Waking up at 2am with ideas for the Dungeons of Thaarl was somewhat surprising today. I’ve been committing myself to writing an hour a day for the past week and, all of a sudden, the project grabbed hold of me. It was as if the Muse herself had woken me.
The more I delve into the text of the GURPS Third Edition, the more I feel at home there. Despite having two other games in actual play – the Saturday Night SF game with Traveller and my solo fantasy with BRP – the dungeons are calling me. But the text of that old game is warm and welcoming in a way that most modern games just aren’t.
I found myself discovering small details that matter. The realisation that the old GURPS doesn’t have all the fiddley skills to do with perception that the current edition does. Instead, you just roll a Vision test based off IQ. Stuff like the fact there are spells in GURPS Lite 3e that aren’t in the GURPS Basic Set 3e, which I find endearing rather than annoying.
I think that I am waking up to GURPS in a way that has been long overdue. The more I journey into trying to build that megadungeon game which I have wanted to run since 2018, the more I find that past admonitions that “GURPS can’t do dungeon games” prove wrong. In fact, I have had multiple sources this week admit that GURPS-based fantasy has been some of the best gaming they’ve experienced since 1986.
And so here we are: I am waking up at 2am to go and explore, and create, and enjoy a game built around the old edition of that game engine. It feels like hot chocolate on a winter’s night.