Creator / Phil Masters

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Phil Masters (born 1959) is a British roleplaying games writer and editor, He began publishing in the RPG field in 1981, in White Dwarf magazine, and his first book was Kingdom of Champions for Champions in 1990, but he is most often associated with the GURPS game line, and in particular with the Discworld RPG adaptation. He has also worked on licensed GURPS adaptations of Castle Falkenstein, the Hellboy comic books, and the Vorkosigan Saga, and a large number of other books and magazine articles for several different rule systems. In 2015, he self-published an RPG of his own, The Small Folk.

Masters has also written on fantastical themes for British company Osprey Publishing, and had a few short stories published, three of them in Interzone magazine. His Web page is here.


Tropes associated with Phil Masters include:

  • Arabian Nights/Days: Masters's first GURPS book was GURPS Arabian Nights, and he also wrote GURPS Castle Falkenstein: The Ottoman Empire, The Sands of Time for BlackWyrm Publishing, Sinbad the Sailor for Osprey Books and Al-Ybi in GURPS Discworld Also. See also his story, "The Matter of the Cadi, the Dervish, and the Ghûls".
  • Atlantis: Masters first tackled this theme in GURPS Places of Mystery, and expanded on that work in GURPS Atlantis, and in The Wars of Atlantis for Osprey Books. See also his short story, "Platonic Solid".
  • Captain Ethnic: Played with but just about averted in Kingdom of Champions (which has a large section on British superheroes) and The Sands of Time (which features a Middle Eastern Muslim superhero team). Both try to avoid at least the obvious stereotypes while making characters somewhat plausible for their cultural context.
  • Clockpunk: Masters wrote material for White Wolf's Mage: The Sorcerers' Crusade (the Renaissance-period historical spin-off from Mage: The Ascension), including The Artisan's Handbook, which covered the setting's substantial clockpunk elements in additional detail. The trope is also discussed in his GURPS Steampunk 1: Settings and Style.
  • Dragon Tropes: Not surprisingly, Masters' GURPS Dragons, a whole book about dragons of all sorts for that game system, deals with most of these tropes. In particular, the main sample campaign setting in the book and some of the briefer example setting descriptions are built around the idea of The Dragons Come Back.
  • Fairy Tale: Approached from very different angles in Faerie Stories for Ars Magica, GURPS Thaumatology: Alchemical Baroque, and The Small Folk.
  • Named Like My Name: No, he isn't actually a Marvel Comics villain. There's only one "L" in his name.
  • Steampunk: Aside from his Castle Falkenstein-related work, Masters has written steampunk-related material for other lines, such as his GURPS Infinite Worlds: Britannica-6 — and in 2016, he was responsible for GURPS Steampunk 1: Settings and Style, with more in the line apparently to follow. See also his short story, "The Last Flight of Captain Bale".
  • Transhumanism: Masters is the line editor for the Transhuman Space game line, and has written a number of books and articles for the setting. He has also contributed to the Eclipse Phase line from Posthuman Studios.
  • Urban Fantasy: The Small Folk is definitely in the genre.

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