Sunday, February 19, 2012

GURPS or Savage Worlds For Your Skill Based Gaming?

I have some experience running GURPS 20 years ago, and I'm looking closely at Savage Worlds (and plan on rereading the rules to both as time permits).  Yes, I'm leaving Basic Roleplaying / RuneQuest / Legend off the list as I wait to see what the latest edition of RQ will offer.

The game plan (such as it is) is to run a OSR (D&D clone) and a non-OSR game, and alternate the system on a weekly basis.  It would keep the systems from getting old, and always give me two weeks to get things ready for the next game of the same type.

I know GURPS is the heavier system (and looking at Conan: Beyond Thunder Dome, I'm reminded how crunchy the system is).  Both GURPS and Savage Worlds have a huge amount of setting books.  I'm actually reading Beasts & Barbarians for Savage Worlds this weekend, and it look like a fun Swords & Sorcery setting for S&W.

I'm open to input.  I'll even look at other systems if the argument is solid ;)


  1. Of the two, I'd suggest Savage Worlds. GURPS has too many serious flaws, and almost everything that's good about the source books is system-neutral (at least for the ones I'm familiar with). Savage Worlds is still pretty tactically crunchy, if that's what you like, while requiring a hell of a lot less work.

    Of course, what I'd really suggest you check out is one of my games like Argh! the Supernatural RPG or Zap! the Science Fiction RPG. The Sword & Sorcery version is currently being play-tested. The argument for them is that they are rules-light-to-medium with a strong focus on producing play that actually sounds like the genre in question as it's going on. The Primary Rule is "Does this sound like something from the genre?" If something would work in the genre, it automatically works; if it wouldn't work in the genre, it automatically fails; if it would sometimes work and sometimes not you roll for it. Anyway, they're free on RPGNow if you want to take a look.

  2. I am a huge Savage Fan. It is an insanely easy system that basically plays itself. Players generally get it. The only thing that anyone has to wrap their heads around really is raises.

    For ease just use the wheel of raises and you'll be fine.

    Shameless self-promotion- I created a post-apocalyptic zombie game and have gotten some good feed back from it. If you decide to do SW- feel free to have a look.


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  4. I'm a GURPS fan, and ran it for about ten years (I must have missed the serious flaws). I have Savage Worlds and have played it a few times, but it just didn't grab me.

    I guess it really comes down to personal preference.

  5. If you really want skill intensive, I would suggest HERO.

    Savage Worlds is a fun and light system, which I adore quite a lot. It's major downside is that it falls apart after one hit in the damage scale and death is exceptionally easy at that point.

  6. @Joshua - I'll have to check your games out :)

    @wrathofzombie - and I'll check out yours too :)

    @sean - i've got a crapload od earlier edition GURPS sourcebooks if I go that route

    @loquacious - HERO I have neither the patience nor the space for- as for the SW combat, I have seen it gets pretty lethal pretty quickly

    hmmm.... maybe I should have included WEG's D6 in the question, as it is now free in PDF

  7. Yep, finally got around to it.

    I was going to recommend Mythus, but the books are not easy to get hold of, require some intensive reading, and you need at least three of the books to have a complete game.

    As an alternative may I recommend the first edition of the Mongoose Publishing version of Runequest. (http://mrqwiki.com/wiki/images/a/ac/RuneQuestSRDLuxury.pdf) All complete in one file, containing all the information you need to run the game.

    Runequest goes back to the 70s and was designed as the roleplaying version of Greg Stafford's White Bear/Red Moon. WB/RM being Greg's game of the Sartarite uprising against the Lunar Empire. Set on the continent of Genertela, it was one of the first RPGs to have an included setting, following in the lead of Empire of the Petal Throne.

    It has a clean system, loads of background, and additional material produced over 37 years. There's also a 6th edition on its way that's supposed to be out soon. (Mongoose Runequest one is the 4th edition)

    Download the MR1, read it through, and see what you think.


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