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GURPS Basic Set: Characters, Fourth Edition Hardcover – May 25, 2016
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Top Customer Reviews
GURPS is my favorite RPG system. As other reviewers state, the system can be extremely detailed, fine grained, and gritty. OR it can be streamlined for fast, cinematic, narrative play. Don't let anyone convince you otherwise. GURPS Basic Set: Characters presents all you need for creating interesting characters, including simple systems for magic and psionics. The Campaigns volume presents detailed (but all pretty much optional) rules for combat and plenty of good advice for campaign building. GURPS is also very well supported as a system, with ample supplements for a wide variety of genres. I'd give it 10 stars if I could. Great job, Steve Jackson Games!
some extra information:
I didn't really like a few of the D&D books, and compared on understanding and readability, these are much better in my opinion.
I also do not like exactly how skills are acquired, but as well as it covers everything else, this was just a minor setback, and still well worth it.
--WHAT TO BUY--
Pen&Paper games, especially Dungeons & Dragons 4th ed have a large number of books with no clear indication as to what is necessary to get going. In order to get started with GURPS, ideally you will have both books of the basic set (This one and GURPS BASIC SET Campaigns (GURPS: Generic Universal Role Playing System) ) however a lot of the useful information from Campaigns can be obtained from the resources section of this review.
All of the books outside of the Basic Set serve only to give your Game Master(GM) a premade list of equipment and monsters as well as more rules to include for the setting. For example, GURPS Horror 4th Edition (GURPS: Generic Universal Role Playing System) adds more rules regarding insanity and other lovecraftian-influenced horror rules.
GURPS is a points-buy system, which abolishes classes in favor of a host of individual skills + traits that you will define your character with.
So, instead of, say, choosing to be a Wizard and putting your experience into the Wizard class to unlock fireball, you allocate points into Fireball or however magic works in your setting.
The downside of a points-buy system is that the aforementioned people who just want to play a Wizard can be overwhelmed by the options.
GURPS uses a 3d6 system where you roll 3 six-sided dice at or under your skill level to succeed at something.
Example: Your skill with guns has a level of 12, so you have to roll a 12 or under to succeed.
My main complaint about GURPS would be that the book doesn't emphasize enough that a lot of the rules it has available are intended for certain types of campaigns. This is a common confusion among newcomers to GURPS thinking that they need to include every little crunchy rule in the system. A few times throughout the books the authors explicitly say that these rules are only intended for certain settings/campaigns
GURPS combat isn't terribly complex, although there are books that can make it more complex if you wish. GURPS combat goes as follows:
Player A wants to shoot Target B.
Player A rolls 3d6 for their guns skill. Success is affected by bonuses + penalties you'd expect like range, visibility, etc.
If Player A succeeds, Target B rolls 3d6 to dodge. If Target B succeeds, Player A misses. Exception: Critical hits are not dodgeable.
If Target B fails to dodge, Player A rolls for the damage their weapon does. Let's say the gun does 5d6, so Player A rolls 5 dice.
(Optional) Player A rolls to see what location Player A hits.
Damage is dealt to Target B, reduced by Damage Resistance from whatever armor they have.
GURPS' Combat on average is as simple as above, but you can get really number-crunchy if you want to. I prefer combat that isn't an hour long though, so until I run a tactical campaign I can't comment on the crunchy version.
1. GURPS Character Sheet Generator.
Amazon doesn't allow links in their reviews so just google for GURPS character sheet generator and you'll find it on sourceforge. It's a free java program that allows you to make and print out character sheets, also does whatever little math you need for stat increases, and is great for online campaigns.
2. Roll20 dot net
This is a free online service that allows people to play pen+paper games online. It has a beautiful interface and is being updated all of the time. No matter what system you run, I strongly recommend it.
3. GURPS combat cheat sheet (google GURPS combat cheet sheet)
This is basically the digital version of a GM screen. It includes the modifiers for range, a hit location table, and other such information.
GURPS is a great system to pick up if only to let people play in whatever setting they wish, instead of modifying a setting-specific system for another. Highly recommended for all pen&paper gamers new and old.