GURPS

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The Generic Universal Role-Playing System was originally published in 1986, and was different than anything before it. Technially, Hero System can claim to be a generic point-based system that predated it, but before that point it had only come out with various genre-specific books sharing a common system. GURPS provided no setting, and no explict genre (although anything other than fantasy/medieval without magic would take some work in the first two editions), and was tied to the real universe as much as possible, making it an excellent system for 'realistic' settings, but more problematic for more cinematic or fantastic genres.

Third edition did not change the core essentials of the system at all, but did broaden the outlook so that any sort of medieval through near future campaign could be run with little effort straight from the main book. Fourth edition, released in 2004, did change some of the system fundamentals, making it a more noticeable change, as well as reorganizing nearly 20 years of accumilated supplementary material. No matter what edition, many of the supplements are widely regarded as being excellent products for anyone, playing any system, and in some cases valuable for people who don't even play RPGs.

Links:

Steve Jackson Games
GURPS Forum
RPG Geek

Collection Status
Third Edition
Core Rules & Supplements
Basic Set Compendium I Compendium II
Aliens Fantasy Folk Magic
Psionics Martial Arts Supers
Low-Tech High-Tech Ultra-Tech
Bio-Tech Vehicles
Genre Toolkit
Mecha Religion Space
Historical
Arabian Nights Aztecs China
Imperial Rome Japan Old West
WWII WWII: Grim Legions WWII: Return to Honor
Settings
Autoduel Blue Planet Lensman
Prime Directive Space Atlas 1 Traveller
Unnight Uplift
Fourth Edition
Core Rules & Supplements
Basic Set 1: Characters Basic Set 2: Campaigns Powers
Thaumatology
Genre Toolkit
Fantasy
Settings
Traveller: Interstellar Wars
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