Michael Casavant's GURPS Pages
Please see the disclaimer below

Character Generation

This page reflects pretty much everything I would ramble about as I sat down to help a player make a character.

Table of Contents


Creating a Character

The character types, templates, and points allowed will all be affected by the specific guidelines for the campaign being played.  Be sure to check them out.

Basic Attributes [Rationales]

When purchasing attributes, please be sure to look at the specific guidelines for the campaign you are playing in.  In general, I will have limits as follows:
  • Maximum points on attributes will generally be limited to 80 points.
  • Maximum attribute values
    • one attribute can be bought up to 15.
    • all other attributes are limited to 13.
  • Minimum attribute values
    • anything below 8 must be explained in your concept/background and approved by me.

Strength (ST) [Rationales]

I will use various optional rules from the three rules books:
  • Extra Effort - I will use the Expanded rules [CII 171]
  • Throwing distance and damage - I will use the tables from CII [CII 11]
  • Fatigue and hit points are swapped.  Fatigue is based off of HT; hit points are based off of ST.
  • Consistent Character Concept: a character with a high ST that is intended to reflect some weight training or similar resistance training, should probably buy Lifting skill [CI 132].

Dexterity (DX) [Rationales]

  • Consistent Character Concept: I expect a character to have points spent on DX-based skills equal to or greater than half the points spent on DX, e.g. if a character has a DX of 14, they should have at least 14 points of DX-based skills.

Intelligence (IQ) [Rationales]

  • Consistent Character Concept: I expect a character to have points spent on IQ-based skills equal to or greater than its IQ score, e.g. if a character has a IQ of 14, they should have at least 14 points of IQ-based skills.
  • Be sure and see the house rules on Will below as well.

Health (HT) [Rationales]

  • Consistent Character Concept: consider buying Athletic Skills, Toughness, etc. to reflect the kind of Health your character has.  If a below average health, such purchases might be inappropriate.

Will (WL) [Rationales]

I am using the optional Will rules "Three-pronged Approach" [CI 9sb] and Frequency of Submission [CI 10sb].  Some clarifications, reminders, and pointers:
  • Physical Will = HT+ (Strong/Weak) Will.  This is not so much an extra attribute, but rather allowing characters to use their (Strong/Weak) Will on HT tests that would be reasonably affected by will.
  • Mental Will = IQ + (Strong/Weak) Will.  This would be used to resist a mental attack.
  • Emotional Will = 10 + (Strong/Weak) Will.  Generally, this will be used for Fright Checks and fear-like effects.  There really is no need to record this as an extra attribute, per se, just be aware of the formula.
  • Resisting a disadvantage will be based on its respective Frequency of Submission [CI 10sb]:
    • Almost always (15-) - 3 x value
    • Quite often (12-) - 2 x value
    • Fairly often (9-) - listed value
    • Quite rarely (6-) - halve the listed value (rounded up).  Do not abuse this.
  • Will example: The young girl punches her hand through your team mate's chest, killing him.  You make an Emotional Will Roll to stand your ground.  She then uses a psionic attack on you to control you; you use your Will-modified IQ to resist.  The stench of death and decay threatens to overwhelm you and incapacitate you with wretching, you use your Will-modified HT to resist.  Any questions?  Yes, your team mate is dead, sorry.


Raising and Lowering Figured Quantities [Rationales]

I allow the raising and lowering of Fatigue up to 3 points, Hit Points up to 3 points, and Speed up to 2 points.  They are still based upon their respective attributes and if any of the base attribute (ST, HT, IQ) values change, the figured quantities will be re-calculated.

Physical Appearance

Wealth and Status

Advantages (Rationales)

Acute Hearing - no more than 2 levels
Acute Taste/Smell - no more than 2 levels
Acute Vision - no more than 2 levels
Alertness - this has been replaced by the Perception Attribute
Strong Will - buy as a 1/2 cost attribute and limited to four levels (see Will).

Disadvantages (Rationales)

Addiction - some examples:
  • Tobacco -5
Appearance - some more examples
  • Ugly (scarred) [Wa 48] - I assume a -3 to reaction rolls
Code of Honor - some examples:
  • Arabian -10
  • Aztec Knight's -5
  • Bushido -15
  • Enlisted Man's -10
  • Officer's -10
  • Gentleman's -10
  • Hospitality -5
  • Mercenary's -5
  • Norseman's -10
  • Pirate's -5
  • Roman -10
  • Secret society -10
  • Viking -10
  • Warrior's -10
Compulsive Behaviors - some examples:
  • Fighting -15
  • A corporation
  • Leader of some sort
  • Military
  • Thugee Cult (large group)
  • Tong gang (medium)
Obsession - some examples:
  • Destroy robots and AIs -15 [for a Reign of Steel campaign]
  • Fight gang violence -10
  • Improving rank and status -5
Odious Personal Habit
  • "By the book" -5
  • Mutters constantly -5
  • Takes ears from dead enemies -10
  • Eats other sentients -15
Odious Personal Habit
  • Bloody -10
  • Yells when excited -5
Poor Hearing - 2 points per level, no more than 2 levels
Poor Taste/Smell - 2 points per level, no more than 2 levels
Poor Vision - no more than 2 levels
Sense of Duty - some examples:
  • Anyone character perceives as a victim -5 [Wa 15]
  • City's inhabitants -10
  • Clients -5
  • Comrades in arms -5
  • Squad -5
  • Temple -5
  • Village -5 [Wa 14]
Vow - some examples:
  • Fight spread of necromantic diseases -10 [provided they exist]
  • Poverty -10
  • Uphold animal rights -5
Weak Will - buy as a 1/2 cost attribute and limited to for four levels (see Will).


It can be hard to think of good quirks. I have started to amass some from GURPS books on my Quirk List.


Skill level cap

The maximum level for a default skill is 20.  The maximum level for a skill is Attribute + 10.

Scientific Skills

Occultism: you might want to have your character specialize in some category, especially if there is some particular evil they fight routinely.

Equipment and Encumberance

Completing Your Character

Character Development

Random Characters

Disclaimer - The material presented here is my original creation, intended for use with the GURPS system from Steve Jackson Games (SJG). This material is not official and is not endorsed by SJG. GURPS is a registered trademark of SJG, and the art above is copyrighted by SJG. All rights are reserved by SJG. This material is used here in accordance with the SJG online policy.