System(s), GURPS 4th Edition. GURPS Basic Set is a hard-bound two volume set written by Steve Jackson, Sean M. Punch. 4th Edition is the latest edition of GURPS, released on August 19, By Sean Punch in the Thinking about switching from 3rd to 4th thread in the. From the publisher’s website: With GURPS, you can be anyone you want – an elf hero fighting for the forces of good, a shadowy femme fatale on a deep-cover.
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InSteve Jackson Games released a role-playing game that was different from anything that had been released prior. GURPS was designed to be a game system that transcended genre. Where there existed fantasysci-fihorrorand even super-hero role playing games, GURPS went in the direction if being all of those and more; saw both the 1st and 2nd editions of the system.
Traits are purchased with points. Traits come in four basic flavors: This became the definitive edition of the game for many years. The rules were extensively cross-referenced and well written. Supplements were released like clockwork; over the years, more than source books would be written for this edition of 4ev game. Although it never cracked into the top three for RPG sales, GURPS 3rd Edition became — and remains — one of the most successful lines of role-playing material ever published.
The core gurpw, called the Basic Setcontained a fixed set of advantages, disadvantages, 4rd skills. This book left all of the material in the front of the book alone. In the very back, in a 32 page area that originally held a sample fantasy adventure, a mini-supplement of material they wished could be in the core was included. But this was far from extensive. Together, these books included everything that would have been in the Core Book had it been possible to expand it without breaking down all of the indexing of the system.
GURPS 3rd edition was approaching 15 years of age; the sheer volume of material written for the system had created a level of cruft — piled on specialized sub-systems — which detracted from the streamlined beauty of the system.
Steve Jackson announced that the system would be extensively supported with premium product. The books were to be released in August of that year with an aggressive release schedule through the end of the year. A web-chat took place to answer questions. It would seem GURPS would have an aggressive release schedule; books would all be long see gurpafull-color, hard-cover books — what I will call premium books.
These points are important to many fans of the system. Steve Jackson — the man and his company — were promising to bring premium production to their already premium content. If the fans were to be enticed to come over to the new system — as opposed to using the 3rd edition with what-ever house rules they had developed over the years — they needed:.
An aggressive release schedule handled 1; premium books were unusual for Steve Jackson Games. It seemed to be an enticing carrot that could bring the old-guard over. The first signs of cracks in the plan took place before month’s end.
The so-called gorgeous artwork was almost universally regarded as anything but gorgeous. Since this is entirely an aesthetic issue, the good folks at Steve Jackson Games took this is stride and asked their fan base: The answer was yes. The finalists in the contest and the original designs are still available for viewing.
All appeared to be going well. In fact, for all intent and purpose, it was. Announcements for the new system included:. The aggression of the schedule was not in question. The ability for Steve Jackson to deliver on this schedule most certainly was.
GURPS Basic Set – Wikipedia
But more importantly, the ability for Steve Jackson to deliver on this schedule the premium production values was being tested early on.
The original covers with the sub-standard artwork and flat, bland look were gone and replaced guprs the puzzle-look ghrps had won the covers contest.
These were seen as a great step forward and resulted in beautiful books. This book was considered a universal success. The choices for advantages and skills to include in the trimmed list was suspect e. Given that this was a PDF and free-print product, it was given some slack.
In the end, it was considered a success.
This was exacerbated by the fact that the initial announcement and follow-up web chats indicated that virtually no conversion would be needed. Explanations were offered indicating that the document focused mostly on adjusting the point values of characters rather than adjusting capability. Response to this was mixed. It is about this time that some of the old-guard GURPS fans were starting to question choices made in the new edition.
For a line that was touting itself as premium production, this fell flat. Fantasy was seen as a good, fresh look at the genre with few miss-steps. When GURPS Magic hit the shelves, a lot of people were shocked to find that the system was not updated, fixed, corrected, or The issues that had been well documented were not corrected. The optional systems — those things that make GURPS the flexible tool-kit that it is — were left out completely.
Magicit was said, is where multiple systems and flavors of magic would be discussed and fleshed out. Left unsaid was the fact that the baseline system presented in the Basic Set was the same system that lacked flavor and feel from the older editions — the system so many GURPS fans abandoned and created house rules for; the same system abandoned in many GURPS settings and articles dealing with magic VoodooUnlimited Manaetc.
The flaws of the Basic Set rules were discussed at length following Magic ‘s release. Magic suffered not only from creative lapses, but editorial lapses as well. A series of charts in the book detailing the steps needed to reach a particular spell included calculations indicating how many spells were prerequisites for a given spell.
This chart was intended to allow a Game Master to move a spell without making it too easy or too hard to obtain. The discussions for Magic and how this book was a failure continued for some time.
This book is the one they would include alternative magical systems and corrections for Magic. In December — four months later — the play test seemed to be having trouble. The Basic Burps devotes one-third of the space to animals as it does to magic.
The Future of GURPS
It went through multiple printings and revisions, it spawned several side-books Space BestiaryFantasy BestiaryCreatures gjrps the NightDragonsetc. Many — myself included — feel that a Role Playing System without a good manual of monsters is incomplete. What was promised was a book that gave stats for real-world creatures, and rules for how to create interesting monsters, variations, and such — all while keeping in mind the creature’s role in its ecology and environment.
What we got was nothing.
Books began to slip in the official schedule. The original aggressive schedule was supposed to be one premium book per quarter. The number of products — please note, I did not say books — that have been produced for GURPS 4th edition is nearly This is impressive; quite shy of the number of books produced for 3rd Edition by this time in its history, but respectable. This comes out to one product every three weeks.
The problem is that these products consist of:. Each 4sd is counted in the category closest to premium it achieves. Some of the premium books such as GURPS Fantasy are no longer in print, and will likely never see print as a premium book again. Add to this the revelation that far more of Steve Jackson Games’ cash flow is derived from the card game Munchkin than from the GURPS line, and support gets pushed into other shorter-cycle venues.
The official line, last time I checked, is: It has not been for some time; it will not be in the foreseeable future. Role Playing Games are a side-line business for the ggurps as Munchkin takes over the vast majority of their resources.
Additionally, Steve Jackson is a man who wants to do some things simply because he wants to do them. And this is a good thing! Thanks to this sort of drive, a Kickstarter campaign raised nearly one million dollars to revive the OGRE line!
You cannot argue with success like that.
GURPS: Generic Universal RolePlaying System
But he is just one man, and Steve Jackson Games has limited resources. None of this is to say they are wrong. Steve Jackson Games is a business. Like any other business, they look at their market and adjust accordingly. So let’s look at what I think needs to happen.
All of this said Role playing is far from dead! Pathfinder is doing well. Dungeons and Dragons Next is in long-term development.
The books should be long, grey-scale books. GURPS is — and should always be — a premium content brand, not a premium production brand. Pretty pictures are useless if the content is no there.
Excellent content is not made better with pretty pictures. Long, grey-scale books going into these concepts in detail should be planned and assigned as the 5th Edition is being put together. Long, grey-scale books detailing these concepts in detail should be planned and assigned as the 5th Edition is being put together as well. Applications of the sub-systems e. Medium or long, grey-scale books should be produced for these purposes.
That should be the customer’s choice. The entire line should be available as PDF files, and via a good print-on-demand service available as either hard-cover or soft-cover books.