This is GURPS (for any of you who do not know):

I assume that, this Forum being as geeky as it is, at least one of you Forumites has some experience with this system.

I’ve recently looked into it myself, but I’ve been indecisive on whether I’d like to engage in it or not. Do any of you recommend it? Do any of you discourage against it?

(I’m interested in Fourth Edition, by the way.)

The only other RPGs I’ve had experience with are D&D and SCRPG, for comparison.

Anyway, I’d appreciate any insights you folks might have. Thanks!

(Oh, also, I hope this doesn’t count as advertising for another company, which I’m pretty sure is against The Rules. If that is the case, Mods/Admins, please do not hesitate to remove this thread!)

Personally the last thing you want from a superhero game is simulationist rpgs, such as GURPS. It’s pretty much the opposite of Sentinels RPG. But if you want to play out out second by second (I kid you not- each combat round is a second) combats, with multiple powers, expect a lot of time devoted to combat, one session per combat if it’s not too long. I have never run GURPS but it’s not entirely different from Champions, and that suffers from the same simulationist issues. I dont have the time to devote hours to one combat scene now…

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Well, I wasn’t thinking of GURPS through the superhero-genre lense. Of course, I’d continue to use SCRPG for that kind of thing (similarly with D&D and fantasy stuff). Because those games are specifically made for those genres, I think they are the best fits. But that’s why I looked into GURPS: for the Generic and Universal parts. I think it would be convenient to have a single system for all those other genres. Well, I suppose one could try to twist SCRPG or D&D into other genres, but I have a feeling that that wouldn’t work out too well.

Also, I can’t imagine combat taking too long. Right?

Anyway, thanks for the advice.

Eh… I tried GURPS many, many years ago. Perhaps the latest edition fixed stuff, but it was way too fiddley and complicated just to create characters. Even for a point buy system, it was too heavy on the minute details. And this is coming from someone who likes Pathfinder 1e. Hero System had the same problem, with numbers thrown around for everything that eventually sucked all the fun out.

If you want a “Universal” system that works, and is fast and fun, try Savage Worlds. Recently, I got my group into the official Rifts conversion for that system, and it was really fun. Like a cybernetic knight with a sword of psychic power and a fire breathing dragon locked in melee combat with a giant demon while the power armor pilot aims an artillery piece at the demon’s head…

I played GURPS 2nd edition a bit. I agree with the above–too granular, too fiddly. My favorite example is that there’s literally an entire page devoted to digging holes. Like, how deep you can dig them through different materials before you need to dig wider or add reinforcement, how quickly you can dig without risking throwing your back out, etc.

If you really did want to mix superheroes and fantasy wizards and super-spies… well, actually superhero games can, and do, cover all that anyway.

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GURPS is a great game – if you like lots of crunch, as folks have pointed out. It’s not a very loose system, but it is good for use as a generic rules system (which is what we used it for in the past).

There are other options for generic rules systems, though. For example, we also used Everway for a campaign that spanned many types of genres / worlds. (It was a dimension-hoping campaign.) Everyway, however, is as light of a system as you can imagine, diceless, using card draws and interpretations of the results from the card title, imagine, meanings, and/or relationship to the character(s) involved. It’s basically the opposite end of the spectrum from GURPS. :wink:

So really it depends on the level of detail and complexity you and the other folks involved are interested in. :slight_smile: Check out the free “GURPS Light” ruleset and see what you think, knowing that the full version is far more complex, with many more options available.

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Thanks for the replies, everyone.

I have read through the GURPS Lite document, by the way. And I did like what I saw. : )

Below is a quote from an Australian physicist* who seems to hold a view similar to @Rabit. It is what got me interested in the first place.

[GURPS] has a reputation of being one of the most complex game systems in existence. Notoriously, some of the rules governing vehicles actually use quadratic equations and square roots. Although on the flip side of the coin, and to be truly fair, the vast majority of rules in the overall GURPS system are options for people who want more detail. You can run GURPS extremely free form and rules light, and the necessary core rules are fairly clean and simple . . . They’re so simple they can be summarised enough to play the game in a 32 page booklet which Steve Jackson Games distributes free of charge: GURPS Lite.

David Morgan-Mar

And, no offense, but it seems that all of you who say GURPS is too complex haven’t played the Fourth Edition. (And I’m pretty sure that that hole-section is gone, @MindWanderer.)

*Those two details are pretty irrelevant.

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Fair enough. The only edition I owned was 4th edition, and just found it too fiddly for my tastes. Each to their own.

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It’s funny, because I love fiddly, crunchy systems. :smiley: Unfortunately, the folks I usually play with / run games for (including my spouse :wink: ) do not, so… :unamused:

I’m used to making systems like Traveller and D&D less crunchy in play. :relaxed:

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I have moved more and more into narrative gaming. Recently had a blast with a year campaigning City of Mist. Looking forward to testing out Sentinels RPG as it has a similar narrative vibe.


I’m in the same boat! : )

I fell that narrativity and crunchiness aren’t mutually exclusive, though.

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I like crunchiness to a point. I’ve also found that a lot of “narrative” systems go too far in the other direction. They try to “simplify” things to a point where it doesn’t feel like characters can do much of anything. The “Apocalypse Engine” stuff like Dungeon World feel like this.

I use the analogy of Lego Blocks a lot when it comes to creating things. The simplified systems often feel like you’re handed a set that’s just two pieces that click together like a plastic Easter egg. Not much room for… well, much of anything. But GURPs and Hero System feel like the opposite, like you’re given a pile of just the thin, flat pieces. Sure, you can do a lot with it, but it has more tedium than it needs.

Of all the systems I’ve played over the years, my favorites in terms of creativity are probably the old West End D6 system (the original Star Wars RPG), and Savage Worlds. White Wolf (now Onyx Path or something) storytelling system and when Shadowrun dipped into point buy has been interesting, but always felt more constrained than it needed.

What I DON’T like is systems like the old AD&D 2E (and, related, 5e and Pathfinder 2nd), where you were actively punished if you strayed outside of narrow archetypes. The illusion of choice, as it were.


Fixed that for you. ; )

My two cents is that I am not the biggest fan of GURPS. I’m not sure which edition I played, though it looks like it would have been 4th ed.

I’m just not sure what kind of game I would use it for that there isn’t something better.

If i wanted something that let me have like a super hero, a dnd wizard, a ninja turtle, and a cyper punk robot all together I’d use SCRPG. SCRPG actually does this a lot better. You can make both Batman and Superman in GURPS, but they are nowhere near the same point level. One or the other is going to feel out of place

If i wanted something that was more tactics based with a less permissive set of rules that was a lot more strict about what you can and can’t do I would use some form of d20

I think the only thing GURPS offers that other systems don;t do better is when its at its most GURPyest and you are dealing with all the fiddly bits that are there as optional add ons and if that is what a group wants from a game then its what GURPS will give them, but i think it ends up getting in its own way a lot.

I agree that other systems do different things better, but that’s kinda the point. I don’t want to have to buy a myriad of different systems.

The proof is always in the pudding, the GURPS lite rules are free so go ahead and try them out if you’re group is interested. I just don’t think its very good, but maybe it does what you want it to.

I’ve run a bunch of GURPS over the years; GURPS has a strong player culture, and its driven the game to change from “Model the character in your head” to “penny-pinch points for the most efficient version of the character you conceived of” The attribute scale was orignally 10 normed, long right tail… but most templates now are significantly above average.

Further, it’s gritty simulationism is a lot of hassle, especially for supers. Oh, and in Supers, a 500 point wizard dusts most 500 point supers. Mix-n-match isn’t a balanced thing,

Moreover, SJG’s playtest windows are, by most standards, insanely short.

Unlike Champions, GURPS is buy the cause. (Champions is buy the effect, describe the cause as desired.)