GURPS – Generic Universal RolePlaying System GURPS – Generic Universal RolePlaying System

GURPS High-Tech – Cover

You can find an index of all the GURPS bibliographies we have online here. If you spot any broken links or other problems with this page, please report them to

Bibliography for GURPS High-Tech

The following works are useful for further research or visualization of the items described in High-Tech. This list favors widely available resources and those that the authors regard as important. There are many other excellent possibilities!


Catalogs from equipment manufacturers and retailers are often a valuable and highly detailed source of information on current firearms, vehicles, etc. Many can be ordered for free or found on the Internet. Reprints of old catalogs – dating back as far as the late 1800s (e.g., Sears, Roebuck catalogs) – are treasure troves of historical gadgets, complete with period prices. Catalogs of replicas of historical artifacts (from such companies as G. Gedney Godwin) are similarly useful.

Military manuals, often available at second-hand shops and on the Internet, are another handy resource.

Amundsen, Roald. The South Pole (New York University Press, 2001). Reissue of the 1912 classic is an excellent source on survival in the trackless Antarctic wastes. Contains a whole chapter on the process of planning and equipping an expedition.

Barnes, Frank. Cartridges of the World (DBI Books, 1965-). Covers most TL6-8 small-arms cartridges from a hunter's and self-defense shooter's viewpoint. Now in its 12th edition.

Bishop, Chris (editor). WWII: The Directory of Weapons (Greenwich Editions, 1999). Describes and illustrates a good chunk of the TL6-7 weaponry used during WWII, including small arms, artillery, tanks, aircraft, and naval vessels. Not faultless, but a good, cheap starting point for researching the era.

Bollet, Alfred. Civil War Medicine: Challenges and Triumphs (Galen Press, 2002). A rare glimpse into the brutality – and success – of TL5 medicine from a physician's perspective.

Boorman, Dean. Guns of the Old West (Salamander, 2002). Beautiful photographs of TL5-6 firearms, including derringers and hunting rifles.

Bucholz, Andy. Police Equipment (Thunder Bay Press, 1999). Visual reference for weapons, vehicles, body armor, and all the other gear used by TL8 police.

Chant, Christopher (editor). How Weapons Work (Marshall Cavendish, 1976). Survey of TL0-7 weapons (from catapults and Greek fire, through small arms, to tanks and nuclear weapons) examines how they work.

Chant, Christopher. The New Encyclopedia of Handguns and Small Arms (PRION/Multimedia Books, 1995). Well-illustrated overview of the development of small arms.

Dockery, Kevin. Compendium of Modern Firearms (R. Talsorian Games, 1991). Written for gamers, this book has well-researched technical data on many TL7-8 military and police small arms.

Encyclopædia Britannica (Britannica, 1911). Later editions are more current, but the famous 11th edition represented the peak of human knowledge at mid-TL6. An excellent historical resource, available for free online.

Eyewitness Visual Dictionaries and Look Inside Cross-Sections (DK Publishing, 1993-). Children's books useful for a first-look orientation in the topics covered by individual volumes, including Arms and Armor; Civil War; Invention; Medicine; Rescue; Space Exploration; Special Military Forces; Spy; Vietnam War; Wild West; World War I; and World War II. Adult readers will value the color photographs of rare kit. The Look Inside Cross-Sections series includes volumes with unique cutaway illustrations: Planes, Spacecraft, Tanks, etc.

Garavaglia, Louis and Worman, Charles. The Firearms of the American West, 1803-1865 (University Press of Colorado, 1998). Good discussion of the TL5 weapons used by settlers, Native Americans, and the U.S. military.

Gray, Randal and Harding, David (editors). Weapons: An International Encyclopedia from 5000 B.C. to 2000 A.D., Revised Edition (St. Martin's Press, 1990). Explains how TL0-8 weapons work. Actually depicts most weapons described in High-Tech.

Greener, William. The Gun and its Development, 9th Edition (Cassell, 1910). Encyclopedic treatise on TL4-6 firearms, covering everything from powder-making to competition shooting. Originally published in 1881. Reprints of the final edition are available from several publishers.

Hogg, Ian (intro). The American Arsenal (Greenhill/Stackpole, 1996). Edited reprint of a 1944 military manual goes into exhaustive detail, as the subtitle implies: "The World War II Official Standard Ordnance Catalog of Small Arms, Tanks, Armored Cars, Artillery, Antiaircraft Guns, Ammunition, Grenades, Mines, etcetera."

Hogg, Ian. The Greenhill Military Small Arms Data Book (Greenhill/Stackpole, 1999). Essential data on TL6-8 military small arms. Quite complete, but few illustrations.

Hogg, Ian. Jane's Guns Recognition Guide (HarperCollins, 1996-). Handy pocket book covering TL6-8 firearms. Much cheaper than other Jane's, yet provides enough information for most game situations. Several updated editions available.

Jane's Infantry Weapons (Jane's, 1975-). Annually published one-stop resource for TL6-8 small arms (depending on the edition). What Terry Pratchett meant by a book "a thousand pages thick and crammed with weapons specifications"! Jane's publications have been the standard reference on military and security subjects for decades. Other titles include Jane's Air-Launched Weapons; Jane's All The World's Aircraft; Jane's Ammunition Handbook; Jane's Armour and Artillery; Jane's Armoured Fighting Vehicle Systems; Jane's Fighting Ships; Jane's Military Communications; Jane's Mines and Mine Clearance; Jane's Police and Security Equipment; Jane's Weapon Systems; and periodicals Jane's Defence Weekly and Jane's International Defence Review.

Kitman, Marvin. George Washington's Expense Account (HarperCollins, 1988). Humorous and fascinating look into the Revolutionary War-era personal expense account that Washington submitted to Congress. Provides a wealth of information on period tailors, housekeeping, victuals, and luxuries.

Ladd, James. Commandos and Rangers of World War II (Book Club Associates, 1978). The appendix is packed with hard-to-find information about WWII-era technology, including IR signaling equipment and maritime gear.

Laur, Timothy and Llanso, Steven. Encyclopedia of Modern U.S. Military Weapons (Berkley Books, 1995). Detailed descriptions of major TL7-8 weapon systems, including boats, aircraft, and vehicle armaments.

Lerner, Lee and Lerner, Brenda (editors). Encyclopedia of Espionage, Intelligence, and Security (Thomson/Gale, 2004). Primarily concerned with agencies, terrorist groups, and historical cases, but also describes key technological developments – lockpicking, miniature cameras, poisons, radar, etc.

Lord, Francis. Civil War Collector's Encyclopedia (Castle Books, 1965). A lavishly illustrated resource for weapons, camping gear, medical instruments, clothing, and ancillary equipment of all types during the mid-1800s.

Marchington, James (editor). The Encyclopedia of Handheld Weapons (Brassey's, 2002). Covers TL7-8 firearms and combat knives.

Men-At-Arms, Elite, and New Vanguard (Osprey, 1971-). Large series of booklets illustrating the uniforms, weapons, vehicles, and other equipment of military units. Interesting titles include American Civil War Artillery 1860-1865; Flak Jackets: 20th Century Military Body Armour; Jeeps 1941-1945; M4 (76) Sherman Tank 1943-1953; Panzerkampfwagen IV 1942-1945; T-72 Main Battle Tank 1974-1993; U.S. Army Combat Equipments 1910-1988; and U.S. Infantry Equipments 1775-1910.

Miller, David (editor). The Illustrated Book of Guns (Salamander, 2002). Covers TL5-8 small arms of every description. Excellent photos.

Parkes, Edmund. A Manual of Practical Hygiene (J. & A. Churchill, 1891). A British military doctor recounts the vital statistics of equipment carried by Her Majesty's troops in the field, with recommendations. Fascinating detail.

Reedstrom, Ernest. Bugles, Banners, and War Bonnets. (Bonanza Books, 1986). Heavily illustrated specifications for almost anything a U.S. Cavalry trooper carried up the Little Bighorn – with equal attention to his enemies.

Ridgeway, Rick. The Last Step: The American Ascent of K2 (The Mountaineers, 1980). Climbing a mountain has never been more interesting or enlightening. The description of high-altitude camping alone is worth the price.

Roosevelt, Theodore. Hunting Trips of a Ranchman & The Wilderness Hunter (Modern Library, 2004). This edition combines two books out of several that featured Roosevelt's love for guns, technology, and gadgets of all types.

Seaman, Mark (intro). Secret Agent's Handbook (Lyons Press, 2001). A detailed catalog of WWII spy gear from Britain's Special Operations Executive.

Smith, Joseph and Smith, Walter. Small Arms of the World (Galahad, 1973). Incredibly useful book on TL6-7 firearms, including a lengthy historical treatise on firearms development followed by a detailed examination of weapons in service. Describes how to operate many of the weapons – something lacking from most catalog-type books. Later editions reduce the historical information but cover additional weaponry up to 1983.

Stanton, Shelby. U.S. Army Uniforms of the Vietnam War (Stackpole Books, 1989). Well-illustrated treatise on TL7 military clothing, body armor, and other personal effects.

Steele, Phillip. Two Longs and a Short: An Ozark Boyhood Remembered (Pelican Publishing, 2004). Sappy "remember-when" recounting of TL6 technology in its heyday is full of useful details: ice delivery, old-fashioned telephone calls, etc.

Sweeting, Glen. Combat Flying Equipment: U.S. Army Aviators' Personal Equipment, 1917-1945 (Smithsonian Institution Press, 1989). Details body armor, oxygen masks, and survival gear throughout TL6.

Walter, John. Rifles of the World (Krause Publications, 1998). Comprehensive overview of TL6-8 civilian and military rifles.

Winant, Lewis. Firearms Curiosa (Greenberg, 1955). Lots of interesting and downright weird TL5-6 firearms: combination guns, cane guns, etc.

Films and Television

Aliens (James Cameron, 1986). Although set in the year 2179, much of the featured technology is still TL8. The props show what can be accomplished by starting with TL6-7 firearms, dressing them up, and presenting them as late-TL8 "caseless pulse rifles" and "smart guns."

Band of Brothers (Various directors, 2001). Realistic miniseries follows a U.S. Airborne company through WWII, illustrating TL6-7 weapons and equipment along the way.

Beast of War, The (Kevin Reynolds, 1988). During the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the crew of a lone T-55A tank tries to escape from a deadly valley while being stalked by vengeful Afghans who have only one rocket for their RPG-7.

Big Jake (George Sherman, 1971). Set in the American Southwest in 1909, this "high-tech Western" features such newfangled gear as a semiautomatic pistol and a motorcycle.

Black Hawk Down (Ridley Scott, 2001). Realistic depiction of TL8 special-ops weaponry, vehicles, and tactics.

Equilibrium (Kurt Wimmer, 2002). The "Grammaton Clerics" in this movie's near-future dystopia are masters of "Gun Kata": a ritualized Gun Fu style using TL8 firearms.

Firefly (Joss Whedon, 2002-2004). The combination of TL9 spaceships, TL8 assault rifles, and TL6 lever-action carbines gives this TV series an interesting flavor reminiscent of the Old West, despite being set in the year 2517.

Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (Jim Jarmusch, 1999). A TL8 assassin displays both Gun Fu and Gadgeteer abilities, building his own sound suppressors, electronic lockpicks, etc.

Heat (Michael Mann, 1995). Excellent modern gangster drama features what was at the time the longest shootout in cinema history. Realistic TL8 gun handling and, remarkably, sound – guns are loud!

Last Man Standing (Walter Hill, 1996). Set during Prohibition, this remake of Kurosawa's Yojimbo (1961) follows a lone gunman who has mastered a distinctly American form of Gun Fu . . .

Léon (Luc Besson, 1994). Hit man Léon is another exemplary Gun Fu stylist. Released in the U.S. as The Professional.

Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (Guy Ritchie, 1998). Gangster comedy illustrates that antique guns can be very valuable . . . and shows what a Bren machine gun can do to an apartment.

MacGyver (Lee David Zlotoff, 1985-1992). Secret agent Angus MacGyver is TV's ultimate improvising gadgeteer.

Matrix, The (Andy and Larry Wachowski, 1999). Yet another icon of Gun Fu, this sci-fi film features bullet-dodging martial artists and plenty of ambidextrous shooting, as well as a slow-motion minigun scene. Sequels The Matrix Reloaded (2003) and The Matrix Revolutions (2003) offer lots of TL8 gunplay but are less inspiring.

Outlaw Josey Wales, The (Clint Eastwood, 1976). Set in 1865, this drama about war-torn America depicts the realistic use of TL5 caplock firearms – although the M1874 Gatling gun is anachronistic.

Pale Rider (Clint Eastwood, 1985). Shows a cartridge-converted cap-and-ball revolver in action.

Predator (John McTiernan, 1987). Worth seeing for the man-portable minigun scenes alone! Demonstrates nicely how signature weapons can give individuals in a team extra "character."

Quigley Down Under (Simon Wincer, 1990). This unusual "Western," set in Australia, revolves around a sharpshooter with a TL6 buffalo rifle.

Red Dawn (John Milius, 1984). American youths fight Soviet occupiers in this WWIII scenario. Noteworthy for its depiction of TL7 Soviet hardware in action. Not to be confused with the 2012 remake.

Romeo + Juliet (Baz Luhrmann, 1996). In this adaptation of the famous play, decorated TL8 firearms replace swords and daggers.

Ronin (John Frankenheimer, 1998). Thriller about ruthless secret agents turned "mercenary" features many distinctive TL8 firearms.

Sharpe's Rifles (Tom Clegg, 1993). This TV production – and its many sequels between 1993 and 1997 – focus on a Napoleonic-era British officer and depict realistic TL5 flintlock firearms.

Shootist, The (Don Siegel, 1976). The last of John Wayne's Westerns, set in 1901, tackles the complex topic of the "true" gunfighter.

Stagecoach (John Ford, 1939). Illustrates how a passenger-carrying vehicle such as a stagecoach can serve as a plot device.

Tank (Marvin Chomsky, 1984). A sergeant-major uses his private M4A3 Sherman to "battle" a corrupt sheriff.

Terminator, The (James Cameron, 1984). Notable for one of the first cinematic appearances of a targeting laser. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) features lots of neat firearms effects, including one-handed use of a lever-action shotgun and a man-pack minigun scene that isn't to be missed.

Tremors (Ron Underwood, 1990). Survivalist Burt Gummer owns the ultimate adventurer's arsenal, with TL6-8 guns for every occasion – even for shooting prehistoric monsters.

Unforgiven (Clint Eastwood, 1992). Gritty Western set in 1880 displays many of the idiosyncrasies of late-TL5 and early TL6 firearms while offering much philosophizing about the best way to win a "true" gunfight.

Way of the Gun, The (Christopher McQuarrie, 2000). The two leads – ruthless criminals – display excellent firearms skills and tactics, including room-clearing, one-handed reloading, and fast-firing a semiautomatic Galil ARM. Also demonstrates what 7.62×51mm rounds do to an adobe wall . . .

Wild Bunch, The (Sam Peckinpah, 1969). Illustrates what even a single machine gun can achieve against less-well-armed opponents. The Browning M1917A1 is anachronistic for a film set in 1915, however.

Top of page

Privacy Policy | Contact Us

Steve Jackson Games