Daily Illuminator

January 5, 2024: The Curious Countdown: Number 1 – When In Doubt, Add Zombies

GURPS Zombies: Day One

Here we are, at the end of the journey of our curious countdown, as we discuss the number 1. (If you're very late to this party, please see the first post in this series.)

One of the hats I wear around here is "GURPS Project Manager," because I keep various parts of the GURPS train running smoothly, doing what I can to get new and classic projects in the queue and on the shelves (virtual or physical).

It'd be a gross abuse of my power as a Daily Illuminator writer to reserve the #1 spot on this series for a product line that holds a place near and dear to my heart.

So, with that in mind, let's talk about GURPS Zombies: Day One . . .

No, wait. Let's step back a moment. GURPS Fourth Edition has been a popular and well-expanded game line for nearly 20 years. We've tried mightily to ensure it lives up to the Basic Set back-cover headers of "Anything You Want" and "Any World You Can Imagine." So there's a lot of power crammed into these books.

But that leads to a problem. When you can do anything, what do you do? Or, perhaps more accurately, how do you do it? In the later years of Fourth Edition, we've put effort into showing you how to make the infinite a little more manageable, with self-contained ready-to-play "kits" such as the GURPS After the End series for post-apocalyptic gaming, or GURPS Monster Hunters for high-octane critter-getter action.

We've also taken this approach to other corners of GURPS. For example, when GURPS Zombies came out, it was arguably the most comprehensive supplement for creating nearly any type of zombie you could imagine: mystical, technological, fast, slow, infectious, brain-eating, you name it. But the trouble remained: Once you have the amazing power to add zombies in just about any manner imaginable, where do you start?

Enter GURPS Zombies: Day One.

This supplement (written by the original GURPS Zombies mastermind Sean Punch) provides eight zombie settings in broad strokes: genre, power level, background . . . and, of course, what parts of the Zombies rules to use to create the campaign you want. From fantasy to horror to science fiction and more, a wide variety of ready-to-use ideas are waiting for an enterprising GM to . . . errr . . . flesh them out into a full game.

It's the kind of supplement I was personally delighted I got to read before anyone else (and get paid for the effort, no less!). It's the sort of thing I love to point to when I have to explain how to harness the breathtaking breadth of GURPS. I also think it's one of the overlooked gems in the GURPS catalog. Regardless, it's available just a couple of clicks away as a download from Warehouse 23.

Thus concludes our curious countdown, ending the way it was perhaps destined to do – with zombies. Speaking personally, I was delighted that I (more or less) did what I set out to do in the first place. In the process, I rediscovered some interesting parts of my own collection. If you have any thoughts on this series, I'd love to hear 'em on the forums.

-- Steven Marsh

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