September 30, 2014: GURPS Fourth Turns 10 With . . . Bill Stoddard
My first book for Steve Jackson Games, GURPS Steampunk, was a genre book – a guide to running games in a fictional genre. GURPS Fourth Edition gave me the opportunity to write more genre books: new editions of GURPS Fantasy and GURPS Supers designed for the revised game mechanics. Writing them gave me a fuller understanding of the new system, and in particular of the mechanics in GURPS Powers.
In hindsight, it seems inevitable that I went on to add to those mechanics. GURPS Thaumatology: Urban Magics and GURPS Underground Adventures include chapters of rules in their explorations of possible game settings. GURPS Thaumatology: Chinese Elemental Powers goes a step further, as an entire book devoted to mechanics -- a "worked example" of powers as magic, as discussed by Phil Masters in GURPS Thaumatology, but taking inspiration from Jason Levine's handling of special abilities in GURPS Psionic Powers. GURPS Social Engineering developed new mechanics on a wider scale, systematizing and expanding the Fourth Edition rules for social interaction of all kinds.
Beyond writing game books, GURPS Fourth Edition gave me a great toolkit for running my own campaigns! This started with Salle d'Armes, a mini-campaign that took GURPS Martial Arts out for a test flight -- and also helped inspire Social Engineering, from my exploration of the social context for all that swashbuckling and dueling. I'm now on my eighth Fourth Edition campaign, an exercise in fantasy world-building heavily influenced by the Path and Book Magic rules in Thaumatology. Whether I'm exploring published GURPS settings or building my own, Fourth Edition's logic and realism have kept my players happy and coming back.
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