How would/ did you fix GURPS?


Registered User
Validated User
Fixing GURPS ...

Here's what we did ...

1. We made damage points cheap (like 2pts apice up to +4 then 4pts thereafter). This rule was used for heroic fantasy games and supers games.

2. We took kicking out of GURPS Marital Arts after a character was made who could do brain-kicks on a 20-. I think they've fixed this--or maybe we were wrong about it to begin with, but there it is.

3. We toyed with giving a flat amount of disad points (i.e. make a 140pt character, take 4 disads of any sort). That fixed problems with a party of one-eyed mutants. Really, disads don't "balance" a character anyway--they add flavor and can create interesting roleplaying situations--but they don't really *balance* a character.

4. For Supers we split "normal character stuff" from "super powered stuff" point pools. It's not great (and then we did a tax for moving points between pools) but it does prevent someone from buying a 20 HT and then only going down when they're DEAD.

5. We monkeyed with the costs for things like claws (I know there are arguments--but 40pts?) If a race bought 1 bio-weapon, the others were almost free--so you have claws, teeth, and a tail--is that really *that* much better than claws?

6. We used a "roll a dice and add your speed" for intiative to break up the turn sequence.

7. We toyed with the leaky-armor rules (each 6 bleeds through a point of damage). Interesting--the jury is still out on it.

8. We scrapped the PD rules in certain situations (leather armor deflects an anti-matter beam?). Most importantly when it came down to large differences in damage (tank shells against platemail). Common sense really--although at a Convention, Lloyd Blankenship told our group that if leather armor deflected a particle beam it meant the beam just missed--not a bad interpertation--but not supported by the combat model either.

9. We really, really wanted more martial arts (other than the initial three) and hated brawling: the ultimate *defensive* art!? The GURPS Martial Art book didn't help us much--everything was built on those three--but it wasn't horrible.

10. We modified some super powers greatly (the minimal amount of whirlwind means you can only be hit by a ranged attack on a critical success ... ?) Characters based on Super Block tended to die when hit (GURPS supers had a big blow-through problem once you did hit someone ... the extra DP came in handy there too).

Finally we made our own system. Among other things, I'm proud of the martial arts rules: 8 distinct styles, all "balanced" with 4 different levels of each (and special moves). The Chi Martial Arts expansion has over 30 special moves and special Chi moves like fireball.


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Retired User
GURPS Problems

The problems I've heard people voice about GURPS are either with the suggestions they make (disad limits, f'rinstance), bad editing (i.e., the ineptly titled "Doesn't Breathe" advantage), or the Attribute scheme (no separate attributes for Perception, Will, etc.).

Most of these are no better or worse than the problems with most other systems. I have yet to find any RPG - and I've bought dozens - that doesn't have a host of problems. They each have their strange idiosyncracies. GURPS seems to be the main whipping boy for all, for some reason.

All of these problems can be fixed quickly and easily, in the same manner all other RPG rules problems can be: apply common sense (which is suggested in nearly every RPG rules set I have seen). If a particular scheme of point costs or descriptions don't seem to make sense to you, change them. Simple. Claws is way too expensive at 40 points; make it 20. You want separate attributes, do it. Will starts out at 10, with each additional point costing 4 points. Hit points are based off the average of HT and ST, or whatever.

As rules problems go, the ones people have with GURPS are easily solved, either by simple arbitration or with suggestions for alternate rules (see Compendiums I & II).

I would fix my biggest problem with GURPS, inconsistent point costs, by actually doing a compilation that compares and contrasts the relative utility of each ability and pricing them accordingly, leaving any genre-specific or world-specific modifications to a judicious application of the Unusual Background advantage. For instance, if one wants to be able to read minds, that power is work (X) points in a game where psionics are known and dealt with. However, to do it in a generally un-psionic world would require the purchase of a hefty Unusual Background to reflect its increased utility in that world, since defenses against it are virtually non-existent.


aka Mike Sullivan
Validated User
Re: GURPS Problems

godfish said:
Most of these are no better or worse than the problems with most other systems. I have yet to find any RPG - and I've bought dozens - that doesn't have a host of problems. They each have their strange idiosyncracies. GURPS seems to be the main whipping boy for all, for some reason.
GURPS seems to be the main whipping boy, to you, because you apparantly like GURPS.

D&D3/D20 seems like the main whipping boy to Sangrolu because he's a D&D3/D20 fan.

Storyteller seems like the main whipping boy to Tiama'at because he's a Storyteller fan.

Every game gets criticized on these fora, in more or less direct proportion to its popularity. We've seen people attack Unknown Armies, Call of Cthulhu, Amber, Rifts, In Nomine, etc. etc. etc.

Aaron Smith

Wandering GM
RPGnet Member
Validated User
My Fixes - AKA: Elrond's house rules.

Well, I've used the following rules, and they are somewhat playtested... but not as thourgly as I'd like.

That saying, I'd LIKE to get my players to commit to more than just 1 session of the fricking game, before opting out for yet another game of D&D!
/end rant

So, here are the patches I've slapped on. I use 2d10 instead of 3d6. I like more critical failures and successes in my game, and this adds to it. Also, the variablity of 2d10 is more than 3d6. This means that characters add +1 to all thier stats after the get done creating them, since the average of 2d10 is 11, not 10.5 (I like the fact that the average is actually a NUMBER, not an average that doenst show up on dice. *hunts around for his .5 die*

There is no PD stat anymore.
Several options here I've rewritten/added. Full defense. No attack, doubles your normal defensive skills against 2 attacks, and you may take unlimited normal defends. Attack defensivly. Halves normal combat skill, doubles normal defend skill. Attack normally. One attack, one defend like in the books. All out attack. Just like the books, two full attacks, no defense.

Characters are granted points at the start of the session, and they get NO points for disads. They have to choose one, and can choose more than one, but they get no points for them. They also get no points for lowering thier stats. (belive it or not, several players HAVE lowered thier stats) Several of the ads. no longer cost points. Longevity, unaging, apperance... they rarely come into play in a way that affects how the character interacts. It's just something that the player would like to say about his character, so they're free. This does affect the cost of some racial packages.
Intitution is a stat, allows use of the "intiution" ads for free, but rolling vs the stat. Useful if you need to make your players "get a clue", or if your players want to "get a clue" to get to the action. Sometimes they do.
Willpower is a stat, same cost in the book.
Charisma is a stat. Reorganized the skills that fit under it to reflect that.
No stat can be higher than 13, or lower than 7 to start. Racial packages have thier stats modifyed by the racial norms.

(I love mages, and can never resist tinkering with spells and spell systems in any system. The following are my rules to tinker with style/mechanics in Gurps. You have been warned. It's long.)

(ST + HT / 2) + 1 for every point of willpower over 11= Ftg Score. It's a derived stat. If I'm wanting to play very high power mages though I usually resort to SJohn's Umana rules, which are wonderful for that souped up high octane world shaker mage... who actually HAS a reason to say things like "I do not use not my powers carelessly! The world is not ment to see such things!"

Spells have no energy limit. It takes as many rounds as the player wants to put points into it, but a mage really can cast a 1000pt fireball if they have the energy points to spend. (that'll be 1000 rounds)

Ritual magic is cast in a cumulative fashion. Every roll gives 1 mana point, Each roll takes about a minitue of gametime. Any disruption at all (barring a absoutly fantastic willpower check) will cause the spell to fail in a horrible way. Counterspells can disrupt the casting. Mages get an automatic roll (just like thier natural sense magic ablity) to feel the power of such spells building. A shielding spell can be used to hold it in, but the scryguard is only good for IT's energy limit, and if your ritual is exceeding that, there's going to be trouble. Mages (lots of them) Tend to get worried when 1000+ energy points are going into a single spell.
Other mages can join in the ritual casting if the know the spell. Each mage makes a normal roll and adds thier successes to the mana pool being created. A critiacal failure nulls out a 2 successes, a critical success generates 10 mana. If there are no successes in a given round, the spell is nullified, and the mana generated is wasted. Net critical failure, means critical failure of the spell, and with the amounts of mana we're talking about, it's going to be a classic magical wasteland shortly.

So that's it, my house rule collection. So far it's worked... but it's more of a rewrite than a patch. Still... I LIKE hacking up game systems. And of course GURPS was my first gaming system ever, so that means I tend to try and stick with it, even when it sucks.

Aaron Smith

Marius B

Validated User
If you don't like the -40 point cap, drop it.

If characters tend to overspecialize, enforce a maximum starting level on skills (I'd set it at 16 even for a fairly high-powered game).

Base Hit Points off ST and Fatigue off HT. That'll also remove the weird marathon-running elephants and the quick-tiring littler critters.

Multiply all PDs by a factor of 0. That is, ignore PD. It doesn't really do anything that DR doesn't already reflect much more accurately. After all, a hit that inflicts no damage is effectively the same as a miss.

Always remember to include ninjas and dinosaurs in every game. Ninjas and Dinosaurs are cool. And airships. Let's not forget airships. :)

NPC Fixer

GURPS really isn't all that broken, and it works just fine without any of the "fixes". I've been playing GURPS since day one (over fifteen years, now), and I've never used anything that wasn't in the books. I have enjoyed GURPS immensely, as has everyone in my various groups over the years.

Don't be swayed by the outcrys of a few people here on RPGnet. Try the game out a couple times first and see if you like it or not. My guess is that it will work just fine for you. You may need to tweak it a bit (there are optional rules offered in a couple of the core books), but nothing's so "broken" that it needs to be "fixed."

All that being said, BESM is also a fine "generic" system, and less crunchy than GURPS. You may want to pick up the quick-start rules and look them over. It's a bit loose in too many areas for my tastes, but it works great for Supers and high action cinematic sci-fi. (I assume it works well for anime inspired games, too, but I wouldn't know about that as I haven't tried any.)

All in my opinion, of course.

- Andy Fix :)

Dr Rotwang!

Totally wears this tie.
I'm with NPC Fixer.

The very best "fix" for GURPS, if you want to use GURPS, is simply Your Own Common Sense.

Which is to say: if, in play, something doesn't seem right to you, change it. If, in theory, something looks stupid, change it.

It's been stated before (I think in the "What's Wrong With GURPS?" thread) that the whole thing is modular to begin with, and therefore everything is just a suggestion.

I'll tell you something I did: I'm running a GURPS Fantasy game. One of my players was disenchanted by my use of (parts of) the Advanced combat system. Not wishing to bore a player, I decided to use nothing but the Basic system, unless any one player (like my fiancee) wants to use an advanced option.

It worked like a charm.

Now, Turbo just rolls to hit and for damage; Fraulein Codename rolls to-hit, hit location and checks for crippling if she wants to. I don't care, man, so long as my players are having a good time.

Back in the "What's Wrong With GURPS?" thread, I pointed out some problems I have with it. I stand by that, but I also stand firmly in the "Don't Like It? Chuck It!" school of gaming. GURPS boils down to "roll 3d6 equal to or less than the stat", and all else is optional.

Steve Jackson isn't gonna come to your house and do stuff to you. He's too busy. Plus, you paid him already and his feelings won't be hurt.

Phill Calle

Registered User
Validated User
My problems and fixes...

Since you asked ( some of this was on another thread):

GURPS is not cinematic, so don't play cinematic GURPS, and, as a corallary, don't use GURPS for traditional super-heroes.

GURPS ads/disads can model a lot of stats, but I prefer to see them, so I add at least Willpower, Perception, and Charisma as stats. I also add Appearance, but that's just me. Reduce the point cost of stats proportionally and change the skill list to reflect the new stats (thus, for example, Diplomacy would be based off Charisma, not IQ).

GURPS places too much emphasis on talent and not enough on skill, so I do criticals differently: 3 is always a crit success, 18 is always a crit failure. In order to get a higher crit success chance, your skill must be that many points above the controlling stat. Thus somebody with Brawling at DX + 5 would crit on 3-5. If your skill is below the controlling stat, I don't really punish you with a greater chance of crit failure (but maybe I should). I don't put an upper limit on crit successes either. What happens is that players can either be a jack-of-all-trades, which, to a limited degree, is both realistic and "heroic," or players can be specialists. I also changed the idea behind crits, calling crit successes "complete successes" and crit failures "complete failures." The idea is that someone who has achieved a complete success has used every trick and covered every base.

In an opposed roll, whoever rolls a complete success wins, even if the other person rolled lower.

I don't have a problem with most of the ads/disads or the skills. In fact, I like the very long skill list (for GURPS; I also like the Over the Edge rules, so go figure).

I already base Hit Points off ST and Fatigue off HT, as per the suggestion in Compendium I.

Compendium I also has a neat sidebar about not counting disad points, just giving PCs 145 points and letting them pick whatever disads are appropriate. This can lead to not counting points at all, which can be appropriate for some campaigns.

The To-Do List:
I'd like to get rid of the 1/2 point (maybe next time). I'd also like to do something about languages. I could see streamlining the skills so that they're easier (but not cheaper) to buy.

NPC Fixer

GURPS handles cinematic action just fine. :) I've played in lots of cinematic oriented campaigns (Martial Arts, Black Ops, Fantasy, Spec Ops), and we had no problems at all. Be sure to use the cinematic rules offered in CI, though. GURPS doesn't do high-powered Supers very well, but that has little to do with the system's ability to handle cinematic action.

- Andy Fix :)
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