fourth edition coverGURPS 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.
Tropes related to this game:
- Beauty Is Never Tarnished: with the "No Visible Damage" perk.
- Captain Ethnic: Avoided for the most part.
- Death Dealer: In the 3E supplement Supertemps, Blacksmith used a weapon that fired metal projectiles the size and shape of playing cards.
- Death Seeker: The noble Japanese villain Mount Fuji.
- Die or Fly: Justified; see Meta Origin.
- Differently Powered Individual: Called "Supers" or "Metas".
- Disability Superpower: You CAN combine Blindness and vision powers.
- Emotion Eater: in the 3E supplement Wild Cards, Senator Hartman (AKA Puppet Man) and The Gatekeeper (owner of the Joker's Wild cabaret).
- Expy: The templates in GURPS Supers are all to some extent designed to let players play these. For example, the Archetype is most obviously for playing Superman, but also includes "Amphibian" and "Super-Swimming" options if you'd rather play Aquaman. The Brick includes a "Man of Steel" option that's basically Colossus. Most blatantly of all, the Man Plus comes with a choice of "Superalloy Chainmail" or "Superalloy Medium Shield."
- Fantastic Slurs: "Crunchies" for nonpowered humans.
- Friend to All Living Things: The superheroine Lynx in the 3E supplement Supertemps.
- Hulkspeak: Used by the Frankenstein-like hero Patchwork (who is actually Obfuscating Stupidity.)
- Immune to Bullets: Several options.
- Jet Pack: In the Supertemps supplement the heroes Clone and New Javelin each had one.
- Kidnapped Scientist: Harold Wilkesom (Blacksmith) in the 3E supplement Supertemps.
- Lightning Gun: Modular Man (from Wild Cards) has one.
- Living Ship: The 'Ishb'kaukab in the 3E supplement Wild Cards are a race of whale-sized, telepathic, sentient creatures that live in deep space and have been genetically engineered by the Takisians into self-repairing spaceships.
- Magic Pants: The "Costume" advantage prevented the character's clothes from being damaged (but not the character himself).
- Meta Origin: In the IST world, powers mostly come from genetic manipulation by Precursors, turned latent due to solar radiation; often activated by stress.
- Misapplied Phlebotinum: Avoided, many Metas use their powers for legal gain.
- My Suit Is Also Super: The Costume Advantage also allowed the clothing to adapt to the users' powers (ex. turning invisible.)
- Nigh-Invulnerability: With the "Damage Reduction" advantage.
- Omniglot: The Omnilingual advantage.
- Our Vampires Are Different: The vampire superhero, Nightflick.
- Personality Powers: In the fourth edition, the standard superhero templates come with personality powers.
- Power Incontinence: The "Uncontrollable" power limitation.
- Reed Richards Is Useless: Averted, technology has advanced in the IST Earth thanks to the study of powers (and interaction with aliens.)
- Reverse Shrapnel: The Ring of Fire power.
- Shoulder Cannon: Wild Cards. The Modular Man can have two of these, one on each shoulder.
- Shout-Out (Tabletop Games): See that article for examples.
- Shrink Ray: The power Shrinking with the Affects Others Advantage. In the Supertemps supplement the hero Nucleus' nanosuit has this power.
- The Spark of Genius: Appears in the 3E supplements Wild Cards and Supertemps.
- Speaks Fluent Animal: The superheroine Lynx in the 3E supplement Supertemps.
- United Nations Is a Superpower: In IST, the UN is strong enough to outlaw national military superteams and make it stick. In the world's first incarnation, this was imposed by threat of force on powers up to and including the Soviet Union. Later, this was retconned into being more of a mix of technological bribes and threats.
- The Unpronounceable: The alien race called Kyz, also from IST, use a partially-empathic language.
- Weaponized Teleportation: 3rd Edition had Teleport with the Exoteleport enhancement. The Supertemps supplement had an NPC with the ability.