SJG is running an experiment. 12 PDFs. 10 pages each. $3 minimum buy-in. You get as many PDFs as are unlocked of the 12 for that $3…and right now we’ve already unlocked 11 of them. Only one more left, and things look very good for that.
With perhaps a week to go, the experiment has thus far proven successful. 11 of the 12 unlocked. Closing in on 1,700 backers. A week yet to go, including the critical “last 48 hours” where folks following the campaign tend to jump in and re-assess what they want to do.
So what DO you want to do?
The four pledge levels include the base $3 tier, and a $30 tier that effectively gets you the 11 or 12 PDFs for free, plus $30 credit in Backerkit to spend on any PDF that is published by SJGames (there may be limits to that, but they intend to make as much of their self-owned PDF collection as possible available).
For $49, you get what is increasingly looking like all 12 new PDFs PLUS a copy of the Characters and Campaigns books: The Basic Set. If you JUST wanted to start off, this is your huckleberry…to borrow a phrase.
But consider that with the $99 pledge tier, you can get all 12 titles (included in pledge), the Basic Set (about $55 for both PDFs), and an additional $70 in credit to spend on PDFs in the Backerkit phase. (You get $125 credit, plus all 11 or 12 PDFs, for your $99 pledge. Even if I say so as a booster and author for the system, this is a hell of a deal if you’re new to the system.)
Where to Start
You can do a LOT of happy damage with that.
Want to go dungeon crawling? Pick up Dungeon Fantasy 1 and 2 ($8 each) and still have $54 to drop on more than 20 other books in the Dungeon Fantasy line. Any rumors that GURPS isn’t a supported system die on the vine on this page. Pay particular attention, if you want a quick start, to Pyramid #3/72 and #3/113, both of which offer tools to make the on-ramp from “let’s think about playing” to “dice hit the table” shorter and faster…and both penned by Kromm himself.
But wait . . . fantasy not your thing?
Then you need to take your $70 and check out the Action line. $44 gets you the entire five-volume set (I review the first four here, and I maintain Action 2 is one of the least appreciated, most useful book in the GURPS body of work for ANY genre). Three of the PDFs you’ll get (all unlocked at this time) fit right in to an Action game. Want to play Fast and the Furious? James Bond? The Expendables? Jason Bourne? Six Underground? This is your entry point.
STILL don’t feel it? Fine.
Perhaps you want secret magic, in a world where monsters are real? Monster Hunters takes it over the top, for those whose tastes run to Buffy, Angel, or Monster Hunters International. Or Dresden Files, for that matter. The Monster Hunters sub-line can be completed for $54. You get an outstanding primer and guide on Ritual Path Magic, the embedded magic system, as part of your PDF haul. All of the Action books and many of the Dungeon Fantasy books can be mined for monsters, mayhem, and enemies…plus Ken Hite’s truly outstanding Horror book. I review that on my blog as well (much more briefly than action). Monster Hunters explores some very powerful characters (400 points!) . . . but you can play Sidekicks (MH4) at a lower point value for more challenge.
All of these . . . plus the even more streamlined Dungeon Fantasy RPG (which is different than the Dungeon Fantasy sub-line) . . . have the advantage of providing Templates. Pre-worked building blocks for easing the part of GURPS with some activation energy to it: character generation. With the structure provided by these (which totally aren’t class-and-level, really) you get a faster time-to-start, some niche protection for those that want it, and the hand of many fine authors in helping build effective characters while still preserving the open, near-limitless growth options inherent to GURPS.
But Wait, there’s More!
There’s tons and tons more. Not including the huge variety of historical sourcebooks and technical works from third and fourth edition. Or the “-Tech” series which can serve as a gear catalog. Or 120 issues of Pyramid Magazine, guaranteed to find something you can use there, from adventures, to rules tweaks and modifications. Character templates.
Most of GURPS is “3d6, roll and shout.” One you have a character, play is as quick or as detailed as you and your group wants it to be. I ran GURPS in my home setting of Nordlond for 13 people at FnordCon, and it felt light and fast, despite half the group never having played GURPS before. I ran it for six people at GameHole Con, and it was still immersive.
Check this out. It’s worth your time.