GURPS Random Attributes

In my ongoing project to strip down the GURPS rules, and make them as accessible as possible for my Open Table games, I have been experimenting with rolling Attributes randomly.

GURPS 1e-3e offered the simple system of rolling 3d6 for each Attribute and applying the result directly. Initially attracted to this idea, I tried it in my early Dungeons of Thaarl games but found the results too variable – too many characters with sub-8 values which, when combined with the 4e points value differences between ST/HT and DX/IQ, made for several sub-zero-point characters; one got a total of -178 Character Points.

Despite this, random rolling of Attributes and a modified version of the random Skills, Advantages, and Disadvantages would be quick and very useful at the table. It’s also a quick way in for new players who think (wrongly) that they won’t enjoy GURPS because of the maths.

I still need to update my most recent Dungeons of Thaarl post to show you the modifed Version 0.3 random tables for Skills, Advantages, and Disadvantages. Before I do that, however, I’d like to share and get feedback on my in-test approach to random Attributes.

This draws on inspiration from the AGE System and my own innovation with an alternative to rolling 3d6 in-order with Old-School Essentials. Let me know what you think.

Random Attributes

You need to generate four Attribute scores: STrength (ST), DeXterity (DX), Intelligence (IQ), and HealTh (HT).

To do this:

  • Roll 3d6 and note the total.
  • Choose one of the Attributes.
  • Reference the relevant Attribute Table and note the final value.
  • Write this value on your character sheet, noting the Character Point cost.
  • Repeat for the other three Attributes.

Once generated, my approach then goes on to randomly generate Skills, Advantages, and Disadvantages too. I’ll share the updates to those in a future post.

Let me know what you think by posting in the comments below. And, no, it’s not an April Fool.

Game on!


  1. For this sort of thing my first thought would be changing the original 3d6 to 2d6+6 which merely assumes that one of the original 3d6 rolled a 6. This gives a range of 8-18 which is the actual viability range anyway? I’m not really boned up on GURPS so maybe I’m missing something… probably maths!


    • 2d6+6 is something I considered but you can still have massive differences in generated values: consider you are rolling DX and IQ on a range of 8-18; that is a range of -40 to +160 character points for each Attribute. On ST and HT that range is -20 to +80 for each. The problem is the upper ranges – which are meant to be extremely rare in GURPS – are too easily reached. I am, however, considering the idea of 1d6+8 (inspired by my re-reading of AD&D2e’s Option VI) which gives a range of 9-14.


      • If you’d still like to keep the bell curve, consider 8 + the middle die of 3d6. Or roll 6 dice, drop the lowest and the highest, and assign the remaining four to attributes (at +8).
        I think table lookups don’t really make stuff that simple. It’s not a complex idea, but it means that each player has to look up something. It’s clunky.


      • I prefer the last idea. I was considering rolling 4d6 and assigning each with +8. Perhaps the 6d6 roll, dropping highest and lowest, is more of a push to the middle. My only worry is that removing dice is an extra step.


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