GURPS Illuminati (1992)

I mentioned Steve Jackson’s Illuminati yesterday and, wouldn’t you know it, there’s a GURPS sourcebook for that.

Steve Jackson Games has long had an interest in the fringes of society, for conspiracy theories and gonzo beliefs (I mean, their logo is the eye in the pyramid, for Pete’s sake), to the extent that they eventually reprinted the Principia Discordia, a joke religious tract closely associated with alternative lifestyles, drugs culture and conspiracies. Out of these interests came the board game Illuminati, in which you take the role of a secret society attempting to dominate the world, using all the conspiracy theories in the world as fodder. It’s a darkly hilarious good time, or at least it was back in the 80s and 90s when conspiracy theories seemed quaint and not a part of mainstream politics.

Anyway, the Illuminati board game created a rich and humorous world, so it made sense to translate that world into a sourcebook for GURPS. The premise is simple: ALL conspiracy theories are real. The focus for the board game – broad, top-down – doesn’t really fit an RPG – narrow, personal – though, so this book really functions more as a general purpose sourcebook about how to incorporate secret societies into your campaign, rather than porting the world of the board game into GURPS.

Alas, like most GURPS books, the art is pretty crummy, like it was pulled from an 80s book of clip art, or Patrick Nagel’s grade school sketchbook.

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