Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog

Microgames, Monster Games, and Role Playing Games

GURPS Ultra-Tech Rolls Out

GURPS Ultra-Tech has just been reported to arrive at Warehouse 23. 

On the surface it looks like a good offering.  I mean, it incorporates stuff from Robots and Cyberpunk, so its going to be a lot more comprehensive than previous iterations.  But this is a very difficult thing to pull off… does it really matter what equipment you have when there’s no limit to the possibilities?  I mean, the value and character of a Car Wars spider mine or recoiless rifle completely depended on the context of the setting and the power and utility of the other weaponry available.  How can anything in a GURPS book match the depravity of x-ray lasers or the evilness bumper-triggers?  Everything’s relative, in this case… and a generic supplement can provide only an array of options for the referree that wants to design his own universe.  No item in the tome has any intrinsic value on its own.

But at the same time… there actually was an implied universe and even future history in the original Ultra-Tech books.  Does the new book up the ante in genericism the same way that Powers trumped Supers and Psionics?  Is that even possible?  I wonder…  did I hate the original Ultra-Techs because they were simultaneously too generic and not generic enough??

I’m kind of burnt out on technical details– especially in a game like GURPS where the responsibility for designing and balancing everything rests on my shoulders.  It would seem that in a character oriented role playing game that most equipment would be dependent on setting and plot details and that it therefore ought to be simply glossed over in the interests of keeping the game moving.

But I am a hypocrit: I held off on buying the new GURPS Space because it lacked equipment and spaceships.  Now Ultra-Tech‘s out… and I’m not going to buy it because the two books are too much to absorp at once!  Nah… I’m curious and I’d like to see it, but it’s really the sort of thing I’d buy on an impulse when I’m at a store that doesn’t really carry much else that I’m interested in.  (I love buying stuff at real gaming stores….)

But good for Steve Jackson for getting it out the door: there’s one less reason for rejecting 4e for space gaming.  Now if only they’d get that Vehicles PDF out….

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