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!


A Very Different Approach to the "PbtA" Games [ edit ]

In many respects, GURPS sits on opposite ends of the spectrum from games like Legend of the Elements and Fellowship.  While LoE was made for Avatar, GURPS (the Generic Universal Role-Playing System) was instead made to support any setting.  While LoE (and its PbtA-core) is extremely rules-light and story-heavy, GURPS instead provides extremely detailed ("crunchy") rules.  And while both PbtA systems are relatively new,  is now on its fourth major edition, having originally been released in 1986.

Instead of simply picking a class and a few details, GURPS characters are built by using points to buy all of their individual details, such as stats and skills.  This system allows virtually any character to be created, not just a particular class or "playbook" ... but it does mean that character creation is slower than in LoE.

Also, GURPS character creation is purely mechanical and focused on the character.  There are no background story or campaign world development parts, as there are in PbtA games.

GURPS Rules [ edit ]

To succeed at an action in GURPS players roll 3d6 and attempt to beat a target number, which varies depending on the action (typically it's based on the character's relevant skill).  This results in a more average distribution of rolls: just as when you roll stats for a D&D character and (usually) get mostly average results, rolls in GURPS will have a far more average spread than the rolls in (say) Dungeons and Dragons.

However, there are a lot of details in the GURPS rules.  Although it's not required, if you want you can play GURPS with miniatures and a hexagonal grid.  Again, a hex grid may seem strange to players of D&D and other square grid systems, but the choice eliminates the issue square grids have with diagonal movement moving a character faster.

GURPS also has a great number of situational rules, so for instance to make a ranged attack you have to consider your target's distance from you, and their speed, then consult a table to get the appropriate modifier.  Just like the rest of GURPS, this results in a more-realistic feeling system ... but it also makes GURPS a more "crunchy" system, which will take a bit longer to learn than the PbtA systems.

Avatar in GURPS [ edit ]

Because GURPS is designed for any campaign you can imagine, it can easily be used to run an Avatar campaign.  And in fact there are already a number of fans who have, and who've discussed their experience.

There's a great discussion of the topic here, and another here (both on the official forum of Steve Jackson Games, the maker of GURPS).  But perhaps the best resource is this thread, where user Naloth has essentially written out an etire miniature GURPS supplement for Avatar in the thread.  His rules are for GURPS 3rd edition, but because the two editions were similar these rules could easily be adapted to its current (4th) edition.

Should You Pick GURPS for Your Avatar Campaign? [ edit ]

GURPS is not in any way designed for Avatar: it has no official supplements, only unofficial, player-made material from fans.  It also offers less story-driven, and slower/rules-heavier gameplay.

However story-driven and rules-light games aren't for everyone.  If you are the type of gamer who wants more detailed and realistic combat mechanics ... instead of just a single "Commit Open Violence" move with a fixed difficulty ... a game like GURPS might be much closer to what you're looking for.

GURPS also offers greater character flexibility (with no pre-set classes/playbooks), better balance between characters, and its rules can be used to support virtually any other campaign you may wish to run: not just Avatar.

If you're looking for a well-established and popular system (though not quite as popular as Apocalypse World), with very detailed rules, GURPS Fourth Edition is another great way to experience Avatar ... or any other genre of adventure.