Roleplaying in the Uplift Universe

What is a Roleplaying Game?

Kids roleplay all the time. A bunch of kids playing cops and robbers, or rebels and stormtroopers, are roleplaying. They're temporarily taking on the identity of people who are able to do things and go places they can't.

Fantasy Roleplaying Games are a grown-up, social, disciplined type of make-believe. Make-believe with rules. Rules that help settle the "Did!" "Did not!" arguments; rules that add detail; rules that turn make-believe into a persuit for thinking people interested in exploring other worlds and times.

There are two sorts of player in a fantasy roleplaying game. Ordinary players take on the roles of one or more player characters, or "PCs." PCs are fictional characters from the setting where the roleplaying adventure will take place. A PC starts out as a figment of  the player's imagination. The player then uses a set of rules to describe the character in game terms. The PCs might recieve numeric scores for things like Strength and Intelligence, and then be assigned  skills, advantages, and disadvantages. Interesting characters have both strengths and weaknesses!

The other sort of player is the Game Master, or "GM." There's only one GM. He or she is the author, referee, and narrator of an adventure.  The GM must learn the rules system for the game, be familiar with the fictional or historical setting for the adventure, and then create settings, villains, clues, artifacts, and circumstances that will test the PCs skills.

Once the players have created characters, and the GM has created an adventure, the game begins. The GM describes the places the PCs travel and takes on the role of any non player characters (NPCs) they meet. The players announce what their characters do and say; if necessary, the game rules are consulted to determine if a character's attempt to do something -- hitting a target, piloting a starfighter, sneaking up on a guard, dickering with a merchant --  succeeds.

Unlucky or poorly played characters might be injured or die or lose their fortunes. Successful characters may defeat the bad guy, find the magic artifact that will save their village, or gain a title or promotion. In an ongoing campaign (a series of adventures that eventually resemble a series of connected novels), characters can become stronger and wiser and more skilled.


GURPS stands for Generic Universal Role Playing System. That just about says it all: The GURPS rules lets you create and run adventures in any fictional or historical setting, from the dawn of humanity to the far future.

You can start playing GURPS for free! GURPS Lite is a compact version of the rules in a downloadable document you can print up at home. All you need to play is some paper, pencils, and ordinary dice. Click here to learn more about Gurps Lite.

If you like what you see, you can buy the complete GURPS Basic Set, 3rd Edition. It provides more rules, more advantages and disadvantages and skills for your characters, rules on magic and psionic powers, and a lot more.

Steve Jackson Games also publishes dozens of supplements and worldbooks for GURPS. To learn more, click here.

GURPS Uplift

GURPS Uplift, 2nd Edition is a GURPS worldbook. It presents the worlds, beings, and institutions of the Uplift universe along with rules for . New skills, advantages, and disadvantages, new weapons and technology,

To get the most out of GURPS Uplift, you'll need the GURPS Basic Set, 3rd Edition and the GURPS Compendium I. We also recommend having GURPS Space, 3rd Edition.

Introductory Adventure

As a gift for Contacting Aliens readers, we've included an introductory  adventure designed to introduce you to the possibilities of roleplaying in the Uplift universe.

All you'll need is the GURPS Light rules, some dice, and a few friends.

If you intend to be the game master, in charge of presenting the adventure to a group of players role-playing Terragens Agents, click here to jump to the adventure. If you're a player, please don't ruin the surprise by looking!

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Contacting Aliens artwork (c) 2002 by Kevin Lenagh
Copyright (C) 2001-2002 by Steve Jackson Games