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.
This section is for resources for GURPS GMs or players that I've created or helped with. It's also where you'll find various worked examples of what can be done in GURPS, from sample characters to writeups of super-powers or other abilities.
1. Historical Folks Conversion for GURPS Fourth Edition.
A few years back, Brian C. Smithson released Historical Folks as a free (unofficial) supplement for GURPS Third Edition. MyGURPS is proud to host the Fourth Edition Conversion of this incredibly useful e-book.
2. Revised GM Control Sheet (MS Word).
I've always liked the overall layout of the official GM Control Sheet, but find that it could use space better. This version gives each character two lines of info, keeps all of the attributes together, has a spot to track both HP and FP, gives you two lines each for reaction bonuses and DR, and even has room left over for notes. The lower half of the sheet is basically unchanged. It's all done with tables, so you can fill it in on the computer and print it out. Click here for a snapshot of what the sheet looks like, or click on the title to download the MS Word file.
Update: The GM Control Sheet is now available in PDF format, thanks to Eduardo Alvarez. He has created two different versions -- a standard PDF and one with editable fields so you can still fill it in on the computer if you don't have MS Word.
3. Creating a "Super Archer".
Archers like Green Arrow and Hawkeye have been a part of the supers genre for some time. Using Alternative Attacks, it's remarkably simple to create all of their trick arrows and then some.
4. Diabetes as a Disadvantage.
A brief summary of the effects of Type I and Type II diabetes, followed by how to build each one in GURPS using existing disadvantages. Find out why Dependency (Insulin) is the wrong way to approach this condition.
5. Using "Either/Or" Limitations.
Have you ever needed to build a power that was affected by either one limitation or a different one, but not both at the same time (e.g., an attack that doesn't have its full range except in direct sunlight)? Though it isn't immediately obvious, the rules do officially support such a thing, and it's surprisingly easy to do.
6. Super-Effort for Striking ST.
GURPS Powers added a new Super-Effort enhancement so that bricks and telekinetics could make amazing lifts in high-powered games. Here's a similar enhancement for Striking ST that makes it a more reasonable purchase in games offering Innate Attacks.
7. Cosmic Power for "Super Gadgeteers".
A set of ground rules and a modifier for characters who use their Modular Abilities to build "super gadgets" (like "Density Nullification Rays" and "Teleportation Belts"). Boils everything down to one modifier, one roll, and a few simple rules.
8. Upgrading the Magic System.
A few simple adjustments and optional rules that I've added to the GURPS magic system. Balancing Ritual Magic is a minor tweak to prevent the point-crock abuse that seems to invariably occur when the ritual magic rules are used in a game. Modifying Spells is an easy answer to the question, "How can I make my fireball homing?" Long-Ranged Magic is a worked example of modifying spells, to allow for a world in which mages aren't limited to just a few yards of range.
9. Heavier Weapons for Stronger Characters.
Since every melee weapon has a minimum ST (and thus a maximum ST) rating, it can be useful to know how to raise this value for very strong characters. Here are some simple and fast guidelines. (Also includes a tangent on quickly calculating armor weights and such for humanoids with non-zero Size Modifiers.)
10. Infinity's Table of Organization for Infinite Worlds (PDF).
Infinite Worlds is easily one of my favorite settings, though trying to keep track of how all of the departments interact can be tricky, especially when it comes to remembering exactly where the United Nations fit in. So I've drafted up an "org chart" for Infinity Unlimited, including page references for every group listed. The second page is a brief summary of each group, intended to be printed on the back side -- this makes for an excellent player handout.
11. Absorption Revised.
The current rules for Damage Resistance (Absorption) produce some odd results, such as paying 4 character points for the privilege of being able to temporarily add 1 character point to a single ability when attacked. I've taken it apart and rebuilt it -- though not quite "from the ground up."
12. "Upon Death" Abilities.
I present some guidelines for building abilities which are linked to the death of the user, whether that means, "I can use it, but at the cost of my own life," or, "It triggers automatically when I die." There are a variety of approaches which can be taken, depending on exactly what the effect is, though fortunately they're all pretty straightforward.
13. New Techniques.
A repository of new techniques that I've created, both ex nihilo and using the system in GURPS Martial Arts. A bit sparse at the moment, but I will be adding to it every time I come up with something I feel is universally useful.
14. Veterans of the Weird West.
My conversion guide for playing Deadlands using GURPS Fourth Edition. This is based on a loose combination of original Deadlands, the newer Savage Worlds take on it, and some of my favorite things about how GURPS does things.
15. Beetle - A Sample Wastelander
In our first game of GURPS After the End, I was a player, not the GM. And my PC was "Beetle," a 200-point experienced scavenger "ghost." Check out his character sheet for an idea of the kind of adventurers you can build with GURPS After the End 1: Wastelanders.
16. Splitting IQ from Per/Will in GURPS After the End.
If you plan on using my house rules for divorcing IQ from Per and Will in a GURPS After the End game, use these simple rules to do so.
Here is where my thoughts, ramblings, and pontifications on GURPS end up. Many are of a rules-related nature, but don't really count as house rules, either because they're only guidelines or they focus on examining a rule rather than changing it. Others are just opinions or experiences that I felt were worth sharing. In all cases, I hope you find them useful.
1. Yes, Virginia, You CAN Afflict Yourself.
In an attempt to put an end to the confusion about using Affliction to give yourself an advantage, I got to the bottom of how it's really supposed to work. Read why you can zap yourself with your own shrink ray, but why you may not want to.
2. Innate Attacks, Wuxia, and You.
My thoughts on Martial Arts and allowing Innate Attacks in a cinematic wuxia game, along with some guidelines and limits that work well for preventing such things from harming the flavor of the campaign.
3. Just Say No to Mass Combat Systems.
Mass combat systems have their place -- specifically, when the PCs initiate a huge battle with another sizeable force. But not when the PCs are just soldiers in a larger war. Read on to see why the question of "who wins" is a meaningless one -- and why the battle itself should never take center stage.
4. Nipping Problem Allies in the Bud.
While few people actively set out to abuse the Ally advantage, certain designs can prove quite problematic if the GM isn't prepared for it ahead of time. After sparking a discussion about this with several veteran gamers, I've tried to condense the key issues (and solutions) down to a single article.
5. Preserving the Polarity of Weirdness Magnet.
One of my pet peeves is the persistent meme that Weirdness Magnet is hardly a disadvantage. Both players and GMs often seem to treat it like anything from a minor inconvenience to an actual advantage. For those gamers, this part-rant, part-article attempts to present Weirdness Magnet in a new light.
6. Gun! Versus Pistol.
A short article, based on a playtest email, which addresses the utility of Wildcard skills. Some gamers see each Wildcard skill as restricted to a fixed list, instead of as a cinematic "uber-skill." This is especially prevalent with the Gun! skill, which I address specifically here.
As my first true series of GURPS books, the Monster Hunters line is something I'm particularly proud of. Hopefully, the following resources and musings will help anyone trying to run their own game of hunters vs. The Enemy. Be sure to also check the GCA Files section of this site (below) for Monster-Hunters-related GDFs.
1. Splitting IQ from Per/Will in Monster Hunters.
As for Dungeon Fantasy and Action (see the section above), this article will be of great help to anyone who uses my house rule about splitting IQ from Will and Per. Here, I break down the necessary changes for all of the primary templates from Champions and Sidekicks.
2. Sample Monster-Hunting Team.
Whether you're a GM looking for some grab-n-go characters for a one-shot, or a gamer trying to decide whether the Monster Hunters series is right for you, these premade monster hunters are just what you're looking for. This five-person team of champions includes character sheets (in both PDF and GCA format), full loadouts, and just enough background and overview for the players to sit down and start using them.
3. Ritual Path Magic FAQ.
An open-ended, flexible system like Ritual Path magic is bound to have some questions come up from time to time. For the most part, these should be decided upon between the player and GM -- but a few questions are either so universally applicable or have come up frequently enough that I've collected them here.
4. Energy Accumulation Auto-Calculator.
Does your caster need to make hundreds of energy accumulation rolls for dozens of different spells? Now you can avoid all of that painful dice rolling! Just enter some basic information and this page will show you the details for each ritual you attempted to cast.
5. Clues and Deductions Worksheet (PDF).
I'm quite proud of the investigation rules introduced in The Mission, as they allow both players and characters a chance to figure out what's going on. However, they do involve many skill rolls, and it can be tricky for the GM to keep track of it all. This worksheet makes the GM's job easier, by providing a single place to keep track of each hunter's deduction roll and current clue bonus, along with all of the clues that are either waiting to be revealed or have already been discovered.
These are the house rules and articles which were written specifically for GURPS Traveller. Traveller is the epitome of a "classic sci-fi" setting, with a rich history and a universe clearly tailored to gaming. It also happens to mesh perfectly with GURPS -- an example of a great system supporting a great setting.
1. Building Jump Drives with Warp.
Just a mental exercise that occupied me one night; I thought it might be of interest to others. Making Warp work like a Traveller-style Jump Drive is actually easy; the tricky part is ensuring that the jump distance makes a difference in play. (Also includes a tangent on easy rules for calculating move relative to the speed of light with Enhanced Move (Space).)
2. Updated Traveller Racial Templates
I was disappointed that GURPS Traveller: Interstellar Wars didn't feature the templates for any major race except the Droyne (and they were oversimplified.) So I took it upon myself to convert them -- not just converting over each trait, but rebuilding them with the tools of the new edition to (hopefully) truly capture their essence.
3. Psionics in Traveller
This is a breakdown of the power groups (and the abilities which they comprise) which are available to psis (and anti-psis) in my Traveller games. It includes suggested limits on power levels and rules for Unusual Backgrounds and developing psi. There are also notes on Droyne psi and Zhodani characters.
4. Using GURPS Spaceships in Traveller
The simple GURPS Spaceships rules are a natural fit for Traveller games, as they give the ship just enough detail to be useful, but not so much that flying the ship turns into a wargame. With the rules tweaks and judgment calls on this page, I think it's pretty close to a perfect fit. Update: Also includes my rules for the Ship Owner advantage in Traveller.
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.
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While this website is devoted to GURPS, I'm a fan of countless other games, both from Steve Jackson Games and from other publishers, including several card and board games. This page collects the resources that I've created or collected for various other games, in order of creation date.
1. Nobilis: When Mondays Really CAN Be Out To Get You
By far the largest offering in this section, this is my fan site for the Nobilis RPG. It has resources for players and GMs alike. If you're unfamiliar with Nobilis I strongly recommend perusing the page. I tried to capture as much of the flavor and scope of the game as I could, as this is one of the most amazing RPGs I have ever encountered. It's well worth a look or two.
This fan site is for Nobilis Third Edition (the latest one), but I left my old Second Edition resource page up as well in case you haven't switched over yet. (You should! The new edition is great.)
2. Frag: Improved Record Sheet (PDF)
This is a custom-made record sheet for Steve Jackson Games' Frag® board game. This PDF prints two record sheets to a page and has fields for the attributes as well as other important values. (Update: This record sheet is now available from the Fan-Created Material page on the official Frag site.)
3. Deluxe Illuminati: Goal Cards (PDF)
This is a set of nine cards, one for each Illuminati®, with that Illuminati's goal clearly listed. I created these for two reasons. First, it makes it easier for new players to remember the goals. Second, it makes it much easier and faster for the UFOs to select a goal. (I recommend you print out two sets if you want to get both benefits.)
Note that this set includes a house rule. Weird has always been a very common alignment, and the Y2K expansion made it the most common alignment (by far), forcing us to change Discordia's goal to six Weird groups instead of five. Trust me, it's a good change -- use it.
4. King's Blood: One-Page Solitaire Rules (PDF)
While they were promised in the instruction sheet, the solitaire rules for King's BloodTM took a while to get approved by SNE (the designers and copyright holders of the game.) I've converted those rules into this PDF which conveniently prints on a single page. Keep a copy in your tuck box for those times when you're the only gamer around.
5. SPANC: FAQ and Optional Rules
I've collected the questions and resultant wisdom about SPANCTM into a full-fledged FAQ. This page also includes a few optional rules to help gamers better tweak the way the game works.
6. Cowpoker: Record Sheet (PDF)
CowpokerTM is a pretty straightforward game, but at the end of each round, it can be nice to have a reminder of what bonuses need to be accounted for. This sheet has enough room for four full rounds with provisions for carrying over across multiple sheets, for those late night Cowpoker marathons. (Update: This record sheet can now be downloaded from the official Cowpoker web page.)
7. Lord of the Rings: Friends and Foes Reference (PDF)
Reiner Knizia's cooperative Lord of the Rings board game includes a complete reference guide. But while the Friends and Foes Expansion adds a wonderful level of depth and strategy to the game (which I highly recommend), it can be a bit tricky keeping up on exactly how the Foes work and when you can skip certain scenario boards.
This two-page reference merges the rules from both instruction books. The first page covers turn flow and free actions, while the second has rules for bypassing scenarios and winning/losing the game. It includes the Black Gate rule, an official erratum which fixes how easy it was to achieve a Military Victory. I recommend printing this as one double-sided sheet and keeping it handy during games.
8. Munchkin: Sammlerbox Translation Sheet (PDF)
Munchkin is very popular in Germany. So much so that there are some exclusive goodies that one can only find there (or on amazon.de), such as the Sammlerbox. A wooden box for storing Munchkin cards, it comes with its own special rules and several unique cards... all in German. Fortunately, BIGsheep and T. Dorst posted translations of everything on the forums, which I've edited and formatted into this PDF.
9. My Mutants and Masterminds Games
A collection of information, house rules, and other details for my Mutants and Masterminds (Third Edition) games. Right now it's primarily a few house rules and clarifications, but I expect it to grow as I run more supers games with it.
10. Burn Notice in the Fate Core RPG
Rules for using the Fate Core RPG to run a game based on the TV show Burn Notice. Primarily focused on new skills and stunts, along with ways to keep the show's themes in focus.
11. Resources for The Chuubo's Marvelous Wish-Granting Engine RPG
I don't have a full Chuubo web page, as I've chosen to instead add what I can to the Chuubo wiki. This includes my Chuubo's Marvelous Wish-Granting Engine character sheet and my intentionally vague map of Town.
This website is administered by Reverend Pee Kitty [About Me]. All original content is ©Copyright 2005-2012 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.