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.
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.
Nice! I had missed random attributes!
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.
How is the bell curve of the 2d6+6, resulting in 9 – 14.
Sounds good if the curve favors the center.
2d6+6 is a range of 8-18… or is my maths off?
No it was mine. Shouldn’t drink and post.
[…] in 2020, I posted about GURPS Random Attributes and linked to an earlier post about random Advantages and Disadvantages on my old blog, […]