Friday, 29 May 2009

Of Testosterone, GURPS, and Liverpool

Two posts in one day! Blame the hot weather and being at a university campus where lots of attractive 18-21 year old women are out and about not wearing very much. Testosterone is a brain stimulant too, you know.

I just wanted to talk a little bit about GURPS. Last night I finally cracked open the 99p 3rd edition Basic Set I got last week, and a friend and I brainstormed for a campaign idea and came up with a character for him. We ended up with a pseudo-1920s Liverpool where WWI never happened, lots of people claim aristocratic heritage, technology is still kind of steam-age, and it's fairly usual to carry round a sabre. Cheesy, but good at the same time. We briefly flirted with the idea of zombies and Cthuloid entities, but settled on a "getting into scrapes and either solving or committing crimes" sort of game. We then did a little test of the combat system, in which an opium-addled hoodlum, bearing a strong resemblance to Jimmy McGovern, was thoroughly trounced.

I've already talked about setting a campaign in Liverpool, so it looks like it might finally happen. There are so many hooks for a Liverpool campaign, especially once you get into its history, it's ridiculous. It's like an embarrassment of riches of adventure ideas. Unfortunately I can't talk about any of them here because the friend in question will likely be reading this.

This is our first experience of GURPS and I have to say, I like it. There's something intoxicating about the fact that you can use it for literally anything, and it has a pretty intuitive and easy-to-grasp core mechanic. There are clear organisational issues, but listen - I cut my teeth on D&D and Cyberpunk 2020. I take your organisational issues and raise you organisational horrors.


  1. "but listen - I cut my teeth on D&D and Cyberpunk 2020. I take your organisational issues and raise you organisational horrors."

    Yep, definite machismo poisoning going on here. Go look at some girlies until the urge to beat your chest and bellow at pasty-faced geeks fades. :p

  2. I get that feeling sometimes but it doesn't make me wanna do role playing stuff, it makes me wanna stuff.

    Well, that is unless the role playing includes dressing her in
    -[Inappropriate Dialogue Detected and Deleted]- and adding baby oil.

    Barking Alien

  3. Wow, I never thought I'd read a post about GURPS that was so dripping with electric sex.

    Anyway, you chose wisely going with 3e Basic. Take my advice and stick with that--don't pick up the Compendia and for god's sake stay the hell away from 4e!

    S. John Ross calls this "Classic-Era GURPS". He's got some nifty articles and links in that vein over at his website:

  4. Chris: I think I'll just keep looking at girlies.

    Barking Alien: Just to be clear, GURPS was last night. Girls were this morning and lunch time.

    sirlarkins: Dripping with sexual frustration more like - a month away from the missus will do that. Too much information possibly....!

    Ahem. Thanks for the link.

  5. Interesting couple of posts (this and the linked one) about the campaign potential of Liverpool. I must admit I realised recently that I knew absolutely nothing about Liverpool beyond the stereotypes when I saw a repeat of the Time Team episode where they excavated the original wet dock and their whistle-stop tour of the cities history really started to get my GM/World Creation background gland pumping away as I too saw it as a great candidate for an alternative history setting (and I've never even been to Merseyside). I realised then that I knew nothing about the place at all.

    One of the things I thought was that with the city being built so much upon the slave trade what if when the British Empire outlawed slavery Liverpool looked at where it's money was coming from, looked at it's role as gateway between Europe and America, perhaps listened to vocal disident elements of it's Irish population and decided to secede from the United Kingdom? This would probably have to be coupled with the British Empire not being interested in breaking the back of the slave trade at sea with the Royal Navy (a complete inversion of history of other words) but then you'd have an independent, cosmopolitan city-state with many different cultures and an inevitable underground war between factions such as the slave trade, abolitionists, British intelligence keen to bring it back into the UK fold via hook or crock, Irish rebels, loyalist Scousers etc.

  6. I am happy to hear that you like GURPS. It is one of my favorite games and I've played the hell out of it over the years.

    You're right: It does lend itself to adding in all sorts of bizarre/alien influences. And yes, the easy mechanic (pick a skill - roll under) is easy to grok.


  7. Coopdevil: That, sir, is a fantastic idea. Of course, the Northwest of England dallied with support for the Confederate states during the American Civil War. An independent Liverpool might well have got involved in a more direct way...

    Christian: It's weird that I've never played it before, but the RPG world seems oddly divided between D&D and GURPS fans.