A few days ago I wrote about GURPS 4th Edition and how I thought it a mistake that it had been split into two books. I’ve now got Book 2 – Campaigns, and I take it (almost) all back.
The introduction to Book 2 explains their reasoning behind using the two book format, and now I understand their rationale more fully it does make sense. I’ll even grudgingly accept that it’s better to keep all of the skills together in Book 1 (even Bicycling) for the sake of consistency and ease-of-use. I’m glad they put the basic combat system in the first Book, and would still have liked more detail about skill use in Book 1 (grumble grumble).
I like that Book 2 is treated as a continuance of Book 1 – even the page numbers continue – so it’s clear that the two books should really be treated as a unified whole. While Book 2 is smaller in terms of page count, it’s covers a lot more ground. Everything from advanced combat to templates and technology are covered. The Infinite Worlds “meta-setting” is introduced and it’s certainly a thought provoking concept.
Some areas are sketched over by necessity – the fantasy monsters section is particularly weak – but there is more than enough information about how to create your own. I’d have also liked to see a decent selection of generic NPCs for all power levels too. A single page chart of five NPCs each at low, medium and high power levels for fantasy, modern and science fiction would have gone a long way towards giving examples that explain the rules and been of immense use in-game too.
The grumbles are very minor though. When GURPS reached 3rd Edition it became a great system for gaming – mostly thanks to the amazing number of sourcebooks, most of which had been thoroughly researched by extremely enthusiastic writers. With it’s 4th Edition incarnation the game has had a much needed makeover and become a more consistent system in the process.