Back in 2020, I posted about GURPS Random Attributes and linked to an earlier post about random Advantages and Disadvantages on my old blog, UbiquitousRat.net. It has been brought to my attention that, my old blog having been shut down, the Ads/Disads article has disappeared. Some friends have asked I repost my notes for posterity… so here we are.
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.
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.
Random Advantages & Disadvantages
The next step is for the player to roll 3d6 once on each of the random tables for an Advantage and a Disadvantage. These are adapted from the GURPS 3e Revised rules but also tinkered for fantasy flavour in the Dungeons of Thaarl:
From here, I have the player roll 2d6 for the number of skills known. For each skill, we roll 3d6 on the following table (also adapted from GURPS 3e Revised) and the player chooses one of the three skills on the row selected. I generally apply 2 points to each skill.
Grab the random Ads, Disads, and Skills tables in .PDF by clicking this link. I have also altered these tables to fit in with GURPS Dungeon Fantasy Roleplaying Game and you can grab this DFRPG version from this link.
To finish, the players can choose equipment. I allow one weapon from a choice of Axe, Broadsword, Knife (large), Quarterstaff, Mace, Shortsword, or Spear plus a Medium Shield.
Alternatively, characters skilled with missile weapons can trade the shield for a ranged weapon: Axe (throwing), Crossbow, Knife (large), Longbow, Shortbow, or Spear.
I then allow either a suit of Cloth or Leather armour (they almost always choose Leather, obviously) plus one choice from a selection of Quick Dungeon Equipment Packs:
And that’s it! Worked great for us back at the end of last year. Hope you find some value in it too.