Roleplayer
Roleplayer #23, May 1991

Look! Up on the Shelves!

The Return of GURPS Supers

by Loyd Blankenship

After six long months of waiting, it's finally back! GURPS Supers, Second Edition, is now available in stores across the human-populated universe.

Why a Second Edition?

The decision to release a second edition was based on 18 months of feedback from garners, and lots of late-night discussions. The general goal was to modify the system to make it more generic (hence the elimination of Power Groups, which forced a PC into our strictly-defined ideas of what made sense) without making it so free-form as to be a "design-your-own-system" game.

We also wanted to simplify character creation – it shouldn't take more than 30 minutes to go from initial conception to character fine-tuning.

Organizational Changes

One big change is in the way the book is organized. Instead of breaking advantages and disadvantages out according to type (Sensory, Movement, etc.), they are now sorted alphabetically. This saves a lot of wear and tear on the index! We also broke the multiple limbs and gadgeteering sections out into their own chapters, rather than burying them in the character chapter.

We increased the page count by 16 pages – and we were still running short on space. We partially solved the space problem by deleting the martial arts rules (they're covered much more thoroughly in GURPS Martial Arts) and the psionic powers (David Pulver's new GURPS Psionics is shipping with this issue; we couldn't cover a fraction of the new psi-powers in the limited space of Supers). This allowed us to add dozens of new advantages, disadvantages, and super-powers.

Finally, we shuffled the order of the chapters a bit, relegating the sample characters to the back of the book where they could be easily located by the GM and wouldn't get in the way during character creation.

Rules Changes

By far, the largest rules change was the elimination of Power Groups. For those that really liked them, we offered several options for keeping them (see pp. SU15 and 25). After hundreds of letters and comments, we decided that Power Groups were simply straitjacketing creative roleplayers into preconceived slots.

To assuage complaints about the cost of high ST, we added the Enhanced ST advantage and modified the Super ST advantage. It is now possible to have a moderately strong super (ST 15-30) without going point-bankrupt, or a really strong super (ST measured in the hundreds) without using 5,000-point characters.

There are now only two types of super-powers – Ranged and Area. Jet and Missile were really only special cases of Ranged, and have been treated as such in this edition.

In addition to porting over the existing characters from first edition, we've added a new pair of supers – one hero (Tien Tiao) and one villain (Poprock).

Attack powers now do 1d per level instead of per 2 levels – but the average point-cost per level of an attack power has roughly doubled, so the net result is the same as in the first edition.

Finally, there was quite a bit of numbers-tweaking and errata-fixing – much more than we could possibly list, even if we devoted this whole issue to it!

Net Effect

The end result is that existing supers with a low number of powerful abilities will probably see their point value decrease. Advantage-based supers will remain roughly the same. Metahumans with a large number of skills (every skill in an old Power Group, for instance) will usually go up in value. PCs with very high ST (30+) will be radically cheaper with the new ST rules.

When translating the sample characters, most stayed at 500 points with only a little adjustment. Flamin' Jane and Chemico (both skill-heavy) increased to 600 points (they've done a lot of adventuring in the last two years!), and Kodiak was upped to 550. Blue Demon was increased to 1,000 points (see below) – not because the rules changed radically, but because we wanted to make him a really tough opponent! Those supers with very few super-skills – Black Pearl, Icepick and Dwarfstar, for instance – had to be beefed up some to make 500 points.

Errata

As with any project of this size, errors occasionally creep in. So far, we're only aware of one major and a few minor ones.

First, you are still limited to a net maximum -75% in limitations on a super power or advantage. This is un-changed from the first edition and the Basic Set psi rules – it just got deleted somehow!

Second, Darkshell's Fireball is Power 8, not Power 16, and does 8d damage (not 8d+8).

And the major one: the book is still supposed to be dedicated to Joye and Charles Blankenship – hopefully this printing will sell out soon so I'll be allowed back in my parent's house!


Blue Demon

ST 260 (290 points) IQ 4 (-50 points)
DX 12 (20 points) HT 15 (60 points)
Damage: Thrust 27d+2 impaling (+2 is from Body of Metal); Swing 29d +2 cutting
Move: 6 running; 48 flying

Advantages

Alertness +5 (25 points)
Combat Reflexes (15 points)
High Pain Threshold (10 points)

Disadvantages

Appearance: Hideous (-20 points)
Bloodlust (-10 points)
Gigantism (-10 points)
Odious Personal Habit: Tortures Victims (-15 points)
Overconfidence (-10 points)
Reputation (-20 points)
Sadism (-15 points)

Super Advantages

Body of Metal, level 18 (162 points PD 6 DR 18)
Claws (40 points)
Damage Resistance +40 (Hardened +30%; 156 points)
Instant Regeneration (100 points)
Flight (40 points)
Regrowth (40 points)
Resurrection (150 points)
Super Flight × 2 (40 points)

Skills

Brawling-14 (4 points)

Quirks

Plays with its food.
Afraid of jet fighters.

Total Points: 1000

The coven met at midnight to begin the ancient ritual. Caroline, the high priestess, was hurt, angry and powerful – a bad combination. She had been spurned by her boyfriend, and several people told her he had been seen with Lynn – a witch from another coven with a grudge against Caroline. Caroline knew what she was about to do was dangerous, but it didn't matter. Lynn had thwarted her at every turn, and now Caroline was going to get her out of the way, once and for all.

As the witches chanted, an eerie shape began to fill the room. At first it was nebulous, a vaguely humanoid shape of twisting smoke, but soon it began to solidify into something truly terrifying. It was eight feet tall and had skin that looked like leather but shone like polished blue metal. Its wings were like a bat's, with a span of fifteen feet or more. Instead of fingers it had talons. Its head looked like a skull with horns, and in place of eyes it had nothing. Not even the back of its head – the witches looked into its eyes and saw a void.

Workers on the night shift at a nearby newspaper reported hearing a tremendous crash. When they rushed out to see what had happened, the apartment building Caroline – and 60 other people – had lived in was being smashed to rubble by a monster. The photographer who documented the destruction got a Pulitzer prize for his work.

The witnesses called the police, who in turn called the National Guard. But before they could respond to the calls, the "Blue Demon" (as one witness had tagged it) spread its wings and flew off into the night.

Since then, many people have seen the Blue Demon; it has been blamed for thousands of deaths and untold dollars of property damage. No one knows what motivates it or where it came from; only one member of the coven survived long enough to question, and she gasped out very little information before she died. So far, all of the substantiated attacks have been in large population centers; researchers have theorized that it is attracted by the psychic energy field created by large numbers of humans. It has, however, been sighted flying over sparsely populated areas, and such early sightings have allowed local authorities in Chicago and Birmingham to successfully repel the Blue Demon.

The Blue Demon's attacks are particularly horrific because killing is one of its kinder habits. It tortures with the ingenuity and cruelty of a savage child, and the strength of a berserk dinosaur. It will linger until the last second, even in the face of a super attack, to wrench more agonies from a victim. The U.N. 's inability to handle the Demon is one of the persistent arguments of the anti-U.N. parties. It is not known if the Demon eats people for nourishment, or just gets satisfaction from munching them up alive. A number of people have vanished completely after each attack. Did the Demon eat them entirely, or take them away to toy with at its leisure?

An unsubstantiated report from Montana had the Blue Demon torturing and eating several shepherds . . . and several hundred sheep. An unlikely coalition of televangelists, law-enforcement supers and the SPCA are coordinating plans for a massive search-and-destroy operation against the Demon.

The most successful attacks on the Demon have been made by teams of supers; with its size and strength (and high PD and DR), the Blue Demon can resist most ordinary attacks. The demon has been killed, several times, but it always comes back, sometimes after no more than a few days.

Typical Dialogue: "Snarl . . . <crunch> . . . burrrrppp."

(Back to Roleplayer #23 Table of Contents)


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