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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.

Works by Phil Masters with pages on TV Tropes:

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.
  • The Dragons Come Back: Not surprisingly, Masters' GURPS Dragons, a whole book about dragons of all sorts for that game system, deals with most of the wide range of Dragon 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 dragons re-emerging out of myth into the modern world.
  • 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.
  • Our Goblins Are Different: In GURPS Fantasy Folk: Goblins and Hobgoblins, Masters reviews the range of goblinoids from legend, fantasy, and games, and details four types of goblin, some drawn from previous GURPS books (the "mean" dungeon fantasy type, the smart type from Banestorm, dim-witted but nigh-indestructible comedy goblins, and quite formidable, quasi-folkloric "spirit" goblins) and two types of hobgoblin (another "mean" dungeon fantasy type and the surly versions from Banestorm).
  • Our Kobolds Are Different: Masters' GURPS Fantasy Folk: Kobolds reviews kobolds' legendary origins and evolution through tabletop games, and details three types (with variants): the quite formidable folkloric type (basically a small earth elemental), a "mean" dungeon fantasy species with a taste for traps, and the Banestorm race of downtrodden, highly annoying practical jokers.
  • Parody: Masters has parodied the Old World of Darkness more than once, in The Small Folk and in "Clanbook: Perky" and "Clanbook: Mopey", Print Bonus inserts he wrote for Dork Tower.
  • 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 from 2016 on, he wrote a series of PDF steampunk supplements for GURPS 4th edition, starting with GURPS Steampunk 1: Settings and Style. 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.