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Old 05-05-2012, 03:37 PM   #1
StanTheMan
 
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Default What does GURPS 4e do well?

Let me explain a little:

As I've said on other forums, I've got a case where I'm looking to change how my group plays - to become more sandboxy and the like, and one of the systems I'm considering is GURPS. I've run GURPS 4e in the past, so I've experience with it, but it was also in the past that I've sometimes used systems for things that they weren't made for.

With that said, I'd like to know, what genres, game styles, or modes of play does GURPS lend itself to? Like, what sorts of campaigns and one-shots usually jump into your mind when you're thinking of using GURPS? Or put another way, when you think about X genre, why would you choose GURPS for it?
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Old 05-05-2012, 04:14 PM   #2
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Default Re: What does GURPS 4e do well?

The whole point of GURPS is that it is able to accommodate most any genre (as I'm sure you already know). GURPS is by default well oriented to realistic action adventures in any setting. Cinematic adventures are also well supported, if the playing group adopts different rules assumptions. I hear that GURPS struggles with portraying the enterprises of godlike entities as characters. I can't comment on that from personal experience, but aside from that*, any milieu can be represented

The main reasons I prefer GURPS are that, in addition to its genre flexibility in general, it handles combat at a finer grain of detail than some other systems, it has rules for handling a variety of non-combat related activities (haggling, preaching, repairing machinery, operating vehicles, interrogation, solving mysteries, photography, and on and on and on), and it allows characters to be designed as complex individuals. The modularity of the system means that I don't ever use all those rules at once, but it is reassuring to know that GURPS contains guidance for adjudicating almost any risk the PCs might take.

On the other hand, running a campaign in GURPS can require more preparation than campaigns with some other games, particularly those that have ready-made settings included. I think it is common for beginning GMs to feel like they need to observe a lot of the GURPS rules right away, which can leave that GM feeling overwhelmed.

Also, the level of detail possible is an invitation to having EVERYTHING statted out. It is not hard, once you have a little comfort with the system, to assign stats on the fly, and improvise solid adventures.

In short, GURPS does authorial freedom well. The worst hazard (in my own experience) is creative paralysis from a surfeit of options.




*and probably including that, to a some degree
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Old 05-05-2012, 04:26 PM   #3
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Default Re: What does GURPS 4e do well?

Gurps focus on realism, so, the game is very good for someone tired of level 10 barbarians having more HP than a wall.

Most people I talk to tell that GURPS is very good for sci-fi games, even thought most of my games are medieval fantasy.

My players played mostly D&D, but after they saw GURPS, they loved it, no class restrictions, targeted attacks, armor making you easier to hit, but harder to knockdown, even the alchemist with ST9 can kill a knight, and the other way around as well...
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Old 05-05-2012, 05:21 PM   #4
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Default Re: What does GURPS 4e do well?

Realistic or heroic fantasy. High fantasy if you know what kind of magic you want in your game.
Kung fu films.
Realistic or heroic modern action, thriller or intrigue.
Realistic, and I guess heroic (not tested personally) future fiction, if you know what kind of world/setting you want in your game.

Things that would be doable well in GURPS:
Conan (with a group of adventurers instead of one 'perfect' adventurer), Scorpion King, any of the Herculesque/Xenaesque series. Gothic. Planescape Torment (no, really!) or anything Planescape-like.
CSI, Ocean's Eleven (never seen it personally, but this is the official go-to film for stuff like GURPS Action), X-Files, Fringe, Hitman (with a group instead of one agent), the Millennium book trilogy (if the GM and player can handle it). Ghostbusters, Dusk til Dawn, Buffy/Angel.
Aliens, Deus Ex, Mass Effect, Dune (depending on specifics), Babylon 5, (new) Battlestar Galactica.
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Last edited by vicky_molokh; 05-05-2012 at 08:13 PM.
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Old 05-05-2012, 05:44 PM   #5
ericthered
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Default Re: What does GURPS 4e do well?

cross-overs. there is a reason gurps decided to make infinite worlds its signature setting.

also, emulating a previous setting. Gurps can emulate settings with a high degree of accuracy, while other systems tend to make their own setting based on their rules.
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Old 05-05-2012, 05:55 PM   #6
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Default Re: What does GURPS 4e do well?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ericthered View Post
cross-overs. there is a reason gurps decided to make infinite worlds its signature setting.

also, emulating a previous setting. Gurps can emulate settings with a high degree of accuracy, while other systems tend to make their own setting based on their rules.
Quoted because there isn't a "like" button.

Also, it's good for long-term or very active gaming groups that will be running a variety of different settings and game styles. You learn one system (GURPS), once.

Fiddly GMs who like tweaking everything and writing their own house rules and creating elaborate custom settings get tools in the form of GURPS rules, supplements and this forum, that they won't really find in any other RPG system.
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Old 05-05-2012, 05:55 PM   #7
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Default Re: What does GURPS 4e do well?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dammann View Post
In short, GURPS does authorial freedom well. The worst hazard (in my own experience) is creative paralysis from a surfeit of options.
This is the biggest problem I have had with getting players involved and I typically solve it by building their first character for them. It handles most combat really well. Realistic, cinematic and unarmed or armed all are supported though never been happy with wrestling stuff (though that will probably change when Technical Grappling comes out) and really silly combat like Toons are not easily supported.
Social interaction is typically better then any other system, though its cheap to get really scary good so this requires GM moderation if it will be that kind of game.
SciFi, modern, Horror, and detective stories all work really well.
Magic requires more thought then most but I call it a win as you can come up with just about anything.
Supers I have not played in 4e but I think they will work really well.
I disagree with some people here (including a line editor) and think it can handle god like beings well also. The trick there is not just lots of points but some things can be hand waived using Realm Magic, Godlike Control and Wild Card powers. Build the critical stuff and eyeball the knockoffs with an estimate of cost or use Ultra power or something.
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Old 05-05-2012, 07:02 PM   #8
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Default Re: What does GURPS 4e do well?

It's easier to list what GURPS doesn't do well:
  1. Tiny creatures as PCs (smaller than 1 lb), especially if they must be alongside larger scale PCs.
  2. Ditto for ginormous (planetary scale) PCs, but not quite as badly.
  3. Specific settings for which a dedicated RPG exists that you are happy with.
That's pretty much it, IMO.
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Old 05-05-2012, 07:08 PM   #9
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Default Re: What does GURPS 4e do well?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sir_pudding View Post
It's easier to list what GURPS doesn't do well:
  1. Tiny creatures as PCs (smaller than 1 lb), especially if they must be alongside larger scale PCs.
  2. Ditto for ginormous (planetary scale) PCs, but not quite as badly.
  3. Specific settings for which a dedicated RPG exists that you are happy with.
That's pretty much it, IMO.
The tiny pcs part can be solved if you "enlarge" the world and let the pcs as SM0. But as you said, when you try to mix tiny pcs if really get ugly.
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Old 05-05-2012, 07:18 PM   #10
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Default Re: What does GURPS 4e do well?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mateus View Post
The tiny pcs part can be solved if you "enlarge" the world and let the pcs as SM0. But as you said, when you try to mix tiny pcs if really get ugly.
While it's true that GURPS doesn't natively handle a diverse mix of character sizes very well, I can't think of any game system that does a better job. Some of the changes in 4e actually went a long way to improving this (notably the revisions to ST).
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