Monthly Archives: March 2015

GURPS Extra-Lite

GURPS Extra-Lite

The material presented here is my original creation, intended for use with the GURPS system from Steve Jackson Games. This material is not official and is not endorsed by Steve Jackson Games.
“GURPS Extra-Lite” by Frank Wilcox, Jr (fewilcox) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

Also available for download as a PDF.
Last updated 2017-02-23.

What’s on my character sheet?

ST (Strength) – Physical power and bulk. Determines weapon damage and Hit Points (HP).
DX (Dexterity) – Agility, coordination, and fine motor control. Determines attack accuracy.
IQ (Intelligence Quotient) – Creativity, intuition, memory. Determines Per and Will.
HT (Health) – Energy, vitality, stamina, resistance (to disease, poison, etc), and basic “grit”. Determines FP.

HP (Hit Points) – Average characters have 10 HP. At 0 you run the risk of passing out or even dying.
Per (Perception) – Alertness as well as your five senses.
Will (Willpower) – How well you withstand psychological stress and resist supernatural attacks.
FP (Fatigue Points) – These are consumed by strenuous activity and can also be spent for Extra Effort.

BL (Basic Lift) – The maximum weight you can lift over your head with one hand in one second.
Dmg (Damage) – thr = thrust damage; sw = swing damage.
BS (Basic Speed) – Your reflexes and general quickness.
BM (Basic Move) – How many yards you can move in one second. A step is usually 1 yd or hex.

Active Defenses

  • Dodge is used to sidestep, dive behind cover, or otherwise get out of the way of an attack.
  • Block is used to forcibly put something in the way of the attack, normally a shield or cloak, but can only be used against one attack each turn.
  • Parry is used to deflect an attack with your weapon. This leaves heavier weapons unbalanced so they must be Readied before you can make another attack. You can’t parry if you moved more than a step this turn. Parries suffer a cumulative -1 penalty for each parry after the first in the same turn.

Advantages range from really good eyesight to flight to extra limbs to super-powered attacks. In short, anything about your character that is above the ordinary.

Disadvantages are flaws that can make characters more interesting and provide roleplaying opportunities. They also grant you additional Character Points to use when making the character.

Skills are the things your character can do that require some amount of training. Each lists its value, which is the number you roll against when using it, and its relative value, which is how much the skill varies from its related attribute. Effective skill refers to your skill level after any situational modifiers are applied.

How do I do stuff?

Choose the appropriate skill or attribute and roll 3d6. A roll of no more than that number succeeds. For instance, to stop a door from slamming closed you would roll versus your Strength. To hack a computer you would roll against your Computer Hacking skill.

A roll of 3-4 is a Critical Success and always succeeds, as is 5 if your effective skill is at least 15, and 6 if it’s at least 16. Likewise 17 is always a failure, and 18 and any roll at least 10 more than your effective skill are Critical Failures.

If someone is actively opposing you, a Quick Contest may be called for. Both players roll the relevant attributes (Stealth vs Per to hide, ST vs ST to shove, etc.), and whoever rolls better wins. If both fail, then the winner is the one with the lowest Margin of Failure. If both succeed, then the winner is the one with higher Margin of Success.

How do I hit things?

Attack rolls are like any other skill checks: you simply roll against the appropriate skill. On a success, your target gets to make an active defense roll; no defense for critical successes. If the defense fails, roll your damage, then the target subtracts any Damage Resistance (DR) from it before subtracting the rest from HP.

Ranged attacks have two ranges, like this: 10/100. The first is its 1/2D range, meaning that attacks further away deal only half damage. The second is its maximum range.

New D&D 5e Adventuring Gear

Despite its reputation, GURPS’ core is actually very minimalist and leaves the GM to make up a lot of stuff. One result is that after a decade of it being our go-to system, I have developed the habit of just making up any gear I or one of my players needs but the books don’t have. So it should be no surprise that in the course of making four characters for Adventurers’ League I created quite a few things for D&D 5e. After the list are specifics on how I came up with some of the items so you can see the logic behind the numbers. I’m happy to accept feedback on any of these, especially where you see question marks.

  • Backpack, wood-framed (4.8 gp, 8.75 lbs). Capacity 60 lbs or ?? cu ft.
  • Small, blank book (10 gp, 2 lbs)
  • Ball of twine (0 lbs, 1 cp). Possibly 2 cp?
  • Pocket mirror (.1 lbs, 1 gp; based on “Mirror, steel”: .5 lbs, 5 gp)
  • Camp hatchet (2 lb, 2 gp; useless as weapon due to balance)
  • Towel (1 lb, 2 sp; based on blanket: 3 lb, 5 sp)

Backpack, wood-framed: In the real world the oldest known wood-framed backpack is from more than 5 millennia ago, and are still in use today in many parts of the world, so they seem a reasonable addition to D&D. A properly trained porter can comfortably carry hundreds of pounds in one, but 60 lbs seems to be more common, so I went with that for the capacity, but I’m not sure what an appropriate volume would be.

For a starting place for cost and weight I looked at HackMaster 5e, because it already has two different backpacks: one holding 30 lbs, the other 50. Complicating things is that HM5e is intended to be as realistic as is possible in a sword and sorcery world and thus uses a silver-based economy and prices many things in copper, and its weights are drastically different from D&D’s, therefore a direct conversion isn’t possible. So it seems to me that the best idea is to simply apply the same ratios to D&D. The smaller HM5e pack weighs 2 lbs and costs 7 cp and 5 trade coins, while the larger one weighs 3.5 and costs 18 cp, so the ratios between them are 2.4 for cost, and 1.75 for weight. Thus the larger backpack ends up costing 2*2.4 gp and weighing 5*1.75 lbs.

Blank Book: Two of my AL characters are merchants by trade and need easily-portable ledgers, but the 25 gp, 5 lb book on the gear table is pre-filled (“poetry, historical accounts, information pertaining to a particular field of lore, diagrams and notes on gnomish contraptions, or just about anything else that can be represented using text or pictures”) and pretty big and heavy to be useful as a journal of any kind. This is our best guest at a smaller, lighter, blank book.

Pocket Mirror: The mirror in the book weighs half a pound so we assume it’s relatively large for traveling purposes (it weighs significantly more than my 5″x7″ glass camp mirror). In a typical D&D setting they are more likely to be thin highly-polished metal rather than the relatively thick glass we use today, so I assume they’d be even lighter than their modern counterparts. For this particular item I was thinking of something more along the lines of a makeup compact or signal mirror – something in the 2-3″ range. It’s useful to any adventurer as a signal mirror, but especially to Charisma-based characters for checking hair and such before manipulating someone. Creative players could come probably come up with any number of possible uses.

Camp axe: This one is mainly for the sake of sentimentality because I have fond memories of using my old boy scout hatchet when my family went camping every summer. The weight is a rough average of the weights of various camp axes available online, including the very one I still have in storage somewhere. I also based it on the Hammer (3 lb, 1 gp) on the adventuring gear table rather than any weapon, so I made it useless as a weapon since it costs less than half as much as a throwing axe. It’s really only necessary because realistically you would quickly ruin any sort of battle axe using it to chop wood or do other routine camping tasks. Then again, this is D&D so reality can take a flying leap.

Towel: Why is a towel so important, you may ask? Simple: no adventurer should ever be without one.

GURPS Character Creator

If you have ever had trouble with the math of GURPS’ character creation process, or needed to make multiple characters in little time, or just wanted to play with a character’s numbers without erasing a hole though the page, then my GURPS character creator is for you. It does all of the math for you, including applying the final modifiers to advantages and disadvantages, and calculating the final skill level for techniques.

There are detailed instructions on the first tab and on other sheets as needed (aided by examples), but here’s a summary:

  • “Basics” is where you put in your character’s base attributes as well as how many points you have to spend.
  • On “Ads” and “Disads” list all of your advantages and disadvantages, as well as their base costs and total modifiers. The sheet will then calculate the final costs.
  • On the “Skills” sheet it is vital that you spell things carefully since it is used as a lookup table by “Techs”. For each skill you also specify what attribute it is tied to, its difficulty, and what relative skill level you want. The spreadsheet will then calculate the final cost of each skill, as well as its final value. The next version will also include space for you to specify any modifiers to a skill (such as Combat Reflexes to Quick Draw).
  • “Techs” does the same for techniques, but instead of looking up the associated attribute, it finds the associated skill on “Skills”. that’s why the spelling of skill names is so important.
  • “Gear” should be self-explanatory. Simply list any equipment your character buys, along with its cost and weight, which the spreadsheet will total for you. The character creator does not include a database of equipment because that would be a copyright infringement.

Speaking of copyrights: due to not wanting to step upon Steve Jackson’s toes, and simply because there are hundreds upon hundreds of GURPS books available, the spreadsheet contains no actual skills, advantages, or any other content other than a small subset of the freely-available GURPS Lite, so you will also need whichever books you are using for your campaign.

Like all of my trpg aids, I built this in OpenOffice (AOO 4, to be precise), so I can’t guarantee it will work in other spreadsheet programs, but it should work in StarOffice’s other descendants (I wrote previously about the pros and cons of LibreOffice vs Apache OpenOffice, but there are several other derivatives as well). Normally it wouldn’t be an issue since the very few things I don’t upload as PDFs are relatively simple, but this thing is the second most complicated spreadsheet I have ever created; the first being my still-in-progress D&D 5e version. I simply don’t have the time to thoroughly test it in all of StarOffice’s children, so if you do use one of the other OO variants, please let me how well it works – especially if part of it doesn’t.

Also in common with my other aids is the fact that I built it, with input from my wife, specifically for our use, and don’t seek input from others. But in this case, instead of simply offering it up to the world for people to use or not as they please, this time I would like your feedback. Naturally, I need to know about any bugs or formula errors immediately so I can fix them. But I’d also like to know which parts of it you do and don’t like, as well as suggestions for improvements. Bear in mind, however, that this is version 1.0, and 2.0 is about half done.

One of the major changes is cosmetic. As it stands, “Usage” and “Basics” don’t even look like they’re part of the same document as the rest, so I’m making everything easier to read while giving the whole thing a facelift. Another small yet big change is that I somehow neglected to separate out CP spent to raise BS and BM from modifiers to them, so it ends up charging you CP a second time for any modifiers you list. That has already been remedied, so all of the major mechanical issues should now be dealt with. The only other mechanical change I’m planning at this time is to repeat the character’s BL on the gear tab. I may also include there the specified TL’s starting wealth, but providing a way to modify it for Wealth will just needlessly clutter up the sheet for most characters, so I will likely instead include a box where you can specify the character’s starting wealth, and the spreadsheet will keep a running total and tell you how much you have left to spend.