Steve Jackson Games - Site Navigation
Home General Info Follow Us Search Illuminator Store Forums What's New Other Games Ogre GURPS Munchkin Our Games: Home

Go Back   Steve Jackson Games Forums > Roleplaying > GURPS

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 12-06-2015, 01:30 PM   #1
Embassy of Time
 
Embassy of Time's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Default What are GURPS' true strengths?

I may just have committed a social faux pas in the Raise a million for GURPS thread, by questioning the value of adding new licenses to GURPS. I re-joined the forums recently because I have been considering creating free GURPS material for a project I'm working on (reviving a small city as a creative and nerdy place), but that whole thread has got me bothered. It seems that people have a problem finding ways to truly flaunt GURPS' strength as a game, and it got me thinking about what those strengths actually are. I have my own answers, of course, but I'd love to know what others think.

So, if you had to explain to someone why GURPS would be better than Brand X RPG, what would you describe as GURPS' real strengths?
Embassy of Time is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-06-2015, 02:01 PM   #2
johndallman
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Cambridge, UK
Default Re: What are GURPS' true strengths?

At a game design technicalities level, it handles a wide range of power levels well, in many types of setting. It notably does a good job with ordinary people, real-world knowledge, technology and weaponry, and with the recent past through to the near future. It stands up well to being extended without suffering severe "power creep".

As examples, I've run three campaigns in it which it handled well, and which I don't think would have worked nearly as well in other systems.

Steam! was a steampunk game that entered a technological runaway in the 1890s, and was aiming for a singularity by 1940. It will never be completed now, because one of the core players became unable to continue, but it featured enemies with time travel, who succumbed to Moravec's version of Niven's law of time travel, a Martian invasion that was essentially a sociological problem, variant laws of physics worked out in enough detail to make nuclear weapons impossible and reactors easy, and minds uploaded into Babbage machines.

Laundry was set in the world of Charles Stross' Laundry stories, and featured plotlines arising from the implications of P=NP, the true purpose of Stonehenge having been a mystery for most of the last 5000 years, and the Laundry's semiotics department.

Infinite Cabal uses the Infinite Worlds setting, with rather loose adherence to canon, and rational Cabalists as the PCs, charged by the Grand Master of their Lodge (Isaac Newton, and the Royal Society) with finding out how the universe really works. They've learned one anthropomorphic answer so far, and are working on a physics-based one. This Wednesday evening, they may discover where echoes of Homeline come from.

GURPS lets me run this kind of stuff and doesn't fight back. Hero System is too based in superhero tropes for me to be happy with it, BRP/CoC doesn't handle the power levels and lacks the technological and magical support material, and FATE is too much about story action points.
johndallman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-06-2015, 03:05 PM   #3
RogerBW
 
RogerBW's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: near London, UK
Default Re: What are GURPS' true strengths?

As a Man in Black I demonstrate GURPS quite extensively, and I've had some feedback on what players seem to enjoy.

That tends to be: fairly normal people, with power scales from the realistic to the moderately cinematic. They get into situations over their heads, try to work out what's going on, and then deal with it. My games are often set in the real world, perhaps with some additional weird powers I've done one-shot games with 1960s psionics, with modern magicians working for the government, with a modern militia group in the US as the zombie rising starts, and with 17th-century pirates and their ship's conjure. Even if someone has magic, very few characters (PCs or NPCs) are so tough that being shot with a pistol won't spoil their day.

I don't tend to run genre fantasy, because there are lots of other games out there which can do that already, and frankly because I'm not all that enthused by it. (At least one of my fellow MIBs does do this with Dungeon Fantasy, and gets good feedback from his players.)

I like about GURPS: that I can have "normal people" who are easily differentiated from each other. That what most other games would relegate to personality notes have a real effect on gameplay (as mental advantages and disadvantages). That, in spite of all that, when I do want something hugely powerful, the system is there to cope with it and doesn't break under the strain. That when I want to build a fantasy or SF or horror setting, I have books crammed full of advice on how to do exactly that.
RogerBW is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-06-2015, 03:08 PM   #4
GM Joe
 
GM Joe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Chicagoland
Default Re: What are GURPS' true strengths?

I have many universal RPGs, and the strengths of GURPS for me are:

1) The design is cohesive, coherent, and complete.
2) The writing is excellent - it's friendly, fun-to-read technical writing!
3) It does regular humans really well, from realistic to fairly cinematic.
4) There's a lot of stuff that's been published for it.
5) It is well supported* by new publications, with a great dedicated monthly magazine and at least one supplement coming out every month.
6) There is a great community of GURPS enthusiasts.
7) The people who develop for it are active in the community.
9) It's from a great, well-respected company.

* If you like PDFs. I'm OK with them, since SJG makes explicit and clear my permission to print a copy for personal use.
__________________
GMing Since 1982.
GM Joe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-06-2015, 03:12 PM   #5
ericthered
Hero of Democracy
 
ericthered's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: far from the ocean
Default Re: What are GURPS' true strengths?

Gurps handles blow by blow combat a way that lends itself to visualization
Gurps has a strong skill system.

Quote:
Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
Infinite Cabal uses the Infinite Worlds setting, with rather loose adherence to canon, and rational Cabalists as the PCs, charged by the Grand Master of their Lodge (Isaac Newton, and the Royal Society) with finding out how the universe really works. They've learned one anthropomorphic answer so far, and are working on a physics-based one. This Wednesday evening, they may discover where echoes of Homeline come from.
Oh my I want those answers! </tangent>
__________________
Be helpful, not pedantic

Worlds Beyond Earth -- my blog

Check out the PbP forum! If you don't see a game you'd like, ask me about making one!
ericthered is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 12-06-2015, 04:32 PM   #6
Otaku
 
Otaku's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: South Dakota, USA
Default Re: What are GURPS' true strengths?

GURPS is to RPGs as a laidback version of the Borg would be to Star Trek:
Resistance is futile! You will be assimilated... or we'll adjust to you: either is "cool"!
...

No? Alight so the strength of GURPS is exactly what it says it is: a generic, universal role-playing system. So many diverse elements can be mixed and matched, including ones that are less likely to go together like a "harsh realism" designed to completely align with a real world setting... except the first Supers have suddenly shown up! Fantastic elements can be handled as realistic or unrealistically as the mundane.

GURPS 3rd Edition was my first role-playing game and so far the only thing that I have found 100% better was GURPS 4th Edition and it isn't like I thought either were perfect.
__________________
My GURPS Fourth Edition library consists of Basic Set: Characters, Basic Set: Campaigns, Martial Arts, Powers, Powers: Enhanced Senses, Power-Ups 1: Imbuements, Power-Ups 2: Perks, Power-Ups 3: Talents, Power-Ups 4: Enhancements, Power-Ups 6: Quirks, Power-Ups 8: Limitations, Powers, Social Engineering, Supers, and one issue of Pyramid (3/83), most of which was provided through the generosity of others. Thanks! :)
Otaku is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-06-2015, 04:54 PM   #7
smurf
Banned
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Bristol
Default Re: What are GURPS' true strengths?

There is nothing not to like about it :)
smurf is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-06-2015, 05:10 PM   #8
Gigermann
 
Gigermann's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Oklahoma City
Default Re: What are GURPS' true strengths?

If the objective is to run a "realistic" campaign/setting, I don't know what system you would look to other than GURPS.
Gigermann is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-06-2015, 05:19 PM   #9
Samaster
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Default Re: What are GURPS' true strengths?

GURPS handles combat in an incredibly detailed manner, with every blow being unique and giving you dozens of options to kill, debilitate, disable, or otherwise handle a fight while still being quick and streamlined. The incredible amount of support material makes finding basically anything easy, and it allows an enormous amount of customization of both world building and power scaling. It fully fleshes out things that would normally be considered just details without bogging down play with the information
Samaster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-06-2015, 05:21 PM   #10
Maz
 
Maz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Denmark
Default Re: What are GURPS' true strengths?

I feel like this topic shows up in one form or another ever so often. But I couldn't really find any threads on it through search, so its probably hidden in other threads.

Anyway, just to mirror what others have said. GURPS excels at "normal humans" in a way no other system does. All other systems I know of have a direct focus on creating a certain type of character which by definition is "not normal". Like RogerBW said.

Also a thing GURPS does that few other system do, is that things behave like you think they would. If you shoot someone in the head, they die. If you shoot them in the leg, they fall over and might bleed to death. If you punch at someone who has a sword, you are going to get hurt. It's better to duck for cover than charge at people with guns. And so on. This doesn't necessarily mean 100% realistic. But what we have grown to expect as realistic when it comes to fiction.

Last edited by Maz; 12-06-2015 at 05:25 PM.
Maz is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Fnords are Off
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 08:40 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.