This is a simplified way to make a GURPS character. In general, it greatly reduces the number of skills, advantages, and disadvantages to choose from. It assumes the characters are mostly-realistic humans and eliminates things that might be used for superheroes, mutants, or wizards. This page is not intended to teach you how to play; for that read the excellent GURPS Lite which is free for distribution thanks to Steve Jackson Games, and also easy reading at 32 pages. Beyond that, the full GURPS Basic Set is highly recommended for groups looking for more detailed rules on equipment, magic, expanded skills and advantages, and advice for running a variety of genres.
Update: You can find an example of running through this character generator here.
Table of Contents
- Table of Contents
- Getting started
- Base Attributes
- Secondary Attributes
Your GM will determine the number of Character Points (CP) you have available. Character Points are the "currency" of character creation. You deduct from your available CP when you improve an attribute, buy an advantage, or improve a skill. The number of starting CP available will determine how capable characters are, essentially setting the "power level" of the campaign. Power levels are highly subjective, but some guidelines for a "realistic" setting are below.
Table: Character Points and Power Levels
|Starting CP||Power Level||Description|
|< 25 CP||Feeble||Small children, mindless thralls, etc.|
|25-50 CP||Average||Ordinary folks, accountants, cab drivers.|
|50-75 CP||Competent||Athletes, cops, or anyone who might have a clear edge over "average" people on an adventure.|
|75-100 CP||Exceptional||Star athletes, seasoned cops, wealthy individuals.|
|100-200 CP||Heroic||Realistic people at the pinnacle of physical, mental, or social achievement. Navy SEALS, world-class scientists, millionaires.|
|200-300 CP||Larger than Life||Leading roles in kung-fu movies, fantasy novels, etc.|
|300+ CP||Legendary||Protagonists of epic poems and folklore.|
Anything that reduces your capabilities has a negative cost — it adds to your available CP, allowing you to gain CP for other uses. CP gained in this way count against your Disadvantage Limit. The disadvantage limit is set by the GM alongside the starting CP. It serves to prevent characters from accumulating an absurd number of disadvantages just so they can buy extremely high capabilities. A good rule of thumb is to set the disadvantage limit to 25-50% of the starting character points. For instance, -75 points in a 150-point game.
GMs are free to provide character points as rewards for completing adventures, attending sessions, or particularly good role-playing. 3-5 points per session is generous, but more may be excessive. Newly-acquired CP can be spent to improve abilities at the GM's discretion. Some campaign genres may not need to bother with CP progression at all.
Your base attributes determine how strong, dextrous, intelligent, and healthy you are. They also determine your basic effectiveness with Skills. A score of 10 in any base attribute is free, and represents the human average. Most characters have attributes in the 8-12 range. Scores above 20 are typically reserved for godlike beings - ask your GM before buying skills at that level. Attributes can also be purchased down at the negative of their cost, which gives you the points back to spend on something else. Points refunded in this manner count against the disadvantage limit mentioned above.
Table: Base Attribute Cost
|Strength (ST)||±10 points/level||Physical power and bulk. Crucial for warriors. Affects HP and weapon damage. More open-ended than other attributes, extremely strong humans can have strength higher than 20. Example: the max weight you can lift overhead with one hand in one second equals (STxST)/5lbs, rounded (this is sometimes referred to as your Basic Lift.|
|Dexterity (DX)||±20 points/level||Combined agility, coordination, and fine motor ability. Affects most athletic, fighting, and vehicle-operation skills. Also affects your Basic Speed (a measure of your reaction time) and Basic Move (how fast you run).|
|Intelligence (IQ)||±20 points/level||Broadly measures brainpower, including creativity, intuition, memory, perception, and willpower. Affects many skills. Critical for scientists, wizards, or gadgeteers. You need at least IQ 6 to be able to use tools and language.|
|Health (HT)||±10 points/level||Measures stamina and endurance. Not to be confused with Health Points (HP). High HT is good for anyone, since it helps them resist disease, poison, radiation. It determines your Fatigue Points, and also affects Basic Speed and Basic Move. HT also determines your ability to recover from life-threatening injuries - you roll against it to avoid death or unconsciousness when your HP is low.|
These secondary attributes can have their values calculated from your Base Attributes above. You can also increase or decrease them with CP, which adjusts them from the calculated Base Value.
Table: Secondary Attribute Cost
|Secondary Attribute||Base Value||Upgrade Cost||Description|
|Hit Points (HP)||Equal to ST||±2 CP per ±1 HP||Represents your ability to sustain injury. Physical attacks, hazards, or other conditions that injure or kill reduce your HP. If you lose too much, you may fall unconscious and eventually, you will die|
|Will||Equal to IQ||±5 CP per ±1 Will||Your ability to withstand psychological stress, brainwashing, fear, and some supernatural conditions. You can't raise this above 20 or lower it below 4.|
|Perception (Per)||Equal to IQ||±5 CP per ±1 Per||Your general alertness. Some conditions only affect hearing, vision, or smell-related perception, such as darkness or being temporarily deafened.|
|Fatigue Points (FP)||Equal to HT||±3 CP per ±1 FP||Represent your body's energy supply. Can be diminished by exhaustion, starvation, etc. Low FP can reduce other statistics until you recover.|
|Basic Speed||(HT + DX)/4. Do not round the result||±5 points per ±0.25 speed||Reflexes and initiative. A high Basic Speed lets you act before foes in combat.|
|Dodge||Basic Speed + 3, rounded down||N/A||Your ability to use the Dodge defense. You must roll under this value on 3d6 when you attempt to duck or sidestep attacks in combat.|
|Basic Move||Basic Speed, rounded down||±5 CP per ±1 yard/sec||How fast your ground move is, in yards per second.|
Losing HP and dying
The following chart describes the effects of lost HP. Injuries can cause HP to go negative, with further injuries increasing the risk of unconsciousness and death. Effects are cumulative.
Table: Effects of HP Loss
|< 1/3 total HP||Basic Move and Dodge are halved, rounding up.|
|0 HP or less||Roll HT at the start of your next turn, at a -1 penalty for each full multiple of your HP below zero. Failure means unconsciousness. On success, you remain conscious, but must continue rolling again every turn you do anything besides the "Do Nothing" maneuver.|
|-1 x HP||Make an immediate HT. If your failure margin is 1 or 2, you are mortally wounded (see below). Other failures represent immediate death. Roll again each time you suffer additional injury equal to another full multiple of your HP (IE, roll again at -2xHP, -3xHP, etc).|
|-5 x HP||You die immediately from your injuries.|
|-10 x HP||Complete destruction of your corpse. Important in settings where reanimation, etc might be possible.|
Mortal wounds require immediate medical attention. Failure of further HT rolls against death will kill you. Additionally, you must roll HT every half-hour to avoid death. You can recover from a mortal wound if medical treatment or source of healing restores HP, and you pass an HT roll.
Advantages are useful traits that give you a mental, physical or social edge. Each advantage has a cost in character points. Some advantages have a fixed cost, while others are "levelled" and can be purchased multiple times. Advantages with a "variable" cost are more complicated, read the description of the advantage for more detail.
Only a small selection of advantages compatible with the skills in this document are presented here. Consult GURPS Lite for an expanded set.
|Charisma||5 CP/level||Each level gives +1 on all reaction rolls with people you interact with.|
|Danger sense||15 CP||The GM rolls once against your Perception secretly, in any situation involving impeding ambush or hazard. On a success, your character gets enough of a warning to take action.|
|Daredevil||15 CP||Any time you take unnecessary risks (in the GM's opinion), you get a +1 bonus to skills and can reroll critical failures that occur during the high-risk behavior.|
|Fearlessness||2 CP/level||For each level of fearlessness, add +1 to your Will whenever you make a fright check or resist a supernatural power that causes fear.|
|Luck||15 CP||Once per hour of play, you may reroll a single bad die roll twice and take the best of the three rolls. You must declare that you are using luck before any results of the first roll are described. Luck only applies to your own success, damage, or reaction rolls, or on outside events that affect you, or when you are being attacked (you can make the attacker take the worst of three rolls instead).|
|Serendipity||15 CP/level||Each level entitles you to one fortunate but plausible coincidence per session. The details are up to the GM; you might stumble across a needed weapon while fleeing hordes of zombies, find an unlocked car with the keys in it, happen to know someone you need to talk your way past, etc.|
Disadvantages are much like advantages, except they have negative effects, but give you more CP to spend on other traits. Note that CP earned in this fashion count against your disadvantage limit. Again, consult GURPS Lite for more disadvantages.
Some disadvantages have a self-control roll. In circumstances that trigger the disadvantage, roll 3d against a target number of 12. If you roll 12 or less, you succeed and shrug off your disadvantage. Roll 13 or higher and you suffer its effects. You are never required to roll, if you wish to give in willingly.
|Bad sight||-10 CP||You have poor vision, giving you -6 to vision-related perception and -2 to hit in combat. Can be mitigated with eyewear. Worth -25 points if eyewear is unavailable due to the setting (ancient times, etc).|
|Bad temper||-10 CP||You aren't in full control of your emotions. Make a self-control roll in stressful situations. On failure, you lose your temper and must insult/attack/act out against the stressor.|
|Curious||-5 CP||You are naturally very inquisitive, even in dangerous circumstances ("what does that button do?", studying xenomorph eggs, etc). Make a self-control roll when presented with an interesting item or situation. If you fail, you examine it even if you know it could be dangerous.|
|Delusions||-5 to -15 CP||You believe something that is simply not true. You must role-play this belief at all times. Minor delusions are worth -5 points and cause a -1 reaction penalty, major delusions are worth -10 and cause a -2 reaction penalty, and severe delusions are worth -15 and cause a -3 reaction penalty.|
|Honest||-10 CP||You must obey the law and do you best to get others to do so as well. You also assume others are honest unless you know otherwise. This is a disadvantage because it limits your options. In a situation where you "need" to break unreasonable laws, you must make a self-control roll or follow the law anyways, no matter the circumstance. Even if you succeed, you must pass another self-control roll or turn yourself in to the authorities.|
|Truthfulness||-5 CP||You hate lying, or are just plain bad at it. Make a self-control roll whenever you must keep silent about uncomfortable truths. You are at a -5 penalty to the roll if you have to actually speak a lie. If you fail, you blurt out the truth or stumble so badly that it's obvious you're lying.|
|Vow||-5 to -15 CP||You have a sworn oath to do (or not do) something. This is a serious oath; if you don't take it seriously, it's not a disadvantage. The point value is determined by the inconvenience it causes you, GM has the final say. Examples:
A skill is a particular kind of knowledge or training. When you use a skill in the game, you roll 3d6 against your effective skill level, modified with penalties or bonuses for that situation. Your effective skill level is determined by the attribute it is based upon, and the number of Character Points you have invested in that skill. Skill cost is determined by the table shown below. If you don't have any points invested in a skill, you use it at a -6 penalty. You can't get negative points from lowering skills, unlike attributes.
Table: Skill Cost
|Effective skill level||Cost (Unspecialized)||Cost (Specialized)|
|Each additional +1||+4||+4|
If you pick a specialization for a skill, the cost is reduced as indicated above, but skill checks made outside of your specialization are made at a -4 penalty. You may learn multiple specializations of the same skill; simply treat them as separate skills when marking the point cost.
At the DM's discretion, it is acceptable to use other base attributes for specializations. For example, Expression (Dance) might use DX rather than IQ as the base attribute, Athletics (Powerlifting) might use ST instead of HT.
|Academia||IQ||Research techniques and cultural knowledge.|
|Acrobatics||DX||Climbing, jumping, maintaining balance, etc.|
|Administration||IQ||Dealing with bureaucracy, financial and legal issues, logistics, etc.|
|Animal Handling||IQ||Work with, train or ride suitable animals. Can specialize for types of animals, such as Horses or Canines.|
|Athletics||HT||Swimming, running long distances, playing sports.|
|Craft||IQ||Make or repair simple items like clothing, hand tools and furniture. Can specialize in Carpentry, Metalworking, Sculpting, etc.|
|Engineering||IQ||Build, design or maintain machines and other complex structures (like buildings). Can specialize in Architecture, Mechanical, Software, etc.|
|Expression||IQ||Any form of art or performance.|
|Humanities||IQ||Understand complex social structures, like language, economies and governments.|
|Intrusion||IQ||Picking locks, circumventing traps and security systems.|
|Investigation||IQ||Spotting important details and asking the right questions.|
|Medicine||IQ||Healing techniques and knowledge of drugs.|
|Meditation||IQ||Control over your own mental state.|
|Mysticism||IQ||Knowledge of religion, magic and the occult.|
|Persuasion||IQ||Negotiate, inspire or browbeat others to do what you want.|
|Psychology||IQ||Understanding other people.|
|Science||IQ||Knowledge of physical sciences.|
|Stealth||DX||Moving silently and concealment.|
|Streetwise||IQ||Knowledge of criminal matters and the underclass.|
|Survival||Per||Finding food and shelter in hostile environments. Must specialize for types of terrain.|
|Tactics||IQ||Understanding of military matters and warfare.|
|Trickery||IQ||Confuse, deceive and distract people.|
|Vehicle||IQ||Control vehicles. Valid specializations include Cars, Motorcycles, Planes, Helicopters, Boats. Must specialize.|
Note that this skill list is substantially different from GURPS or GURPS lite; these skills are broader and built off of a tweaked version "wildcard" skills. "Specialized" skills here are equivalent to Average difficulty skills in the full ruleset, while non-specialized skills are equivalent in cost to Very Hard skills. If you don't know what that means, don't worry about it. It's only important if you make the switch to the full rules later
Choose appropriately based on the setting and time period used in your game. Some combat skills are specialized by default - for example, you would use the specialized cost for determing skill increases for Archery, but not for Firearms (unless you pick a firearms specialization, like Pistols).
Combat Skills Table
|Skill||Attribute||Uses Specialized Cost||Description|
|Archery||DX||Yes||Shooting a bow-and-arrow at a target.|
|Bladed Weapons||DX||No||Various knives, swords, axes, spears, glaives.|
|Blunt Weapons||DX||No||Clubs, flails, morning stars, nunchucks.|
|Crossbows||DX||Yes||Shooting a crossbow|
|Firearms||DX||No||All manner of firearms. Can specialize in pistols, rifles, mounted guns, etc.|
|Shield||DX||Yes||Blocking with shields, bucklers, etc, slamming with shields. Block skill as a defensive manuever is equal to (shield/2) + 3, rounded down.|
|Unarmed Strikes||DX||Yes||Training in striking arts, like boxing, or karate. Also improves damage; if you know Unarmed Strikes at DX+0, add +1 damage to unarmed strikes, at DX+1 or more, add +2 damage.|
|Wrestling||DX||Yes||Training in grappling and pinning techniques. Also improves damage; if you know Wrestling at DX+0, add +1 damage to wrestling attacks, at DX+1 or better, add +2 damage. Wrestling attacks include any choke, takedown, neck snap, or limb wrenching style attack.|
Muscle-based attacks, such as punching, wrestling, swinging a sword, or throwing a spear deal damaged based upon your ST. There are two categories of damage: + Thrusting (thr) — Damage with a punch, kick, bite, or attack with a thrusting weapon like a spear. + Swinging (sw) — Damage with a swung weapon like an axe, club, or sword — anything that acts like a lever.
Consult the following table to determine your basic damage these two categories. Weapons further modify this basic damage. Note that GURPS only uses d6 dice (no D20's here!), so 1d is simply shorthand for 1d6.
Table: Damage based on Strength