About Victorian GURPS

Several years ago (literally, years), my brother Jared and I (I'm Mark, hello) set out to create our own Fantasy role-playing game. We've played a variety of different RPGs in the past (fantasy, space, cyberpunk, super-heroes) and while there were some things we liked about many of them, there were some obvious shortcomings as well. We therefore endeavored, in true Postmodern fashion, to collect the best parts into a single, unified rule system.

The endeavor proved more difficult than we thought, and so we began looking to other, more modern RPG systems for inspiration. I shared my plight with a friend of mine named Brook West, who told me about GURPS, praising it for being a flexible, generic system. So I picked up a copy of the Basic Set and I was immediately impressed by its well thought-out, simple, and extensible rules. Indeed, it seemed as though the task my brother and I were trying to accomplish was already completed for us. After years of struggling with figuring out how to design the "optimal" RPG system, I now felt like I was looking in the back of the book at the answers.

Much of the material / ideas that Jared and I came up with earlier fit seamlessly into the GURPS system, so we typed it up and put it on the site you view before your mortal eyes. I thought it would be nice if a wider audience could view this material we had written, so I looked at the S. J. Games website to see what provisions / policies they had for fan sites. What I discovered impressed me: The S. J. Games folks have paid attention, not only to designing a good rule system, but to the community aspects of gaming as well. In addition to numerous sourcebooks, errata pages, newsletters, and mailing lists, they encourage fans to make their own web pages and help enrich the GURPS gaming community. Here then, is our contribution.

My brother and I soon started drafting up test characters to help familiarize ourselves with the GURPS rules and I whipped up a Victorian character -- just for fun. Well, my brother really got caught up in the spirit of the period and drafted up a whole slew of Victorian characters of his own.

Spurned on by my brother's excitement, I did some research into the various writers of the Victorian age: Robert Louis Stevenson, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, H. G. Wells, Lewis Carol, Jules Verne, Jane Austen and many others. I found that the Victorian era was very fertile ground for a whole range of different adventures. On a whim, I tried a Google search to see if anyone else was doing role playing in a Victorian setting. I was pleasantly and overwhelmingly surprised when I saw a whole slurry of hits come back on the search results.

Before long, all our gaming buddies drafted up their own Victorian characters and we were off to the races. Literally! A steeplechase, no less!

It's been rewarding to learn so much about the Victorian era and a lot of fun to explore it (or at least a crude mockery / glamorized version of it) as a fictional character. I've learned that it was a very influencial era with social and technological developments that have formed the foundation of the world we live in today.

And the best thing about playing a Victorian campaign? It's like Fantasy, but you can have guns.