How to Be a GURPS GM

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How to Be a GURPS GM” is my first published book, released as a PDF on August 7, 2014 by Steve Jackson Games.

I wrote it because the GURPS tabletop role-playing game has suffered for many years from an undeserved reputation of being too complex, too difficult to learn, or requiring too much math. None of these things are true, and I have long felt that they cause far too many gamers to miss out on a truly great system.

GURPS is a very fun, unbelievably versatile system absolutely worth checking out for yourself* – my sincere hope is that this book encourages tabletop gamers to give GURPS a second look.

* A free copy of “GURPS Lite” can be downloaded here at absolutely no cost.

A couple of important notes:

  • There is a free preview of the book available from the store page that includes both the full Table of Contents and the Index, to give you an idea of what all is inside.
  • Interwoven throughout the text are 40-50 incredibly helpful quotes from Kromm, the GURPS Line Editor, culled from literally thousands of GURPS forum posts over the last 10+ years and all collected here in one spot. Very useful, and probably worth the purchase by themselves.

Reviews and Reader Feedback

I’ve been extremely pleased with the book’s reception. Here are all of the reviews I’m aware of:

Currently on Warehouse 23, the Steve Jackson Game online seller, it has 4.5/5 stars (from 11 responders).

Here are some of my favorite comments from Facebook, Twitter, and especially the Steve Jackson Games GURPS Forums. (Authors’ names redacted).

“Mook’s book isn’t just for new GMs. I’ve been GMing GURPS since GURPS existed, and I bought this because old dogs can learn new tricks from other old dogs.”

“I have to recommend this book to anyone that is, or wants to be, a GURPS GM. I’ve GM’ed a number of systems. This book helped give ideas, told me where to find things GURPSian, and lots of great advice. Really – get this book.”

“I love How to Be a GURPS GM. It’s likely to help me make some changes to my game. And even more likely for me to offer it to people who want to run a game.”

“It was one of the easiest purchasing decisions I ever made.”

“Wish this was around earlier. THANKS! This has already clarified a few things for me, and also reinforced other ideas I lost in the recesses of my memory. An A+ book.”

“I’ve read through parts of the book, skimmed others, and it is GOOD. Even for experienced GMs. (For inexperienced ones, it’s a good third book after the two Basic Sets.)”

“Bought it, loving it.”

“I’m a pretty experienced GM overall and a midlevel trained GURPS GM and I consider it a good investment. I am totally recommending for a new GM to GURPS. It’s the book we needed to convince newbies for years.”

“Any book that we can point to when someone expresses confusion or timid interest in GURPS raises its stock.”

“This book is exactly what I need to slap people in the face with to make them stop trying to get me to play [non-GURPS RPGs] in custom worlds because “They know the system.”

“What I like about it is that it’s well written, it’s explicit and it’s honest. It details a playstyle that seems to be implicit or “between-the-lines” in the core set. My old complaint was that GURPS to me was “half” a game — very detailed rules for the players to abide by, while the GM was left with some vague suggestions. Now, all my complaints over the years about GURPS have vanished in a fell swoop. This book clearly outlines a way to run it which fills in the missing “half”. It’s clear about the fact that the way it suggests the game to be run is just one way, one suggestion among many, but it does present one way, one playstyle, and that’s what I wanted.” (Note: this poster actually didn’t care for the play style of the hypothetical GM in the book, but the rest of what he wrote was so kind I wanted to include!)

The more “official” comments were extremely humbling also. In addition to the complimentary announcement posts by Kromm and Steven Marsh, they have said some wonderful things in forum posts like…

Kromm (GURPS Line Editor)

“FWIW: I’ve been playing GURPS since 1986 – i.e., since it was Man to Man and just a combat system, and then through four editions that span 28 years. I’ve also worked on the game since the summer of 1995, or for 19 years (more like 20 years, if you count my first freelance assignment in the autumn of 1994). And I developed the current edition. Despite all that, I still found useful tips in Mook’s material, and even in words of my own that I’d forgotten or never looked at next to other things I’d written.”

PK (Assistant GURPS Line Editor)

“This isn’t just newbie advice — it’s a distillation of all the advice given here on the forums, with almost half of the book being direct quotes of advice that Kromm has given (here) on a wide variety of topics, and the other half being Mook’s carefully thought out walkthroughs, further explanations, etc.”

Steven Marsh (GURPS Project Manager)

“It’s early to say anything too definitively, but sales over the first 3.5 days have been very promising. (So far, it’s outsold most of this year’s releases in each oftheir first four days.) Given that it was a title with no advanced warning, anticipation, or promotional drive, I’m quite happy with how it’s doing.”

 I could not be happier with the response thus far!

Links

Store Page (including a free preview)

Blog Posts

Original Cover

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