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Welcome to the GURPS Discus of Katheran mini wiki at Scratchpad!
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In the beginning...
Every story has a beginning. So does every world. But the most interesting beginnings are those of stories of worlds. So we begin...
What is GURPS
GURPS is a system, or more precisely, a set of rules and features that enable, empower and add levels and layers of detail to the experience of playing, for pencil&paper roleplaying. The acronym stands for: Generic Universal Roleplaying System. GURPS is edited and published by Steven Jackson Games and is now in its fourth edition.
More details on GURPS...
GURPS is a system that features point-wise "buying" approach to creating roleplaying characters although support exists for Dungeons & Dragons-style random character creation. GURPS is primarily concerned with realism.
The "Realism" of GURPS
This "realism" must be taken in a very broad sense when concerning inherently unrealistic pursuits such as the majority of roleplaying scenarios (which involve ESP, monsters, aliens, magic, fantastic technology etc.). Realism is here concerned mostly with the relative power levels of the player characters in comparison with other agents in the game (be they the non-player characters, beasts, monsters, magic effects, natural disasters or global events beyond the characters' control). The mechanics that ensures this sense of "realism" concerns itself with ensuring equal grounds. The reasoning is that having ensured equal grounds for player characters as well as all other active agents in the game the game will be much more enjoyable, as it motivates players to apply brains to the game, at some point have courage, thus bringing more enjoymen to their breakthroughs, when their plans succeed.
More precisely, the GURPS mechanics goes great lengths in trying to assure that no rules-warranted "invincibility" of the characters is achieved at a certain power level of the game-play. There is also a significant amount of effort by the game's mechanics designers to limit the recurring fall in the amount of effort required of players with the progress of the game (which inevitably happens as the player characters acquire new powers and abilities, which usually means "automatic" success of certain characters' actions), in coping with in-game situations.
Character definition and statistics in GURPS
In GURPS, characters are defined by their attributes, secondary attributes, (dis)advantages and skills.
The four attributes that define each and every character to the greatest extent (therefore their increase costs the most character points) are: IQ, Dexterity, Strength and Health. These are usually abbreviated: IQ, DX, ST and HT. As of GURPS 3rd Ed., certain features and ratings that had up until the edition been present in the game as "side sums" or "figured quantities", or ware rated on a scale dependent on one or more attributes have been given the name of secondary attributes. These are: Perception (previously known as the "Senses roll"), based on IQ, Hit points, based on Health, Fatigue, based on Strength, and Will (there are rules which either have Will default to IQ, or be considered as a primary, and therefore separately bought, attribute).
Fleshing out the characters in GURPS
A great plethora of social, psychological and physical advantages and skills (which cost points) and disadvantages (which buy points back on the account of the character featuring disadvantages being in comparative... well.. disadvantage over his peers) make for a very detailed approach (if such is desired) to fleshing out the character.
This does away with problems arising from wrongful and over-simplistic exploitation of literary and pop-culture paragons (in other games, included explicitly as classes, kits, cliches etc.) However, it makes the beginning phase of the game that much more complicated. A number of GURPS sourcebooks in effects offer just such an approach, including packages of attribute modifiers, advantages, disadvantages, taboo traits and skills that alleviate this problem, in the form of Templates.
What is the Discus of Katheran
The Discus of Katheran is a setting for the roleplaying game, including cosmogony (the tale or account of the creation), astronomy (actually, since it in no way resembles, nor pretends to, any kind of scientific accountability, more properly astrology), geography, biological, political, cultural and pretty much any other kind of history, esoteric (including magic, psionicism, divine influences), religion and panthenoi, and finally, a fixed time on a generally more or less developed timeline which is considered as "current", in which game-play is conducted.