GURPS House Rules

Written July 13th, 2001.

  • 100. Character Background: If a player types up a background for their character (outlining his/her/its childhood, friends and family, education, and general history -- be sure to explain any unusual powers/advantages/skills!) that meets my requirements, I will award the player and additional amount of points equal to 5 + 5% of the starting level (e.g., 100 point characters receive (5+(100/20)) 10 points while 250 point characters receive (5+(250/20)) 17.5). The requirements are: a typed page, single-spaced, 12 point Times New Roman font, no fewer than 600 words, and 1 inch margins all around. This has to be presented before your character enters play and is subject to my approval. I encourage players to write up backgrounds regardless, but this is the only way to get points for it.

  • 101. Initiative in Combat: Roll 1d and add your Basic Speed (plus any modifiers from Combat Reflexes, etc.). Higher numbers go first.

  • 102. Real-Time Gaps Between Sessions: When possible, for each day of real time that passes, upon which we do not have a GURPS game, one week of game time is assumed to pass. If you'd like your characters to do things that arn't monumental to the campaign (that is, it won't require the notification of other players), you can e-mail me (e.g. "Hey, for the first two weeks my character is going to practice shooting his blaster at the target range for an hour a day.").

  • 103. Skill Limits and Age: For beginning characters, I will usually disallow any skills over 18 (excluding specializations). Additionally, any character with all naturally learned skills (that is, skills that are not from Deep Learning, Skill Chips, or Innate Skills) must be at least as old as the number of points he has invested in skills divided by two (e.g. minimum age for a character with 90 points in skills is 45 years). [modified 11/21/01]

  • 104. Remembering Disads: As a general rule, I will remember your character's disadvantages and flaws, but I will expect you to notify me of effects of advantages. For example, if your character has a Gentleman's Code of Honor, I will notify you of your limitations during combat and so forth, but if you have Charisma Level 2, you should mention it when you meet the Mayor of Wye.

  • 105. Experience Points: I divide Character Points into 100 EPs each. I find entire CPs to be too granular. I'll try to award EPs during play and at the end of adventures. I don't award EPs based on the moral value of your deeds or anything like that, but how well you (the PC) define yourself as a person and how pro-active you are (as opposed to reactive -- pro-active characters go out and do things and make plans and so forth; reactive characters sit around until a blatantly obvious adventure hook is dangled in front of them). Dialogue, independent thinking, and character development are the main points. And of course, I award points for killing things, stealing stuff and blowing up junk. It wouldn't be a role-playing game if I didn't. If your character is built around a cliche (the Mad Scientist, the Gallant Knight, the Uzi-Toting Gangster, etc.), I'll reward reinforcements of that cliche. Of course, I award points to full-formed (3 dimensional?) characters too. And drama is always worth a couple EPs. And witty remarks. And treating NPCs like real people. Come to think of it, I award them for lots of things.

  • 106. Miniatures for Combat: If possible, get a figure of some kind to represent your character. I don't care what it looks like, only that it's clearly different from the others and has directional indicators (a front and back--you can't use dice for your minis). 25mm minis work well, but you can use anything; Cardboad Heroes, nickels, wood chips with arrows on them, whatever. In some of my games, players use the same Knights of the Dinner Table figurines for every PC they run.

  • 107. Optional Combat Rules: I use both the 'All-Out Charge' and 'All-Out Defense Option: Increased Defense' rules listed on pages 56-57 of Compendium II. [updated 9/12/01] I try to keep my games as realistic as possible in the physical sense, but there are a few allowances; I do use the "Cinematic Knockback" rule on page 76 of Compendium II (which, BTW, is totally canon and legit if you refer only to Basic). This rule just says that bullets knockback the same way as any other weapon--1 hex per 8 points of damage before DR subtraction. Also remember the proper modifiers for attacks with multiple weapons... this legit FAQ clarifies it. [appended 11/22/01]

  • 108. Interrupted Knockback Damage: If someone is knocked back a number of hexes, but hits a solid object a lesser number of hexes away, he/she takes the damage as if he/she had fallen from the height of the remaining knockback hexes. I got this from a post Lupo made to GURPSnet in response to my knockback question (Basic and CII don't cover interrupted knockback for guns):
    My suggestion: determine the 'stopped knockback', and compute damage as if the character was falling from that height. For example, if Mr. D is knocked back 5 hexes, but there is a solid wall 2 hexes behind him, he will take damage as if he was falling from 3 hexes, 3d-9.
    See page 131 of Basic for falling damage. [rule added 9/12/01] For knockback from guns, quarter and round down any damage from interrupted knockback. [exception added 11/21/01]

  • 109. Allowed Books: Typically, when I run a campaign, I will state explicitly which books players are allowed to use. Most of the time, I allow any book (within reason -- don't use Bunnies & Burrows advantages in my Steampunk game) except Martial Arts, due to the ease with which it's maneuvers/skills/advantages can be abused. Really, I only use MA in MA-oriented campaigns; if only one player in a group of 5 uses MA, the character, IME, tends to be very unbalanced in regards to the rest of the party, esp. at higher point levels. In my Steampunk campaign, the only books players are allowed to use are Basic, Compendium I, Old West and Stempunk (of course, some dis/advantages are still off-limits). Anyway, all characters are subject to my review and alteration before play begins.

  • 110. Additional Advantages, Disadvantages, and Skills: I have a list of Ads, Disads and Skills, along with point values and descriptions, that are not listed in any GURPS book (at this time) that I will allow players to take. Also, I have some peices of cyberware and bio-modifications listed only on my website that I will allow (where appropriate). You can find the ad/disads/skills here and the cyberware/biomods here. [rule added 9/14/01]

  • 111. Everyone Gets ONE: In addition to a couple other mildly cinematic rules, I allow this: every player can save his/her character from death once. Now mind you, there has to be a conceivably possible way to evade the reaper--someone stranded in deep space, 100 parsecs from the nearest outpost, with no oxygen will die. But if someone gets hit with a bullet to the lung, there's a number of acceptable fiats we can use to save him/her. Each player can use this once and only once (...per campaign, at the GM's option). His/her character will receive no EPs for the session in which he/she uses this house rule. [rule added 10/15/01] When this rule is used, remember that it simply saves the character from death; he/she will still have to deal with any severe damage they've taken (but the GM must reduce the damage to a minimum of 1 point less than (5 x HT) + HT -- thus saving the character from automatic death via the -5 x HT rule). [amended 11/21/01]

  • 112. No Death By Extremity Damage: Once a character's total hitpoints fall below 3, only hits to the head and/or torso can push the hitpoint total below 3 (although damage to limbs, hands and feet is still recorded seperately for purposes of crippling and immobilization/disarmament) for purposes of loss of consciousness and death (note: bleeding damage is exempt from this rule). When a character is being hospitalized (or whatever) later on, these uncounted hits to the extremeties are considered and take time to heal. [rule added 11/21/01]

  • 113. Use of Luck Advantages: You may expend your Luck (or Ridiculous Luck or Super Luck...) before a roll, granting 3 rolls in addition to the normal roll, or after the normal roll for 3 more rolls. This is actually canon; it's gleaned from the GURPS FAQ on the SJ Games website, section 3.18. [clarification added 11/22/01]

  • 114. Character Sheets: Try to really pound this one into your brain: The GM is not responsible for missing character sheets of any kind. Players must keep track of their own papers. If you show up for a planned session without your character sheet, your character is fined 100 EPs and play continues without him/her/it (unless all other players unanimously decide to allow you to cancel the game or switch to a different campaign--though your missing character is still fined). Also, your character sheets are subject to random audits at any time. That means you need to have your inventory current, your encumbrance marked and calculated, your hitpoints/wounds listed, your fatigue tabulated, and any and all dis/advantages, skills or attributes properly and legitamitely recorded. Failure to comply with this mandate will result in a 5 to 15 EP fine per infraction (as defined by the GM... this could mean "per hitpoint not listed," for example). If you cannot bear to write on your main sheet, at least use additional 'scrap' sheets for this information (note: these sheets must be kept with your character and are subject to the same rules as missing Character Sheets). [rule added 11/26/01]

  • 115. Absences: If you're going to be absent for a planned* game (i.e. a weekly game at 4:00 on Saturdays), tell the GM and the other players. If you don't give us heads-up at least the day before the game, your character gets fined 400 EPs. If you're late for the game by more than 1 hour, the GM will fine you 1 EP per minute until your arrival to a maximum of 350 EPs. If you call at least 1 hour before the game's stated starting time, you will be fined only 2 EPs per 5 minutes (round up). Note that your character is subject to anything that might happen in the game if you are not present for a scheduled* session.
    *Scheduled/Planned games are those which are planned at least three days in advance with the consent and contact of all players. [rule added 11/26/01]