Monday, March 4, 2024

Designer Notes, Part 3: GURPS Template Toolkit 4: Updating GURPS Classic


Another important goal for me with this supplement was to update 3e material that has not yet been updated and was related to spirits.

GURPS Classic has a lot of great material and most of it is easily ported to 4e. GURPS Religion and GURPS Spirits are still very useful, even if some of the mechanics have to be reworked. GURPS Cabal, GURPS In Nomine, and GURPS Voodoo are all fascinating settings that have not yet been updated. I believe this is mostly because an update does not need to do a lot to cover mechanics and other things that may need an update. The settings themselves are still very useable. With no formal update for any of these on the announced horizon I wanted to see how much I could cover to make a prospective GM's workload easier.

GURPS Cabal, GURPS In Nomine, and GURPS Voodoo received an update to their magic systems and some powers in GURPS Thaumatology, GURPS Powers, GURPS Magic, and GURPS Basic.

Some spirit powers however still needed either an example build to show how to update or new modifiers to make them work. Some of this material was in other 4e material, especially Pyramid and GURPS Horror. But its scattered and can be hard to find, especially if you do not have the supplements. Even if you do the GURPS library is extensive and sometimes things are tough to find.

GURPS Template Toolkit 4: Spirits thus has a lot of new modifiers and explains ways to use existing abilities to emulate some of these effects. I also tried to grab some of the more interesting or difficult spirits to make sure the possible builds was versatile and compatible as possible with published material. Jumper gets a lot of love here that may be useful to a GURPS Cabal spirit.

For another example the Personal Power lens is basically an attribute list that lets you combine it with a spirit template or lens type and have a ready to go foe. Secondary attributes such as Dodge already included. I benchmarked these so that the Minor lens matches the small elementals in GURPS Dungeon Fantasy and the Elite lens matched the default Angel character in GURPS In Nominee.

Speaking of GURPS In Nomine I did not intend this to take the place of an update for that setting but I really like it and some of the concepts fit a broader narrative of spirits and folklore or fiction. So I put a few things in here.  If the setting is updated they may get used or they may not, if someone wanting to run the setting using 4e rules wants to use them they can choose to use this or not. The goal was just to provide as much material to cover as large a variety as possible.

Easter Egg

Here are some thoughts on using TT:Spirits to adapt the GURPS In Nomine setting.

The Elite personal attribute Lense was benchmarked against GURPS In Nomine angels and demons, leaving rom for the archangels and princes to use the Paragon attribute level. Different racial templates could be used but my first choice would probably be Imbuing Spirit. This makes them normally insubstantial but they can either use powers or spells to affect the physical world or possess people.

Different Choirs and Bands would modify this, perhaps requiring a host be a Puppet to possess them or Alternate Form to create a Host. I wanted to add a bit to Alternate Form for such a host, including an enhancement to Alternate Identity but decided it was too specific for this supplement. Additional notes…

Awareness (Symphony) becomes Illuminated.

Each Choir or Band has their own Power and they also have Celestial or Infernal as appropriate. I didn’t set out to make powers for each Choir or Band but Traveler and Dream/Nightmare are obvious examples that could fit.

Word-Bound and Sacred Word! are obvious.

Add the desired magic system, GURPS Magic in 4e is almost the same as in 3e, though new options are available. And with that you can pretty much update your GURPS In Nomine to the current edition. Most powers are easy builds, a few require more work that I wish I could have done for this supplement.

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