GURPS - Discworld
Before I write a review of a product, I like to go back through the RPG archives and see what else has been written on the product or the product line, just to see if my take on the game jives with what others have written (And if it don't jive, I'm a happier person. I *like* taking the opposing side if no one else will; just ask my wife). So after reading a recent review of GURPS Cyberpunk, I realised that I was gonna be in familiar territory again - yay!
For my money, GURPS supplements are painstakingly detailed and well written books that should be a part of most RPGers library, even if you don't play GURPS (You haven't lived until you have infused that game of Call of Cthulhu with a smattering of GURPS Toon; "Mommy, make the bad bunny with the tentacles stop hitting me"). GURPS Discworld is definitely one such supplement. Besides, I have made it a rule that any game system or supplement with a picture of the grim reaper on a mountaintop playing electric guitar on the front cover is a must buy anyway.
Discworld is based on a series of books written by the incredibly funny and slightly twisted Terry Pratchett. If you have never read one of his books, stop reading this and GO GET ONE. You won't get into heaven without doing so; the god Blind Io told me so in a dream last night. However, if you are one of the unwashed masses who has not read Prachett, never fear. GURPS Discworld covers many of the high points very well, and with all of the detail that we have come to expect from Steve Jackson Games, even Discworld newbies will have no problem getting the idea. In a nutshell, the Disc(world) is a large rotating disc floating through space.
On the backs of four elephants.
Who are standing on a giant turtle.
(At this point in the review, if you would go to your TV and put in "The Wall", everything else will start to make a lot more sense)
This is the kind of world even Everway didn't have a card for. There is magic, there are gods and demons, there are trolls and goblins (but they have a union, so they may strike as soon as attack you), there are heroes (Cohen the aged Barbarian, who has diamonds for false teeth and a bad back) and zeros (Rincewind, the inept spellcaster who can't and who has WIZZARD written on his hat in case anyone doubts) and of course, Death. Only Death is an actual character, who TALKS LIKE THIS ALL OF THE TIME and is really not that bad of a guy once you get to know.....or maybe not.
GURPS Discworld is very well laid out, with history, background and characters all easy to get to in a hurry. Paul Kidby's illustrations do a fantastic job of conveying the feel of Discworld and are liberally sprinkled throughout the book. Mr. Masters and Mr. Pratchett do a fantastic job of making the world of the Disc accessible to roleplayers, while losing none of the comedy or wit from the books (or footnotes, which I would have used in this review if I could have). As a long time reader of the Discworld books and as a reviewer, I looked for anything that might be missing or some glaring contradiction from the books that I could jump up and down and point at with glee.
No jumping. No glee.
Masters and Pratchett did a great job with this book (not to be confused with Masters and Johnson, who of course also do a great job). People, I can't even begin to cover all of the color and detail that Pratchett's world offers, but the GURPS Discworld can, and does very very well. There is substance here, there is background, and there is funny. Lots and lots of funny. Heck, last 32 pages of the book is a reprint of GURPS lite, so that you can actually play with this book alone. This book is absolutely fantastic on so many different levels that I'd need charts to show them all. If you like to roleplay, if you like humor, or if you simply like the concept of suitcases with a hundred bare feet that walk around and eat people, then you need this book. Even if you NEVER play GURPS, you should own this book (besides, a portion of every sale of GURPS Discworld goes towards the "Sean Punch Rent Money" Fund, since there are evidently some game companies that AREN'T loaded with dough....). Buy GURPS Discworld, and then buy the Pratchett books; It'll make you a better person (and you may finally give your luggage the respect that it deserves).
Style: 4 (Classy and well done)