GURPS Kickstarter Challenge Review Part 1

During the coming days I’ll be writing short reviews of the dozen new GURPS supplements released as part of the recent Kickstarter Challenge by SJG. The article series includes:

  • Part 1 (you’re here!)
    • Action 6: Tricked-Out Rides
    • Action 7: Mercenaries
    • Boardroom and Curia: Tomorrow Rides
  • Part 2
    • Dungeon Fantasy 21: Megadungeons
    • Dungeon Fantasy Adventure 3: Deep Night and the Star
  • Part 3
    • Horror: Beyond the Pale
    • Hot Spots: The Incense Trail
    • Monster Hunters Encounters 1
    • Reign of Steel: Read the Sky
  • Part 4
    • Steampunk Setting: The Broken Clockwork World
    • Template Toolkit 3: Starship Crew
    • How to Be a GURPS GM: Ritual Path Magic

Action 6: Tricked-Out Rides

I don’t think a 10-page supplement could be more chock full of goodness than this. If you are running any kind of modern game where you’d want to have a pimped out ride, look no further. Get this!

It starts by giving stats for a dozen categories of cars from subcompacts to big vans. But where it really shines is in the various CF-based modifiers you can apply to those cars to make them perform better, as well as in a catalog of other upgrades, gadgets and gear you buy for a fixed price. There’s no mention of motorcycles, but the two bikes from are enough of a baseline to which all of the mods which make sense can be applied.

It’s no VDS or even a Spaceships-style design system, but it covers 90% of use cases for customizing vehicles. With a bit of effort, it could even be extended into the Ultra-Tech levels, and downgrading it to TL6  is mostly a matter of removing available options.

Action 7: Mercenaries

I’d describe this one as a small genre book focusing on a specific flavor of Action. It gives various advice on how to run mercenary-themed military campaigns: creating appropriate characters, getting them employed and paid, equipping and moving them around… It describes the mercenary life as well as inner workings of mercenary companies.

There’s an interesting, rather abstract small system for resolving small-unit combat on a scale between individual and mass combat, cheekily called BATTLE. It has a lot of potential, but I can’t help and think that some parts of it could have been presented a bit better, it feel as if something has been cut from it due to word count. It could easily use a half or maybe even a full page extra to make it more solid.

And finally, there is a bunch of short opportunities and challenges ready to be sprung on the PCs, as well as a section on wrapping up missions and setting up new ones.

I definitively recommend this one for military-themed Action campaigns, even if you’re not running mercs but conventional military personnel instead. It even has some material (such as BATTLE) that can be used in other kinds of games.

Boardroom and Curia: Tomorrow Rides

Tomorrow Rides is an organization hiding behind a car service chain, renting vehicles to adventurers. The catch? You don’t often get exactly what you asked for, and sometimes you get something really impractical. On the flipside, you could get a prototype vehicle or something completely weird, and unless you get one of the most advanced vehicles in the org’s repertoire, you’re not expected to get it back in one piece. The price? None whatsoever, you must just report on how the vehicle behaved during your time with it. The more outrageous the purpose you need it for, the greater chance of you getting a better and more special vehicle.

This is a very sweet little supplement whose primary purpose is to provide a flavorful, thematically appropriate rent-a-car outlet for games featuring at least some kind of action. The company itself is described in enough detail to be usable as a major element of a campaign if so desired, with adventure hooks and even conspiracies possibly hiding behind it. It’s presented for the modern day, but it would require very little effort to make it work at any TL. Rent-a-horse? Why not. Rent-a-starship? Sure.