Game: B
From 1704 reviews


4th Edition


Publisher Description

Welcome to the Generic Universal RolePlaying System!

With GURPS, you can be anyone you want – an elf hero fighting for the forces of good, a shadowy femme fatale on a deep-cover mission, a futuristic swashbuckler carving up foes with a force sword in his hand and a beautiful woman by his side . . . or literally anything else! Thanks to its flexibility, quality writing, and ease of use, GURPS has been the premiere universal roleplaying game for over three decades!


GURPS: The Most Detailed/Powerful Generic Option [ edit ]

Unlike Fate, which has a heavy narrative-focus, GURPS goes in a very different direction, providing a specific and "crunchy" rules.  While Fate focus on abstract character definitions, eg. "aspects", GURPS instead focuses more heavily on traditional "attributes".  Fate doesn't even use miniatures, while GURPS is not only supports them, it actually uses a hex-based map to provide extra-realistic miniature combat.

GURPS is an much older RPG, going back almost as far as Dungeons and Dragons, to 1986.  Now in it's fourth edition, it offers rules which let you create nearly any character you could imagine, while still providing both balanced and functional (if a bit detailed) rules.  GURPS can be used for any sort of campaign, from a martial arts-focused one (it has an entire supplement dedicated to the topic), crime investigation, or even comic book super heroes ... and as such it's a great option to consider for a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles campaign.

Character Creation [ edit ]

Character creation in GURPS is detailed, but slow.  There are no levels or classes, just points, which can be used to buy attributes, advantages, disadvantages, or skills.  Different campaigns start with different amounts of points, so that (for instance) a superhero can start out as a more powerful character.


GURPS has four attributes: Strength, Dexterity, Intelligence and Health.  Strenght and Healthy just define the character physically, while Intelligence and Dexterity are combined with skills to make skill checks.


Skills are how characters accomplish things in GURPS; for instance to shoot someone you would use the "Guns" skill.  Skills are based on attributes, so for instance you might buy the Guns skill at a "Dex + 1" level.  If you later improved your Dexterity, you'd similar improve your ability to shoot ... or do anything else physical.


Advantages cover any non-skill benefit a character might have, such as a high pain threshold, wizard training, or the ability to move objects with their mind.  Advantages can also be further be customized with enhancements or limitations, allowing you to gain more or less powerful versions, that cost more or less points as a result.  This can allow for a nearly any power you can imagine to be described as a GURPS advantage.


Similarly players can also take disadvantages for their character, such as Code of Honor or Blind, to gain extra points.  All together this system allows for incredibly individualized character, including almost any you'd want to re-create from fiction or real-life (in fact, there are multiple GURPS books with stats for historical NPCs such as Ghengis Khan) ... but it can be a bit overwhelming to newcomers.

Core Mechanics [ edit ]

To succeed at an action in GURPS, players roll 3d6 and attempt to rull under a target number, which varies depending on the action.  Most of the time the actio will be a "skill check", meaning the player will have to rul equal to or less than the character's relevant skill. 

Critical Successes and Failures

If you fail a roll by more than 10 you critically fail the roll, and the GM decides what terrible fate results.  Similarly if you beat the roll by more than 10 you instead get a critical success, dealing extra damage or otherwise succeeding with flair.

A Note About 3d6 (vs. d20 or Other Dice)

3d6 results in a far more predictable distribution of rolls than a single die roll (typical in other systems).  Think about when you roll stats for a Dungeons and Dragons character: you usually get a lot of more 10's and 11s than 3's and 18's.  In contrast, every d20 roll has an equal (5%) chance of rolling a 1 or 20 as it does a 10 or 11.

This allows GURPS to have critical successes and failures, but have them be rarer and more dramatic, while leaving most rolls with fairly predictable/average outcomes.

GURPS for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles [ edit ]

Because GURPS characters are defined by their (generic) attributes, advantages, and skills, it's easy to re-create the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with it.  At the same time, it's also easy to use GURPS to create any other sort of mutant animal you might want to imagine.  For instance, here is one fan-made GURPS version of the Turtles .

On that note, fans of the official TMNT and Other Strangeness RPG might want to create characters using that game's fun system, but then convert them into GURPS characters (to have a viable rules system to play them with).  In that case the site Chandly's Stuff has a detailed breakdown of just how to do such a conversion, covering numerous details of Palladium's system and how they can be accomplished using GURPS instead.

If you're looking for fast character creation or fast gameplay, GURPS may not be the best choice for you.  But if you're looking for a powerful system, with lots of complex details enabling virtually anything you can imagine, but still based around an easy to use (and statistically less variable) core rules system, then GURPS will be the perfect system for your next TMNT campaign.