When GURPS (Generic Universal Roleplaying System) was released in 1986, its setting-agnostic approach was relatively novel. The game is now in its fourth version and is notable not just for its longevity, but for the vast array of sourcebooks and worldbooks covering everything from SEALs in Vietnam to Thaumatology: Ritual Path Magic.

Here’s how the publisher describes GURPS:

It starts with simple rules and builds up to as much optional detail as you like. It’s designed to accommodate any background: realistic or larger-than-life; past, present, or future. The possibilities are endless!

Three Things About GURPS

  • Orientation toward simulation: Whether you want to recreate Constantinople during the height of the Byzantine empire or build out a highly detailed near-future cyberpunk environment, the rules are well-suited to campaigns where maintaining the internal consistency of the game world is important.
  • Characters are built using a point buy system: Every aspect of a character can be fine-tuned during character creation, including advantages and disadvantages.
  • Straightforward dice mechanics: Six-sided (d6) dice are used, with a “roll under” for success.


  • “GURPS is a toolbox, and you can pick and choose tools when you want them and need them. You can drill down to extreme details in a critical one-on-one duel or fuzz out the details for fast resolution of a big fight.” — Peter V. Dell’Orto, Dungeon Fantastic
  • “GURPS is definitely not a game for everyone: I think it has the most appeal to people who want complete freedom in their characters and games, whilst not minding the complexity.” — Ellisthion, Dice of Doom

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