GURPS Summary, part 2
- Character Generation
GURPS character generation is extremely simple in the overview and
complex in the little details.
GURPS does not have "classes". GURPS does not have "levels".
Characters are generated by means of character points. Character
points roughly correspond to an approximate measure, more or less,
somewhat, of something or other, with some variation and adjustment,
if you squint a little.
Character points can be used to raise attributes above the starting
values, get advantages, get skills, etc. In common GURPS parlance,
the terms "purchase" and "price" are often used when talking about
using character points. However, this does NOT mean that character
points are identical to money in GURPS (although "Wealth" is an
Attributes are not purchased on a simple linear scale. They are not
purchased on a scale that fits a simple equation.
Skills are purchased using one of three methods. Most skills are
either "mental" or "physical" and price depends upon the difficulty
class of the skill. Price for most skills completely IGNORES the
"default" value of the skill. However, this is not necessarily the
case if the skill in question defaults from another skill instead of
from an attribute.
Skills that are "maneuvers" ARE purchased up from the default value,
using a different price table than other skills. Many of this type of
skill have a maximum value of default+X, where "X" is a positive whole
number that can be zero.
Some skills are purchased up from default, but at a flat rate.
Now, to complicate matters, some advantages give bonuses to some
skills. Some attributes give bonuses to some skills (over and above
the normal attribute effect). Some skills can give bonuses to other
skills (although this is rare). Some skills require a certain
advantage, skill(s), and/or attribute score. Some skills require a
LACK of a certain disadvantage. (For example, cryptography requires
that a character not be "Illiterate".)
Special advantage situation: Literacy is a very special case in
GURPS. In some campaigns, most people are presumed to be able to
read. An illiterate character has a Disadvantage. In some campaigns,
people are presumed to be unable to read. Literacy is an advantage.
In some campaigns, some level of reading ability, but not much, is
presumed. Semi-literacy is the norm, Literacy is an advantage,
Illiteracy is a disadvantage. Who decides the standard for a
campaign? The gamemaster, of course! No high-handed pronouncements
from a publisher dictate that all characters must be literate unless
the rules specify otherwise.
Player characters presumably start out with a set number of character
points, set by the gamemaster. They may get additional character
points by taking disadvantages. While GURPS has suggested starting
character points and suggested disadvantage limits, there are no
Gamemasters are permitted to limit point expenditure as they see fit.
Some common methods:
No attribute above X
No more than X total points spent in attributes
Likewise, a gamemaster may prohibit any skills, advantages, etc. from
being used in his campaign.
Special situation: "Races". "Races" may have access to advantages
prohibited from characters not of that "race". It's the gamemaster's
call. Likewise, "races" may have inherent bonuses or penalties to
some skills. These are "racial" advantages and disadvantages.
"Races" may have mandatory advantages and disadvantages as well.
"Race" attribute scores alter the way that attributes are purchased.
Usually, "race" design is the exclusive property of the gamemaster,
but some gamemasters let their players design "races".