Friday, February 7, 2020

Library Access in GURPS

Over on the SJG GURPS forum there is a thread about buying a Library as an advantage.
Like anything in GURPS there are multiple ways to build something, each with their own trade-offs.

Unusual Background Type

This assumes libraries are in the setting and accessible to those meeting qualifications.
  • Public Library card: This is a feature as anyone can get one, though these libraries will be limited. Feature
  • University Library: University libraries tend to be pretty large and have a lot of scholarly works, but are more limited in access.  This is a perk, 1 point.
  • Specialty or Secret Library: Few people may even be aware of, much less have access to these, often obscure and specialized libraries or information warehouses. This is an Unusual Background advantage. Cost varies.
  • Government Service: Typically requires a level of Security Clearance (p. B82). Cost varies.

Contacts Advantage

Contacts are in one way an obvious solution, ask a librarian! Having to go to a location rather than phoning a person is usually a feature, and GURPS Social Engineering: Keeping in Contact has some useful ideas and ways to tweak Contacts and Contact Groups. Generally they wont do Favors, just provide information so should be cheaper. Also consider using alternative ability pricing, the precedent for this was set in Monster Hunters Power-Ups 1, specifically the I Have a Friend power up (p. 16).


Talents provide a skill bonus.  This can simulate a bonus to one or more skills representing a lab or research facility, including a library. For this approach apply modifiers such as Gadget (portable computer, to entire buildings) or Accessibility and Preparation Time Required.


This advantage is often used to represent the ability to plan ahead, so seems like a solid candidate. It takes a minute to use, IQ roll, and is in your head so portable.  Adjusting it to a Library concept requires some tweaks.
You have access to a library, storehouse of books, computer database or network, or maybe consult spirits or the collective unconscious. Statistics: Visualization, typically with the Preparation Required modifier (needs to be modified a step from the 1 minute base).
  • AI, Memory Palace, or Supernatural assistant for extremely fast access, 1 minute (Base time) +0%
  • Very well organized and method to quickly get to the right material, possibly a very efficient computer user interface, 10 minutes -20%
  • Well organized, quality user interface, or specialized library, 1 hour -30%
  • Typical large library, 8 hours -50%

Apply to general IQ or 1 specific skill, +1 point per additional skill it can be rolled against. When rolling against a skill the bonus applies to that skill or actions that could result from that skill only! This is basically the skill substitution perk.
  • Results of a successful IQ or skill roll.
    • Full MOS would apply for building from a schematic, or knowing the exact ritual you want to use.
    • Half Bonus if researching plans for a very specific situation or task and it works almost exactly as expected.
    • General Guidance with wildly different events than expected gain 1/3 bonus.

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