RogerBW's Blog

GURPS Steampunk 2: Steam and Shellfire, Phil Masters 04 November 2018

This is the second of the new GURPS Steampunk supplements, updating and extending the old book; it is primarily a book of equipment.

Disclaimer: I was lead playtester for this book, and therefore did not pay for it.

Steampunk games often have stuff as a significant narrative component, but the level of thermodynamic implausibility varies substantially from one setting to another. How to have a broadly applicable book? The answer here is to stick to reality for the most part, with some notes on how more energetic settings can get away with improving their equipment.

Following the pattern of GURPS 4th edition -Tech books, the first chapter deals with the fundamentals: power generation and storage, calculating devices (including thinking machines and automata), and communications including distances and transmission rates.

The next chapter deals with clothing, divided broadly into the mundane (though perhaps highly fashionable, and equipped with hidden pockets and compartments) and the protective, the latter including armoured corsets, diving suits and powered armour. (I think these are the most interesting clothing rules I've seen in an RPG, going well beyond a mere "stylish clothes cost this much and give that bonus", and I'll definitely be considering them for use elsewhere.)

The third chapter is for weapons, with some relevant historical firearms from the High-Tech series as well as some more steampunk-ish specialised weapons: the very heavy revolver, the cinematic air rifle, the early Gauss pistol, and other non-gunpowder methods of propulsion. There are also various beams and ray guns.

The final chapter covers other personal equipment: for navigation, photography, repairing things, and so on. There are also extensive rules on concealed devices: how much space you need, and what you can get away with hiding in it. Final notes cover prosthetics, and weird chemistry.

Vehicles are not listed here; they were already dealt with in GURPS Vehicles: Steampunk Conveyances. Overall this book covers most of the things with which I'd want to equip a character; High-Tech would be highly useful to expand the inventory beyond the few pages available in this supplement, but isn't absolutely necessary. The overall ethos here is definitely one of a sense of wonder at mechanical complexity, even if a different design ethos might produce something marginally less capable but rather cheaper and more reliable; and if that's not quintessentially Steampunk, I'm not sure what is. GURPS Steampunk 2 is available from Warehouse 23.

See also:
GURPS Vehicles: Steampunk Conveyances

  1. Posted by Phil Masters at 12:28pm on 05 November 2018

    Thanks for the review!

Comments on this post are now closed. If you have particular grounds for adding a late comment, comment on a more recent post quoting the URL of this one.

Tags 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s 3d printing action advent of code aeronautics aikakirja anecdote animation anime army astronomy audio audio tech aviation base commerce battletech beer boardgaming book of the week bookmonth chain of command children chris chronicle church of no redeeming virtues cold war comedy computing contemporary cornish smuggler cosmic encounter coup covid-19 crime crystal cthulhu eternal cycling dead of winter doctor who documentary drama driving drone ecchi economics en garde espionage essen 2015 essen 2016 essen 2017 essen 2018 essen 2019 essen 2022 essen 2023 existential risk falklands war fandom fanfic fantasy feminism film firefly first world war flash point flight simulation food garmin drive gazebo genesys geocaching geodata gin gkp gurps gurps 101 gus harpoon historical history horror hugo 2014 hugo 2015 hugo 2016 hugo 2017 hugo 2018 hugo 2019 hugo 2020 hugo 2021 hugo 2022 hugo 2023 hugo 2024 hugo-nebula reread in brief avoid instrumented life javascript julian simpson julie enfield kickstarter kotlin learn to play leaving earth linux liquor lovecraftiana lua mecha men with beards mpd museum music mystery naval noir non-fiction one for the brow opera parody paul temple perl perl weekly challenge photography podcast politics postscript powers prediction privacy project woolsack pyracantha python quantum rail raku ranting raspberry pi reading reading boardgames social real life restaurant reviews romance rpg a day rpgs ruby rust scala science fiction scythe second world war security shipwreck simutrans smartphone south atlantic war squaddies stationery steampunk stuarts suburbia superheroes suspense television the resistance the weekly challenge thirsty meeples thriller tin soldier torg toys trailers travel type 26 type 31 type 45 vietnam war war wargaming weather wives and sweethearts writing about writing x-wing young adult
Special All book reviews, All film reviews
Produced by aikakirja v0.1