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 GURPS 4th Edition and You: A primer

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Maj._Victory

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Posts : 169
Join date : 2008-02-10
Age : 34
Location : High atop a mountain of four city walls.

Character sheet
Name: Renault 'The Carver' Gavinsborke
HP:
40/40  (40/40)
Energy:
30/30  (30/30)

PostSubject: GURPS 4th Edition and You: A primer   Mon Jun 09, 2008 12:39 pm

In preparation for my new campaign I'll be going over everything you need to know about the Generic Universe Role Playing System or GURPS. So if you're interested then sit down and take a minute to read about one of the most flexible systems out there.

Now before I begin explaining the mechanics I'd like to take a moment and dispel a few myths about GURPS. I'm sure some of you have heard that GURPS is very complicated, requires tons of books, and generally takes more time to make a character than many other systems. Lets look at why these are wrong.

First, GURPS isn't terribly complicated. You've got lots of skills and only 4 attributes. There are some derived attributes but they're no harder to determine than your saving throws, just look them up.

In what book you ask? Well we're only using one book for this campaign, the Basic Character book. There are tons of supplements, more than D&D certainly, but you can still play the game fine without them. Plus they tend to contain a lot of useless info. (For example the 'Space' book is comparable to an Astrophysics textbook, just ask Mikhael)

Lastly there is character creation. I think there are few systems that can really claim to have quick character creation. Kobolds Ate My Babies is a good example of quick character creation. Now since this is probably your first GURPS campaign it will take longer than normal, but there is something that will help. The GURPS character assistant, a program which streamlines everything by doing all the calculations for derived stats, skill synergies and everything else. All you need to do is put in the numbers.

Here is where you can obtain the necessary information:
Edit: Just ask me if you need it and I'll send it to you.


Last edited by Maj._Victory on Sat Apr 25, 2009 6:52 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Maj._Victory

avatar

Posts : 169
Join date : 2008-02-10
Age : 34
Location : High atop a mountain of four city walls.

Character sheet
Name: Renault 'The Carver' Gavinsborke
HP:
40/40  (40/40)
Energy:
30/30  (30/30)

PostSubject: Re: GURPS 4th Edition and You: A primer   Mon Jun 09, 2008 12:59 pm

On to the character creation!

When you first start up the character assistant you should see this (or a similar) dialog box appear:



These fields just require some basic info about the campaign that I set.

Base is the starting number of points you will build your character with. GURPS uses a point buy system and can be difficult to keep track of. Luckily the assistant does that for us.

Disadvantages are anything with a negative cost including low attributes, disabilities, and reduced social status. Basically you can give your character faults that give you more points to spend on the good stuff. The number here dictates the limit (because a party of power gamers would end up being all deaf, blind mutes without it).

Quirks are small disadvantages like weird habits or nervous ticks. They only give you one point back each. Five points is a good amount to start with. (Note: you don't have to take the maximum amount of Disadvantages and quirks. If you only want a few, or none, go for it.)

TL is the tech level of the campaign, this can go from TL 1 (stone age) to TL 13 (so freaking advanced that their technology is indistinguishable from magic). TL 8 is modern day.

For this campaign you will have 125 points with which to make your character. You can have up to -50 points in disadvantages and -5 points in quirks. The setting is TL 9.

Now lets get into the nitty gritty of character creation. Below is an example of a character sheet made in the Character Assistant and exported to a text file. This is how we'll be posting our character sheets for the campaign:

Code:
Name: Bob McGee
Race: Human

Attributes [22]
ST 10
DX 10
IQ 11 [20]
HT 9 [-10]

HP 11 [2]
Will 11
Per 12 [5]
FP 9

Basic Lift 20
Damage 1d-2/1d

Basic Speed 5 [5]
Basic Move 5

Social Background
TL: 8 [0]
Cultural Familiarities: Western (Native) [0].
Languages: English (Native) [0]; Spanish (Broken/None) [1].

Advantages [15]
Ambidexterity [5]
Appearance (Attractive) [4]
Eidetic Memory [5]

Perks [1]
Deep Sleeper [1]

Disadvantages [-20]
Alcoholism [-15]
Compulsive Gambling (12 or less) [-5]

Quirks [-2]
Dislikes Polkadots [-1]
Imaginative [-1]

Skills [9]
Accounting IQ/H - IQ+0 11 [4]
Administration IQ/A - IQ-1 10 [1]
Computer Hacking/TL8 IQ/VH - IQ-3 8 [1]
Computer Operation/TL8 IQ/E - IQ+1 12 [2]
Computer Programming/TL8 IQ/H - IQ-2 9 [1]

Stats [22] Ads [15] Disads [-20] Quirks [-2] Skills [9] = Total [25]

Hand Weapons

Ranged Weapons

Armor & Possessions

We'll go over each section of the sheet in depth to learn how you make a character.


Last edited by Maj._Victory on Mon Jun 09, 2008 9:43 pm; edited 6 times in total
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Maj._Victory

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Posts : 169
Join date : 2008-02-10
Age : 34
Location : High atop a mountain of four city walls.

Character sheet
Name: Renault 'The Carver' Gavinsborke
HP:
40/40  (40/40)
Energy:
30/30  (30/30)

PostSubject: Re: GURPS 4th Edition and You: A primer   Mon Jun 09, 2008 2:18 pm

First lets look at attributes:

Code:
Name: Bob McGee
Race: Human

Attributes [22]
ST 10
DX 10
IQ 11 [20]
HT 9 [-10]

In GURPS you have four Primary Attributes:

Strength (ST) is raw physical power. The more you have the harder you hit and the more you can lift.

Dexterity (DX) is how well you control your body. It is not directly linked to how fit you are but it can help. Very important as it is used in a lot of skills.

Intelligence (IQ) is how smart you are. Its also very important as many skills require intelligence.

Heath (HT) is how fit you are. It determines how much stamina you have and how susceptible you are to disease and poison.

The average score for a human is 10, so you can see that Bob doesn't vary much from average. His intelligence a little above average as he is an accountant, but he spends most of the day in front of a desk so his heath is below average.

Next to intelligence and health you will see some numbers in brackets. These are the points spent on those attributes. Strength and Health cost 10 points per level, so when Bob lost a rank of health he got 10 points back. Dexterity and Intelligence cost 20 points per level.


Next up are the Secondary Attributes:

Code:
HP 11 [2]
Will 11
Per 12 [5]
FP 9

Hit Points (HP) is self-explanatory, lose all of these and you'll die. Your hit points are equal to your strength, but can be improved on their own.

Will is essentially Willpower. Just your ability to resist any sort of mental punishment out there. Will is equal to your IQ score.

Perception (Per) is like spot, listen and search all rolled into one (it also applies to things like taste and smell but those don't come up often). Like Will it starts equal to your IQ.

Fatigue Points (FP) are equal to your HT and represent how much energy you have. (3 points per FT)

Each of these stats can be raised wither by raising the associated primary attribute or by spending points on them individually.

Bob is tougher than he looks and put one rank in to HP for 2 points. He is also fairly observant and put a rank into perception for 5 points.

Below these are some other attributes:


Code:
Basic Lift 20
Damage 1d-2/1d

Basic Speed 5 [5]
Basic Move 5


Basic lift is how much you can quickly (in about a second) lift over your head with one hand. It is measured in pounds.

Damage is how hard you hit in melee. It is split into two parts by a backslash.

The first part represents thrusting damage. You use this when you punch, kick, bite, or stab someone in combat. The 1d is the number of dice (note all dice are assumed to be six sided in GURPS) and -2 is a modifier. If you were to roll a 4 your damage would be two. Melee weapons can improve this outcome by adding dice or modifiers.

The second number is swinging damage. This represents the extra force when you use a weapon as a lever arm. So if Bob were to swing a sword or club he would have a base damage of 1d.

Ranged weapons have their own damage and aren't affected by this.

Basic Speed is your reflexes. The higher this is the more of a dodgey bloke you are. This stat isn't rounded since when you raise it you do so in 0.25 incriments. For example Bob would normally have a basic speed of 4.75, but he spent points (5 per 0.25, yes that seems expensive) to increase it to 5.

Basic Move is how fast you can move in yds/sec (or m/s they're the same for all intensive purposes in this game). It is equal to Basic Speed rounded down. If we didn't increase Bob's Basic Speed to 5, Basic Move would have rounded down to 4.
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Maj._Victory

avatar

Posts : 169
Join date : 2008-02-10
Age : 34
Location : High atop a mountain of four city walls.

Character sheet
Name: Renault 'The Carver' Gavinsborke
HP:
40/40  (40/40)
Energy:
30/30  (30/30)

PostSubject: Re: GURPS 4th Edition and You: A primer   Mon Jun 09, 2008 9:05 pm

Next up are Social Background, Advantages, and Perks:

Code:
Social Background
TL: 8 [0]
Cultural Familiarities: Western (Native) [0].
Languages: English (Native) [0]; Spanish (Broken/None) [1].

Tech Level (TL) shows how advanced of a society the character is from. This can be different from the campaign TL, but for the purposes of this campaign I wont be allowing that. It wouldn't make much sense if you were from a really backwards part of the world and then was recruited for the most advanced spaceship to date, and it doesn't get any more advanced than this either.

Cultural Familiarity helps for determining what gestures, manners and other aspects you are familiar with. Bob is from the US of A and is familiar with its western culture. Someone from Japan might have Eastern familiarity, or someone from an isolated tribe in the jungle would only have familiarity with that tribe's culture. Your native familiarity is free, but each one beyond that costs points.

Languages are self explanatory. You get your native speech for free with literacy (at least past a certain tech level). New languages can be bought as spoken, written, or both and go from a comprehension level of broken to native. Bob knows some spoken Spanish (broken) but is not literate (none).

Code:
Advantages [15]
Ambidexterity [5]
Appearance (Attractive) [4]
Eidetic Memory [5]

Advantages give you big bonuses in a variety of situations. For example Bob is ambidextrous (which is pretty useful in numerous situations), and attractive (which helps in many social situations). He also has eidetic memory, but this may not be as useful if the player has good memory.

The thing to note about Advantages is that there are several types:

If you read the book you'll notice that advantages are split into six groups: mental, physical, social, exotic, supernatural and mundane. The first three groups aren't terribly important to this topic. THe ones we're interested in are the last three.

Exotic advantages are things that normal humans would not have, for instance extra arms or death ray vision. These are pretty much off limits unless you can come up with a damn good reason to have it. Take a look anyways as there is some neat stuff. You can recognize them by the little alien symbol next to them or selecting exotic from the drop down menu in the character assistant.

Supernatural advantages are things that can't be explained through science or even "super-science." These are things like magic, or psionics. There is even less chance I'll allow these but if you can come up with a very compelling reason, maybe I'll let is slide. Just keep in mind I'm running a fairly realistic campaign. These have a little lightning bolt next to them in the book.

Mundane advantages are everything else. They have no special symbol, they are any advantage that doesn't have either of the previous symbols with it. You can also sort them in the character assistant with the drop down menu. There is no restriction on mundane advantages.

Code:
Perks [1]
Deep Sleeper [1]

Perks are little advantages that cost a point each. They tend to have little effect on mechanics and are usually aesthetic. In our example Bob took deep sleeper which lets him sleep in uncomfortable situations easily but he can still wake up easily if something unusual happens.
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Maj._Victory

avatar

Posts : 169
Join date : 2008-02-10
Age : 34
Location : High atop a mountain of four city walls.

Character sheet
Name: Renault 'The Carver' Gavinsborke
HP:
40/40  (40/40)
Energy:
30/30  (30/30)

PostSubject: Re: GURPS 4th Edition and You: A primer   Mon Jun 09, 2008 9:42 pm

Disadvantages, Quirks and Skills:

Code:
Disadvantages [-20]
Alcoholism [-15]
Compulsive Gambling (12 or less) [-5]

Disadvantages are imperfections with your character. You don't have to take any but it is recommended for two reasons. One it gives you more character points and two it gives your character more depth. Other than that disadvantages fall into the same six groups as advantages with the same restrictions.

In our example Bob is an alcoholic and a compulsive gambler. You'll notice next to compulsive gamble is the phrase "12 or less" this is the number Bob must roll under to resist gambling. If Bob's compulsion were particularly crippling the difficulty of the roll could be increased. Many disadvantages and advantages can be scaled in this way.

Code:
Quirks [-2]
Dislikes Polkadots [-1]
Imaginative [-1]

Quirks are the opposite of perks in that they provide small negative effects, but still usually aesthetic.

In our example Bob has an opinion on polkadots and is a bit imaginative. Of course imaginative could be a perk but in this case it means that he tends to think of things and spread them to others with little hesitation.

Code:
Skills [9]
Accounting IQ/H - IQ+0 11 [4]
Administration IQ/A - IQ-1 10 [1]
Computer Hacking/TL8 IQ/VH - IQ-3 8 [1]
Computer Operation/TL8 IQ/E - IQ+1 12 [2]
Computer Programming/TL8 IQ/H - IQ-2 9 [1]

Skills are your ability to perform tasks. Each time you perform a task you roll against your skill level (plus or minus any modifiers). For example if Bob were to write a computer program he would need to roll under nine, his computer programming skill level.

Next to each skill are some letters and numbers these represent the relevant attribute (ST, DX etc.) and the difficulty in learning the skill (E = Easy A = Average H= Hard VH = Very Hard)

These determine your skill level when you first buy the skill. The harder it is the lower it starts. For example Bob has one rank in Computer Hacking IQ/VH which gives him a skill level of 8. Compare this to Administration IQ/A which has only one point in it but gives Bob a skill rank of 10.

The point cost of skills is the same regardless of difficulty, but getting a Very Hard skill to the same level as an Easy skill will take many more points.

Code:
Stats [22] Ads [15] Disads [-20] Quirks [-2] Skills [9] = Total [25]

This last little part shows how you used your points. If you use all your points the total should equal the point limit. Since this was just an example we didn't use all of our 125 points which means Bob could be a much more powerful character.

I hope that this introduction has given everyone a good look at GURPS. If you have any questions feel free to reply here, send me a private message or email me.
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