Wednesday, October 24, 2018

GURPS Attributes Revisited

With the latest issue of Pyramid introducing a new alternate attribute the SJG forums discussion has hit on an old topic. GURPS has just 3 Primary attributes, several figured ones and advantages to modify all this. Still sometimes people want to change things around a bit.
First lets look at what we have.


This determines how much you can lift, damage you do with muscle powered attacks and how many HP you have, HP are assumed to be based off mass and strength is largely related to mass.
Arm ST: Increased ST but for limited parts of your body.
Striking ST: Explosive muscle force, buying this up lets you hit harder and do more damage.
Lifting ST: Lets you carry more and pull a heavier bow.  Also increases your wrestling strength.
Extra HP: You can buy up or down your HP which indicates how much damage you can take.


This is an overall measurement of agility, quickness and coordination. Mostphysical skills are based off DX and it figures into your Basic Speed. Basic Move, and Dodge scores.
Arm DX: Limited increase to DX for your arms only.
High Manual Dexterity: This increases your finger dexterity and ability to do fine work, great for watch makers and surgeons.


This is representation of overall mental ability, it covers awareness and the ability to notice things, willpower, and knowledge. Many consider it to be too cheap for its costs and I think it sees the most house rules, such as separating Per and Will from it.
Acute Sense: Increases you Per for 1 specific sense.
Charisma: Adds to Reaction Rolls and stacks with IQ for some social skills.
Fearlessness: Increases your Will for the purpose of resisting fear.


Representing physical health this attribute is the base for few skills but aids certain figured attributes and is rolled against to resist disease, poison, and death.
Hard to Kill: Adds to HT in death checks.
Hard to Subdue: Adds to HT in rolls to avoid being knocked unconscious.

Secondary Characteristics

HP, Per, Will, and FP start the same as their core attribute, while others such as striking damage and Basic Lift are calculated with a chart. Basic Speed is figured using DX and HT and that is used for Basic Move.

Talents and Secondary Characteristics

Talents were created so you could have specialists, people who were good at certain things that used several attributes or even a limited set of skills based off one attribute. This allows a lot of variety and customization in GURPS. The ability to rise or lower secondary characteristics or even some of the narrower versions of the primary attributes above further increases player choice and makes it easier to design exactly the character you want more than most game systems,
Anti-Talents introduced in GURPS Power-Ups 3: Talents actually lower effective attribute score for certain sets of skills which allows even further individuality.

But sometimes people want more or a different direction, so here is another idea....
Inspired by the Quintessence article, this thread, and many many others here is an idea I am pondering as a house rule.

New Attribute

Inspired by the Uses or Affects Different Attribute enhancements, talents and the idea of new attributes that gets talked about here is a solution that can be used in the game with GM approval.
Create a new attribute, suggested cost is 10/level and base value is 10.
This attribute will be the base for certain skills, resistance rolls, and possibly other things that were covered by the original attribute. GM discretion.
This is similar to Talent in that you can increase multiple skills without buying up the underlying attribute but is not limited to 4 levels and can have additional effects.
Presence for Social skills and resisting Influence skills, Spirit for shamanic skills, energy and resistance (working similar to QN), and Chi for cinematic martial skills will be others I am adding as player options for my Chalice World setting.
I may come up with more,or my players may do so.

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