Thursday, September 17, 2009

Gurps and a love of an older edition.

Well first off let me start by saying I have a couple of new reviews posted. One is for Alpha Omega's creature manual, The Encountered, and the second is for SSDC's Galactic Underground 3 for Battlelords of the 23rd Century. Have a look, both games are excellent in fact Alpha Omega is currently the only game I am GMing.

Now to the fuel for this blog. I recently re-bought both a Gurps 3rd edition revised core book and Gurps Supers 2nd edition sourcebook. This caused me to dig out my decent sized collection of 3rd edition stuff and start to flip through them reliving some fond memories of fun games in times past. After some nostalgic dreams, a few thoughts crossed my mind. I own most of the Gurps 4th edition books in pdf form. I have even contemplated what kind of game I would try to play with them, and I fall flat everytime. I end up looking through them and thinking "hey that's a nice bit", or "that rule is pretty cool", but it missing something for me. It doesn't excite me like 3rd edition did, and now I realize, still does.

The problem is, I can't figure out why. The rules are not much different from each other, what did change is a non-issue for me as the things they changed or fixed from 3rd seem to be things my players and I never had any trouble with. So I can't blame the rules.
The layout of 3rd esition has some nostalgia factors for me, and 4th edition looks a bit too uniform for me, but neither feel exceptional or terrible to me. So I don't blame the layout changes.
So this leaves me with the actual content. I don't know if I can blame the writing style, it doesn't seem too different either. The content itself seems to have gone too generic. Yes, yes I know that Generic is the first word of the system, but it seems that in 4th edition they held truer to the name than any other edition. I think for myself, 4th edition has made it so generic that I am at a loss as to what I want to use it for. IT gives me the feeling I will have to put too much work into it as a GM to get a game, and that's not what I go for anymore in a game. Don't get me wrong, I like crunch, but I don't like having to make everything myself. Gurps 4th seemed to head closer into HERO's territory. And also realize that I know 3rd edition could be used generically too.

I now realize what it is. The fluff is missing. It's the sourcebooks. 3rd edition had lots of sourcebooks, that if you look at again, are mostly fluff. This fluff could be an entirely new setting such as Yrth, or historical fluff on Japan and China, to licensed settings such as Vampire, Traveller, or even the Starfleet Universe. Sure they all had some crunch too that could be used generically, but every single book for 3rd edition, save a few, had lots and lots of fluff that gave you everything you needed to run in a setting without needing tons of prep.

Sure there is some of this for 4th edition, but with their slower production schedule it just doesn't compare with the library 3rd edition was constantly expanding and revising. 3rd edition often had a lot of fluff in basic supplements, such as Gurps Fantasy was basically the Banestorm setting plus the generic fantasy information. Gurps 4th's Fantasy comes across a lot more as a toolkit for you to make your own, yes it has a barebones setting for a Weird Rome, but its very bare and still feels like oyu'd need to work to flesh it out, that is if you even want to use it. Banestorm's Yrth was fleshed out much more while still using the generic crunch. The weird Rome, almost doesn't fit the genre, it is at least by no means a good representation of the average.

There doesn't seem to be the hunger for licensed properties like there was in 3rd. In 3rd it seemed companies were likely to want there settings Gurps-ized. 4th seems like it really doesn't care about that anymore and just wants to be there for those who like toolkit games. Which there is nothing wrong with that, but for me "I not wants". Seeing several forums and articles on the internet have lead me to believe I am no where near alone on this attitude either.

My thoughts end on realizing that Gurps is the one game that I truly love an older edition so much more than the current edition. Ad&d 2nd use to be another, but 4th has been extremely fun for me. I am not one to cry they messed up my game, and I love it when editions are truly different than previous ones. I am of the attitude "why would I want the same thing again?" so change is good. I don't think 4th is a failure or bad, I can see lots of people loving to use it, hell even I would have at another time.

Okay so one more thought, Gurps 3rd with Supers is probably the only game right now I would actually GM a supers game with. I lose steam with everything else.

So what older editions just really work for you even though they have more "modern" editions?