Steve Jackson Games’ GURPS (Generic Universal RolePlaying System) turns 30 this year, but I’ve never played it. I could see that changing in the not-too-distant future, though, if the company’s Kickstarter for Dungeon Fantasy, powered by GURPS, is successful in funding.
What they’re looking to create is a standalone boxed set that will contain everything needed to play a classic fantasy RPG using GURPS rules: five full-color rulebooks with new original art, cardboard figures, combat maps, and dice.
The Steve Jackson team seems to be doing a good job communicating its objectives and responding to questions on Kickstarter, through some information on Medium, and on its website forums. They do note that this Kickstarter is a bit different from others, in that GURPS is an existing product with a long history and immense wealth of digital material in the form of PDFs–what they’re trying to do here is gauge interest in new printed GURPS materials, in particular a self-contained, play-right-out-of-the-box offering that could attract new players to the system. (You can download a “lite” version of the GURPS rules for free if you’re curious about it.)
In fact, they point out that unlike many Kickstarters, this one lacks a financial incentive/backer discount: backing at the $50 level and paying $15 for U.S. shipping will get you the printed boxed edition, which (if the Kickstarter succeeds) will eventually retail for $49.95.
$50 isn’t cheap, to be sure, but the five core books detailed on the Kickstarter page come to just over 400 pages of material, which isn’t out of line with many other RPG core rule sets.
Fellow GeekDad and RPG enthusiast James Floyd Kelly expressed concerns over the Kickstarter initially not offering PDFs of the new Dungeon Fantasy books–and he wasn’t alone. Enough folks shared this view that Steve Jackson Games has since made it an add-on option. (So you can back the game with a dollar, then order the $35 add-on of the five books in PDF format.) He’s also not fond of the number of other add-ons you can buy–more than 40!–which include existing GURPS Dungeon Fantasy PDF supplementals and material from Pyramid magazine.
Since launching on September 1, the project has attracted more than 75 percent of its $100,000 goal. So far, there are six stretch goals listed: At $110,000, $120,000, and $175,000, Steve Jackson Games will knock $5 off the shipping cost (creating the potential for free shipping, which I think is a smart move). At three in-between levels, they’ll add wholly new Dungeon Fantasy PDF supplementals, like adventures and collections of magic items.
The Kickstarter campaign runs until September 30, with an estimated delivery date of May 2017 if the game is funded.