GURPS System Resources.   Posted by Jhael.Group: 0
 GM, 50 posts
Wed 16 Oct 2002
at 11:22
gurps system resources
General collection of GURPS specific system notes.
 GM, 51 posts
Wed 16 Oct 2002
at 11:24
Basic Character System Tutorial

First, I'd suggest you go to, and find a copy of GURPS Lite (link provided in a post further down). It will explain the basics of the game, though you'll need to get Acrobat Reader, as it's in Adobe PDF format. However, if you're interested in joining Laramis, I'd be more than happy to assist you. As of now, we've got nine players, and I would be overjoyed to have a tenth. I'll explain some of the basics of the system:

Building a basic character:

Rather than levels or experience points, GURPS uses Character Points, of which the GM sets a specific amount for character generation. Here's a few example levels...

0 points: Invalid or child
25 points: Average civilian/human being
50-75 points: Trained professional (soldier, scientist, businessman, professor, et-cetera)
100 points: Most starting GURPS characters
150 points: Hero material (though not Hollywood; earlier pulp fantasy heroes, etc)
200 points: Fully fledged hero
250 points: The level at which Laramis characters start; also approaching Hollywood cinematic heroes
300 points: Nearing superhuman, archmagi, et-cetera
500 points: Superheroes, demons, high-Hollywood material
700 points: Demigods
1500+: Stupidly high-powered. Gods +.

Positive traits like intelligence, high strength, et-cetera, are bought with character points. Selecting a race that gives beneficial traits, will also cost character points. Negative traits like bad health, obnoxious habits, poverty, et-cetera, return points-- that is, taking a negative trait (A Disadvantage, or lowered stat), will actually give bonus points back.


All dice in GURPS are six-sided. No polyhedral dice, period. Some dice will be written as X number of dice plus or minus Y number. Others, will be X number of dice multiplied by Z number. However, all skill and attribute checks are made on three six-sided dice. Other checks, and almost all damage rolls, will vary widely.


There are four basic attributes, unlike most systems having six or more. All attributes are considered to range between 1 and 20 for normal human beings, with 10 being the midline. Unless you use points to raise an attribute, or lower one to gain points, they all are 10. Racial packages often modify attributes, by stating a flat bonus or penalty, stated as a + or - to a particular stat.

ST -- STrength, basic physical power and a measure of endurance as well.
DX -- DeXterity, raw agility and manual ability. Dexterity is the basis for almost all physical skills.
IQ -- Intelligence, raw mental ability. Intelligence is the basis for almost all mental skills.
HT -- HealTh, a measure of toughness, general health, and ability to withstand physical hardship. Health also bases some physical and mental skills putting a premium on endurance.

Appearance, is treated as an advantage, not an attribute, as is extra hit points and other purely physical benefits not listed above. Note that almost all attributes never rise past 20, save Strength, which can go far, far higher than 20 in the case of some races, or artificial constructs like robots.


Advantages are raw traits, be they mental, physical, or esoteric, that give a player an edge somehow; reaction bonuses, extra hit points, military rank, empathic ability, et-cetera. They're all advantages. Some advantages have multiple levels, with increasing effect, but all advantages, cost points at varying amounts.


Disadvantages are similar to advantages, but they have a net negative effect; things like bad appearance, poverty, hot tempers, phobias, missing limbs, et-cetera. They also can have varying levels, but most do not, simply having a general game effect. All disadvantages return a set amount of points, basically giving bonus points that can then be spent on other traits.


Quirks are perhaps best described as a subset of disadvantages in that they grant bonus points, but they are also in a class of their own: Quirks are essentially a minor personality trait not enough to be an actual disadvantage or advantage, but there, for character 'flavor', basically to flesh out a character's personality. Things like minor dislikes, preferences, finicky habits, et-cetera, are quirks.


GURPS skills are based off a home attribute of sorts, and bought with points. To get higher levels in a skill, you simply put more points into it. Each skill will have an attribute specified, the uses of the skill, and its difficulty; the higher the difficulty, the more points you have to spend to learn or improve it in the first place. As well as the points-for-skill system, there are also skill-defaults; if you posess one skill, you might be able to use a similar skill at lowered levels (Broadsword skill, for example, being similar to Shortsword skill).

The following categories flesh out the basics of a character:

Attribute-based numbers...

Fatigue: Fatigue is based from strength, and by default, is equal to strength. Certain activities will deduct fatigue points (Spellcasting, exertion, combat, heat), and rest, regains them. Strength decreases by 1 for every 1 fatigue lost, temporarily.

Thrust: Thrust is a strength based number, and determines the raw damage done by barehand attacks, as well as certain hand weapons with no leverage (knives, muscle-powered missile throwers, etc). It is a number given as X number of dice, plus or minus X number.

Swing: Swing is a strength based number. It determines raw damage of weapons with leverage, and doesn't affect most hand-to-hand attacks. It is written as a number of dice plus or minus X number.

Dodge: Dodge is based off of Dexterity and Health, loosely. Dodge equals Move, and is an Active Defense against attacks.

Parry: Parry, is based off the present weapon being used, IF it can parry attacks. Not all weapons can be used to parry attacks. It is usually equal to half weapon skill, though some weapons parry more efficiently, and do so at 2/3rds skill, specified in the skill description.

Block: Block, is only useful if you are carrying a shield, or using something improvised (garbage can lid, tray, et-cetera) as a shield. It is always equal to half Shield skill, with a bonus for some types of shield.

Move: Move is based off of Dexterity and Health. It is equal to Dexterity plus Health, divided by four, rounded DOWN (Always round this number down, regardless). This is your movement speed in yards per second, unencumbered.

Speed: Speed determines combat initiative, long distance speed, and other factors. It is found by adding Dexterity to Health, and dividing by four. Speed is NOT rounded at all.

Damage (HP): GURPS HP are directly equal to Health. Note, however, that unlike some systems, dropping to zero HP or even below, is not always fatal; it is very serious, however, and has a good chance of killing you. A character dropped past 0 HT, is in serious trouble, and will probably be unconscious shortly, if not actually dead without aid. Sadly, GURPS damage can be quite lethal... HP don't change by "level" or "Class"; they're always equal to HT. A 3d damage gun, will do on average, 10 points of damage, quite enough to seriously wound or kill most characters on a good hit.


This message was last edited by the GM at 13:41, Fri 20 Mar 2015.

 GM, 52 posts
Wed 16 Oct 2002
at 11:25
Basic Combat Tutorial
Basic GURPS combat...

GURPS often uses a hex-map system, where normally 1 hex is 1 yard in scale, and 1 combatant occupies 1 hex. However, two combatants can occupy the same hex (in which case, they're considered to be in Close Combat), in which case they are restricted in their choice of weapons or attacks. Some weapons, however, can only be used in close combat, and others, cannot be used in close combat. An example of close combat would be two brawlers squaring off at close range, a grappling match, or a man trying to knife someone. Other weapons have long ranges measured in dozens or hundreds of yards-- such ranged combats will rarely use hexmaps. Online, most games will not use hex maps, period.

Striking the foe

This is often handled as a simple roll against the respective weapon skill, with penalties for hit location and armor, or in the case of ranged weapons, hit location, armor, and cover. Armor provides a Passive Defense, which makes attacks a bit harder to land successfully, and various smaller hit locations are harder to hit than the torso. Any roll of 3 or 4, automatically hits, and any roll succeeding by more than 10 to hit, or a natural 3 or 4, is a critical hit.


There are three Active Defenses - Dodge, Parry, and Block. Dodge is simply evading the attack, Parrying is deflecting the attack with a hand weapon, and Block, is stopping the attack with a shield. An Active Defense is a three-die check, plus any armor bonuses for PD (add PD to your active defense number, and roll). Critical hits, however, may not be defended against. A defense, if it succeeds on a skill check, automatically evades the attack (though Parrying with some weapons will eliminate your attack the next round).


Once you've hit the opponent, you roll your raw damage and subtract their armor DR from the raw damage (Armor has a DR rating, which soaks up raw damage). For example, you strike someone in chain-mail with a broadsword, for 7 raw damage. Chain mail has a DR rating of 4, thus, the armor stops 4 points of damage, and 3 get through. All weapons also have a damage type, which will modify the actual damage that gets through the armor. Some damage types can penetrate some armor, better than others.

Crushing (cr) - the most basic damage type. All blunt weapons, and bullets, are considered to do crushing damage. Crushing damage has no modifiers. However, Crushing type damage weapons often have huge basic damage numbers, especially guns.

Cutting (cut) - Most edged weapons do cutting type damage. Cutting damage is dangerous against flesh, as it amplifies damage penetrating armor by 1.5x, though it has no bonus against vehicles or inanimate targets. Cutting weapons can also sever some objects like ropes, or limbs... most ranged weapons don't do cutting damage, however. Cutting damage only does extra damage on body and head hits, not limbs. Cutting projectiles, can "blow through", limiting their ultimate damage maximums, however.

Impaling (imp) - Impaling type damage is often only done by narrow, sharp weapons like arrows, spears, and knives. It often has a very low base damage, but any damage penetrating armor on an organic target, does double damage, making it lethal indeed. It has no special effect on inorganic targets. Some ranged weapons can do impaling damage, including some beam types, like lasers. Impaling damage gets no modifier, however, on limb hits. Impaling damage can also "blow through", limiting maximum damage as the projectile or weapon simply passes right through.

Fire (Often listed as spec) - Fire damage is treated as crushing damage for base damage purposes, but it has the special effect of being able to ignite objects. Fire also has an extremely high blow-through number, giving it an almost limitless damage potential. Armor, unless sealed airtight, has limited use against fire.

Explosive (exp) - Explosions are extremely dangerous, doing crushing and fire damage simultaneously. They have no damage maximum, and can quite literally blow an unsuspecting victim to bits. They also have area-effect damage, damage being highest at the blast center, lowest at the edge. Large explosions can have a radius of several dozen yards, killing instantly within 20 yards, in some cases.

 GM, 53 posts
Wed 16 Oct 2002
at 11:26
Basic Magic Tutorial
GURPS magic and psi operate in differing ways from other systems in that powers or spells can often be used repeatedly. Spell use, or psi-use, tend to be very similar in game mechanics; if someone stares at you balefully and your drink freezes solid, it might be a mage, OR a cryokinetic. This, however, does not mean that magic and psi are the same thing. Very, very far from it...

-Spells have an energy cost, which can be paid with fatigue, energy from a powerstone, OR in extreme cases, HT. Burning HT for a spell is very likely to cause it to fail, but it might be the only way for a low-energy caster to achieve very powerful spells.
-Spells are treated as skills for purpose of activation, in that you have X skill level in Y spell.
-Spells often have a time required to cast, which can vary by power, or might not vary at all, except with higher skill.
-Lower skill casters need elaborate gestures and strong words; higher-skill casters can either do away with the words, or gestures; very skilled casters can cast some spells 'no hands' and silently, though for some spells, gesture is mandatory.

-Psi power is an Advantage, and psi skill, is a skill. Do not confuse the two.
-Each power is its own advantage, bought in incremental levels.
-Psi usually doesn't cost fatigue, unless specified, repeat attempts being the ONLY clause aside from powers like Mental Stab, that cost fatigue.
-Psi use is handled by use of the appropriate Psi skill-- Mind Shield for Mind Shield, Pyrokinesis for Pyrokinesis, Telekinesis for TK, et-cetera.

Note that Psi might seem to have a very large advantage over magic by virtue of usually not requiring fatigue for a first attempt; this is not true. High levels of Psi power are extremely rare, extremely costly (a Power 12 Telekinetic pays 60 points for his power, without even paying for skill), and often difficult to use. However, Psi is difficult to defend against, and can be a very unexpected trump indeed. Due to copyright reasons on part of SJ Games, I will not post a list of psi powers or spells here, but I hope this introduction is enough to give you a general idea of what GURPS magic and psi are.

 GM, 28 posts
 RPoL Moderator
Fri 20 Mar 2015
at 13:40
Re: Basic Magic Tutorial
GURPS Lite rules that are free for the taking. Printable and everything, although these really are very basic, they probably cover most things.
GURPS Character Maker, GCM 1.28.00 by Thomas L. Bont, not the official demo. This is totally free, fully functional & also fully customizable.