Daily Illuminator

March 16, 2004: GURPS Fourth Edition To Release In August!

In August 2004, at GenCon, Steve Jackson Games will release GURPS Fourth Edition, starting with the two-volume Basic Set. Fans have been asking about a new edition for years, and we've always said it wouldn't happen until we could justify the change in terms of both rules and presentation. Well, we're there.

Sean Punch, GURPS Line Editor for the past nine years, and David Pulver, a key contributor responsible for many of the core GURPS supplements, took two years to break the system down and rebuild it, guided by a decade and a half of gamer feedback. The new rules are designed to enhance the key strengths of GURPS: compatibility with all genres and flexibility for the GM. You'll still recognize it, but a lot of little things - and a few big ones! - are different.

The physical quality of the line will take a big jump with the Fourth Edition. All books now on the schedule (and we're scheduling three years ahead) will be hardcover, with full-color interiors. And we won't accept any art that's not gorgeous. The two Basic Set books, for instance, will have cover art by John Zeleznik, who has done a lot of our best covers over the years.

The new-style GURPS books will be bigger - most of them over 200 pages - because fans continue to ask for more depth, and tell us "Get it all into one book." So after the Basic Set and GURPS GM's Screen are out, we'll release one BIG book per month, every month, like clockwork.

What About All My Third Edition Books?

We know that our fans have a significant investment in the current edition of GURPS. One of our goals in the Fourth Edition design process was to make sure that our entire library would not become obsolete overnight.

While the new edition is different, it's still GURPS. Many Third Edition books will be good to go for Fourth Edition play with a minimum of conversion - and a conversion guide will be one of the first things we'll release. Most of the information in our typical worldbook or sourcebook - the thorough historical research, the detailed setting descriptions, the roleplaying advice for both players and referees - is usable with any other game system. That's still true now that the "other game system" we're talking about is GURPS Fourth Edition.

Of course, the very "crunchy" rulebooks, such as the old Basic Set itself, the two Compendium volumes, and GURPS Vehicles, are outdated. There's no way around that; that's the point of a new edition.

But most of the collection will still be completely useful. We'll keep a lot of them in print for at least the next couple of years; in fact, even as you read this, some older Third Edition books, like GURPS Greece, are going for reprint.

The Fourth Edition Schedule

Here's our schedule for the rest of 2004. We have books planned all the way through 2006, and our best writers have been working on them for months. We will be announcing upcoming GURPS books farther in advance than we do most of our products.
  • August 2004: GURPS Basic Set, a two-volume set with ALL the rules you need to run the game.
  • September 2004: GURPS GM's Screen, with six panels of useful charts and tables and a gorgeous two-panel John Zeleznik painting. Also includes GURPS Lite.
  • October 2004: GURPS Fantasy, by William H. Stoddard. This book is all you need to build a fantasy game of any type, whether your model is Tolkien, Jordan, or Leiber.
  • November 2004: GURPS Magic. Hundreds of spells for GURPS Fourth Edition, including almost everything from the old GURPS Magic and GURPS Grimoire, plus dozens of entirely new spells!
  • December 2004: Infinite Worlds, the first core setting for GURPS! Jump between timelines and explore weird alternate Earths!

What Else Is New?

  • Both Pyramid and e23 will support the new edition. (Right, we still have no ETA on e23, but it's moving forward.) However, there's also lots of perfectly good Third Edition material in the pipeline, and we.re not going to throw it away.
  • Worlds Apart is moving forward with GURPS Online, and when it appears, it will be Fourth Edition compatible.
  • There will definitely be some "sneak previews" and early looks as we approach August. The upcoming GURPS Dragons, for instance, will have an appendix in the back to bring it up to Fourth Edition speed. And there'll be Pyramid chats, and occasional postings of sample material.
  • Our Men In Black will be presenting a lot of Fourth Edition game sessions at GenCon, to accompany the launch of the Basic Set.
  • Because we know some of you really like super-nice books, we'll print a Deluxe Edition of the Basic Set . . . nice, stamped, faux-leather covers, and a slipcase to hold the two books. This will be a one-shot; when they're gone, they're gone. But even the "ordinary" Fourth Edition books will be pretty darn deluxe, with hard covers and full color interiors.

I've Got More Questions . . .

And we've got answers, we hope. For the rest of the afternoon (that's Tuesday the 16th; if you're reading this on some later day, you missed it), Andrew Hackard will be in Pyramid Chat to discuss the Fourth Edition. If you're not a Pyramid subscriber, the new GURPS pages have a lot of information, and we'll be adding more . . . lots more . . .

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