GURPS is an acronym for Generic Universal Role-Playing System, an RPG from Steve Jackson Games. GURPS was first published in 1986 with no specific setting or genre in mind. Roleplaying games before GURPS had a default setting and/or genre, and the rules were often designed to enhance aspects of that setting or build specific character archetypes to play in a specific world. GURPS sought to create a game that could be played in any genre and setting. Steve Jackson wanted a rule system that could handle any character build a roleplayer could imagine.
Roleplaying with GURPS
Over the years, Steve Jackson Games has published countless GURPS books, often focusing on a fictional setting or type of roleplaying genre. These books are meant as a guide to building characters in these settings, but they don’t limit character creation to these archetypes. All character creation in GURPs is point-based with no random elements, allowing players maximum flexibility. To play in a more powerful setting, you simply build a character with more points.
Because GURPS supplements have a reputation for being detailed, yet open-ended, many gamemasters buy GURPS books with no intention of playing the game, hoping instead to raid GURPS modules for ideas. A number of successful roleplaying game writers got their start writing GURPS supplements, including Feng Shui designer Robin Law, Fudge designer Steffan O’Sullivan, and C.J. Carella of Witchcraft, Palladium, and the Buffy RPG.
The success of Steve Jackson’s non-specific roleplaying game has spurred fans and other published to create their own generic roleplaying games, or design their systems to handle any type of character. The Hero System, Basic Roleplaying, True20 and countless other games now seek to make characters compatible from their different game universes.
Many GURPS publications are not collectibles, but others are. I’ll try to point out the best GURPS games for collecting, so you can fill out your collection. When reasons are known for their popularity, I’ll give those, too.
GURPS Bunnies & Burrows
Bunnies and Burrows was a GURPS rewrite of the 1976 game from Fantasy Games Unlimited, which had a second edition in 1982. Bunnies & Burrows is loosely based on the 1972 novel Watership Down, about a group of anthropomorphised animals on a trip to a hill. GURPS Bunnies & Burrows was published in 1992 by Steve Jackson Games. This version was written by Steffan O’Sullivan. A good condition copy of Bunnies & Burries sells for around $100 on eBay.
GURPS Horror Zombietown U.S.A.
Zombietown USA is a GURPS horror adventure which takes place in Black Lake, California. GURPS Zombietown USA was published in 1988 by Steve Jackson Games and is listed between $45 and $48 on eBay.
GURPS Bili the Axe: Up Harzburk
GURPS Bili The Axe: Up Harzburk contains the setting details for Robert Adams’ Horseclans novel series. The 18-book Horseclans novels took place in a post-apocalyptic America, where tribes of warriors fought for control of the continent, often led by mutants who gained agelessness and opposed by witches/scientists who had perfected a technique for projecting their minds into another person’s body. Bili the Axe was the major non-immortal protagonist and the most popular character of the series. GURPS Bili The Axe was published in 1988 by Steve Jackson Games, and sells for around $75 on eBay.
GURPS Discworld Also
Discworld is the famous novel series by Sir Terry Pratchett, which serves to poke fun at many of the most famous fantasy novels. Novelist targets for Pratchett’s gentle humor include Tolkien, Lovecraft, and Robert E. Howard. To date, 38 novels in the series have been published. The GURPS Discworld Also book was published in 2001 by Steve Jackson Games and tends to sell for around $50 on eBay.
GURPS Steampunk won 3 major roleplaying awards. GURPS Screampunk is a 32-page addendum to the Steampunk book, blending steampunk with elements of horror roleplaying games. Despite its small size, GURPS Screampunk sells for $95 on eBay. The Screampunk supplement was published in 2001 by Steve Jackson Games.
GURPS Steam Tech
The full name of this book is GURPS Steam-Tech: A Compendium of Marvelous Devices for the Age of Steam. GURPS Steamtech was published in 2002 as an expansion of the award-winning GURPS Steampunk, and new copies of the book sell for around $100 on both Amazon and eBay.
GURPS Faerie is a broad survey of the fairylike creatures that inhabit so many roleplaying settings. This 128 page booklet contains ways to build faeries, traditional background information, ideas for alternate faerie histories, and just about anything a GM would need to place the fae in his games. GURPS Faerie was published in 2003 by SJG and sells for $50 on eBay.
GURPS Magic does for magicians what the faerie supplement does for the fae. Many GURPS campaigns are going to have a magic-user of some sort, so this book shows you the range of possibilities and how to build wizards in GURPS. GURPS Magic is listed currently on eBay in the $80 to $85 range. This book was published in 2004 by Steve Jackson Games.
GURPS Religion: Gods, Priestly Powers and Cosmic Truths
Gods, Priestly Powers and Cosmic Truths is a guide for building religions and religious organizations–and choosing deity archetypes–for your roleplaying campaign. GURPS Religion is a good example of why Steve Jackson Games supplements are so popular: the subject is well-researched and then distilled into usable material for the reader. GURPS Religion: Gods, Priestly Powers and Cosmic Truths was published in 1994 by Steve Jackson Games, and this product sells for somewhere between $60 and $65 at online auction sites.
GURPS Infinite Worlds
For gamemasters who want to place their characters in a multiverse or who want to run dimension-hopping adventures of any sort, the GURPS Infinite Worlds supplement is an invaluable resource. Most reviewers suggest there’s too many good ideas in this supplement, if anything. GURPS Infinite Worlds was published by SJG in 2005 and sells for $80 brand new on Amazon. I’ve found copies on eBay for $50 to $55, but make certain these are new copies before bidding.
Space travels and starships get the Generic Universal Roleplaying System treatment in GURPS Spaceships. This supplement was published in 2008 by Steve Jackson Games and sells for $100 on eBay.
More GURPS Books
Other GURPS books fit into the collectible category, too. A list of these would include GURPS World War II ($50), GURPS: Traveller Starships ($50), GURPS Space 4th Edition ($60), GURPS Low-Tech ($53), GURPS High-Tech ($53), and GURPS 4th Edition Martial Arts ($60). The library of excellent GURPS publications seems endless, but these should get you started on building a nice GURPS collection.