Looking Forward to GURPS Horror

In the designer’s notes of GURPS Horror, Third Edition, author Kenneth Hite concludes with ” . . . I think that I successfully updated what I’ve always thought of as ‘my first GURPS book’ for the new era of GURPS, and added some stuff that whoever writes GURPS Horror, Fourth Edition in ten years will keep around. Enjoy it until then, and pleasant screams.” Conveniently, Hite wrote the fourth edition of the book as well. Seems probable he retained one or two things for this latest printing.

The GURPS line developer Sean Punch keeps a blog over at Livejournal. I keep an eye on it for the “this week in GURPS” updates. Aside from sly hints about unannounced releases, he updates the status of higher profile projects. In the most recent post, for instance, GURPS Horror is now waiting on the art.

It seems like this book has been in the pipeline forever now, although it’s probably only been two years or so. The received wisdom is that rule and mechanics-heavy books sell better than the sort focused on setting and genre content, so while I can understand why certain projects get priority over others, like GURPS Low-Tech.

Of course, it’s always just my luck that the specific supplements I want to buy get lodged in the pipeline. The same thing happened with Eden Studios back when their output still measured in multiple books per year. They’d crank out the All Flesh Must Be Eaten supplements when all I wanted was The Book of Hod and The Book of Geburah — the former made it out; the latter languishes in the Hell of All But Done.

At any rate, GURPS Horror slogs ahead. I’m particularly looking forward to the PDF companion Worlds of Horror, which I guess contains the updated mini-settings from the third edition of the book. Of those, I think The Madness Dossier is the one I really, really want to read; you know, that thing I cribbed content from for Broken Spokes last summer. And I really, really hope there’s more content in this one, because the original version was so amazing — and amazingly brief on examples.

Are there any more fans of The Madness Dossier out there? Speak up! (And I really would like to get back to filling out that TenFootWiki I began as a campaign source document too.)

Faces in the Crowd Vol. 1

Christian did me the kindness of sending a copy of his print zine Faces in the Crowd. It’s a collection of non-player characters he created for his new World of Darkness game, which has since metamorphosed into Changeling: The Lost, a transformation which pleases me greatly.

Aside from it being a clean, elegant little zine, it’s an interesting look into how someone else perceives a setting. The games I ran in the World of Darkness typically came out more like a World of Weirdness or World of Insufficient Illumination. Partly because I never felt particularly compelled by the version of “darkness” presented in the published material. Christian’s characters, however, are often genuinely dark, unpleasant in their motivations or in some way flawed.

Bright elements still shine through, though. The skateboarding werewolf particularly caught my attention. To be shunned by outcasts themselves is pretty low on the pole, but he bears up and follows the path he feels is right. That’s the kind of non-player character I can get behind — and yoink for my own purposes, after a sufficient amount of folding, spindling and mutilating. I can see Jon Richter as a Nomad Feral who broke from his family to escape stifling tradition, say.

And like Theron at My Dice are Older Than You, I find this a stimulating motivation to get something in a shareable form. Don’t know what, but I’d like to get something new out in the ether this year.

Corebooks and Supplements: The Cart Before the Horse

I have a knack for acquiring expansions and supplements to games before getting the core elements themselves. It started back in the days of voraciously devouring TSR’s Dragonlance novels without ever realizing they were tied to a game at all, let alone a roleplaying game or what that constituted. Despite the fact the local Waldenbooks — this was back in the days before Borders came to Burlington; Waldenbooks was the place to go for the widest selection of Dungeons & Dragons-related stuff, outside of Quarterstaff Games, which I wasn’t aware of at the time — had an entire tier of shelves devoted to the game books right next a tier full of fantasy novels, including the better part of the TSR fiction catalog at that time, it was some time before I made the connection.

Somehow, in the midst of my paper route-fueled mission to buy and read every Dragonlance novel I could find, I bought the AD&D Player’s Guide to Dragonlance Campaign Setting. I didn’t get the part about it being a player’s guide, nor understood why it was completely different in form and design. Reading it, I also remember a sense of puzzlement over why the information in this encyclopedic-like book was subtly different in places from what I knew to be correctly related by the novels — that the novels routinely contradicted each other was another, separate source of mystification to my eleven year old self.

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