Steve Jackson Games GURPS – Generic Universal RolePlaying System

GURPS Black Ops – Cover

Excerpts from GURPS Black Ops

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Welcome to a messed-up world.

Of course, you already know that. You live here, too. But you haven't seen the half of it. Everything I'm going to tell you is true. If someone tells you different, they're lying to you. Or, like you, they have no idea what's really going on.

Right now, you could have an electronic chip implanted behind your ear. Can you feel it? It feels like a little pimple or lump on the bone. If you are one of the ten million already chipped, the Grey aliens who are harvesting us can monitor you and everything you hear. Removal is simple; unfortunately, only about 20 doctors on the planet even know the chip exists. Not all of them work for us.

Right now, your closest friend may have, instead of his brain, a parasitic creature buried in his cerebral cortex and controlling his body. Of course, the body only lasts about a year after infestation, but by then the creature has lured five or six victims to the undercity, new hosts for its children. Is someone you know looking a little ill and acting strange? Maybe he's been brainsucked.

Or maybe he's a vampire. No, if he were a vampire, you'd be dead. Vampires don't have friends. They even hate each other. All they want to do is feed. If you're normal, the only time you'd see one is right before it killed you, drank your blood and ate your internal organs, leaving you to steam like roadkill in the moonlight until you died . . . or worse, became one of them.

Sounds like a load of crap, doesn't it? I must be pulling your leg. I wish. See, it's my job to kill all of these creatures. I'm a black op. I work for an organization so secret that even the U.S. government has no idea that we exist. The Company pays me to keep the world safe from all the bizarre terrors that the powermongers are too afraid to let society know about. Aliens, bigfoot, Walt's frozen body – it's all true, and worse. Things they couldn't possibly print in the tabloids. Things that look like they came from some lunatic's sketchbook. You pray that you're hallucinating. You beg for the sweet release of death.

So come on. Join in the fun. There's only two kinds of people in the world: hunters and prey. If you don't start hunting then you will be prey. Pick the right side. Don't worry; it's not as bad as I make it sound.

You'll get to kill a lot of things before they finally get you.

The Scrub

A "scrub" is an unworthy foe, usually nameless and always lacking in motives that extend beyond a single scene in the adventure. Scrubs include generic thugs, hordes of rappelling ninja, faceless congressmen, executives, fast-food clerks and so on. They serve only two functions: to wander through the background, impressed by the black ops, or to wander into the foreground, in order to make the black ops look good.

In a high-action, cinematic universe, 99% of the population is scrubs. Only heroes, villains and those who live on the edge of becoming one or the other (e.g., an important NPC cop with real motives and a role in the story) are worth any more than a few seconds of "screen time." Scrubs may attack normally, but do not get defense rolls and are always taken out of the fight by a single hit. You never need to roll damage when you hit a scrub. The attacker can decide whether the scrub was humiliated, knocked out, maimed or brutally slain.

In non-combat conflicts (debates, games of chess, etc.), a black op need only succeed at his skill roll to win, even if the conflict would normally be resolved by a Contest of Skills. This applies especially to the Intimidation skill – even when used against entire crowds. Only important NPCs are immune to this; ordinary security guards and secretaries are not.


Ramblers are young punk psis, often encountered in groups. These psychic joy riders are motivated by a desire to have a good time, sometimes at a cost in human life. They live mostly by stealing, hitting towns at random. They appear to have no motives other than to cause trouble and have fun. They drink, smoke, take drugs and let their demons loose upon the unsuspecting public.

Recently, Intelligence department analysts have put forth a theory that the ramblers' activities are not random at all, but maddeningly precise, based on some fractal mathematical framework that we have yet to decode. If so, then there is some controlling force behind the ramblers' joy rides. Several missions are planned to attempt to root out whether this theory is true.

Ramblers are the hardest rogues to pin down, because the Company can never predict when or where they'll strike. Ops will hear about a rambler spree in San Francisco and get there to find that ghost sightings and astral-projection reports have skyrocketed overnight, but there are no ramblers to be found. After a few days of investigating bleeding walls and animated dog corpses, another report will come in from Dallas. It never seems to end. The ramblers always seem to end up in New Orleans for Mardi Gras, but it's understandably hard to pick them out during the festival.

One disturbing thing about ramblers is that they're usually just kids, so ops try to avoid killing them when capture is possible. They can't be given anything like a normal life, but Science can study them. On the other hand, some groups of ramblers have been recruited by the Greys, and others just like to kill. These get bullets. In any case, ramblers are eventually dealt with by the Company, the Greys, the Lodge or Mind; there are no old ramblers.

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