Building GURPS Stuff

Last night I finally sat down and started figuring out how to build things like bionic arms using GURPS.

I already had some idea just from looking through the Cyberpunk and Ultra-Tech books, but I needed to really dig into it. Much like the Hero System, you select the Advantages that a gadget like a bionic arm would confer on a person, then use various limitation and/or enhancements to alter the cost of each of the Advantages. You add up the cost of the Advantages for the device, and then you might actually apply some disadvantage to the device which lowers its final point cost.

Without getting into the details, here is an example. I took the bionic arm from Ultra-Tech and reverse-engineered it, figuring out how the GURPS writers built it, doing the calculations, etc.

Bionic Arm

  1. +2 STR — would cost 6 pts.  Has limitations like “susceptible to electricity, needs maintenance,  which reduce the cost by 25%, so rounding up the final coast for the STR is 5 pt.
  2. Damage Resistance 2 — because the arm is more resistant to damage than the human body. Costs 10 pt, but has the Limitation of only applying to one arm, so cost is reduced by 40%, for a total of 6 pts.
  3. Finally, having a bionic arm entails loss of the human arm. This is the character disadvantage “One Arm”, which could normally get the character back 20 pts. However, according to the rules for Cybernetics in the Ultra-Tech book, you apply  a 70% reduction to that bonus because the loss of the arm is Mitigated by having a bionic arm. In other word, having one arm isn’t such a disadvantage if you have a bionic one, so you don’t get the full 20 pts. You get 6 pts back.
  4. So the final cost of the bionic arm is 5 + 6 – 6 = 5 pts.

Like the Hero System, the more familiar you are with the building blocks (Advantages, Limitations, Disadvantages), the better you will be at crafting interesting gadgets and abilities. I actually think the GURPS Limitations are easier to implement than Hero’s. You just total the percentage of increase/decrease in point cost, and apply it to the base cost.


3 responses... add one

It amuses me to hear people fret of the “math” in GURPS. Do you know addition, multiplication subtraction, and division. Do you understand percentages? If so, you are good to go.

Yes, Bob, thanks! I will get get that issue of Pyramid. I actually bought the Bio-Tech PDF last week. It’s a lot to take in, but I wanted to have the reference for some of the body mods.

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