Tuesday, October 20, 2009

GURPS – Because sometimes “crunch” is cool


In my gaming heyday I had two main go to systems AD&D for my Greyhawk Campaign, and GURPS for everything else. 

Conan? GURPS.

Pulp? GURPS.

Western? GURPS.

Space opera? GURPS.

Horror? GURPS.

Space-Horror? GURPS.

Of course I played Traveller, Chill, Boot Hill, Star Frontiers, Top Secret, and all the rest.

But when I bought that first edition boxed set with the dumb name – Generic Universal Rolepaying  System. My gaming world turned upside down. I remember sitting down and reading through it and slowly realizing “I can do anything with this”.

In our group we had the Champions guy, the Battletech guy, the weird ass homebrew AD&D campaign guy - I became the resident GURPS guy. GURPS could do just about everything (just about- Supers was a sore subject amongst GURPS Aficionados back then).

When I moved to Hawaii GURPS went with me, and with my copy of GURPS Conan I ran one of my best  campaigns ever. It was a full table every weekend- ahh the memories.


(Man, I love that cover)

Since my return to California, and the start of Evil DM Productions, I’ve been reading, playing, writing and catering to much lighter, faster, fluffier systems. But for some reason today I started thinking of my old GURPS campaign with all their crunch and attention to character detail. 

The detail involved in GURPS character creation is something I must say I miss. These “’light system” games are okay. when you can get all the rules distilled down enough to fit on the back of a matchbook your bound to lose something in the process.  I confess, sometimes I enjoyed slogging through character creation with line paper, pencils and four different splat books spread over my kitchen table as I wrestled with my calculator to create the ultimate character with 250 points. And yeah, when one of my GURPS guys bought the farm I felt it, not in a spastic table –flipping breakdown, but a hell of a lot more than I do with the disposable characters I seem to play with these days.

And beyond the fun of creating a GURPS character, there was the sheer joy of perusing the different worldbooks.

Conan, Cliffhanger, Witchworld, Horror, Castle Falkenstein, Discworld, Lensman, Ice Age, and on, and on and on… Those damn books are so cool that even if you didn't play the system, you still read the books. I mean GURPS Horseclans for God’s sake, where the hell are you gonna get a decent RPG treatment of the Horseclans series??


There seem to be great gobs of “beer and pretzel” systems out there these days, but every once in a while you want to indulge in a luxurious prime rib system, when i get in that mood I reach for GURPS.

GURPS, its what’s  dinner.