Lacking Natural Simplicity

Random musings on books, code, and tabletop games.

GURPS: Generic, Universal, RolePlaying, System

GURPS (G1, G2) from Steve Jackson Games is a Generic Universal RolePlaying System. The meaning of the separate words, paraphrased from the introductions of the GURPS, 3rd Edition, and GURPS 4th Edition, breaks down the meaning as follows:

  • Generic — Scaling from quick, fast-moving games with simple rules to games with lots of detail.

  • Universal — a set of rules that's comprehensive enough to let you use with any background/setting and potentially to combine characters from different backgrounds/settings and have them be compatible.

  • RolePlaying — designed to encourage true roleplaying

  • System — designed as a unified whole rather than starting out as a set of simple rules and modified in an ad-hoc manner.

The Wikipedia article Generic role-playing game system's idea of a generic RPG seems to combine the GURPS notions of “Generic” and “Universal”. Or maybe it means by “Generic” what GURPS means by “Universal”.

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