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GURPS FAQ

-----------------------------------------------------------------------Distribution Frequency:
Current distribution:
Next distribution date:
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Quarterly
15 May 1998 (Ver. 4.5)
13 August 1998
13 February 1998 (Ver. 4.4)

The GURPS Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) list will be updated as needed
and posted to the following:
Usenet
rec.games.frp.gurps
rec.games.frp.archives
(Note: Follow-ups should go to rec.games.frp.gurps)
Illuminati Online
io.games.sjg.gurps
Online
On the Web: http://www.sjgames.com/gurps/faq/
Via FTP: ftp://ftp.sjgames.com/pub/sjgames/gurps/faq/FAQ.txt
CONTRIBUTORS:
Kevin J. Chase (kjc@njcc.com) -- Current Maintainer
Sean Punch (kromm@io.com) -- Backup
James Duncan (griffin@io.com) -- Founder and Former Maintainer
Kevin Wong (jahn@soda.berkeley.edu) -- Former Maintainer
Sean Barrett (sands@netcom.com) -- Contributor
Contributions from others as noted.
COMMENTS, CORRECTIONS AND SUGGESTIONS:
If you have any suggestions for new questions or corrections, or if you feel
some additional info would be useful, please compose your question,
correction or clarification and send it to Kevin J. Chase (kjc@njcc.com).
NOTES ON ABBREVIATIONS:
HTML = Hypertext Mark-up Language
URL = Universal Resource Locator
WWW = World-Wide Web (a.k.a. "the Web")
GURPS books are abbreviated "p. AAAnnn," where AAA is a one- to three-letter
abbreviation of the title and nnn is the page number. An up-to-date guide to
GURPS book codes can be found at http://www.sjgames.com/gurps/abbrevs.html.
Some of the more common abbreviations are:
B
CI
CII
G
M
MA
P
RO
SU
UT
VE

Basic Set, Third Edition (Revised)


Compendium I: Character Creation
Compendium II: Combat and Campaigns
Grimoire
Magic, Second Edition
Martial Arts, Second Edition
Psionics
Robots
Supers, Second Edition
Ultra-Tech, Second Edition, Revised
Vehicles, Second Edition

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Key:
% = Seeking input
* = New entry
& = Modified entry
General
GN-01:
GN-02:
GN-03:
GN-04:
GN-05:
GN-06:
GN-07:
GN-08:
GN-09:
GN-10:
%GN-11:
GN-12:
GN-13:

What is GURPS?
What GURPS books are available?
What is required to play GURPS?
What's new in GURPS Basic Set, 3rd Edition (Revised)?
Does Steve Jackson Games publish a magazine for GURPS?
Can submissions be made to Pyramid electronically?
What other magazines have GURPS articles?
Where can I get GURPS Errata, SJ Games catalogs, and other GURPS
information?
Does Steve Jackson Games have a BBS? What's Illuminati Online?
Is there a GURPS electronic mailing list?
Where can I find an anonymous FTP site with GURPS material?
My new GURPS book is falling apart! I just bought it!
Are these answers "official"?

Basic Set, Compendium I and Compendium II


BS-01: Does the Running skill affect Dodge score or initiative?
BS-02: Why do you need to buy off Disadvantages?
BS-02.01: Do you need to buy off disadvantages gained in game play?
BS-03: Can you dodge a burst of automatic-weapon fire? How?
BS-04: What is the "blow-through" rule? How does it work?
BS-04.01: But this means one bullet to the torso can only do HT damage!
Does this mean you can't kill someone with only one bullet?
BS-05: Are there any mass combat rules for GURPS?
BS-06: The language rules given in GURPS Basic Set give unrealistic
results for high-IQ characters. Are there any better
language rules for GURPS?
BS-07: The firearms rules in GURPS Basic Set have several problems, are
there more expanded rules elsewhere?
BS-08: When do death rolls need to be made?
BS-09: How do you speed up GURPS combat?
BS-10: Starting point costs for different genres.
BS-11: How does feinting work?
BS-11.01: If the target of a feint loses the Quick Contest, is he
considered to have used an active defense against it?
BS-11.02: The target of a feint isn't going to *know* he's been
feinted; if he did, he wouldn't have fallen for it.
However, the player will know he's lost the contest, and
may decide (for example) to run away. How do you actually
play out a feint? How do you GM it to prevent unrealistic
reactions like this?
BS-11.03: How do you handle feints in player vs. player combat?
BS-11.04: Does the feinter know his feint succeeded or not before he
strikes the next blow?
BS-11.05: Does the target of a feint know what happened and any margin
of success?
BS-12: How does recoil work for firearms (automatic versus
non-automatic)?

BS-13:
BS-14:
BS-15:
BS-16:
BS-17:
BS-18:
BS-19:
BS-20:
BS-21:
BS-22:
BS-23:
BS-24:
BS-25:
BS-26:

How does the GURPS turn sequence work? What about initiative?
What's the difference between Throwing and Thrown Weapon skills?
How does Will work?
Do you declare the use of Luck before or after a roll?
What are the rules for fighting with two weapons?
Why is crossbow damage based on ST?
What is the tachi, and how is it different from the katana?
Why are blackjacks and neko-de Reach C only when a punch is C,
1? What about knife wheels and combat fans?
What does the Fit advantage (p. CI25) provide?
How do the "Defaulting to Other Skills" and "Improving Skills
with Defaults" rules work?
How do the damage bonuses from all-out-attack Weapon Master,
Throwing Art or weapon quality affect the weapon's maximum damage?
Why does Toughness cost so much more than an equivalent amount
of Damage Resistance?
What rolls are affected by Shock due to injuries?
In a campaign with psionics, both Emapthy and Danger Sense are
supposed to be psionic powers. How does that work?

Conversions and Adaptations


%CN-01: General
CN-02: How would I assign a Tech Level to somethng like Star Wars or
Star Trek?
%CN-03: Weapons
CN-04: AD&D
CN-05: Battletech
CN-06: Call of Cthulhu
%CN-07: Cyberpunk 2.0.2.0
CN-08: Harn
CN-09: Hero/Champions
CN-10: In Nomine
%CN-11: Nexus -- The Infinite City
CN-12: Star Trek
CN-13: Star Wars
CN-14: Storyteller (Vampire, Werewolf, Mage, Wraith, Changeling, et
cetera)
CN-15: Traveller
CN-16: Wheel of Time
Cyberpunk
CY-01: How should netrunning be handled?
CY-02: The GURPS Cyberpunk source book doesn't contain any specific
world setting. Is there a GURPS Cyberpunk world sourcebook?
CY-03: Where can I get stats for additional GURPS Cyberpunk equipment
and cyberware?
Fantasy
F-01:
F-02:
F-03:
F-04:
F-05:
F-06:
&F-07:

How should clerical magic be handled?


When does a spell go off?
What sorts of spells count as spells "on"?
Which spells are cancelled by a no mana zone?
How many mages make a circle?
Can you mix regular and aspected Magery?
Can I leave holes in an area effect spell to avoid catching my
friends in it?
*F-07.01: Can I count the hexes a radius-n area spell would have

filled, and then arrange them in some other shape, like a wall?
F-08.01: If a supernatural creature such as a demon can walk through a
Force Dome (p. M78), can an Awakened creature such as a
Vampire, Garou, or Ascension Mage walk through it, too?
F-08.02: What happens to something caught at the very boundary of the
Force Dome when it is cast?
F-08.03: Can a Force Dome enclose a no mana zone?
F-08.04: What happens when two domes intersect?
F-08.05: Are Force Domes spheres or hemispheres? If they are spheres,
do they have to be half submerged to "fix" them in place?
Can the whole sphere be uncovered?
F-08.06: Is a Force Dome useless to flying characters? Can it be cast
in mid-air around yourself? Or around a flying opponent?
F-08.07: Is it useless to a swimming character?
F-08.08: Can a Force Dome be cast on the deck of a moving vehicle?
F-08.09: If the dirt under the dome is chewed away, would the dome be
subject to gravity (a physical force)? Would the sphere
and its occupants fall?
F-08.10: In the case above, if the sphere fell and hit the ground,
would the occupants be subject to appropriate falling damage?
F-08.11: How much does a Force Dome weigh?
F-08.12: Say I was levitating in my dome and I had destroyed all the
earth in the bottom half of the sphere. How much effort
would I have to put into an Apportation spell to just move
the dome itself?
F-08.13: How does a Force Dome work? Can a Force Dome absorb *any*
force, even the blast of a nuclear weapon?
F-09: What exactly is a fireball?
F-09.01: What temperature is a Fireball?
F-09.02: What kinds of wounds does a Fireball cause?
F-09.03: How does a Fireball interact with armor?
F-09.04: If a character is hit at a breastplate by an Explosive
Fireball, does the breastplate protect regardless of his
unprotected face?
F-10: How many spells can a mage cast in a turn?
F-11: The "Rule of 16" makes high-resistance characters almost immune
to resisted spells, no matter how skilled the attacker is.
What gives?
F-12: Can a mage with One-College-Only Magery learn spells with
prerequisites outside that college?
*F-13: When casting a spell, at what point does the mage have to
specify his target?
Horror
HR-01: How do you scare players?
HR-02: What is chainsaw damage in GURPS (a la "Texas Chainsaw
Massacre")?
Martial Arts
MA-01: Can Kicking be improved?
MA-02: Can a martial artist use techniques not covered under his
particular style?
MA-03: Is there a defense against Arm Lock?
MA-04: Unarmed martial artist vs. armed fighters (melee weapons).
MA-05: Are there any additional sources of martial arts rules other
than the GURPS Martial Arts source book?
MA-06: The rules for Wrestling differ in GURPS Martial Arts and
Imperial Rome. Which is correct?

MA-07: How do you use the Hit Location maneuver?


MA-08: Is the attack granted by the Riposte maneuver an "extra attack"?
MA-09: What is the Reach of a bare-handed attack?
Science Fiction
SF-01: Where are battlesuits (power armor) described?
SF-02: Is there a GURPS-compatible miniatures/boardgame starship
system?
SF-03: Will GURPS Autoduel ever be revised?
SF-04: Are robots covered in any GURPS book?
SF-05: Just how many programs can a computer run? A robot?
SF-06: How do the beam weapon rules work?
SF-07: What is the DR of 1 point of DF in GURPS Space and how many dice
damage does one point of FP translate into?
Supers
SU-01: Are there any adventures available for GURPS Supers?
SU-02: Is there a conversion system between Champions and GURPS?
SU-03: What does Invulnerability to "Any Kinetic Damage" protect
against?
SU-04: Ablative DR.
SU-05: How does Morph work?
Vehicles
VE-01: What's in GURPS Vehicles?
%VE-02: Where can I get sample/ready-made vehicles?
-----------------------------------------------------------------------GURPS FAQ: General
GN-01: What is GURPS?
GURPS stands for Generic Universal Role Playing System. The game system is
published by Steve Jackson Games and the core rules (GURPS Basic Set) were
written by Steve Jackson. The first GURPS Basic Set was released in 1986.
GURPS Basic Set, Third Edition was published in 1988. The current edition,
GURPS Basic Set, Third Edition (Revised) was published in 1994 and features
an appendix of 18 pages of generic rules reprinted from other GURPS books.
This appendix replaces the "Caravan from Ein Arris" adventure.
GURPS is a 3d6 skill-based system. It uses a point-based character creation
system, and represents characters using four basic stats (Strength,
Dexterity, IQ, and Health) along with advantages, disadvantages and quirks.
GURPS is designed to allow role-playing in any genre. The same game
mechanics are used regardless of the genre.
GN-02: What GURPS books are available?
A complete list of all GURPS products is available on the SJ Games website,
at
http://www.sjgames.com/gurps/books/
GN-03: What is required to play GURPS?
Only the GURPS Basic Set is required to play GURPS, although GURPS

Compendium I and II are now regarded as being part of the core rules as
well; you'll probably want them, too. Various source books may be useful,
depending on genre. Along with the Basic Set, the following are recommended
for the genre listed:
Alternate Dimensions:
GURPS Time Travel. Alternate Earths is a book of pre-made alternate
realities. Compendium II includes a short discussion of the subject as
well (see pp. CII180-184).
American Western/Cowboy:
GURPS Old West.
High-Tech may be useful.
Conspiracy:
GURPS Illuminati. GURPS Warehouse 23 covers a warehouse full of weird
items, while GURPS IOU presents a "silly" illuminated setting. GURPS
Black Ops covers high-powered agents combatting alien conspiracies and
the like.
Counter-Terrorism:
GURPS Special Ops. GURPS High-Tech is recommended.
Cyberpunk:
GURPS Cyberpunk. Ultra-Tech and Ultra-Tech 2 are useful for TL9+
campaigns, and Bio-Tech contains a lot of new cyberwear and biowear.
GURPS High-Tech is moderately useful. GURPS Cyberworld provides a
ready-made campaign setting. GURPS Reign of Steel presents a
post-robot-apocalypse setting with plenty of opportunity for cyberpunk
in the human-controlled areas.
Espionage/Spies:
GURPS Espionage. High-Tech is recommended and Ultra-Tech may be useful.
"James Bond"-style cars can be built with GURPS Vehicles.
Fantasy:
GURPS Magic, 2nd Edition is a must. GURPS Conan, Fantasy or Fantasy II
may be useful for a GM who wants a ready-made campaign setting. GURPS
Bestiary, Fantasy Bestiary, Fantasy Folk, Grimoire and Magic Items 1
and 2 may also be useful. GURPS Religion is useful for campaigns
featuring gods and clerics. Additional material set in Yrth -- the
world detailed in GURPS Fantasy -- includes GURPS Fantasy Adventures,
Harkwood and Tredroy.
Horror:
GURPS Horror. Magic and Psionics may be useful. Voodoo presents a magic
system that is much more subtle and better-suited to most horror
campaigns. Creatures of the Night presents a lot of nasty monsters, and
Places of Mystery covers many unusual locations. Warehouse 23 goes into
great detail about forteanism and other horror/conspiracy staples.
GURPS CthulhuPunk mixes the forces of H.P. Lovecraft's fiction into a
near-future cyberpunk setting.
Martial Arts:
GURPS Martial Arts. GURPS Japan or China may be useful as campaign
settings. GURPS Martial Arts Adventures presents some ready-made
adventures.
Modern-Day:
GURPS High-Tech covers guns, Vehicles covers vehicles, Espionage covers
spies and Special Ops covers soldiers.
Science Fiction:
GURPS Space; although Ultra-Tech, Ultra-Tech 2, and Bio-Tech are very
useful, as are Robots and GURPS Mecha. Lensman is a ready-made space
opera campaign setting, and Terradyne is a ready-made TL8 campaign
setting.
Swashbuckling:
GURPS Swashbucklers. GURPS Scarlet Pimpernel is a worldbook for GURPS
Swashbucklers, containing many adventure seeds.

Superhero:
GURPS Supers. GURPS Psionics is needed for psionic characters, Martial
Arts is needed for super martial artists and Ultra-Tech is very useful
for super gadgets. GURPS Mecha can be used to create powered armor and
mechanical super suits. Wild Cards is a setting for Supers, and Aces
Abroad is a supplement for Wild Cards. The International Super Teams
sourcebook -- and the Supertemps, Super Scum, and IST Kingston
supplements -- may be useful GMs looking for a ready-made campaign
background.
Time Travel:
GURPS Time Travel. Any of the historical books (Japan, China, Imperial
Rome, Middle Ages 1, Dinosaurs, et cetera) may prove useful.
[Maintainer's Note: in spite of what the title implies, there is no
"Middle Ages 2".]
Timeline is a summary of world history with a lot of adventure seeds.
Time Travel Adventures is a book of ready-made adventures.
GN-04: What's new in GURPS Basic Set, 3rd Edition (Revised)?
GURPS Basic Set, 3rd Edition (Revised) differs form the previous edition
(GURPS Basic Set, 3rd Edition) by the addition of an appendix of 18 pages of
fairly generic rules which were previously printed in various other GURPS
books. The appendix replaces the "Caravan from Ein Arris" adventure. Items
in the new appendix include new advantages, disadvantages, skills and other
rules.
New advantages include Ally Group, Blessed, Contacts, Dark Vision, Destiny,
Multimillionaire (used in conjunction with Filthy Rich), Perfect Balance,
Unfazeable and several others. New disadvantages include Destiny, Duty
(Involuntary), Secret, Amnesia, Weirdness Magnet, Compulsive Behavior
(Generosity), Glory Hound, Manic-Depressive, No Sense of Humor, Trademark
and a few others. The new skills include Video Production, Flight (used by
flying creatures), Boxing, Forward Observer, Intimidation and a few more.
Other rules included in this revision are rules for power cells, attacks to
vital organs and other body parts (groin, jaw, throat, kidneys, nose),
enhanced strength tables for damage and throwing, and society Control
Ratings (how restrictive governments are).
The Revised edition also includes metric conversion charts, updates
information on GURPS product support and changes some text and art in a
largely cosmetic fashion.
GN-05: Does Steve Jackson games publish a magazine for GURPS?
The SJ Games magazine, Pyramid, covers a wide variety of games, including
GURPS. Pyramid is an online (as opposed to printed-on-paper) magazine which
covers RPGs, board games, electronic games and collectible trading card
games. Although Pyramid is a general gaming magazine, GURPS is covered
extensively.
Pyramid used to be a bimonthly 80-page paper magazine. The last issue to be
published physically was #30, in May of 1998.
Information regarding Pyramid (including general information, writers'
guidelines and other links) may be found on the Web at:
* http://www.sjgames.com/pyramid/

Roleplayer was the SJ Games GURPS magazine. Issues were published


approximately bimonthly and varied in length (most of the later issues were
32 pages in length). No advertising was included, except for Steve Jackson
Games products -- mostly GURPS. The last Roleplayer was issue #30.
Roleplayer material is now archived at:
* http://www.sjgames.com/gurps/Roleplayer/
GN-06: Can submissions be made to Pyramid electronically?
Yes. Send email to pyramid@io.com for writing guidelines, or go to:
* http://www.sjgames.com/pyramid/
GN-07: What other magazines have GURPS articles?
Shannon Appel has compiled an index of many gaming magazines. The indexes
are mainly by RPG. They can be found by ftp-ing to ftp.csua.berkeley.edu and
going to the /pub/rpg-index directory. Those using web browsers can simply
go to:
* ftp://ftp.csua.berkeley.edu/pub/rpg-index/
GN-08: Where can I get GURPS errata, SJ Games catalogs, and other GURPS
information?
GURPS errata may be obtained on the web from:
* http://www.sjgames.com/errata/gurps/
You can view the current catalog and even send in an order from:
* http://www.sjgames.com/catalog0/
General GURPS information can be found at:
* http://www.sjgames.com/gurps/
For those without web access, the mailing address for SJG is:
Steve Jackson Games
Box 18957
Austin, TX 78760
Write to them for errata sheets, catalogs, GURPS questions or subscription
information. Please include a stamped, self-addressed envelope (SASE) when
requesting errata sheets and specify which book or books you for which
errata is requested. They will not give you every errata sheet ever printed
-- so be specific. A SASE is also required to get back answers on rules
questions (it's best to post to GURPSnet-L or rec.games.frp.misc for this if
you want a quick response).
GN-09: Does Steve Jackson games have a BBS? What's Illuminati Online?
Steve Jackson Games' official bulletin board system (BBS) was known as the
Illuminati BBS. It no longer exists. Illuminati Online (IO) is a
full-featured Internet service provider (ISP) that is owned in part by Steve
Jackson, and which took its name from the Illuminati BBS, but it is not part

of SJ Games and is not a gaming BBS.


For information on how to subscribe to IO, go to
* http://www.io.com/
or send email to info@io.com. An automated reply will be sent, containing
information about IO.
You can also subscribe on line. To do so, telnet to "io.com", type "new" at
the login prompt and follow the instructions. IO is a commercial service,
and there is a fee if you subscribe.
GN-10: Is there a GURPS electronic mailing list?
Yes, there is a GURPS mailing list. You can receive it on a by-message basis
or in digest form. To subscribe to GURPSnet-L, send email to
majordomo@io.com (this is *not* the address to which you should post
messages). In the body, have the single line:
* "subscribe GURPSnet-L grailer@angels.web"
if your address is "grailer@angels.web" -- if not, use whatever your address
really is. Note that GURPSnet-L runs under Majordomo. Majordomo is not
Listserv and Listserv syntax doesn't work.
To post, send your message to GURPSnet-L@io.com. (Note that this is not the
subscribe/unsubscribe address.) Your message will be sent to every
subscriber, including yourself.
To unsubscribe, send email to majordomo@io.com. (Note that this is not the
posting address.) In the body, have the single line:
* "unsubscribe GURPSnet-L babbage@analytical.engine"
if the address you want to unsubscribe is "babbage@analytical.engine" -- if
not, use whatever address you want to unsubscribe.
To get the digest version of GURPSnet, use the procedure above to subscribe,
but substitute GURPSnet-Digest for GURPSnet-L.
Source: Sean Barrett (sands@netcom.com)
More information can be found at http://www.io.com/~ftp/GURPSnet/www/.
%GN-11: Where can I find an anonymous FTP site with GURPS material?
There are several. The largest collection of GURPS material is probably at
ftp.io.com, in the directory /pub/sjgames/gurps/GURPSnet. Log in as
"anonymous" and give your complete email address as your password. Put new
stuff in /pub/sjgames/gurps/GURPSnet/incoming. For those using web browsers,
this site is also available as:
* http://www.io.com/~ftp/GURPSnet/
GN-12: My new GURPS book is falling apart! I just bought it!
Anyone who has a book that's in ill repair for no good reason (as compared
to worn out through your usage), can call (800) 443-7866 to arrange a
replacement. In the case of something out of print, we might not be able to

replace it, but you should call to see what we can do to make things right.
Source: Gene Seabolt (seabolt@io.com)
GN-13: Are these answers "official"?
Version 4.0 of this FAQ was overhauled from an earlier version by Sean "Dr.
Kromm" Punch, who is the GURPS Line Editor and an SJ Games employee.
However, most of the text was written long before he took over, and is
fan-authored. It is safe to assume these answers are pretty darn accurate -but this FAQ is not a SJ Games house organ and SJ Games is not bound by
anything set down in this FAQ.
The current maintainer (Kevin J. Chase, v4.1+) is not an employee of Steve
Jackson Games, but he promises he will do his best.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------GURPS FAQ: Basic Set, Compendium 1 and 2
BS-01: Does the Running skill affect Dodge score or initiative?
No! Running skill only increases your Move rating for ground movement, it
does not modify Dodge or improve your initiative or place in the turn
sequence.
Source: Steve Jackson, Roleplayer #19 (April 1990)
Enhanced Move (p. CI54), Super Running (p. CI68), and Cyberlegs (p. UT106)
won't increase Dodge or initiative, either. You need Increased Speed (p
CI26) to increase both, or Enhanced Dodge (p. CI24) to increase only your
Dodge.
Source: Kevin J. Chase (kjc@njcc.com)
BS-02: Why do you need to buy off Disadvantages?
Disadvantages taken at character creation time grant a player extra points
to use to improve his character in other areas. A disadvantage imposes some
restriction on the character. If he can get rid of a disadvantage without
buying it off, it means he's getting something for nothing and "there ain't
no such thing as a free lunch."
On the other hand, experienced GMs should feel free to relax this rule or
even do away with it -- not everyone wants to be a character point
accountant.
Here are some examples of abuse that routinely occurs if this rule is
removed without caution:
1. Only the rich rule!
1. Cyberpunk -- Take any physical disad and then buy bionics to fix
it.
2. Fantasy -- Poverty disad. If you know that your GM tends run
adventures where money can be easily acquired, this is free
points.
2. Run away!
1. Enemy -- If you take an Enemy and then go some place the Enemy
can't follow, you no longer have an Enemy. The GM should give you
an equivalent Enemy or make you pay off the disad. Otherwise, the
GM needs to confine the adventure or just let you get off free.

2. Dependents -- If you go some place where your dependents will not


come into play, the GM needs to either get creative and pull an
occasional emergency at home, or in a few cases allow the disad to
be bought off. I personally *never* allow Dependents to be bought
off unless the Dependents are killed or otherwise permanently
removed from the game.
3. Live it up today for tomorrow we die. NOT!
Take the Terminal Illness disadvantage. If you can locate a cure, you
get up to 100 points for the disad. The quest for a cure to a terminal
illness is nice "hook" for the GM to fashion an adventure around. Most
GMs grant the possibility of a solution rather than just saying "Hey -you chose the disad so your character dies no matter what!" (Of course
this is OK for sadistic GMs and any GM running a cyberpunk campaign,
where sadistic GMing is the default. :-).
BS-02.01: Do you need to buy off disadvantages gained in game play?
No. You do *not* need to buy off disadvantages acquired during game play.
BS-03: Can you dodge a burst of automatic-weapon fire? How?
Dodge vs. bullets represents the effects of an alerted target's movement on
the attacker's accuracy. The defender does not physically duck the bullets!
Normally, one dodge is allowed against each shot. Against automatic weapons,
however, one dodge is allowed against each *group* instead.
The "Dodge and Drop" rule on p. CII63 is a useful option for characters
under fire!
BS-04: What is the "blow-through" rule? How does it work?
The "Blow-Through" rule is buried in the sidebar on p. B109 (B109). This
rule limits the damage a character can take from bullets and impaling
damage. An impaling or bullet hit to the torso will do no more than HT
points of damage; anything exceeding this is lost. The exception is if a
vital organ is hit, in which case the limit is HTx3. For more details, see
the rule in the Basic Set and its expansion on p. CII62.
Addendum - Jeff Gaines (rabulias@io.com):
The HTx3 limit applies to both the head and the vitals. Beam, Fireball or
Lightning attacks do double the maximum damage. There is *no* maximum damage
for injuries to the brain or for weapons that do more than 15d in basic
damage. (From the 8th printing of Basic Set, 3rd Edition.)
BS-04.01: But this means one bullet to the torso can only do HT damage! Does
this mean you can't kill someone with only one bullet?
Yes and no. Remember that weapons that do more than 15d of basic damage
don't use the blow-through rule at all. But, yes, if you shoot someone with
a "normal" sized handgun in the torso, the optional bleeding rules (p. B130)
or the even more optional bleeding rules (p. CII156) will have to be used
for a single shot to result in death. Death will then be a slow, drawn-out
experience instead of a "Bang! You're dead!" experience.
Source: Kevin J. Chase (kjc@njcc.com)
Optionally, any one of the following adjustments will make death from a
single gunshot more likely:
1. Lethal Shock: Even if the wound canal from a bullet is trivial, the

shock front can stop the heart and arrest breathing. Use the rules as
written, discarding damage that blows through; however, whenever
someone is shot in the torso, make HT rolls (for unconsciousness,
death, and stunning) as if he had taken the full damage.
EXAMPLE: A HT 10 character takes a 25-point bullet wound. This does
only 10 points of damage, but he must make two HT rolls to survive,
since if had taken the full 25 hits, he'd be at -15 hit points.
2. Higher Hit Location Blow-Through Multiple: Since the vitals are in the
torso and since bullets generate a shock wave and generally create a
large wound canal by keyholing, et cetera, it's unlikely the vitals
could escape harm. Treat all bullet hits to the torso as vitals hits
for blow-through purposes only; i.e., bullet wounds to the torso blow
through only after doing HTx3 damage.
3. Higher Weapon Blow-Through Multiple: A bigger round or one that deforms
to *appear* bigger will deposit more energy as it passes through the
human body. Apply all the multipliers for bullet type and weapon
caliber to HT to determine blow through.
EXAMPLE: A .45 hollowpoint (x1.5 for calibre, x1.5 for expanding) can
inflict up to HTx2.25 before blowing through.
[Maintainer's Note: This will allow a large bullet to drop someone dead
in one shot, while not having as much effect on a low calibre round,
which is very unlikely to incur the blow-through rule in the first
place. Armor-piercing rounds will have almost no chance of killing with
one shot.]
Source: Dr. Kromm (kromm@io.com)
This method [3] has the advantage that you can treat it as not being a blow
through multiple at all -- limit damage to HT before applying multipliers
for size and bullet type.
Source: Christopher M. Dicely (cmdicely@ccnet.com)
BS-05: Are there any mass combat rules for GURPS?
Yes. Mass combat has been covered in such sourcebooks as GURPS Conan,
Vikings and Japan. The latest version of those rules appears in GURPS
Compendium II, p. 112. These rules are not a set of miniatures rules, but
instead are intended to allow quick resolution of large-scale combat and
determine what happened to the PCs.
BS-06: The language rules given in GURPS Basic Set give unrealistic results
for high-IQ characters. Are there any better language rules for GURPS?
Yes. GURPS Compendium I (p. 119) presents an old Roleplayer article by
Steffan O'Sullivan, entitled "The Gift of Tongues," which offers a selection
of optional language rules. This article can also be found at
http://www.sjgames.com/gurps/Roleplayer/Roleplayer26/Optional-Language-Rule
s.html
BS-07: The firearms rules in GURPS Basic Set have several problems, are
there more expanded rules elsewhere?
Yes. GURPS High-Tech, 2nd Edition expands and improves the reality of the
GURPS firearm rules. The first chapter has a sidebar on "Flinch, Buck Fever
and Bullet Shyness" (pp. HT7-9). Flinch is responding to the gun's recoil
prior to actually firing, thus resulting in a negative modifier to gun
skill. Buck fever is a decrease in accuracy due to firing in a stressful
situation. Bullet shyness is tendency to seek cover from gunfire rather than

exposing yourself to return fire. Bullet shyness in GURPS requires a Will


roll by NPCs to allow exposure to gunfire (PCs should avoid exposure to gun
shots due to fear of being blown away!). Other problems include heavy
breathing (after a run for instance), distractions (dust, sweat, etc.) and
other discomforts.
Clarifications on how bullet damage works, expansions on different ammo
types, a modification to Passive Defense vs. bullets, explanations of recoil
(and felt recoil) and a change to the way knockback works for being hit by
bullets are included as well (pp. HT4-15). Gun maintenance and malfunctions
are also covered.
Most of this material has been updated and included in GURPS Compendium II
as well.
BS-08: When do death rolls need to be made?
A death roll for reaching -HT and each subsequent -(HT + 5n) only has to be
made once, when that damage occurs. After that, the character is not at
further risk of dying until more damage occurs. If this is too unrealistic
for you, applying the optional rules for bleeding (p. B130) can cause this
extra damage to take place without further combat. Otherwise, the character
has a chance to regain consciousness later, even if there is no aid
rendered.
Source: Steven Sharp (sesharp@happy.colorado.edu) in rec.games.frp.misc
BS-09: How do you speed up GURPS combat?
There are several ways:
(a) Never use the GURPS Advanced Combat Rules!
(b) Use the "Very Basic Melee Combat" rules detailed in Compendium II, p.
89. These rules can also be found at:
http://www.sjgames.com/gurps/Roleplayer/Roleplayer23/VeryBasicMelee.html
Source: Steffan O'Sullivan
There are also rules in the sidebars on pp. CII73-74 that are intended to
speed up combat.
BS-10: Starting point costs for different genres.
Conspiracy/Illuminati: 100 pts (maybe less)
Cyberpunk
* Standard: 150 pts
* Cinematic: 300 pts
Fantasy
* Standard: 100 pts
* Cinematic: 200 pts or more
Horror
* Cthulhu: 100 or less!
* Slasher Flick: 50 pts (Only one person gets out alive anyway! :-)

Immortals: 300-750 pts, or even more


Martial Arts
* Standard: 100-150 pts
* Cinematic: 200-300 pts
Old West
* Standard: 100 pts
* Cinematic: 200 pts
Psionics (remember to take into account any Unusual Background for psi)
*
*
*
*

Standard: 100-150 pts


Cinematic: 200-300 pts
High Fantasy: 300 pts or more
Super (note that any campaign with Power 10+ tends to seem like a
Supers game): 500 pts or more

Science Fiction
* Standard: 100 pts.
* Space Opera: 200 pts (up to 1000 pts for GURPS Lensman)
Special Ops
* Standard: 300 pts, limit of 80 pts in attributes
* Cinematic: 300 pts, no limit on attributes
* Note: Many people feel that 300-point soldiers are unrealistic no
matter how well-trained they are, and recommend 100-200 points instead.
Supers
* "Realistic" (e.g., Watchmen): 250-350 pts
* Four-Color (e.g., Spider Man): 500-1,000 pts
* Wild Cards: 350-500 pts
Swashbucklers
* Historical: 100 pts.
* Cinematic: 200 pts
BS-11: How does feinting work?
Feinting is trying to make your foe think you'll do something other than
what you really plan to do. When you feint, you make a normal weapon skill
roll -- although you are not going to hit your foe. Then you foe rolls
against his Combat/Weapon skill. Three results are possible:
1. You failed. Nothing happens.
2. You made a successful roll, but by
did. Nothing happens.
3. You made a successful roll, and by
difference will be subtracted from
in the next turn, if you manage to

less than or as much as your foe


a greater margin than your foe. This
your opponent's Active Defense roll
hit him.

Source: Daniel Sobral (LIN001CI@BRUNB.BITNET)

So basically, you feint if you're much better than your opponent yet he's
good enough to block/parry/dodge most of your shots (i.e. he has a 14+
defense roll).
BS-11.01: If the target of a feint loses the Quick Contest, is he considered
to have used an active defense against it?
No. A successful feint does *something* to lower or draw the defender's
guard, but the defender does not necessarily execute an active defense in
response. Not all feints are fakes. One can fake an attack, but one can also
use rhythm ("left-right, left-right, left-*left*"), stance (a kick after
shifting one's weight as if to punch), deception (look left, strike right)
and aggression (beat the foe's weapon aside) to reduce a foe's chance of
defending. GURPS abstracts all of the above into a "feint roll," so it would
not be altogether realistic to have a feint "use up" a defense.
BS-11.02: The target of a feint isn't going to *know* he's been feinted; if
he did, he wouldn't have fallen for it. However, the player will know he's
lost the contest, and may decide (for example) to run away. How do you
actually play out a feint? How do you GM it to prevent unrealistic reactions
like this?
The best way to play feints is for the GM to roll *all* combat rolls for
NPCs secretly. When an NPC feints, roll dice, ignore them and simply tell
the target "He swings at you and misses." Roll the Quick Contest that would
have taken place immediately (according to the rules as written) on the
NPC's *next* turn, just before his attack, and apply the results of the
feint normally.
BS-11.03: How do you handle feints in player vs. player combat?
Have both players make *all* of their combat rolls in secret for the course
of the duel, but make sure that the GM sees the die rolls of both players.
What's ideal is to seat the two players (or groups of players) on either
side of an upright screen that hides each side's die rolls from the other,
and let the GM and other disinterested parties watch both players from the
sides.
You can also use the solutions for NPCs in BS-11.02 -- the player attempting
the feint tells the GM what he's trying, but tells his opponent that he
swung and missed. (He *has* to tell the GM in advance to prevent cheating.)
The Quick Contest doesn't get rolled until his next turn, just before the
real attack.
BS-11.04: Does the feinter know his feint succeeded or not before he strikes
the next blow?
No! Keeping feint rolls secret ensures this. It
combat is a "mindgame." A fighter is never sure
be bad to put him off guard, or only appears to
practised a few moves to perfection, until he's

is important to realize that


if his foe is pretending to
be good because he has
observed him for some time.

BS-11.05: Does the target of a feint know what happened and any margin of
success?
Ideally, no.
BS-12: How does recoil work for firearms (automatic versus non-automatic)?
Non-Auto:

"Rcl" number is applied to each shot after the first in a turn, but only
once in a turn. So three shots in a row are at (Modified Skill), (Modified
Skill - Rcl) and (Modified Skill - Rcl). Note that the last shot is not at
(Mod. Skill - 2 x Rcl)! However, the first shot of the next turn is at -Rcl,
and all successive shots on that turn are at -2 x Rcl, and so on . . . until
a full turn is spent not firing the gun. After that turn, Rcl penalties are
reset to 0 and the progression begins again.
Auto:
Similar to above where not indicated otherwise. The main differences are
that Rcl is applied to *groups*, not to individual rounds; it is applied
even to the first group in a burst; and it is added for each group,
cumulatively, within or between turns. So firing three groups on full auto
is done at (Modified Skill - Rcl), (Modified Skill - 2 x Rcl) and (Modified
Skill - 3 x Rcl). Next turn you start at -4 x Rcl!
Note: Rcl is doubled if the weapon is held one-handed, and is doubled for
each point of ST the firer has below Minimum ST for the gun. Also, on
unaimed shots, if Rcl takes the final, modified skill roll below the Snap
Shot (SS) number of the gun, the -4 Snap Shot penalty must be applied.
BS-13: How does the GURPS turn sequence work? What about initiative?
Overview:
Characters take their turns in succession, following the combat sequence. A
character's turn starts when he chooses a maneuver and ends when he chooses
his next maneuver. For the sake of convenience, a turn is taken to be 1
second of real time. See p. B95 for more information.
Sequence:
The sequence is a list of all the characters involved in the combat,
arranged in the order that they will act. When combat begins, the GM calls
upon the players to take their turns (or determines what the NPCs do) in the
order given by this list. Once the last character on the list has acted, the
GM moves back to the top of the list and starts over again. Thus, the
sequence is cyclical, and each character gets exactly one turn on each run
through the sequence.
The easy way to determine the sequence involves rolling dice for the
privilege of going first (see p. B95). The more realistic method -- and the
one that is more commonly misunderstood -- involves having the characters
act in order of decreasing Move.
For the sake of the combat sequence, your Move is equal to your Basic Speed
(p. B14), minus any movement penalty for your encumbrance level (p. B76),
dropping all fractions. The Running skill (p. B48) does *not* affect your
Move for this purpose. The character with the highest Move goes first, then
the character with the next-highest Move, and so on. If multiple characters
have the same Move, they act in order of decreasing Basic Speed. If two
characters have the same Move and Basic Speed, they each roll a die and the
character who rolls highest acts first.
Note that no matter which method is used to determine the sequence, once it
is determined, it stays the same for the entire battle. When using the easy
way, or when using the realistic way and breaking a tie with dice, dice are
rolled only once, at the beginning of the battle. Likewise, if Move has been
used to determine the sequence, the sequence does not change, even if the
Move of one or more characters changes during the combat.
Turn:

A character's turn is an interval of time that starts when the sequence


indicates he can act and ends when it indicates he can act again. This means
that the interval of time represented by a turn is a different interval for
each character: a turn always takes one second, but it is not precisely the
same second for any two combatants because each fighter starts his turn at a
different place in the sequence. It is important to realize that there is no
"overall" turn that applies to everyone on the whole battlefield, and that
running through the entire combat sequence once does *not* constitute a
"turn" of any kind.
Maneuver:
A maneuver is an action (see pp. B95-97 and 103-107 for examples) taken in
combat. Each maneuver that you take marks the beginning of a turn and the
end of your previous one. Some things that are not maneuvers include defense
rolls, resistance rolls, free actions and actions that take "no time." Note
that the term "maneuver" is also used for certain martial arts moves, but
the terms are not interchangeable.
While active defenses are not maneuvers, defense rolls made against
attackers who act after you do are affected by the maneuver you took on your
turn, and will continue to be affected until you take a new maneuver on your
next turn. This is especially important to realize when choosing the All-Out
Attack maneuver: a character who makes an All-Out Attack gets no defenses
until everyone else has acted once!
For simplicity's sake, assume that all characters enter combat with all of
their active defenses intact, even if they have not yet taken a maneuver.
Step and Wait:
The Step and Wait maneuver deserves special treatment here. The act of
choosing a maneuver defines the beginning of a turn: when a character's turn
comes around during the sequence, he *must* choose a maneuver. Step and Wait
is just like any other maneuver in this respect, and by choosing it, you are
not delaying your turn until later -- only your attack.
Initiative:
"Initiative" is a term used to express the concept of "who goes next." In
most cases, initiative should be determined by the Move value, as per the
sidebar on p. B95. To determine the turn sequence of attackers with multiple
attacks, use the following rule. The first attack uses the character's Move
value; the second uses Move-1, the third Move-2, and so on.
If one fighter has an opponent pinned, or in an arm or leg hold, the
immobilized fighter takes his turn normally if he is slower than his foe. If
he is faster than his foe, he does *not* go first; he goes immediately after
the foe who has immobilized him.
Source: Paraphrased from GURPS Compendium II, with permission.
BS-14: What's the difference between Throwing and Thrown Weapon skills?
The Throwing skill allows you to throw anything. A Thrown Weapon skill is
used to throw a specific "aerodynamic" weapon. Rocks, round/spherical
grenades, and other non-aerodynamic items are thrown using the Throwing
skill. If you don't have Throwing or an appropriate Thrown Weapon skill,
your default is DX-3 to throw at a specific target, or DX if you just want
to lob something into a general area. (see pp. B49, B52 and HT45).
BS-15: How does Will work?

Will is actually a "figured" attribute, much like "Fatigue" (which equals


ST), Hit Points (which equal HT) or Speed (which equals [DX+HT]/4). If you
have Weak Will, your Will is equal to the lower of your IQ or 14, minus Weak
Will. Otherwise, it is equal to IQ plus any Strong Will you may possess.
Will is, in general, treated like any other attribute or skill; there are no
special limits on how high or low it can be. The exceptions are when Will is
being used to suppress a disadvantage and when a Fright Check is being made.
In those situations, a Will roll of 14+ fails. This is not to say that the
number called "Will" cannot exceed 13, only that certain specific Will rolls
fail on 14+. Despite this, high Will has its advantages even when making
Fright Checks; a character with (for example) Will 20 could make a Fright
Check with any modifier from 0 to -7 and still only fail on 14+.
Interesting variant rules for Will and Will-related Disadvantages are
presented in the Pyramid #9 article "The Much-Maligned Will", and are
reprinted in GURPS Compendium I (p. CI8).
BS-16: Do you declare the use of Luck before or after a roll?
The consensus seems to be that, for 15 points, it should be possible to use
Luck *after* a bad die roll. Consider that to be the "official" ruling on
the matter.
BS-17: What are the rules for fighting with two weapons?
A character who attacks with two weapons is at -4 on both attacks when doing
so, and has an additional -4 on the attack made with the weapon in his off
hand (for a total of -8 and -4). To buy off the -4 for attacking with two
weapons, use the Dual Weapon Attack maneuver; to buy off the -4 for using
the off hand, use the Off-Hand Weapon Training maneuver (or Ambidexterity).
See GURPS Martial Arts for these maneuvers. If he chooses the "extra
attacks" option when making an All-Out Attack, he gets one extra attack, not
double his usual number of attacks. In other words, he has 3 attacks instead
of two -- certainly not 4! Two of those attacks are made as outlined above
(i.e., at -8 and -4); the third attack can be made with either weapon, and
is at -4 if made with the off hand.
BS-18: Why is crossbow damage based on ST?
The damage done by a crossbow is based on the ST of the *bow*, not of the
firer. A PC may fire a crossbow stronger than his/her ST without penalty,
but cocking the crossbow will take longer (p. B114).
GURPS Vehicles, Second Edition has rules for creation of low-tech weapons,
including crossbows, that take into account changes in 1/2 Damage and
Maximum ranges as the bow ST increases. An example of crossbows made using
these rules can be found at:
* http://www.io.com/~beholder/Crossbows.txt
BS-19: What is the tachi, and how is it different from the katana?
The tachi ("longsword") was an early Japanese sword: the original sword of
the "samurai" and the direct ancestor of the katana. It originated in the
Heian period (794-1185 AD), and was designed primarily as a cavalry weapon,
spurred by the experience of the Tenkei War (939-941 AD). It was gradually
relegated to a ceremonial role as the katana overtook it in popularity
during the Kamakura period (1185-1333 AD).
Source: Draeger, Donn F. and Smith, Robert W., "Comprehensive Asian Fighting

Arts." Kodansha International, Tokyo (1980).


The tachi typically sported a 24"-28" long blade (compared to a 25"-32"
blade for the katana). Once its function became largely that of a court and
ceremonial weapon, it became customary to lavishly decorate both the sword
and its scabbard.
Source: Weland, Gerald, "A Collector's Guide to Swords, Daggers and
Cutlasses." New Burlington Books, London (1991).
BS-20: Why are blackjacks and neko-de Reach C only when a punch is C, 1?
What about knife wheels and combat fans?
In both cases, Reach C, 1 makes more sense. The proper use of the blackjack
is to weight a punch -- it's not really a swung club at all. It is used with
a punch-like thrusting motion or hammer fist-type motion, and like a punch
or knife, should be Reach C, 1. Likewise, the neko-de is used with karate
punches, and should also be Reach C, 1.
OTOH, slashing wheels and combat fans are fanciful rather than efficient,
and require "draw cut" motions to be effective. This is only really possible
in close combat for short-ranged weapons like these. I might allow a Reach 1
slash at -2 damage, though.
Source: Dr. Kromm (kromm@io.com)
Even a simple punch is Reach C, 1, and a kick is 1 (C, 1 with Karate skill).
The reason a punch can extend as far as a kick is that any stance even close
to karate will have a definite lead hand and rear hand. A punch from the
rear arm will only have Reach C, while a jab from the lead arm can reach out
to 1.
Source: Kevin J. Chase (kjc@njcc.com)
BS-21: What does the Fit advantage (p. CI25) provide?
The Fit advantage provides a +1 to all HT rolls (including rolls to avoid
stunning, unconsciousness, or death) and double-speed recovery of fatigue.
It can *not* speed the recovery of fatigue spent casting spells or powering
psionics; this includes the 1 point non-mage spectators can contribute to
ceremonial magic (p. M15). It does not contribute to a character's Move or
Dodge, it does not provide an extra hit point, and it does not provide any
bonus to HT-based skills such as Singing, Running, or Sex Appeal. It also
does not aid recovery time from stunners, paralysis guns, drugs, or other
effects that measure time in the form of X-minus-HT.
Sources: Dr. Kromm (kromm@io.com) and Kevin J. Chase (kjc@njcc.com)
BS-22: How do the "Defaulting to Other Skills" and "Improving Skills with
Defaults" rules work?
Basically, when you have two skills that default, you can treat your default
level in the one you did *not* study (call it skill #2) as if it were a
learned level when it comes time to improve that skill. However, if you
improve the original skill (call it skill #1), this does not automatically
increase skill #2 *once you have improved skill #2 from default*. You have
to pay any outstanding point cost first. Finally, you may switch the
direction of a default if that would be beneficial, as long as you pay any
outstanding point differences.

EXAMPLE: I'm a character with DX 12 and Shortsword-14.


I've spent 8 points on Shortsword. This gives me a Broadsword default of 14
- 2 = 12, the same as if I had spent 2 points on Broadsword and learned it
at 12. In other words, I have Shortsword-14 [8 points] and Broadsword-12 [0
points]. If I raise Shortsword to 15, Broadsword becomes 13 for free, et
cetera.
I leave Shortsword at 14 for now and decide to raise Broadsword from its
default level of 12 to level 13. Skill 13 would normally cost me 4 points,
but since I already have a default at the 2-point level (skill 12), I only
need to pay the difference. I do this and have Shortsword-14 [8 points] and
Broadsword-13 [2 points]. Without the benefit of a default, that would be
Shortsword-14 [8 points] and Broadsword-13 [4 points].
Now I decide to raise Shortsword to 15 for another 8 points. My Broadsword
default becomes 13, the same as if I had spent 4 points on it. The 2 points
I've spent are not enough to raise it to 14, because that would cost 4
points, so I am stuck with Broadsword-13 until I pay the two outstanding
points. In other words, I have Shortsword-15 [16 points] and Broadsword-13
[2 points] until I spend another two points on Broadsword to get
Shortsword-15 [16 points] and Broadsword-14 [4 points].
Suppose I stop improving Shortsword and start working on Broadsword until I
am at Shortsword-15 [16 points] and Broadsword-18 [36 points]. If I wish, I
can turn around, spend the extra points to buy Broadsword up from DX instead
of Shortsword, default Shortsword from Broadsword and spend the points in
Shortsword to improve it from default. This means I have to spend 4 points
more on Broadsword to have it at 18 based on DX. This gives me a Shortsword
default of 16, and the 16 points I have in Shortsword raise that to 18,
giving me Broadsword-18 [40 points] and Shortsword-18 [16 points].
Source: Dr. Kromm (kromm@io.com)
BS-23: How do the damage bonuses from all-out-attack Weapon Master, Throwing
Art or weapon quality affect the weapon's maximum damage?
All-out-attacks and weapon quality do not increase a weapon's maximum
damage. Maximum damage represents the largest wound the weapon can inflict;
a sharper blade (read "fine weapon") or all-out-attack merely allows you to
do this using less ST.
Apply maximum damage limits after adding up all modifiers *except* for
Weapon Master or Throwing Art. If damage exceeds the maximum, then lower it
to the maximum. Once you've done that, apply the modifier for Weapon Master
*or* Throwing Art. This will allow a Weapon Master or Throwing Artist to
exceed maximum damage.
Source: Dr. Kromm (kromm@io.com)
BS-24: Why does Toughness cost so much more than an equivalent amount of
Damage Resistance?
DR is a *racial* advantage (or a Supers advantage), while Toughness is an
individual advantage that represents how much better at taking damage a
character is compared to the rest of his/her species. An Unusual Background
is included in its cost.
For example, a sentient insect character with racial DR of 5 (15 points)
could not buy more Damage Resistance, but could buy up to two levels of

Toughness (another 25 points), making it an exceptional DR 7 bug.


Source: Dr. Kromm (kromm@io.com)
BS-25: What rolls are affected by Shock due to injuries?
Shock lowers DX and IQ, -1 each per point of damage taken. This reduction
lasts until the end of the victim's next turn. He can still act during that
turn, but at the given penalty.
Shock does *not* affect:
* Any active defense.
* Any resistance roll.
* DX rolls to remain standing after Knockback, if *that wound* caused the
Knockback.
Shock does affect:
* Attack rolls.
* Recovery from Mental Stun.
* All other DX or IQ rolls.
Source: Dr. Kromm (kromm@io.com)
BS-26: In a campaign with psionics, both Emapthy and Danger Sense are
supposed to be psionic powers. How does that work?
At the GM's discretion, these two advantages may be replaced with
more-or-less equivalent psionic powers. They are not *exactly* the same as
the original advantages, but very close.
Here's how it works: Both Empathy and Danger Sense are 15-point advantages.
Since ESP power costs 3 points/level and Telepathy costs 5 points/level,
this makes Danger Sense equal to ESP, level 5 and Empathy equal to
Telepathy, level 3. They are both full-fledged, unlimited psionic power (as
opposed to one-skill-only powers). It just happens that Emotion Sense and
Precognition are the only psi skills that can be used at "default".
ESP's only benefit without training is that you get an IQ roll -- similar to
that for Precognition -- to sense immediate threats.
Telepathy's only benefit without training is that you get an IQ roll -similar to that for Emotion Sense -- to get a general "feel" for someone
you're talking to. Range is about 1 yard, or "conversational distance".
Source: Dr. Kromm (kromm@io.com)
-----------------------------------------------------------------------GURPS FAQ: Conversions and Adaptations
GURPS allows you to play in any genre. Many people prefer GURPS rules to
ones published with other games, but wish to use the background provided by
other games. Conversion systems allow you to use the background from other
game systems while using GURPS rules. Adaptations describe a world in GURPS
terms.
Note that since this section was first written, a *lot* more material for a
*lot* more systems became available! People looking for the very latest

conversions should go to one of:


* http://www.io.com/~ftp/GURPSnet/Worlds/
* http://www.io.com/~ftp/GURPSnet/Conversions/
This information is also available from the GURPSnet FTP site via anonymous
FTP to ftp.io.com (see GN-11 for directions).
Below are sources of info converting various game systems into GURPS.
%CN-01: General
The Armory publishes "RPG DATA CON," a set of charts and tables for
converting between a number of popular RPGs. GURPS is one of the game
systems covered. Very useful, but it is $10+ for a 30-page book of charts
and tables with few guidelines.
CN-02: How would I assign a Tech Level to something like Star Wars or Star
Trek?
Simply put, not every depiction of the future is going to mesh perfectly
with the Tech Level system presented in GURPS. However, with a little
fudging, one Tech Level can usually be found that will cover the majority of
a given fictional setting. What still doesn't fit can be considered a
"wild-card" technology that the setting just happens to be much better (or
worse) at than would be expected. For instance, the setting in the movie 12
Monkeys might be considered vanilla TL 7, with the exception of prototype
time travel (TL 15 or so).
That having been said...
Star Wars:
TL 12 (Hyperdrive on an X-Wing, Force Fields on everything fighter-size
and up), with TL 13 in the more advanced areas. TL 13 Contragravity.
Star Trek:
TL 15 (Disintegrators, Tachyon Communicators, etc.), with TL 16
Teleport Projectors and TL 9 AI (Data and Lore are just about the only
ones).
%CN-03: Weapons
"Guns, Guns, Guns, 3rd Edition" (a.k.a. 3G3), by Blacksburg Tactical
Research Corp. (BTRC), is a universal guns/weapons design and translation
system that allows you to create weapons for any RPG and transfer them
between RPGs. GURPS is one of the systems specifically supported.
Conversions also exist for Timelords, CORPS, CP2.0.2.0, Megatraveller, Torg
and others. Highly recommended if you like rolling your own weapons for
GURPS or other RPGs. The conversions for GURPS are usually off by 5% or so
for range and damage.
BTRC has also published "More Guns," a compendium of firearms which includes
stats for the weapons in GURPS terms.
GURPS Vehicles, 2nd Edition contains a weapon design system that is quite
useful for converting weapons into GURPS terms, although some
number-crunching is needed to translate real-life stats (caliber, weight, et
cetera) into game terms.
CN-04: AD&D

Some suggestions on converting AD&D to GURPS


Concentrate on Concepts:
Don't try direct conversions. The best thing to do is to convert *concepts*.
To convert a character, write down a description of your character in plain
language, with no gaming terms. Include his personality traits, likes,
dislikes, fears, and so forth. Then, take the *description* and write it up
in GURPS stats. You'll get the *feel* of the character, which is a lot more
important than just transferring stats over.
Hit Points:
AD&D's hit point system reflects increased skill luck, and knowledge with
combat tactics. GURPS represents the "skill" aspect of hit points by
increased weapon skill -- the higher your skill, the higher your active
defenses.
Magic:
GURPS magic != AD&D magic. Don't even bother converting spell lists. GURPS
Magic and Grimoire together contain a lot of nifty spells.
Source: sirilyan@io.com
CN-05: Battletech
"Converting a Campaign to GURPS" by Rich Ostorero, Roleplayer #19 (April
1990), has the outlines of a Battletech-to-GURPS conversion system. The
article can be viewed at:
* http://www.sjgames.com/gurps/Roleplayer/Roleplayer19/CampaignConversion.htm
l
CN-06: Call of Cthulhu
1. "Cthulhu Lives!" by David Ellis Dickerson, Roleplayer #22 (November
1990), has conversion rules for Call of Cthulhu. This article can be viewed
at:
* http://www.sjgames.com/gurps/Roleplayer/Roleplayer22/CoCToGURPS.html
2. SJ Games has published GURPS Cthulhupunk under a one-time license from
Chaosium. Cthulhupunk is a near-future/horror adventure RPG which uses
Chaosium's Call of Cthulhu material with GURPS Cyberpunk. It contains a fair
number of conversions as well.
Source: Sean Barrett and Steve Jackson Games
%CN-07: Cyberpunk 2.0.2.0
None are currently available. Alan Shock and Jim Duncan developed a draft
set of these conversion rules. Currently no work is being done on these
rules. Jim Duncan (griffin@io.com) would welcome assistance on this project.
CN-08: Harn
Roleplayer #26 (October 1991) has rules for running a campaign set in Harn.
The article is by Michael Cule, and can be viewed at:
* http://www.sjgames.com/gurps/Roleplayer/Roleplayer26/GURPS-Harn.html
CN-09: Hero/Champions

1. "Super System Switching" by David Ellis Dickerson, Roleplayer #21 (August


1990), has rules for converting Hero system characters to GURPS. The article
concentrates on Champions to GURPS Supers conversions. The article is based
on pre-4th edition Champions, so some adjustments may be necessary. The
article can be viewed at:
* http://www.sjgames.com/gurps/Roleplayer/Roleplayer21/HeroToGURPS.html
2. Fantasy Hero has rules for converting GURPS characters to FH, so you can
use the inverse.
CN-10: In Nomine
S. John Ross (sjohn@io.com) wrote an In Nomine -> GURPS conversion system,
with contributions from Moriah (moriah@io.com), Hunter Johnson
(jhunterj@io.com), and Dr. Kromm (kromm@io.com). Comments should be
addressed to Hunter Johnson. It can be found at:
* http://www.sjgames.com/in-nomine/gurps/
There also exists an In Nomine/Illuminati University crossover created by
Archangel Beth (arcangel@io.com):
* http://www.io.com/~arcangel/net.character.book/Web-IOU/IOUInNom.html
CN-11: Nexus -- The Infinite City
This RPG and multi-genre game setting contains conversion notes for GURPS.
Much of the setting seems ideally suited for running a GURPS multi-genre
game.
Source: Jim Duncan
CN-12: Star Trek
There are *extensive* (but unofficial) Star Trek conversion notes by a
mysterious individual known to us only as "Mr. B."
(tmp_harkins@dirac.physics.jmu.edu) at:
* http://www.io.com/~ftp/GURPSnet/Conversions/Trek/
CN-13: Star Wars
The Force can be handled as a combination of Cinematic Force-Swordsmanship
(p. MA114), psionics, and maybe the Weapon Master advantage (p. CI32). Luck
and Destiny might also be appropriate.
Source: Dr. Kromm (kromm@io.com)
[Maintainer's Note: Any information on conversions for West End Games' Star
Wars system would be appreciated.]
CN-14: Storyteller (Vampire, Werewolf, Mage, Wraith, Changeling, et cetera)
Steve Jackson Games formerly held the license to produce GURPS material
using this background: one source book and one other book for each game.
GURPS Vampire: the Masquerade, Werewolf: the Apocalypse, Vampire Companion
and Mage: The Ascension have all been published and are in print. These
books are set in White Wolf's "World of Darkness" setting, and contain rules

for converting between GURPS and the Storyteller system. No further


adaptations will be published.
German and French translations of GURPS Vampire have been released by
Pegasus Games and Asmodee, respectively.
In addition, several unofficial WoD conversions can be found at:
* http://www.io.com/~ftp/GURPSnet/Conversions/WoD/
* http://www.io.com/~ftp/GURPSnet/Worlds/WoD/
Unofficial Mage: The Ascension, 2nd. Ed. rules can be found at:
* http://www.io.com/~bowman/GURPS/mage.html
CN-15: Traveller
On 4 September 1997, Steve Jackson Games' Daily Illuminator
(http://www.sjgames.com/ill/1997/ill-sep97.html) announced that we could
look forward to GURPS Traveller sometime in 1998:
Steve Jackson Games is proud to announce that it has acquired the
rights to create a GURPS version of the classic Traveller, the
oldest and most popular outer-space roleplaying game ever.
[...]
The license from Sweetpea Entertainment -- owners of Traveller
after original publishers Game Designer's Workshop went out of
business in 1995 -- sets GURPS Traveller in an "alternate
timeline" from the one currently being published by Imperium
Games. [Steve Jackson Games Managing Editor] Haring said, "In our
timeline, Emperor Strephon doesn't get assassinated, and the
`virus' that was the entire basis for Traveller: The New Era did
not devastate the Imperium. Our timeline is a continuation of the
original Traveller, though with [Loren] Wiseman and [Marc]
Miller's help we'll be taking it in some interesting directions."
More information can be found at:
* http://www.sjgames.com/gurps/books/Traveller/
If you can't wait for the release, fan David Summers (summers@alum.mit.edu)
has written some conversion notes, and Brandon Cope
(z_copeab@ccsvax.sfasu.edu) also came up with a set conversions for
(original) Traveller, translating characters and equipment into GURPS terms.
These files can be located at either of:
* http://www.io.com/~ftp/GURPSnet/Worlds/Traveller/
* http://www.io.com/~ftp/GURPSnet/Conversions/Traveller/
CN-16: Wheel of Time
Gregory Deych has written a GURPS conversion of Robert Jordan's Wheel of
Time series at:
* http://www.geocities.com/Area51/Vault/3239/Introduction.htm
------------------------------------------------------------------------

GURPS FAQ: Cyberpunk


CY-01: How should netrunning be handled?
Various people say:
1.
2.
3.
4.

Netrunning should be left to NPCs only.


Wing it and use an abstract system.
Have a 2nd GM run all net running.
Run the net runner in a separate session before the main group meets.

CY-02: The GURPS Cyberpunk source book doesn't contain any specific world
setting. Is there a GURPS Cyberpunk world sourcebook?
Yes. GURPS Cyberworld, by Paul Hume of Shadowrun fame, describes a detailed
cyberpunk setting. The emphasis is on "punk" rather than "cyber." The tech
level is early TL8, and the cyberwear is often "bleeding edge" rather than
easy-to-obtain, off-the-shelf stuff.
GURPS Terradyne is a source book for low-tech space science-fiction gaming.
This book can easily be "cyberized" [Note from Kromm: I've done it!] but
only includes a limited number of "hooks" for the cyberpunk genre.
GURPS Autoduel, Second Edition is now in print, and has many more features
of the cyberpunk genre.
You can also use the cyberpunk settings for other games as background
material for GURPS. See the Conversions section.
CY-03: Where can I get stats for additional GURPS Cyberpunk equipment and
cyberware?
Currently, you need to convert weapons and equipment from other game systems
if you want added equipment and equipment with "character." See the notes in
the Conversion section. GURPS Cyberworld does have some "chrome," however,
as does GURPS Ultra-Tech 2. GURPS Bio-Tech contains a *lot* of new body
modifications!
-----------------------------------------------------------------------GURPS FAQ: Fantasy
F-01: How should clerical magic be handled?
GURPS Religion contains several different methods of handling clerical
magic. In its simplest form, it works just like regular magic, except Power
Investiture replaces Magery, sanctity level replaces mana level and holy
items replace magic items. However, Religion presents a great deal more
detail than that for those who want it!
GURPS Compendium I also contains a number of advantages and disadvantages
appropriate to clerics, including Clerical Investment (p. CI22), Pious (p.
CI29), Blessed (p. CI34), Clerical Magic (p. CI35), Divine Favor (p. CI36),
Faith Healing (p. CI36), Power Investiture (p. CI42), True Faith (p. CI47)
and Disciplines of Faith (p. CI89).
Source: Dr. Kromm (kromm@io.com)
GURPS Magic includes guidelines for clerics on pp. 94-96. In summary:

* Define certain select "spell lists" for clerics.


* Any special abilities or automatically acquired spells should be bought
as an advantage.
* Most clerical investments will require some type of Vow. This could
possibly be included in a clerical "package deal."
* Add the advantage of Blessed and Very Blessed.
For more detail, make up appropriate packages of mental disadvantages for
each different priesthood. Using the Roman Catholic church (in medieval
times) as an example:
Order
Jesuits
Franciscans
Dominicans

Disadvantages
Fanaticism
Pacifism (total non-violence)
Compulsive Behavior (arguing) or Laziness

All of them would probably have a Vow of chastity and Intolerance of


non-Catholics (if basing things on a pseudo-medieval Church).
Sources: Bryan J. Maloney (jacobus@symphony.cc.purdue.edu) and Jim Frost
(jimfost@matt.ksu.ksu.edu)
Also, the magic system in GURPS Voodoo works very well for priestly magic.
The basic idea is that the caster is calling upon a willful, self-aware
power to grant him or her the magical effect asked for. Extended rituals,
mystical symbols, and sacrifices can increase the effectiveness, but usually
aren't necessary. The spells can be much more far-reaching than standard
GURPS magic, but they are more subtle, and usually take long enough to cast
that they are not usable in combat except by extremely powerful casters.
Source: Kevin J. Chase (kjc@njcc.com)
F-02: When does a spell go off? After starting to concentrate on a spell in
the first round, does the spell go off at the very beginning of the next
turn, or at the beginning of the mages next turn?
At the beginning of the mage's next turn. The spell takes one second to
cast, and is started at the beginning of the character's turn, so the second
will be up at the start of his next turn.
Source: Walter C. Milliken (milliken@io.com)
F-03: What sorts of spells count as spells "on"?
Spells with instantaneous effects (e.g., Awaken, Deathtouch) never count as
spells "on." Non-instantaneous spells fall into four basic categories.
Spells that require fatigue to maintain (e.g., Charm, Light) are temporary
spells. Spells that have ongoing effects that require no fatigue to
maintain, but which have a limited effective duration (e.g., Bless,
Continual Light, Curse), are lasting spells. Spells that have ongoing,
permanent effects (e.g., Enslave, Great Geas, Zombie) are permanent spells.
Finally, there are enchantments. Of these, only temporary spells count as
spells "on."
For the record, Flesh to Stone, Major Healing and Resurrection are all
"instantaneous." They produce a momentary pulse of magic that leaves behind
a permanent non-magical effect (a statue, healed wound or living human). For
a spell to be "lasting" or "permanent," the ongoing effect *must* be

magical, not mundane.


F-04: Which spells are cancelled by a no mana zone?
Temporary and lasting spells are simply dispelled by a no mana zone (NMZ).
Permanent spells and enchantments are merely suspended, and resume their
normal function once they leave the NMZ.
F-05: How many mages make a circle?
Magic implies, but does not explicitly state, that it is expected that
Ceremonial Magic is performed by 2+ mages. In fact, this is the case.
F-06: Can you mix regular and aspected Magery?
Yes. You're simply more talented with some spells than others.
&F-07: Can I leave holes in an area effect spell to avoid catching my
friends in it?
The second paragraph under Area Spells on p. M11 state that an area spell
doesn't have to affect every hex within the spell's radius, but you still
pay the full fatigue cost as if you had filled every hex. For instance,
Create Fire could call into existance a normal n-hex radius circle of fire,
a semi-circle of fire, or a wall, crecent, or bow-tie of fire, as long as
they all fit completely within the n-hex radius paid for.
*F-07.01: Can I count the hexes a radius-n area spell would have filled, and
then arrange them in some other shape, like a wall?
The subject was left unresolved in GURPS Magic, but a rules expansion that
was cut from the original playtest draft of GURPS Grimoire (for space
reasons, not because the playtesters hated it) allowed precisely this. (The
"Size of Area Affected" sidebar on p. G5 was put in for that reason and
never cut.) Since the Powers That Be and their Loyal Censors seemed to like
it then, I suspect that the answer is "Yeah, sure!" The only exceptions are
Dome spells, which specifically create (hemi-)spherical areas of effect. To
make a wall or other shape with a Dome spell, use the appropriate Wall spell
from Grimoire (Force Wall, p. G92 and Utter Wall, p. G93).
Source: Dr. Kromm (kromm@io.com)
F-08.01: If a supernatural creature such as a demon can walk through a Force
Dome (p. M78), can an Awakened creature such as a Vampire, Garou, or
Ascension Mage walk through it, too?
No. The Force Dome keeps out "mundane" creatures. "Awakened" beings don't
depend on mana to exist, and aren't created or summoned magically, so they
are regarded as "mundane" as far as standard GURPS magic is concerned. This
means that they cannot pass through a Force Dome.
Source: Dr. Kromm (kromm@io.com)
F-08.02: What happens to something caught at the very boundary of the Force
Dome when it is cast?
Anything that is caught at the boundary of a Force Dome when it is cast is
either dragged into the dome or forcefully expelled. Roll 1d: on 1-3, the
object or being is expelled from the dome; on 4-6, it is caught inside.

Source: Dr. Kromm (kromm@io.com)


F-08.03: Can a Force Dome enclose a no mana zone?
A Force Dome *may* enclose a region without mana as long as it meets two
criteria: (1) No *edge* hex of the dome is a hex without mana. (2) The dome
is tall enough that the enclosed no mana zone (which extends 12' above the
ground) will not cross the dome. Note that a Force Dome must be at least 5
hexes in radius to be 12' or more high at its center.
Source: Dr. Kromm (kromm@io.com)
F-08.04: What happens when two domes intersect?
They interpenetrate, creating three isolated compartments:
______ ______
\/
\
/
/ \
\
/ 1 / 2 \ 3 \
/

Source: Dr. Kromm (kromm@io.com)


F-08.05: Are Force Domes spheres or hemispheres? If they are spheres, do
they have to be half submerged to "fix" them in place? Can the whole sphere
be uncovered?
Force Domes are really spheres of magical energy, with the top hemisphere
showing and the bottom hemisphere engulfing mass as a *magical* (not
physical) "anchor". E.g., a 3-hex Force Dome radiates 2 hexes out from the
center hex, and is 5 yards (15') in diameter. It must be cast on a patch of
ground at least 15' across, and appears to be a "dome" 7.5' high in its
center. The other hemisphere is under the ground, full of dirt, stone, or
other *solid* junk. To uncover the whole sphere, cast Disintegrate,
Earth-to-Air, Teleport Other or something similar on the mass in the sphere
*after* you have cast Force Dome.
Source: Dr. Kromm (kromm@io.com)
F-08.06: Is a Force Dome useless to flying characters? Can it be cast in
mid-air around yourself? Or around a flying opponent?
Yes, a Force Dome is worthless in aerial encounters, unless you can cast a
large enough dome on the ground that it engulfs you or low-flying foes.
Source: Dr. Kromm (kromm@io.com)
F-08.07: Is it useless to a swimming character?
Yes, unless cast on the bottom of a body of water, in which case it makes an
exceptional pressurized capsule!
Source: Dr. Kromm (kromm@io.com)
F-08.08: Can a Force Dome be cast on the deck of a moving vehicle?
A Force Dome *can* be cast upon a large, moving platform (like a vehicle)
and remain stationary with respect to it, as long as it is completely
anchored on the platform; i.e., provided that the lower hemisphere of the
dome can be *completely* contained within the vehicle. Note that in this

case, the dome is "anchored" using a big chunk of vehicle, and any
electrical cabling, fuel lines, et cetera that cross the boundary of the
dome will not function!
Source: Dr. Kromm (kromm@io.com)
F-08.09: If the dirt under the dome is chewed away, would the dome be
subject to gravity (a physical force)? Would the sphere and its occupants
fall?
Yes and yes. If the dome has any contents, gravity will pull them down,
bringing the dome with them.
Source: Dr. Kromm (kromm@io.com)
F-08.10: In the case above, if the sphere fell and hit the ground, would the
occupants be subject to appropriate falling damage?
No. The dome can absorb infinite physical force, so the people in the dome
would hit the wall and the dome would absorb their kinetic energy, leaving
them unharmed. In fact impact with a Force Dome is always harmless.
Source: Dr. Kromm (kromm@io.com)
F-08.11: How much does a Force Dome weigh?
Zero, except for the weight of people and dirt inside.
Source: Dr. Kromm (kromm@io.com)
F-08.12: Say I was levitating in my dome and I had destroyed all the earth
in the bottom half of the sphere. How much effort would I have to put into
an Apportation spell to just move the dome itself?
You couldn't! Apportation requires a massive, physical subject. A Force Dome
is a massless construct of mana, and it cannot be Apported. If you want to
move it, use Displace Spell (p. G70).
Source: Dr. Kromm (kromm@io.com)
F-08.13: How does a Force Dome work? Can a Force Dome absorb *any* force,
even the blast of a nuclear weapon?
A Force
nuclear
dumping
used up

Dome can absorb *infinite* amounts of energy -- even the blast of a


weapon. It works by converting the absorbed energy to mana and
it into the local mana field (perhaps recharging the mana that is
by wizards).

Source: Dr. Kromm (kromm@io.com)


F-09: What exactly is a fireball?
According to Steve, an orange-sized bolt of magical force that hits like a
bullet and which quickly vanishes in a blast of fire on impact, detonating
any flammables it actually strikes.
Source: Dr. Kromm (kromm@io.com)
F-09.01: What temperature is a Fireball?

About 300 degrees centigrade.


Source: Dr. Kromm (kromm@io.com)
F-09.02: What kinds of wounds does a Fireball cause?
It is largely an
This is why it's
hot, and it does
that's more of a

impact weapon; a baseball-sized bolt of pure magical force.


damage is stopped by the DR of the location hit. It *is*
vanish in a gout of flame when it hits the target, but
special effect than it's primary mode of doing damage.

Source: Dr. Kromm (kromm@io.com)


F-09.03: How does a Fireball interact with armor?
This "hard" bolt of magical force hits the armor just like a bullet, staff
thrust or fist, doing damage on impact, and either denting it a little or
punching a hole straight through. It then goes "Poof!" and vanishes in a
cloud of fire. It will only heat up a breastplate as much as a
baseball-sized globe of 300-degree air would; i.e. not much.
Source: Dr. Kromm (kromm@io.com)
F-09.04: If a character is hit at a breastplate by an Explosive Fireball,
does the breastplate protect regardless of his unprotected face?
Yes. Here's how it works:
The Explosive Fireball does flame damage -- treat as crushing damage that
can set fires. It is not a true explosion, but damage decreases with
distance in a manner similar to explosive concussion damage. The target may
attempt to dive for cover (p. CII54) to get away from the center of the
blast, but PD is ineffective. DR protects normally; assume torso DR unless
the target is hit directly by an Explosive Fireball aimed at another body
part.
Source: Dr. Kromm (kromm@io.com)
F-10: How many spells can a mage cast in a turn?
In GURPS, "casting" = "rolling the dice for a spell". You may do that once
per turn, normally -- twice, if you cast a blocking spell. In other words,
on any one turn, the effects of no more than one spell (other than a
blocking spell) may commence. For example:
Turn 1: Concentrate on spell A (1 turn).
Turn 2: Cast spell A.
Cast Blocking spell.
If you have a zero-time spell, the sequence of events would be:
Turn 1: Cast spell B (no casting time).
Concentrate on spell A (1 turn).
Turn 2: Cast spell A.
Cast Blocking spell.
It's a safe assumption that if a single mage causes two spell effects to
appear in one turn, the rules have been broken, unless one spell is a
blocking spell.

Source: Dr. Kromm (kromm@io.com)


F-11: The "Rule of 16" makes high-resistance characters almost immune to
resisted spells, no matter how skilled the attacker is. What gives?
[Moderater's Note: Since its inclusion in this FAQ list, the "Rule of 16"
has been officially re-written. A brief description of the original problem,
and the rule as it currently stands will be included here as long as the
subject remains Frequently-Asked.]
The problem was this: when a character was resisting a paranormal attack
(Charm, Telereceive, etc.) the "Rule of 16" on p. CII190 reduced the
effective skill of that attack to 16 before the Quick Contest took place. A
character with lots of relatively cheap Strong Will and Magic Resistance
could easily have had a resistance higher than 16, putting the attacker at a
disadvantage regardless of whether the attacker's skill was 25, 30, or more.
The new Rule of 16 now states:
If the subject is a living being, the caster's effective skill
cannot exceed the higher of 16 or the subject's actual resistance.
Source: Official GURPS Errata
F-12: Can a mage with One-College-Only Magery learn spells with
prerequisites outside that college?
To learn a spell, a character must have all the prerequisites for that
spell. Magery is often not a requirement to learn a spell, and some spells
have no prerequisites at all -- anyone can learn them. To *cast* a spell,
the character must know the spell, and have Magery in that college or be in
a High Mana Zone.
The rules for a mage with One-College-Only Magery (p. CI39) are no
different. He can learn a spell outside that college, provided he meets all
prerequisites for that spell. (If that spell requires Magery, he can not
learn it, because his One-College-Only Magery does not apply outside the one
college.) To *cast* that spell, he will need to find a High Mana Zone. Once
learned, the spell *may* be used to fulfill prerequisites for other spells.
EXAMPLE: A mage with One-College-Only Magery in the Illusion college could
learn and cast Illusion spells normally. If he wants to learn the Phantom
spell (p. G57), he would need Magery 2 in the Illusion college, Perfect
Illusion, Hinder, and Apportation. Assuming he had the first two
requirements down, he could start by learning Haste (p. M69), and using it
to fulfill the prerequisite to learn Hinder (p. M27). Neither of these
spells require Magery of any sort to learn. (They each require Magery in the
appropriate college to *cast*, however; he can learn them, but not cast
them.) Apportation, however, requires Magery in the college of Movement. He
does not have this, so he can neither learn nor cast it; he cannot fulfill
the prerequisites of the Phantom spell, even though it is in his chosen
college.
The only exceptions to this rule are the spells Lend ST and Recover ST (both
p. M49). They may be learned *and cast* by characters with any Magery at
all, even One-College Magery in a college other than Healing. All other
prerequisites (namely, that the character learn Lend ST before Recover ST)
still apply.
Sources: Dr. Kromm (kromm@io.com) and Kevin J. Chase (kjc@njcc.com)

*F-13: When casting a spell, at what point does the mage have to specify his
target?
When he rolls the dice. In fact, the only thing you have to declare when you
first start to concentrate is what spell you're concentrating on. The
exceptions are spells like Divination and Seeker, which are worded so as to
imply that one must to start out meditating on a specific target object or
question.
In general, the following things can be left up until the instant the dice
are rolled:
*
*
*
*
*
*

area affected (Area spells)


content (spells like illusions, Voice or Delayed Message)
energy source (i.e., ST, HT or Powerstones)
level of effect (spells like Shield or Teleport Shield)
destination (Gate magic and Teleport spells)
dice of damage (spells like Deathtouch or Flame Jet, but not Missile
spells, which have their own special rules)
* hit location (spells like Paralyze Limb and Wither Limb)
* subject (most spells)
Source: Dr. Kromm (kromm@io.com)
-----------------------------------------------------------------------GURPS FAQ: Horror
HR-01: How do you scare players?
Be subtle and work up to the big baddie. Leave hints, clues and minor stuff
that serve to give the players knowledge of what the critter is, and what it
can do to them. Don't pop it on the players first-hand, they will either
kill it or be killed, but they will have no idea what it is, aside from
opposition.
Aside from that, listen to the players when they talk among themselves. More
often than not, they will have better ideas than you do. Don't be afraid to
change the beast.
Lastly, good environment helps. Low light, slightly "aggravating" music and
taking other steps to maintain a mood all help. Props (a Lament box from
Hellraiser, for instance) also help. Fear is in the mind, so make suspension
of disbelief easier so the mind has more energy to devote to spooking
itself.
Source: Tim Dunn (tdunn@ecst.csuchico.edu)
From various others:
Creating a scary atmosphere in an RPG just isn't possible. Horror flicks
don't frighten me and neither do horror RPGs. Concentrate on role-playing
and forget about trying to scare your players. Most tactics designed to
frighten players are either silly or just piss them off.
HR-02: What is chainsaw damage in GURPS (a la "Texas Chainsaw Massacre")?
According to GURPS Horror, a chainsaw is "Swing+4, cutting damage. DX-2." I
would add in the "feature" that the damage is applied for each subsequent

turn that the chainsaw is applied. Any time crippling damage is done to a
limb with a chainsaw, that limb is severed (either partially or fully).
Blood loss would probably be pretty bad, so GMs using blood loss rules
should assess hefty penalties to survival rolls.
Source: Robert Crawford (betel@camelot.bradley.edu)
The problem with
live long enough
steel blade with
both its wielder

wielding a chainsaw as a weapon is that you aren't going to


to become proficient with it. It's like this: If you hit a
a chainsaw, the chain will break and whip around, killing
and its target.

That is if you are lucky. If you are unlucky, the chain will trap the blade
and pull it towards the grip of the chain saw. This happens when some poor
fool tries to block an overhead swing with a chainsaw.
Think of tree spiking. One industrial strength chain saw (probably a
circular saw, but same principle) hits a spike.
Don't try this at home kids!
Of course, wielding your Cursed Berserking Adamantine Chainsaw, some of the
deleterious consequences don't happen.
Source: Michael Sandy (mehawk@agora.rain.com)
-----------------------------------------------------------------------GURPS FAQ: Martial Arts
MA-01: Can Kicking be improved?
Yes, but it may not be raised above the level of the skill to which it
defaults. Kicking defaults to either Karate-2 or Brawling-2, and has been
changed from an Average to a Hard maneuver in Martial Arts, 2nd Edition.
MA-02: Can a martial artist use techniques not covered under his particular
style?
Yes. If he has seen the technique performed he can attempt it at his
default.
MA-03: Is there a defense against Arm Lock?
Arm or Wrist Locks can be defeated at several points. The locker may miss
his parry or grapple, or fail the initial Quick Contest. If he succeeds at
all those rolls, the victim can try to break free in following turns with
Quick Contests of ST or Judo versus Arm Lock+4 or ST -- at a cumulative -1
each round.
Source: Sean Barrett
MA-04: Unarmed martial artist vs. armed fighters (melee weapons).
Unarmed martial artists may be faster than armed and armored non-martial
arts types, but they are at a disadvantage for the following reasons:
1. Armed opponents usually strike first: Armed fighters usually have a
longer reach than unarmed ones. Using the Step and Wait maneuver, the
armed fighter will usually be able to strike first.

[Note from Jim Duncan: I personally assess the effects of weapons


damage immediately. For instance, shock takes place as soon as the
damage is done and lasts until the end of the next turn; therefore,
striking first holds a definite advantage! Tied initiative scores are
the only simultaneous actions I allow. This is contrary to the stated
rules, but I have always felt that the effects of shock are too brief
anyway.]
2. Parries are dangerous! Unarmed combatants attempting to parry weapons
run the risk of having the parrying limb seriously injured. On a failed
parry, the attacker can choose to either have the attack count against
the parrying limb or the original target (p. B101).
3. Bare-handed attacks can be parried with weapons! An unarmed fighter
attacking an armed foe with a weapon can have his attack parried with
the weapon. If the armed opponent parries with the weapon and succeeds,
he may roll vs. skill (or skill-4 vs. Judo and Karate) to hit the limb
of the unarmed fighter.
4. Punching armor is painful. Any time you strike an opponent with DR 3 or
better with your hands or feet, you must roll vs. HT or take 1d-2
damage to the body part you are striking with (p. B51).
In order to be successful against an armed opponent, an unarmed martial
artist needs to either disarm or knock the armed fighter to the ground.
Since weapon reach normally will give the armed fighter first strike, a
martial artist will need to make at least one defense roll before he can
move into close combat.
MA-05: Are there any additional sources of martial arts rules other than the
GURPS Martial Arts source book?
Not at the moment. At one point, GURPS Martial Arts Adventures was in print,
which contained contains several pages of additional martial arts rules.
However, these rules were assimilated into the expanded second edition of
GURPS Martial Arts, as were several Roleplayer and Pyramid articles dealing
with martial arts rules. Both Bunnies and Burrows and Lensman contain
setting-specific maneuvers and styles, however.
MA-06: The rules for Wrestling differ in GURPS Martial Arts and Imperial
Rome. Which is correct?
In Martial Arts, 1st Edition, Wrestling is P/A and defaults to DX or ST. In
Imperial Rome, it is P/A but defaults to DX-5 or ST-5. In Arabian Nights, it
is P/E, with DX-5 and ST-5 defaults. The skill descriptions in Imperial Rome
and Arabian Nights are the same, and are slightly more detailed than the one
in Martial Arts.
This has all been cleared up in Martial Arts, 2nd Edition (p. 35), mirrored
on p. CI136: Wrestling, like Boxing, Brawling, Judo and Karate, has NO
default. It is a P/A skill. Only people who buy the Wrestling skill get the
(skill/8) ST bonus in Close Combat and access to the special maneuvers that
default from it.
MA-07: How do you use the Hit Location maneuver?
The way Hit Location works is much clearer in Martial Arts, 2nd Edition (and
also Compendium I). It simply lets the attacker reduce the penalties for hit
location. It is never rolled against; instead, each level of Hit Location
gives the attacker a bonus that can be used to offset hit location
penalties. This bonus is +1 if Hit Location is known at skill-2, +2 if it is
known at skill-1 and +3 if it is known at skill. No further improvement is
possible. This bonus can never result in the attack being made at a higher

level than the prerequisite skill; it can only be used to offset hit
location penalties.
MA-08: Is the attack granted by the Riposte maneuver an "extra attack"?
No. A Riposte does not give an extra attack; it just replaces the
character's next attack. This has three advantages over waiting for one's
turn to attack, however:
* The foe has a penalty to his defense roll.
* The defending character can get in an attack no matter what his foe
does afterwards; e.g., a foe who attacks on the move with a Wild Swing
and who plans to run 5 yards away after attacking -- or even a foe who
plans to Teleport away! -- can be attacked before he's out of range.
* The defending character has a chance to injure, incapacitate or even
kill a foe who has multiple attacks before that foe has executed all of
his attacks. This may reduce the effectiveness of or wholly prevent the
foe's subsequent attacks.
MA-09: What is the Reach of a bare-handed attack?
Unless otherwise specified, all bare-handed attacks (including the special
maneuvers in GURPS Martial Arts) have a Reach of "C, 1." That means that
they can be used on targets who are in close combat or who are one hex away.
All *kicks* have a Reach of "1", unless specified otherwise. The Reach "C"
Karate "kick" mentioned on pp. B101,111 is really the GURPS Martial Arts
Knee Strike maneuver in disguise.
Source: Kevin J. Chase (kjc@njcc.com)
-----------------------------------------------------------------------GURPS FAQ: Science Fiction
SF-01: Where are battlesuits (power armor) described?
They are discussed in *great* detail in GURPS Mecha. Battlesuits and powered
armor are also described in GURPS Vehicles, 2nd Edition (p. 80) and GURPS
Robots (p. 52, with an example on p. 113). All three books are by David
Pulver, and use compatible systems, although the focus is different in each
of the three books.
Note: The Battlesuit skill has changed. It is now a P/A Vehicle skill, just
like Driving or Piloting, and covers only "driving" the suit. To operate the
suit's weapons and electronics, use the appropriate Beam Weapons,
Electronics Operation, Guns and Gunner skills.
Other Sources:
Challenge Magazine #50 (published by GDW). There is an article entitled
"Wearing the Steel: Powered Armor in GURPS," by David Pulver, on p. 78.
Everything is described in the standard GURPS format, and is consistent with
other ultra-tech armor described in GURPS Ultra-Tech.
Another description of power armor is given in GURPS Supers, 2nd Edition and
the GURPS IST sourcebook. Supers, 2nd Edition has a sidebar on p. 71
describing a battlesuit suitable for use in a Supers campaign. On p. 98,
there is an example of the IST powered infantryman. The IST supplement
describes the IST Battlesuit on p. 50. This is basically the same suit as on

p. 98 of GURPS Supers, but blasters replace the forearm-mounted Uzi, and the
description is more detailed.
SF-02: Is there a GURPS-compatible miniatures/boardgame starship system?
No. There are plans to revise Triplanetary to do this, but no estimate on
when this will be done.
SF-03: Will GURPS Autoduel ever be revised?
It's already happened! GURPS Autoduel, Second Edition, by Chris Burke and
Robert Garitta, is in print as of January 6, 1997.
SF-04: Are robots covered in any GURPS book?
Yes. Robots are covered in GURPS Robots, which contains extensive rules for
building and roleplaying robots, cyborgs, battlesuits and gengineered
androids, as well as some rules on nanotechnology and microbots.
Other sources:
* GURPS Cyberpunk Adventures contains an adventure, "The Medusa
Sanction," which includes some rules for gengineered androids.
* GURPS Reign of Steel, a post-robot-apocalypse world setting, where
humans have been defeated by their own AI megacomputers.
* GURPS Space Adventures contains an adventure, "Rebirth," which contains
a pair of robots but lacks extensive rules for them.
* GURPS Vehicles has been used by some people to build robots, though it
is not explicitly designed as such.
* GURPS War Against the Chtorr contains some examples of robots, with a
few rules for their use.
Source: David Pulver
David Pulver wrote an article on androids for Cyberpunk campaigns in
Roleplayer #29. This is essentially a reprint of the rules found in
Cyberpunk Adventures' "Medusa Sanction". These rules appear in GURPS Robots
(along with many more rules for androids). It can be viewed at:
http://www.sjgames.com/gurps/Roleplayer/Roleplayer29/BioAndroids.html
Source: Jeff Gaines (rabulias@io.com)
"Organic is for Wimps!" by JC Connors, in Roleplayer #28 (April 1992), has
rules for robots in GURPS Supers. The editor of Roleplayer notes: "This
article has nothing to do with the GURPS Vehicles or GURPS Robots books now
in the pipeline . . . but it looks like fun. Consider it optional and enjoy
it!" It can be viewed at:
http://www.sjgames.com/gurps/Roleplayer/Roleplayer28/SuperRobots.html
Source: Hunter Johnson
SF-05: Just how many programs can a computer run? A robot?
A normal computer can run two programs of its own complexity, or 20 of
its-complexity-minus-one, or 200 of its-complexity-minus-two, etc (p.
CII12).
A robot can only run *half* as many (one of its complexity level, 10 of

complexity-minus-one, etc.). The remaining space is taken up the its "Robot


Operating System" -- the system that controls balance, movement, and handles
real-time input from the sensors; and (at TL 8+) the language system, which
allows more-or-less fluent speech and literacy (p. RO56).
Any computer built with the "Robot Brain" option (p. CII14, p. VE61), or
using the rules in GURPS Robots is assumed to be a "Robot Brain" with a
"Robot OS" and limited program capacity (only one program of its own
complexity). All other computers have the full program capacity (two
programs of its own complexity).
Source: Kevin J. Chase (kjc@njcc.com)
SF-06: How do the beam weapon rules work?
Beam weapons are usually treated like any other ranged attack: the attacker
rolls to hit, the defender rolls to dodge and -- if the attack hits -damage is rolled and applied normally. Automatic fire, misses and scatter
are handled in exactly the same way as for any other gun (exception: lasers;
see below). It's a simplification to treat beams as if they were arrows or
bullets, but a playable one.
Note that beam weapons do *double* the usual amount of damage before they
"blow through" (see question BS-04, and pp. B109 and CI62), and that many
have armor divisors of (2), (5), (10) or even (100) that divide DR before
damage is applied. Many beam weapons also have special effects (impaling
attacks that do triple damage instead of double, attacks that melt armor, et
cetera) -- see GURPS Ultra-Tech for these.
Laser Autofire:
The most commonly-confused rule for beam weapons is the so-called "laser
autofire rule" found under "Damage from a Burst" on p. B120. It works like
this: Once you've determined the number of hits in a burst of automatic
laser fire using the usual rules on p. B120, and after all the target's
dodges have been resolved, the listed damage from the gun is multiplied by
the number of actual hits *before* being applied to DR. This is an attempt
to simulate armor being burned away.
For the technical-minded, the mechanic of laser autofire is that you divide
a one-second pulse from a single beam into a number of segments, each
lasting 1/RoF of a second. You group these into 4/RoF time slices and roll
for each of them. The quality of the roll determines the percentage of that
time slice the beam was kept on target. Once you've rolled for all time
slices, you add up the percentage of time on-target and percentage of time
off-target -- discretized as "shots" that hit and "shots" that miss. What
the mechanic represents is a beam being held on-target for (total time
on-target). The fact that you roll dice multiple times in succession and get
results of varying quality does *not* represent a beam wandering onto and
off of the target, nor does it represent multiple pulses sailing around,
some hitting, some not.
Try not to confuse the mechanic for what it represents. This is like making
a large number of Dodge rolls in a turn: it does not represent a large
number of discrete actions that occur in a particular order, but simply the
entire outcome of a turn, the results of which are best viewed as the state
of affairs at the end of the turn, not as a time series of events. The
mechanic of rolling dice multiple times for "groups" is just that -- a
mechanic. It is a balanced way of determining how long the beam is held
on-target for using the existing rules for automatic weapons fire and RoF.

EXAMPLE: Take a laser with a RoF of 10. It fires a 10-"shot" burst in 3


groups: 4 + 4 + 2 "shots." What this really means is that it fires a
continuous beam for a full second -- not 10 Star Wars-style "bolts" -- and
you roll three times to see how long you held that beam on-target.
If you roll for each of the 3 groups and 3 + 2 + 1 shots hit, then you held
the beam on-target for (3 + 2 + 1)/(4 + 4 + 2) = 0.6 seconds. This is not
viewed as "0.3 seconds on-target, 0.1 off, 0.2 on, 0.2 off, 0.1 on, 0.1
off," or even as "0.3 seconds on-target, 0.2 off, 0.2 on, 0.2 off, 0.1 on,"
but always as "0.6 on-target and 0.4 off." All "hits" are considered to be
contiguous, as are all "misses."
The "shots" that missed went off to the left, off to the right, into the
ground . . . or perhaps you wasted "beam time" walking the beam onto the
target, pulled the trigger too late, released the trigger too early, or
waved the beam back and forth over the target too quickly to do damage.
SF-07: What is the DR of 1 point of DF in GURPS Space and how many dice
damage does one point of FP translate into?
Detailed rules for converting between DR and DF, and between GURPS weapon
stats and FP, are given in Compendium II (pp. 100-101) and Vehicles, Second
Edition (p. 138 for DF, p. 99 for FP).
-----------------------------------------------------------------------GURPS FAQ: Supers
SU-01: Are there any adventures available for GURPS Supers?
Yes. GURPS Supers Adventures is a book of four adventures. Other GURPS
Supers adventure supplements exist: "Deathwish," by Loyd Blankenship, is a
32-page adventure book, as is "School of Hard Knocks," by Aaron Allston.
Note that these were written for first-edition Supers rules, so some work is
needed to use them with Supers, 2nd Edition. "Aces Abroad," by Kevin Andrew
Murphy is a GURPS Wild Cards adventure supplement.
There is also a 5-page Supers mini-adventure in IST Kingston, published by
Modern Myth, set in Jamaica of the IST world.
SU-02: Is there a conversion system between Champions and GURPS?
Yes. See the section on Conversions (CN-08).
SU-03: What does Invulnerability to "Any Kinetic Damage" protect against?
It only applies against damage caused by macroscopic physical objects
impacting with your body: collision and falling damage, blows, projectiles
and so on. Although heat is "kinetic" in a physical sense, this is not how
the word is being used here.
SU-04: Ablative DR.
Here's a capsule review of the problem: Attacks that don't penetrate
ablative DR cannot reduce it; therefore, by taking an extremely high
ablative DR, one can almost completely eliminate the likelihood of ablation
occurring -- making it as good as regular DR. However, the "Ablative"
limitation makes DR very cheap, so it is very easy to obtain a huge DR in
the first place. Moreover, even when ablative DR is penetrated, it absorbs

damage for the character, effectively doing double duty as Extra Hit Points.
This makes ablative DR quite a bargain!
The solution is to scrap the existing rules and use the ablative DR rules
from the latest revision of GURPS Robots instead. Under those rules, every
10 points of damage inflicted by an attack removes one point of DR,
regardless of whether or not it penetrated DR. This DR has a -15% limitation
-- just as in Robots -- and "heals" at the same rate as lost HT. Characters
who want their DR to regenerate more quickly may take Regeneration.
SU-05: How does Morph work?
You assume only the exterior physical appearance of whatever you Morph into;
you gain none of that form's special senses, movement abilities, et cetera,
unless they are purely an effect of body shape. For instance, a super in the
shape of a snake could slither; one in the shape of a bird could fly (if he
were light enough). These are issues of shape. On the other hand, most
special abilities -- unusual senses, venom, et cetera -- require special
internal organs or adaptations that Morph cannot provide.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------GURPS FAQ: Vehicles
VE-01: What's in GURPS Vehicles?
Vehicles is a 208-page sourcebook for designing and building all types of
vehicles, as well as for handling role-playing actions (exploration, travel,
combat) dealing with vehicles. Just about any vehicle can be designed, from
sports cars to hovercraft, from helicopters to submarines -- the second
edition even includes trains, mag-lev and spacecraft. Mecha and battlesuits
can also be built with Vehicles, although GURPS Mecha covers that in far
more detail.
The system presented in GURPS Vehicles, Second Edition is also the vehicle
design system for GURPS Autoduel, and is 100% compatible with both GURPS
Robots and Mecha. Note that the second-edition rules differ considerably
from the first-edition ones, and are both easier to use and more complete.
%VE-02: Where can I get sample/ready-made vehicles?
There is some talk of a compendium of vehicles built using GURPS Vehicles,
but nothing official (yet). There are many fan-authored sources, including
Happy Herb's Transdimensional New and Used Vehicle Dealership at
http://www.io.com/~ftp/GURPSnet/Vehicles/
and Onno Meyer's "Vehicle of the Week" entries from GURPSnet-L, which are
collected in the files votw*.txt at
http://www.io.com/~ftp/GURPSnet/Vehicles/Collections/
------------------------------------------------------------------------