Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Back To The Butcher's Shop

I haven't played GURPS in 4 years.

For a long time, its 3rd edition was our system of choice. My wife and I used it for dang near everything, and she professed it to be her favorite rules set. We bought tons of supplements and looked up house rules and fan-created materials and even bought GURPS Character Builder and updated it rigorously.

About 4 years ago, we purchased our new house and moved in to it, because that's what most sane people do with a new house and we decided to try things their way for a while. We promptly set up bookshelves and stuff, and placed our GURPS library on a shelf, easily accessible. Then we played other games instead.

I have no idea why. I think I may have got a little tired of how much detail and prep you can (but don't have to) invest in it, and since I've been deconstructing myself as a GM these days (hence this blog), I may just not have been drawn back to the thing.

My recent purchase and perusal of Harkwood, however, has me pulling those books back off the shelf for their value as GURPS books -- thinking again about the "RPS" as opposed to just the "GU". I think it's because Harkwood has a neat little suggestion for handling mass battles -- instead of futzing around with mass combat rules, just make opposed "Quick Contests Of Victory" between the two forces, applying a few sketchy modifiers where needed.

That rung a bell in my head.

Once upon a time, you see, I explained GURPS' massive heft with the following words:

"GURPS is like a cow. Select the cuts you want; you can't eat it whole."

'Cause -- look. When it comes down to it, that game is really only as complicated as its very, very basic rules: Roll 3d6, equal to or less than your modified skill. There's a little more to it but it's all permutations of that. GURPS Lite is concise, brief, and utterly, utterly usable. All the extra fiddlt rules about hit locations and strikes to the brain and blah blah blah are just that: fiddly.

I'm not ready to start playing the game again. I am, however, circling it, sniffing the edges anew, re-acquainting myself. The other night, f'r'instance, I made a character for my daughter, with her input -- I ended up with a 150-point fairytale princess with Dancing-16 and Fencing-13.

Hmm. Just -- just 'hmmm'.