Fourth Edition not only streamlined GURPS, it fixed a lot of rules and exceptions that were unbalanced or otherwise broken. Of course, even an unashamed fanatic like myself has to admit that a few things can still use some tweaking. All of my house rules here have been extensively playtested and have had a positive effect on the system. Click on the rule if you want to know the details, or the rationale behind it.
Many of these house rules are available in the GCA Files section below if you want to incorporate them into your own game.
1. Perception and Will are separate from IQ.
Both Per and Will are their own attributes. They start at 10, and can be raised or lowered for 5 points/level. IQ is unchanged, at 20 points/level.
2. Reducing the value of "flavor" traits.
The values of all age-related traits (Extended Lifespan, Longevity, Self-Destruct, Short Lifespan) are halved, except for Unaging, which costs 5 points. Terminally Ill no longer exists, except when granted via an Affliction.
3. Arm DX, Arm ST, and Regrowth are cheaper.
Arm DX costs 9 or 12 points for one or two arms. Arm ST costs 3, 4, or 6 points for one, two, or three arms. Regrowth costs 10 points.
4. Control can be used normally to provide DR.
Each level of Control can be used to give people in your area of effect DR 1 versus appropriate attacks. A successful, IQ-Based Power Block will double any defensive use of Control for one attack.
5. Costs Fatigue is worth -10%/level.
Costs Fatigue is worth -10% per level, to a maximum of -40%. If you have an advantage that would normally remain on indefinitely, you can take "Costs 1 FP per 10 seconds" for -20% or "Costs 1 FP per second" for -40%.
6. Armor Divisor (100) is available.
Armor Divisor (100) is available as a +300% enhancement. This is a fair price in comparison to Cosmic (Irresistable Attack), which is more effective but is also stopped by Cosmic DR. Hardened DR reduces both enhancements normally.
7. Various new modifiers for traits.
While building characters and helping others to do so, I've come up with several new "special modifiers" for various advantages, as well as a new advantage (Indefatigable). Unlike the other house rules, this will load as a separate page -- it's too long to do inline.
8. Enthrallment skills require an Unusual Background.
For balance purposes, an Unusual Background is required to learn and use the four Enthrallment skills. This costs 5 points, plus 5 points for each level of Charisma (maximum 30 points.)
9. Temporary Enchantment fixed.
When using the Temporary Enchantment spell (from GURPS Fantasy and Magic), multiply the energy cost of the enchantment by (Uses)/(Uses+6), rounding up. So a wand that can cast Fireball 30 times costs (30/36), or 84% of the normal energy cost to enchant.
10. Slams use ST when possible.
Replace "HP" with "ST" for living beings in the formula for calculating the damage from slams. Use HP for inanimate objects and all other collisions or falls. If the type of Strength matters, use Striking ST.
11. (Psi) Static comes in two levels.
Resistible is no longer a limitation. Instead, it is the first level of Static, with a cost of 15 points. The normal advantage, as written, is the second level.
12. Changes to Trading Points for Money and Signature Gear.
The starting cash you get by trading in points now scales up (using a similar progression to Wealth) and is based on your starting wealth, not the campaigns. This makes it a fair deal for wealthy characters while reducing abuse from poor ones. Signature Gear no longer provides funds; it simply adds plot protection to gear that you've already purchased. Because there's a table involved, this house rule is located on its own page.
13. Streamlined Languages for Modern Games.
In games set on modern Earth, 99% of the people will speak one of the following languages: Arabic, Bantu (Southern African), Berber (Northern African), Cantonese/Wu (Chinese), Dutch/Afrikaans, English, Farsi/Kurdish (Iranian), Finnish/Hungarian, French, Gaelic/Welsh, German/Yiddish, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi-Urdu (Indian/Pakistani), Indonesian/Malay, Italian/Romanian, Japanese, Korean, Latin, Mandarin (Chinese), Navajo, Norwegian/Swedish/Danish, Polish/Czech, Russian/Ukranian, Spanish/Portugese, Thai/Burmese, Turkish/Mongol, or Vietnamese/Cambodian. A slash means that the languages are closely enough related that, for simplified game purposes, they count as a single language.
14. Combat, Combat Art, and Combat Sport Skills Are Techniques.
When you learn a Combat skill, Combat Art skill, or Combat Sport skill (see p. B184 for details), you may buy up the other two versions as an Average technique defaulting to your skill-3. For example, if you know Karate Art at DX+2, you know Karate at DX-1 and can buy it up to DX+2 level for 3 points.
15. Cheap Firearms.
Cheap guns are -60% to Cost (-0.6 CF). They have -1 Acc, -1 HT, and -1 Malf. If you aren't using Malfunctions (p. B407), treat this as "16 is always a failure, and 17 is always a critical failure."
Alternatively, if you don't mind extra detail, the firearm's HT is unchanged. However, whenever it would normally get a bonus to a HT roll -- like the HT+4 roll to resist Slime, Sand, and Equipment Failure (p. B485) -- it rolls against straight HT, no bonus.
Note for My Players: I also have a minor house rule about Dependents and Enemies. They may be only taken with a Frequency of "6 or less" or "9 or less" without special GM permission.
Retired House Rules
Several of my house rules have been retired due either to them being incorporated as official rules or to new rules which solve the same problem in an acceptable way. I'm glad that this section exists! It means that the system is being constantly improved as it grows. Retired house rules include those for Gunslinger, Magery 0, and Off-Hand Weapon Training.
I have become a big fan of the GURPS Character Assistant program since its Fourth Edition release. It is versatile and quite customizable, even if the syntax does take some practice. So here's a little bit of my handiwork, from complete custom GDFs to patchwork creations, along with instructions for ease of installation.
PK's House Rules[ DOWNLOAD FILE ] [ INSTRUCTIONS ]
If you like my house rules (above) and would like to incorporate them into your game, here they are! I tend to tweak this file a lot, so come back often. By left-clicking on it, you can check the Last Modified date (it's right there at the top) and see if you've got the latest version.
This file also includes some of the other, simpler entries from my site. For example, it has the Diabetic disadvantage but not the Super Archer power writeup. It's fully documented, so if there's any rule that you don't care for, it can be edited out easily, even if you don't understand anything about GDF syntax.
Balanced Ritual Magic Rules[ DOWNLOAD FILE ] [ INSTRUCTIONS ]
This data file implements the two tweaks that I recommended to balance Ritual Magic. Path skills no longer default to the core skill and all spells are Average techniques instead of Hard. It also includes a very basic template for mages who want a starting level in every useful Path skill with one click.
You may also be interested in this text file which contains the corrected prerequisite count for all of the spells in Magic; I distilled it from the official Variant Ritual Magic GDF.
GURPS Mysteries 4E[ DOWNLOAD FILE ] [ INSTRUCTIONS ]
This started out as an unofficial data file for the excellent GURPS Mysteries (a PDF which is available as an electronic download through e23). It has since been made official and is part of the latest data file update available at the GCA support page. It adds all of the new traits, though I'm still working on the professional templates.
Talents and Wildcards: A Compilation[ DOWNLOAD FILE ] [ INSTRUCTIONS ]
I love Talents. If you're at all like me, you've wondered if it's worth the extra loading time and memory to add in all of the "source book" GDFs just to give your players access to the Talents therein. And then there's all the ones people have created -- a search through the forums will turn up countless homebrewed Talents, many of which are at least as good as the canonical ones.
So I created this file. It includes the official Talents from various GURPS sourcebooks as well as my favorite homebrews from the forums. Add this to your GCA loadout and you'll have all the Talents you'll ever need. (Hint: Click on the drop-down box at the top of the Advantages menu and select "Talents" to see a full list.)
As a bonus, this file now includes a list of Wildcard! skills, both official and homebrewed, with full descriptions of what each one covers. As with the Talents, you'll want to select "Wildcard!" from the drop-down box at the top of the Skills menu once you've loaded this file.
Features Talents and Wildcard! skills from GURPS Fantasy, GURPS Mysteries, GURPS Infinite Worlds, GURPS Banestorm, GURPS Space, GURPS Traveller: Interstellar Wars, and Transhuman Space: Changing Times.
Traveller Racial Templates[ DOWNLOAD FILE ] [ INSTRUCTIONS ]
This file reproduces my Fourth Edition conversions of all of Traveller's major races. It also features a few traits (Unusual Backgrounds, Secret (Psi), and Patron (Psionic Institute)) to facilitate the creation of a psionic character. If you use the regular character sheet, I recommend choosing the option to print the racial template details (in paragraph form) above the advantages and disadvantages. I've tried to optimize the descriptions for that choice.
Our Star Trek Game[ DOWNLOAD FILE ] [ INSTRUCTIONS ]
Someone requested this, so I'm making it available, though was never intended for the masses and is thus not internally documented. This is the data file for the Star Trek game our group is currently starting. As of this writing, it has racial templates for the Klingons, Ullians (they were in a single TNG episode), and an amphibious player-created race called the Nadissians. It also features professional templates for Starfleet Enlisted, Starfleet Officers, and Klingon Marines, as well as what I think are balanced skills and rules for the bat'leth.
GURPS Powers: Divine Favor[ DOWNLOAD FILE ] [ INSTRUCTIONS ]
A complete data file for GURPS Powers: Divine Favor. Includes the titular advantage, all of the learned prayers, and the new versions of Blessed and Power Investiture.
GURPS Monster Hunters 1: Champions (PARTIAL)[ DOWNLOAD FILE ] [ INSTRUCTIONS ]
This is the beginning of a GDF for GURPS Monster Hunters 1: Champions. It includes all of the boring stuff -- the individual new traits, the equipment lists, and so on. It's missing a few things, but most notable are the new character and racial templates. This will help to give a head start to anyone working on those templates, and it works just fine in itself for those who'd rather use the templates in the book rather than via GCA's interface.
Skillful Character Sheet[ DOWNLOAD FILE ] [ INSTRUCTIONS ]
I created this for a GURPS Martial Arts convention demo game, and realized that others might find it useful. It's based on (and directly edited from) the normal GURPS character sheet, but with several additional options to alter the content.
You can remove the "Languages" box and/or the "DR and Cultural Familiarity" box to make more room for skills. In addition to shrinking the "Notes" box to make more room for Hand Weapons, you can also shrink the "Ranged Weapons" box for even more room. Finally, you can prevent Bite from showing up as a weapon, to save room for more common attacks.
Note that the Instructions (above) are slightly different for this file.
If you encounter any errors while using any of these data files, I'd appreciate if you'd tell me on the GCA forum or shoot me a private message.
This website is administered by Reverend Pee Kitty [About Me]. All original content is ©Copyright 2005-2017 Reverend Pee Kitty.
The material presented here is my original creation, intended for use with the GURPS system from Steve Jackson Games. This material is not official and is not endorsed by Steve Jackson Games. GURPS is a registered trademark of Steve Jackson Games, and the art here is copyrighted by Steve Jackson Games. All rights are reserved by Steve Jackson Games. This material is used here in accordance with the SJGames online policy.