Saturday, May 09, 2009

G.U.R.P.S. & I

For years now, I have been saying I needed to learn GURPS (the Generic Universal Role-Playing System from Steve Jackson Games, or SJG). I've had the 3rd-Edition rulesbook since before I can remember - I don't even know how/where I got it - yet, I have never done more than occasionally flip through it. The truth is that I'm no fan of 3d6 systems. Further, since GURPS literally uses 3d6 (as opposed to a d20), I was even more turned-off.

Several years back, I came across a lot of roleplaying books on eBay and grabbed them. The lot was Mayfair's entire line of Role Aids - the very books which got them sued by TSR and forced Mayfair out of the RPG industry (they still make trains). I already owned a copy of Elves and always enjoyed it. In fact, several times throughout the years I'd tried to incorporate it into my games, but D&D covered their bases thoroughly with so many supplements and so on that I never got much out of the Role Aids products line.

Whenever I introduced an element presented in one of the Role Aids supplements, it was pointed-out to me how D&D already had (usually optional) rules for the matter, in one supplement or another - usually one none of us had. Of course, I could go ahead and use the Role Aids information and not worry with it - and I did, sometimes - but knowing that someone in our troupe would eventually acquire the "official" rules, and would then want to change his/her character to bring it in line with the "official" rules, I figured there was little point.

So, for nearly four years now - since I first got the books - I have been trying to work them into some system. As mentioned, they were literally made for AD&D, so I don't know why I never thought about using GURPS to present them, but it wasn't until I was pulling books from the shelves last night that it struck me: "GURPS uses 3-18 scale; these would fit beautifully under GURPS!"

The Role Aids supplement line was developed under a d20 scale, which GURPS uses, so there is no need for adaptation or conversion. Further, I have GURPS Magic and Psionics (the rest of my worldbooks are for modern settings), which means I have the most important aspects of the fantasy genre covered. The Role Aids supplements provide all the rest, along with a few other "generic" supplements I picked up over the years and never managed to work into AD&D without them suddenly releasing the "official" guidelines for whatever I was doing.

Let me give you the Rundown on the Role Aids line and why I'm so eager to use it:
  • Elves
  • Dwarves
  • Fantastic Treasures I & II
  • Monsters of Myth and Legend I-III
  • Dragons - Including the Dragonlord class/profession
  • Giants
  • Undead - Including the Undead plane, Verdaise
  • Lizardmen
  • Dark Folk - Orcs, Goblins, Kobolds, Gnolls, Trolls, etc.
  • Witches
  • Wizards
  • Dwarves
  • Portal to Adventure - Campaign guide and supplement
  • Shadows of Evil - Celtic culture, Druidic background
The entire line serves as the basis for my campaign, world, and setting, as well as providing all the rules needed for classes, professions, and races. Technically, Mayfair had a campaign setting (the City-State of the Invincibl;e Overlord), and much of the campaign materials reference those books and boxed sets, but that can be easily overlooked. I had a single boxed set from that but no longer do and doubt I would use it anyway.

I have another supplement entitled Maps, which is exactly that. Further, most of these books contain towns/cities/settlements of the races in question and so on, meaning all I really need to do is record the instances of references and come back through to map it out; Role Aids provides the intrepid GM everything he needs, save the engine itself.

I will also be using a handful of other third-party supplements to create an entirely fresh, completely unique fantasy setting and game. Depending on how it works out, I may publish some of it, but this is a really secular thing - after all, few people have the same books as I - and may not be useful to anyone else. Still, if it's all fun and games, I see no reason not to share it.

Anyway, that's what I'm doing today and tomorrow.

© C Harris Lynn, 2009

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