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Tabletop Game: GURPS Supers

fourth edition cover
GURPS Supers is the Generic Universal Role Playing System's superhero expansion. It was published in two editions in the 1980s; a new edition was recently published, updated to GURPS' Fourth Edition rules.

The first edition was criticized because it arranged superpowers in sets called "Power Groups" which players felt limited their character creation choices. This was fixed in the second edition, so that powers could be bought individually. (Power Groups were retained as an optional system).

Another criticism of the game was that you couldn't emulate the most powerful heroes from the comics (such as Superman or Green Lantern) because either they would be too expensive to adapt (costing thousands of character points) or their powers were too expansive and there were no exact equivalents for them (though these were problems faced by most superhero RPGs of the time.) On the other hand, GURPS Supers could handle the less absurd superheroes, and it produced many interesting original characters of its own. With the 4th Edition version, even the cosmic-level heroes can now be reproduced, though it required a full separate book (GURPS Powers) to do it.

Another problem the books had was the artwork; it was crude and uncolored, except on the covers. Again, the latest version has overcome this.

There were several Sourcebooks put out for the game, the most famous being an adaptation of the Wild Cards superhero novels. Supers had its own original setting, detailed in Gurps IST (International Super Teams) which featured an Alternate Reality where the United Nations effectively rules the world and uses superhero teams to keep the peace. The IST world was recently reintroduced for the GURPS Infinite Worlds campaign. All of these can be downloaded from Steve Jackson Games' website.

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