immense proportions.  You know, some rpgs spark off an idea for a campaign idea or two - but GURPS gets me going something crazy.

I think the important thing for me is that core philosophy to have the rules approach a playable realism.  Some games have really cool mechanics and knobs and whistles.  GURPS has always been somewhat of a bland toolkit.  But I approach the game with an armload of imagination, it soaks that stuff up like a sponge.  It doesn't impose it's mechanics on my ideas, but rather, I impose my vision on the mechanics.

Perhaps every rpg works that way, but for me, GURPS has been the best example of a 'sponge game.'  I mean, I'd never would have picked up and run a horror noir style game, but in sitting around with my players and asking them what they were interested in, I whipped up the Limehouse Chinatown GURPS game we are playing right now.  

So, yeah, I'm jazzed. :)

I guess my biggest issue is that two of the 4th edition books that I would really like to have, High-Tech and Ultra-Tech, are out of print and are only available for a pretty penny.  If anyone out there is hanging on to a 4th edition High-Tech and Ultra-Tech that they are no interested in - drop me a line and maybe we can do some horse trading or arrange a trade. :)

Happy Gaming!

- Ark

7 comments:

  1. Both High Tech and Ultra Tech are still available in PDF. However, it's precisely that over-reliance on PDFs and refusal to develop a POD option that have been moving me away from GURPS. Like you,. though, I still find a lot of inspiration in GURPS, both from its setting books and even from its specific rules. There are a few games that can match it for me (Villains & Vigilantes comes immediately to mind), but GURPS is still one of the best for that.

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    1. Faoladh - You know, I never have played Villains & Vigilantes. I suppose I need to get around to that one of these days. GURPS Supers, in 3rd edition, never seemed right - but Champions seemed to really capture what I was looking for - at the time. I guess that would have been primarily Wolverine. :)

      - Ark

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  2. It's hard to get High-Tech and Ultra-Tech. Best bet is to get the PDF, and get Lulu or a print shop to bind it for you.

    I wish they'd stay in print - I couldn't even get my own game a copy of my own book. But Lulu will let you print your GURPS PDFs if you need a hard copy. This guy made himself a combo Basic Set:
    http://forums.sjgames.com/showthread.php?t=112315

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    1. Peter - You know, that print job looks pretty sweet. Now for some cost analysis. :)

      - Ark

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  3. Hey, I have a copy of High-Tech I'm willing to part with.

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    1. minitrue - 4th edition? How cool. Drop me a line at Studio Arkhein at gmail dot com. :)

      - Ark

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