Godzilla is stronger than you.

Well, sure, you knew that. But how much stronger?

I was browsing John Woodward’s nifty GURPS Godzilla page. His is no mere lazy stab at a handful of stats (like… well, this post is), but is a thorough guide to roleplaying the the Toho cinematic universe. Characters, monsters, history, plots, and more. A campaign in a box, if you will.

A tall drink of (heavy) water

How big a box? To hold the Big G, at least 300 feet high – that appears to be the canonical height of Godzilla, despite some variance throughout his storied career.

And how tough is our radioactive pal? ST 7500, says John, with DR 3000, HT 20, 50,000 HP, 10 kilotons of weight, and a physical attack dealing at least 750d damage. Whew! That’s gotta hurt.

But those stats are for GURPS 3e, and some changes are in order. In particular, ST can likely be much less under 4e. Unfortunately, John says he doesn’t have time now for a 4e upgrade. So while we all look forward to that someday, I’ll ponder 4e statistics.

First, let me dust off that copy of GULLIVER Mini for 4e – oh, good, it’s not even dusty yet. Following the checklist there:

We need to start with an SM. if Godzilla is 100 yards tall, that gives him a height multiple (HM, using my own abbreviation) of 50, and places him at an even SM +10.

Working the numbers

His starting stats, before considering size? Your guess is as good as mine; start with ST 10, and see what factors might change that. We’ll want high starting ST, what with G being all dinosaur-y and radioactive. GULLIVER Mini’s optional extras suggest +50% ST simply for a powerful build to help move a SM +10 creature’s mass. Now, in 4e, +50% is a lot of extra ST, and is a bonus going beyond some realistic extra bulk for size – but SM +10 is of course not realistic either. While Godzilla doesn’t quite have the Mr Universe musculature that a starting ST 15 suggests, we can assume that his mutated monster flesh adds power. I like a starting ST 15.

Starting HP? I dunno, how about the default ST level, or 15. Weight? Good guess. He definitely has a thicker build than a human (gawd, those legs!), and then there’s a huge tail, big back-plates, and thick armor. Let’s jump right to 250 lbs. for our human-height model.

Starting DR? No idea at all. I’ll pass for now.

Now we multiply. ST 15 times that HM of 50 gives us ST 750, and the same HP. BL is an impressive 112,500. (So to answer the original question: Godzilla can lift 5,625 times what you can lift. I’d say he wins.)

Weight becomes 250 lbs. x 50 x 50 x 50 = 15,625 tons (nicely in the ballpark of John’s original weight, so take whichever you like).

Next, GULLIVER Mini’s optional extras suggest a hefty -3 on HT for the difficulty of making such a ridiculous size work. That makes sense for a realistic creature, so ignore it here! Still, I balk at any use of HT 20, and would probably go with HT 15 or so; that’s my personal image of what “ultra-tough” HT should be, even in a giant monster.

Similarly, those optional extras will suggest some serious slowness in agility stats (DX, Basic Speed, and Basic Speed reductions) for G’s incredible mass. Again, that makes sense for a realistic critter, and can be ignored here. See John’s stats in his guide, and modify however you like; any guess is as good as another, and even better if you can justify your estimates of these stats based on some movie scenes.

As I didn’t set a starting DR, I’ll have to make up a final one. We could keep the original 3000, but note that that was paired with ST 7500. If we wanted to keep DR down to about half ST, and also juggle it in relation to HP, something as low as DR 300 may make sense.

What’s the DR of plot armor?

This is where we get into a) big 3e vs 4e differences, and b) the bigger issue of game play, and how tough G should be vs human technology. You’ll note that we’ve racked up only 750 HP for G so far, vs the 50,000 John gave him. The latter was about 7 times Godzilla’s 3e ST; if you want to keep that ratio, boost his new 4e HP to about 5000.

But that’s still a huge difference from the 3e HP stat. Should 4e HP be 750, or 5000, or 50,000? And DR: Go for 300? 3000? Something in between? You’ll have to look at the big picture and decide. What sort of guns will the army be throwing at G, and should the best of military force be damaging to him at all? How much damage will a typical giant foe dish out, and what should the effect be on G? Tough questions for a tough lizard. I’d be very interested in hearing people’s thoughts, especially those conversant in the ways of GURPS high-tech military weapon capabilities.

Point cost for Godzilla? I’ll leave that to the interested; me, I stick to my rule of “if it’s not a PC, I couldn’t care less about point cost”. Just keep in mind that G gets the max -80% discount on his ST and HP. (If he asks for even more… gulp… just give it to him.)

Actually, stats themselves are more a curiosity than a necessity for G. The role of Godzilla in a game, like a Gandalf or a deity or any such, is “plot device”, and I typically don’t work out stats at all for such beings! But it can be an interesting exercise (and in this case, the ultimate test for those Mini rules).

How do you Godzilla?

The above is definitely not a thorough undertaking, brushing over many aspects of Godzilla’s stats. What would you add or change? Are there other big considerations for anyone taking G from GURPS 3e to 4e?


  • Devotee of Reason

    Hmmm, interesting. He often fights monsters that seem fairly equivalent to him in terms of power, so one might take the approach of basing his DR off of the damage he would dish out: in a range so that there is significant effect, but no instant death.

    • tbone

      Right, I would take the approach of looking at all the damage rolls, DR, HP, etc. together, and balancing these to get the desired effect.

      If we set G’s own damage to rules as written, then with ST 750, his thr damage will be 76d. Assume that monster foes will deliver similar damage, and that we want their attacks to potentially hurt G. DR 300 technically does allow for that, though in practice damage will almost never get past DR, as that many dice make extreme (i.e., non-average) results very improbable.

      Still, with foes using AOA damage, or other higher-damage attacks, it should be possible to hurt G (even more so if we reduce DR to 250 or so).

      It’s probably best to rescale stats for monster-vs-monster combat – say, divide by 50, so G has Monster ST 15, delivers 1d+1 Monster Damage, and has Monster DR 5 or 6. That’s much easier to play, keeps familiar combat feel, and allows for more variation in damage results.

      • Rev. Pee Kitty

        I think that DR isn’t the only advantage needed here. Godzilla should have lower DR, but Hardened, so HEAT tank shells aren’t an issue — I’d probably give him DR 225 or so. But he also needs Injury Tolerance (Damage Reduction) more than he needs extra Hit Points. IT(DR) is the perfect “soak” advantage, for critters that can take much more of a beating than their hit points would suggest. Since the G-zard is clearly of this persuasion, I’d give him IT(DR/5) which more-or-less gives him 3,750 hit points. Season to taste.


        • tbone

          ‘Ello, PK. Good point re Hardened DR. I think biological armor is a DR for which Hardened makes no realistic sense – but, ahem, given the context here, realistic objections are ridiculous objections. : )

          Hardened will prevent any shortcut bypassing of G’s DR, and that’s a good thing.

          But what is this Injury Tolerance you speak of? The B60 overview offers Diffuse, No Vitals, etc., but no “DR (Damage Reduction?) /5”. There’s also no Damage Reduction trait. Are you talking a 3e trait?

          • Rev. Pee Kitty

            Okay, I just wrote a whole reply to this and your blog told me that I was using the name of a registered user and then WIPED MY REPLY COMPLETELY. I thought registering would be a good thing. Grr. How does one unregister?

            The short version (I’m not retyping all that): It’s in Powers.

            • tbone

              PK, I hate to see the site turn on a GURPS stalwart like you. I know that kind of glitch is maddening, and myself have said “well, that’s it for this site” many a time when some site has screwed up an attempt at posting.

              I tried to replicate the problem using a test account. Result: When logged in, things worked fine for me (as seems to have been the case for other registered users so far). But if I tried to post without being logged in first, typing my user name into the “Your name” field, then I got the same message you did about the user name being already registered.

              Now, that’s pretty standard website behavior so far. It’d be nice if, in the latter case, the site asked “Are you ? Please type your password into this field to continue.” But I don’t recall seeing a site that operates that way. Rather, I think sites generally give the “name already registered” error, and give the poster a chance to type in a different name and continue (or the chance to head to the login page and start over).

              In my test without logging in, the site returned the “name already registered” notice and did leave my test post content intact, so there was no harm done in my case.

              I’m guessing one of the following three is what happened to you:

              1) You weren’t logged in, tried to post with your registered name, and got the above error message – with your post now gone. If so, perhaps it’s some browser caching issue that explains why your post disappeared while my test post survived the same situation. I don’t know – and not knowing for sure, can’t rule out a glitch in the site. Wherever the problem lay, I must apologize, and will display some prominent instructions reminding registered users to be sure to log in before starting a post. (Probably a lot of web sites should carry such instructions!)

              2) Another possibility: As above, but your post did remain intact when the page refreshed with the error message. However, you then went to the login page, and after logging in and restarting the comment process from scratch, your post was gone. In this case, it’d be unfortunate, though not surprising, that the post disappeared – but I’m guessing that you’re an experienced computer user and 2) here is not your situation. Either way, as above, I need to place a reminder to users to log in before posting.

              3) Maybe it’s this: you were logged in from the start, yet you got the error message anyway. If that’s the case, it’s definitely a glitch over here and deserves a large apology.

              I would like to squash any bugs, so if you can tell me what your scenario was, that’d be a big help. (On the off chance you’d like to tell me but can’t post: tbone@gamesdiner.com .) Thanks, and again I apologize for the snafu. (For what it’s worth, posting bugs pop up often enough on any site that I’ve gotten into the habit of copying the text of any long post before hitting “preview” or “post”. People shouldn’t have to do that, though, and I sure don’t want them to have to do so on my site.)

              Re the original topic and Powers, I’ll post separately.

            • tbone

              Ah, Powers p53. Thanks, I thought I’d seen it somewhere. (I’ve only really skimmed Powers.) Yes, that may be good for G’zilla.

              As for whether Injury Tolerance (Damage Reduction) is a better choice than tons of HP: well, unless I’m mistaken, the two are functionally the exact same thing. They look different but have the same effect. If that’s so, I’d say it doesn’t matter which is used (and I’d also say that any level of Damage Reduction should have the same cost as any level of boosted HP with the same effect, but that’s another matter for another place).

              However, equivalency aside, if a GM says that Damage Reduction just feels superior to über-HP as a meaningful explanation behind G’zilla-style toughness, I have no argument with that.

  • mtowle

    Am I correct in my calculations that Godzilla would need about 30 levels of extra encumbrance to operate at X-hvy enc? With an MSR of 28k-ish? Seems like he needs more ST.

    • tbone

      The official 4e answer: Nope, no special advantage or ST needed; hauling his own weight is a built-in freebie. For simplicity, GULLIVER Mini sticks to the same.

      GULLIVER for 3e does indeed suggest that he’d need lots more ST and/or Extra Encumbrance. Of course, the default assumption there – that “extra” body weight is figured from such-and-such calculation, and is 100% as encumbering as weight from carried items – is not the only possible assumption; change that a bit, and the exact amount of extra ST or Extra Encumbrance changes. But the general idea is just as you say: a “real” Godzilla would collapse without lots of extra help.

      But the huge amount of extra ST and/or Extra Encumbrance needed is, IMO, impossible to justify realistically, so we could argue that there’s no point in getting realistic. Might as well just follow the 4e method and brush it all aside; either way is as unrealistic as the other. Godzilla walks because the plot calls for it! : )

  • Bruno

    Sadly, the only Godzilla movie I’ve seen was the recent remake in “modern Holywood style”, and I’m told that’s essentially not a Godzilla movie.

    That said, the rule of thumb I’ve been using for “Can take on military hardware” has been “How does he fare against the HMG .50 and the Bazooka on basic p281, and “how does he fare against the tank on p470?”

    Starting with the tank, the main gun is going to cause the most problems for our Godzilla. It does on average 630 damage, and halves his DR for an average 480 wounding per shot. 10 or 11 tank shells will take Godzilla down to 0 HP… I have no idea how that compares to how Godzilla performs in the movies, but if it’s too squishy, the first thing I suggest tweaking is Hardening Godzillas scales. I remember someone saying that he regenerates too, and that will get scaled up nicely in 4e so that may also be helpful.

    The Bazooka is largely irrelevant. It bounces off of Godzillas’ scaley hide. If you had someone standing inside his mouth shooting into the back of his throat or something, the lack of DR and the 4x damage for an internal explosion only boosts the damage up to 168 per shot, so I don’t think your kamikaze bazookaman would do anything significant before being swallowed or neemed with nuclear death breath or whatever.

    The machine gun does nothing to Godzilla’s outside either, although the average wounding of ~558/second after taking pi+ into account means that Godzilla would be happier with a bazooka in his mouth than a machine gun.

    • tbone

      I think I’m one of the few out there who likes the Hollywood ‘Zilla – the monster itself (at least for a one-shot movie), if not the dull characters. But anyway:

      That Godzilla did die from a few well-placed missiles; its “invulnerability” up to that point was its ability to dodge ordinance, not soak it up. An interesting contrast to the old-school beast, which I believe pretty much just shrugged off all military firepower.

      The Hollywood ‘Zilla should maintain some vulnerability to (undodged) tank shells and other missiles; the traditional monster should have ridiculous DR. Either way, you’ve got the right approach: look at what damage can be done by the weapons you’ll allow into the game, decide how you want those to affect the Big G, and set stats from there.

      (I can think of another, plot-driven approach: Regardless of stats, all weapons are useless because the GM says so, and the players fail until they think of the “right way” to deal with Godzilla. That will go over well with some players, poorly with others, so I would use with caution.)

  • Stupid Jedi

    I know this is a really old post, but it is so fun! I think that most hollywood or movie giants tend to have ST proportional to a human of the same size, not based on real physics. In other words, ST 750 only gives Godzilla a basic lift of 56.25 tons, or 0.4% of his weight. This means that he cannot lift his own weight or even close to it! However, there are many movie examples where Godzilla performs feats of ST far beyond this. If Godzilla were to have ST proportional to a human (a BL equal to about 13% of mass) — fitting since he is often played by a human in a big rubber suit — then his ST would be about 4400 for a weight of 15,000 tons. Personally, I think this is closer to movie physics.

    His durability varies from movie to movie, so his DR would fluctate based on incarnation, but I would put his DR at 2,000. This makes him virtually immune to everything but heavy artillery. A Javelin Missile at 6dx11(10) would only do 31 points of damage to him on average. That means he could take 141 missile strikes before going down! This seems closer to the Japanese movie versions of Godzilla (not the Roland Emmerich version; his would only have DR 50 or so, IME).

    As for Regeneration, I don’t think so. High HT, Very Rapid Healing, and maybe Unkillable 1. He would recover 880 HP per day with a HT roll.

    I would also put his Breath Attack at 6dx100 burn damage. Enough to be a danger to himself should his attack be reflected back at him.

    • tbone

      Hullo! Yeah, it’s an oddly interesting topic. FWIW, I don’t recall ever seeing a movie giant given “realistic” ST, unable to lift its own body weight, or an object of similar weight. They typically seem to have humanlike ability to lift roughly their own weight in movies – or even, as you mention re some Godzilla versions, to lift weights far beyond that.

      Of course, we know there’s no mystery there; the movie concept calls for super strong, not realistic, and so super strong it is. Two hours of an irradiated giant mutant beast lying on its side and wheezing doesn’t sound much fun…

      You’re right about Godzilla stats varying by movie/incarnation. That’s appropriate for any movie character who’s essentially a plot device (Godzilla, Gandalf, etc.); fixed stats for these never quite fit the fictional sources. (That’s always been an interesting difference between RPGs and fiction for me: even though RPGs are inspired by – and aspire to emulate – the action in novels and comics and movies, fiction largely gets to make up character capabilities on the spot to fit the story requirements, while RPGs have to deal with the story consequences of spelling out and consistently handling those capabilities. Good GMs need to be well aware of that difference.)

      Interesting look at Godzilla with DR 2000 (and regenerating 880 HP/day? Wow.). The Emmerich Godzilla would have lower DR, I agree, though also a near-magical Dodge ability. (Or army guys in that movie were all inflicted with the “Imperial Stormtroopers” curse of never hitting a target, unless it’s trapped and held fast!)

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