RogerBW's Blog

GURPS High Tech: Electricity and Electronics, William H. Stoddard 23 October 2019

This GURPS supplement is primarily an equipment catalogue, listing electrical and related equipment from Galvani and Volta to the present day.

Disclaimer: I was lead playtester for this book and therefore did not pay for it. Sometimes lead playtesting means mostly standing back and letting the other playtesters get on with it; this time I got quite involved.

The first chapter deals with the science: the history of electricity and some standard terminology, as well as clarifying skills and laying out the format for statistics in the rest of the book. (Alas, power requirements are still described in narrative terms rather than in actual units.)

The remaining five chapters list typical equipment, starting with laboratory and workshop gear: electrometers to digital oscilloscopes, Tesla coils, scientific and medical hardware, and working tools. Power generation, storage and transmission come next, then lighting, magnets and motors, and switchgear. "Signals and Waves" covers communication, but also electronic synthesisers, video cameras, and rangefinders. Computers come next, going into some detail so that e.g. pocket calculators and networking kit now have stats. Finally, "Electronic Warfare" deals with security, espionage, SIGINT, guided weapons, and electricity as a weapon with EMPs and area denial weapons.

It's notable to me that this is the first extension to the High Tech sub-line of GURPS that hasn't been about guns. All credit to Hans-Christian Vortisch, who knows his subject well, but there is more to life (and even to role-playing games) than shooting people, and this is a very welcome development. One could argue about the inclusion or exclusion of particular devices, but as a general overview of things that are done with electricity at particular levels of technological development, and as a list of items for PCs to buy that's a bit more subtle than just another gun catalogue, this supplement gets the job done, and is enjoyable to read for its own sake.

High Tech: Electricity and Electronics is available from Warehouse 23.

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