GURPS Basic Set (3rd edition)
Author: Akos M. Szederjei
Company/Publisher: Steve Jackson Games
Page count: 256 pages
Playtest Review by Akos M. Szederjei on 05/20/99.
Genre tags: Generic
GURPS is a generic role-playing system. It gives a basic frame work which can be inplemented into any genre.
First impressions were great. Nice rules, many possibilities, greate add on books. We were in heaven. After the first session of testing the problems came.
The basic creation consists of spending points for attributes, advantages and disadvantages (to get plus points) and skills.
CharacteristicsWithout being too picky I must say four (FOUR) attributes are not enough to determine an character (strength, intellgent, dexterity, health).
Ads and disadsSince you buy EVERYTHING for the character you pay for everything. It is no problem at the beginning, but during the play your ads and disads may change. When your character gets a new friend you are supposed to pay for it(, yet you won't get a points for enemies). Naturally it is not terrible fault but an annoying administration.
SkillsNearly all skills are based STR and DEX. The more you skill points you spend on a skill the better is the modifier on your attribute (DEX-3, DEX-2,DEX-1, DEX-0, DEX+1, etc.) Also skills are divided by difficulty, some are easier to learn than other.
During the game we had serious problems with it. Those with high attribute were most of the time superior to those who spent many points into skills (i.e. a character with high dexterity is generaly better at karate than one who put huge amount of points into his karate skills). We did not liked that. Professionalism is superiour the raw talent, (but yes, the best of the best have both....)
CombatCombat has many good ideas. There were few points which I disliked: the damage is stopped to easily (we used a 1.5 multiplier to make things realistic, even then some further tinkering was necessary).
MagicThe idea is great: you need prerequisites for "higher level" spells. Examle: create fire for fire fireball. What destroys the good idea is the amount(and often idiotic) prerequisites you need.
PsionicThe best part and one of the shortest part of the book, it ine of the best psionic system I encountered.
ArtworkWell, we found it .... annoying. It does not give any atmosphere to the player. Hmm, maybe that is generic?
ConclusionNewbies may pick it up. It is a good for a while, and it has a lot of information on playing and rules. Also good for building rules for other systems or own RPGs. Yet, experienced players have no reason to buy it (except for the world books), the system is plain and average.
Style: 2 (Needs Work)