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Old 10-01-2020, 07:41 AM   #1
Join Date: Aug 2018
Default The Beauty of GURPS

GURPS is what once upon a time in a world long past woke my interest in tabletop RPGs, and I still recall that sensation of scrolling through 4th edition lite I stumbled upon before I was even a teenager. It was the very first game of the sort, and likely the last, but I’ve never really come to fully understand what makes it so appealing to me, although I can think of a few things that I love:
  • The ability to play ANYONE ANYWHERE ANYWHEN. Perhaps the first and most obvious thing to me is that anything is possible. Wanna play dystopian sci-fi? Go ahead! How about some supers? Here you go! Traditional fantasy? Of course! And the best thing is that *we* as players and GM get to decide what “traditional” even means! While I’m not hugely interested in the default setting (killing time traveling space nazis is albeit conducive to adventure and plots, but not what I’m in the mood for mostly), I do have dreams of one day create and run at least one fantasy/historical campaign, and play it through various ages (ie TLs), all the way up to TL12+ and exploring different genres etc along the way. Just thinking about letting players create heroes whose actions really do reverberate through the universe and let them experience it gives me goosebumps! GURPS makes this more possible than anything I’ve ever imagined.
  • The natural connection with the real world. I skimmed through some of the newest books, and in Disasters: Hurricanes I came across the Beaufort scale. I was amazed how similar the height of the waves were to Beaufort level -5 in SM. I’ve noticed several such coincidences, which I’m starting to suspect is more than a coincidence, and a sign that GURPS has struck something deeper; it’s as if it has a natural connection to the world as we know it. Sure, that’s partially one of the benefits of having physics degrees etc among the editors, but I get the impression it’s also part of a long conscious effort of the development of GURPS as well; break the world up into atoms and put it together however you like!
  • Great “meta” supporting the presentation. I can't deny that the meta of the presentation is rather in my taste. Everything from old song lyrics, quotes from famous cultural works, etc, are all really entertaining. For instance, I’ve seen in several places the formula “How Many [X]?”, which I can only hope is a nod to Life of Brian’s “How many Romans?”. Not too seldom do I learn of a new movie or decide to look into a book I’ve heard about but never gotten around to actually reading. I also noticed that sometimes it’s surprisingly fresh. Once I read a quote from a movie and it turned out that the book was published the same year. Regardless, it all makes me chuckle or smile, and simply reading GURPS makes me happy to the core.

What is the beauty of GURPS (4) to you?
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Old 10-01-2020, 08:41 AM   #2
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Default Re: The Beauty of GURPS

I evaluate game systems more as a game master than as a player, as I usually spend more time running campaigns than playing in them (though that's not true currently). I use GURPS more than any two other systems.

An important part of this is that I have a strong appreciation for "the way things work" as an element in fiction (I find it, for example, in Kipling, in Tolkien, and in Heinlein—Tolkien may seem an odd example, but consider his working out the timelines for four different sets of travelers on four different journeys), and GURPS is solidly founded in that.

I also like the multigenre capability of GURPS. I enjoy several different genres, and I like to run some very experimental campaigns.

Finally, one of my other hobbies is doing research, and GURPS books are often good sources for information on a subject. And writing them is a great excuse to DO research; for example, in writing GURPS Powers: Enhanced Senses, I read several different books on animal sensory physiology, learning about things like the double foveae in the eyes of birds of prey (one aimed forward at prey, one sideways at potential obstacles) or the biophysics of electroception.

I'm pleased that you like the use of quotations. I come up with long lists of possible quotations for my books; I have a list of nearly fifty possibles for GURPS Furries . . . I was particularly pleased at coming up with multiple quotations from Chinese classics for GURPS Thaumatology: Chinese Elemental Powers.
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Old 10-01-2020, 10:45 AM   #3
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Default Re: The Beauty of GURPS

Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
Finally, one of my other hobbies is doing research, and GURPS books are often good sources for information on a subject. And writing them is a great excuse to DO research
Oh, my, yes. It's maybe not so important for GMs and players, but for authors? I often say that writing for GURPS is a way of turning my expensive liberal arts education into a multi-hundred dollar second career.

More broadly, GURPS is appealing for authors precisely because it's a universal game. Just about anything can be a GURPS book. Meteorology? Equestrianism? Anthropology? Architecture? Infectious disease? Forestry? Material science? Law? There's potentially a GURPS book in anything if you can just find the right angle on the topic.
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Old 10-01-2020, 12:17 PM   #4
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Default Re: The Beauty of GURPS

Originally Posted by Turhan's Bey Company View Post
I often say that writing for GURPS is a way of turning my expensive liberal arts education into a multi-hundred dollar second career.
That's why I want to write for GURPS. I want to dip into that river of pure gold.
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Old 10-01-2020, 01:04 PM   #5
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Default Re: The Beauty of GURPS

What I love the most with GURPS is that it is the game which gives the closest to reality results.

Other roleplaying games are as flexible as GURPS: they also allow to play in any world, any time and any background - and even to cross genres if you wish. Fate, Savage Worlds, the Basic Role Playing System ...

But they don't give this outstanding feeling of realism.

Is this realism due to the bell curve given by the 3d6? A lot of real phenomena follow a statistical bell curve ...

Is it due to the amazing amount of research of GURPS authors? They extensively know what they are talking about; it is clear for everyone who read them ...

Is it due to the fact that, despite of giving predictable results (the strongest most often wins, the feeble doesn't stand as much injury, and so on), some strange events sometimes do occur, exactly as in real life (critical success in hopeless situations, critical failure while things were supposed to be easy, someone who miraculously survive terrible injuries ...)? News are full of "incredible but true" events like that ...

Actually, it is probably due to those three reasons (and some others). But no matter, it is what makes me love GURPS so much.

Last edited by Gollum; 10-01-2020 at 01:07 PM.
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Old 10-01-2020, 01:29 PM   #6
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Default Re: The Beauty of GURPS

Originally Posted by Gollum View Post
What I love the most with GURPS is that it is the game which gives the closest to reality results.

This is what sold me as well. Its not that gurps can do anything: its that gurps can produce a feeling of immersion I don't get in a lot of other RPG's. You can work hard to tune this up, or you can just let it simmer in the background.

I also love that gurps gives me the feel I want my setting to have. If I can imagine it, I can probably build it. And in a way that actually convinces me that its based on my description.
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Old 10-01-2020, 08:49 AM   #7
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Default Re: The Beauty of GURPS

Where to start ...
  • The simple yet coherent rules
Roll 3d6, add the eyes. Is the result lower than you skill or attribute? Congrats, you made it. Maybe you have some modifiers, but you never need extra rules for classes, alignments, special weapons, magic and so on.
Why are people claiming that Gurps is "to complicated"?
  • The wonderful toolbox for the GM
You can build every setting in every genre you can imagine. Pull two or three random source books out of the shelf, and you can take the parts you need for your campaign.
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Old 10-01-2020, 11:27 AM   #8
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Default Re: The Beauty of GURPS

GURPS has a reputation for being complicated, but it doesn't have to be. Its rules are extraordinarily modular.

If you stick to premade character templates and only use the bare-bones rules, it can be one of the simplest TRPGs I've played. (It might still be more complicated than FATE, though.) But if you want more complexity, or need guidelines for some wacky idea or weird edge case, there are almost certainly rules fitting your needs somewhere.

That's what I like most about GURPS. Take everything you need and you'll never notice anything you left out.
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Old 10-01-2020, 12:33 PM   #9
Join Date: Jul 2013
Default Re: The Beauty of GURPS

It can be really simple or complex as the story needs. GURPS Lite is a great introduction, and from there just start adding in new rules until you reach your comfort level.

Character creation is incredibly customizable. Given you point budget you can play out your character concept perfectly. I've always preferred this type of creation process.

Wonderful sourcebooks that are still useful. I still reference the 3rd edition books for the amount of useful setting detail. Running a shadowrun game presently and the old cyberpunk books are really useful.

A truly universal set of rules, if I need to combine genres, say monster hunters and Victorian England, it can be done with a minimum of fuss.

And the default setting is useful even if you don't use it as is. I've taken one of the alternate timelines as run it as a stand alone.
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Old 10-01-2020, 01:50 PM   #10
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Default Re: The Beauty of GURPS

- Ability to realize a character concept with existing mechanics

In most systems, a concept has to be altered, perhaps in Procrustean fashion, to fit the game rules. There are elements you can't find a match for, similar features that don't work quite right for the character, a feature that would be perfect except that it belongs to another class, or that you can't have because it's an either-or choice with another feature you need, and so on. GURPS is the closest to being able to wind up with any character I happen to imagine, without having design a set of custom rules for just that character.

The only rivals are games with such sparse mechanics that they don't really reflect any concepts mechanically. FATE, for instance, is really good at modelling anything you come up with -- but anything you come up with looks the same, with five (or seven) traits, all of which give a +2 if you can think of a good reason to invoke them. GURPS winds up with nearly as accurate of a match with a lot more mechanical support and depth.
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