Learning GURPS Quickly
When first learning the GURPS system, reading the entire book may seem daunting – especially considering the “Basic Set – Campaigns” book is simply a continuation of the “Basic Set – Characters” book. Here is my suggestion for how to deal with the chapters on a first pass.
Basic Set – Characters
- The “Quick Start” section (pages 8 – 9).
- The mini glossary (page 7).
- Chapter 1 (pages 10 – 31).
- The first few pages of each of Chapters 2, 3, and 4, up to the part where they start listing traits (pages 32 – 34, 119 – 121, and 167 – 173); the will be important later but the first few pages explain the concept before going into details of specific traits.
- Chapters 5 and 6 you can come back to later; they also have their own complete source books so if you are interested in magic or psionics, probably best to review those instead.
- Chapter 7 is probably worth at least skimming (pages 258 – 263).
- Skim Chapter 8 – it will mostly be important for the table references for comparing equipment like weapons and armor, but note that GCA has additional options from other source books as well. At least be sure to read the first page, the explanation of weapon statistics, and the armor table explanation (pages 264, 268 – 271, 282)
- Chapter 9 you can come back to later, but is fairly unimportant.
- Definitely read the “Combat Lite” appendix in Characters, this is a stripped down version of chapter 11, with a bit of chapter 14 (pages 324 – 328).
Basic Set – Campaigns
- Chapter 10 is fairly important, though only for concepts. You can skim the middle section where it list off loads of specific rules (like digging and climbing) but make sure to hit the topical stuff (pages 343 – 349, 358 – 360).
- Chapter 11 is the basic combat system in full. There’s more to it than the summary at the end of Characters which may help (Better descriptions) or hurt (more stuff); consider this optional as long as you have already covered the “Combat Lite” section, to be gone over at a later date.
- Chapters 12 and 13 can be skipped for now, though you may want to read through at some point after reading chapter 11.
- Chapter 14 has some important stuff, but also a lot you can just skip for now. You probably want to know how to recover from injury, but you can leave the rules on radiation poisoning for later (pages 418 – 427).
- Chapters 15, 16, and 17 you can come back to later should they become relevant to you or your character.
- Sections of chapters 18 and 19 are important if you are going to be a game master, but players can skip them entirely.
- Chapter 20 is essentially just an example of a setting rather than part of the system. You don’t need it to understand the system, and it really doesn’t apply to Bill’s setting.
- You may also want to skim the tables at the end of Campaigns (pages 547 – 562). The Tables Appendix has summaries of task difficulty modifiers for many tasks in the game, along with various other useful tables. Don’t try to memorize them, just remember where to find them. As time permits, I will also be moving some tables onto the wiki, so that it will be easier to find them and they can be updated with what we will actually be using (like Bill’s critical and fumble tables instead of the standard GURPS ones).
You may want to consider taking a look at the “GURPS Lite” free PDF. It’s a stripped down view of GURPS which you may find more approachable (at least to get started). Then you can look up stuff you want to add from the Basic Set. http://www.sjgames.com/gurps/lite/