Posted in: Character Creation Challenge, Role Playing Games

2023 Character Creation Challenge Day 27: GURPS 4th Edition

For day 27 of the Character Creation Challenge, I’m going to be using the fourth edition of GURPS (Generic Universal Role Playing System) by Steve Jackson Games. Back in the 90’s I had played at least one session of GURPS (3rd edition) and I had found the character sheet used for that game. But it’s been so long that I don’t recall anything about the system. I just remember adding and then adding and then adding again to try to make a character. Let’s see if I get that same impression from the fourth edition.

In a normal gaming situation the GM would let me know about the game world and how many points this character could be built with. According to the book, the typical career adventurer starts between 100-200 character points. I’m going to run with 150 points in total with a max of -75 on any disadvantages I’m electing to take. As for the world, well for the for generic games I’ve made characters for so far, I’ve created a spy, a barbarian, a gun-smuggler and a private investigator. For this character, let’s make a human star-fighter pilot for an Earth Defense Force in a sci-fi setting. His name will be Dieter “Ace” Tannin.

What a guy

In the Basic Set: Characters book there are 336 pages. The character sheet is two pages long and the character creation steps start on page 13. Thankfully the book did not list the character concept as one of the steps, but suggested it just before creating a character.

The first step on the list is creating the basic attributes. These are Strength (ST), Dexterity (DX), Intelligence (IQ) and Health (HT). All humans start with 10 in each category (no character points needed). If you drop a score below 10, you can gain CP, if you add to a score you spend CP. Once the basic attributes are determined, then you can calculate the secondary characteristics (damage, basic lift, hit points, etc.) There was also Reaction modifiers to appearances and things. After starting to be overwhelmed with 2x that and x 0.4 for this, I started skipping stuff just to get things moving along.

I skipped ahead to advantages and disadvantages since it was next on the list. Honestly this game could really use some basic packages. Pick this and you’ll be a good pilot in your world. I’m wondering if the advice of 100-200 points wasn’t enough to make a decent character.

Next in this quagmire is skills. I found piloting and wrote it down. Point cost? I don’t even know it wasn’t listed. I’m sure this guy has other skills as well as part of a space navy. I’m not going to go through the entire list and decide what skills a space pilot would have.

Skills was the last item on the character creation list. There was nothing on the equipment in the checklist, but I’m assuming that my character would need and have them. Honestly I’m just done and remembering why I haven’t played GURPS since the 90’s. I didn’t scan the second page of the character sheet because I didn’t write anything down.


AARRRGGGG So much math and minutia in this character creation process. I’m starting to remember why I didn’t keep up with this game. I think in a setting where the characters are pre-generated (like a convention) then I won’t mind GURPS, but I just want to make a character and play. I don’t need to know if there’s a wart on his left pinky and if I get points for that. This game has too much min/maxing for me.

There are a TON of advantages and skills in this game since it had to cover a wide variety of genres. I can see how it would be overwhelming for some first-time players. A good GM would be needed to guide through the character creation process.

I really wanted a refresher for this game since I signed up for a GURPS session at the upcoming SaltCon. Luckily I had won the two books of the basic set in an online auction last year. I’ve had some current gaming friends mention GURPS every once in a while, but we usually end up playing something else. I just know that the GM is going to stick with GURPS someday and I wanted to be prepared. However after reminding myself of GURPS through this challenge, I don’t know if I’d want to play this system on a regular basis. But, I was able to remember the dice mechanic now for the upcoming con.

Additional Notes:

I had a reader respond that they were unaware of Star Crawl until my post. I have a feeling that a lot of third-party products are not known for the crawl line. When I went to post the Star Crawl character on the RPG Geek message board, they didn’t even have a logo for the Star Crawl game. I had to use Mutant Crawl Classics.

Coming Up Next:

White Box Fantastic Medieval Adventure Game

This article is open for discussion on the TardisCaptain dot Com Discord server. You can also email me at Carl (at) with any comments.

Back to Top