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GURPS for Dummies Paperback – 17 Mar 2006


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Product details

  • Paperback: 410 pages
  • Publisher: John Wiley & Sons; 1 edition (17 Mar 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471783293
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471783299
  • Product Dimensions: 18.8 x 2.4 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 402,553 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

From the Back Cover

Get the scoop from the experts and start playing today

This is it the secret passageway to success (and fun) with GURPS

GURPS (Generic Universal Role Playing System) is not like other role playing games because it gives you the freedom to create any world or character you can imagine. This fun and easy guide gets you up to speed, so you can get into the game and hold your own right from the start.

Discover how to:

  • Develop your character′s skills and attributes
  • Prepare for combat and other encounters
  • Role play your character′s personality
  • Become a Game Master
  • Create and populate your own game world

About the Author

Adam Griffith is a 28–year gaming veteran skilled in creating characters and campaigns.

Bjoern–Erik Hartsfvang has 24 years of experience crafting and running game worlds.

Stuart J. Stuple has 15 years of gaming experience with a focus on technology and alien races.


Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Role playing games (RPGs) are all about playing a fictional character who moves through a fictional world. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By David on 27 July 2010
Format: Paperback
This book will truly give you a new understanding of GURPS. From tips on getting the most from your character to suggestions on how to create a memorable campaign, the wealth of information in this book will have you keen to try something new. And it's all done with the right level of humour to stop us taking ourselves (or gaming) too seriously!

If you are an experienced GURPS 3rd edition user, this book will be a great help in bringing yourself up to date with the 4th edition. And if you're an expert and are worried this will be a waste of money, worry no longer. It doesn't matter how much you know, there are still new things to learn. This book is definitely worth the very modest investment.
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By Skiamakhos on 20 Sep 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I bought the Kindle version of this for speed of delivery & convenience - I've also got the 2 main basic set volumes of the GURPS rules, and there's some great advice in here for both players & GMs. I feel I've slightly gypped myself not buying the hard-copy: there's a tear-out GM's screen with all the handy tables you might need in the dead tree version, so I may end up buying that *as well*, as well as for the ability to lend it to my players so they can absorb some of its wisdom about playing their characters well & convincingly.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 8 reviews
49 of 50 people found the following review helpful
A Real RPG "How To" 25 April 2006
By George Anderson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
After having read the lackluster reviews of D&D for Dummies, I was a bit hesitant to purchase this title sans any exisiting reviews, however, I took the leap anyway, and was not dissapointed.

The first thing you notice when you open the book is the great three-panel double sided pullout cheat sheet containing a ton of information that is invaluable to have at your fingertips during play! This alone is worth almost the cost of the book, and for new players gives them their options in a succint little package.

The book basically appeals to two audiences: Players and Game Masters and the six sections of the book are divided amongst the two.

PART ONE introduces GURPS and gives a player tips on how to come up with the foundation of a character, that is the concept and role the character will play in the story. This information is applicable to any role playing game, and the advice is clear and uncomplicated. This section continues on to describe how to use the GURPS rules as the building blocks of the character, not by teaching the rules or by repeating the rules (you need the GURPS books for that) but by telling you how the different elements work in the game and interact together. In other words, they tell you how to use the game mechanics to recreate what is in your imagination. Its almost like having an experienced player actually helping you through the process step by step, explaining what each thing in the rulebook REALLY MEANS and how it will REALLY WORK (or not work). You are told how high is high, and how low is low.

PART TWO builds on Part One by going into more detail on magic, powers, technology, and non-humans. This section is basically a much deeper exploration of all the different ways the elements of the game (advantages, perks, talents, skills, etc) can be put together, and how each one works. The authors also provide insight on how to use the different game mechanics to achieve the vision you have for your character, and the possible ways to get there (as there is usually more than one).

PART THREE gives solid advice on role playing, again, relevant to any RPG. Combat is explained, with very detailed information given to how different elements works together in combat and how combat flows in GURPS (which can be much different than other RPG's). I would have liked to have seen more information regarding the various reach ranges, because they can have a major affect on swords and sorcery type games. The combat chapter teaches you how to choose armor, what choices there are in combat and more importantly, why you would want to choose certain options, when and how to defend yourself, and how to make wise weapon choices. In fact, there is an excellent chart describing what the solid weapopn choices are for each character strength level. This is perfect for those countless times I have heard players say "What weapon should I choose?". There is a great section on how to solve common combat problems (too many opponents, can't penetrate armor, etc) and a section on how best to use healing magic. This section also describes good ways to keep track of all the information used in GURPS.

PART FOUR is where the Game Mastering (GMing) section begins. This section and the next should be read by every GM, no matter what the game they run. I've been GMing and playing for almost 30 years, and I found the advice in this section and the next to be invaluable. Part Four describes how to be a GM, gives an EXCELLENT chapter on how to design an adventure with an example of how that would play out.

PART FIVE describes how to build the campaign, that is the world, or epic, or whatever that will be the focus of why the story is, what the story is, and why are the players even creating characters to begin with. The advice is once again solid, and while there are references on how to use GURPS, as in Part Four, the information is applicable to any Role Playing Game/GM.

PART SIX are three short chapters containing the authors' preferences for spending points, their top ten favorite advantages, and top ten favorite disadvantages. There was to be a chapter on the "10 skills no PC should be without" but it was apparently cut. Seeing the chapter released in electronic format would be a great addition to the book.

Overall, this book is a "must have" for anyone even contemplating playing or running a GURPS game. New players will find the answers and help they need to bring their imagination to life, and old veterans will find an angle they hadn't thought of. The GMing section really could have been "Game Mastering for Dummies", because the tips and advice here go beyond what do do in GURPS. I wish I had seen this advice when I first started GMing oh-so-long-ago. This book should be considered the third of the core books (Characters and Campaigns being the first two) and is a book no gaming library should be without.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Play ANYTHING Using GURPS & This Book! 24 April 2010
By Darren Fox - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Do you enjoy good quality science-fiction? Or even bad quality such as Plan 9 From Outer Space? Maybe you love Zombie movies? Or perhaps you're a fan of H.P.Lovecraft's Cthulhu mythos? whatever flips your switch as far as fantasy, science fiction, crime, drama, comedy or whatever, you can turn it into a game where you & friends can pretend to play in it!

Originally I gravitated to this system from the complex Dungeons & Dragons system which was aimed primarily at fantasy war gaming because I wanted to play X-Files with some friends. At the time, there was nothing out there on how to do that so I bought the original GURPS book & a few suplements.

At that time, I WISH I'd had THIS book!

Why? Because it would have saved me a LOT of time trying to figure out the GURPS system.

This book is a terrific aid for those of you who are new to the Generic Universal Role Playing System (GURPS) created by Steve Jackson Games (SJG). It spells it all out for you in an easy to read & understand format.

The combat system of GURPS tends to be different than other role playing games (RPG's) in that you don't just block an incoming strike from an enemy, rather you have to role to make sure you did an effective job blocking it. This is often a bone of contention with many of the role players out there but it's something this book helps to explain & more importantly why it's done.

what makes this book helpful is that it's laid out in the Dummies style of books with the nifty fold out cheat card in the beginning of the book just after the front cover. Then of course you get the Fifth Element's humorous cartoons giving you an idea of what's to come inside. And the Part of Tens at the end of the book. In their part of Tends, the authors give you their ten choices in three sections including Spending Points, Advantages We Like & Disadvantages We Like.

This is an all-in-one type of book about GURPS so you get 'How to Build Your Character' then 'How to Build An Adventure' under one cover. The D&D system is more difficult & theirs is divided into TWO of these Dummies books. Not so here! You as a GM (Game Master) learn how to run a campaign from start to finish. You get ideas on how to map, plan & plot adventures (a series of these make up a campaign) as well as how to create memorable NPC's (Non-Player Characters - or characters that the GM gets to act out).

If you're not interested in trying to use the D&D system & convert it to a non-fantasy storyline, then GURPS is for you and this book will help you (and your players) learn it.

Five stars for completeness & succinct instructions for an otherwise difficult & complex system.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Great "howto" for a great system. 9 Jun 2008
By Will 20 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
GURPS is already a great system, but the massive volume of data can easily overwhelm someone, especially if this is their first RPG. GURPS for Dummies provides the perspective needed to digest and begin taking advantage of this great system. Be aware that several important source books have been released since the publication of GURPS for Dummies, but the consistency of the GURPS rules don't significantly impact its effectiveness.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
new to GURPS and have questions? This is an invaluable resource 4 Dec 2013
By Steve H - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I'm an old hand at your typical d20 based RPGs, but the idea of 3d6 based GURPS was foreign to me. I was having a very hard time grasping the entire concept of completely building a PC before game begins, knowing he was going to pretty much be at his strongest from the get go. I also felt timid about combat. With these two major concerns defined, I was looking for an aide-de-camp.

GURPS for Dummies helped out in the former regard tremendously through the first six chapters. Note I have been reading GFD from front to back, and so far have digested the first 6 chapters.

As stated, the latter issue that has me flummoxed is combat. Chapter 11 (I skipped to it for this review) was helpful, but I would also have preferred an example combat written out (I know there is a post by Mook on his blog, but would like to have seen one here as well).

Over-all, you can't go wrong on this kindle version. I really like the author's recommendations as well - perfect for my first time character.
Hmm, The Case For Sounds Like The Case Against 3 Jun 2014
By Stephen Mann - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
GURPS is a staggering achievement, a game engine that is truly portable with no compromising or "setting rules" needed.

Well, so they say. In point of fact GURPS is so "feature rich" that most GMs I've spoken to end up turning off some of the rules in a given setting. There's even a thing called GURPS Lite that you can get for free (though this book is not addressing that version of the rules) but my experience of that was that I understood it better after I'd gone back and picked up full GURPS.

I picked up this book for two reasons: First to get hold of that chart everyone is talking about and second to read how making GURPS characters is NOT like doing taxes.

Goal one was defeated upon opening the book, when I discovered the chart is now a download. Yes, free, good, but I wanted the sturdy card version as was. I didn't want a craft project that would end up looking crappy no matter how well I worked with spray glue (great for the hair, skin and pretty much everything else in the area you use it in), letter sized paper (my printer doesn't do four panel-sized paper), card and tape.

Goal two was defeated by chapter three when the authors were exhorting me to use a spreadsheet (downloadable!) to keep track of everything. Now call me Hiram J Fontainblatt the Third but once we are into the sort of build process that requires a spreadsheet to de-pain it, we aren't really in suitable "Dummies" territory no more. This is not the fault of the authors, they can only work with what they have. For what it is worth the authors writing style(s) was excellent. Very readable and not much confusing digression.

There are three example blow-by-blow character builds given that are quite illuminating as to the choices made, which is great in that it helps a newbie understand just what they've gotten themselves into but sucky in that it shows that in order to get Oomph out of GURPS you pretty much need a minmax mindset. It is easy to build crappy characters in this system because it is so feature rich you can't get hold of it in only two hands.

I have to be honest and say that although the book is interesting reading (up until about halfway, when the going gets dense) I don't think this fulfills the mission statement other reviewers make for it: that it makes the uptake of GURPS easier. I honestly think that with the books (book 1 especially but annoyingly you'll need the second one to understand how combat works) and a cup of your favorite beverage you can figure out how to get started as easily on your own as with the advice in this Dummies book. I found myself, an RPG gamer of almost 40 years experience, thinking that with the GURPS core set, the free chart and the free spreadsheet, why would you need to spend another 17 bux?

I also think that the book really does showcase the major disincentive GURPS shows the general public - that labor intensive build process. The new GURPS GM doesn't need generic GM advice any where near as much as he/she needs a comprehensive generic bestiary suitable for Fantasy and Wilderness adventuring too (hey, now THERE'S a subject for a GURPS-affiliated Dummies publication).

The book is made to the usual high standards, with a strong perfect binding and matte paper. The printing is black and white throughout.
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