GURPS Martial Arts 3.2 Edition
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- Item Weight : 1.34 pounds
- Paperback : 258 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1556348215
- Product Dimensions : 8.5 x 0.59 x 11 inches
- ISBN-13 : 978-1556348211
- Publisher : Steve Jackson Games, Incorporated; 3.2 Edition (June 22, 2017)
- Language: : English
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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First, the content is incredibly well researched. Martial Arts is one of those great supplements you find yourself turning to in almost any RPG setting. It gets its history right, and that alone makes it a unique gem compared to most RPGs. But it goes on to explain how important concepts are presented in the relevant fiction, including movies, TV, literature, and even other RPGs. It manages to give the reader exactly the level of detail they want. Happily, the book gives a nice balance of historical, mythological and modern styles. You've got the usual suspects (different brands of kung fu and karate), but also Islamic and European medieval styles, several schools of fencing, ancient greek and roman sports, (Asian) Indian martial arts, modern MMA styles, military styles like Krav Maga, and much more. This includes an exhaustive weapons directory, a catalog of styles, historical information, and more. Many popular myths are identified, explained and corrected. The bibliography alone is amazing. If you're a gamer, this is the book for you. Actually, if you're looking for a good introductory reference and can stomach the fact that this is a roleplaying supplement, this is the book for you.
Taken strictly as a game supplement for GURPS, I'd call it a must-have. The new rules are optional but well-thought out and mesh well with the existing system. A few rules from Low Tech (e.g. scabbards) didn't make it into Martial Arts, but there is a still fair degree of duplication. (The scabbards rule seems to be intended to bring weapon weights in the Basic Set into line with historical weapons and probably SHOULD have been reprinted here). The style rules don't just add flavor, they make the existing system more structured and comprehensible for newbies. Templates for futuristic and supernatural martial arts are simple, logical, useful and balanced. Guidelines for creating new techniques and styles are very clear. This book fits in with pretty much any game concept and setting, but manages somehow to be very specific as well.
Some bad news: First, the hardcover edition is long out of print and hard to find. Second, one area which the book pretty much ignores is firearms (use GURPS Tactical Shooting and the PDF supplement Gun Fu for that). Some of the style perk entries aren't clearly worded. A few longstanding ambiguities remain in the combat rules despite this being the perfect place for a clarification.
Overall, a GM should be buying this after the Basic Set and whatever setting-specific supplements (e.g. Low Tech and Magic for fantasy, or Ultra Tech for a science fiction game) they will be using. It's not STRICTLY needed by players, but they'll probably want a copy, too.
This book contains a great deal of material any melee character will find useful, regardless of if their preferred kind of combat involves empty hands or a weapon. Unlike the 3rd Edition softcover, this book does not focus on hand-to-hand styles to the exclusion of all else.
The book is packed with content and even better than the old 3E Martial Arts book by at least a factor of 2. When I put it together with rules from GURPS GULLIVER I have practically everything I want in terms of combat verisimilitude. The best GURPS 4E book I have seen yet.
Top reviews from other countries
This is an excellent book that I would recommend as a reference point for anyone interested in martial arts in the very broadest possible sense (as I am). I could see it being a vital reference for students of eastern and western martial arts (historical european martial arts is becoming popular in both the west and the east, I have seen great videos featuring clubs in both parts of the US and Hong Kong), the interested reader, fans of stage fighting and screen fighting, even writers researching for fiction or non-fiction work.
It is one of the most comprehensive, world martial arts, books that I have ever read, has a great bibliography and references, index, contents, its lay out from page to page and chapter to chapter is very good too, very accessible. While (and I think this is a very good thing as I have bought other books of this kind and been disappointed by them) it is not padded out with pictures and artworks, there are sufficient inclusion of these and there isnt that dense, wall of text type presentation which can make reading, even really interesting material, a chore.
There is good use of type set (varying in size, italicising, bolding etc.), bullet points, spacing, headings and sub-headings and inset boxes which focus upon a particular point such as long and short style kung-fu, Bando Animal Forms, Gladiators, External vs Internal, Hard vs Soft styles, Polarm Fighting etc.
For the actual gamers (as my interest I confess is really literary as I like to read about this topic and also in this format) there is plenty of relevant information here too. There are character templates, which give the breakdowns, including stats, of say duellists, instructors, monks and movie stars in terms of attributes, secondary characteristics, advantages, perks, disadvantages, primary skills, secondary skills, background skills, lenses, customization notes.
GURPS, Generic Universal RolePlaying System, is something that's always divided opinion, for some people its just always going to be the poor cousin of the Advanced Dungeons and Dragons gamebooks series. AD&D books no doubt inspired Steve Jackson who had already created the Fighting Fantasy series by then, which are a separate genre of gamebooks (more like the choose your own adventure series). However, the far greater degree of stats and character building was no doubt a precursor of its popularity in more recent video games like Bethsadia's Fallout series or Skyrim.
There are about six pages of melee weapons statistics tables here, other statistics besides are woven into the writing throughout the book but I feel that the book is overall pretty balanced and could be read by the player and non-player alike. I was surprised that this was published as late as 2017, I note that there is another earlier iteration of it published in the nineties, I dont own it and so can not make a comparison (if I do in future I may update this review with any salient points). There may be interest yet in GURPS then, personally, and it is a subjective opinion, I have no problem admitting that, I think that GURPS is actually superior to a lot of the post second edition AD&D publishing (a lot of it feels padded out with pictures or text and reads like it is repacking what has already been said). Recommended.