Setting: Suez 56 – Character templates


I’m currently working on a new setting/scenario taking place during a particular episode of the Cold War: the Suez Crisis of ’56. I intend the game to be fairly realistic, but I’m not a specialist of this period, so this is another great opportunity for me to learn (and make mistakes along the way). I will be posting the material here as I make progress.


Following a demand from my players, I put the focus on the french Intelligence Service, the SDECE (for Service de Documentation Extérieure et de Contre-Espionnage, pronounced ‘zdek’). Most of the PCs are expected to come from the military or the police; some might have had a different experience (but it is my understanding that most SDECE field agents were either former soldiers or former cops).


Ideally, I would have put together a single template, SDECE agent, and multiple lenses, one for each career the PCs might have pursued before joining the agency. However, I felt this would make character creation rather backwards, focusing first on their second career and then only on their beginings. So I did the opposite, providing instead one template for each pre-spy career and a mandatory lense grouping the SDECE-mandatory skills.

For now, the templates rely solely on the core rules but I might include a few things from Social Engineering and Social Engineering: Pulling Rank in the future.

Campaign level is at 160 for starting PC, with a maximum of 30 points of disadvantages.

Note that I haven’t playtested these templates yet, and I’m likely to have done a few things wrong here. Also, I will post these over at SJGames to get some precious feedback and advice from fellow GURPS GMs. As a result, there’s a good chance I will be updating this post in the next few days to fix the templates.

The templates are:

Ex-Military Soldier (82 points)
Attributes: ST 11 [10]; IQ 10 [0]; DX 12 [40]; HT 11 [10].
Secondary Characteristics: Dmg 1d-1/1d+1; BL 24 lbs; HP 11 [0]; Will 10 [0]; Per 10 [0]; FP 11 [0]; Basic Speed 5.75 [0]; Basic Move 5 [0]; Dodge 8.
Languages: French (Native) (Native Language) [0].
Cultural Familiarities: Western [0].
Advantages: Combat Reflexes [15].
Disadvantages: Flashbacks (Mild) [-5].
Skills: Soldier/TL7 (A) IQ [2]; Guns/TL7 (Pistol) (E) DX [1]; Guns/TL7 (SMG) (E) DX [1]; Knife (E) DX [1]; Camouflage (E) IQ [1]; Observation (A) Per [2]; Expert Skill (Military) (H) IQ [4].


Ex-Military Artificer (73 points)
Attributes: ST 10 [0]; IQ 11 [20]; DX 11 [20]; HT 11 [10].
Secondary Characteristics: Dmg 1d-2/1d; BL 20 lbs; HP 10 [0]; Will 11 [0]; Per 11 [0]; FP 11 [0]; Basic Speed 5.50 [0]; Basic Move 5 [0]; Dodge 8.
Languages: French (Native) (Native Language) [0].
Cultural Familiarities: Western [0].
Advantages: High Manual Dexterity-1 [5]; Single-Minded [5].
Disadvantages: Stubbornness [-5].
Skills: Soldier/TL7 (A) IQ [2]; Explosives (A) IQ [2]; Guns/TL7 (E) DX [1]; Knife (E) DX [1]; Chemistry/TL7 (H) IQ [4]; Mathematics/TL7 (Applied) (H) IQ [4]; Expert Skill (Military) (H) IQ [4].


Ex-Military Communications (72 points)
Attributes: ST 10 [0]; IQ 12 [40]; DX 10 [0]; HT 11 [10].
Secondary Characteristics: Dmg 1d-2/1d; BL 20 lbs; HP 10 [0]; Will 12 [0]; Per 12 [0]; FP 11 [0]; Basic Speed 5.25 [0]; Basic Move 5 [0]; Dodge 8.
Languages: French (Native) (Native Language) [0].
Cultural Familiarities: Western [0].
Advantages: Acute Hearing-2 [4]; Lightning Calculator [2].
Disadvantages: Shyness (Mild) [-5].
Skills: Soldier/TL7 (A) IQ [2]; Guns/TL7 (E) DX [1]; Engineer/TL7 (Electronics) (H) IQ [4]; Electronics Operation (Communication) (A) IQ [2]; Cryptography/TL7 (H) IQ [4]; Expert Skill (Military) (H) IQ [4]; Mathematics/TL7 (Applied) (H) IQ [4].


Ex-Military Officer (72 points)
Attributes: ST 10 [0]; IQ 11 [20]; DX 11 [20]; HT 11 [10].
Secondary Characteristics: Dmg 1d-2/1d; BL 20 lbs; HP 10 [0]; Will 11 [0]; Per 11 [0]; FP 11 [0]; Basic Speed 5.50 [0]; Basic Move 5 [0]; Dodge 8.
Languages: French (Native) (Native Language) [0].
Cultural Familiarities: Western [0].
Advantages: Unfazeable [15];
Disadvantages: Ennemies [-10]
Skills: Soldier/TL7 (A) IQ [2]; Guns/TL7 (E) DX [1]; Leadership (A) IQ [2]; Tactics (H) IQ [4]; Strategy (Pick one) (H) IQ [4]; Expert Skill (Military) (H) IQ [4].


Ex-Military Pilot (81 points)
Attributes: ST 10 [0]; IQ 11 [20]; DX 12 [40]; HT 11 [10].
Secondary Characteristics: Dmg 1d-2/1d; BL 20 lbs; HP 10 [0]; Will 11 [0]; Per 11 [0]; FP 11 [0]; Basic Speed 5.75 [0]; Basic Move 5 [0]; Dodge 8.
Languages: French (Native) (Native Language) [0].
Cultural Familiarities: Western [0].
Advantages: Acute Vision-2 [4]; Fearlessness-2 [4].
Disadvantages: Light Sleeper [-5]; Loner [-5].
Skills: Soldier/TL7 (A) IQ [2]; Guns/TL7 (E) DX [1]; Piloting/TL7 (Heavy or Light) (A) DX [2]; Expert Skill (Military) (H) IQ [4]; Mathematics/TL7 (Applied) (H) IQ [4].


Ex-Cop (73 points)
Attributes: ST 11 [10]; IQ 10 [0]; DX 11 [20]; HT 11 [10].
Secondary Characteristics: Dmg 1d-1/1d+1; BL 24 lbs; HP 11 [0]; Will 10 [0]; Per 10 [0]; FP 11 [0]; Basic Speed 5.50 [0]; Basic Move 5 [0]; Dodge 8.
Languages: French (Native) (Native Language) [0].
Cultural Familiarities: Western [0].
Advantages: Danger Sense [15].
Disadvantages: Sense of Duty (cops and SDECE agents) [-10].
Skills: Guns/TL7 (E) DX [1]; Shadowing (A) IQ [2]; Detect Lies (H) Per [4]; Intimidation (A) Will [2]; Interrogation (A) IQ [2]; Forced Entry (E) DX [1]; Lock Picking (A) IQ [2]; Observation (A) Per [2]; Search (A) Per [2]; Streetwise (A) IQ [2]; Law (France) (H) IQ [4]; Expert Skill (Cop) (H) IQ [4].


Ex-Cop Chief  (78 points)
Attributes: ST 10 [0]; IQ 12 [40]; DX 11 [20]; HT 10 [0].
Secondary Characteristics: Dmg 1d-2/1d; BL 20 lbs; HP 10 [0]; Will 12 [0]; Per 12 [0]; FP 10 [0]; Basic Speed 5.25 [0]; Basic Move 5 [0]; Dodge 8.
Languages: French (Native) (Native Language) [0].
Cultural Familiarities: Western [0].
Advantages: Contact (Pick a skill, Pick a location, Effective level 18, Usually reliable (x2), Frequency Fairly Often (x1)) [6].
Disadvantages: Overconfidence [-5]
Skills: Public Speaking (A) IQ [2]; Guns/TL7 (E) DX [1]; Leadership (A) IQ [2]; Intimidation (A) Will [2]; Interrogation (A) IQ [2]; Law (France) (H) IQ [4]; Expert Skill (Cop) (H) IQ [4].


Ex-Journalist (71 points)
Attributes: ST 10 [0]; IQ 12 [40]; DX 10 [0]; HT 10 [0].
Secondary Characteristics: Dmg 1d-2/1d; BL 20 lbs; HP 10 [0]; Will 12 [0]; Per 12 [0]; FP 11 [0]; Basic Speed 5.0 [0]; Basic Move 5 [0]; Dodge 8.
Languages: French (Native) (Native Language) [0], (Pick another) [6].
Cultural Familiarities: Western [0], (Pick two others) [2].
Advantages: Contact (Pick a skill, Pick a location, Effective level 18, Usually reliable (x2), Frequency Fairly Often (x1)) [6]; Empathy (Sensitive) [5].
Disadvantages: Impulsiveness [-10].
Skills: Current Affairs/TL7 (Politics) (E) IQ [1]; Current Affairs/TL7 (Business) (E) IQ[1]; Streetwise (A) IQ [2]; Propaganda (A) IQ [2]; Photography (A) IQ [2]; Smuggling (A) IQ [2]; Holdout (A) IQ [2]; Filch (A) DX [2]; Diplomacy (H) IQ [4]; Writing (A) IQ [2], Fast-Talk (A) IQ [2].


Mandatory Lens
SDECE Field Agent (57 points)
Advantages: Zeroed [10]; Patron (SDECE) [20]; Rank (SDECE) 2 [20]; Alternate Identity (Legal) [5]; Legal Immunity [5];
Disadvantages: Duty [-15]
Skills: Intelligence Analysis/TL7 (H) IQ+1 [8]; Expert Skill (Spy) (H) IQ [4].

Notes: No Military Rank, Police Rank or Legal Enforcement Powers since PCs are retired officially.


Suggested Skills

  • Cryptography (B186)
  • Driving (B188)
  • Escape (B192)
  • Fast-Talk (B195)
  • Filch (B195)
  • Forgery (B196)
  • Guns/TL7 (B198)
  • Interrogation (B202)
  • Poisons (B214)
  • Observation (B211)
  • Shadowing (B219)


Allowed advantages

  • Absolute Direction (B34)
  • Absolute Timing (B35)
  • Acute Senses (B35)
  • Ambidexterity (B39)
  • Animal Empathy (B40)
  • Appearance (B21)
  • Charisma (B41)
  • Combat Reflexes (B43)
  • Contacts (B44)
  • Danger Sense (B47)
  • Daredevil (B47)
  • Eidetic Memory (B51)
  • Empathy (B51)
  • Enhanced Defenses (B51)
  • Fearlessness (B55)
  • Fit (B55)
  • Flexibility (B56)
  • Gadgeteer (B56)
  • Hard to Kill (B58)
  • Hard to Subdue (B59)
  • High Manual Dexterity (B59)
  • High Pain Threshold (B59)
  • Language Talent (B65)
  • Less Sleep (B65)
  • Lightning Calculator (66)
  • Luck (B66)
  • Night Vision (B71)
  • Rapid Healing (B79)
  • Reduced Consumption (B80)
  • Resistant (B80)
  • Single-Minded (B85)
  • Talent (B89)
  • Unfazeable (B95)
  • Versatile (B96)
  • Voice (B97)


Allowed disadvantages

  • Absent-Mindedness (B122)
  • Addiction (B122, B164, B165)
  • Alcoholism (B122)
  • Appearance (B21)
  • Bad Back (B123)
  • Bad Grip (B123)
  • Bad Sight (B123)
  • Bad Smell (B124)
  • Bad Temper (B124)
  • Berserk (B124)
  • Bloodlust (B125)
  • Bully (B125)
  • Callous (B125)
  • Charitable (B125)
  • Chronic Depression (B126)
  • Chronic Pain (B126)
  • Chummy (B126)
  • Clueless (B126)
  • Code of Honor (B127, B163)
  • Colorblindness (B127)
  • Compulsive Behaviour (B128)
  • Curious (B129)
  • Delusions (B130, B164)
  • Disturbing Voice (B132)
  • Dyslexia (B134)
  • Easy to Kill (B134)
  • Easy to Read (B134)
  • Ennemies (B135)
  • Extra Sleep (B136)
  • Fanaticism (B136)
  • Fat (B19)
  • Fearfulness (B136)
  • Flashbacks (B136)
  • Gluttony (B137)
  • Greed (B137)
  • Guilt Complex (B137)
  • Hard of Hearing (B138)
  • Hemophilia (B138)
  • Hidebound (B138)
  • Impulsiveness (B139)
  • Incurious (B140)
  • Innumerate (B140)
  • Insomniac (B140)
  • Intolerance (B140)
  • Jealousy (B140)
  • Killjoy (B140)
  • Lecherousness (B142)
  • Light Sleeper (B142)
  • Loner (B142)
  • Low Pain Threshold (B142)
  • Low Self-Image (B143)
  • Manic-Depressive (B143)
  • Megalomania (B144)
  • Miserliness (B144)
  • Missing Digit (B144)
  • Motion Sickness (B144)
  • Night Blindness (B144)
  • Nightmares (B144)
  • No Sense of Humor (B146)
  • No Sense of Smell/Taste (B146)
  • Obsession (B146, B164)
  • On the Edge (B146)
  • One Arm (B147)
  • One Hand (B147)
  • Overconfidence (B148)
  • Paranoia (B148)
  • Phantom Voices (B148)
  • Phobias (B148)
  • Post-Combat Shakes (B150)
  • Restricted Diet (B151)
  • Sadism (B152)
  • Selfish (B153)
  • Selfless (B153)
  • Sense of Duty (B153)
  • Shyness (B154)
  • Sleepwalker (B154)
  • Slow Healing (B155)
  • Slow Riser (B155)
  • Stubbornness (B157)
  • Stuttering (B157)
  • Susceptible (B158)
  • Trickster (B159)
  • Unfit (B160)
  • Unluckiness (B160)
  • Vow (B160, B165)
  • Workaholic (B162)
  • Wounded (B162)

Resource page update:


A quick post to let you know I updated the GURPS resource page with an entry on Warren Wilson (Mook)’s website, where you can find a ton of material, ranging from fillable sheets for everything to combat examples. Also, I must confess I’m painfully jealous of this GM screen of his… Warren has also written a book for beginner to intermediate GURPS GMs, How to be a GURPS GM, to help them make sense of this uniquely rich but sometimes intimidating system.

It’s more than just GURPS


The first drafts of this post (dating back to a over year ago) used to contain a long description of the reasons I love GURPS as a system. Since then, Colin posted an excellent article detailing exactly that, and I share most of his views on this matter: GURPS is one of the most consistent and well-tested systems available on the market. I’ve been playing since ’88 and I’ve had the opportunity to play with most major systems, plus quite a few more obscure ones. GURPS, especially in its 4th Edition, can not only cope with any genre or style, but can help you make the most out of any theme. It’s not just compatible, it helps your stories come to life and shine where they need to shine, be precise where and when it makes sense or feels right to and let you hand-wave the rest with a two-line rule. Again, go read Colin’s post on his blog and watch the review the Gentleman Gamer made of GURPS.

A friendly community

In addition to being an excellent system, GURPS has developed a unique community around it. The game turns 30 this year, and not many games can claim such a longevity in the field. The community gathers old-timers, who were around since Man to Man and new comers, who have just a few months of Pathfinder under their belt and are curious about this game they’ve seen people play in a convention.

In many communities, it can be hard for people from different generations to get along together. In fact, for some, hostility toward newbies can be part of the identity of the community: “We were here before, we know better”.

It isn’t so with GURPS. From my experience, people from all kinds of horizons, with any level of experience can join the forums, ask a question and get helpful answers and friendly advice. If you’re after more and want to present your project, be it a new magic system, a complete world or adaptation for your new game, a PC or GMPC you want to play or anything else, go over to the forums and, provided you prepared a reasonably good write-up, the GURPS community will help you with it.

Dedicated, curious and creative

I should emphasise that well written questions and answers are appreciated, since this is to me one of the key aspects of this community. The average quality of blog posts, reviews, game aids, forum answers and questions is very high. Don’t take my word for it, see for yourself. Here are two reviews of After The End 1: Wastelanders, one at the Blind Mapmaker, and the other at Gaming Ballistic. One of the forum post I link to above now clocks at 125 pages of discussion, is nearly 10 years old and is still going! And what other game can claim to have a supplement entirely devoted to social interactions, ranks and prestige, that spawned two extensions of its own? GURPS has a community where having a curious and meticulous mind is much valued, and where putting said mind to work might well give birth to an interesting discussion, an article in Pyramid or even a whole supplement.

Speaking of Pyramid, having a monthly magazine dedicated to your system and being able to discuss with the authors in the forum is another big plus for me and another asset for the community. I know of no other game or system lucky enough to have such a publication (White Wolf Magazine was cancelled in 1995, and even Dungeon and Dragon have been put on a hiatus). Some have had fanzines running for years, but I believe the way the GURPS community tends to join forces and work on a single, common periodical remains not necessarily unique, but at least pretty distinctive.

I realise this might read as a love letter to the community, and maybe it is. Like many, I don’t participate that much though, and I only wish I had more time to do so, to give back in return. I started using GURPS for the system, and I kept using it for the community.

How did it go?


Like every GM, I like to know how the sessions are going for the players: did they enjoy the game? Is is challenging enough? Player satisfaction is crucial to me, but I find that asking naively about it, as in “How did it go?”, has very little chance of bringing any helpful answer. So if that doesn’t cut it, how to ask about the game?

I found that the best way is to ask each player, separately and after each game, the same set of five questions:

  1. What does your character want to do next?
  2. What do you want to do next as a player?
  3. What have been the most important moments for the character?
  4. What have been the most important moments for the player?
  5. How does your character perceive the rest group?

First experience

I remember reading about this it on a (french) RPG forum, and thinking this sounded like an awkward thing to do, to question your players like this. I didn’t see myself circulating a questionaire and processing the answers in Excel. But I felt like being adventurous and I decided to give it a go nonetheless.

At the time, I was GMing a mystery-oriented scenario with a new-ish group of  players and things weren’t going too well. Little progress was being made during the sessions, the players kept ignoring or misunderstanding what seemed to be obvious clues and situations and morale was getting rather low. I had tried adding tension to the scenario through new GMPCs, understanding they were feeling unchallenged in the game, but I could never re-ignite the sacred fire.

So one day, after one of these sluggish game sessions, I emailed these five questions to the players. I confess I was expecting either no reply at all or something along the lines of “What the hell?”, but everyone replied, and I even got detailed answers to each question.

Reading through all this, I came to understand why the game wasn’t going so great.

Actually, I had failed to realise the group itself wasn’t working: the characters all had developed opposite objectives for themselves, and the players were looking for very different kinds of fun in the game. Moreover, I gave a strong mystery tone to the game and most players had entirely missed what was at stake, which meant that spotting valuable information or turning points in the plot was impossible to them. I wasn’t losing the players, I had already lost them.

This rather extreme experience had the merit of proving the point of asking these questions: to get honest answers and break assumptions.

What to expect

I’ve been asking these questions now after each game for the past three years and each time I’ve been remembered how important this is to driving a game. And it’s not just about failing games, successful ones benefit from this a lot as well. I believe the key is to ask the players to distinguish between their motives and that of their characters. They’re both equally important, and favouring one over the other, as a player or as a GM, is a recipe for a boring game. As soon as one player is bored, the whole group suffers. So the first two questions help to keep tabs on what keeps everyone motivated, in-game and in real life.

The next two are useful to evaluate how well the pace and the key moments of the scenario have been conveyed to the players. Has the section you identified as a climax been experienced as such by everyone at the table? Or has someone felt some other sequence in the scenario was more important, more intense for them or for their character? Again, both the distinction between players and characters and being able to compare the answers give insight as to whether the group, the scenario, the players and your style all fit together.

It’s also useful to the players as by answering the questions, they might develop a new perspective on the game, which might help them refocus their roleplay, better voice their expectations or shake off old habits. At the very least, it gives the players a frame within which they can think about their characters.

The last question allows both the players and you, the GM, to better think about and understand the relationship between the characters. In particular, this is once again an opportunity for you to spot a problem in the group and take care of it before it becomes uncurable, or this can be gold information for you to detect new dynamics to play with during the sessions.

Hot or cold

You can ask these questions either right after the game session, of some time later. I prefer the latter, for several reasons: first, everyone might be tired after a whole night of play, and the quality of the answers might suffer. Next, since it’s key that each player gets to think a bit about the questions before answering, and 3:26 AM might not be the right moment for this kind of exercise. At last, it’s also important the players are asked the questions and give their answers in isolation: we’re not here to open a debate between the players, but to get everyone to think about how the game plays for them.


Plots: lists and generators


Today, I wanted to share with you a few resources I turn to whenever I find myself stuck with no idea for a scenario:

  • Plot Scenario Generator: from Carolyn Kaufman. Just refresh the page to get new, instant ideas. Her website on proper writing is also full of useful advice.
  • The Seventh Sanctum: this website has several generators, from plots to characters and places.
  • The Big List of RPG Plots: by S. John Ross. A large collection of plots, each one provided with enough details to get you started very quickly.
  • A randomised version of The Big List: BoardGameGeek has put together a procedure to randomise the Big List of RPG Plots. Be sure to have a look, be it only for its reliance on rolling 1d34!

I’m sure many others exist, these are just the four main ones I turn to in case of need.





Game Mastering with mind maps


When I started GMing, I used to prepare all my games with extensive notes on many different things. Over time, they took various forms, from long, linear descriptions of scenes with an NPC appendix tucked at the end to a swarm of sticky notes I would put everywhere. I could never be satisfied with any system for these notes until, one day, I learnt about the existence of mind maps and stopped using notes entirely.

The problem with notes

Let’s first discuss the problem (I have) with regular notes.

As a GM, I find notes rather hard to follow and use during a game. They are either too detailed and become cumbersome to manipulate, browse, sort and read; or they are too synthetic and fail to give me the information I need to keep up with players actions.

Also, notes are difficult to organise: they typically take the form of a linear representation of the scenario, trying to give the key points of each scene in sequence, or they are like sticky notes, with nothing to show how each is related to the rest. Having notes written linearly is really less than helpful, as soon as your game isn’t. Also, players very seldom do what you expect, and they certainly never follow any pre-determined sequence.

To put it briefly, I find that notes can be hard to follow and create more problems than they solve.

Mind maps to the rescue

Mind maps are not really a new idea: they’ve been around for ages. Today, they’re being used by all kinds of people for all kinds of purpose, from taking notes in a business meeting to brainstorming about advertising slogans. For our concern, they prove to be a very good solution to the problems described above.


As you can see on the picture, a mind map is constructed around a core idea, placed in the center of the page. From there, a multitude of topics and sub-topics are drawn, until a complete, non-symmetrical, free-form hierarchy of ideas is developed. This really is all there is to a basic mind map: a flow of ideas arranged organically on a sheet of paper. It is important to note that the level of detail is up to you, not much is imposed on you by using a mind map.

Note that depending on how you organise and fill your map, you might want to keep your nodes balanced. If for instance you decide to represent clues and information as leafs stretching out of scene nodes, spotting an unbalanced distribution of these across the scenes suddenly becomes very easy and might help save the players from a frustrating evening, spent hunting the one scene or the one NPC with all the clues. This is what’s happening in the map above: nodes in blue indicate where vital information is available, and most of it is in a single place, under the node “Jhaven”.

Once you’ve laid out a basic mind map, you then have many options to make the most out of it: you can indicate types of scene (main line clues, optional secondary plot, dangerous encounter, key NPC…) very easily by adding some colour to the links between the nodes, for example. Or you can add numbers to specific nodes, to underline their respective importance in the scenario or perhaps the order in which you expect the players will encounter them. Whether this expectation is or isn’t met during the game isn’t relevant anymore, since you don’t need to rearrange your notes to cope with a change of plans. It’s all there, clearly laid out before your eyes, at all times.

Not just for preparing

I find mind maps to be as useful for taking notes after a game as they are for preparing. Since you already have all key elements in the map, they can all be marked with a comment indicating whether this clue has been uncovered, or this place visited, this fight won or evaded, and so on. You can read a min map from a game you GMed three months ago and instantly know what remains to be done.

Mind map tools

Even though you can draw your mind maps by hand on a sheet of paper, I would recommend using a dedicated tool for that. One reason is that constructing a mind map means gradually building a set of ideas without knowing first how far exactly each is going to stretch. It is simply much easier to do this kind of work on a computer. Moreover, if you are willing to use a computer during the game, the digital mind map presents the advantage of being interactive: for example, you can close most of your map and open the nodes as the players make their progress along one branch. You can even embed all kinds of documents under the nodes of the map, like NPC portraits, audio files, Locations or NPC stats sheets and use them during the game.

Below is a short selection of mind mapping software to get you started. I had to try a few before I found one I really liked; it’s important the tool fits your mind perfectly, so don’t hesitate to download a few and play around with them. I hope you find one you really like and ditch these old pesky notes once and for all!

FreeMind Free software, Mac OS X, Windows, Linux, BSDs (Java-based). A basic but effective mind mapping tool.

XMind Free or $79-99, Mac OS X. Produces good looking maps, striking the right balance between aesthetics and effectiveness.

MindMup Open Source, usable from a Web Browser. An impressive tool, easy to use and available everywhere. Note that your maps are either stored online publicly, or put on your Google Drive (or equivalent). Certainly worth a try.

MindMeister Free (up to three maps…) and then 36-90 euros/6 months, Mac OS X, Windows, Linux, Android, iPad. Can make very nice looking maps, but pricey to me.

It’s official: GURPS is #1!


Even though I don’t like this kind of things, there’s a website where you can rank your favourite tabletop RPGs (found via Monte Cook’s twitter). I usually think this is a rather pointless exercise (which is better? Hero, Toon, Vampire or Pendragon? well…), but this time I’m glad I clicked on this link: GURPS is clearly indicated as being #1! I even captured irrefutable proof of this fact.


Figure 1. Scientific fact GURPS is people’s #1.

Needless to say, I have absolutely no idea as to what it means, especially given that it’s listed in the fifth position, but still: #1.


GURPS After The End 1: Wastelanders is out!


Jason “PK” Levine announced in a tweet that Steve Jackson Games have just published the first supplement in a new line called GURPS: After The End! As the name suggests, the line will explore post-apocalyptic themes and the first supplement, Wastelanders, is full of goodies: templates and lenses, rules for all sides of the cheerful life PCs will lead (mutations, starvation, dehydration, extreme fatigue) and equipment. Also, note that the latest issue of Pyramid, #3/88, titled ‘The End Is Nigh’, is entirely dedicated to the theme.

For more details on the series itself, you can read the “Ask Me Anything” thread over at SJGames Forums, where PK has answered dozens of questions asked by the whole community.

I’m very glad SJGames decided to start this new line, since post-apocalyptic settings are among my favourites! Also, if I were to make a cheeky comment, I would say I’m glad they finally got round to publishing GURPS Survivors that old-timers have been eagerly waiting for since the 80s… Come on, I’m kidding!

GCS 4.3 has been released


It’s been quite some time since I last talked about GCS, the GURPS Character Sheet tool designed by Richard A. Wilkes. In the meantime, no less than six versions have been released!

In addition to a ton of bug fixes and stability improvements, GCS has been translated in three languages (German, Russian and Spanish), provides better page references in the data files and many of them have been updated with missing equipment or skills, while some new sources have been added, like Reign of Steel. Also, the tool doesn’t require a 64-bit machine anymore, as it’s been ported to 32-bit Windows and Linux.

As usual, grab your copy of GCS at

Resource page update


Just a quick note to let you know that I’ve just added two more links to the resource page, in the GURPS section: the Youtube video channel of Nolinquisitor and GURPS.Net wiki, curated by Celti.