Saturday, April 1, 2017

GURPS Magic Systems

A brief high level overview of some GURPS Magic Systems

Magic your thing?
GURPS Basic Set introduces a Spells as skills system that is further fleshed out in GURPS Magic and its supplements. That system dates back to the beginning of GURPS with various updates since.
However magic is something that almost everyone sees differently and no single system can support all the works of fiction and history. So GURPS has several systems to choose from.
Note: When checking out the links below  they lead to a description page, with purchase links on the upper left and related books and Pyramid articles at the bottom.

GURPS Thaumatology

 Expands on the basic GURPS Magic system and adds other systems and many options.
However becasue it covers so  much ground it isleft to expansions to delve deeper.  Luckily some ahve  already come out, both as supplements and as Pyrmiad articles as well as numerous House Rules, many of which are discussed on the forums.
Some of the systems it includes...

  • A discussion on the background and  setting implications of magic and various choices.
  • At least two chapters devoted to GURPS Magic and ways minor and major to tweak it to suit various campaigns.
  • Material magic, including raw materials, Alchemy, and enchanting items.
  • Path and Book Magic which were introduced in GURPS Voodoo the Shadow War and GURPS Castle Falkensten (Both Third Edition) which is a slower but fairly flexible and low to medium powered system.
  • Flexible Magic, including Symbols, Syntactic and Realm magic (The latter introduced in GURPS Mage The Ascension for Third Edition)
  • Magic as Powers


GURPS Magic has its own book, is core to the Dungeon Fantasy line and is supported with numerous Pyramid articles and individual supplements including GURPS  Magic Death Spells and GURPS Magic Plant Spells that expand on the colleges and GURPS Thaumatology: Magical Styles that gives example magical styles to help wizards be more unique. A magic as  skills system that is the original GURPS magic system.  It is strong at low to medium levels, though scales poorly at very high point levels as it becomes overwhelming in power.  Also see GURPS Magical Styles: Dungeon Magic
A powerful and flexible system that can do almost anything given enough time and ability. It isbuilt from a mix of Path and Book Magic and Realm magic with a few other things blended in. It requires a pretty steep buy in but scales dramatically.  At low level supers it becomes epic in power and scope so should be limited or banned for those settings. However it is very effective at Action, Dungeon Fantasy or Monster Hunter levels so is a great mid level system. Dungeon Fantasy 19: Incantation Magic converts it to Effect Shaping and has worked examples suitable for the DF genre.

Powers based Magic

  • GURPS Powers: Divine Favor is a powers based approach for clerics and priests.
  • GURPS Powers Ups 1: Imbuements shows a way to use powers to enhance weapons or other more mundane gear and abilities. These are expanded in several issues of Pyramid.
  • GURPS Power Ups 5: Impulse Buys supports  more narativist or story based system of magic.
  • GURPS Thaumatology: Chinese Elemental Powers showcases the five elements of Taoism in a Powers format.  Especially good for martial artists it works as a standalone system as well.
  • GURPS Psionic Powers (not magic but a good worked example that is easily used.
  • GURPS Thaumatology: Sorcery Based on Modular abilities this is a versatile system that supports fireball slinging wizards and scales well at any level. Additional: Protection and Warning Spells
  • GURPS Powers: The Weird is more targets at Weird Science but can easily be used for Magic as Powers. Some examples are Demiurgy (Illusions become reality)

Pyramid Magic Index

No comments:

Post a Comment