Daily Illuminator

October 25, 2009: Circus of GURPS

GURPS Banestorm: Abydos coverNo, we haven't released GURPS Evil Clowns (maybe we should . . .), but with Halloween upon us, you might be up for some suitably spooky GURPS. Ken Hite's GURPS Horror is still a work in progress, but there are Other Options . . .

First, you'll need a setting. Consider GURPS Banestorm: Abydos, a hidden city of necromancers with an undead militia, a library made of people, and a sewer maze of the condemned, all run by a free-willed zombie. Then there's bad stuff, like Senator Donovan Hawk, free-roaming demons, and the "dumping site for garbage, offal, rotten wood, stillborn infants, crippled zombies, and alchemical waste." That's for GURPS Banestorm (which has its own horrific twist on p. 92).

Perhaps you prefer the modern world? Try GURPS Locations: Metro of Madness. It has cultists, serial killers, ghosts, and demons, not to mention the entirely mundane horrors of lost children and crazy people. I'm sure there are rats, too.

This being GURPS, you could link the two. But how? Well, if you can't wait for the Hitean goodness of Horror, check out Ken's GURPS Infinite Worlds: Collegio Januari (for GURPS Infinite Worlds). It describes a wizardly conspiracy with little respGURPS Loadouts: Monster Hunters coverect for the barriers between realities.

Next, you'll need monsters. I'll just point to GURPS Creatures of the Night 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 for this. Grave-dwelling worms, ghouls suspended from chains, spiders lurking on the tightropes of time, withered heads skittering around like bugs, evil freakin' buildings . . . you know what to do with this stuff.

And what would Halloween be without bad mojo? GURPS Thaumatology offers many ways to make wholesome fantasy magic (e.g., GURPS Magic) horrific and wrong. If words like "The Evil Eye," "Spiritual Distortion," and "Undermining Defenses with Fear" appeal to you, and you want to put the contagion and sacrifice back into spellcasting, get this book. Alternatively, do it the Scanner way with GURPS Psionic Powers.

The PCs might need help to survive all this. GURPS Loadouts: Monster Hunters is a guide to choosing vampire- and werewolf-slaying gear for modern-day campaigns and Pyramid #3/5: Horror and Spies offers professions that use this stuff, adapting GURPS Action to horror in the process. Fantasy adventurers have to work a little harder, but there are some nice items (and a few horrific ones!) in GURPS Dungeon Fantasy 6: 40 Artifacts.

Finally, you could adapt any of the GURPS Third Edition horror-tinged supplements to GURPS Fourth Edition. It isn't all that hard. Check out the previous edition of GURPS Horror (and three adventures), plus GURPS Cabal for Sinister People, GURPS Places of Mystery for Menacing Places, and GURPS Warehouse 23 for Disturbing Things.


-- Sean Punch


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