The Art of Camouflage


by S.E. Mortimer

This work expands upon the Camouflage and Stealth rules as described in Basic Set Fourth Edition and removes the inconsistencies apparent in various GURPS supplements. The technologies listed near the end of this article are an attempt to standardize those described in other GURPS sources and includes some of today's "cutting edge" developments.


Camouflage (p. 183) is the skill of concealment. The term comes from the French word camoufler, meaning "to blind" or "veil." It involves disguising an object, in plain sight, in order to prevent detection. While the wartime use of camouflage is by no means a modern invention, its importance was emphasized during World War I because of the introduction of the airplane and aerial surveillance. In 1915 the French army created a new unit called section de camouflage. These units were largely made up of "camoufleurs" who, in civilian life, had been artists of some kind -- designers, architects, fine artists, and the like. Other countries soon followed suit.

Many of their ideas came from nature. Animals are experts at camouflage -- their coloring often graduates from dark, on their backs, to almost white on their bellies. This is an important property that is very useful in modern camouflage. This gradation from dark to light breaks up the surface of an object and makes it harder to see the object as one thing. The object loses its three-dimensional qualities and appears flat, making it . . .

This article originally appeared in the second volume of Pyramid. See the current Pyramid website for more information.

Article publication date: September 30, 2005

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