Listening to Christopher R. Rice in interview over on the Shadow of the GM podcast, hosted by the excellent and pro-GURPS GM Shadow, I realised that I am – once again – choosing to hold back from wholeheartedly immersing myself into the GURPS game system.
It has to be said: this was an excellent chat with Christopher and well worth a listen, even if you are not familiar with GURPS or you still believe all the negative commentary about that game engine. They do a good job of informing the listener as to why the many anti-GURPS myths are, in fact, bunkum.
Aside from that, however, I realised that I have been accepting the prescriptions of other game designers because I am not confident enough to fully risk getting it wrong by running a campaign using GURPS. I could very easily do so – especially with the newfound methodology around the rules being 100% behind the GM screen – and I would probably save myself a lot of long-term pain and system juggling.
That said, I find GURPS intimidating. The system is simple enough to run. The problem is that, as the chaps commented, just giving the rulebooks to players is a recipe for failure. The GM needs to go and build their game with the tools GURPS provides and present only what is needed by the players. In my case, given that no rules need be presented at all, it’s just a matter of sitting down and hammering out what I need GURPS to do.
Most of us are not used to having full control over the system and mechanisms of the games we run. We accept the prescriptions of game designers whom we presume know better than us… and a lot of the time, these games are good enough. Sometimes games are downright excellent! But they are not OUR games. My desire – long term – is to own my games: the worlds, the methods, and the mechanisms. So far, only GURPS offers me that… unless I go and design my own mechanisms from scratch.
So, big thanks to Christopher R. Rice and GM Shadow. Enjoyed the interview and I feel suitably tempted back towards GURPS. Again.
Have you considered using something like GURPS Lite to start? Do the campaign design to set the world stage in your mind and present it to the players and then slowly build upon the mechanisms from Lite up to whatever is your preferred level of detailed rules.
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Yeah, but I am not a fan of Lite because it’s too… light. My approach would be to learn to build with GURPS Basic Set. That being said, the effects I want are probably better done with stuff elsewhere in the canon of tools… so I need to start more simple, I think. Hence… the fear!