There are many different sourcebooks available for GURPS; each tackles a different area of the universe, sometimes an adventure (or set of adventures), sometimes a particular genre, sometimes just expanded rules for completeness.

What follows is a list of GURPS resources, which I will periodically update as I hear/think of more:

Basic Set
This is the original source book; there have been three or four different editions released to date, with rules updates and new abilities or technologies. The Basic Set, and a six-sided die (preferably several), are all you need to play the game, and it really does a great job of sketching in what is really a phenomenal amount of information, making it reasonable to play just about any genre without a *whole* lot of work on the part of the GM.
Ultra Tech & Ultra Tech 2
This is the definitive sourcebook for a wide sample of well-implemented future technologies, from the near future (tech level 8) to the edge of imagination (tech level 16). Between the two books, they define tools and equipment, computers, communications equipment, weapons and armour, spy & surveillance equipment, security systems, medical facilities & devices, cybernetics & bionics, scientific procedures, and transportation. Most of the details are fairly exhaustive, though several of the topics are covered in still more detail in other sourcebooks. I don't particularly like the way they do computer technology, it being limited in scope and very unrealistic; as well, modern technological developments are showing the proposed timeline needs drastic revisions. However, the structure of the book, and the system in general, allows a somewhat creative GM to use the resources in whatever way (s)he sees as more realistic anyway.
This sourcebook contains detailed (sometimes too detailed) rules on how to construct vehicles from the ground up, all the way from the invention of the wheel (tech level 1) up to the far distant future (tech level 16, though it's pretty shaky). The book is arranged so that someone can conceptualize their vehicle, decide what technology is available, and construct the product progressively through the book, then calculate various things such as top speed, maneuverability, capabilities, armor structure, aero- or hydro- dynamics, and stealth properties. The book has been revised once, with many errors and omissions rectified.
As its title suggests, this sourcebook goes into specific detail on the particular genre-world of the cyberpunk. The available technology is a modified set of what is available in the standard (ultratech) timeline, with cybernetics and biotechnology greatly advanced in respect to other technologies, and the environment itself a sort of high tech-gothic hybrid (think Shadowrun or Blade Runner).

GURPS, the Generic Universal Roleplaying System, evolved from a set of miniatures rules called Man to Man, written by Steve Jackson. Character creation is point-based, similar to many early superhero RPG's. The rules system is flexible, with many optional rules which can add up to one of the most realistic combat systems in any paper and pencil RPG.

The GURPS line is probably best known for its wide number and variety of supplements and world books. The game is designed to facilitate campaigns set in any genre using a single set of adaptable rules for magic, psionics, combat, and character creation. There are over 150 supplements and worldbooks so far, with a release schedule of about 2 new books and reprints per month.

Besides generic supplements such as Martial Arts, Supers, and Vehicles, there are worldbooks covering major historical eras and geographic regions, such as Russia, Egypt, China, and Imperial Rome. GURPS also has a number of licensed worldbooks for the works of fiction writers such as Alan Dean Foster, David Brin, Andre Norton, Terry Pratchett, and others. Other RPG's have also been licensed for a one or two-book GURPS adaptation, such as Vampire: The Masquerade, Castle Falkenstein, Traveller, and the real-time simulation game Myth. In addition, Steve Jackson Games has also adapted some of its other properties, such as Car Wars, In Nomine and Ogre to the GURPS rules.

GURPS supplements, particularly the historical worldbooks, are known for high-quality and well researched writing and can be fascinating reads completely separate from their function as RPG supplements. Artwork in GURPS used to be fairly poor, but SJG has recently put more money into design and it shows.

An abridged list of GURPS sourcebooks:

  • Aliens
  • Alternate Earths
  • Alternate Earths 2
  • Arabian Nights
  • Atomic Horror
  • Autoduel
  • Aztecs
  • Bestiary
  • Bio-Tech
  • Black Ops
  • Blood Types
  • Bunnies & Burrows
  • Camelot
  • Castle Falkenstein
  • Celtic Myth
  • China
  • Cliffhangers
  • Conan
  • Creatures of the Night
  • Cthulhupunk
  • Cyberpunk
  • Cyberworld
  • Dinosaurs
  • Discworld
  • Egypt
  • Espionage
  • Fantasy
  • Fantasy Bestiary
  • Fantasy Folk
  • Goblins
  • Greece
  • Grimoire
  • High-Tech
  • Horror
  • Horseclans
  • Humanx
  • Ice Age
  • Illuminati
  • Imperial Rome
  • In Nomine
  • International Super Teams
  • Japan
  • Lensman
  • Low Tech
  • Mage: The Ascension
  • Magic
  • Martial Arts
  • Mecha
  • Middle Ages
  • Myth
  • New Sun
  • Ogre
  • Old West
  • Places Of Mystery
  • Planet Krishna
  • The Prisoner
  • Psionics
  • Reign of Steel
  • Religion
  • Riverworld
  • Robin Hood
  • Robots
  • Russia
  • Scarlet Pimpernel
  • Space
  • Special Ops
  • Steampunk
  • Supers
  • Swashbucklers
  • Technomancer
  • Terradyne
  • Time Travel
  • Traveller
  • Traveller: Alien Races 1
  • Traveller: Alien Races 2
  • Traveller: Alien Races 3
  • Traveller: Behind the Claw
  • Traveller: Far Trader
  • Traveller: First In
  • Traveller: Modular Cutter
  • Traveller: Rim of Fire
  • Traveller: Star Mercs
  • Traveller: Starports
  • Ultra-Tech
  • Undead
  • Uplift
  • Vampire: The Masquerade
  • Vehicles
  • Vikings
  • Villains
  • Voodoo
  • War Against the Chtorr
  • Warehouse 23
  • Warriors
  • Werewolf: The Apocalypse
  • Who's Who
  • Wild Cards
  • Witch World
  • Wizards
  • Y2K
  • I get to roleplay about once every few decades, and then, I have to play whatever game everyone else is playing, so despite my truly immense collection of GURPS books, I've never actually gotten to play a game using the GURPS system.

    Nevertheless, I've spent enough time reading the books that I have most of the core rules memorized, and I can tell you that it is one of the more complex roleplaying systems out there. There are a lot of rules for how to do some very complicated things -- immediately springing to mind are the highly-technical Vehicle Creation Rules and the Advanced Combat Rules, with rules to govern what part of the body you hit, how much you're weakened by bleeding, and how much the terrain can aid or hinder your attacks -- but luckily, those complicated rules are completely optional; if you don't want to mess with them, you can completely ignore them.

    And the rules for character generation tend to be pretty complicated, too. Personally, I love 'em that way. It takes some time and math skills to build a character in GURPS, but the time and knowledge required are not extreme. I can put a new character together in less than 30 minutes (though I've had a few years to practice), and my feeble math skills (I was a liberal arts major in college, after all) are not significantly taxed. (You wanna see a complicated system? The character sheets I've seen of Champions characters look like random combinations of numbers and acronyms. I can't make heads or tails of 'em...)

    Most importantly, when I'm finished with the character, I know exactly what that character can and cannot do. I know how strong he is, how fast he is, what he's good at, and what he's inept at. And thanks to the rules on mental disadvantages and quirks, I've got a pretty damn good idea how to roleplay him, whether greedy, horny, noble, honest, depressed, angry, confused, frightened, sadistic, obsessive, you name it. White Wolf's overpraised Storyteller system tells you a Brujah vampire is angry and rebellious and usually expects that to be enough; GURPS suggests a few disadvantages to use, like Bloodlust, Bully, Fanaticism, Stubbornness, and Weak Will: Self-Control.

    In fact, a GURPS character tends to be so complete and detailed that when I write fiction, I keep a couple of GURPS books on my reference shelf for inspiration ("Oooh, wouldn't it be neat if my protagonist was a lecherous solipsist with Tourette's Syndrome and a fondness for yellow baseball caps?"), and after writing out my main characters' descriptions and histories, I usually convert them into GURPS stats so I'll have access to an easy-to-understand character reference I can consult when I need to.

    UPDATE: All of the previous was for GURPS Third Edition. The Fourth Edition of GURPS, however, is a disaster. The rules have been made a great deal more complicated, apparently because the company wants to appeal to gearheads, wargamers, and theoretical math majors. I've picked up three of the new GURPS books, expecting to be able to jump right in with the new system -- and damn if I can't make hide nor hair of what's going on in these books anymore. And if I can't understand the new system, with a heavy background in GURPSisms, what chance does a neophyte gamer have?

    I'm still using the Third Edition rules. They ain't perfect, but at least they make sense.
    I would have to disagree with the above writeup from Jet-Poop. The system hasn't become more complicated, it's that all the complications from previous editions has now been baked into the base book.

    The new edition of GURPS is written so that all of the rules are in the main rulebook now. It's filled with enough options that you can literally run any sort of role playing game with no need to buy any other books.

    Since they're trying to mix Superheros with gritty fantasy and with space opera science fiction, it means that you get this mishmash and everything is sorted together alphabetically. It would have almost worked better if the rules were presented with a nice piece of computer software which could filter out what you don't need.

    It's the GM's responsibility to model his setting the way he wants. So, he'll end up having to act as that piece of computer software. He'll go through and filter out things he doesn't like, telling the players "Ok, these are the things I expect you to find useful in my game." Steve Jackson Games does provide a tool which lets you filter the various things, but I'm finding it easier to use the character generator that they're selling to do it. Once you've done that, you can allow your players to use the character generator and make it much easier for them.

    Superhero rules are the main source of complexity, if you ignore them you've probably cut 1/3 of the book out. Now, granted, what makes a given setting interesting is where it diverges from what you expect. So, it's handy to have the super hero rules around, so you can model up one of those outlier abilities that some heroes might have. Though, if you're finding the rules overwhelming, it might just be easier to cut out all of the exotic and the supernatural abilities, and do a simple game. You could do a pretty interesting mystery with just a normal realistic setting, or even do a horror campaign where the villains have one or two of those abilities you're trying out until you become more comfortable with them.

    You can see how all the rules are in the main book when you actually do purchase the extra books written so far. I've picked up both Space and Fantasy, and there's almost no rules in that book. For the most part, they just tell you how best to apply the tweaks that are written in the main book so that you can end up with the setting that you want. They are in the business of selling books to make money, so they're going to keep making new books. But, this is the one campaign that I feel comfortable that the new books aren't going to somehow change things I had gotten used to. (Which was always a problem I had with the d20 system over time.)

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