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Opinion of GURPS


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I played GURPS for years. It requires a GM who will stay on the players about the points -- I had one players who perpetually wanted to max out on "Enemy" points, and then got snitty about his Enemy showing up every... single... adventure... and trying to kill him... and getting better at it every single adventure. Ultimately, it's about the players and the GM -- simply limit this by allowing only X number of points in disadvantages, or simply saying "no" to disadvantages you don't want to play out.


There are better games for specific milieus, certainly, but GURPS is designed to do it all. There is no better RPG for EVERY milieu, as far as sourcebooks go... the last edition had very good sourcebooks on durn near every civilization that actually existed and a great many that did not.


That being said, GURPS Vehicles could have been better.

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Ok I'll qualify what I meant about BRP being better than GURPS. GURPS is great for building interesting and complex characters but the game system has flaws that make vehicle construction a nightmare and the combat system is a bit flat. BRP Characters may not be quite so rounded but the skill and combat mechanics are really very good. The Combat in BRP is based on real combat simulation and not just some arbitrary number system. The rules also allow for a high degree of mix and match options to further customise the game.

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GURPS 4e is by great and wide margin my favorite system hands down. It's freaking awesome. Centers on role playing instead of "kill monsters, get XP, get GP, get moar powa!" But, the combat is realistic as well as strategic instead of being a pencil-and-paper video game.


I'd take G4e over any other system for any type of game without a doubt. It probably does grim-and-gritty hard Sci-Fi best, though.

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Thanks for the input. I think I'll try GURPS Lite for a little bit. After reading more on the 4th edition of Shadowrun I was finding that, as with D&D 4ed, there are so many rules to be aware of that it is more of a chore than I have time for as a working person. While I was looking at GURPS Lite I was envisioning how simple it would be to customize a few sessions for Fantasy or for something melding the Shadow/Cthulhu in the 30's right before WW II. It was that simple easy transition that got me. Now to try it out.

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Sorry for coming to the thread so late. I've been running, dreaming about running, playing, or dreaming of playing in various GURPS games for 20 years or so now and these are some observations based on what I've read from the OP on this.


Please correct any of these assumptions that are wrong as it is the basis for my comments afterwards

1) Looks like you're looking for a common "reality based" system that will let you still enjoy some of the heroic elements common in other systems.

2) You're looking at GURPS because you're looking to blend genres down the road depending on how your story develops and progresses

3) While you like the detailed character creation, you're not looking for excessive rules minutia during play



1) Your idea to stick to GURPS Lite is a great one. Avoid the minutia by simply not having access to it. Most new GURPS GMs get sucked into all the options and things they have access too and are not ready or familiar enough with the rules to keep combat (or even general play) flowing. Abstract all armor damage resistance into a single value, don't worry about random hit locations, etc. etc. etc.


2) Players that are coming from more "heroic" based systems are expecting a bit more survivability than GURPS gives them "out of the can." The "Cinematic" optional rules are fantastic for this. Specifically (in the latest edition) the "Flesh Wounds" and "TV Action Violence" rules.

-- "TV Action Violence" basically means spending 1 Fatigue Point to succeed any Active Defense the character just failed; in exchange for the character spending their next action taking cover, hiding, jumping about acrobatically, etc. etc. etc. (note sometimes an Active Defense is not allowed, for example you can't dodge an attack of which you are unaware, so it's still possible to die even with this cinematic rule.)

-- "Flesh Wounds" basically means spending 1 unspent character point (some GMs allow you to go into "CP debt" for this) to reduce the damage taken to a single point with cinematic blood and gore remaining... "It looks bad, but it's just a flesh wound."


Between those two rules (using one, the other, or both), you retain everything GURPS brings, and your heroes would need to massively screw up in order to die. It also leads to more heroic actions from the players since they're less worried about getting splatted by the big-bad-nasty you had planned. Full on "gory realism" games tend to result in rather cowardly heroes who are afraid of getting killed... which is rather realistic I think... but often not very fun if you're not playing a horror genre.


3) Roleplay only Disadvantages

If you'd like to focus on the roleplay and less on administrating your disadvantages amongst your player characters, I suggest this (until you're more familiar with the system and whatnot). Simply put, give some percentage of the points they would have taken for maxing out disadvantages anyway... and give no points for taking disadvantages at all. So the default is say a 150 point character. Normally that's 75 points of disadvantages and 5 points of quirks (80)... that's 230 points of positive purchases after all is said and done. Simply give the heroes 200-230 points and tell them to only take disadvantages they'll roleplay and they gain no points for doing so.


4) "Money"

I've found nothing abuses the system faster than the gaining of money by PCs and then the spending of said funs on "stuff" which will quickly blow the lid off any attempt at "balance" ... especially as they cross genres. A quick and simple abuse is to take poverty levels for points, knowing they'll quickly be able to earn it back in game or be given whatever they need by wealthier PCs... or to make themselves SO wealthy that they just buy enough toys to boost their "combat effectiveness" without having to pay actual points for it. Rather than make suggestions, I simply recommend a new GURPS GM simply watch and be aware of this potential problem area.


5) "Bang" Skills

GURPS optional rules allow for what are called bang skills. Skills with an exclamation point afterwards ! ... they are used when you don't want to worry about having heroes buy every one of 30 different skills to represent extreme skill in a particular area. They are bought as Mental / Very Hard skills and I strongly suggest no more than a single bang skill per character and only suited to their "schtick" ... the scientist in the party, let her roll "Science!" ... the cowboy, frontiersman, rustic... let him roll "Survivalist!" for anything outdoors/tracking/hunting related... the Mechanic/gearhead rolls "Mechanic!" to be build/fix/rig anything... save yourself the headache when you're a new GM of learning the names of all 212+ skills.


6) Nevermind the minutia, when in doubt roll 3d6 and run with it.

There are worse things you can do than just apply an arbitrary modifier of between 1 to 5 points +/- to a roll that seems reasonable and just run with it. If they don't know the skill, -4. If they did great roleplay, +5. Ignore the rest, roll and go. GURPS is remarkably versatile and fun at this most basic level.

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Thanks for the neat input, I looked this stuff up and... well... my game group decided they wanted Swords and Wizardry over every other option. I plan to borrow some of the GURPS and BRP skill system stuff, oh the wonders of house rules. I have tried GURPS but my group was not interested and I don't feel like taking the time to learn D&D 4th edition so we went for S&W. So far 2 gaming sessions have been completed and both were a blast. I still have hopes of sliding in a one shot GURPS session but for now it is simple fantasy ala S&W.

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