GURPS Settings and Genres

GURPS has a LOT of settings, though some older ones are out of print.  GURPS has a web page for each book (linked in the title) and you can get a good description of the book and other possible books in that setting or genre.  Also GURPS Books that are available in PDF have a preview page that gives you the Table of Contents and some sample pages which is plenty to get a good feel before you buy.  One of the valuable qualities of GURPS is there are few surprises and the company lets you know what your buying!
A lot of people underestimate just how much is really out there for GURPS because they come from a system that uses adventure paths or splat books to expand a setting, such here is a new class of magic users with a few new spells or maybe a change to how spells are cast and call it a setting book.
GURPS takes a broader approach and addresses that with books designed to be used in multiple settings. For example Magical Styles and various Thaumatology supplements give you worked examples for new mages and rules to build or tweak your own but can be used in any setting that has magic. The Social Engineering series can be used in any kingdom or genre rather than limited to one specific setting. The fact is the majority of GURPS books can be used in any genre and multiple settings, though some such as Ultra Tech or a Thaumatology (magic) book will not be useful in all genres.
A Forum writeup/listing of settings

GURPSLand Book Index

That is a real pretty looking index that shows you all the covers.
Linked titles for Fourth Edition below are bolded, while Third Edition only are not bolded. Third Edition material is easy to convert as pricing changed but few rules did.


Want to play a modern day action movie hero?
This genre covers cinematic action movies including but not limited to: Die Hard, Fast and Furious, James Bond, Oceans Eleven, Sneakers,
Campaign BuildingThe Action line tweaks the rules for fast paced cinematic play and are often used to support other genres. It has 9 supplements as of 1/08/2022

After The End

The world ended, well almost.
Playing wandering survivors of a desolated world or maybe trying to keep a world on the brink from going over are the focus of these books.
Campaign Building: After The End 1: Wastelanders; After the End 2: The New World

  • Autoduel Also a computer game!
  • Ogre
  • Reign of Steel This post apocalypse setting is run by the machines. It has Fourth edition material.
  • Zombies
Third Edition


Conspiracy theories are cool speculation and the source of many books and movies. Here are some chances to play in a world where they are real and maybe, just maybe your part of them rather than an unknowing pawn. Of course your probably still a pawn, but at least you know about it!
Some ideas: The TV series 24, Burn Notice and the classic "The Prisoner", movies like Angels and Demons, The Bourne Identity (also fits under Action), The Manchurian Candidate or National Treasure
Campaign Building: Black Ops; Illuminati
Settings: Cabal; Conspiracy X; Horror: The Madness Dossier; In Nomine; IOU; Warehouse 23; Wierd War II: The Secret of Gneisenau
Out of print books of special mention: Prisoner
Cabal  Modern day secret magic setting
Conspiracy X Government agents vs. secret alien conspiracies
Illuminati  Play or work for the Secret Masters.
InNominae  Play Angels or Demons in modern day


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Sneakers, Bladerunner, heck even Wargames! Messing with computers to get what you want is older than the World Wide Web itself.
Cyberpunk is about more than cinematic computer hacking though, it typically involves a world run by corporations where government is just another customer.
Campaign Building: Cyberpunk (Third Edition)
SettingsCyberworld; Transhuman Space
Out of print books of special mention: CthuluPunk
Also Pyramid #3/21 Cyberpunk, Console Cowboys and Cyberspace Kung Fu
Pyramid #3/37 Tech and Toys II, Thinking Machines


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Easily the most popular genre in role playing games, it has several sub genres.
Dungeon Fantasy: Focused on exploring and looting dungeons or old ruins and selling the loot. Handwaves a lot of world building and social elements. Dungeon Fantasy has its own complete line of books and a standalone boxed set with material cut out that isn't explicitly for the genre.  This article lists the templates or character types in that system.
Epic Fantasy: Powerful magic and world conquering (or saving) heroes.
Magical Worlds: Magic is really common and well known and the campaign is typically about working in the world.
Swords and Sandals: Typically very low tech and weak magic, Conan
Wainscott Fantasy: Modern Urban fantasy, usually secret magic.

Campaign Building: Fantasy; Thaumatology: Urban Magics; Underground Adventures
Settings: Banestorm; Castle Falkenstein; Conan; Discworld; Dungeon Fantasy; Fantasy II: The Madlands;
Out of print books of special mentionHorseclans, Myth, New Sun, Witch World
Read GURPS Magic Systems for an overview on individual systems
Dungeon Fantasy stuff


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Want to play in a historical setting on earth? Maybe an alternate earth where things diverged at one point in time?
This can make use of GURPS Timeline (list of important dates) and the wealth of Third Edition historical books.
Campaign Building:
Out of print books of special mention:


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Scary campaigns can be really nice and GURPS Horror gives you lots of ideas on what to include, why and how to make a game scary.
Campaign Building: Horror; ScreamPunk
Settings: Horror: The Madness Dossier; Infinite Worlds: Worlds of Horror; Monster Hunters
Out of print books of special mention: Cthulupunk; Deadlands; Hellboy
Creatures of the Night is a series of Horror themed Bestiaries. Blood Types, Undead and Zombies are also themed Bestiaries likely of use.
Several Locations books also are Horror related.


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Sometimes its nice to have a little fun without serious roleplaying or complicated plots. Steve Jackson Games has always been a producer of humor and GURPS gets its share of love here.
Campaign BuildingAtomic Horror; Pyramid 3/101 Humor is really useful, even including how to build TOONS in GURPS>
Settings: Casey & Andy; Discworld; 

IOU; Mars AttacksY2K
Out of print books of special mention: Goblins

Martial Arts

Sometimes a subgenre of Action or others there is enough here to call it a genre of its own. Play martial artists from the local boxer at the gym to high end Wuxia combatants and anything in between.
A lot under Action above can also be used here.
Campaign BuildingMartial Arts;
Out of print books of special mention:
Useful books include Gun Fu; Martial Arts: Technical Grappling

Monster Hunters

Campaign Building:
SettingsMonster Hunters
Out of print books of special mention:


From hard boiled Detective stories to 'Those Darn kids' a mystery campaign comes in a lot of flavors and settigns but is fully capable of being its own genre.
Campaign Building: GURPS Mysteries.  See the Designers Notes
Out of print books of special mention:



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Campaign Building: Space; Spaceships
SettingsPrime Directive (Star Trek); Transhuman Space; Vorkosigan Saga Sourcebook and Roleplaying Game
Out of print books of special mention: Humanx; Lensman; Mars; Planet of Adventure; Planet Krishna; Terradyne; Uplift
Space Atlas and Bestiary series offer additional support


Victorian era/style society with steam tech.


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From gritty street heroes of pulp and modern fiction to four color supers who can crack planets GURPS can handle it all!
Campaign Building: Powers; Supers
Settings: IST (International Super Teams)
Out of print books of special mention: Wildcards

Time Travel

Campaign Building: GURPS Time Travel
Settings: Infinite Worlds is an alternate world type of time travel setting with 5 books in the series at the time of this writing. Britanica 6 (Steampunk), Collegio Januari (Magic), I.S.T. (Supers), Lost Worlds, and Worlds of Horror (Horror by Ken Hite). Alternate Earths 1 and Alternate Earths 2 are for Third Edition but have example worlds.
GURPS Timeline is a book dedicated to interesting dates throughout history and is a great resource for an earth based time travel campaign.
Alternate Earths Six variant Earths
Alternate Earths 2 Six more alternate Earth settings


Support Material

So you decided on your genre and either used an existing setting or built your own. Next is fleshing it out and adding optional material to tweak it to suit your group.
Some books will help you with prebuilt locations or adventures which are great for saving time or providing worked examples.
Monsters and foes can be found for specific genres such as Creatures of the Night (Horror), Dungeon Fantasy Monsters (Fantasy), the genre world building guides like Fantasy and Space; and finally in Third edition books such as Fantasy Bestiary or Space Bestiary which will require a little bit of conversion but not much. Gametools include software for building characters or vehicles and various game aids such as GM screens

Other books are more GM guides that help you run a certain style or build your world.
GURPS Fantasy and GURPS Space give world building guidelines. GURPS Adaptations gives guidance for converting your favorite book or movie to a GURPS setting.
GURPS Mysteries helps with creating and handling player investigation stories. GURPS Cops and GURPS Covert Ops, or Espionage are all good Third edition books that can help.
The GURPS Social Engineering series goes over the social interaction rules in loving detail to provide help in running anything in that vein, Court Intrigue, finding a fence or informant, corporate espionage, or even finding a good party. Additional books in this series include Back to School (Dojos, High Schools, college, and more) and Pulling Rank (Working as a member of an organization).
Boardroom and Curia and City Stats help you build organizations or cities with short easy to read templates. Dungeon Fantasy 17: Guilds is great for building DF guilds.

GURPS Martial Arts and Technical Grappling as well as more setting specific books flesh out the combat system with both realistic and cinematic options.
Like Guns? Gun Fu (cinematic) and Technical Shooting (realistic) expand the options for gun users.

Need equipment? Low Tech focuses on pre-industrial, High Tech is up to the modern age, and Ultra Tech explores Science Fiction.
There are tons of specialized gear and equipment books and even Loadout books for quickly equipping your character.

Magic your thing? Look at the Thaumatology line for options other than the default magic system (which has its own line of books). Rules for designing your own system, tweaking an existing one or already battle tested systems catering to virtually any taste.
The Powers books go over new abilities and even include a few that can be used as your magic system (GURPS Chinese Elemental Magic, Divine Favor, Power Ups 1 Imbuements, or Sorcery) or for a supers or epic Space Opera setting.

And of course there is the support of the forums where many GURPS authors, staff and fans regularly read and offer answers to questions or ask their own. The GURPS Forum includes a subforum of fan sites. These include blogs, animal encyclopedias, fan conversions, House Rules. settings, game recaps and much more.
Spammers and Flamers are not tolerated and quickly dealt with by the mods so its a friendly place.
I want to call out The GURPS Repository as a special resource here as it also provides an index and many other resources.
Another great one for animals

Fourth Edition Settings

Unique and Odd

My Personal Settings

This is a setting I have worked and reworked over the years, starting from GURPS Third Edition. The world sits in a chalice on the back of a turtle flying through the void.

A Supers setting diverging from our earth in the 1960s when super powers started to appear.

A Space Opera setting designed to let players have starships pretty easily because gate travel allows small starships (starting at SM+4). It gets the name because it was created for some players who wanted to start off as smugglers and have an Oceans 11 vibe in space.

Third Edition Original Settings, 21+!

Note that all of these still work well in Fourth Edition. The biggest change is simply point costs.

GURPS DiscWorld Roleplaying game  Not just the Discworld setting but a complete GURPS based game, stripped down to what is needed for this setting.

Federation and Prime Directive are for the Star Fleet Battles setting which is based off Star Trek.

GURPS Traveler A far flung space setting based on GDWs Traveler.
GURPS Vorkosigan Saga Roleplaying Game  Based on the popular novels. This is a complete game.

Old Licences (Third Edition) 26+

Blue Planet Sci Fi setting

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